Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I've mentioned before that I paid off my car several months ago. Since then practically every month I've had something go wrong with it and it's been in the shop. Yesterday was a doozie!

I was leaving school at the end of they day and put my car into reverse, it barely moved. I then tried drive and it barely moved---BACKWARD! I shut off the ignition for a few minutes hoping for a miracle, but one didn't arrive. Now it appears my transmission had gone out! After spending some frustrating time on the phone trying to arrange towing, I sat back in my car to wait an hour for the tow-truck. I had to call my mom to see if she could pick Cole up from school for me, find somewhere to have my car towed, etc. I was so stressed.

Finally, the tow truck driver arrived. While he was hooking my car up several parents from my school did offer me a ride which was nice. When I told the driver where I wanted my car towed he said that there would be an overage charge because of the mileage. At this point I didn't even care.

On the way to the shop, we talked about my series of car problems and our families. His daughter is a Veterinarian in Austin and he is very proud of both of his kids. After he dropped me off, I was writing out the check for towing and he looked at me and said, "No! I am not charging you. You have more than enough going on. I just want you to have a nice day and take care of that kid of yours!" I was floored. Does this ever happen? I thanked him profusely and instantly my bad mood had lifted. Not because of the $80 gift but because of the act of kindness. What a great man.

So I still have no word on an estimate for my car (probably a couple of grand :-( a least). I also have had to rent a car in the meantime. Yippee! The funny part is that both of my parents forgot that even though I'm working full-time it's for free, because they both suggested that maybe I should look for a another car. I wish that I could, believe me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Camp out

I come from a family that didn't go camping, fishing, boating, or love the beach. I love all of these things. Perhaps if I grew up doing this things, I wouldn't enjoy them so much now. I've been wanting to take Cole camping, but I am not quite brave enough to go with just the two of us. The cooler weather has made me want to go even more. So Cole and I came up with a plan...

We camped out in the backyard. On Saturday we set up our tent and eagerly waited for darkness to fall. I had bought a mini-grill so we could have a fire. We sat in our flannel pajamas and roasted marshmallows and made smores. Then we crawled into the tent. We drank hot chocolate out of a thermos, while we played endless rounds of Sorry!, Go Fish, War, and Pokeman. As I looked at his face bathed in the soft glow of the lantern, I thought to myself that nothing could be better than this.

This morning, we woke up to the sounds of birds chattering and watched the squirrels perform their acrobatics overhead. It was perfect.

Now time for a "real" camping trip!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Busy as ever

When I quit my job to focus on student teaching, I was worried about the extra time I would have on my hands. I was so used to working and going to school full time that I wondered what I would do with my extra time. Now I ask myself, what extra time? I'm as busy as ever. After teaching (still having a blast) my evenings are full.

In addition to meeting with my personal trainer once a week at the gym, my mom and I joined a "team fitness" class that meets 3 nights a week. With the class also comes "cardio homework" so 6 days a week I'm at the gym. Plus, Cole has baseball, karate, and gymnastics. Then there is all the "at home" work that comes with teaching. I'm mid-way through my thematic unit on elections. I spent this weekend making interactive poster boards for Obama and McCain and the issues they represent, voting boxes, ballots, and shopping for all the materials required for the various projects the kids are doing. I'm happy but tired.

There is one big stressor in my life right now though. Cole's baseball. Luckily he only has two games left (if we lose the 1st tournament game). Here is the issue. The league restructured the age requirements and he was required to move up this year to the coach pitch league. The problem with this is that he is a six-year-old playing with 7 - 9 year olds. He is the only 6-year-old on this team and the smallest. Some of the kids outweigh him by 30-40 pounds and are at least a foot taller. Some of these kids are already in 3rd grade. There is a HUGH difference developmentally between a 1st and 3 grader. I've been worried all season about him getting hurt because some of this kids hit the ball amazingly hard. The main problem is his batting though. Cole has had a very difficult time adjusting to hitting the ball when it's thrown vs. off the tee like last year. He has completely given up and is so dejected when it's time for batting practice or game time. He doesn't even try. It's ruined his love of baseball. My dad thinks I should make him quit now. I think that sends him the wrong message. I've spoken to Cole and he wants to finish out the season. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Politics from the mouth of kids

If the kids around me are any indication then John McCain has Austin wrapped up for votes. Even my own son who previously wanted to "vote for Ovama" came home tonight talking about voting for McCain. I almost kicked him out..just kidding, well sort of. It's been a real eye opener for me working with kids and talking politics. I'm actually teaching a 3-week thematic unit on voting & elections, complete with a mock-class president election on November 4th. We've been talking politics quite a bit. I'm surprised by how much these kids actually know and shocked about some of their mistruths that spread like wildfire (hmmm...not much different than the adult world). I can't help but wonder if these "facts" (ie. lies) come from their parents trying to sway their views onto them or from misunderstandings on the kids part. Since I like to believe in the "ideal" world, I'll believe the latter. Here are some "facts" shared by the kids in my class.

On Obama:

"He will make everyone go to school on Saturdays."

"He doesn't even know how to read."

"He's mean to other people."

"He's a racist." - my personal fav

"He's not even from this country."

On McCain:

"He's nice and he likes kids."

"He wants a girl to be President, and Obama doesn't want that to happen EVER!"

"He reads and is smart."

So why does Cole want to change his "vote?" Because Sarah O. said that Obama is very mean, especially to kids and McCain loves to read. So what did I tell Cole? That everyone is entitled to their own opinion and he can vote for whomever he wants. He doesn't have to listen to his friends or family, he can make his own decision. That's what makes America great. I promised to bring him home my Time for Kids Magazine so we can read about both candidates and he can choose for himself.

Monday, October 06, 2008


The last week my parents had two nightly visitors. They visit while we sleep and leave dozens and dozens of divets in their well-manicured front yard and two very large holes. They are armadillos. Armadillos eat grubs and earthworms and since my parents have a sprinkler system that keeps the yard moist, they have an optimum feeding ground. My parents come from two different camps. My dad would prefer that every animal within a 10-mile radius be killed instantly. My mom feeds them all (which causes endless bitching from my dad). So what to do about the armadillos? My dad called several places that poison, NO WAY said my mom. Several calls later, they found a solution. There is a company ran by a husband and wife that live on a large amount of acreage outside of Austin. They catch these critters (and others) and release them on their property. They came out Saturday and laid an elaborate trap. Cole chatted literally non-stop at them the entire time and they didn't even mind. They also had a opossum, a skunk, and a raccoon in their truck. It was like a mini-zoo.

Sunday morning, we had one trapped armadillo. It was very cute up close. Of course Cole wanted to keep it. He named it Fred. We even dug up earthworms to feed it until they could arrive to relocate him. So now the trap is re-set hoping to catch and relocate the other armadillo that has been spotted. Wonder what Cole will name him?