Tuesday, December 27, 2011

See this guy?

He survived his first year of teaching public middle school.

But evidently the Winter Break has not been long enough to get him back to the blog.

We will shoot for Spring Break I guess.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Break

The Fall semester ended last week. It has taken me 5 days to decompress. Now to enjoy the rest of our break time (except for the time I will surely spend at work, of course).

Spent yesterday catching up on the to-do list. New baseboards are in the hall an coming to the rest of the house soon. (I mean SOON on a historical, glacial scale, not SOON as in "soon".

The kids are ready for Christmas. The Princess already has her new American Girl doll an The Talker has a new basketball goal These gifts came from my parents but were impossible to keep as a surprise.

And as far as surprises go, I revisited a moment of SAHD-ness recently when I had to get cash from The Boss Lady for her gift. I cracked under the interrogation and the surprise is blown. too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spoken like a REAL teacher

5 days until Winter Break.

That is all

Monday, November 28, 2011

It was a good nine days off

I had to go searching for my briefcase this morning. Evidently I didn't do too much WORK during the Thanksgiving Break.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving update

Stopping by to give a quick update on Thanksgiving morning. 

Life is messy and chaotic, just like every other day around here.  The Boss has already been cooking for two days and we are not even eating a big meal here.  Last month we replaced our oven and now I am realizing that was money well-spent.  

 My extended family gathers here in Austin for a Thanksgiving luncheon/Family reunion every year.  This is a big deal, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all of the rest for several generations.  In 41 years, I have attended for all but one year that I remember.  The one year we skipped, The Boss Lady and I got stuck driving to Dallas in a snowstorm and spun out our car on the Interstate. After that, I never wanted to tempt fate again, so we stay in town each year to go to the reunion and then host the after-party for my parents, siblings and all the usual suspects.

If I never post again on this blog, you will know that we lost out on our second gamble of this life-time.  That is right!  We are skipping out on the family feed.  SOME people (Bro's family MIGHT fit this category...  Cough.  Cough.) go to extreme measures to miss a trip to this yearly event - Caribbean cruises being one example...  But we are not even leaving town.  We are just heading across town to hang out with some friends. 

If you had ever eaten anything prepared by this friend, you might sell your firstborn for a second invitation to the dinner table.  In the end I bet this dinner will be worth thumbing my nose at the ghosts of family, past and present.  And a shout out to the Queen Mother, I bet I get a dinner roll that isn't char-broiled...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Prophetic words

A couple of years back, when I was trying to decide if I really wanted to pursue the teaching gig, I was talking to one of my neighborhood buds, Law Talking Guy.  He is a lawyer, so I tend to tune out about 50% of what he says.  But one of his insights has certainly come true.

I don't remember if it was during the Spring or Fall, but I remember that he and I were hanging out in the backyard and I was telling him about my plans to expand the garden.  More space, more veggies, more self-sufficiency...  I bet I listed off all of those great reasons.

Law Talking Guy cautioned me not to make the garden too big.  "Once you take a new job, you won't have time to deal with any of your hobbies".  Boy, was he ever right!  My garden never did get any bigger and that is good.  Because since starting the teaching job (and suffering through the worst drought of my lifetime), the plot has received about 2 afternoons of attention.  I planted one Sunday last Spring.  I pulled out the failed, dry plants a few weeks ago.  And that was about the extent of my garden time this year.

Geocaching on weekends?  Yeah, I haven't even had a minute to maintain my own 'caches that are hidden only a few thousand feet from my couch.  One of them has needed a new log since July (maybe longer...)  I haven't even peeked at the main website in two or three months.  Heck, for all I know someone may have hidden a geocache in my classroom.

The Chickens?  Yeah, they are paying the price, too.  Still have them and they are doing OK, but there is never any time to sit and enjoy them.  I throw out feed in the morning and lock up the coop at night.  Actually, that is not always true, either.  Last week I forgot to close up the coop one night.  We now have one less bird thanks to a neighborhood raccoon/cat/Chupacabra. 

One of the neighbor dudes has bought a 1980's Toyota Land Cruiser.  It is a cool rig.  And watching him work on it every night is kicking me in the gut.  Marge, my 1968 Chevy truck hasn't seen the outside of our garage since Halloween night of last year and she hasn't been on the street since July of 2010.

Heck, this blog seems to get a little attention about once a month now.  And sitting on the couch and typing is something that I OUGHT to be able to handle in the evenings.  An example, I just realized that there was still a link to my old Geocaching blog on the sidebar.  I deleted that blog at least six months ago - maybe even a year ago.  Just got around to removing the dead link today.

There is a lot to like about the new teaching job.  And I am down to my FINAL requirement to complete my certifications.  I have one last state exam to pass and then I'll have my full teaching certificate.  For now I teach on a provisional/emergency certification.  Still, I find it ironic that for the first time in more than a decade, I have a little bit of $ to throw at some hobbies and I have absolutely not a single minute to spare for any of them.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The final Texas Two Step

As of about 16 minutes ago,  I am down to the last two requirements before I finish my full teaching certificate.  I had a stack  of electronic documents I have been needing to submit  since last  spring.  Today I sat down and finally finished all of them.  All that is left is a test review course and one, last state exam.  Hopefully I can knock out the review this week and get  scheduled for the exam by the end  of the month. 

I have  until the end of the semester and normally I WOULD wait  until  the bitter end.  But The Boss Lady wants to go on vacation in November.  And I assume  that  she   would like me to have a paying job  next January, too.  So I guess I better hit the review  books soon.

When I started  this teaching adventure the list of To-do’s did not look too bad.  After the lay off  last Spring, my motivation disappeared and I was not sure how hard I wanted to work on the whole thing.  When I re-hired I was committed to finishing my certification up but the start of this  school year has blown by a LOT quicker than I ever imagined  it might (as evidenced  by my abandoning this blog).  Last week I  had my intern supervisor sign off  that  I would indeed make a decent teacher and that I should receive my certificate. 

So all that is left  is the review and the test.  Bring ‘em on!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Football Season. Let's bounce!

Watching a high school football game with The Talker can tire a dad out.  I should start referring to him as The Bouncer.

No wonder my parent's called me Tigger when I was his age.   All of this came after he was the first Raider Rouser to cross the 50 yard line before kickoff.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It is all adding up to a busy year.

The new school year is off to a bang! I haven't felt this busy (or productive) in a long time. Hopefully the productive part will continue for a while.

I am teaching math to students in three different grades this year. But the reality of a Special Education teacher is that I have students who are able to perform simple 2 digit addition and then I have students who are almost ready for the challenges of a general education classroom with their grade-level peers. So I am actually prepping 5 or 6 different activities and lessons to teach concepts in various levels of detail to all my students.

I spend a pretty good chunk of time each day on paperwork. Like all good public employees, I generate a lot of paper every day. Then we have the usual planning meetings and departmental get-togethers a couple of times a week. Always productive times, especially the Wednesday morning 7:30 am meetings... Yeah, right!

If that wasn't enough, I also go into several grade-level math classes to support other students who may struggle with the math content, but do not need the close structure of a smaller Resource math class.

All of this from a guy who has really never loved math. Or even liked it, really.

My newest role? I will soon be in charge of D-Hall, after school detention. I ill be the teacher who sits in the back of the room who tells the regular scofflaws to "find something to keep yourself busy, or I WILL find something to keep you busy."

Now this is a class that I feel at home with. This feels like a throwback to many, many of my high school after school hours spent in the cafeteria trying to look busy so Mrs. Baumgardener would just leave me alone so serve out my sentence in solitude. With the other few dozen regulars in the room.

Even though it is going to be a busy school year, I am already settling into my new roles. More than anything, I am sure that all of this work is certainly worthwhile, just like the kids.

On the home front, The Princess has a "boy" teacher for her second grade class this year. She has already gotten used to the idea and she is back in the school groove. The Talker has always loved school. His teacher is a science specialist, so he is super-excited to learn everything about science this year.

The Boss Lady is working hard, as always, to keep high school kids IN school. Her team was decimated by budget cuts, but the few that remain have picked up the leftover parts and are getting back into the business of helping students graduate.

Around here we know a new school year is here when everybody is in bed and sacked out before 9:45pm. It is now 10:25 and this is the latest I have been awake in two weeks.

See? I managed to get through all of that and NOT complain about the 112 degree temperatures this week. But I do know that 112 degrees minus 9 degrees equals still-too-dang-hot-out-there!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

A week? Really?

The kids have been gone for a week. They spent a week at The Queen Mother's house, going to evening Vacation Bible School and hanging out with the grandparents and cousins during the heat of the day. I had all sorts of great plans for the time they were gone.

Now they are home and my list didn't get touched. I did manage to squeeze in watching 26 episodes of Sons of Anarchy while the house was quiet but that is about all I accomplished. (I did spend a lot of time at school prepping my class room.)

Monday I will start back to school prep for real so the kids are going to a daily sports camp. In a couple of weeks we will all be starting back to school and hopefully by then I'll be all caught up on my TV shows and movies.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Teacher Mike up and running
(and jumping through the hoops)

Well, running might be a stretch. But the school year is almost here and I am actually ready to get this thing rolling. It is not that I am so excited about school. That has never happened to me.

My path from AtHomeDaddy to Middle School Teacher has been a fairly straightforward process, but there have been lots of "hoops" to jump through along the way. Since I am going into teaching without a college degree in Education, I am finishing up an Alternative Certification Program (ACP).

ACPs were allowed into Texas back when there was a Teacher shortage. The aim was to recruit degree-holding professionals into public education while giving the background knowledge about curriculum design and classroom management in quick class sessions. Over the years ACP programs, like the one I am enrolled in, moved a significant amount of their coursework to the internet. This was a great way for me to meet all of the program requirements with a minimum of hassle.

Jump forward through my first semester of teaching, and all of the drama that came with being laid off and eventually rehired. Right at the end of the school year, only days after my new contract had been signed, I was asked to switch jobs and to teach Special Education Math classes.

Now anyone who has known me for a long time should let that sink in. Nobody is ever very surprised when I tell them I teach Special Education. But MATH??? REALLY?!?! Yep.

Anyways, the new gig came with new requirements to complete another certification (to go along with my oft used Elementary Teacher and High School Language Arts Teacher certifications). Tomorrow I take my exam. And if all goes as it should, I'll be teaching math in less than a month.

The biggest problem with all of this is that it has left me and several of my friends and co-workers in limbo through the summer. Nobody really wants to jump into setting up a class if we will be shuffling around at the last minute because Teacher Mike didn't pass his certification exam. I REALLY do not want to be the guy who set off any more drama on our campus.

As soon as I signed my contract for the upcoming school year, I started looking forward to a relaxing summer and my first fall semester. Now that this exam is looming. I realize I was really looking forward to an end to all of the "hoops", too. Enough with the surprises, 'mkay?

Assuming all goes well tomorrow, I'll have one more comprehensive exam to get through this fall. But that test is one that I have known about since starting the program. After passing that one, I'll be finished with my teacher's certification program.

But I bet there will be a lot more "hoops" to come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Might want to take your pills

'cause the insanity that is about to spew forth from this post might make your head spin.

There you have it. Fair warning.

I am a junkie. I don't know if I have admitted it on this blog, but lots of people know. Not the Dr Pepper thing, that is old news. Truth is, I cannot walk past a red tag/clearance sticker at Target without stopping. And frequently buying. Slam a clearance sticker on a 3 day old salami sammich and sell it to me for 80% of it's M.S.R.P. I would probably buy it.

Today is a great example. I had to run to Target for Spray and Wash because I cannot seem to eat dinner out without wearing a little of it home. Pick up $4 of laundry spray and get in and out of the store. 15 minutes. Tops.

Of course, the kids were with me so we detoured through the toy section. "No buying today, just looking" I reminded the herd. Can't blame a guy though, it will probably hit 102 this afternoon, so we might as well soak up some air conditioning at the store. The kids did good and nobody whined when we walked on. Good times!

Since we were close, we walked past the school supply section. Found some lunch boxes that The Boss Lady will hate. But they were "red-stickered" for $4 each AND made in the USA. So they came home with us. One Hello Kitty, one Star Wars Clone Wars. Everybody happy? Yep!

The wine aisle was only a few feet away, but no good deals to be found. So we walked on.

The last time I walked through Target I found some silk ties on clearance for less than $9 each. See, I told you I can't resist... So we cruised over to the Men's Clothes section. No dice.

Walking to the registers The Talker spotted some tennis shoes that he likes. I saw a sticker that I like. The shoes were on clearance for $8 from $35 and they had his size. Sold! The Princess got some new shoes the last time we were shopping, but I couldn't resist searching for clearance stickers in the girly shoes.

When I was a kid, we loved to come to my grandmother's house here in Austin. She had a half dozen huge pecan trees and each fall it was big fun to make huge messes with the leaves and to pick up a few pecans. I have never forgotten that I learned while picking up pecans. Where there is one on the ground, there are several nearby. Bend over to pick up one nut and you might as well take a second to glance around for more. It saves time and you don't have to bend over as many times. Hey, I told you this post was going to be crazy. Nutty, if you will...

That pretty much sums up the way I seek out Target clearance stickers. If there is one nearby, there are always more. You just have to keep looking.

No good deals jumped out at us in the girls shoes. But then we hit the end of the aisle and turned the corner.

There they were, a pair of cool looking Converse All Stars, in my size AND with a beautiful red sticker. $9 instead of $34! I didn't even mind the fact that they only had one lace. For $2, which is full price :( , I could get a new pair of black laces and still be way ahead and looking good in my geek-chic shoes.

But it turns out that I am not cool enough for my new shoes.

The Talker has a pair of shoes like this. Still I didn't notice until we got home and tore into our deals that the one lace was only done up half-way. That is because these shoes are not made to be laced at all. They are slip-ons. The bottom three eyelets don't even have holes though the canvas.

I took out the half lace and tried on the shoes. They are comfy enough, but without laces they are just too cool for me. At almost 41 years old I guess I am proud that I can actually bend over to tie my shoes, so I don't want to give it up yet. Besides, I am pretty sure that the 6th-8th grade set would laugh me out of the classroom if I strolled in without laces.

Like I said, The Talker is cool enough to make the look work. I am not.

Never one to give up on a good deal, I decided to "fix" my new shoes. After all, I own power tools for occasions just like this, right?

I cut out the canvas covering the three lowest eyelets and laced these bad boys up. And NOW I am ready to show off my new kicks to the middle school crowd.

I have a college friend who collects thousands of dollars of basketball and sports shoes each year. The dude is waaaaaaay into Jordans and Nikes. He rolls around Dallas in several pairs that he had custom made. The guy has no kids.

And that probably explains why he has probably never taken a power drill to any of his kicks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Howdy. It's hot!

25 some odd days in a row of 100 degrees (or more). Yeah, it is one of those summers. It has gotten so hot out there that we hide inside from about 1:30 until about 6pm most days. Not a lot on TV at that time, but it keeps us all from basting in our own juices.

We have extras around here this week. The 12 year old nephew and 10 year old niece are hanging out this week and going to Vacation Bible School with The Princess and The Talker. Three days in and everybody is having a lot of fun.

I have been trying to make sure the kids have a little taste of Austin while they are here. Yesterday I hauled them to the LBJ Library and Museum. The Princess was suitably impressed with the original Hippy clothes they were displaying in the exhibit space dedicated to political movements of the 60's. For the record, and so that my sister does not beat the snot out of me, we did detour past (most) of the exhibit space dedicated to the 1960's Sexual Revolution. They might could have used a larger sign telling that parts of the exhibit were not child-friendly.

After that eye popping museum trip, we stopped at an Austin institution, Toy Joy. Good times! Our kids love to explore the shop. The nephew and niece were a little surprised to find out that this is not a Toys R Us type of store. Still, they all found a few things to buy on a $5 budget.

Tonight we will be downtown to check out the Austin Bat Colony. Thursday afternoon we are going to head back towards the University and we will check out the Blanton Museum of Art. Friday I plan to send everyone away and take a two day nap. Keeping up with this herd has already worn me out.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How did I forget this one?

In all of my busyness that has been this summer, I forgot to mention one big happening in the 'hood. New neighbors!

The neighbor who built the Amazing Wall O' Wood has sold her place and moved away. The new crew is in and almost settled. Much to The Princess' delight, they have a Golden Retriever dog. All the important stuff, right?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who said I could rest during the summer?

I woke up with a headache this morning. That is nothing unusual and the fact that my headache wasn't too bad, not unusual either. I drove the boy out to day camp at 8am and ran a couple of errands on the way home. I can only force myself into a Wal-mart before 10am and the MINI needed a new license plate frame thingy. Sure I could have bought the $45 one at the dealership. But instead I went with the $10 a pair frames that are made of an entirely less interesting shade of black plastic in a totally different Chinese factory.

I digress. It is almost 2 am and I am blogging. My bad.

Once home, The Boss Ladies, Sr. and Jr. needed to run some other errands. Seeing as it was closing in on 10, we had to limit this outing to Target and the hardware store. Nothing terribly interesting to report at either of these stores. Sorry to disappoint. Well, that is not entirely true. I bought a new set of red wine glasses and they are super, duper cool. But everything else was uneventful. The real fun started when we got home and I realized that my headache was getting worse. A lot worse.

Three house of napping, followed by a couple of hours of snoozing and laying around and I was finally able to sit in a room with lights and people and not scream at either of them.

Anyways, I generally sleep 5 or 6 hours a night, so now I am a full day ahead on my sleep. And it is 2am. So here I am, wide awake even after I put the new wine glasses to good use earlier in the evening.

Back in the day, before kids I would have been out in the garage, running power tools on a night like this. Now I am afraid of waking children. I am even more afraid of what happens if the children were to wake up Mommy, so I think I'll skip all the possibility of causing great harm to myself and I'll go read some more blogs.

After I published this blog post, I realized that I was going to tell about something entirely different, that would more closely relate to the post title. I have recently fallen into one of the easiest traps for a new teacher. It is summer and I am not paid for extra work I do during the summer (with the exception of a few staff training days), Yet I have been out at my new classroom no less than three times in the past two weeks.

I used to get annoyed with the wife for giving up all of her free time to work at her school during the summer. Now the tables have turned. For goodness sake I was even telling The Boss Lady that I need to run to the teacher's supply store soon. Who the heck am I? And what have they done with that cool, laid-back stud I used to be?

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The Princess woke up early (or at least earlier than I planned) this morning. I wasn't totally ready to face the morning pet-feeding chores, so I went and crawled into her bed to chat for a few minutes.

She started telling me all about her awesome bear stuffed animal. Yeah, I had no clue either. Turns out, she was trying to remember all the details of a toy that she had dreamed about. The Princess was ready for me to fire up the sewing machine and get working on her newest masterpiece. Now I am not totally clueless around a sewing machine. My mother would have never, ever allowed that. But creating a 3D toy from scratch? Yeah, this sounds like a project best passed onto mom.

Less than 2 hours later The Boss Lady and The Princess have a pattern created and the fabric parts cut out and pinned together. They have a plan for finishing the bear in short order. Planning and working quick, not my strong suits...

The Talker set out this morning to design a brand new board game. He worked solo for an hour or more and in the end the wife and kids sat down to play the new game. It involves a lot of math, so I wasn't invited.

With all of the creativity flowing around here, I went out in the backyard and worked on my newest masterpiece, the wine bottle tree/garden trellis. All I need now is to empty another few dozen cool looking bottles. Or maybe I'll gather some from the neighbor's recycling bins and save my liver all that hassle.

The Boss Lady has her own plan for creativity today. She and the boy are leaving in a few minutes to take the dog to Dirty Dog Wash for a bath. That is always a three hour adventure in wet, smelly mess. Lucky for me, I get to skip out and watch movies with the girl!

Catching up after a busy start to the summer

The Princess had a fairly big surgery last week. I won’t go into a lot of detail here since The Boss Lady has blogged the surgery elsewhere. Email me if you need the address to that blog. Due to the personal info posted over there, I won’t link to it here. Now, 4 days later, she is doing great. She is currently singing Taylor Swift songs and splashing in a nearly empty bathtub.


Elsewhere in the AtHomeFamily kingdom, it is HOT! 100 plus for something like 12 days in a row. So I have thrown in the towel on the garden. This morning I took down the gate and let the chickens have the parched and burned up leftovers.

1 2

This is not the first pampering the birds have gotten this week. It has been so hot out in the back 40, that I bought a misting system to help keep everybody cool in the backyard. If you are sitting right near the mister, you can notice a big difference in the temperature. Not that I want to hang out there anyways. I hung the misters in the trees near the chicken coop and I saw that 6 of the 7 birds (and 1 cat) were hanging out under there during the hottest part of the day yesterday.

The kids bought me a 12 bottle wine cooler for Father’s Day. I am always looking for something new to learn about (previously it was trucks- which I am still working on, boats- that I lost interest in and set sail on craigslist, cigars- which I enjoyed but annoyed everyone else with, guitars-which I still can’t play but somehow now own two and… The Boss Lady can give you the entire list). This year I have been soaking in as much info about wine as I can handle. I still have no vocabulary to describe wines that I like or don’t like, but I am having fun shopping for bargains and reading up on different varietals and vintages.

Cruising the ‘net for wine info, I ran across several sites about bottle trees. Our neighbor used to add all of her empty wine and beer bottles to the limbs of a dead tree in the middle of her yard. You could see it from our kitchen window and it actually was pretty cool when the morning sun hit the bottles. And it was only half as tacky as you might think. Anyways, I started my own bottle tree this morning. I don’t have a dead tree to decorate, but I do have a bunch of wooden trellis surrounding our garden/chicken fun park. So with the addition of some 1/2” dowel rods, we have the start of a spectacular piece of yard art. I’ll post some pictures of the bottle trees soon.

Best of all, it isn’t in your yard. You are welcome.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What would summer be without surgery

The Princess will be having surgery in a few hours. Hopefully this will finally correct a lifetime bladder problem. The Boss Lady set up a blog a few weeks ago to mark the progress towards this surgery. I am not posting a link to the blog, since we have used real names and locations over there, Email me if you want the address. But please don't be too mad if I don't get around to responding to the email quickly.

It has been a long road to get to this point and I thought I was all good with this surgery, which may last upwards of 5 hours. I headed to bed last night at 11 and finally fell asleep at 5:15. Good times!

The Princess got some good sleep and she has gotten to front load on Popsicles and Sprite. the breakfast of pre-surgical champs. She will be staying in the hospital for a couple of days minimum, maybe up to 5 days so a snack is certainly welcome.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The start of the kid's summer. Mine will wait a few more daze

The kids finished up school last Friday at noon. I originally thought that I would finish up after a couple hours this morning but last week's bombshell re-hire announcement changed my summer.

I thought the kids and I would return to our slothful AtHomeDaddy ways quickly, but I have to knock out a couple of more days of staff training and prep for the fall semester. Wednesday the kids and I going to head out of town for a day or two and hit Six Flags Amusement Park. Bro and his family took the kids to the park earlier in the spring and bought season passes for the kids. The Boss Lady bought herself a season pass a few weeks ago, when she and the kids went back tot he park with cousins and The Mother of the Bride.

I haven't been to Six Flags in somewhere near 20 years, but I bought a season pass the old fashioned way, over the internet. They had a price break before Memorial Day and I may not be a roller coaster fan, but I AM a cheapskate, so I got my pass for half price.

And in another sign that summer has surely returned, my head is now shaved. I used to shave my beautiful brain bucket most summers, but I skipped last year because I was out looking for a teaching job. No need to scare a potential hiring principal. Since that ship has sailed and I have a new gig lined up, I can return to my roots (or lack of) and be comfortable this summer. There is a pic on facebook if you need a glimpse...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Seriously shortening the Summer season

Throughout the Spring I have been planning a great Summer of nothing. The kids and I were planning to go back to our AtHomeFam ways of sleeping late and seriously under-utilizing our time in constructive ways. With one exception, we all have season passes to Six Flags, so trips to Dallas and San Antonio would be plentiful.

I have been in such a weird place, with my new career starting with a bang in January and dying with an explosion that rocked our family in March. All along there has been a slim chance that my job would be restored and all of the drama from the Spring semester would be ended.

The slim chance occurred yesterday afternoon at 4:37pm.

I sneaked out of the skool a few minutes early. Hey, was a short-timer with no prospects for the Fall, remember? I had cleared out my desk a few minutes earlier and the kids had helped me haul my stash of pens and office supplies to the car. It was a surreal walk to the car. Driving away was weird, too. true, we have a few more work days the semester, but the text books are in, the computers are off and this Spring might as well be DONE!

I was only a mile or so from the skool when the Principal called me on my cell phone to let me know that she could re-hire me into my current, ending position. Uh, yes! Would I want to work for her next year? Uh, yes!

The kids and I stopped to buy The Boss Lady (not the Principal, well at least not THAT Principal - stick with me, this is confusing...) some flowers so that I could break the news about my job. Anyways, I spent most of the evening rethinking my summer calendar. There are suddenly lots of trainings and staff development workshops that I will need to attend.

So my permanent gig as AtHomeDaddy V 2.0 is now on hold, hopefully for a long while. (But thanks to the way Texas pays for public education, we might be back in this same type of boat next Spring. Whatever. We will deal with that when it comes around).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring Garden and Fam News Update

It is hard to believe, but summer is almost here. Oh, sure, the calendar rings in the new season some time in mid-June, but anyone who has spent May in Texas knows that REAL summer begins quickly after the last frost.

The academic year is winding down. The kids have 9 daze left and it is showing at the middle skool. There will be no new learning until the fall semester.

Dunring the week of Spring The Princess helped me plant the veggie and flower garden. We haven't had much time to tend to the plants this season but everything is growing nicely. Actually, several crops were utter failures this year. A combination of poor timing at planting time, not enough rain and some "helpful" chickens is going to keep us out of beans, peas and broccoli this season. Also, some of The Princess' flowers did not germinate. But she planted enough other varieties to make up for the weaklings.

This season we planted our garden a little differently. No structured rows of plants all lined up this year. We decided to mix things up a little bit and did more of a "square-foot-garden" thing. Of course we have a few hundred square feet to work with, so we kind of went crazy. I really like the way the garden looks this year. I am sure that we will do more of this type of garden in the future.

A few pictures from our plot:

Our first time growing kohlrabi. Still haven't eaten any of it. You first, OK?

The survivors - onions, corn (another first timer in our garden), watermelon, spinach, eggplant, zinnias, kohlrabi, morning glories, loads of different herbs and marigolds.

A sneak attack form one of the helpers.
The caterpillars and chickens have done a real number on the kohlrabi leaves.

A few minutes before the photo shoot, the cats were both helping in the garden, too. They have recently been evicted from the house and I no longer care if they eat grass or leafy greens. If they barf outside, then I don't have to clean it up. Or I can at least use a power washer.

Regular readers here or over on my facebook page will know that my job situation changed quickly a couple of months ago. There is still no promise that I will be returning to the same skool (or any skool) next fall, but things are starting to look a little more promising. Hopefully we will know something definite, shortly.

The Princess will be having a pretty big surgery in a few weeks and that is of course the biggest issue on our horizon. Having to miss a few weeks of swimming is not the best way to start a Texas Summer Break but this works best so that she won't miss out on a ton of skool in the fall. And the flower garden should be looking great by then, so she will be getting fresh cut blooms each day that she is at the hospital.

So there you have it. I haven't updated in a month or so, but you are officially up to speed with the AtHomeFam in less than 7 minutes.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Darth Vader Explains the Pythagorean Theorem

So I have spent much of the last two days trying to teach the Pythagorean Theorem to classes of 7th grades who are fully aware that there are less than 25 days left in the school year.

Yeah, it's been BIG fun.

Anyways, at some point I had a flashback to my own young teen years when Mr. John Smith (not even an alias - and yes, his wife was Mary) tried to learn me the Pythagorean Theorem while we were fixing a leaking section of his underground sprinkler system. Though I probably didn't fully learn the lesson, I do remember the effort that Mr. S put into the sprinkler fix.

With that in mind, I came across this jewel of geometry. So I shared it with most of my classes. In the end, maybe some kid will remember a little part of the stuff that Lord Vader and I have tried to present. And if nothing else, at least the kids were quiet for 2 minutes and 50 seconds. And at this time of year, that is something...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ch Ch Changes...

I started this skool year in a temporary position, knowing that I would have to wait for a teacher's position to open up in the district. But it seemed to make sense to get into the system and let the people who might hire me have a look at me before they decided to hire a newly minted teacher.

And the plan worked. Almost perfectly. Almost.

I assumed I would have the temp job for the entire skool year. I was pretty sure that was going to add up to a long 9 months and i knew it for sure when I saw my first paycheck. The teacher's assistant gig was A LOT of work for garbage pay. When I was offered the full teacher's job in December, I jumped at the chance.

Within a month there were rumors that job cuts would be coming soon and as the last man on the ship, I was pretty sure that I would be one of the first thrown overboard.

And what a splash that was!

I am still not happy to be in this situation. I flip and flop between wanting to show everybody how hard I am willing to work, in order to prove my worth to the skool and not wanting to waste any extra effort before summer break.

It is highly unlikely that I will be re-hired into my current job for the fall. And that super sucks. I was trying to learn my new job and build something great for my soon to be 7th and 8th grade students. We had some good things happening and now I will not be around to see if any of that effort pays off.

Oh yeah, right in the middle of all of this chaos, it started looking like The Boss Lady's job would be gone too. Nice!

The upside is that The Boss' job is going to be fine. She will be around next year to rake in the big bucks while I retire to the couch for my daily nap(s). Also, a few job openings are starting to pop up and I have applied for several Special Education teacher jobs. If I land one of those, then we will be back on track.

And if I don't? Dunno. Maybe I'll go full monty time chicken farmer. Anybody want to buy some eggs?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Happy Birthday from the soon to return AHD

The Princess turns 7 tomorrow. I'll stop back by Tuesday and make a real post to honor the occasion.

In other Fam news, it looks like AtHomeDaddy will ride again! Thanks to our inept state government officials, public schools are being pillaged to satisfy the vocal minority. My job is one of the thousands that these idiots feel are not worth funding. So looks like I'll be home for Baby Girl's next Birthday, too.

Happy Birthday Princess and kick it to the grass!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

What a month!

I cannot believe that it has been more than a month since I last visited my own blog. Life has been crazy busy around here.

Funding for public education is taking a hit all over the country right now, but it has grown increasingly personal in our house, now that we are both working for the (same) "man". Hopefully the politicians will figure this shit out quickly, because not knowing what the heck is going to happen to our jobs in the next few months sucks royally.

On the other hand, of course I just got back from a three day business trip. It is such a weird set of circumstances. "Here, we think you'll be working for us next school year, so you and 29 other teachers hit the road. And be sure you save your receipts to get reimbursed."

The AtHomeFam is doing OK. Kickball season has started up for The Princess. Her team will be one of the whipping boys younger teams in the league, so I am trying to remind them all that the game should be FUN. Hoping that we have as many laughs as tears this season.

The Talker has discovered a new source of adrenaline. He is now into skateboarding and lacrosse. Turns out his old man likes this stuff too. But it hurts me a lot worse the next day.

Friday, February 04, 2011

David, How do you do it???

Enough of this winter crap!

I live in Texas AND I have a giant fireplace in my house (to go with the central gas-heat system) for lots of reasons. One important one is that I really don't like to be cold. The couple of weeks of cold (read- Minnesota Spring) temps that we endure enjoy are plenty.

Though we haven't had it as bad as those Yankees that live up in Dallas, this week has been crazy cold. School opened a couple of hours late yesterday so that the schools could help with the power service problems around the state. Evidently, even giant power generators in Texas don't like the weather this week.

It hasn't gotten above freezing in three days. Last night the kids finally got some payoff. We have about half an inch of snow on the ground this morning and the schools are closed because of the icy roads.

I will admit, I haven't cared much about school closures since I finally gradumated from college. Suddenly though, Teacher Mike cares A LOT about the fact that I have gotten to sleep late two days in a row.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The whirlwind that is our life now

I worked no less than 65 hours this week. Yeah, me. The Eternal Slacker. Man, thing sure have changed quickly around here. But it is all good.

A quick side note: The Boss lady commented tonight about how quickly she got the house cleaned up tonight. (Yeah, I didn't help clean. I was working. For real. At the dining table, two laptop computers and all!) The point is, we are all gone so much right now, that no one really has time to make a mess at home.

We are settling into our new routine as well as we could expect. The kids come on a bus to my school each afternoon and they love it. For now the are getting to play on the class computers pretty much for the entire time. Eventually I'll break the bad news that homework WILL get done while I finish up my afternoon work. But for now, they are getting some time to settle into the routine.

I spend most of my day in 6th and 7th grade math classes. Those of you who know AtHomeDaddy more than just through the blog can quit laughing now. I sure didn't set out to be a math teacher, but here I am. One more part of the new routine for our family.

At the high school I was in a role that really wasn't right for me. I liked the job, but it was really not the right job for our family. I was working way too many hours for a job that should have been treated (and certainly it paid like) a part-time job.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to get into the groove of our new reality. But I noticed yesterday that it has been about a month since I told The Boss Lady something like 'I miss our old life'. I guess this new chaos is starting to grow on me.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Busy but still here

Loads to tell about the craziness that has become our lives since I accepted a new job teaching Middle School.

But for the first time in my life, I am too tired to talk (or type).

Sunday, January 02, 2011

It's justa job, right?

Here it is, almost midnight and I start a new job in the morning. Should be in bed, instead I seem to be dwelling on all of the stuff that might go absolutely, horribly wrong on my first day back in a Middle School since 198never (because technically, I went to a Jr. High School not a Middle school. I could give you a definition of the difference between the two, but if you aren't a teacher, then you don't really care and if you ARE a teacher,well, I would hate to show my ignorance by giving out wrong information on my blog...

Anyways, between my Bro hooking me up with a new wardrobe and having a new car to drive, I'll at least be the coolest looking first day teacher at the skool, even if I am the most scared, too.