Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My Plans for Today or Why Am I the Way I Am?

First of all, understand that I am a teacher in the last days of summer vacation--the days in which my thoughts, at least, are often prepping lesson plans and changes for the coming year. I am also trying to assemble in my non-fashionable sort of way, a wardrobe for the coming year and take care of last-minute business before the school year starts. Even though we teachers have the summer "off," not counting workshops and working at home on school work and keeping up with professional reading, a downside of the job is that you pretty much have to be there when it's going. I have gone to school really sick before because I was at a place where there was simply no way to think up anything that a substitute could do that would keep the class where it should be. Therefore, I try to cram every forseeable interruption into the summer.

Actually, this small town where I teach now is pretty wonderful about this sort of thing. The staff has a tradition of helping each other out with short absences from duty, for example, to pick up a sick child from another building or to attend that child's kindergarten concert.

Many places are not like that. During the Vietnam War I worked for a school which allowed a day off if your husband or son was leaving for combat but not if he was returning, on the theory that if you knew he was ok, you didn't need to go meet him.

At that school, I was subpoenaed to testify in a capital murder case because a student had robbed a convenience store and killed the clerk. The student was expelled from school at the time of the incident, but later readmitted by the administration over the protest of the teachers. (At that time no one knew who had robbed the store.) When the culprits were arrested a year or so later, three teachers were called to testify as to the ability of the student to read the statement he signed. The defense attorney obviously was not going to call administration and risk the disciplinary record coming up. The school tried to dock our pay for being gone a day because there was a school policy about jury duty but not one covering this situation. Then they tried to force us to pay them our expense money--gas money to the change-of-venue city and lunch. We fought it and did get it straightened out eventually, but the fallout was such that I was afraid to take off for my wedding day a couple of weeks later, so I taught that day until a friend covered for me the last period, and then I got married at 8! Sorry. That was almost 30 years ago, and I've never been able to rant about it until now!

Anyway, I sometimes have a tendency to indulge in false economies. I will put up with something that irritates the fool out of me, rather than spend the minor amount it would take to fix it. Growing up with parents who had moved from being from poor backgrounds--my mother lived her first years in a dugout on a homestead in New Mexico Territory--to being young marrieds during the Great Depression (relatively prosperous--both employed for the duration) to building and operating a successful small business for 35+ years, I learned a great deal of "waste not, want not" philosophy, usually voiced as, "Do you really NEED that?"

For the last few years--about 7 or 8--I have had an alarm clock that I absolutely hated! I had grabbed it in an emergency when mine had gone out, so that I would be sure not to be late to work. It was hard to set. If I got up before it went off and turned off the alarm, it went off anyway about 80% of the time. This delighted my husband on the extremely rare days when he had the opportunity to sleep late because inevitably I would have to come running from 3 rooms away to shut it off. Would I get a new one? Of course not, because this one still worked, didn't it? Well, the other day, the buttons on the top fell into the clock. It does still show the correct time. Yesterday I went to Target and bought myself a new clock RADIO. It is not a particularly expensive one, in fact it was cheap, but I picked it because it fits my night table space. It also shows the days of the week--I've been know to bounce out of bed for school on Saturdays--and promises to reset itself when the power has been out. If it can do that, I don't have to worry about oversleeping when the power has been out during the night. Today I am going to install it. Then I am going to THROW THE OTHER CLOCK AWAY even though it still keeps time perfectly well. I am not going to plug it into another outlet somewhere in the house that I don't need a clock in anyway. In fact, I've hated the thing so much that I should burn it, but I don't know what I would get into trying to burn this plastic thing in the backyard.


Carrie said...

FlyLady would be proud! If you don't love it, GET RID OF IT! :-)

Marguerite said...

I came here to see your FLAK and was delighted to see a pretty pair of socks knit from my pattern and read your entertaining stories.

Good for you - tossing the alarm clock. Hope you enjoyed the experience.

Your FLAK is looking great. Not a quick knit, but very worth the time it takes to make. I wear mine often in the winter.