Air Traffic Conundrums

This past week my husband and I went on an adventure. It was a super-fun trip involving baby-holding, wine-tasting, family-visiting, and seminary-graduating. However, in order to go on our adventure to Florida, first we had to go through the ordeal of a 3 hour long airplane journey.

Everyone nowadays knows that flying anywhere is a big event. You shop around for a few days to find the best airline and price.  You choose your seats carefully. You pack frugally [for me that meant only bring 5 pairs of shoes]. You have to make sure your papers are in order and that the milk in your fridge won’t sour.

You also have to be sure that your bag weighs less than 40lbs. Unless you get confused and think that it has to weigh less than 35lbs [like we did]. I put all my shoes in my carry-on and there were several pairs of jeans in Tim’s lap-top bag. In order to double-check your bag’s weight you have to go to your parents’ house and weigh yourself [a daunting task] and then yourself carrying the bag [I think I broke the bathroom scales doing this]. Then you have to do math. Then you have to hope that you don’t have to pay the over-weight charge of $50 [which is more than it would cost to add a whole other bag].

The security check-point at the airport is getting sorta over-blogged so I won’t say much about that. Only this: I had to submit to having my hair patted down. I have big hair. I guess they thought I was hiding something in it. I wish they’d just let me be frizzy in peace.

Then, once you actually get on the plane, you sometimes have to sit in the middle of a row. Like me. I sat by Tim [which was totally fine] and a weird older lady who would say incomprehensible things to me. I’d nod and smile and hope that I hadn’t just agreed to something insane. We saw that same lady again on our return flight. She looked at us like we must be stalkers or something.

Sometimes, like on our return trip, you are stuck sitting in front of an incorrigible toddler who thinks if he screams [not cries, but screams with no tears] that he’ll get to get out of his toddler-chair. This boy also assumed that if he kicked the seat in front of him [where a large older lady sat next to me] that he will be entertaining. The old lady was not amused and turned around to tell the poor, embarrassed parents exactly what she thought of their child’s behavior. I stared at my knees awkwardly and tried not to cringe with each continuing scream and her continuing tut-tutting.

Did I mention that you have to pay for water? And that a plastic cup of soda costs $3? And that airplanes are either boiling hot or freezing cold?

Thankfully our trip was awesome enough to make up for the pains of flying there. Three hour flights are better than 2 days of driving, although, after hearing that kids screaming, I’m not so sure.

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Growing Pains

Last week our car exploded.

Well. It kind of sort of exploded on the inside and there was shrapnel and stuff got blasted. I don’t know about cars, I’m just telling you what they told me. All I know is that I was driving him [his name was Fritz] home from work and what started as a whistle was a grinding metal-on-metal symphony by the time I go to my parents’ house 7 minutes from school.

So my husband and I continued in our learning-how-to-be-grownups saga. We went to dealerships, did lots of math calculations, talked to people who know about cars, and got a car loan. It was very exciting and took all day yesterday and mostly consisted of driving and waiting in offices and feeling stressed out.

When we test-drove our new car it was immediately our favorite and we brought it to my parents’ house for dad to examine too. Everyone agreed it was the best option. It has sparkly white paint and all-wheel-drive and is a Subaru Legacy with turbo.

It has a 6-CD changer. We made special CDs last night.

I tried not to drive too-too fast to school this morning. It was hard. Did I mention that the dashboard lights work? And the gas-pump? And the radio? We really upgraded.

And, even though my husband accuses me of sabotaging Fritz because I “never truly loved him and just wanted a car with four-doors” I feel a little bit nostalgic. He was a nice little car with tinted windows and lots of character. We will miss him. But not when we’re pumping gas.

On Spring and Blackflies

This time of year is one of my favorite times. As I drive along I point out [to whoever is unfortunate enough to be riding with me] every new flower and thawed lake and budding leaf. I start planning window-boxes and trips and summery salads to eat. I start thinking about dates to the ice-cream parlor and trips to the beach. I probably get a bit ahead of myself with my planning.

Going to work when it’s spring is ridiculous. I firmly believe that school should get out as soon as the leaves start to emerge and the flowers start to bloom. Once I don’t have to scrape ice off my window [or check the weather for a snow day announcement] school should start thinking about closing for the season.  When it’s sunny outside and stuffy in the classroom no one can get anything done. The students are lethargic, they beg to go outside for the last half-hour of the day and spend the whole afternoon anticipating the end of the day.

Unfortunately I have to go to work until midway through June. I will be there in body but considerably absent in spirit [I think Anne of Green Gables said that, I like to think I channel her sometimes]. I was going to suggest that we do some schoolwork outside, but have you ever seen a 2nd grade class outside? As soon as they smell the fresh air they burst toward the door with screams of glee [pushing one another out of the way as they sprint] and run around like crazy hoodlums until the last possible second when they are required to line up at the door. If I weren’t a teacher and didn’t have to maintain a certain level of decorum I would probably be fighting to be out the door first too.

It’s a great plan—getting out of school as soon as it’s spring. Except for one problem. One big, little problem. Blackflies. Currently, in Maine, as soon as you step out the front door blackflies swarm you as though there’s nothing else outdoors that they could possibly eat. While I wait for kids to line up to come inside I spend those few minutes doing the fly-swat dance. It’s a sort of wiggly arms, swing around, jump-up-and-down dance and if the kids saw me do it they’d probably point and laugh. Thankfully everyone else is too busy doing their own fly-swat dance to notice me.

So. Spring is awful inside because everyone wants to be outside. Spring is awful outside because of the blackflies. It’s a lose-lose situation.

I think I’d prefer to be outside, despite the flies, I could always wear one of those net-hat things. That would be ok. The kids would still take me seriously, right?

An Ode to Subbing

The life of a substitute teacher is sweet,
I meet lots of students and think on my feet.
I know that the students will make an attempt,
To persuade me that they should from math be exempt.

I put on my strict face [if the grade’s five through eight]
And make sure they know I’m the boss on this date.
I give them instructions and hear all their whines,
I give them some leeway in the teacher’s confines.

With the little kids I don’t try to be scary,
I bribe them with plans to go out and be merry.
If one little child is naughty and cries,
They’ll spoil it for all and we won’t go outside.

Kids try to tell me their name’s not their own
Jackie will sit in a desk labeled “Joan”.
But I see right through them and don’t let them pout.
I threaten that later we won’t get to go out!

I never enforce this most difficult rule,
Some children can’t help it if they cry and they drool.
So, no matter how difficult one child can be,
We still play outside and can shout and be free.

But if they’re not quiet when I try to talk,
Or if they close their laptop when behind them I walk,
They know that I know that they’re not being good,
And my mad face is mad and they don’t like to look.

So sometimes I let them have a bit of palaver,
After all, they’ll be back to the grindstone tomorrow.
And if I’m kind to them the first time that we meet,
They’re better behaved the next time that I teach!