Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Official

I'm officially taking the year off next year. It's weird and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to spend a maximum amount of time with the baby during its first year of life. I'm happy that my husband and I are the kind of people who save money by living below our means (I don't buy killer shoes and we drive practical, gas-saving cars) which allows me to stay home. I'm excited by the idea of not having to pick out an outfit to wear everyday (at least one that matches) and not having to sit in traffic. I'm excited to have a break from what I've been doing for the past 11 years in a row. I'm happy that the crazy third graders across the hall are the class that I'm going to be skipping. They seem nuts.


I'm also kinda freaked out. I've always worked. I'm not good at relaxing. Okay, not that I'm going to be sleeping in and eating bon-bons all day during the year I stay home. Ha! Far from it, I'm sure! But I don't do well without structure. Even over my summer vacations I get a little stir-crazy by the end and almost look forward to school starting again. Almost. I fear being bored. I fear not enjoying motherhood. I fear feeling guilty for not enjoying motherhood. I worry about being lonely...I mean, a newborn doesn't make a very good conversation partner. I don't want to turn into the kind of person who talks baby talk all day to her little one and then can no longer hold an intelligent conversation with an adult because the only things she is exposed to are binkies, blankies, and poopy diapers. I will need exposure to grown up things.

So if you are a person who knows me. Please call me next year and talk to me about things that don't end in the long e sound. Invite me out to lunch. Go to a movie with me. Anything to remind me that I am still a real person.

I'll tell you one thing, though. I will NOT miss grading papers, which is what I've blown off by writing this blog entry.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Over

Today's the last day of Spring Break. As usual, I brought home stuff to work on. In fact, I brought a special, more easy-to-carry bag to work on the last day before break so I could bring a lot of stuff home. Guess where that bag is? Yup, still in the car. ( ;

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break - Friday

Friday, April 14 - Day 8
We checked out and were pleased at what a value our hotel was -- not that we didn’t know how much it cost per night, but we had been charging drinks, meals, and snacks to our room, not to mention our tour of Tikal. We went to town to have breakfast before heading to the airport. However, everything was closed due to it being Good Friday. We found one open restaurant called “Pop’s,” which was very good even though it had mediocre coffee (surprise, surprise!). We drove towards the airport and tried to take a shortcut, which somehow ended up taking us in the wrong direction. We needed to get gas before returning our rental car, but everything was closed (again due to it being Good Friday). We did find an open gas station, filled up, returned our car, and got back to the States without any problem.

Notes on Belize in general:

There are many stray dogs and cats in Belize. It’s kind of sad.

There are very noisy birds at sunrise and sunset.

People tie their horses up on the side of the “highway” so they can graze.

All highways are 2 lanes (one in each direction).

There are many speed bumps on “highways” and other roads. Many are marked, but many are not. We called the unmarked ones “stealth speed bumps.”

Humidity can have an awful effect on hair. Simona’s hair took on a life of its own.

Belize lacks adequate signage.

Papaya jelly is good.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Break - Thursday

Thursday, April 13 - Day 7
I woke up early to go to the bathroom and discovered the world’s biggest spider in the sink. I debated for about 15 minutes what I should do: should I ignore it and go back to sleep? Should I turn the water on and see if it goes down the drain? Should I douse it with some kind chemical like face wash or hairspray? No matter which option I considered, I imagined the end result being this huge, nasty, hairy spider running up the bowl of the sink followed by its entire family of other huge, nasty, hairy spiders, jumping on me and getting caught in my hair.
I finally woke Brian up and told him. He was evidently annoyed that I would wake him up because of a spider, but said he would “take care of it.” All I knew is that I did not want to be anywhere near whatever was going to happen, so I got dressed, grabbed a book, and went to the pool to read, even though it was like 6:30 a.m. Brian came up half an hour later and conceded that I was justified in waking him up: the spider was huge and nasty, but luckily, it was already dead. Eeeeeeeeewwwww.

We left for breakfast at Erva’s and had some very good coffee. Finally! We were going to Rio on Pools, which, according to our guidebook, is a series of remote waterfalls reminiscent of Ochos Rios in Jamaica. The waterfalls were in the middle of the country in the mountains. The road leading there was another moon road. Not only was it full of huge rocks and craters, but it was over 20 miles long! We made it after an hour, and it was absolutely worth it. The falls were incredibly beautiful and we had them all to ourselves…very romantic. We climbed around on rocks, found pools safe for swimming, swam to other, taller waterfalls, and just had a fantastic, adventurous, and romantic time. (The picture doesn't do the falls any justice at all. Plus, we couldn't take pictures of the coolest falls because we had to swim to them sans camera). We stayed for three hours and had forgotten all about the impending ride home, which was just as horrible as the drive there.

We returned to San Ignacio and got some sour sap ice cream. Brian bought a Belizean cd. We returned to the hotel and went swimming. This annoying woman started talking to me and within 15 minutes, I knew her entire life story. We went to dinner at Hannah’s and had the same waitress. We also saw the annoying woman there, but thankfully she did not start talking to us. We drove back to the hotel where we discovered we had a flat tire (probably due to the 40+ miles of moon road we drove on that day!). Brian changed it. I hung out by the pool and read while Brian showered. I left when I saw the biggest cockroach ever (even bigger than the one at the zoo. Yes, they had cockroaches on display at the zoo!). I went back the cabana and watched tv. I was watching What Not to Wear when we saw “Big Bob,” our friend Jen Burn’s husband, on tv! He was one of the friend’s of the makeover-ee, and he was commenting on how great her transformation was. It was weird. There we were, in Belize of all places, when we see the most unlikely guy to ever be shown on What Not to Wear.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Break - Wednesday

So if you happen NOT to be one of the 5 people who regularly read my blog, let me catch you up. I am on SPRING BREAK this week, which is great except for 2 things: it's supposed to fucking snow tomorrow AND it's already Thursday, which means the week is winding down. Therefore, I don't have any elementary school mishaps, happenings, or stories to relay, so I am sharing the blog entries I wrote on my husband's and my trip to Belize 2 spring breaks ago. Y'know, when it DIDN'T snow...

Wednesday, April 12 - Day 6
We awoke early and had breakfast at the German Bakery with high hopes of having some good, strong coffee and yummy pastries. We scored on the pastries and completely missed on the coffee. We drove to the Belize Zoo, which is a natural treasure of Belize. All the animals at the zoo have been either rescued, found, or donated: none have been taken from their habitats, which we thought was nice. We parked the car and began loading up on sunscreen. Brian tried to make out with me in the car in the parking lot, and tried to convince me that it was okay since there was “nobody around.” I conceded, and about 30 seconds later, a gigantic tour bus pulled in and very white American tourists began disembarking. Brian started making fun of how uncool a couple of them were, and I had to remind him that he, too, was a very white American tourist and that he was barely cooler than them.

The zoo was wonderful and full of funny signage. (A zoo with humor = a zoomor). Amidst seeing really cool animals we’d never heard of, like curassows, we got stuck in a brief, yet torrential, downpour. While walking around the zoo grounds, we turned a corner and saw a giant alligator just sitting there on the sidewalk. We freaked out and ran away. After calming down for a minute, we deduced that there would never be a real alligator just wandering around the zoo and carefully, carefully turned the same corner again and realized that the alligator was fake. Yeah, we felt really dumb, but it made for a good laugh.

After the zoo, we stopped at a restaurant called Cheers to have lunch. We decided to then go to the Blue Hole or cenote, which is a hole filled with water that shines a brilliant blue. This phenomenon is the result of an underground river meeting an above ground river. So we got there and realized we were not wearing our bathing suits, so we changed in the car (NOT an easy feat). We walked to the blue hole (and passed some changing rooms on the way – information that would’ve been helpful before) and found many other people there, which was reassuring, because god knows how deep this hole was. We went swimming in the rather chilly water, and it was sooooo refreshing. A family there had a tour guide with them and I overheard him saying that he was taught (in tour guide training) that the hole was created by a meteor millions of years ago, but that he doesn’t believe that because he knows that God created it.
After swimming, we went back to the hotel and went for dinner at the ever elusive Café Sol, which we finally found even though it didn’t have an address. After dinner, we had many many drinks at the hotel bar and took goofy pictures.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Break - Tuesday

Tuesday, April 11 - Day 5
We “woke up” (I didn’t really sleep) and ate our crappy pre-ordered hotel breakfast with crappy coffee to match. We met the people with whom we would be going to Tikal with: a family comprised of a father with an English accent, and two sons (Will and James). They lived in Davis, CA. We got into the van, drove to the border of Belize/Guatemala, went through immigration, switched vans, got a new driver, and drove for 2 hours on the world’s worst road to Tikal. The scenery was kind beautiful, but devastating: definitely the poorest area either of us has ever seen in our lives. We arrived at the entrance of Tikal where the driver receives a paper with the time stamped on it. From that moment, the vehicle has 20 minutes MINIMUM (yes, minimum) to arrive at the parking area. This is to ensure that nobody drives too fast in this protected area. It is home to many wild animals, including jaguars. If you take less than 20 minutes to arrive from the front entrance to parking, you are not allowed in.

So Tikal was the capital of the Mayan civilization. It is located in a protected area that is bigger than the entire country of Belize (which actually isn’t saying much seeing as though Belize is the size of my living room). We met our guide, Walter, who was the most amazing tour guide we have ever had for anything anywhere. He was incredibly knowledgeable. From the amount and depth of information he had, he could easily have had a PhD. He had been to Chicago for the sole purpose of seeing an ancient Mayan text at the Newbery Library. I am not going to go into all the ruins we saw and learned about in Tikal as it would take days. I will say that it was incredibly HOT. After the tour, which ended at about 2:00, we ate a lunch of grilled chicken and rice. We got back in the van and headed back towards Belize. We stopped at a gift shop where I bought a set of placemats and napkins for our house (fascinating, I know). We returned to the hotel, swam, and relaxed. We tried to find a restaurant called Café Sol, but it was nowhere to be found. It probably would have helped if the restaurant had an address. (While driving around trying to find the restaurant, we saw what we dreaded ever seeing: MS13 graffiti). We ended up eating at a place called Hannah’s where the same waitress who waited on us the first night we ate at our hotel (when I discovered sour sap ice cream) waited on us again. This was odd because she didn’t even work at our hotel! The manager just needed extra help that night, and she was available. Go figure.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Break - Monday

Monday, April 10th - Day 4
Monday morning we had breakfast at the hotel, where we discovered fried jacks. Fried jacks are just like paste fritte (you'll know what these are if you're Italian)!!! Basically, it’s fried dough. Yum! Unfortunately, our hotel made the WORST coffee ever, which goes to show that it doesn’t matter how close you are to the best coffee-producing countries of the world. What matters is the coffee-to-water ratio you use when making coffee.

We decided that we would spend the day “cave tubing,” which is exactly as it sounds. You ride an inner tube through caves. We read in our guidebook that this hoity-toity resort about 30 miles away hosts the tubing on the Caves Branch River. The resort is called “Jaguar Paw” and their address, and I am not making this up, is “Western Highway Mile Marker 37.” We drove to said mile marker and turned onto a “road.” This “road” was in the same condition as the driveway to our hotel. It was a moon road (remember with craters and rocks as big as my head?). Before we drove down this road, I got out to ask a man in a little snack stand if this was the correct road to Jaguar Paw. He said yes, and that we just had to drive SEVEN MILES down the moon road to get there. SEVEN MILES of moon road!! The drive was not fun. It was bumpy and I didn’t think our little jeep was going to make it. But we did and got to see a baby cow on the way. (Little things make me happy).

We got to Jaguar Paw, which we later learned has had such distinguished guests as Bill Gates (who avoided the moon road by arriving by helicopter) and Leonardo DiCaprio. We met our guide, Israel, who made us feel kinda old since he was a whole whopping twenty years old. We got our tubes and started on a half hour hike through the jungle to the drop in point of the river. On the hike, Brian’s shoe broke, which did not make walking easy for him, but he managed. Israel taught us all sorts of stuff about the jungle, like that pineapples grow from a bush, not from a tree (and one at a time, not in a group like coconuts), and that there is a tree that is nicknamed the “tourist tree” because the bark turns red and peels off. (How droll). He was really knowledgeable about the jungle and used the word “symbiosis” several times. Israel was also pretty funny. I told him I was kind of nervous about tubing through caves and asked him if he’d done this a million times. I was obviously looking for some reassurance, and he responded with, “No, it’s my first time.” (Of course it wasn’t). So we got in the river and began a very slow journey through a series of limestone caves. We were wearing headlamps so we could see all the stalactites hanging from the ceiling. When we turned off our lamps, we were in total darkness. It was really eerie. On this very slow journey, we learned a lot about Mayan culture from Israel, specifically about how the Mayans thought caves were portals to the underworld. All in all, the cave tubing was disappointing since we were drifting at about .0001 mph for approximately three hours.

Seeing as though we were going to be doing a lot of walking the next day in Guatemala, we thought it best to get Brian some new tennis shoes (since his broke). We drove to Belmopan, the capital of Belize. Belmopan is to Belize what Springfield is to Illinois, NOT a major city. When we asked a couple of women where we could find a store that sold gym shoes, they said that we’d have to go to Belize City to find brand name shoes like Nike or Reebok. Belize City is ALL THE WAY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY (okay, granted that's only like 75 miles, but still!)! Since we were willing to buy non-brand-name shoes (think “Reebork” or “Nikey,” they pointed us in the direction of a very weird, Indian-owned store that sold shoes (and an odd amalgam of other things). We found Brian a pair of tennis shoes and we were on our way.

We drove back to San Ignacio. It was too early to eat dinner so we walked around to kill some time. We found a German Bakery that sold sour sap gelato. I was happy. We ate a fantastic and incredibly cheap dinner at Erva’s and returned to the hotel where we had some drinks and went swimming. We realized we had to be up before 7:00 the next morning since the van leaving for Guatemala was leaving at 7:30, but that we had no alarm clock. We figured out that Brian’s iPod has an alarm clock and set it for 6:30. Seeing as though it is the World’s Quietest Alarm™, I was totally unable to sleep for fear that we would sleep through the WQA™.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break - Sunday

Sunday, April 9th - day 3

This morning we woke up sad because we knew we had to leave the island. We went to breakfast where we had yet another delicious cup of iced coffee and people-watched. We packed up our belongings, checked out, and then half rolled, half-dragged our suitcases further along the beach to the dock from where our boat was departing. The boat was running late and we had to wait for about half an hour in the sun. Unfortunately, the wonderful breeze that had served as air conditioning for the past two days had stopped, and this was probably the hottest day of our vacation. We finally embarked and said goodbye to Caye Caulker. (I'm not sure if it was mentioned in a previous post, but the official motto of Caye Caulker is "Go Slow." Isn't that the best thing you've ever heard?).

After a forty-minute ride, we arrived in Belize City, and were immediately whisked into a cab to get to the airport where we had arranged to rent a car (poor planning on my part). We got there earlier than we had arranged, so they did not have a car for us. (Again, poor planning on my part). However, the guy talked to another rental car dude next door, and we ended up getting a car from another company called Jubaru. So we got our little Suzuki Jeep and off we went towards San Ignacio, all the way on the other side of Belize (about 75 miles), except that we ended up back in Belize City and could not find our way out. We stopped and asked for directions at a (thankfully) very modern gas station that also carried Diet Coke (Coca Light). The woman told us to go this way and that way and when we come to a roundabout with a statue of a hand with a golden leaf in the middle, turn right. Somehow (luck), we did find this statue, and did find our way out of this “city.” It took us about 2 hours to get to San Ignacio. We could’ve made better time except for two things: random, stealth speed bumps and police checkpoints. Both were scary at first, but we got used to them. Oh, and it was also interesting to have no (or little) idea how fast we were going: the speed signs were posted in miles per hour, but our car was in kilometers per hour. Seeing as though we didn’t have a calculator to do the necessary computations (and we also didn’t know the ratio…we do now: it’s 1 km = .62 miles), we just went as fast as what felt right.

We approached San Ignacio, but really had no idea where our hotel was. I remembered that it overlooked San Ignacio, so we pretty much turned onto roads that looked like they were going up. There were also signs all over for Cahal Pech Village Resort, our hotel, but they didn’t give any mileage (or kilometerage) or have any arrows or directions of any kind! Miraculously we found it without getting lost! So we get to the hotel’s “driveway” that pretty much went up a mountain was totally unpaved. I’m not talking American unpaved, which would mean dirt or gravel. I’m talking like the moon: craters, rocks as big as my head, and, of course, stealth speed bumps.

Okay, so we checked in and the resort was beautiful: A gorgeous pool, lovely open-air restaurant and bar, incredible grounds with flowers and flowering trees everywhere. We’re led to our cabana which had its own screened-in porch with chairs and a hammock, and then to our room, which had a bed, desk, bathroom, and a Konka brand t.v. Konka somehow struck us as hilarious, and we laughed about it the entire rest of the trip (and a little even now). It was about then that we discovered geckos. Geckos are everywhere on the mainland. Wherever there are people there are geckos! Did you know that geckos make a weird clicking sound? We didn’t know for days what the hell the clicks were and they ended up being the geckos. Now, I was totally freaked out that there were geckos in our front porch (none in our room, thankfully), but I realized that they totally leave people alone, and I now kinda miss seeing them crawl around the walls and ceilings.

That night, we wanted to go to a restaurant, Erva’s, recommended by our guidebook. We went to the front desk to ask for help in getting directions. The extremely nice woman drew us a very complicated map (San Ignacio is not the most well-planned city). After some trial and error, we got there and it was closed. We returned to the hotel and ate a very mediocre meal at the restaurant followed by some delicious sour sap ice cream. Yes, there is a fruit called sour sap. We went to bed listening to the hooting of an owl, and woke up to the hooting of the same owl. This was to pass for the next five nights. And, no, we never did get used to it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Break - Saturday

Shit, I'm already behind on my Spring Break posting:

Saturday, April 8th - Day 2
We awoke at, like, 5:30 a.m. to the sound of an army of about 20 different species of birds. Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It is not, however, conducive to sleeping in. We did go back to sleep, and waking to the birds was really cool, but I could not believe HOW LOUD THEY WERE! It was really something else. When we got up for real, we went, sans shoes, to get coffee at one of our recommended coffee spots, and since it was about a million degrees by 10:00, we opted for iced coffee (and it was delicious). I also ate a giant chocolate chip cookie for breakfast and I wondered if it could really get any better than this. (It can’t, by the way).

We then decided to go snorkeling for half a day. We stopped at a little place to make reservations and the guys told us he recommends going the first half of the day since, and I believe he used these exact words, “you are so white.” (It’s okay, I’ve embraced my paleness). We ran back to our hotel, got ready for snorkeling, and made our way back to the guy, who gave us all our equipment and off we went to his boat along with some other people, one of whom was Italian, and two of whom were Australian and annoying. We were taken to three different locations to snorkel. The first two were pretty cool: beautiful coral, big fish, but a MAJOR current, so that by the end of each locale, I was NOT feeling well and was popping Dramamine like they were tic-tacs. By the time we get to the third location, I didn’t think I was going to make it without puking, but then it ended up being shallow enough to stand and there was no current at all (thank god). This third location was called “Shark and Ray Alley,” and (no surprises here), it was full of nurse sharks and stingrays! I mean full! Literally dozens of each! It was SUPER cool to actually touch these 2 animals and swim among them.

We went back to the mainland, back to our hotel, and relaxed under a palm tree for many, many hours in a row. That night, we had dinner at Rasta Pasta, where Brian had the world’s largest burrito. We were pretty wiped out from snorkeling and went back to our hotel to just relax. We ended up watching this National Geographic special about this gang that originated in Central America, but has spread through Mexico, through 35 of the united States, and through several European countries. This gang is called MS13, and Brian and I were totally enthralled by the program, and promised that we were going to be on the lookout for people with MS13 tattoos and for MS13 graffiti (foreshadowing).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Break - Friday

I realize I've already posted once today, but since it is now officially my spring break, I've decided to do something different. 2 years ago, my husband and I went to Belize over my spring break immediately after which I wrote what ended up being blog entries, but I never posted them anywhere. So, in order to relive the past, I'm going to post them now -day by day- so that you can hear all about the best vacation of our lives (so far) and so that I can relive the past.

So here goes:

Friday, April 7th - Day 1
We flew from O’Hare to Dallas without any major event except that the Iraqi National Soccer Team was on our plane. I couldn’t decide if this made us safer, put us in danger, or had no bearing on anything whatsoever. (Now that we’re home and safe, I believe it was the latter, or at least I hope.) So then we flew from Dallas to Belize (no teams of any kind on this flight) where we then got on THE WORLD’S TINIEST PLANE to Caye (pronounced “key”) Caulker.

We landed on what is basically a driveway, and one other couple got off with us. They hopped a “taxi” (a.k.a. golf cart), and we decided to walk. I mean, the entire island is about as big as our neighborhood at home, so how far could it be? We asked someone to point us in the right direction, which they did. They told us it should be a 10-minute walk along the beach. Sounded good to me! The walk was incredibly scenic, but rolling a suitcase through sand is as difficult as it sounds, and we partly rolled, but mostly dragged our suitcases to our hotel. Of course, because we look like big American potheads, we got offered weed right away from a guy with about two and a half teeth. We politely declined.

We got to our hotel where, Doris, our hostess, accommodatingly gave us a map of the island, and highlighted places she recommended we should go to eat, drink, snorkel, etc. This could have been helpful, except that she ended up highlighting the majority of the map. She also asked us with what airline we came over from the mainland. When we told her, she raised her eyebrows and said, “You guys are braver than me,” which did not make me feel good. Right then and there, I decided we were going to take a boat back to the mainland when it was time to depart. We played with her five dogs for awhile, went to our room, and then headed out to explore the island, which took about 30 min. We watched the beautiful sunset (left) on the western side of the island (which unfortunately is the home to a lot of garbage –apparently a problem on many islands) and then ate at a restaurant called The Sandbox. It is here that we made 3 discoveries: Brian discovered Belikin Beer, the national beer of Belize; I discovered Rum Punch, the official drink of my spring break; and the beauty of not having to wear shoes in a restaurant (or anywhere else on the island).

Reason 319

As I've mentioned before, my students have to write me weekly letters about what they've been reading. The first paragraph is supposed to be a summary. The others are about their thoughts while reading. Most of my students don't have a voice yet, which is to say that their personality doesn't come through in their writing. This kid's, though, definitely got one. (He's the same one I wrote about last time.

Dear Ms. M,
Today I finished The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. By my point of view it was about a tiny mouse who fell in love with a princess and was sent to the dungeon because of that. And the princess was kidnapped by a rat (who fell in the queen's soup and the queen died) and a girl (who was near death and her father traded her for a cloth). The mouse comes to beat up a rat and saves the princess. That's the short story.

In the 24th chapter, Sow's mother had squeezed her hand three times and dies, but how? Kate DiCamillo kept on saying "Zip. Zero. Nada. Goose eggs." What about goose eggs, though?

It had not so much action, but it was like an action-fairy tale. But why on earth would a mouse love a human!?!?!?!?!?!? That's only like 5% possible. Even dressed up in a mouse suit, it's only about 10% possible!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Advertising Works

I have a beautiful commute. Even with the crappy weather we've had for the past 500 months, my commute remains beautiful. I work 20 miles from home, which actually doesn't take very long as I can pretty much take one main road: Lake Shore Drive. For those of you unfamiliar with Lake Shore Drive (LSD), it runs along Lake Michigan pretty much the length of the city. I pass such iconic places as Buckingham Fountain, Soldier Field, and get to view the Chicago skyline every day. Even when stuck in a traffic jam, hell, especially when I'm stuck in a traffic jam, I can admire the beauty, both natural and manmade, that surrounds me. Unless...

I'm not on Lake Shore Drive. The part of my commute that's not on LSD is slow, boring, and not very pretty. Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting at a verrrrry long traffic light behind 7.5 thousand other cars and a bus. For approximately 15 minutes, this is what I stared at on the back of the bus:

(Yes, I took a picture of the back of the bus...I wasn't doing anything else!).

In case you can't see it, here's a close-up:

So guess what I'm craving? Yup, new Chocolate Chex Cereal! I can't stop thinking about it! The worst thing is, I don't even like Chex! But staring at this bowl for so long made me want some.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tough Girl Gets Ass Kicked

This past Monday, Pulaski Day, I woke up with a weird feeling in my throat. The "uh-oh" kind. If I wasn't pg, I would've taken Airborne (a.k.a. The Best Shit in the World), but since it contains Echinacea, I can't take it. Therefore, the downward spiral of sickness began. Every day a new symptom presented itself and I traced the journey of whatever virus or bacteria was infiltrating my body. It started in the throat, worsened, moved down to the lungs where I developed a cough, spread to the ears so they were stopped up and irritated (irritated ears? I've never heard that symptom in a cold medicine commercial), then yesterday moved up to my nose.

I'm a tough girl. I'm not the type to stay home from work for a cold. I still do all my chores and errands, and still work out. Until yesterday. The quittin' bell rang and that was it. I gave up. And the cold took over with a vengeance. I stopped at Jewel on the way home and bought some pity food: Ho-Hos, because I've been craving them* and brownie mix.

I got home, changed into my jammies, parked my ass on the couch, and suffered the wrath of this cold that I had been dominating for the past 4 days. Last night SUCKED. The cold kicked. my. ass.

Since I'm pg, I can't take anything good, so I had to stick with acetaminophen. And while I thank god for the temporary relief it provided, I needed something heavy-duty, like NyQuil. Y'know, the green-death flavor that knocks you the fuck out? I would've killed for some of that.

So you have to either watch Denis Leary's bit about NyQuil here or you can read the transcript (like if you're at work or something) here. Because it is EXACTLY how I'm feeling about NyQuil right now. If you're not pg, please go take some NyQuil for me. Even if you're not sick.

Wish me luck. Oh, and I am feeling better. I think (hope) last night was the lowest point of this sickness. I'm pretty sure it's only going to get better from here.

*The Ho-Hos, while satisfying my craving, were actually kind of gross.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Day Off

Thank you, Casimir Pulaski, for giving us this day off. For those of you not in Chicago, the first Monday of every March is Casimir Pulaski Day. He was a Revolutionary War hero and that's pretty much all I know about him, but you can learn all about him here. Since there is a strong Polish community in Chicago, we have the day off! Thank you, Chicago Poles!

I also know that in 2 weeks I will have a week off for Spring Break! Hopefully we'll have more spring-like weather than the crap we have now, but if it means not having to wake up to an alarm clock, I'll take it.

However, after that week off, I have no more days off until Memorial Day, which is an eternity away. I know you civilians are used to going for long periods of time without days off, but we teachers are not. I know you think it's not fair, but have you ever been around a child for an extended period of time, like 2 hours? You feel like you want to pull your hair out, right? Or you just need some "down time" (I guess that would be the less drastic version). Well, imagine that being your job. And you're not just with a child, but dozens of them! For 6 hours in a row!

Okay, okay, I know I chose this as my profession, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about it.

P.S. To show you how naive I am, doing a google image search for "Spring Break" does not yield the fun party pictures I was hoping to create a link to in the second paragraph above. Holy shit, these spring breakers are CRAZY sluts!!! Fortunately (or unfortuately...depending on one's point of view), I will be spending my spring break getting the nursery ready. It's almost the same thing, really.