Yeah, about that. I’ve been a little out of touch lately, due to several external forces completely beyond my control, the first of which being a non-functional 5 year old mouse. Yes, that’s right, the litle Macintosh rodent kicked the bucket circa Tuesday evening, leaving me lesson plan-less, and without any way to access the information in my computer. For the first time ever, I felt like Hansel in Zoolander wanting to get “inside the computer” and resort to physical violence.

Sigh. Also, Cervantes the devil cat, in his innovative search for amusement knocked the power source for the iBook off the bed and onto the tile floor one too many times, so that crapped out too. The entire DPlace network was down, sadness. It was strange, too, because for the first time in a while I felt like writing, getting things down on “paper.” It has been nearly a year since I’ve put a literal pen to paper for the ‘blog, and although I wanted to say something, I coudln’t bring myself to go through the physical exertion of writing the old fashioned way. There’s just something about the click clock of a keyboard that is music to my ears. This is why, in the absence of functional creative space, I felt stymied, stifled, squelched, and even thwarted with my lack of expression.

Random Aside: at some point this weekend, the gals in 266 were lamenting the diminishment of lexicons; I saw a big word and thought “gee, I used to use that all the time. I miss big words. I don’t see them any more.” The suitemates agreed, and DDH, in his GRE-studying glory, made me jealous of all the new words that he’s learning. Thus (as evidenced by this post) I am now fighting an uphill battle to regain my lost vocabulary, and rescue the $50 words from the depths of underuse and neglect. Thank you, and you may continue with your regularly scheduled message.

I needed to vent about my surreal week, my surreal life, and explain why, in the midst of shittiness and long, long days at school, I was feeling happy for a bit. Perhaps my preemptory use of the past tense was a little fatalistic, but go with me for a bit.

The first two weeks of school dragged on pretty slowly, and somewhere along the way I started to get my kids a little more in line. It’s exhausting to see the eensy weensy baby steps that each class goes through in terms of behavior management, and to realize that so much of how the school day goes is dependent on those 6 or 7 wild card kids. I selfishly got to wishing that they’d be in CSI (that’s indoor suspension, in mystic code. Nobody is quite sure what it means) just so that my class would be better behaved. Then, there came the miraculous first paycheck and then suddenly life didn’t seem so horrible. We painted the living room in South Beach hues, and I treated myself to a work outfit at Target (Tar-sshhhay). woo hoo, good times.

Impulsively bought a cat, continued to fumble through my Reading lessons, and finally started a real “story” in English. Yeah, too bad it’s about nostalgia, a little difficult to explain to 14 year olds and chosen by the English department in spite of its 11th grade vocabulary. Whatever.

Week 3 began, with me counting the hours until 9 pm Wednesday night when a nonstop flight from Philly would touch down. Somehow, news of the hurricane leaked through my tunnel vision around Sunday, and before I knew it storm fever had hit South Florida. Without a television, using primarily the NOAA National Hurricane Center for information, we stayed pretty sane, but the rest of the city was high on media hype and dramatization. Then, to my great surprise, at 8:00 pm the school board announced that students would not report on Thursday or Friday. Halelujah!!! a five, count them, five day weekend (including Labor Day). Bear in mind, this is the longest I’ve had off of work in about 3 months, and Dave is there to spend it with me.

…and now for something completely different (a la Monty Python boys)

Thursday morning came, and Virginia and I slept in till a positively scandalous 7:00 am (normal wake-up is 5:15) and put trash bags on computers for about an hour until we got paid again and then skipped out of school. I proceeded to get gas for the car, buy a couple of jugs of water, and then take Dave to the beach. How hot is that? A hurricane day, and we get to go to the beach.

Friday was blissful, much sleeping and cooking, with Francis nowhere in sight. Candles were on the agenda, so we sniffed every scent in Target until I couldn’t smell any more. We played hearts all afternoon with a Disney Princess card deck while singing the theme to Sleeping Beauty. Excuse me? Yes, that’s right. Oh yeah, half of the D Place residents high-tailed it out of dodge, and they evacuated the beaches.

The entire series of events from Wednesday night to Tuesday morning was like a jumble of sureal ocurrences not at all related to my normal life. I got to cook again: real pasta sauces, whole *meals* instead of thrown-together one-serving sustenance-only things, and black beans and rice for our impromptu hurricane potluck (complete with *really* strong hurricanes [grin]), my first batch of cookies since arriving in Miami.

Sunday we spent trying like hell to make it to the water, but the fuzz was out everywhere, adn wouldn’t even let us see the waves. Instead, we modified our plans and turned the day into a search for towelling to absorb the leak in the floor (which started mysteriously *before* the rains…), and a spray bottle with which to discipline the cat. Biting my ass while I’m sleeping is NOT acceptable behavior.

We spent one entire morning hanging pictures and listening to Duke Ellington; we spend an evening searching for the sketchiest liquor store on the planet (amaretto for the hurricanes); we walked to the park to see the wind pick up in the palm trees; we went running in the rain; we did no work whatsoever.

The entire city shut down on Saturday and Sunday, so that kind of sucked, and I think that everyone went a little stir crazy at the end, but all-in-all, a wonderful hurricane experience. Adding depth and irony to the non-sequiter nature of the break was the fact that we didn’t even lose power. I spent most of the time watching the storm creep along the satellite tracking path online, perfectly safe from any meteorological harm. Bizarre, I tell you.

Sigh. And then Tuesday came, and I had to remember that I was a teacher again. More on this later, but unfortunately (or fortuitously) I am a teacher, and have lots of responsibilities that must be seen to this evening. I tell you, the paperwork never ends. If I have to fill out one more carbon copy form or Scantron sheet, I’m going to kill someone.


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