Thursday, September 22, 2011

What a Night

This evening, my girl, L, and I went to see "The Help" at the local theater.  I had been looking forward to seeing the movie ever since devouring the book this past summer.  It was a fantastic film, despite some changes, and I am determined to read the book again A.S.A.P. 

We laughed and cried.  I had some tissue in my pocked, but it wasn't nearly enough to cover the tears, so I simply let them roll down my face before using my jacket sleeve to mop them up.  My girl was sniffling right beside me.

We left the theater around 9:15 and were traveling down the mostly dark Mission Avenue, when we passed a dead Labrador in the middle of the street.  We were instantly saddened again, and decided to pull around to see if it had any identification.  With my little flashlight in hand, we made our way over to the dog, who had a broken neck and was a bloody mess.  Already emotionally fragile from the film, outraged at whoever just left  the dog in the road after killing it was compounded by the heedless drivers who drove past us without slowing.  We were both almost hit.  Multiple times.  I have to say, we didn't use our pretty language as we told them to SLOW DOWN!  L got the collar off, but there were no id tags.  She placed it on a nearby mailbox and as we contemplated what to do, two more cars pulled over.  Turns out, these folks had also been to see the film and had pulled over after seeing a dead white dog on the side of the road.  Two dead dogs.  L ran over.  Same story.  Collar but no tags.  A few more cars pulled over, and even though there were multiple people in the street, with blinking emergency lights and flashlights, the cars just kept barrelling by.  The dog in the middle of the street was miraculously not hit again, right in front of us. 

A teenage girl came running down the driveway and asked what had happened.  I told her there were two dead dogs.  She said they were hers, that they had been out looking for them.  Oh, heartache.  She was crying and I was crying, hugging her.  Her dad came running out and he was very distraught as well. 

One of the bystanders offered to help him move the dogs, but he pulled the black one by himself to the side.  He went and got his truck and the two men picked up both dogs and set them inside.  The girl said she had to go home to tell her sister.  The dad was crying very hard by the time his task was completed, hugged us both and thanked us numerous times.  Seems he and his family had just moved to this house, which explained why the dogs didn't have tags yet.

The whole night was surreal.  I am emotionally drained.  It's almost midnight and I have chores to do, lunches to make, and need to be at work with my son by 7:30 a.m., but I am wired.  I shot off a letter to the editor of my local newspaper, imploring my fellow townspeople to be considerate of people in their times of need.  My heart hurts for the family that just lost their animals.  I was very happy to come home to my own two waggy-tailed pups.  Goodnight and thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summer's Over . . .

Even though the calendar states that Summer isn't over until September 23rd, for those of us who work in education, it's time to put away our beach towels and comfy clothes.

I had a marvelous summer break.  After obsessing and planning over my 40th birthday party, it went off without too many hitches.  Family and friends filled our modest home and spilled out into the yard.  We put some living room furniture outside to accommodate the karaoke set-up.  I borrowed and rented tables and chairs and a huge jumpy with a slide.  We declared our son's room off limits, so we went on a toy buying spree at Dollar Tree.  Whether the toys survived the party or not didn't matter.  We sanded and painted his tree fort, reinforcing the loose boards and making it cooler and more child friendly.  I ordered unicorn themed decorations to symbolize my inner child.  The party went late into the night.  Friends slept in the furniture out front and in the jumpy.  It was a good time. 

My son and I singing Karaoke.   A Sabbath song, I think.
Mark n Captain Mady
Chef Mady with Auntie Judy, baking Smore Bars on the Houseboat.
Cousins in the Kayak
Two weeks later we went on our ?th annual houseboat trip.  I have lost count of the times we have packed up food and entertainment and driven to Nevada to soak in the lake and enjoy each other's company.  For those of you who have never been on a houseboat trip, there isn't much to it.  Just make sure you invite people who are flexible and fun-minded, bring lots of snacks, and plenty of ice.  I bring along books, movies, games for the kids, and a few changes of clothes.  My husband prides himself on bringing only a pair of swim trunks and a few t-shirts.  This year's trip was bittersweet, being the first one without our beloved Punky (E's father, who died last Labor Day).  At one point, walking up the dock to the store, my breath caught as I saw a broad-backed man filling an inntertube with air.  For a moment, it looked just like my father-in-law, who would be pleased that we continued our traditional summer trip.  This year my brother-in-law drove the boat to the landing spot just right, letting one of the children "help" steer, just like Punky used to.  On our last night, we took a bottle of Punky's favorite Bushmill's whiskey to the top of the boat.  We poured a shot for each of us, plus one for him.  Emotions spilled over as we remembered this amazing man, gone too soon.

I spent the rest of the summer playing mom and chauffeur to my son and his friends, watching movies, reading books, and stripping a new-to-us dining room table.  I love my sander.  With my i-pod blasting tunes in my ear and the wood showing it's true beauty out from under the old stain, I am in heaven.  I still need to re-stain the table, but as the raw wood is just so gorgeous to me, I am loathe to cover it up, even though I know I need to protect the wood and match the table to the chairs.

I went back to work a little early to clear out a room in the library that is now the student store, as well as to help with registration.  I erased the anti-"others" sentiment from the door and put in a request to the custodial staff to clean off the sharpied curse words on my book drop.  I entered to find the usual "mystery" boxes that had been left in the library by those who feel that when in doubt, the library's the place to put it.  Sometimes these are welcome surprises, other times I wonder, "what were they thinking???"

Yesterday was the first day of school.  Students and their parents packed the hallways, waiting to get their class schedules.  Staff was working as efficiently as possible.  Purple papers meant the students had to stay in the MPR, they needed to meet with the principal in regards to their low G.P.A.  Green dots meant their registration packets weren't complete.  Red dots meant they still needed to show proof of their Pertussis immunization to the nurse.  The little 6th graders looked eager and fresh, if not a little nervous about finding their way around.  The 7th and 8th graders were more interested in their class schedules and comparing them with their friends'.  By 2 hours into it, I was finally back into my sanctum, the glorious library.  I had requested fewer Teacher Assistants this year, as last year, I learned that more student helpers were definitely a hindrance to efficiency.  I had 3 returning helpers and 1 new.  I was closed to the general public at lunch, but some of my regulars snuck past security and with the familiar faces around me, it felt like an extension of the year before. 

Summer already seems far away, although the weather is too hot for my cute Fall clothing.  I am surrounded by textbooks that will be distributed next week.  Earlier today, one of my students asked what I was going to dress up as for Halloween.  Yup.  Summer's over.                           Thanks for listening.