Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Das Wereweinerhundgeisterhaus!

"Ich lebt in einem wereweinerhundgeisterhaus mit einer vogelscheuche und einem hexenmeister."
I live in a were-weinerdog ghost house with a scarecrow and a warlock.
-Doug, at dinner, speaking his own very special brand of German

I took today off because I am beat. Exhausted. And feeling that "I'm going to throw up or pass out" kind of feeling. So being home, curled up with many dogs and the Steelers Fleece is the best place to be. I updated the Boy Scout Troop website (we have a huge fundraiser coming up at the end of October) and before I slip off into sleepies I thought I ought to write an update.

Our exchange student is spectacular.

I took the day off on Friday to clean house and have decided I want a cleaning lady. Yikes. But I digress. Jess and I picked her up on Friday evening, and brought her home where Doug had just arrived and where Geoff was waiting for us. We decided to go out to eat. The girl she is actually doing her exchange with (Raina) came with us (long story, Raina couldn't host her at all, so a 2nd family was asked to host her and then they backed out... if you read my last entry, that's how we ended up hosting. It wasn't Raina's fault at all, and she feels horrible about the whole situation, but we're not mad at her or anything. She's a gem and we love her).

We had a lot of fun and unlike 2 years ago when Jess didn't talk much in German and our exchange student was shy, the languages were flying. Raina and Jess were speaking German. Melanie was speaking English, and Geoff was speaking some crazy Geoff language of Spanish, German and English as he so desperately tried to fit in. It was entertaining and sad at the same time. I had to pull him aside and ask him to scale it back, not compete, and just be himself. He had decided since she was from Germany she wouldn't know any English so he had better at least pretend to speak her language. I understood his efforts, and thought them very kind. He's figured out she speaks perfectly good English, and has finally calmed down. Doug and I spoke "Denglish" as Raina calls it.... English mixed with some Deutsch words. Lots of laughs were flying.

salisbury 24We kept Melanie awake until 9pm when she finally collapsed into bed.

Saturday afternoon we went out to Salisbury Beach. The dogs needed a good run, and swim, and she wanted to see the ocean from somewhere other than a plane. She's been to places like Spain and whatnot but wanted to see our ocean. So we threw sticks and looked at Newburyport and watched a ton of people with their horses and I took more pictures of strangers and horses than I've ever taken in my life. They were so pretty on the beach.

Funny, the last time we were up at Salisbury Beach with a German Exchange student we saw exactly the same thing... now that I think of it. All the photos are here, if you'd like to see.

Saturday night Jess and I went to a Bat Mitzvah party and Melanie spent the evening with Raina's family. I think Melanie would have enjoyed the Bat Mitzvah party because they played all of her favorite music and there were Rebels there who would have embraced her. I know the mom of the Bat Mitzvah gal would have welcomed her to the party no problem... but I didn't want to overwhelm her with 10,000 new strangers after being here for less than 24 hours. Upon reflection, I think she would have done just fine, splendid, wonderfully. Ah well. I took a million pictures of Rebels and others with glow stick necklaces and chaos... the photos are here if you want to see. A couple particularly nice ones are there of our Jess.

whitefield day 18Sunday we took her to our church, and it was a special and different service. Our pastor dresses up as one of the most famous of the Great Awakening church fathers and he does a truncated version of one of his 3 hour sermons. I'm sure it was impossible for her to follow because I was lost and confused... but Rob (our pastor) was all dressed up with the wig and everything so a good time was had by all.

Afterwards, we toured the church from top to bottom, and she got to enjoy the view from the steeple. It was a very nice time.

The work week started and our German Guest went to the high school for the first time -- she said that she had a great time, and that everyone was really friendly. We watched "House" in English and she liked it. She didn't know Hugh Laurie was that guy... yeah. That guy. I was happy to finally see the season premiere, which I hadn't had a chance to catch yet. In fact, now that I think of it I missed the last two episodes of last season, so ... hmmm. Gotta go back and dig into some Hulu or Fox online and catch up.

Melanie has a great sense of humor. The other night we were watching a news report about the German elections, and they kept showing footage of revelers at München's Hofbrauhäus and I said "Look at all these stereotypes! Look how the American media portrays Germans!!! Like a bunch of drunken jerks!" She responded "Oh but that IS how Germans are all the time!" Which I thought was adorable. Monday night we sat around the dining table while Doug looked up words in Google Translator and tried to say them, and it made her laugh so hard. She would correct him, he'd try and say it... and so on and so on, much to our great amusement. At one point he was yelling about Bird Poop and Scarecrows (vogelscheuche) because his "scheuche" was coming out like Scheiße (oh I do love the German double S thingie!). I told her basically I would put money on the fact there wasn't another family in our school district with an exchange student at their house from Germany sitting around the dining table talking about wereweinerhundgeister and vogelscheuche. Guaranteed.

This weekend, the girls are off to NYC in an adventurous trip with Germans and American's mixing it up. Two 2 years ago when The Germans were here, you'll recall that on the same NYC weekend we went to someone's wedding with our German exchange student (GES, remember me calling her that for short? lol). And then we spent two days enjoying Manhattan, which you can read about here and here, if you are so bored at work you can't think of anything else to do.

Melanie is with us through the 15th, when we put her on an airplane and send her away. I already feel like I'll miss her. Three weeks is such a short time. Wow. But ... today she is in Boston doing the Museum of Science. Then to NYC with my daughter. Then they'll have a couple field trips during the week, including one to the town where I work and I may try and see them for a few minutes while they are there. I also think I will take her to the second annual Salem Zombie Walk, which takes place on October 10th (she said it sounds like fun, and I think she honestly means it). We may go with Pastor Rob out on his boat out to see whales on the 10th too, if that works out. Not sure yet... Have to wait and see.

Doug's parents are coming up to nearby Manchester NH for some sort of convention for some glass stuff that they're into. So we'll have a visit with them in late October... I wish they were actually coming to visit while Melanie is here.

Anyway, I so desperately need a nap right now. This has taken me longer to write than I thought because I got two phone calls and a house guest in the middle of it. I'm sure there will be more adventures coming up soon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Unexpected but not Unwanted Guest

The phone rang while we were watching some one of the 4pm football games on Sunday afternoon. Probably the Steelers, but I cannot recall. It was Jess' German teacher and she was not at all happy.

"I am not sure what to do, but I need to ask you a favor..." she started. She is a lovely and sweet woman, and my heart started pounding wondering what could possibly be wrong. "I need a host family for one of the students coming here on Friday, and I'm wondering if you can take her in." She told me the story of how the original exchange family cannot host her, and the substitute exchange family deicided that they just can't take her.

"Sure. We'll take her."

I looked at Doug, who was lounging upon the couch watching his football and he rolled his eyes, but he knew in his heart of hearts that I was right speaking for us. "OH!" said Jess' teacher, "Thank you!!! I don't know what I would do without you!"

It isn't about her praising me, it was more about me thinking "What if this was my kid, and she was on her way to some Foreign Country, and her host family flaked." What would I hope for ... someone to step up.

So our German arrives tomorrow afternoon. Jess didn't sign up for the exchange program so we're not prepared for this. She's not planning on going to Germany in June, this is actually someone "else's" student, which is all fine and good. Some of you may remember 2 years ago right now when we had Anna here as our "German." She was fantastic. We went to my sister's wedding and had a hands down blast.... and Jess went to Germany and stayed with her family in June 2008.

Melanie will come to us, and we'll surrogate host her, I guess. But already I've had a wonderful time emailing with her. And I can't believe in 24 hours she'll be sleeping upstairs.

I do feel a little self-satisfied. I'm so willing to just fling open my doors and let whomever in... it's just too bad my house is a fucking DISASTER and needs to be top to bottom scrubbed.

I took a vacation day tomorrow.... so the scrubbing/vacuuming can take place. And it will. dude. It totally will.

So not much else to say except I plan on a German living with us starting tomorrow. And it is freaking me out. I should be cleaning... but oh man. German. Don't mention the war!

While she is here, she will be going to NYC with the full group (Americans and Germans) and spending 2 days heading out to Niagara Falls with just the Germans. They'll come down to Salem, and I may try and tag along with them when they do.

The weekend of October 16th, I'm going "home." My High School Marching band is having a reunion. I'm going to stay with my sister, and I'm kind of super looking forward to it because Linda (my baby sister) and I have never been in Band at the same time together... so this will be the first and only time I get to march with her. I wasn't going to go do this trip, but when I realized this fact, I had to go.

I loved high school marching band, the fun field shows and challenging programs. And Linda and I were never in band at the same time, so this will be an amazing time.

If I can remember how to play my flute or saxaphone.

There may be some awesome people there and I'm almost out of control excited about seeing people that might be there. More to come on this in the coming weeks, I'm sure.

But wow. High school. Marching band. Woot!

Anyway -- not much else going on. A lot of Scout stuff keeping me busy and the German thing, and ... wow. That's about it kids. Hope all is well with all y'all. Watch this space as usual.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fill-in-the-Blank Day(s)

It was a busy weekend, one where I managed to pull an event together by the skin of my teeth.

Does your town have "Insert your town name Days"?


Well, we do. We have "Insert your town name Days" around here. This is a community event that just about every town up around here in New England has. The "days" consist of a PTA cake walk, and ice cream social at a local church and another church does their pancake breakfast. Usually there is soccer sign up or basketball sign up, or a raffle for the local historical society, a band, and a bunch of other shenanigans.

Small towns have these "days" which are usually one "day" but let's not argue about that. Suffice to say, the Boy Scouts play a major role in whatever the town "Days" is. Our town is no different. Our Troop does a big assed barbecue. And I volunteered back in March to coordinate it. It also turns out to be our Troop's big fundraiser for the year. Last year, our "days" was canceled because of rain. this year, not so much.

We got food donated to us (if you live anywhere near Haverhill MA, I will extol the virtues of Haverhill Beef Company to you, and the fine folk at Fantini Bakery also helped out). Our Scouts and parents step up to man the grill, the cash register and do all kinds of good works.

We watched the forecast for weeks... it was perfect perfect perfect and then all of a sudden it was supposed to be pouring out on Saturday.

Absolutely POURING.

They had a rain date scheduled, but there was one problem. They didn't TELL anyone about the rain date, except the vendors. So the info that went home with the elementary school students, the announcement in the paper... not one mention was made of the rain date. Which was stupid. And it pissed me off. Because why HAVE a slated rain date and then not tell anyone about it. Dumbasses. But. Whatever. So they opted to go ahead and do it. Have it go on and ... move everything INSIDE (at the fire station) and run it indoors.

One problem -- you can't grill INSIDE the fire station.

Yet again, Troop 87 would be representin' in the pouring rain. it isn't a Troop 87 event if it isn't raining. I think we've all gotten used to this by now.

The night before at 11pm I'm on the phone with parents, people squabbling... "I can't believe they're not just doing it on Sunday!!!"

"I know, I know... but I'm not in charge so..."

"This is so stupid!"

"I know, I know... I fully agree!"

"It's gonna be BEAUTIFUL on Sunday!!! What the hell! Don't they know no one is going to come out on Sunday!!!!"

"I know," (insert sound of my head hitting the dining table), "I agree," (bang, bang bang).

Groveland days 3We were up at 7am, rushing to get ready, tying all the loose ends up. Veteran parents who have done this thing before were essential to me, keeping me from losing my mind. We got everything set up, and at 10am started up the grill. I borrowed a wok from my friend Gary and we stir fried the onions and peppers for sausages... we did just what we needed and then when we needed more we did more. The boys were psyched about the giant wok. I've never seen boys this psyched about ... a cooking device.

It poured. It so poured. It was horrible. Everyone else was inside, but we were outside, and people eventually came out to see us. And our food started selling. And we were cranking out the goods. Sausages! with Peppers and Onions! Burgers! with or without cheese! Hot dogs!

My concern was that we'd recoup our costs of about $500. We did. We doubled that. We ended up clearing about $600.
And at the end of the day, that's not bad.

The boys were in good spirits, and that made everything much better. Our senior patrol leader is so much fun, I adore him. We had a great time, and he kept everyone laughing (including me). I had a great time, and while it would have been much nicer to do it on a nice, sunny day -- like today -- we had a great time. I love these guys. And it was time well spent.

Today I slept until 1pm. I guess I was exhausted. After the whole summer of Shakespeare touring, and then this event on top of things... sleep was well earned.

Major league football kicked off this past Thursday but today was the first Big Day of game play. And you all know that I love me some football, we watched quite a bit of it today (once we woke up) and then later in the day we went to get Jess' senior pictures taken. My friend Peter is a great photographer, and I didn't want a 3 hour studio shoot with hundreds of dollars of photos and prints and whatnot, so I asked him to do her photos. We wanted to do it at Winnekenni Castle, but there was a wedding there tonight. So we ended up at a playground, which was Jess' idea.

She didn't even WANT senior portraits done, but I told her that her parents and grandparents and Auntie would want them, so we had to do something. So the playground was fun, informal, but professional. Peter took a ton of photos and will send me the best to pick from. One will be yearbook worthy... and some will be just fun and silly and happy. And in the end, that's all I wanted. I love my girl. So if she wants portraits at a playground... that's all right by me.

On that note, I'm officially very tired. Putting up photos into Flickr and going to bed. Good night friends.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Epistles of Love

Pictured here is a little scene from "Twelfth Night."

Three of the funniest people to "hide" behind a box tree. Sir Andrew in front, Sir Toby with the hat on and Fabian. They are watching Malvolio as he reads an "Epistle of Love" from the Lady Olivia. He thinks it is written to him, and confesses Olivia's love for him. The three musketeers above know it is a prank, as he reads " be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." Later he'll make his entrance with yellow stockings crossed gartered, much to Olivia's disgust, and he'll "thrust" greatness upon her. With hilarious results.

"Twelfth Night" was an amazing experience, and unlike each of the other two tours I really felt connected with this cast, not just my daughter and a couple of people. I had a wonderful time working on this tour, loved the production, loved the locations where we were booked to play, loved the directors, loved the comedy that they produced that just seemed to get better and better each time. We did ten shows, and I would have liked to have seen it five more times. It was that good. I loved it all, and going through my photos, which are all here in a collection, I relive it over and over and it brings me such joy.

I miss the kids. And I miss what I was doing. Keri always tells the kids that after the experience is over, and she has told us parents too, that the kids will sometimes get really depressed after the run is over. Well, I didn't think that it would hit me like this, but I have hit that dark place myself.

After this wonderful experience, I think I'm officially bummed in ways I haven't been in years.

I miss them, watching them, talking to them, spending time with them, and helping them and their directors do what they needed to do. I feel like what I was doing was full of such incredible meaning. I was able to do so much and experience the artistic side of me that is so lacking anymore. While the experience was fantastic, it also showed me that I'm just not happy where I am vocationally. I'm really rather unhappy. And I have been for a long time.

I don't know what I'm doing with and in my life at the moment, and it just really has hit me hard these past few weeks. I tried getting my masters in education, and realized that my starting salary would be 20k less than what I'm earning now. There is no real incentive for me to go do that. So, I'm semi-floundering right now. But I will get over it. It'll be okay.

Halibut 4Can I tell you why this picture is funny?

We did a show at Halibut Point State Park, and upon arrival a bunch of the kids saw this sign and thought it was hysterical.

The sign is telling readers "Danger! This is a Quarry." But with no punctuation, it can come off as the name of the quarry, like Danger Quarry... instead of Danger, Quarry! or Danger! Quarry!

So everyone laughed hard, and we sang a James Bond kind of song about Danger Quarry! Filled with Danger! And some boulders! And some rocks! Danger Quarry!

Doug said "where on earth would you ever find a mess of kids who know enough about punctuation to find "Danger Quarry" this amusing?" And we laughed our asses off for hours. Everyone wanted their picture taken with the sign. It became part of the play. During the scene where Malvolio finds his letter and Toby, Andrew and Fabian hide from him, Fabian hid behind it with excellent comedic results. It was leaned against, became almost like a prop or set piece. During his sword fight with Viola, our Sir Andrew did this great "Grrrrr, Rawrrrrrr" to be all tough sounding. And on this night he said "Grrrrrr, Rawrrrrrr, DANGER QUARRY! RAWWWRRRRR!" and the audience died laughing, the cast almost lost it... it was amazing.

I want to make him a t-shirt that says "Danger Quarry" on it. I want everyone to have one. I want one.

Twelfth Night - Museum Marketplace Salem MAWe had a wonderful run with a few weather related problems.

Hurricane Bill (aptly named for Shakespeare perhaps?) was threatening us for days. Luckily what it ended up doing was force storms out to our West to STAY to our West. On Saturday, I stood in downtown Salem outside of the Hawthorne Hotel before our show at the Salem Common, and looked at a wall of clouds, the backside of a massive thunderstorm that was up over Peabody. Lightning raged all up and down the back of the cloud walls, and I begged it to just STAY over there.

And it did.

We didn't get so lucky on the Sunday night of the run.

We were in East India Pedestrian mall outside the Peabody Essex Museum doing our show, which in and of itself has a great story that I'll tell next. A huge crowd had gathered, and we used the fountain interior as our stage. It was wonderful to have so many people there. The cast had done some serious street teaming during the day on Saturday and the hour before this show. We were thrilled to have a great audience for this unique little spot.

Our cast used the islands inside the fountain wonderfully. It was fantastic and the show was running smoothly. Three scenes left in the play, it started to rain, so we opted to go inside the Museum Place Mall.

It was after 6:30 at night... and we figured it would be no problem. No one was really in there, it's kind of like the place you'd film a post-apocalyptic zombie movie or something because it seriously has very little human traffic in it. Our audience quickly and quietly relocated to inside the mall, and the show started again. Everything was going smoothly, fantastically. Sir Andrew made his dramatic and very loud entrance yelling "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, A SURGEON!!!" and the audience busted out laughing.

Suddenly, the security guard came around the corner. He rushed over to Zoe, our stage manager, and I cold see him gesturing at her. So I ran over to intercede.

"You people can't be in here!. You don't have permission to be in here!"

I apologized, told him it was POURING out and we only had three more scenes. Five more minutes! We didn't think it would be a problem.

"You don't have permission. I'm calling my boss."

"Okay, sir, please understand, it is POURING out and we're almost done. Seriously there is only about five minutes left in the play."

"And then, I'm calling the cops."

Oh seriously. You have got to be joking.

I looked out the window -- noticed that the rain had stopped and looked at our director who was watching me carefully. I nodded at her and mouthed, "Get them outside now."

She stood up and halted the scene. She gently told the audience we were going back outside, and people complied. I was impressed again by their quickness and efficiency. We barely lost an audience member, they wanted to see what the outcome of this silly story was going to be. While the audience and cast reassembled outdoors in the fountain, I went over to the security booth to talk to the dude. He was on the phone with his boss and I asked to talk to him. I apologized profusely, and said that basically we thought we didn't have an option with five minutes left.

"Yeah, but you should have asked. If you asked, we could have made arrangements."

So it sounded to me like it was all about asking the permission and he was more hurt than mad.

"I'm sorry, if I knew it was going to start raining, you better believe I would have asked you. I'm sorry. Friends?" I stuck my hand out.

"Next time just ask me first and we'll be all set."

Okay champ. We shook hands and declared no harm, no foul.

I went outside knowing he didn't call the cops and watched the kids finish their show. In the distance, I cold hear police sirens and Chris, HBK and McKey looked over at me, somewhat wide-eyed and terrified. McKey got up and came over to me, he had directed the July show and was up from NY to see this show. He was all ready to be tough, arms crossed, chin jutted out. "Do I need to diffuse the situation with the cops when they show up?"

Twelfth Night - Museum Marketplace Salem MA"They won't be showing up. I diffused the situation with Mr. Security guy with love and words so we're all set."

We stood together and watched the end of the play. Pretty much the minute the play ended, I managed to get a full cast shot inside the fountain, and then the rain started up again. And it would not let up again for 20 hours.

Good thing we had the next day off.

The funny story about the fountain is that I had arranged with the city of Salem to make sure that the fountain would not be running the day of the performance. I had gone to a zoning board meeting, and gotten a street performer's license (awesome) and told them my plan was to stage the show inside the fountains on the island, and that it was okay if water was inside the fountain but that the waterfall would be too loud for the kids to compete with. They assured me that the fountain would be off.

We got there, and the fountain was running. D'oh. It being a Sunday evening I knew there was no chance I would be able to get ahold of anyone to turn the silly thing off. The kids were rehearsing and working on projecting over the fountain. I saw a city truck coming up the pedestrian mall to take out the garbage. I trotted over to ask the guys if they had keys or access to keys to turn the fountain off. They called their boss, and they told me he'd be over as soon as he could. Their boss, Tom, was there in ten minutes, on his day off even, with five keyrings with about 100 keys each on them.

"I turned this off on Friday," he told me. "Someone decided to turn it back on, and unfortunately, I think they still have the key ring with the key that opens this lock!" He told me that he got an email on Friday letting him know to make sure it was off for the weekend.

I thanked him for coming out on his day off. He was irritated with whomever decided to turn the fountain back on and shook his head. He apologized repeatedly, and I told him it was okay, the kids would project as loud as they could. The fountain looked awesome, so that was nice.

He tried every Master Lock key on the keyrings and none of them would open the lock. "I'm going back to the shop for a bolt cutter, I'll be right back."

"Oh! You don't have to do that!" I didn't want him to have to replace the lock for us. "I have a million master locks, it's no big deal."

So he came back, and used the bolt cutters to cut the lock, turned the fountain off. I tried to pay him for the lock and he wouldn't take the money. So he and the two guys who called him in all got hugs from me. They wished me luck with Hurricane Bill, and one said "Hey, Bill Shakespeare, that's funny!" Even the city workers got the humor in the hurricane name.

Bill didn't turn out to be a huge factor but Tropical Storm Danny did. We enjoyed the whole rest of the week with no bad weather, until the one show that I wanted to do outdoors was rained out. Saturday, we were scheduled to do the show out on a little island in Marblehead Harbor. The island is accessible at low tide only, visitors walk out when the water is low and enjoy this little island. Well, the rain prevented us from doing that. Luckily, the UU church in Marblehead was willing to host us, and we had our final show indoors, with epic and amazing results. I watched most of it instead of taking photos, it was really a fun performance where the kids let it all out. I was horribly disappointed to not have the show on the little island. I think that a lot of people thought I was crazy, or they thought it was awesome. My cell phone rang off the hook with people wondering where the show was. One woman told me she was really looking forward to the island. I guess that it was a weird and wonderful choice that some folks in town thought was awesome. I think a nice crowd would have come out. Oh well.

At least we had a nice contingency plan in place, and in the end it all worked out great.

Several friends come out to see the kids in their plays this year, and it really made me happy. Beth and the Dane came to both shows, Elizabeth was at Rockport, as were Gregg, Karry and Abby. A bunch of the Boy Scout troop parents came to the castle. Jess' theatre teacher was even there. I wish she had seen Hamlet to see Jess, Nick and Byron -- but at least she came to see Twelfth Night, and she really loved it.

They all told me how wonderful the production was, how incredible the acting, the presentation... and that was so awesome. I've been telling everyone how great they are, and hearing from them afterwards that it isn't just my imagination was so awesome and made me so happy.

Doug started a new job this week. He had been working a 4 day work week at a Boston Hospital and augmented his income with 2 days a week Home Health Care. A six day work week made for no fun Doug, but he liked the two days a week doing Home Health. He couldn't find a good full time home health gig, so keeping the hospital medicaid/medicare paperwork gig was important. He started looking at the beginning of the summer, and got a good job for a five day a week position at another Boston hospital, which he can actually get to by taking the commuter rail. It pays about 15k more than what he was earning at the other hospital, which makes sense for the extra day... and it is half the work load of what he had before. Hopefully he'll be pretty happy with this job.

Jess is very happy. She is a senior this year, and after her first day she was smiling and excited about her course work. "For the first time in my life, I'm taking classes I want to take." She had to drop AP German because everyone else in the class dropped the course, leaving her as the only participant on the roles so the school wouldn't run a course for one student. Can't say as I blame them. She only had half the summer work done, so she was semi-relieved but a little pissed because she was the only one who did ANY of the summer work. All of the students are now in Honors German now. She is still going to try and prepare for the AP test anyway, because taking it could help her a lot when it comes to college admissions especially if she gets a 4 or even the elusive 5 for a score. She is starting to look at colleges, and surprisingly it doesn't break my heart. The one problem is she doesn't FEEL LIKE going to SEE the colleges. She thinks that she can just pick a college based on their website. I disagree. I think a campus visit is mandatory. So far she's been to UMass Amherst, is interested in University of Southern Maine, University of Maine Orono (way too expensive. 30k a year for out of state students???? what???) and University of Pittsburgh. So we're going to have to convince her that actual site visits are worthwhile. Wish me luck.

Geoff started middle school, which is really the new normal for all of us. He is up at 5:45 every day getting ready for school. I so wish I had that kind of gumption. He is showered, dressed and eating breakfast by the time I roll my fat ass downstairs for my first cup of coffee. I opted to drive both of them to school this year, as our high school and middle school are right next door to one another, and we're also driving MM, our next door neighbor who Jess has been friends with since kindergarten.

I drop them off at 7am. My plan was to drop them off and go straight to work but since Doug has been in my way every morning my plan of being 100% ready to go has been thwarted, so I've come home to get ready. We all need to figure out our new schedules and get in synch together.

The great thing about Geoff is he's happy too, and I have not had a phone call from the school yet. Yet. I know there will be a call eventually, but for now, he's happy and I'm happy and that's good. Cross your fingers that it stays this way.