6:15 knock at the door

21 Mar

Although unusual, the knock on my front door at 6:15 a.m. didn’t concern me. I knew several neighbors were early risers.  Even so, I only cracked the door so I could see who it was. Imagine my surprise when I saw two police officers at my door. I opened the door wider.

“Good morning. We are trying to get a hold of your neighbor, but he doesn’t seem to be at home. We saw your light on and we were wondering if you had contact information for him, ” the tallest of the two female officers said.

“I think I do,” I replied, a little nervously, and invited them inside, warning them that, if she ever woke up, Lucy was very friendly. “I was the secretary for our HOA and should at least have an email address,” I added.  As they entered, I noticed the officer who did most of the talking held official looking papers.

I fumbled to look up my contacts,  while she chatted about how she figured it was okay to knock because the lights were on. I mumbled something about being a morning person and how my neighbor is not around much, preferring to stay at his girlfriend’s house.  She then told me he’d been involved in an accident and had fled the scene.That’s serious, I thought,.  Are they allowed to tell me that? Is it OK that I am giving the contact information I have. Are we both sharing confidential information? I carried on any way, pretty sure they could probably look this up somewhere else.

Of course the Internet was slow and I was fumbling, still a little nervous having two police officers in the house. I asked if they were just starting their shift or just ending it (they were ending) all the while hoping I could find what they needed.

And then, there it was. I wrote the email address on a sticky note. They thanked me  and then they were gone. It was big excitement for a Monday morning, and Lucy slept through the whole thing.

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Happy 100th birthday, Vera Lynn!

20 Mar

My dad loved jazz and classical music. He preferred female singers, his two favorites were Linda Ronstadt and Nina Simone. I loved when he let me go into the basement, open the closet he’d converted to house his extensive record collection, and choose the music for Sunday dinner.

I’m thinking about his musical tastes because today is Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday.

My dad was born int Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1931. Before his 8th birthday, Canada had entered World War II and remained at War until just before his 14th. His father left to join the army and was gone for most of that time. I remember Dad telling me that, as they grew up, he and his friends just expected that they would go to war too. It was that much a part of their formative years.

It was from my dad, and his wide-ranging musical tastes, that I first heard of Vera Lynn, The Forces Sweetheart. I loved her songs, so poignant and yet so full of hope. And so I leave you with one of my favorites.

 

 

Moving on up

19 Mar

The three 6th graders and a 7th grader sailed through their four preliminary battles like a well-oiled machine. Winning each of the battles, they had 175 points. That seemed like a good number, but we had to wait until all the other battles finished to see how we’d fared. Teams around us talked,whispered and laughed. We could over hear the team totals of the teams around us. We figured we were almost certainly in the next round, the Sweet 16.

We were shocked and elated to find out we had the 4th most points. Woohoo!

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The  subsequent rounds were elimination rounds. If we won the Sweet 16, we’d go on, if we lost, the tournament was over. The team, two boys and two girls, was ready and played well, handily defeating their competition. We were moving on to the Awesome 8 round, competing against a team in our school district.

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One of the members of that team was a former student, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating when they missed a question. The competition was tight; we were ahead by a bit at the halfway point. In the second half, we missed a few, but never lost our lead. At the end, we were ahead by four points. When ased if they wanted to challenge a question, my team said no, but the other team did. When this happens, teams have two minutes to find their answer in book. Fortunately for us, they could not.

That put us in the Fabulous 4 and that we are going to State!

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So, my 2017 OBOB season isn’t quite over yet, and that is very okay with me.

Friday afternoon traffic

18 Mar

I could have left school during my end of the day plan period, instead I stayed and got ready for Monday. I knew I had to get home quick, walk Lucy, then head out again for Rocket’s vet visit and transfer to his new owners. Yes, it was a rainy Friday afternoon, , but how bad could the traffic be?

Really bad, I thought as I merged onto Highway 26 after navigating the suburban roads that got me there. I quickly began to rethink my master plan. If we kept crawling along at less than 10 miles an hour I’d never be able to make it. I could just go straight to the vet, though that would probably get me there too early. 

I kept driving in my lane and noticed that today, the other two lanes were moving faster. Although the lane I was in would take me my preferred route, I might have to take an alternate, I thought.  I could change lanes and drive through downtown. As we continued to crawl along, I started checking my driver’s side mirror. Suddenly a space appeared and I moved into the lane to my left.  Just one more lane to go.  Another space, much larger,  and I was driving the speed limit again.

I manoeuvred through the Pearl District, crossed the Broadway Bridge and then… flashing lights in front of me. A fire truck was sideways, blocking access. A big accident? I couldn’t see as I turned and took the detour.

I got home a little later than I’d hoped, but not as late as I feared I’d be. Poor Lucy, got a “hello”, a poop walk, and dinner. then I was out the door.

As I started driving towards the vet, another journey that required highway driving, I worried about the slow traffic I’d encountered on the way home. Fortunately, it was smooth sailing South on I-5. For drivers, going North, it was a different story. They were at a stand still. I filed that info for the trip home.

Everything went well at the vet. The new family was super excited. The daughter of the owner, who had been keeping Rocket was weepy.

I took an alternate way home to avoid the I-5 traffic jam. It looped me back to Highway 26, which, two hours earlier had been slow. By the time I returned to it, it was clear sailing home.

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Patience rewarded

17 Mar

I have been patient.

I have tried not to think about it.

I tried not to check.

But I can’t pretend I haven’t been a little anxious since I received (and responded to) the letter from the IRS.

I checked again a few days ago and saw this message:

I was almost giddy reading it. I have to admit that part of me, a fairly large part, still worried the IRS letter was masterful plan by identity thieves. You hear about things like this all the time and wonder how people could be so gullible. I worried I was one of those gullible people.

On Wednesday morning, I saw this message:

 I checked my account immediately. Sweet relief swept over me as I saw the scheduled deposit. I said a little prayer of thanks, worry lifted from my shoulders.

Water Woes

15 Mar

 

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I arrived home yesterday to this message that started a conversation among the residents in my ten-unit condominium.

What the heck? How can that be? I wondered as I hustled to the kitchen and turned on the faucet. Nothing.

I shot off an email letting people know my water was off too and called the water bureau’s emergency line. Apparently, a contractor in our neighborhood had hit a water main and created a “water emergency”. Well, that would explain the work crew and the “road closed” sign I’d  seen down the block when I got home. The woman I spoke with wouldn’t say when work would be finished. When I told her I was thinking I should go to the grocery store and get some water she said that they anticipated the repair would be done by evening.

Okay. Maybe I don’t have to make a water run, but I decided to take stock of what I had.

Nothing.

No bottles of water. No three-day emergency supply. Not even ice cubes I could melt. I did have some cans of flavored mineral water in the fridge… I was failing basic preparedness.

What would I do if it took longer, and I couldn’t shower tomorrow morning? What would Lucy drink?

I thought about all the comedies I’d seen where water is cut off and the characters use water from the toilet bowl. They never think about the water in the tank, which could be boiled. Is that potable? I could boil it to be sure there was water for Lucy. Could I bathe in that? The ick factor is high, even from the tank. So many unanswered questions.

Fortunately, the water came back on just after seven.  I am glad I won’t have to shower in toilet water, but I think I should get some emergency water. Maybe I should start building a real emergency kit while I am at it.

 

 

The Paper Mountain

15 Mar

I buried myself. It was unintentional, but it was all my fault. One assignment was a longterm project to be done at home. The other was the final project for our information unit, the teen activism book my 6th graders produced, much delayed after 10 snow days this year. And I collected their writer’s notebooks. I was swamped with paper,stressed and worried about getting the work back in a timely manner. Two classes of 30 x all this work due at the same time. Are you feeling my pain?

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Today, though, I finished grading the information books and I feel like I have summited  a mountain. Or maybe crawled out from under one. Maybe, really, I can just see the summit from where I am. Bu this feels like significant progress.

The science teacher on my team has kids turn in everything electronically, but I don’t really find that a good process for me. I was feeling a little behind then times, until a colleague shared this article about the value of hard copies. Vindication.

I still have a bunch of papers to grade, but I am feeling less burdened. If I may mix my metaphors a bit, I might say there is a light at the end of the tunnel I just crawled out of.

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