Monday, August 16, 2010

We're Gonna Party Like It's 1980

Stein and I have watched the documentary Do You Believe in Miracles? about the 1980 US Men's Hockey team about 50 times, I'm sure.  Each time it comes on, we stop what we are doing, watch it, quote it, and get goosebumps from it.  There are certain lines that I quote occasionally out of context.  Like when I was in Steamboat screaming down the mountain and clenching my muscles out of fear, I found myself saying, "Play your game, play your game," just as Herb Brooks said to his team under pressure.

It's not surprising, then, that I quoted that movie last week when I had a major victory of my own.

I got a job.

Yes, a job.  A real, full-time, salary paying, benefit offering, kind of job.  I will be in charge of a classroom of 5th graders from the start of the year until the end.  I will know where I'll be everyday.  I will be the one calling for a sub.  I will be the one who decides where things go in the class.  

Needless to say, I'm more than excited.  I'm ecstatic.  I've been told that there were 1100 applicants, 40 were interviewed, and 18 got jobs.  I find it unbelievable that I beat those odds. It's all finally settling in, especially since I have been in orientation and training meetings for the past couple days and there are more ahead of me this week.  

The morning after I received the job offer, Stein called me at home.  "Are you still excited about your news?" he asked slyly.  "I feel like Jack O'Callahan in Do You Believe in Miracles," I said.  He laughed and asked why.  "You know, the part when he's being interviewed about beating the Russians and how he felt when they did it.  When he rolls his eyes in disbelief lets out a breath and says, 'Whoa.  We beat those guys.'  That's how I'm feeling."  

I did it.  Whoa.  I beat those guys. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Letting go, or Shutting Down

After our relaxing time of sitting by the bonfire Friday night, we had a bunch of stuff going on this weekend. I had mentioned in my last post that we were going on our canoe trip on Saturday, and then to the Tigers game on Sunday.

I typically would be all ready for the canoe trip the night before. The cooler would be packed with drinks and ice, the beach bag would be packed with towels and extra clothes, and some snacks would be bought and packed in a bag to bring on the canoe. Instead, we raced around the house on Saturday morning, grabbing things we thought we needed and throwing them into random bags, ran out of the house, and jumped into the car to race to meet our friends. I had a moment in the car to think about the day ahead, and realized we never ate breakfast. Crap. We found ourselves in the line at the McDonald's drive-thru, and scarfed down something greasy as we arrived at our destination.

The day of canoeing was great. We couldn't have asked for a better day. Warm, but not hot temperatures, bright blue skies, and no humidity. After we stopped for lunch, we found our canoe attached to 3 other canoes of adults floating down the river. So relaxing.

I guess Stein and I were lulled into relaxation. Once we got home, we became one with the couch. We talked about the next day and the baseball game we were going to, but didn't really talk about the details or what needed to be done.

The next morning, we were up at a pretty early hour, thinking that we had some time to get ready for the day. Then my brother-in-law showed up with his back hoe and dump truck (more about this in another post), and I decided it was a good time to go for a run. When I got back from my run and Stein took care of the heavy machinery stuff, we found oursleves right back to Saturday morning. We ran around the house, gathering the things we needed for the bus ride to the game. Stein went to the grocery store to get what we needed and added some muffins to his haul. We scarfed those down as we raced over to meet the bus.

In between bites, I said, "You know, last night I sat on the couch reading a magazine when I could've been getting ready for the day today. What is my problem?"

"You shut down, Kel," Stein said. But before I could get my dander up about the comment, he added, "And that's good. You've been going all summer, and now you finally stopped."

He was right. We were going to make the bus. We had sunscreen and hats packed. We had what we needed for the bus. We survived the canoe trip the day before with what we packed.

Although I usually like the feeling of being prepared, this time everything was okay. Everything worked out. And the most important part? I was in the moment.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer is Here

Oh, I know that it's August 7th. But to be honest, I feel like summer has finally begun. Don't get me wrong, Stein and I have done our fair share of summer stuff. We planted flowers, tomatoes and herbs and watched them grow almost in front of our eyes as we sat outside eating dinner. We have enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) of the farmer's market where we ride our bikes every Saturday. We've also been running outside on a regular basis. But it wasn't until this week that I really felt like I was on summer vacation.

I got out of school in mid-June, and then had a bunch of things right after that took up my time. Then I had summer school. When that was over, Stein and I immediately got on a plane that night and flew to the VA/DC/MD area to see our friends. On the other side of that trip a flurry of activity awaited me back home. Yesterday, I was done.

Last night Stein and I put together a fire pit that we bought a few weeks back. The instructions sounded pretty simple. I was half-reading them as I took all the pieces out of the box, peeled the inspection labels off, and set them aside. It wasn't until I was trying to put the screen together that I realized the labels had a purpose. Namely, they were lettered, and you had to put each piece in a certain order. I used most of my patience trying to get it together, and Stein dipped well into his patience reserves. He ended up rigging it so it was useable. We'll have to revisit that project at another time.

Once Stein got the fire lit (after I botched my attempt), we sat back and stared into the flames. Drinking a nice glass of wine, just relaxing, and not thinking about anything. No lessons to plan, nowhere to go, no one to worry about. I was in the moment and loving it.

I know we have the most clarity at times like these. In that moment, I realized that I haven't been in the moment very much this summer. Every time I was doing something, whether it was teaching, or planning, or tutoring, I was thinking about the next thing and what I had to do. Being a teacher, you become conditioned like this: constantly thinking about what's next, anticipating the "what ifs".

Yet in doing this, I find that I don't enjoy things to their fullest. I had a great time this past weekend away (and will write a separate post about it) but also had a lot of things on my mind which prevented me from fully enjoying it.

Today we went canoeing. And tomorrow we go to the Tigers game. Two definite summer activties that I enjoyed and hopefully will enjoy fully.

It's only taken me two months to realize it, but summer is finally here.