August 31, 2005

Things to be thankful for...

I spent a lot of my spare time today surfing CNN and the "Katrina Aftermath" blog. Two things leapt to mind; first, I didn't mean to be jumping on a faddish bandwagon; I just started blogging when I did because I finally realized how easy it had become, and that I had something a few people wanted to hear about (Emily and Laura :-) ). That said, I've been amazed (and, frankly, impressed) at how well the blogosphere works for information transfer (keeping the salt shaker handy, naturally, in case grains become needed.) Second, it's always nice to sit back and ponder how fortunate we are. I know it's a common reaction to natural disaster; there's something in the human race that revels in the "Whew! There but for the grace of God go I!" (a.k.a., "I'm glad it's not me!") reaction to tragic events. All the same, it's a good excuse to hug my little family, pat the walls of my upright, non-soggy house appreciatively, and gaze lovingly at the lights, which are ON. Let's not even talk about the luxury of a working sewer system (probably not on most people's thank-you lists...unless it stops working!)

Another thing to be thankful for: I had my six-week checkup today, and all is well. The incision has finally healed to the point where it doesn't bug me anymore (I took my last pain pill sometime last weekend, I think, and that was after many adventures out and about and lugging Emily a lot). Also, the doc says I can stop applying goop to it (she had me using Neosporin and some steroid lotion that plastic surgeons use, in rotation) and just towel it dry after showering. This will leave me more time in my day, always a good thing! And, of course, now I'm "legal" to lift Laura, which will make being alone with the girls WAY easier. I need to ease into that, though; I did feel a few twinges today hefting her in and out of her crib, no surprise after surgery and just not picking her up for a long time. The muscles need to build up again.

I'm also glad that Matt has a reasonably stable, fairly secure job. That said, he is facing the Year From Hell this year. As I remarked to him this afternoon, it would be a horrible year even if we hadn't just had a newborn; it would be a YFH even if he were single with no commitments! Here's why: the only time, really, that he's had just English classes (plus speech) was when he had the lower-level students. They present their own challenges and are usually more work IN class, but the paper load--English-teacher-speak for how many essays and other things you've got to grade outside of class time--was reasonable. Those years weren't easy; having some Social Studies classes made life easier, and brought the sparklies out in his eyes since he got to teach some of his passions.

This year, he has all English--no History, no Psychology classes--plus speech. All the classes are "on-level", which means the paper load will be large. He got his class lists today, and his classes are bigger than ever; 37 in one class! (they hovered around 20 when he started there, and I was soooo jealous! No more...) More students means a bigger paper load, not to mention the joys of just dealing with that many people for presentations, record keeping, parent contact, etc. Finally, one of those English classes is completely new to Matt; a "new prep," in teacher-speak. A new prep means figuring out all the planning from scratch, not being able to "wing it" on a down day, not having easy sub plans for days he's gone, and, of course, a lot of reading to do (he did what he could over the summer, in between home improvement, graduate school, and diaper changing, but there's always more). So he'll have way more work to do at--and, let's be honest, away from!--school, and I'll have less of his wonderful support in helping with the house and kids. Oh, and I almost forgot: his speech team assistant was cut from the budget last year, so Matt's been fundraising over the summer to keep him (we decided the time he spends away, fundraising, would be infinitely worth it if his assistant can go to a few tournaments and help out--it will save our sanity!)

If we don't call, if we seem crabby or tired, now you know why. And yes, I'm still glad he's got the job at all....I just wish it could be a little easier while we have a new baby and a toddler in the house; all of these changes came about while I was pregnant, of course! Teachers often joke of putting a Valium-lick (like a salt-lick for deer, but for humans) in the faculty lounge. Maybe we need one for our living room...

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