Monthly Archives: February 2013

The lasts

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This is a season when more and more I’m noticing the lasts. At least for a long time. Today we had our annual fundraiser kick off at school for 6,7,8th grade choir. Next year…I won’t be the one dealing with it. Next weekend we have Solo and Ensemble contest and so begins the trickle of spring events that are coming my way and the downhill slide towards my sabbatical.

56 more days. That’s really not that many.

I’m already changing gears somewhat. Today I even bought the storage bins to start packing my music stuff up from school. There is a good chance that if and when I do go back to teaching after my sabbatical I may not have the same position as I do now…so I have to bring everything home. After 14 years of teaching…it’s just about as bad as packing up a house. Well not quite…but still a lot. I figured I better start pacing myself and start the process now so it doesn’t feel overwhelming come May.

I’m noticing more and more the decisions that need to be made for next year and the future are not nearly so much on my shoulders and I’m just fine with that.

A coworker asked me just this week if I thought I would be back. I told her honestly, I’m not sure. Realistically…most likely, yes. But…I’m really incredibly open to a wide variety of scenarios that could occur. I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

The beauty of the decision is that I’m not forced to make it today. I have time.

It won’t be long til spring is here. My last season in school. Already teachers are looking forward to May. I asked a teacher just today how she was doing and she said…”I’ll be better when May gets here.” It’s a common feeling. It doesn’t mean that a teacher is bad if they feel that way…I think it just means that this job is exhausting.

Just today I corralled three classes of students…the last one being about 110 kids to be quiet to listen to the pitch of the fundraiser lady. That sounds easy…unless you’ve actually been the one having to do it.

Next week I’ll start bringing stuff home. This weekend I want to put some finishing touches on my music room at home. And as soon as I can make the front yard/driveway look presentable I want to put a sign out front for lessons. I’m hopeful.

My writing has also taken off in some ways. Oh…I’m not going to say it’s popular or going to bring in any finances. But…I feel like I’ve got several directions to write in right now. And I’m enjoying it. For some people they only want to read one book at a time, or do one task all the way through or write about one thing. For me…I kind of enjoy the variety. So in one moment I’m thinking about my two girls, writing down memories, wisdom and thoughts from my heart on my letters to lead you home blog. In another I’m writing about music and my trade, what I know and can pass on on my going solo blog. On another blog I’m writing about what makes a great story, a well lived life…and I’m enjoying the process because in the writing I’m working through my own story on my blog one life well lived. And on this blog…I’m just tracking stuff that is different and unusual, preparation for a year off.

I mentioned to the fundraiser lady at school today on a break what I’m doing next year and she said…”that whole idea just gives me shivers because it’s so exciting!” Who knew taking a year off could seem that exciting. I didn’t tell her any grand plans that we have or any exotic places we’re going to travel. I just told her that my girls and I were going to be home and take in this last year before Lauren starts college. She has a daughter…she understood the feeling and desire.

So that’s what I’m writing about here…because I know my situation is very unique. I don’t know one other person, one other woman who has done what I’m doing when her children were teenagers. I’m not walking in anybody else’s footsteps, at least as far as I know. I think that’s kind of what I like about it. Blazing my own trail.

In this season of lasts, I want to finish well. I might be back, good chance I’ll be back and I want it to be a good thing for people to see me come back. I want to feel like I have something to contribute that will be missed when I’m gone. I think we all want to feel that way. I also want to finish well just because i know that’s how integrity works. These 8th grade kids are in their last year at middle school and this is a really significant time for them. I want to do it justice. So I will be giving my best right up to the end.

But on the rough days and the moments when I’m overwhelmed, it’s a comfort to know that soon I will be done.

I did it!

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Huge accomplishment today for me.

On Monday I ordered an antenna off of amazon. This is how it started. We went over to a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and I saw their indoor antenna and the channels they could get for free and decided…surely we could do the same. They were kind enough to answer my questions and encourage me on.

So…I scoped out many, many antennas and then made my best guess as to what would work.

Today a large box arrived…with many parts to assemble. I hate that kind of stuff…but I will say I’ve done it enough now that I can pretty much figure it out if I just read the directions carefully. I got it all together, hooked up all the cords to the tv, turned on the tv hoping that it would just magically work and had nothing.

Thankfully…I remembered that one person had posted there was a thin film on the reflector that you needed to take off for it to work. I’m so thankful that person posted that needed information. I found the thin film and took it off…still no channels. I then tried scanning the channels on my remote to see if I could get anything at all. Nothing.

Assembling it was a job, but technology is also not my thing. But I kept in there and kept checking out various things to see if I could figure it out…finally I noticed that you had a choice to choose between antenna and cable on one of the menu pages…wala…we have 14 channels.

Pure joy…not so much because I love tv…but because I was able to solve the problem on my own!

We’ve now been without regular tv since last May. We love netflix and watch series of tv shows on it without commercials and in marathon sessions and have been just fine with that…but it occurred to me that an antenna could be purchased cheaply and we would be able to watch a few channels that we might enjoy. Plus when my dad or my father in law come…I think they’ll enjoy my house a little more too:). I was also thinking that with the music business I’m trying to start it might be crucial to have some available channels for kids waiting for lessons…I’m being optimistic. I remember doing that when I was a kid waiting on piano lessons.

All of that to say, loud and proud “I did it!” honestly…I actually prayed when it seemed like it wasn’t going to work and I believe God gave me some presence of mind to look in the right areas to figure it out.

There are so many times as a widow when I feel a little paralyzed when it comes to handyman stuff, technology and assembling stuff. I give it my best…but often feel like I just have to deal with how it is. I hate the thought of calling on others when I know so many others are busy in their own situations. Maybe it’s pride, I don’t know. But it’s also reality. At this point…sometimes I think I need a resident handyman and technology person even more than a husband. Ok I say that in jest…a best friend would be pretty awesome too:)

I just had to record this moment…What is our first show we’re watching…Family Feud. I can tell our lives are improved already. (read with some sarcasm:)

By the way…for those of you still paying for cable…you really can get channels for free and not have that bill anymore. I wish I would’ve done it sooner!

Tuesday ramblings. A bunch of unrelated stuff on my mind:)

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It’s a good thing I started the day out yesterday with gratitude because it was a doozy of a day. Good news…we are back in business with our sewer system and I hope to never have to go through that process again. Bad news…I won’t be parking on my driveway anytime in the near future. But this is a small price to pay for the time being.

Looks like more snow tonight…hmmm…maybe a snow day tomorrow. You never know :).

My daughter Lauren has her second drive appointment tonight so I have conflicting emotions…it would be nice if it could at least hold off til after 7pm.

I continue to clean and go through stuff and get rid of enormous piles.

Just yesterday I went through more books, scarves, and my entire filing cabinet of paper work. I continue to make my way around the house going through everything. My motto…less is more!

I did finally decide yesterday after not having any cable or any access to tv since last May beyond netflix or hooking my ipad up to the tv a day later, to go ahead and get an indoor antenna thing. It was inexpensive. I’m curious to see how well it will work. The honest truth, I haven’t really missed the normal tv access at all. Oh…once in awhile there is a show on like Downton Abbey that I wish I could watch…but I figure eventually I’ll just watch it on Netflix. I’ll just be behind a bit. No biggie.

I have a feeling it’s been more of an issue with the girls. But it has been nice to have no commercials pretty much in my home for almost a year. Haven’t missed them a bit. Helps on the less is more thing when you don’t even know what’s new and great that you should want to run out and purchase:).

I also discovered yesterday that I can fairly easily get short term health insurance (enough for a year) through my insurance agenct much, much less expensive than I thought I could. That makes my heart happy. So…for those of you concerned, yes we will have some type of health insurance when I’m on my leave.

I have no idea what will happen in a year…whether I’ll go back or not. And I’m trying to not worry about it or even give it too much thought. I’m afraid if I do I will just cling to time and not just enjoy it as it comes.

Last week I started my new music business out of my home called “Going Solo”. It’s a private music lesson business for piano and voice that I’m trying to start. I have to admit…I wish it would get off the ground faster than it is. Reminder to self…it’s only been a week, and it’s not really at a convenient starting time…but you know how it is. You get a great idea and run with it and you kind of want to see the kite take flight so to speak. Hopefully in time. Just trusting that whatever is to be will be.

I even passed out letters to my neighbors (5) telling them I would offer free lessons to somebody in their home for a year. I haven’t heard back from anybody. Not many children in those homes…so maybe it wasn’t a good plan. I may still try a few more homes…or I may just let it go, we’ll see.

It’s a little challenging when you feel the momentum is moving forward and you’re pushing up hill and then the momentum just kind of gets hard and suddenly you realize that it might just roll back over top of you. I realize it’s not been long, so I’m not giving up…I’m just doing a bit of self reflection here. Anything good is hard right?

So…it’s Tuesday, I was able to take a long shower this morning. For that I’m grateful…I was able to flush the toilet and not worry about water usage…again grateful. I have 59 days left of school. Each time the number moves into a new 10’s digit it seems nice. I can do this. Three day weekend on the horizon too…that’s always nice.

Have a great day.