We get up at five in the morning and drive home; our plan was for the kids to sleep int he car, but Alex is up like a shot, before he can rub the sleep out of his eyes he's calling dibs on the box of Apple Jacks, which he had been plotting to eat (there was only one box in the treat cereal selection) all week long on the ride home, but despite no napping the kids are well behaved-- thanks to modern technology: the leapster (Diego has a hang-glider!) and the DVD player (which isn't working so well because Ian likes to kick it when he loses his temper-- but one last thought, when Ian was playing in a hole full of water on the beach he kept looking up at me and saying "I'm so happy. I'm so happy that the wave came!")
Friday: my college buddy Bruce, who runs Kittyhawk Kites-- the largest hang-gliding school in the world-- gets Alex and Ian airborne in a glider; each of them fly two runs down the dune with Bruce and I holding onto the wires of the glider-- and Alex tells him he dreamed about it and then it came true; Bruce-- who is very patient-- also answers between 4 and 5 hundred of Alex's questions about the glider and teaches him what a "wing nut" is.
Wednesday: Good weather returns and we hike over the tallest dune on the East coast (Jockey's Ridge) to the sound, where Alex and Ian brave the cold water until their lips are blue; later in the day Whitney shows up for some beer drinking, and we stay up late computing everyone's mental age-- this is Whitney's new thing and it often offends people to hear his decision on their mental age so I'll just tell you his: 19 and mine: 91 . . . you'll have to figure out the rest on your own.
Monday: things look grim, Catherine has a sinus infection and rain is headed our way, but we did get some beach time in the morning while Catherine was at the doctor's-- the wind was howling off the ocean and Ian spent his time huddled in a deep hole inspecting a sand crab.
Friday night, Whitney and I stayed up drinking beer until four in the morning-- which wasn't the brightest way to start vacation-- except for the fact that I won a crucial dart bet and now Whitney has to wear the t-shirt of my choice for an entire day of the fishing trip: I'm open to suggestions and so far I'm thinking either an Elton John concert tee or some kind of cheesy vacation slogan shirt (Board me, I'm a pirate!)
This will be my last sentence for week-- we'll be at the beach and I purposely left my laptop at home, but don't get your panties in a bunch, I'll be hand-writing sentences and I'll post them when I get home; last night while drinking beer I contemplated out loud about writing seven fictitious sentences: "1) Woke up in Mexico next to my new bride" and "2) Mexican divorce laws are complicated" and I said the second one loudly just as a short brown woman and her tall brown boyfriend walke out the back door of Charlie Brown's and she gave me a withering glare and it took me a second to realize that she thought I was making a racial remark directed at her . . . and I wanted to run after her and explain that I wasn't talking about her but my Spanish is rusty and so she'll have to hate me forever.
I commuted to work twice today; Catherine actually made me recite "take the Jeep, take the Jeep" because she needed to clean and pack the Subaru for out trip, but still, I took the Subaru . . . and I didn't realize it until I was half-way down Route 18, playing with the satellite radio (that's what clued me in, I remembered that the Jeep doesn't have satellite radio)-- so I had to turn around and do it again.
After a frantic morning in class (I screwed up and permanently burned the director commentary on the DVD I wanted to show-- there was no turning it off-- so I had to come up with something to do on the fly) I ran into the English office, grabbed my sandwich, had a co-worker look up the hours of Blockbuster, and decided to walk across the orchard to get a legal copy of Michael Clayton-- but as I was about to leave the office I realized something about my sandwich . . . there was yellow cheese on it . . . and we didn't have yellow cheese at home . . . we had Swiss cheese . . . nor did we have turkey; I had eaten nearly half of a co-worker's sandwich and I didn't know what to do, so I followed the advice of everyone else: "Finish it and play dumb!" but when I was half-way across the orchard I realized that I should have just cut the sandwich in half and gave her half of my ham, swiss, and lettuce along with her turkey, yellow American, and mustard-- but it was too late and I had to face the music (someone ratted me out), but Kristyna wasn't that angry and so we swapped sandwiches and she thought mine was pretty good (aside from the balsamic vinegar, which she liked but was mildly allergic to, but I didn't see any hives on her-- and now I have learned my lesson: I will look before I eat).
Yesterday, when we informed Alex that we would be watching mommy on television (on "Classroom Close-Up" on NJN) he started pacing around the sandbox, ranting: "Just great. Great. Now we'll have to watch that. Now we won't get to watch any video. We won't get to finish Meet the Robinsons . . ." and though my wife is a celebrated and wonderful teacher, it is because she saves all her sarcasm for in the home, and now it has rubbed off on Alex.
Here we are-- "The Hanging Chads"-- a teacher posted our entire performance, including the interminable fiasco with the cords, so if you want to see us actually play, fast forward (also: you can hear Ian in the background yelling "Daddy!" although I am hard to recognize and usually blocked by the PA speaker.)
After much frustration, deliberation, and soul-searching, I spent the extra cash and sprung for my first Apple product-- an Ipod Nano-- and in honor of this purchase I would like everyone to tally how much they have spent in their lifetime on portable music players -- I know there's some closet in my parents house with thirty broken Walkmen in it; I think I'm over a grand.
High school drama . . . science teachers denounce the poetry festival . . . students are denied access to the dark artists of the pen because of quarterly reviews and quizzes in their real courses . . . tension between the departments . . . will all be forgiven by June?
I was dreading it all day, but who am I to be afraid of a little squirrel?-- so I donned my goggles, a dust mask, and a rain jacket with the hood cinched tightly around my head and wriggled into the crawl space above our bedroom ceiling; although there were no rotting carcasses, the poison was eaten and there were signs of a struggle, a mangled glue trap and rodent droppings, but nothing attacked me, and so I was able to staple screen around the venting fan and scatter repellent everywhere-- the result: our first squirrel free night of sleep in months!
I did an activity with my students today designed to replicate Stanley Milgram's infamous obedience experiment, and I found that students enjoy torturing a friend more than they do an acquaintance-- the worst punishment inflicted (I replaced Milgram's shocks with calisthenics) was twenty squat thrusts for one wrong answer . . . on a quiz the "teacher" knew was impossible-- I wish I could get away with this kind of positive punishment as an incentive . . . I'd have the smartest, fittest students in the school.
Yesterday, the sports-watch I lost weeks ago reappeared on shelf where I keep my stuff, and my question was: how did it get there?-- but after a brief but successful interrogation of my wife, I discovered that she "hid it" when the alarm was going off while she was taking a nap, and just remembered yesterday where she put it-- in the kid's food cabinet-- but if I wouldn't have asked her, I don't think would have told me her role in the mystery/crime.
I had an epiphany last night, and I'm annoyed that I didn't think of it sooner (but you can't really control when you think of an idea-- it took me seven months to realize that I can use the giant pull down movie screen in my classroom to cover a quiz on the board, so then I don't have to photo-copy it or dictate it-- and if I forget to put it up, then I can hide behind the screen and write the questions while the students are busy doing something else, which they find very amusing) and so when Alex stumbled in with his blanket at one in the morning and squeezed between Catherine and I, I went into to his room because now he has a full sized bed and I slept there-- but I was so comfortable that I was nervous I wouldn't wake up so I need to put an alarm clock in there for next time.
Two things that shouldn't happen on a lazy hungover Saturday: 1) Alex hit Ian on the head with a metal shovel, ripping a gash in his scalp, and 2) a squirrel leaped over my head while I was wedged in a hole in the ceiling, standing on a ladder-- my lower body in our bedroom, my upper body in our attic-- with both hands occupied with a reciprocating saw, so that if the squirrel landed on my face and started biting my cheeks, I wouldn't be able to tear it off . . . and I was certainly running the risk that if I instinctively swatted the squirrel, I'd cut off my nose with the saw (my second trip up the ladder, with a lamp, the squirrel chuckled menacingly, and I think I'm going to purchase some poison today).
It was a long strange trip, including a detour to Queens, and we were definitely the most inebriated people in the gallery, but it was certainly worth it: Courbet is the king of dogs, trout, and fleshy nudes (and then there was the secret gallery, which I would have missed if it wasn't for Stacy, and that's where I saw "The Origin of the World"-- I was going to post it, but then I thought better-- Google it if you dare!)
I knew that Sam Anders was reciting lyrics from "All Along the Watchtower" from the moment he said "No reason to get excited," and I don't think he's a Cylon-- instead I think the four of them are hearing music broadcast from Earth, but I don't have anyone to discuss this with because the only person who likes to talk about Battlestar Galactica is in Turkey (but I guess there's always Jack-- Jack watches everything.)
Conflict at the playground: Ian was involved in some kind of incident with a long-haired boy (who I mistakenly called a girl) but his mom and some other woman sorted it out so I didn't pay much attention (I was juggling a soccer ball) until three minutes later when I heard the woman loudly remarking to her friend "but that father just kept playing with his ball while his boy was blocking the step and when I said 'Excuse me, Nicholas wants to get through here' to him he grabbed both posts and wouldn't let go" and so I walked over and said, "You know I can hear you, and I don't like to intercede all the time with the kids, and if you've got something to say you can say it to me" and she said, "If I have something to say to you I will" and then went back to talking to her friend about the consequences of allowing "aggressive behavior" but I found an ally in the other mother that was there-- she came over and made a point to tell me how much she appreciated Alex playing with her son (who had some social problems because he was on the autistic side-- but, if pressed, Alex will socialize with a fence post) and I was starting to feel better about myself as a parent, until Alex ran over and yelled "Ian peed on the mulch" and I realized my rule about being able to pee on a tree if we're outside had backfired, because now Ian was peeing on the metal post of the jungle gym, and then minutes later, sensing weakness in the long-haired boy he had bullied (who I must say, was a head taller and probably a year older than him) Ian slid down the slide and knocked him into the mulch-- but I don't think it was the same mulch that he peed on . . . and while I was discipling Ian for sliding with malicious intent (which he is normally allowed to do, but considering . . .) Alex was introducing his new friend to tree-peeing, but they were only a couple yards off the playground so I'm sure that everyone thinks I'm raising savages.
Apparently, back when he lived in Youngstown, Ohio, Vinnie the Roofer was friends with Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini's brother, and he would often watch "Boom Boom" in his amateur fights; Vinnie was telling me about this while my son Ian ran around the house in a diarrhea filled pull-up diaper, so it was hard for me to pay close attention to the details because I was thinking about fecal leakage-- but I didn't want to interrupt Vinnie because he had just removed a squirrel's nest from my attic and I didn't want to seem ungrateful.
After over a hundred posts, I think it's time to hang it up: I'm having trouble coming up with new ideas, I'm losing time with my family, and I've finally realized that if I could channel the energy I spend on this blog towards just one needy child, I 'd be doing the world a great service-- in short this blog is trivial, frivolous, and in no way contributes to the betterment of man; in fact, not only am I ashamed of myself for perpetuating this self-serving, egotistical waste of time and bandwith, but I'm also ashamed of you, my fans, who could be taking more initiative at work, spending more time with your own family or pets, or simply planting trees and cleaning up litter in your neighborhood instead of reading these long-winded and often grammatically suspect sentences from a small-minded man.