Thursday, June 28, 2007

Idly(?) Threatened

Okay. Okay. Yes, we were linked up to the "internets" on Tuesday of this week, yet I have not posted. Not for lack of material, my friends. Oh, no. But, you know, we had a number of boxes to unpack, and we had to visit Target and Lowe's, like, every day. We had to go to the Nebraska DMV, only to find out we didn't have enough money (and no checks) to pay the property taxes up front on both of the vehicles (so we had to go back today). And we had to saw off the screws holding the MO license onto the Civic. And the queen-sized box springs didn't fit up our tiny, twisty staircase, so we had to go buy split queen box springs (which will be delivered Saturday). And we had to break down about five hundred boxes, and dispose of a half ton of newsprint that the movers wrapped everything in.

It's been a busy time.

I have also been enjoying tending to the yard which had not been tended since about April. Sure, the lawn had been mowed, but all those little beds with the pretty flowers that we thought were so lovely when we saw the house in March? They are an overgrown mess.

I did find three random tomato plants growing in various border areas of the yard, which I dug up and replanted in a little patch that I had previously laid waste to. Now, I have no knowledge of plants at all, so I just considered everything a weed and played "human napalm" (without the stickiness and the flames.... Come to think of it, it wasn't anything at all like napalm; that analogy sucked. Sorry.). Except for these three green things that didn't look like weeds, but I'll be damned if I know what they are. So, I left them. And, I went to the library and checked out a mess of books on gardening and plants. I could have checked out one hundred and fifty books if I wanted. I swear to Christ, the public library here limits checked out items (non-audio-visual) to 150. I mean, why even put a freaking limit on it, if you're going to let people check out half a small branch library at a time?

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I also got a library card (Monkey already had hers). So, we are totally set. And we are finding some local places that may make it a good deal easier to live here. Two places are big on pie, which is good; and we found a pizza joint with about 400 beers in stock, so God bless them. We are slowly settling in; however, at this moment, the only thing we have hung on the walls is the calendar in the kitchen. And, we have about twelve boxes of books yet to unpack, due to the fact that we jettisoned three rickety bookcases before we moved and have not replaced them (plus all of our CDs are still packed for the same reason--no place to put them). And the garage is full of two queen sized box springs, a washer, and a dryer. All for sale. Buyer assumes all costs for shipping and handling. Interested? You know how to find me. Other than that, there's no place like home. This place truly is wonderful, and I invite you all to come up for a visit (except you strange anonymous people...okay, I'm sorry, you're not strange, just anonymous).

I hope to communicate with you all real soon. And I promise, some time before the end of the summer, I'll put some damn pictures up on this piece!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Temporary Shutdown

Well, I'm chasin' the blues
Right out of my mind
I'm leavin' my cares
And worries behind
'Cause I'm on my way
I'm leavin' town today
--Patsy Cline, "I'm Moving Along"

The sofa excursion was a success. No problems at all, except now our little rented house feels even littler. The packers come tomorrow, the loaders on Wednesday. A little cleaning, and we should be closing this chapter of Central Standard by about 2pm.

This afternoon, we will be shutting down and loading up this here computer. We won't have internet access at Monkey House Nebraska for a few days (haven't even made an appointment with the cable company, yet). So, this will be my last entry for a while. I hope to get back to you all as soon as I can. Until then, I send my best to you. Wish us luck!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

One of Those Days

Have you ever in your life experienced a day
where nothing at all seems to go your way?
No matter how hard you try to get out of the rut
you just could not break the string of bad luck?
A day where Murphy's law takes over your life,
and you just can't seem to do a darn thing right.
And when the day was over you just had to say,
you said, "Man, it's just one of those days."
--Will Smith, "One of Those Days"

Yesterday started out pretty beningnly. Coffee and newspaper (Saturday style), some going through of drawers and closets to prepare for the move, cleaning the top of the refrigerator, etc. Around the middle of the day, Monkey suggested we go to Sears to do some research/buy a stove for Monkey House Nebraska. We stopped off at a music store to buy a case for my guitar, had lunch, and proceeded to that architectural celebration of commerce, the mall. We purchased a stove. A good one. We ran into a friend at the Sears. Everything was going swimmingly, don't you think?

Well, we get to the car, and it won't start. No attempt at all from the motor to get the engine started, no time on the clock radio, nothing. We call AAA, and they arrive pretty promptly. The tow driver gives us a jump, and the car starts. I ask, "What are the odds of the car stalling on the way home?" He says, "It shouldn't."

About a quarter of a mile later, still on the mall parking lot, but now blocking an exit, the car stalls. We call AAA again, since the tow truck is nowhere in sight, and I am treated to: "All operators are busy right now, please hold." I thought that was rather odd, for an emergency service to put one on hold. Lucky for us, however, just as an operator came on the line, Monkey spotted the tow driver and flagged him down.

We were towed to a local repair shop, where we hope they will be able to repair the vehicle before Wednesday. Suh-Weet and Queen came to pick us up and drive us home, so, a big shout out to them.

We still needed to get to the Hyve, to purchase stuff for a birthday party we were going to (I didn't tell you about that). So, we proceeded to the Hyve, letting the Penguin work out all the bugs from ten days of inactivity. Then, leaving the grocery, a woman and I backed into each other in the parking lot. It was not very serious at all; however, considering that we had just left a dead vehicle at a repair shop, I felt like I was in a short film about bad car days. In an absurd kind of way, it was funny, but, at the time, I was not seeing it in such a way.

So, we exchanged info with the woman, went home, made some burgers and were off to the party, but, needless to say, I just wasn't into it. We were back home by 11:30, I was asleep by 11:45.

Today, we drive to St. Louis to pick up a sofa. Stand by for THAT story. I hope it's not a very exciting one.

Friday, June 15, 2007

From Homeless to Homeless to Homeless

It may be long to get me there
It feels like I've been everywhere
But someday I'll be coming home
Round and round the world will spin
Oh, the circle never ends
So you know that I'll be coming home
--John Legend, "Coming Home"

The Monkey and I jetted off to B-more Friday after school was out. La Fashionista was getting hitched, and we were cordially invited. Had a great time at the wedding, which was held in the southernmost part of New Jersey. A place called Delaware. A great day for a wedding it was. Not too hot. A little breeze. Blue skies. The ceremony was lovely. And we had front row seats. All the best to the newlyweds!

We spent the remainder of the weekend seeing family and friends. My mom and my brother and his went up to Philly for the week, so we only got to see them on Sunday morning. We spent the rest of the week with Monkey's brother in their palatial estate in what used to be horse country. Had some crabs, various other seafood, met a new dog, met some new (and very small) humans, scored awesome seats to an Orioles game, had a great time even though the home team lost in extra frames (to the lowly Nats!). Then, we were up before the sun on Thursday morning to catch a 6:50 flight back to Central Standard.

Today, it is T-minus five days to the liftoff of Operation Monkey House Nebraska. We are slowly going through stuff, deciding what should move to Nebraska and what should move to the landfill. Having packers and movers will make this a great deal easier than any other move we have attempted, but it is still kind of hard...and dusty.

The weird thing about all this, it seems odd to me, anyway, is that I have been thinking a good amount about the idea of home. We were in Baltimore, and we kept saying we were "going home" before we left Central Standard. After all, that's were we lived all of our formative years, and then some. That notwithstanding, however, Mob Town isn't anything like home, anymore, in many ways, since we haven't lived there in eight years, and don't plan to live there any time soon. So, while we were there, we kept talking about when we were "going home," referring to Central Standard. Now, we don't really feel like this is home, either, because we are moving in less than a week to a new home. Which, by nature of the fact that we don't live there yet, isn't really home. So, I guess, Monkey and I are like Clarence "Frogman" Henry: "Ain't got no home."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Turn Out the Lights...

Closing time--
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
--Semisonic, "Closing Time"

As I closed the door on my empty and darkened classroom, I was surprised by two things.

First, I was surprised by the amount of stuff I actually had in that classroom before it became empty. I have a CRV full of boxes: books, papers, a football, two softballs, coffee cans full of words clipped from magazines, notebooks, file folders, a bobble head doll of Columbia's mayor, Play-Doh--all kinds of stuff. You don't realize how much it is as you carry it in day by day over the course of four years, but when you have to haul it out all at once, it's pretty overwhelming.

Second, I was surprised at how easy it was to shut the door and go. Don't get me wrong. I will miss being at Hickman next year. I will miss the many great friends I have made there, I will miss the certainty of knowing what I am teaching and how I should teach it. I will miss the opportunity to see the juniors I had this year grow as seniors and graduate next year. I will miss the familiarity of knowing where evrything is and how everything is done.

But, as I walked out of the main office, after turning in my keys and officially relinquishing my title to walk the halls without a visitor's pass, I realized that I am ready for this move. I am ready to put this excellent (mostly) experience behind me and try something sort of new. I mean, I suppose teaching is teaching no matter where you are (but, maybe not), but I am really interested and excited to be in a different place, if only to experience how a different district and a different school runs itself.

Maybe it will be very much the same. Maybe it will be amazingly better. Maybe it will be dreadfully worse. I just don't know. But, I do know that I have been a lame duck for an entire school year, and it's time for that to be over.

One other thing I do know: I will make a concerted effort not to stash eighteen box loads of shit in my new classroom!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

An Act of Contrition

Bless me, reader, for, apparently, I have sinned. It has been more than one week since my last post. This, according to some, violates some sort of scared trust, some undeclared agreement that I have with you. I apologize. I throw myself prostrate at your feet. I will pray the Rosary and do good works in order to obtain forgiveness.

(I just typed a huge entry, but Blogger ate it, and I don't want to do it again. This is all it saved for me. See ya next time....)