Bad Earthling

April 23, 2009

Yesterday was Earth Day and I somehow managed to be LESS environmentally responsible than I usually am – I drove further than I had to, used a disposable coffee cup, left some lights on in the house, and forgot to talk about Earth Day with my students. Oh well, I will make up for it another time. Maybe today. Can you tell that working in a Catholic School, I’m developing a strong sense of Catholic Guilt?

It’s good to be back on the rock after an amazing two weeks with GB. It was much easier to say ‘goodbye’ this time and I think we are getting into the groove of ‘hello and goodbye’, which is good because we still have another year of it! I think it was also easier this time because we each got to spend time in the other’s world and with the other’s family, so we are all caught up now. Also when I go back to Minnesota in June it will be for about ten weeks, so we will get to see lots and lots of each other.

It’s amazing how precious the little things become when you have been apart for so long. It’s so much fun to wake up together, or go for a walk together, or have a meal. These are things one quickly gets used to when they are available every day.

In other news, I am still fighting with my back pain. Nothing major but I seem to have just enough of a facet joint injury to make me uncomfortable at night and to prevent me from doing much running. Thankfully I did get two painless runs in this week, although I think that kickboxing yesterday afternoon might have set me back a few days (can’t believe I didn’t see that one coming!).
Other than that I am trying to catch up on the two weeks’ of sleep that I missed while GB and I were living it up with friends and family. Last night I scored almost ten hours of sleep, so perhaps I’m on my way to caught-up.

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Spring

April 14, 2009

GB and I had an amazing week on the Island.  It was really fun to show off my homeland and we were laughing about how this is the first time GB has been there given how long we have been together!  We did at least a million fun things, including renting a boat and anchoring near a reef so we could go snorkelling.  GB is as unreasonably terrified of barracuda as I am of black bears, so it was fun to have the tables turned and to be the brave one for a change!  For most of the week we were house sitting at a gorgeous house overlooking the ocean.  We spent lazy mornings having coffee in the sun and pretty much caught up on seven weeks’ worth of conversation and laughter.  It’s amazing how much fun we have doing absolutely nothing.

We spent the last two nights at my parents’ house which was chock full of both the frustrating and the magical moments that families are made of and that I think GB would have felt like the week was incomplete without.  We also got to catch up with some of the friends that were at our wedding and with the few who weren’t able to make it across the ocean.

GB did not want to leave the warm sunny days and ocean breezes, but after seven weeks on the Rock (eight, including the week GB was there), I was hankering for a visit to a major continent and also to spend time with the dogs and with GB’s family in Minnesota.  We flew into Minneapolis this weekend and have already crammed a week’s worth of good times into the past 36 hours or so.  It was so great to see Finn Dog who was beside himself with excitement.  I always harbor a secret fear that he’ll forget me while I’m gone, but alas, he has not yet and we are happily reunited again.  I’m here until next weekend and am so happy to be in the land of thaw and earthy smells.  It sounds weird, but while I grew up on the ocean, it’s the smell of Spring that makes me feel the most at home and reminds me of happy days on my Godparents’ farm.  I don’t know Minnesota that well and I don’t have many acquaintances here yet beyond GB’s friends.  But my dogs and my partner are here and as long as that is true, this is where home is.  It has been a surprisingly emotional trip here this time, I think because I realize how much I miss GB and the dogs when I’m here with them.  On the Rock it’s easier to put my head down and stay busy and block out some of the hard stuff.  Thankfully I will be back again in another two months and this time for the whole summer!  In the meantime I’m soaking up the smells and every moment I have with GB and the pups.

When my students arrived this morning they quickly discovered that their chairs were missing.  Fully expecting an April Fools’ joke from me, they were not surprised and did not believe me at all when I pretended not to know anything about it.  Instead I feigned annoyance at their noise and told them to quickly unpack their books and sit down for first period.  I ignored their protests and tried my hardest not to smile when they accused me of “stealing” their chairs.  Being the goofballs they are, they enjoyed their first two classes sitting on the floor and were surprisingly calm and well behaved.  Then I announced that we would need our chairs for the Big Assessment I had been asked to give them by the administration.  Of course they didn’t believe me at all and once they had retrieved their chairs from upstairs and were seated, they looked very dubious.  But there I was with a big pile of 4-page tests in my hand looking very serious.   I assured them that it was a ‘no big deal’ test and was just an assessment to see how much they had learned during the semester.  Some of them were still not buying it until my friend in the school office called down on the PA system to remind me about the “Annual Assessment”.  Suddenly the kids sat up a little straighter and it dawned on them that the test was for real.  I handed it out under test conditions and reminded them of the first line which read “please read all questions carefully before beginning the assessment” (you know where this is going…).  Naturally out of thirty students, only 3 actually read all the questions first which meant that only three read #50 which said “this test is a joke.  Please raise your hand quietly and I will come and speak to you”.  So three hands went up and I wrote on their papers “this is a joke, keep pretending, okay?”.  All three nodded and winked and the rest of the class worked diligently for the rest of the period.  It was a pretty believable since it was a review of everything they have learned this semester. 

Then during the test I activated the remote control fart machine that I had planted in the filing cabinet.  The students all started giggling and I pretended to be ignorant of the farting noises and told them to settle down every time they giggled.  I have no idea how I was able to keep a straight face since I just wanted to bust up completely.  Finally just as the period was ending, most of them reached question 50 and realized their mistake.  At that point I called them all April Fools and they called me all manner of things.  Thankfully my class really are a bunch of good sports and are fairly used to me by now, so no-one was upset or made overly anxious by my joking around.  And hopefully next time around they will follow the directions.

They spent the rest of the morning trying to get me back with “Miss, we see a mouse over there!” pranks.  Then they somehow had the office call me on the PA system to come up to the office.  I knew they were up to something when I heard loud whispers and movement as soon as I walked out of the room.  Sure enough when I returned they were all hiding (all thirty of them – 5 of whom were under my desk!).  They were so funny because I could hear thirty little giggles and was pretending I didn’t hear them.  Then I spotted the ones under my desk so I sat down in my chair as if they weren’t there and pretended to have a near heart-attack when they screamed at me from under the desk.

Did I mention I love teaching fifth grade?  Of course, I use the term “teaching” very loosely.