Spring Break is a great time to have a birthday. It gives me time to think up weird things to do with my kids. I channeled my dad and bought all the kids shoes for my birthday. Not to worry, I got myself some hiking sandals. And Ben got me a scarf from the Australian Store in Leavenworth while we were visiting last weekend--I've had my eye on those cool babies for a while. ;)
The kids and I are fans of not going to school for a week. It was so nice to have a week of no work. I still think of myself as a stay-at-home mom but the reality is that I spend most days working (perhaps no medical benefits keeps me in the SAHM mind-set). I had a long-term job teaching 2nd grade in March while Mrs. E. was recovering from a concussion. It started as a one-day job. When I found out she was out with a concussion I immediately thought of two things. First, that Mrs. E. shouldn't be thinking about school while her brain is trying to recover. And second, this could turn into a long-term job depending on what her doctor recommends. I corrected tests for her so she wouldn't have to read over them during her recovery. And sure enough, her doctor told her to stay home until after Spring Break. It was different getting to know kids' names and grading papers, but it was definitely more time-consuming to have those papers to grade and lessons to plan. I got a phone call from Mrs. E. yesterday thanking me for the extra effort. I told her honestly that having lived through last spring and summer with RO recovering from his concussion, it was the least I could do for her. I just couldn't let her grade all those tests and papers! An added blessing: I may have found myself a co-teaching partner a few years down the road. Mrs. E. has severe rheumatoid arthritis that will prevent her from teaching full-time in a few years. A shared classroom would be perfect! I will miss those 2nd graders. Mrs. E. has a great group, one of the girls is in our ward and is a smarty. We all had a bit of Easter fun the last period Friday:
It would have been easier to have the 2nd grade job if it wasn't for PTO. I don't know how/why, but I let myself be nominated. I told myself it was partly because when I was in elementary school, my mom was PTA president (and she had 6 kids--including a newborn). If my mom can do it with 6 kids, I reasoned, I could do it, too. Funny story: I was telling my mom about getting myself roped into the PTO and she just laughed. No, she told me, she did NOT throw her hat into the ring voluntarily. The real story about my mom is that my dad went to a PTA meeting and they were nominating officers. He nominated her! Isn't that a great story? I love that my dad had the confidence in his wife that she could contribute to her kids' school like that. I don't know if my mom loved it. Oh, yes, I do know. She was shocked. But she did it and did it well. I remember her organizing a major school carnival including boxes of Oriental Trading Company prizes that my sisters and I spent hours drooling over. Oh the rubber bracelets--the ones you'd twist through each other and run up your arms! I don't do major events. Nothing makes me quite as frazzled as putting together a school-wide event (like, say, a district-wide PTO Easter Egg Hunt that I wasn't at all in charge of). But I am happy to say we voted to spend funds this year on implementing a reading program for grades 1 though 5. Sixth graders (and older) already have the reading program and it is what turned JO into a voracious reader OF BOOKS! I don't think of PTO as vehicle for school events. My goal this year was to impact the instruction and encourage academic excellence.
It's high time I mentioned one more birthday present I got. On April 2nd Ben accepted a job with the ITD and starts with them the end of this month. This is a huge blessing because, although it means a 30 minute commute, it also means an end to three years of threats of fall layoffs. Ben also accepted a calling that same evening which shall remain nameless until it's official. Change is good. Change is good. Change is good.
A few days before his ITD job interview he had another interview downtown. Parking is impossible there so, after talking to a former co-worker who works at the office where Ben was interviewing, he decided to drive to a Park-n-Ride then take a bus into the downtown area. He got dressed in a suit and tie and left early, tucking a bus schedule he'd printed from the bus company's website in his portfolio. I got a call from him 30 minutes before his interview. He was on the wrong bus! More specifically, he was on the wrong nonstop bus heading west out of town. We live about 15 minutes east of downtown so not only was he trapped, but he was travelling away from both his interview and his rescue ride (me!). I was supposed to be at school teaching CO's kindergarten class and would be late to my job if I went to pick him up and take him downtown. I had my phone to my ear and was gearing up to make a mad dash out of the house when Ben said; "Hold on." Then I heard what sounded like loud voices and running. I said/yelled into the phone; "Ben, what do you want me to do?" He replied "Pray. I'll call you back." and he hung up.
He hung up!!
I felt helpless thinking of Ben on a bus, the minutes ticking away as he headed farther away from where he needed to be. I don't do a lot of interviewing, but have heard that if you're late to an interview, you might as well not show up. I was frazzled at the prospect of having the kids get themselves ready for school on class picture day, getting myself ready in under a minute, and driving down the freeway to an unfamiliar town to find Ben on the side of the road and take him downtown. I called all the kids into the living room and I said a prayer. It was an emotional prayer and the kids and I were all worried and waiting for Ben to call back. I left to drop RO off at school (my spoiled seventh grader gets a ride because he starts an hour and a half before K-6) and waited for the phone to ring. I had a feeling he didn't need me to drive to get him anymore, but decided to call him and find out what the voices and running were all about. He told me that instead of being stuck waiting for a bus, his bus had pulled in just as the east-bound bus he needed to catch was pulling out. What a blessing! So Ben was getting off the wrong bus and running to the second bus just as he had ended his call with me. He ended up downtown in the reception area at the office joking around with his former co-worker a full 15 minutes early to his interview! He insists, and I believe him (I do!), that the website's bus schedule was wrong. I wished him well and told the kids that their daddy made it to the interview and then I waited for my heart rate to return to normal. It eventually did. Ben got a second interview and still hasn't heard back about an official decision. That doesn't really matter anymore because he was fortunate enough to get this other job, one that doesn't require public transportation. He will be a great asset to his new company. Our Heavenly Father is watching over us and answers our prayers and gives us life experiences that make us grow. . . and laugh.
It was also a big birthday weekend for Mister JO, who turned 12 on Saturday. I have pictures of JO and his birthday tra-bam-poline fun on my new smart iPhone, but haven't had time to upload them. It's true that smartphones are for dumb people. Ha ha ha! As soon as someone invents an automatic grocery shopping app, I'll have time to figure out the uploading part! Going shopping is so lame. Buying groceries is truly one of my least favorite things to do. I always think EVERYTHING is overpriced. Ben says my mind is storing prices from a decade ago. He may be right. Hrumph! Off I go.