Archive | January, 2012

Moments When I Miss Teaching in a Public School

21 Jan

I miss my kids, but most would have graduated and moved on to college.  So, that guilt has been put to the side.  I do feel guilty when I get frustrated with classes of 30+, given that my numbers were nearing 50 when I left public school.  Especially when my other classes are around 25, which I could given anything to have some days.


I also can go on and on with my list of positives.  My children are receiving an education I could never have afforded to give them, even teaching in the public schools.  My faith can be shared with my students, especially when they ask.  I don’t have to avoid their questions regarding my beliefs or tell them I can’t discuss that by law.  I LOVE having the computers in my class.  Going from a school of nearly 1000 kids and had 50 computers to a school of 300 in the high school and 200 in the middle grades, where EVERY child has a computer is indeed a God send to this geeky teacher. The parents are involved and can always be reached.  When I said my department needed a media library, I was given more money than I needed to buy DVDs.  As I said, I can go on and on.  

But, some days I miss my paycheck.  I know that sounds superficial, especially in this job market.  J and I both switched at the same time.  He left MPS to become a FF in July of 2010 and I joined the SJCA family the next month.   He took a hit to his salary to become a firefighter and I did as well to teach in a Catholic school.  I would make the switch again in a heartbeat.  Anyone who says we are in this for the money is either a liar or a fool.  We have about half the money coming it as we did this time 2 years ago.  Which is okay, but it has forced us to be more creative.  And some things just have to wait.


We save for when there is something we want.  Resale shops and Craigslist have become my friends.  It really has helped us to focus on what really is important.  In some ways, it has been a blessing to have less money.  

O was laying down pretending to
sleep as Daddy pulled her back up!

But, right now, I would have had a nicer camera if we were both still in our public school classes.  I would have a lovely DSLR to capture my kids’ childhoods.  My Nikon point and shoot has died, which leaves me with my Droid. I love my phone.  But, as we were playing on the local snow hill today, I was missing any sort of zoom.  My sad little 4x on my phone just wasn’t cutting it.  <sigh>  


I can’t really fuss to J about it, he feels guilty and realizes all the sacrifices our family has made for him to follow his dreams.  He has even said that my camera is the one thing he wants to make sure we buy new and sooner rather than later.  I try not to talk about it when there is something I want. I try and just save for it.  But, he needs new bunker boots.  Their uniform allowance has been negotiated away, which means my savings has to go for his boots.  I found them at a local fire gear store, run by one of the BCs in J’s department.  Ebay has the same price, so why not toss the $400 his way, instead of in the hands of a stranger.  So, I will start over after the kids’ birthdays this month.  My Nikon will have to wait and the world will have to see my world through the eyes of my phone’s camera.  It is all good.  If this is my biggest concern, we are doing just fine.
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D making her way back up like a big girl!

So, how I got this discussion started in my head was while we were at the sled hill at the middle school in our neighborhood last night and today.  We FINALLY got some snow and the kids were DYING to go play.  So, we got the snowboards, tubes and discs out and trekked the couple blocks over.  O has never been sledding and LOVED it.  She was not a fan of walking back up, given the amount of ice under the snow, but we were out there for 2 hours last night after dinner and nearly 3 today.  The kids had so much fun.  And I couldn’t capture it the way I would have liked.  <sigh>  I am really am not fussing.  But, my oldest was on the other side of the hill.  I couldn’t get any pictures of him.  The little ones needed my attention, especially with the drain tile at the bottom of the hill.  It is there to keep the kids from going into the street, but trust me when I say it HURTS when you run into it.  (I’m too old for such collisions!)  I think there is a sled magnet in that tube, I don’t know how many times they headed that way.  But, again, it kept me from getting any pics of the big kids.  A zoom lens would have been awesome!


So, enjoy the pictures from my camera phone.  I think I use it for a camera just as much as I do as a phone.  I feel lost without it, not because of the phone and messaging, but because of the camera.  

B – my Shaun White in the making!!
My girls – racing!

Daddy taking over, pulling the girls up the hill for me!

My angel making snow angels.
I was the keeper of the toys as
kids ran home to “go”. 😀

Starting to get tired!

My Snow Buddies waiting patiently for us to
come home!
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Not Sure if I’ll Survive

17 Jan

My loverly husband will probably shoot me if he reads this post.  So if you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know what happened.  


Paramedic school is almost over.  We have 26 days left.  We are almost there.  At that point, he’ll go back on schedule and begin his field training.  I think he will have a love/hate thing going on that point.  Having to be in an engine house, but locked in a box, might just be the death of him.  But, he will love having the down time available to him to work out.  


PM school has taken its toll.  He no longer works out with the boys.  He spends a ton of time studying.  He is home everyday and therefore roped into homework questions and belly rubs.  I think he also snacks more at home, he is a snacker.  I often find empty boxes laying around.


Not long ago, he looked in the mirror and saw his dad.  He did not like that.  So, time to find an answer.  A few summers ago, the Atkins worked really well for him.  But that was the summer and I was home to be his conscience.  He won’t have this luxury AND every 48 hours he is under the influence of a crew of guys who don’t ALWAYS have his best interest at heart.  So we needed to find something.  He decided to try the Weight Watchers software.  He really doesn’t want to do the meetings, although I have heard that they help TREMENDOUSLY, so we paid for the on-line access to see if that will help.


So, I started looking at myself in the mirror.  Four babies later, I am not certain this is my best place.  After babies 1 and 2, I went right back to where I was.  Baby number 3 came at 31, yeah…there was a difference. Besides I never totally lost that weight because when surprise Baby number 4 came, I was totally unprepared, AND she was a C-Section baby.  Never totally lost the baby weight.


Now, truth and honesty.  I can’t fuss much.  I am still an 8/10.  But on my shorter frame, there really isn’t anywhere to put the extra pounds.  When I stepped on the scale in the hospital, I was at baby number 2 weight and NOT HAPPY to see that number.  So, I decide to jump on board with my husband. I have a target number in mind.  I have a date in mind.  I found sites to help me get there.  I am hoping this will help.  Once we get my husband back in an engine house, I will also be able to find time to exercise.  That will be half my battle.  Until then, Wii’s  Let’s Dance and portion control will have to do.


So, I figured out my points and thought, “Oh, this will be easy.”  Yeah lasted until last night.  Two Special K bars and 2 bananas later I was starving.  Grabbed an applesauce cup.  (Snuck a donut when a frosh brought them in for my class for her b-day, that was 7 points shot to heck) And I was left with 4 points for dinner.  Sigh.  So, I decided to feed the muppets and wait for my hubby to come home. (I think I must make more trips to the fridge in the afternoon than I thought. If nothing else, WW is making me think.)  He has SIGNIFICANTLY more points than I do, so he had room to spare.  Me??  Yeah – that would be a bowl of Special K (teeny tiny, too I might add) and an apple.  But, I made it with a couple of points to spare.  But…there was so much food calling my name…you should have heard it.


Not sure I will survive this experiment.  Today, I made sure I left room to eat a real dinner.

Baby Steps to Save the Babies

16 Jan

My hubby was THRILLED to pick up some OT this weekend.  He is feeling SO out of touch with his career as a FF.  I was so happy that he wiggled his way back on his own engine, as well – as opposed to compressed air (where he was miserable with his OT last month). 

But, what made me even more happy??  One of his calls.  My husband must be amazing, I am finding that I hear more about his shifts than a lot of SOs.  One of his calls was to a woman with a breathing issue.  It was not his life saving measures or his calm nature in a crazy environment that sent me into a love-sick tizzy.  It was a question he asked a member of this household.  He noticed there was a woman with a baby.  My FF double checked to be sure she had a crib in house for the babe, and that she was using it.  I was so thrilled.  Even though I am working on it, there have not be an official measures taken to incorporate our FD into our infant mortality issues, my FF did.  He did not blow off my crusade, he took it to heart.  Which is exactly why he has my heart.


For those of you unaware of my crusade, please feel feed to read about it here or here or here.


Maybe all it takes is one guy noticing and doing the same thing the next time he sees a baby on a call. One guy notices him, who has one guy notice him…you get the idea.


I am still taking this on as my crusade.  I am still working to keep babies alive in Milwaukee.  Maybe it takes baby steps to save the babies.

Why I love my FF, Reason #78943

My Secret List

12 Jan

I was watching one of my many crime dramas, since I had time to catch up on my over-full DVR, and there was a police wife having to ID her husband’s body.  And she talks about how she has always waited for this day.  Later in the episode a pregnant police wife falls apart in regards to THAT phone call.  I have thought about that THAT phone call, actually THAT knock on the door.  The one I probably won’t be able to answer.  I have thought long and hard about it.  How I will handle it, who I will call, how I will react, how I will go on.


Now, you must understand, I am a Type-A personality.  You’d never know it, looking at my house some days, but even the best strategists know when the battle is no longer worth fighting.  I have lists for my lists.  I never go shopping without my Cozi list.  My terms are planned out by unit, in mid-summer.  I have everything planned out.  I even have a Secret List.  With every sympathy card I have sent to a wife or family of a FF who died in the line of duty, I add to my list.  Things that I don’t want to forget when I can’t remember my own name.  Things that are important, but will seem like nothing if that day comes.

I have that knock on my door planned out, written out.  I have names and numbers. I have who is supposed to tend to my kids, so I can tend to my husband. I have notes for things my husband has mentioned in passing or at other funerals for his service.  I have notes, numbers, lists and even a note reminding me to breathe, literally – I know I will forget.  I want to be able to tend to things, even if I am going on auto-pilot.  Even the most magnificent robot works best if there are good instructions.

B taking it all in at E2

Now, statistics are on my side. MFD has only lost two firefighters and one recruit since I was in daycare.  They are an amazing department.  BUT…that does not mean it is never going to happen.  That explosion last year where we had FFs jumping out of the window moments before the explosion, reminds us not to get too comfortable with our firefighters in those structures.  Even the best laid plans…even the best trained firefighters…


It is not an enjoyable conversation to have, but be sure to have it.  Look into a living will for your FF, but also for you.  If you can’t make your wishes known, how will anyone know?  Make your voice heard and be sure your FF’s voice is heard, if, God forbid, the time ever comes.


But, until then, enjoy your firefighters and your families.  Say what you need to say, before you can’t say it.  Live life, even if it is not how you planned it.









Be sure to remind your firefighter to come home safe and that they are never alone.

A Geek Through and Through

11 Jan

If you ask me why I carry a purse, it is to carry a tampon and all of my electronic devices.  I LOVE toys.  Most of these can be combined, but with the career shifts we have made, I will have to deal with what I have.  Anyway, my purse has to be big enough to hold my phone, my camera, my Flip cam, my Garmin and my i-Pod. Yeah, I guess my wallet, too.  I love toys.  My Nook has been my friend for a few years.  I am a Geek in my classroom.  I just love technology.

I think I need to keep a copy with me at all times!

On Monday, I had a series of tonic-clonic seizures.  Not MONSTER half hour seizures like I am used to.  But they wouldn’t let up and kept coming and coming.  We got the attention of the ER crew when I had one walking in the door.  Anyway, not what I want to chat about, boring topic really.  What I want to chat about are the toys.  In the ER, I couldn’t speak.  That part of my brain hadn’t settled down enough to play nice with my mouth.  You all know my thoughts on phlebolomists, if not, read here.  Well, it makes it tough to express your concerns or PAIN when you can’t talk.  Luckily, my hubby had not left for school yet when my brain went haywire, so he could act as my voice. He warned the lovely vampire about my veins and yet, shockingly, when she could not get in, she started digging for China.  I think my eyes were going to pop out of my head as I silently pleaded with my husband to make her stop.  He did intervene and she moved on to yet another vein and another and ANOTHER.  After about 5 minutes, he finally said enough was enough and told her to either step aside and he would do it for her, or get a nurse in.  She left in tears.  I don’t really feel bad.  I was ready to puke and or pass out and would not have been able to even worn anyone.  Want to know the kicker?  She did not even need to be digging in my blood supply – they got what they needed when they put in my IV.  But, again, this is about my geekiness, not about my dread of hospital vampires.


So, I get to my room and they want to do another level check.  Sheer panic took over.  I couldn’t breathe.  I did not want to do this again.  So, the nurse makes a deal.  One shot, she misses I get a vein viewer.  Never heard of it, but if it keeps her from digging, I am all in!  So, of course, she misses.  And sad thing is, she is the go to girl for uncooperative veins.  She makes good on her end and brings in the vein viewer.  When the come the size of and i-Pad, I am buying one and keeping it on my person at all time.  I have not read up on the technology, but it illuminates the veins, making them easier to see.  The technician can see when they roll.  I was so geeked out by this, I made her give me a moment to take pictures.  This made my whole hospital visit worthwhile!!

   

Sorry, I know I am easily amused with gadgets.  But this…this is the UBBER gadget of all gadgets.

Back to the Old Routine

6 Jan

Well, sorta.  The kids and I went back to school yesterday.  Yesterday was an amazing start.  First, I have to say I didn’t want to go back to work.  As odd as it sounds, I can’t remember the last break I wasn’t DYING to get back in my classroom.  This year…I would have loved a few more days.  The kids and I had so much fun. I LOVED Christmas for the first time in years, which I talked about here.  I look forward to next year when my FF is able to be home.  We missed him during the day and we missed him while he was studying.  Anyway, my first day back was good, I missed my kids more than I realized.  Today, I had 2 periods off, as my juniors had test prep to attend.  For a teacher who is teaching an overload, that was a very pleasant surprise.  

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I CAN’T TELL YOU – Jenny Holzer

I have some very exciting news, but I can’t share it for a few months.  And, ahem, NO, I am NOT pregnant.  If there is to be another little one in our pack, it will not be from my womb.  But, none-the-less, I am very excited and looking forward to all that it entails!  


Now, my FF sent me his schedule. (NOT that I can make it work nicely on my phone, not matter HOW I turn it.) There are too many MFD guys in the PM class that are on the red shift.  So, all these months I have been looking forward to being on the red shift with a FireWife friends of mine and that is not to be.  We will be on the Blue Shift while he is doing his training in the box, sometime in February. (I can’t seem to get an ACTUAL date out of him.)  After that he’ll go back on the truck on the red shift until graduation in April.  From there, it’s anybody’s guess what Med unit he’ll land at.


So, even though I have my schedule back and we are all getting used to getting up at 5am and out the door by 6:15am, I still need my FF to get back on schedule and figure out which schedule that is.  I miss his schedule. I miss my space.  I miss having someone to help me a few afternoons with the kids.  (Like today, when we had noon dismissal and my children were MONSTERS in my classroom.  I should have taken a picture of the MESS they made in my room.  I texted my hubby that I need a Nanny on Thursdays.  Too bad all my girls at work had Bball practice, otherwise I have a ripe crop to pick from.) But, I digress…


Happy New Year!  Welcome back to whatever your normal is, now that the kids are back in school.  Make 2012 the best yet!