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Morning-Shower Phobia

Arachnophobia, claustrophobia, xenophobia. There are phobias for just about everything. I, thankfully, suffer from none of them. Well I’m not big on heights and you don’t want to see me around ketchup and iced tea. But other than that, I am just short of normal.

I took a self-imposed break from blogging though I continued commenting on other people’s blogs. Anyway, the break from blogging coincided with my break at school. Movies, Chuck E. Cheese, a visit to mom, editing of my novella, a staycation with my wife only, and sleeping in till 8:00 (yes, that is a big thing in my house) were just some of the highlights from my break. Of course, I found some time for self-loathing and questioning of my direction. However, the best part was not setting the alarm and moving at a different pace.
On Tuesday night, I had my clothes out, lunch made, lesson plans prepared, etc. I had psyched myself up and was ready to return to work. Then, I made a terrible mistake. I checked weather.com. The site said it would feel like 9 degrees at 6 a.m. That is the time at which I am standing on a street corner praying for the bus to come. My heart sank as my resolve froze. Uggh. I added a pair of long johns to my pile of clothes.
Wednesday morning came, and I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom for my shower. You see, there are two types of people in this world: “shower-before-bed” people and “shower-in-the-morning” people. I happen to be the latter. Thus my shower serves a dual purpose: a clean start and a wake-up call.
I looked at the shower and had reservations. Let me tell you about our shower, and you will understand. It takes a couple of minutes for the water to warm up. Once it does warm up, it can be scalding. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, why don’t you just balance the hot and cold knobs so the water will come out at a temperature you are happy with. Sounds logical. However, my shower is not logical. The knobs are inconsistent, so I never know where to turn them to in order to get a comfortable temperature.
As I have mentioned many times, I often lack patience. So, sometimes in my rush to warm up the water, I turn the hot up too far. It will be a comfortable temperature when I get in and suddenly the water will be scalding. Then, I will turn the hot water down and pump up the cold water and a minute later, the water is freezing.

I have little tolerance for extreme temperatures. So, I spend half the shower jumping away from the water. I jump so often in the shower that it could be a new kind of exercise. You have zumba, pilates, and shower dance (sounds like it should be way more erotic than it actually is). This drastic change in temperature makes washing my private parts an act of faith. So, one minute, I’m burnt like a beach bum and the next minute, I’m frozen ala Walt Disney.

Then, you have water pressure. Well, you may have water pressure, but my shower sure doesn’t. Give my two cups of water and an hour, and I can generate more pressure than my shower.

So now, I have made a change. I am no longer a daytime shower person. It is too scary in that shower on cold winter mornings. In fact, you could say that I have a fear or phobia of my shower. There’s got to be a name for morning-shower phobia.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Please Come Back

It’s enough.

But it’s still on my mind.

Don’t bore your readers.  They’re tired of hearing you talk about this.

But aren’t you supposed to write what is on your mind? Isn’t that how the best blog posts get written?

I guess so. But consider your audience.

I do consider them, but I need one more entry, and I think it will be out of my system.

I’m sorry. Did you hear that? It was a conversation I was having with my writer self. I recently read about someone else conversing with their muse over at a blog – authenticlifejourneys.com I follow (and recommend by the way).

Anyway, the storm and its affects are still on my mind. You see my family and I are still without power. I know, I know – so many people are really suffering while we are just inconvenienced.  I understand and feel bad for complaining.  However, last night the temperature got below 50 in my house while the darkness descended by 5. It was a long cold night and I am sick of this! I want my life back.

This weekend was a tease. We spent the weekend at my mother’s condominium. Heat, light – ahh the comforts of modern life.  It was beautiful and so appreciated.  It was hard to leave. I prayed that when we got home, and the electric would be back on.

No such luck. The electric company (PSEG) said we would be back by Sunday at midnight, then Monday at midnight, and then Tuesday at midnight. The have a PDF with each county and when the power will come on at each place. If they can predict it with such accuracy, why can’t they just make it faster? I’m sure they are doing their best but that does not take away the frustration.

I have been moving slowly since the storm has hit. This is not like me – I’m a doer. I make lists. I accomplish.  And now Sandy has struck, and everything has changed. Life has taken on a Ms. Havisham like pace.

I woke up last night somewhere in the early a.m. after dreaming of warmth.  I popped my head out from under my covers hoping that the heat had come on. The chill that hit my nose put reality in my face. I readjusted my hat and snuggled against the flannel sheets.

In the meantime, I am back at work and the children are back at school. We will return home as if it was a normal day. Then the darkness will descend, and we will be left sitting and hoping that tonight will be the night when normality truly returns.  I am tired of this!

 

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Let me Help

It was a beautiful late summer day. The streets were crowded with people milling around. Aimlessly.

“I think we should go down there,” I said.

“Why” my fiancé asked?

“I want to do something. Maybe, we could help somehow.”

“I don’t know. I’m not sure what we could do there.”

“Yeah, dude,” my roommate added. “I don’t even know how we could get there. The subways are not running below 14th.”

“We could walk from 14th. It’s not so far. I want to help out. What good are we doing sitting here?”

The three of us stood outside of the temporary Red Cross building. By the time we had gotten there, they were no longer even taking blood.  All we could offer was dried goods – soap, power bars, etc.

“I think it’s nice that you want to help, but there is nothing we can do,” my fiancé said.

I scoffed in frustration and replied, “I want to see what those bastards did. I want to see with my own eyes.  I want to help. We’re just sitting here. Sucks. I’m going a little crazy here.”

On September 12th, 2001, there were probably many such conversations going on around the city.

It’s natural to want to help others in times of trouble.  When we hear that a friend, neighbor, or family member is ill, one of the first questions we ask is, “How can I help? What can I do?” It is the normal reaction and one that binds us together. People want to help and feel useful. Being productive allows one to feel pride, accomplished and useful.

Since before the storm began, I have felt compelled to organize my home. I have been going through drawers, closets, and desks. Throwing out, straightening up, and sorting through. There is chaos outside my door. Everyday life has been thrown into tumult. However, in my home, I will keep order. I suppose you could call it a coping method. I’d like to think it is a good method – cleaning the house while not driving my family too crazy.

On Tuesday afternoon, I went into my backyard and gathered up the largest limbs that lay strewn about and placed them on the curb. Today, Thursday, I called the Office of Emergency Management a couple of times. I wanted to offer my services – a healthy, relatively strong body. No answer. I spent over an hour and a half raking leaves and gathering sticks. The trashcans are no longer in the garage, the basketball net is no longer on its side, and the outdoor furniture is back on the lawn. Our house looks like it would normally on a fall day.

We remain without power. School is closed for the children and me. My wife’s work place is closed. So, things for us are far from normal.  Yet, many have it much worse and their normal will never be the same. I wish I could help.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Sandy – From My Perspective

*** Please note this was written yesterday. Unfortunately,I was unable to post. Today, I am at family member’s house who has electricity. Therefore, I can post this and recharge all the electronics.

Like many, my family and I have been dealing with the storm that has ravaged the Eastern Seaboard. Thankfully, we are fine – inconvenienced but just fine. Rather than give you a play by play of occurrences I wanted to share a few snapshots.

-I did not pay any attention to the storm whatsoever until Friday. In fact, one of my students joked and asked when will the homework be due if school is canceled. I smiled, “We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

-Shop Rite was packed Sunday morning at 8:45 a.m. when I arrived. They were already out of D batteries and had run out of flashlights. For all the difficulties this storm has caused, it was good for retail – at least it was prior to the storm.

– “You must not be afraid of heights,” my neighbor called out to me as I sat on my roof pushing leaves onto the grass. In fact, I spent nearly two hours cleaning out my gutters praying the predicted gusts were truly hours away as predicted. Actually, I am afraid of heights!

– Monday morning was eerie. With each drop and gust, I waited for it to get ‘serious.’  Along the way, my wife and I periodically watched the news. We both find it funny to watch the weather people who get stuck with the beach reporting job. Tell me, when they say everyone should evacuate, why is there always some poor person who gets stuck with that gig? You know what he/she is thinking – I better get that anchor position before next season.

– At 2:45 Monday afternoon, we lost power. Nothing dramatic occurred. One second the power was on and the next second it was off. There probably was a gust that preceded the loss in power, but I did not notice it.

-By 6:00 that evening, dinner, which consisted of left overs, was eaten and the black of dark had descended. The boys were fighting over our various lighting instruments. No surprise there. They both sleep with a light on.

-After watching a movie (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – my wife wisely had charged the portable DVD player), the boys were ready for bed. We slept in the playroom, which is mostly underground. As we do not live especially close to water, Sandy was more about wind here than rain. Anyway, our campout – the euphemism we used for our children – was a bit rough.  After the children finally fell asleep, things were calm. At least they were inside the house.

– Walking up the stairs was scary.  The sounds of the wind howling, the sight of the shades blowing, and the trees swaying was rattling. I hurried back to the safety of the playroom.

– Before I went to bed, I looked out and watched the trees swaying. The trees were battered and looked as if they were a fighter who has taken too many hits. The tree scene in the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie went through my mind. I turned away in fear and concern.

-This morning we were awakened at 6:00 a.m. by SJ’s first bathroom trip. Apparently, we can sleep through a hurricane but not by a 5-year-old who needs to pee. I noted that the winds had nearly subsided.

-When light came up, I surveyed the damage from my living room window. On my block, two arbor majesties had lost the fight. Miraculously, no one was hurt and there was minimal property damage.

-“BR, how about some Cinnamon Toast Crunch and ice cream for breakfast?” What the heck – the ice cream wasn’t going to stay for much longer. We were going to use as much of the food as wisely as we could.

Now, it is after 3 p.m. though it feels much later. I have no idea what is going on as I have barely left my home (well, I am posting at neighbors – not everyone lost power). Each of us has gone through bouts of stir-craziness.  However, we are holding up well, but with another day off tomorrow, I am concerned.

To sum up, we are fine and fortunate. Thank G-d! However, it would be nice if Mr. Potts could lend us his flying car.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Putting Feelings Aside

My work week began at 5:36 AM Monday morning. I quickly turned off the alarm (I don’t think I have ever hit snooze in my life) and arose. As I walked to the bus 16 minutes later, I had a headache and felt groggy. For a moment, I thought it was Friday.

Three straight 5 hour nights later, and my long week is nearly over. This is my first 5 day work week in nearly a month, so I can’t complain. Well, of course, I can, but I don’t like complaining. I don’t even like hearing myself complain, so what’s the point?

Grades were due today. The first marking period is always rough. It includes less days, I take off days to celebrate the holidays, and the first few days are all about paperwork and diagnostics. Inevitably, there is a logjam of work at the end of the term.

To be blunt: my pass rate sucked! Students did not get the work done despite my extensions, pleadings, and phone calls. I am disappointed, frustrated, and annoyed. I can come up with many reasons why the students did not hand in their work. Ultimately, that is not comforting.

There is an old saying that if you reach one child then you are doing your job. It is a depressing saying and any teacher that cares would be disappointed with those types of results. I am more than confident that I have reached multiple students. It’s pretty easy to see when students want to hang out in your classroom just because that they feel comfortable. Still, it does not feel like enough. I am nearly certain that the school administration is not going to be content with that level of success either.

I can continue feeling bad, guilty, and complaining. However, I don’t want to. It’s not fair to me, my family, or my friends. I will put away the negative feelings (as best I can) and strive to enjoy my life. I don’t want to let the disappointment in one part of my life poison the other parts of my life. It is not easy to do – I am not talking about widgets here – but kids with families that love them and want the best for them.

Today as I walked to the subway, I enjoyed the beautiful weather. When October brings such a gorgeous day, it must be appreciated. Who knows how many more are left in the season?

So, you see I am learning a lesson from my students. They take bad news and seem bothered till the bell rings. At that point, they go through the halls slapping hands, talking, and laughing with their friends. In other words, they know how to put their feelings aside and enjoy the moment.

We all will worry about it till tomorrow.

I am looking forward to enjoying the night with my wife and kids.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Winter Loser

It’s Spring. Yes, I know it does not officially begin till Wednesday, but let’s call a spade a spade. Here on the East Coast at least, we escaped the harsh winters we are used to and the snow of the last two winters. It was downright mild for the most of the winter. Not that I am complaining. I’ve told my wife on multiple occasions that I am the type who retires to Florida. Anyway, I kept waiting for another cold spell and even snow. I braced myself for the coming frigid weather. I repeatedly checked out weather.com and clicked on the 10-day forecast. I skimmed the information looking for those evil 20’s and teens but lo and behold they rarely appeared. What about snow? Are we getting snow? Nope, not that either. (To be honest, I would like a snow day – for my kids’ sake of course).

The temperatures are only one reason I hate winter. The biggest reason is I am a Winter loser. Well, what I mean by that is the winter magnifies one of my worst traits. I tend to lose things (unfortunately, this seems to be another one of those traits I have passed down. I think my son’s school is going to rename the lost and found after him. We still can’t find his winter coat). I go through 2-3 lunch bags a school year, have lost multiple thumb drives, misplaced glasses, etc. In fact, if you could line up everything I lost, Hansel and Gretel could go on 200-mile hike. What they would see the most along their hike are gloves and hats. Ahh, now you see one of my biggest problems with winter. In winter in particular, I am a loser. I need to buy disposable hats and gloves like some people buy disposable contact lenses.

Last year over Chanukah, my wife got me a decent pair of gloves. She was disappointed at my reaction to the gift. I looked at them and saw pressure. What if I lost them? If – who am I kidding – when I lost them, my wife would be reminded of this failing yet again. While she doesn’t think me perfect – that ended by the end of the first date – I still have some dignity. Anyway, I lost them and bought two more pairs. Despite this stocking up, by the time the dreaded season ended, I was wearing 2 left-handed gloves. It was part of my stance against personal waste.

This winter, this mild winter, I once again got gloves for the holidays. This time my wife gave me three inexpensive pairs along with matching hats. I am proud to say I only lost one hat (that was last year’s replacement hat) and one glove. Is it pathetic to feel proud and view this lack of loss as an example of growth and accomplishment? I think not. So as I take stock this Spring, I feel pretty darn good. After all, I am the proud owner of hats and gloves. I won!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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