Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 4

22 02 2009

This past week was very full–with substitute jobs each day.  I’m still trying to adjust to teaching primary grades.  I don’t have to deal with the problems of cell phones, ipods, or seeing pregnant girls in the classrooms.  However, the little ones have their own problems of being obedient. 

I taught a first grade class on Monday.  Thankfully, I really only had to be a helper for there was a student teacher and an aide.  Tuesday and Wednesday I was on my own and had a rough time.  I had to ask for help from other teachers many times.  The pencil sharpener is the social hub and students just crowd around this hub.  These are the students who don’t really want to do their work.  I have seen this phenomenon for two decades of sub work now.   And what is really pitiful is seeing students with a pencil that only has a couple of inches left.  Students justs can’t seem to keep up with their pencils.  I have to laugh and try to keep a sense of humor –the “pencil crisis” takes up a great deal of each hour of classwork.

On Thursday, I had another easy day as their was a student teacher with my second graders.  However. Friday I was thrown to the wolves with some of the meanest first graders I’ve ever been around.  They just couldn’t follow directions or stay in their seats.  I wouldn’t take them out to recess because I was afraid someone would break a bone.  I was rescued later in the day by my good friend who is a part of my cancer group.  She was volunteering at the school that day and came and helped me for about 45 minutes. 

I suppose I will get used to sub teaching again.  I really have no choice.  My job will provide the money for the washers, dryers , hot water heaters etc that go out in the house.  It never fails that something breaks at least 4 or 5 times a year.  This is life and I feel sorry for people who never think to put a little money aside.  Life is full of these calamities–at least it has always been that way for our family.

Well, on the brighter side.  I’m very excited that my brother who lives in Denver, Co was chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church on February the 15th.  He has taken the name of Matthew as his baptismal name.  He goes by the name of David on my web.  David was the black sheep of our family.  He gave my divorced single parent mom a very hard time.  We never thought David would overcome his tremendous anger problem.  But David has grown up a great deal in the past 20 years.  He has much to be proud of.  And his son– is currently in his second year of medical school.  So we will have a doctor in the family.  So we are very thankful for David’s Chrismation into the Orthodox faith.

Another great thing is that the company that Kirk, (my truck driver son-in law) has found work for him again.  He had a couple of slack weeks and the situation looked very dark.  We are all very relieved. 

I keep hoping that I can write on a daily basis but I don’t know if that will ever happen.  I’m totally zoned out after a day of sub teaching.  I’m in bed by 8:00 p.m. each evening.  But I just couldn’t let more than a week pass without sharing a few of my adventures.  Well, it is almost time for bed!

God bless each of you!


Nichole’s Slices of Life, 3

14 02 2009

I stayed home again yesterday from teaching school– because of my flu like symptoms and bad sinus condition.   I was taking my time getting ready for the day.  I chatted on the phone with my oldest daughter Sandy a bit.  Then I took the phone to another room to make a business phone call.  When I got back in the kitchen there was water all over the floor and going into the living room.  I started yelling for Vera and Jim to come help mop up the mess.  We don’t have carpet in our living room but the water was fast making it’s way to under my piano.  We got it mopped up just in time.  I mentioned  in my first “slice of life” blog about our washing machine dancing.  Well, it has danced one to many times and broke.

Jim started checking on the internet for prices of washing machines at Lowes.  We were surpised that they are manufactured now with either hot or cold water in the least expensive models.    We were not happy with what we learned.  Jim called Sears.  They had the same story.  Finally, we went to a local business that is run by a friend of ours.  He found us a basic model with both hot and call water for fair price.  So we purchased that model.  The delivery fee was part of the price.  

With everything cleaned up and knowing that our washer was going to be delivered –I went on to the walk in clinic.  This is my third sinus infection in 8 months.  I’m on antibiotics again.  I have let my study of herbs lapse.  This is a wake up call to start studying again.  I never had this much trouble when I was taking my herbs more faithfully. 

Having settled my medical problems–we did have a peaceful lunch. Vera had done the weekly grocery shopping to my relief.  I hate grocery shopping on the weekends.  With working now –that is bound to be my destiny once in awhile but at least this weekend I don’t have to shop.

Jim had rung out all of the clothes that were in the old dryer.  So I dried them and was puzzeled by a loud sound.  I finally turned it off for awhile.  The delivery person came and I was very happy to have my new washing machine.  The young man recognized me right away as a substitute teacher.  I knew that I had taught him.  And when he told me his name–the computer went off in my brain.  I knew him best from one of the junior highs when he was in the 6th grade.  I taught him for 6 weeks while a teacher was out with back problems.  I even remembered what he looked like as a 6th grader and how his handwriting looked.  It is uncanny how I can remember such details but I can’t memorize poetry, scripture or anything  else very easily.  I can quickly categorize where I can find the poetry, etc when I want to read it again but I am a poor one to memorize anything. 

After this young man left–I finished drying my load of clothing.  As I was taking the clothes out of the dryer and hanging them up–all at once a ball point pen came out.  Thankfully, the brunt of the damage was to one of my old sweatshirts.  Vera was the culprit this time.  She has a habit of carrying ball point pens in her pockets.  I had thought that I had checked all of her pockets. ( I have raised a family of 4 children and have never experienced this before.)  Vera had some nice dress clothes that went untouched.  There were splotches of ink on the dryer barrel.  I was furious and said a choice word.  That is not my usual character but I was just so frustrated.  I tried vinegar and baking soda, scouring powder, hair spray and nothing worked.  Finally , I googled “ink on dryer barrel” and found that many have gone before me to have faced this problem.  The over all remedy was fingernail polish remover.  I tried it and it worked.  I then took one of the wet towels that I had used to mop the floor up to clean the chemicals off my dryer barrel because finger nail polish remover can cause  a fire.  If you try this–please get a wet towel and clean the remover from the dryer.  Then rinse the towel out.   I also used the remover on my sweatshirt and took a brush to scrub it.  I rinsed it and tried again.  I then rinsed it for a last time and threw the shirt in the load  of towels that I had used on the floor to mop up all of the water.

Lastly, peace  entered our household.  Vera went to get pizza for our supper.  We ate by candle light and rejoiced that we made it through the day.  Oh, lest I forget it–our son came and fixed the siding that had torn  from the wind storm and did some shingle repair.  What a day!

God Bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 2

12 02 2009

Well, I didn’t make it back to my computer.  Frankly, I’ve just been exhausted.  I taught for 3 days this week a class made up of kindergarten and first grade children.  I had an instructional aide to help me but it still took a toll on me.  I have to say though that I did really enjoy the children.  Small children can be bad but they don’t get up in your face and cuss you out.  I’ve had high school students who have done that. 

This  job was at  one of our county schools–13 miles from my home.  The damage from the ice storm was readily seen as I drove to and from school each morning.  And then yesterday, we had a windstorm of winds at least 50 miles an hour.  Driving home was a challenge yesterday afternoon.  When my grandsons walked in the door–they were telling me about a tree that had blocked the main road not far from our home.  We all walked down to see it.  There were barricades put up but the wind kept blowing the barricaids away.

Our shingles were coming off our roof  and a piece of our siding got ripped off our home.  Other neighbors were experiencing the same kind of challenge.

Our daughter Maria and her husband Kirk were at the house when I arrived home.  I could tell Maria had been crying.  Things are not going so well for them.  Kirk lost his trucking business in October and he can only find jobs that are temporary.  He thought he had landed a good trucking job where for two months he made a run to Florida twice a week.  He got paid well for that but the company lost it’s contract.  This time last year they were having many problems.  I wrote a blog about the agony of love and it is still my top blog of all times.  My heart goes out to my children when they struggle to do the best they can and all seems to go wrong.  Maria has part time work at the U.S. Post Office but every full time job she has applied for since Christmas –she has not gotten.  She will have full time work at the post office for the next month as it is the annual mail count.  All of the mail is counted for 4 weeks and this is how the salary of the rural mail carriers is determined.

I had a job offered to me today but spent my night with flu like symptoms.  I ached and had chills all night.  Jim kept loading the blankets on me but I couldn’t get warm.  I think the worse is over and I should be able to take a job tomorrow.

We still miss Sam the cat who was put down last Friday.  He was the sweetest cat and he loved to cuddle on a blanket beside Vera’s space heater while she graded her papers.  Oh, how we miss him.

Jim has been volunteering during lunch time at our local Salvation Army a couple of days a week.  He serves the food and helps wash dishes.  The Salvation Army had their yearly appreciation dinner on Tuesday evening.  Jim took me as his guest.  I’m so proud of Jim for making an effort to give his time to the great work of the Salvation Army.

Hope to vist with my readers in a few days!

God Bless each of you!

Nichole’s Slices Of Life

8 02 2009

I thought it might be good for awhile just to write at least every other day just short slices of life.  We will see how it goes.  I will get back to my book about our family life but for right now I just want to see if I can be more consistent with my blog.

On February 2nd, Sandy told us that she is expecting her third child.  The baby will be born in September.  John will be 7 and Alex will be 5.  Alex is very excited about this baby.  I’m not so sure about John.  He is a moody child anyway–and this past week has not been a good one for John.  He won’t talk to me when I pick him up from school.  He ignores every suggestion that I have for things to do in the afternoon.  And one afternoon–he had a major temper tantrum.  Well, I’m not throwing rocks at John.  After all, I’ve been the queen of moodiness for most of my life.  And Sandy is the princess of moodiness.  These last ten years of my life–I’ve conquered my moodiness for the greater part.  I hope it doesn’t  take John that long.  I don’t lecture or condemn him.  I just go about my business in the afternoon and if he breaks out of his shell–I’m there for him.

For other tidbits.  Sandy, Rob and the boys came yesterday to help clean up our yard from the ice storm.  The temperature was already in the 60’s.  It doesn’t make sense that we just had an ice storm and now people are wearing shorts.

On this Sunday, it was almost 70 degrees.  We had a beautiful drive to Clarksville, Tn. to our parish.  Grace Lutheran Church in Clarksville has been so gracious to rent us their original chapel.  They still use it for choir practice.  Each Sunday when we arrive the youth choir has about a 15 minutes choir practice.  We enjoy listening to them while we are setting up for our Orthodox service.  This morning we didn’t have a priest.  We had a reader instead.  This man is ordained to lead a service and even preach but he can’t give us Holy Communion.  It was still a lovely service.  I’m learning to sing alto acappella with the choir.  Our choir director is my former advisor when I was a college music student about five years ago.  It was a major surprise to get to know her as an Orthodox Christian.  I’ve learned so much about singing from her expertise.

When we arrived home–I decided to take a friend out to get a hot fudge sundae.  I’ve been a bad girl today.  I had sweets at church, a hot fudge sundae  and cheese cake for dessert tonight.  I can’t keep that up.  We are getting ready for Great Lent in a few weeks and I guess I have this craving to eat all of the goodies I can.  We are not supposed to have dairy products during Great Lent. 

In the Orthodox Church we have many Sundays of preparation for Lent.  Last week we celebrated  Zacchaeus Sunday.  This morning was the Sunday of the “Publican and The Pharisee.”   It is good to prepare our hearts through these Sundays for Great Lent.

I also gave Vera a piano lesson this afternoon and just enjoyed the beauty and warmth of a sunny day.  On the funny side–my washer was acting up.  I call my washer the “dancing washer”  when a load gets off balance.  That is happening more and more.  Jim was sitting on it to get it to settle down.  Oh well.

I hope to meet my readers again at least by Tuesday evening.  All for now from my little corner of life.

The Ice Storm, Sam The Cat and Jim

7 02 2009

I tend to be an all or nothing person which is why I don’t blog more regularly.  I always feel like I have to write an English composition to blog.  I’m going to try to do better with just giving more tidbits of what is going on in our lives.

First, a terrible ice storm devasted Kentucky on January 27.  We have all kinds of tree limbs in our back yard.  It is still a mess.  My son-in- law is supposed to come today to help clean everything up.  However, we only lost our power for about 8 hours.  Many here in Western Kentucky still don’t have power.  Kentucky has been declared a national disaster so federal money can now be used to help clean up everything.  There are still counties close to us that don’t have power.  Our school system was shut down for 7 days.  We took in our daughter Maria’s family for a few days along with her dog Shadrack.  Kentucky had a terrible ice storm in l994 but this ice storm is three times worse accoring to what I read in our local paper.  On my way to teach school yesterday morning–I passed by Pennyrile Electric Company and trucks were being loaded up with utility poles to take to counties that still have no power.  This power company serves about 4 Western Kentucky counties.  In the midst of the ice storm –our hot water heater also went out.  My son who usually helps me was very ill so I had to call a plumber.  I couldn’t believe we found a plumber in the midst of the ice storm but we did.  Because codes have changed –they had to find a completely new spot for the hot water heater and build an 18 inch pedestal for it.  It was a two day job because they had to leave and take other calls.  In other words, the plumber told us that they never devote one day to any one project.  We are thankful to have hot water and power.

Sam, our 13 year old cat has been sickly for about 6 months.  He has had a lump that has gotten larger and he has lost weight.  Still, he seemed to really enjoy his life.  The spark just wasn’t gone from his eyes.  However, Vera discovered that the large growth was about to burst.  She made an appointment yesterday for a consultation.  It turns out that the growth is a result of the injections that he has gotten for his yearly shots.  It is a type of cancer that can result from those types of shots.  In the beginning when we first discovered the lump–we decided that we couldn’t put money into saving the life of a 13 year old cat.  We decided to just keep him as comfortable as possible and put him down before he suffers too much.  So yesterday was the day.  He had a beautiful last day–enjoying the sunshine coming into our home.  It was rather warm yesterday.  He sat by the door just absorbing the sunshine.  He ate well and we cuddled him a great deal.  Vera and Jim took him to be put down.  He died in Vera’s arms.  We are already missing our dear Sam.  We found him in 1997 just after a county wide flood.  I took him to the vet and she said he was a year old.  I don’t think he had ever had a home because he had many wild ways.  It took months before he stopped tearing open my bread or other food stuff in plastic bags.  But he did finally become a domestic cat.

Now to Jim, he struggles so with his blood pressure either being too high or too low.  He has good days which seem almost normal then a bad day will happen.  Yesterday he couldn’t finish his breakfast.  He had to go back to bed and Vera said that he slept until 10:00 a.m.  After supper he had to go straight to bed.  His blood pressure had dropped to 80 over 40.  Vera has Friday’s off.  I’m so glad she was able to be home for her Dad and for Sam. 

I love my husband so much.  At night I hold him tight and cherish each moment we have together.  I don’t know if this cycle of good and bad days will ever end but I know I will do everything in my power to make Jim’s days beautiful.  People who give up on their marriages quickly and without thought miss out on the love that grows from sharing the good and bad of life.  Now I’m not talking about real abuse.  I’m talking about the little annoyances that drive many couple to divorce.  So I love my dear husband and that is my Valentine’s message to all.  Keep trying , keep  holding on to love.

God bless each of you!