Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Day in the Life

 hi professr sorry for miss your class i went late to school , but i add ur class already but i think i really behind in your class . because i dont have the book, im going to buy it monday morning and , i dont know if i can made some make up for wat i miss monday.. thank you 

I received this email this week from someone named azk3r.  I shook my head, rolled my eyeballs and wrote him back with the usual encouragements and admonitions, and asked him to sign his real name in the future.  Then in order to recharge my Teaching Is Fun brain cells, I forwarded it to my friend and colleague Judy, but with this, first:

deer mis cann,
i work reel hard in yer class but i still dont get it.  i am a reel nice kid and hop that mssing yer class and not havin the book wont be a problem.  thank you

student with no name

I about had a heart attack when I received this in my email box:

whadya mean his nam iz ask3r call him ask3r in ur class on monday
ur frend

Oh no! I thought.  I accidentally sent it BACK to him and one of his friends is taking me to task.  Ack! Ack!

But then I checked out the email address and started laughing.  
Judy had sent a reply.

My Teaching Is Fun brain cells are fully recharged now.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Our Contractors.  They're sweethearts, and do amazing tile together.

Tile done!

Bottom of the seat in the shower.  They used the "jewelry"--what I call those little glass tiles--in a band around the top.

The jewelry tiles.
 When I picked them out, the tiles all looked white.  But after being set in, and grouted, the light bouncing around was limited and they're gray.  They're still beautiful, but this is one of the quirks about home improvement.  You can't always know the end from the beginning.  

I'm showing you the niche for the shampoo bottles?  Yep. I'm pretty excited about it.  Never had one of these before--very cool.

Laurel and Hardy came and installed our new counters.  Really.  Only they only spoke Spanish and and a few words of English.  THAT was interesting.  But the job got done.  And the office manager got a full report.

Shot of the new faucets.

Artsy shot of the new faucets.

So they had some leftover countertop material and we had them put it in the middle bathroom, but didn't update much else.  Except for more new faucets.

And. . . artsy shot of the new faucets.

Our contractors worked hard to make sure we had working plumbing because Matthew and six of his pals arrived last night for their Annual Boys Baseball Weekend.

Dave and I spent the evening making beds, finding towels, setting up placed to sleep on sofas, and blowing up the air mattress.  Twice.  And we're pretty sure it still went flat.  Matthew said everyone found a place (yes, he's up early and talking to me while I write).  Welcome!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bathroom Refresh, Ongoing

So, here's the shower with its "cement board" all put into place.  Yes, we have a Wonder Shower.  I keep looking at it, wondering if the size is right, but now that's it is this far, I think yes--it's fine.

We have electrical!  New "boxes" for lights over the mirror and a switch to match.  He moved the outlets up higher on the wall so we wouldn't have to cut into the backsplash.  Another reason why I really like this contractor--he's always thinking one ahead of me.  I don't show it in the photos, but there now is a matching outlet on MY side of the bathroom counter.  We only had one before, and I was always stretching the cord across Dave's sink.  It's the little things that mean so much.

And. . . TA DA!  We painted.  Since we are boring people, we went with the same color as our bedroom, and I'm already second-guessing our choice.  I spent every moment I wasn't painting on Saturday at the computer working on school.  On Sunday, I was just as bogged down, but now I can say that I have my Course Calendar done.  My textbook is about 1200 pages, and I had to read most of it in order to decide what to teach (duh).  I had tried for some time to get this last one done, but it takes concentrated* effort and I was continually distracted before school started with this and other matters, so I had to really buckle down and Get It Done.  The Course Calendar, that is.

Today the contractors (it's a husband and wife team) start with the tile in in the shower.  Wednesday the countertops and sinks come in.  I'll keep you posted.

P.S.  This is my 500th post.  I should celebrate or something, but I've got to go get hanged get ready for school and teach this morning.
* concentrated, as in:
"When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
--Samuel Johnson

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bathroom Refresh

So where have I been lately?
One place is getting ready for school.  It began on Monday and I'm still not ready in one class.  So I keep at it until my eyeballs fall out at night and I go to bed.
The other place is our bathroom refresh--not remodel--as we're not going too drastic.

The sink area. . .

. . .and the shower.

And now:
Torn out sink area. . . 

. . . and torn out shower area. We're putting a bench in the corner there, and we plan to have a "wand" shower head on a sliding bar. 

 Laying out the tile for the shower on the floor to measure it.  I know everybody's ripping out their tile and putting in solid-surface paneling, but I like tile for some strange reason.  Crisp.  Clean.

Yesterday I came home and the house smelled like highway construction.  They built up the shower with tar paper and "hot mopped" it with goo.  The fans went all night and this morning I sprayed Febreeze everywhere so it's pretty well gone.

That's it so far.  I'm back to propping up my eyeballs in my head today as I keep trying to get ready for school.  First week's almost over and I already had a tangle with one student who came in an hour late the first day and an hour late the second day and when I pushed him on it a bit, he accused me of treating him differently because of the color of his skin.  (Cue: rolling of internal eyeballs.)

On a more positive school note, we have a new library, and I feel like a kid in a candy store, knowledge-wise.  We actually have plugs all over the place so I can plug in my laptop.  We have places for books.  We have lots of windows, private study rooms, a dedicated computer instruction area.  Of course, the construction company is still working on the building, because of the delay of getting all the windows, but we have use of most of the building.  It does kind of look like that first day after you move in and you can't find the hairspray or the silverware, but I'm so happy to have this "Learning Resource Center" of which the library is a part.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Twenty-One Today!

Early in the morning, twenty-one years ago, I couldn't sleep. My children were on every pull-out or hide-a-bed that was in my parents' condo, all sleeping.  I got up, pulled out a spiral notebook, went into the guest bathroom and sat down on the floor and began to write what I was thinking.  I wrote and wrote about finding someone to love, someone to love us--our little family--and the miracles that preceded this day.  I wrote about the scars of the divorce, the wondering if we'd ever heal, and how Dave had come into our lives to help us along that journey.  I wrote about him.  I wrote about me.  I wrote about the children.

The door cracked open.  It was Matthew, my second son.  He came in and sat down beside me.

"You're up early." he said.
"Yes.  I couldn't sleep," I answered.
"I know why," he said.  He reached out a tweaked my cheek--a kindly, little old man gesture.  "You can't sleep," he continued, "because you're getting married today."

We--all five of us--were getting married, in a way.  I was marrying Dave in the traditional sense, and he, me.  But these children, my little satellites, were bound up in that agreement as well.

At the ceremony, Dave looked a bit pale.  I was giddy.  He worried enough for both of us, I think, but I just knew it was the right thing to do, so I figured that whatever came our way, we'd handle.  And we have. 

Today, we're celebrating this day in an old-married-couple way.  "What do you want to do?"  What do you want to do?"  "Anywhere you want to go for lunch--or dinner?" "I already pulled out the salmon, but I could save it for tomorrow."  We aren't exchanging gifts, figuring the bathroom faucets to be a nice sort of sparkly present that will have to do.

But twenty-one years ago we did exchange gifts: he gave the gift of his heart, his pledge, his allegiance, his money, his time, his patience, his silly jokes, his kindness and acceptance.  I gave him the gift of my money, my time, my spontaneity, my laughter, my children, and my heart.  Together we've received the gifts of grandchildren, of working together, of time, of years, of experiences.

Happy Twenty-one years.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Comment on University Websites

As I get ready for classes to start next week. . .

Friday, August 06, 2010

House Refreshing

In an article in the New York Times, Allison Arieff wrote about the long house hunt she and her husband went through in order to find a home that hadn't been upgraded and remodeled to within an inch of its life, preferring instead a home for the long haul, a home to grow old in instead of flipping it in resale.

I guess that's we we are, these days, in a home we've lived in for 21 years, and hope to live in for another few years or so, until we sell or give everything away and move into our retirement condo.

This home was built, as near as I can determine, about 33 years ago.  We have three designs in this tract of homes, and we call ours "A."  From the outside the passerby sees faux boulders on a small wall, bordered by a three-car garage and a small porch.  One large living room window and two other small windows in the upstairs punctuate the board and stucco siding.  We are not the newest owners on our street, and not the oldest on our street, as many bought their homes from the builder and are still here.

I've stripped all the 70's wallpaper off, room by room, and some have been painted and repainted, purposed and repurposed as our family has grown, just like some of the commentors on Arieff's blog.  We replaced all the flooring about five years ago, and the now-cracked tile in the wood-sub-floor bathrooms upstairs are being replaced as well.  Kitchen counters and window were done last year.  But now our house has now really come of age: we're refreshing a bathroom this month--installing a new cabinet, countertop, sinks and shower. I stopped by the cabinet guy the other day with a basket of Things We Use in the Bathroom (radio, hair dryer, curling iron, tall bottles of shampoo, etc.) in order to measure the shelves in the pullout section of our cabinet.  Two stops the next day trying to pick out handles. . . or should I use knobs?  I picked up the sinks from the plumbing supply store and they are stacked in my dining room along with the new plumbing fixtures.  It's like I'm nesting again--only the layette is for the bathroom refresh, not for a new baby.

I'm sort of dreading it as construction begins the same day as classes begin at my college; I'll have to juggle the first couple weeks of classes (a fluid and challenging experience) while we're juggling bathroom reconstruction (a fluid and challenging experience).  Dave and I will tag-team on being here while the contractors work, trying to be available for the myriads of other decisions that will surely pop up.  Other than all this prep work, all we can do now is wait for it all to begin.  And then to end.