Too Much

I forgot to start the coffee this morning.

There’s been too much. Too much going on, too much to do, too much to think about, too much to remember. I forgot to sleep last night, too, after about 3:30; should be fun, since I have parent teacher conferences after school today until 7:00. There was also a department meeting scheduled in between school, which end today at 2:21, and parent conferences, which begin at 4, but my department agreed to just meet in our minds. It’s a good department. Of course, that doesn’t make the day much easier, as I still have morning duty, when I have to stand out in the parking lot before school starts to make sure that none of the students get run over, followed by a full day of classes, and then Toni and I have to come home – pick up a Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner on the way – and walk the dog and check on the bird and the tortoise before returning to school for PTCs. I also have to make sure I have everything ready for tomorrow, because tomorrow is an all-day English conference at school, and so I need to lay out my sub plans for tomorrow, have to print rosters so the sub can take attendance, have to clean off my desk a little so they can find the stuff they need, and I’ll need to make copies of the worksheet I made yesterday – which means I hope the school has gotten their copy paper delivery, or else I’ll have to make up something else for them to do – and I also need to find a test question to use for my AP students tomorrow. And make copies of that.

Pardon me, the coffee’s ready.

Okay, that’s better. Coffee good.

Where was I? Right, still on the school day today. And of course, since parents will be coming in tonight to be talking about their kids’ grades, I need to get some more work graded, because one of my classes only has one graded assignment this semester. And I’m ashamed of that. Or I would be, except the reason is that I had to read through 120 essays for my AP classes, and that took up quite a bit of my time. So I just haven’t gotten to the grading yet. I will.

Am I complaining? I don’t mean to complain. Lots of people have it much harder than me; here I am in my white-collar bourgeois job, talking about how much work I have to do, when there are people working 12- and 15-hour days, sometimes more, sometimes at more than one job. And I don’t even have kids. Well, other than the pets. That reminds me: Samwise needs to get groomed, since I never had a good chance to really brush out his undercoat. And I should brush his teeth more. I keep forgetting to do it more than once a week. I don’t want him to get cavities.

Right: speaking of cavities, I need to make an appointment for myself at the dentist. At least I finally remembered to ask at school if anyone knew a good dentist on this side of town, now that we’ve moved too far away from our last dentist, who overcharged us, anyway.

Oops – hold on, I need to go wake Toni up. I’m up early. Insomnia and all. Good thing I have coffee.

What was I talking about? Right, the dentist. I need to get my hair cut, too. And I really should go to the gym more often; but we want to ride our bikes down there, because Toni hates the treadmill (Valid), and that means I need a new inner tube for my front tire. What the hell is with those Presta valves, anyway? They never had that shit when I was a kid. Freaking thing doesn’t work at all. Last time I went to get a new tube, the guy at the bike shop asked which valve I wanted, Schrader or Presta, and I forgot which was which and asked for the wrong one. Stupid thing can’t hold pressure at all. So I need to get to the bike shop, too. Gotta lose some weight: every time I look in the mirror before my shower, I am reminded that I am 42, and those Cheez-its don’t just melt off, any more.

Jesus, I’m 42. This was going to be the year (Answer to life, the universe, and everything!) that I published my novels. I mean, it should have happened fifteen years ago, but I didn’t have a finished book then, and by the time I did, I couldn’t get it picked up by an agent, nor any of the three books since. I gotta get some writing done. I’ve got the book planned out, and a first draft probably ¾ done or a little more; then I’ll need to edit it and get Toni to do my cover art, and then I can upload it to Smashwords – is that it? Or is it Smashbooks? I’ll find it – and then I can start advertising and hopefully selling some books. That would be nice. We could use the money. Our tax return wasn’t all we’d hoped it would be: Toni started teaching full time, which is awesome (For the money, at least; the stress is not so good. I hate watching her go through all that. I wish I could help more.), but she only started in August, so we made just enough more last year to make it into a higher tax bracket. I mean, we’re doing great month to month, but we’d like to do some things we’ve been putting off, like getting a new computer. Right: I need to research computers. Maybe get out to Best Buy. So yeah, I’m hoping to get some sales and make at least a little bit of cash. That means I’ll have to advertise.

Which means I need to work more on the blog. And my Twitter. Maybe I should start an Instagram? I don’t know, though, I can barely keep up with my Twitter feed. It’s been filled to the brim and beyond with everything our new Vainglorious Leader has done. I should write about that. DeVos got confirmed yesterday, and I have an opinion on it – though maybe not what one would expect from a liberal teacher such as myself – and it would make a good blog. Maybe I can do it after school tomorrow.

No, wait, we have that extra meeting after school tomorrow. Dammit, it’s already Wednesday; I wanted to get at least three blogs posted this week. I thought I had one last night, because one of my former students posted a link on Facebook to a survey he’s running about the current state of education under the new Headmistress; I took the survey and took my time giving what I hope were real, solid answers. Then I thought I could copy/paste my answers into a blog post, but it didn’t work: I got the questions and then a bunch of empty text boxes. Oh, and Facebook last night: Jesus, the argument I got into with my former student. Two arguments, actually: he posted one meme about illegal immigration, saying that we should follow Mexico’s lead and make it a felony punishable by 2-10 years in prison; and then another meme saying something about Muslim women taking advantage of our freedom of speech to promote a society that doesn’t allow them freedom of speech. Which is nonsense in like ten different ways: first of all, Muslim women have the ability to speak and be heard, even in the strictest traditional societies; they’re just expected to speak to their husbands and sons and fathers, who then go out and fight the fight for the women. I don’t think it’s the right way to do it, but it isn’t the kind of oppression that people talk about when they denigrate Sharia law. It’s funny, too, because there was another former student who posted a meme about how much money women make compared to men, and that discussion turned into him saying that he believes women should take care of the emotional side, the home side of life, while he goes out and does the dangerous stuff, the hard labor, and earns the money. And the guy arguing against Sharia law would completely agree with that, while simultaneously arguing that Sharia law – which essentially does exactly that, precisely what conservative Americans think should be the proper division of labor across gender lines – is the worst thing ever to happen to women. And I should have been grading (I was, in between comments), but I think it’s important that we stay involved politically, and another friend of mine and I were discussing how we break down biases and prejudices that cause all this contentious factionalism, and we agreed that it requires us to engage genuinely as often as possible. And so I didn’t want to walk away from the arguments, even when they quickly stopped making sense.

Then the next thing you know, it’s 10:30 and we had to go to bed. Long day today.

Which was made longer by the insomnia. Which was annoying because I wasn’t thinking of anything useful, wasn’t plotting out my next chapter or planning my classes; I was just thinking about what’s happening to the Gallaghers on this season of Shameless. I think it just shows that I haven’t been writing enough: I’m caught up in the stories I’m watching. Though I’d like to be watching more – still haven’t seen Rogue One. Would rather go on a weekend, but Toni’s been sick two of the last weekends. It’s horrible, because she had a nasty cold over Winter break, too – and she had the flu during Fall Break. You believe that? Her first year of teaching, and she’s been sick through every vacation, and a couple of other times in between. It’s the stress: it’s messing with her immune system. We need to get to the gym and work some of it off. Gotta get that bike tire. I mean, it’s bad enough that it’s her first year of teaching; on the plus side, she’s done a lot of subbing and whatnot over the years living with me, and she knows so freaking much about her subject – art, of course – that she could teach it blindfolded and with one hand tied to her feet; but see, the last art teacher at the school retired last year in the middle of a conflict with the administration (She wasn’t the only one, either – we’ve lost at least four teachers in the last three years over conflicts with this administration.), and so she apparently decided to teach the school a lesson: she emptied out her classroom. Took all her lesson plans, all her classroom materials, most of the good art supplies. Didn’t leave any instructions about how things worked, how to do purchase orders or field trips, none of her art history materials – nothing. Even though she knew Toni was going to be taking over her job, and before we had talked about Toni doing student teaching with her, and she had said that she had books and folders and file cabinets full of great stuff Toni could use. All gone last summer. We figure she wanted her successor to fail, so the administrators would know what they lost. Which is, if I may say, fucked up on an epic scale. It means Toni has had to make up all of her curriculum herself, from scratch, without any support other than what little I and the other teachers can give her – which isn’t much because none of us teach art. Any other first year teacher would have quit by December. She’s making it work and doing a hell of a job. But she’s also having to work twice as hard as any first year teacher should, and that’s saying a fucking lot.

So we haven’t been able to go out on the weekends. Which is too bad: we could use the relaxation. Maybe this weekend.

Though I still have to do that grading. And we need to get the bird’s nails trimmed. Oh – and I should call Mom, see how she’s doing.

Shit –what time is it? I have to go. Have to make coffee for Toni. Then eat breakfast, and then head to work. Did I remember to grab that Papa Murphy’s coupon? Yeah, right, it’s on top of that form I need to fill out for my absence tomorrow, for the English teacher meeting. I gotta find that test for AP. I hope the paper gets in today, or I’m screwed. Maybe I should just rush straight to the copier and do all my stuff before the last paper is gone. But I may need to talk to the others about the standardized test results. And I gotta finish those grades before tonight.

Well, at least I got a blog written, right? Good thing I woke up so early.

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