One of the wonders of the internet is that a blogger "knows" many more people than a non-blogger does. A blogger is very in touch with the everyday minutuae, the milestone moments and the wonderful news of a lot of people.
The flip side of this coin is that a blogger also hears more bad news than most people.
This weekend brought news, via Twitter and the blogosphere, of the most devastating loss a family can endure--the loss of a child.
There are simply no words that will do anything toward mitigating the pain that Anna and her family are in. Anna is a woman who draws strength from her prayer and faith and I know that many of you will pray for her; this is all anyone can do in a situation like this.
People all over the world are holding Anna and her family in their hearts right now as we acknowledge their unbearable loss; I certainly am.
If you are moved to make a donation, Samaritan's Purse is the charity they have chosen.
I didn't post anything Thursday night--you may have heard (via Twitter for sure if you are on Twitter) that there was a huge power outage in my neck of the woods Thursday afternoon. It turned out to be four million households without power and the original estimate of the time it would last was for up to three days.
It ended up that we were only without power for 12 hours.
I feel really guilty whining because I know people on the East coast were without power for up to a week after Hurricane Irene.
So I tried not to whine, but rather suffer in silence. (Until this post, which is pretty whiny.)
Wednesday night at 1 a.m. I became painfully aware that I apparently had a urinary tract infection that had turned into a kidney infection--with all the attendant discomfort and lack of sleep you can imagine. Thursday morning I soldiered on to work and gave thanks to an incredible doctor who trusts me to know what's going on with my body and said she'd phone my antibiotic in instead of making me come in first.
Still, I had the raging headache and fuzzy head that results when middle-age and lack of sleep collide.
By the time I'd finished work and picked up my prescription there was just one thing on my mind--sleep! I wasn't worried about the fact that it was 100 degrees outside because I have fans. By 3:20 I was in bed, wearing my skimpiest p.j.'s, with the the ceiling fan whizzing overhead and the stand fan right next to my bed, turning at its highest speed and keeping me as comfy as one can be in a house with no a/c on the third day of a heat wave.
I slept. Until . . . no more fans.
No more anything powered by electricity.
Twitter was my friend until my phone died (it could have been fully charged, but I was so focused on sleep after work I didn't plug it in). Twitter had a lot more information a lot sooner than the local news (on our battery-operated radio) did--Suzy Soro demonstrated what a great friend she is by both Tweeting and texting me with the latest news.
My fully-charged Nook was definitely my friend as I sat outside while the evening cooled somewhat and read. I made it until nine before I had to brave my sweltering upstairs bedroom--I was so tired that I did sleep, though fitfully. My night got much better about 3 a.m. when that stand fan that was still plugged in and pointing at my prostrate form whirred to life.
Today is a new day . . . a day to throw much of the food in the fridge away and boil some water to brush my teeth.
A day to celebrate modern life and the miracle of electricity by running the diswasher, doing some laundry and surfing the internet!
MVP and his roommates recently moved to a new house. When they first toured the house with their rental agent they liked everything about it except the cat pee smell (because, duh, nobody likes to smell cat pee). The rental agent assured them that when they moved in a few weeks later the smell would not be there.
Fast forward a few weeks.
MVP and his buddies showed up with their stuff, opened the door and smelled . . . you guessed it . . . cat pee.
This is what MVP did:
Called the rental agent to come over and have a big ol’ sniff for herself
Inquired as to the action they’d taken to remove the smell (two shampoos of the carpet)
Did not move in, but went home and sent an email to the company president which highlighted the following
They were promised the cat pee smell would be gone and as it was not, they were not moving in
Their expectation was that in the next four days (by Monday) the carpeting would be ripped out, the subfloor steam-cleaned and sealed and new carpeting put in
The guys would not be charging them for a hotel because they had friends to crash with, but they were aware they would be within their rights to do so
It would be foolish of the rental company to assume that because they were a group of college students that they didn’t understand their rights as consumers
The happy ending is that the guys were able to move in on Monday.
I’m telling you—I just about wept when MVP was telling me this story after he’d sent the email. His righteous indignation and resolve to see this injustice resolved satisfactorily reminded me so much of someone I know very well!
My girls, Social Butterfly and Peanut, on the first day of their last year of school (well, mandatory schooling anyway).
You may notice that it appears they have put less than zero effort into their appearances; you are right--this is a straight "rolled out of bed" look that indicates that they are seniors and could care less what you (not you you, but high school you) think about how they look.
I betcha they but on makeup for Homecoming, though!
I'm going to assume this won't happen to us after ALL our kids leave home. Because we have the security cameras I can tell you that this particular crew was very thoughtful as one of the boys borrowed our push broom to make sure that the mess was limited to OUR house and nothing was in the street.
Would you believe that the first time it's rained here all a summer was four hours after they did this? I'm very grateful Mr. Fix-it was around to clean up this mess in no time at all.
Recently there was a brouhaha over at Derfwad Manor—I can’t link to it because Mrs. G. shut it down right away; the commotion was only tangentially linked to the post she’d written and spiraled out of control in quite an ugly way. One person actually used the “n” word in the comments and my head is still reeling over the fact that a) anybody would use that word and b )anybody would use that word at Derfward Manor.
The gist of the whole thing is that Mrs. G. was sharing a podcast on poverty she’d heard and one commenter, a teacher—let’s say Commenter A, wrote about how hard it is to watch parents make terrible choices about money that impacts their children negatively. Because she mentioned hair weaves, the comment seemed racially-tinged. Another commenter, Commenter B, called her (and the horrid person that used the “n” word) out and things deteriorated from there.
This is the thing.
I know both A and B. I really like them both—okay, I might sort of love B a little in a “how did I ever cross paths with someone so much cooler than I am” kind of way--and I think they are both good-hearted people who care deeply about children and education. I can see why B took what A said the way she did, but I can still sort of understand why A said it—though, in retrospect, I’m sure she wishes she would have phrased things quite differently.
(I have so been there and it was so not fun.)
I understand about generational poverty. I understand about a permanent underclass. I understand about racism. I understand that there are sociological and psychological reasons behind the choices all of us make. I am positive white privilege exists. These are things I understand intellectually and they provide the framework in which I attempt to view various situations; especially as this relates to students with whom I work.
I also understand that a teacher who sees the promise and hope a child has being undermined at every turn by parental choices that run counter to her own values (stress on “own values”—what makes us positive our values are the “right” ones?) can easily become very frustrated. Frustrated enough to dash off a comment that makes her look/sound “racist.”
I think the part of the equation that cannot be ignored right now is the climate in which teachers are teaching. Teachers are being blamed for all the shortcomings in our educational system today and that’s not fair. Even the best teacher in the world cannot overcome a class full of children that are not properly nourished, properly rested, adequately supplied and whose parent(s) support their education with access to books, study time, etc. (This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the systemic clusterf**k that is our currently educational system.)
I am not saying I blame the parents for all of this (see paragraph 6), but I am also saying I don’t blame the teachers (okay, I do blame some of the bad teachers I encounter, but that’s a separate post).
As far as the brouhaha that started this post goes, it is sad to know that two people who would likely get along really well if they ever met "in real life" have such terrible opinions of one another.