Monday, June 29, 2009

Start of Summer

For Mike and the kids, this weekend was the start of summer vacation. My summer officially starts on Wednesday, kind of, sort of.

To celebrate the start of vacation, I started the weekend by picking up my new BeBook from the FedEx drop off site.

(Shown with the road atlas for size.)

It came loaded with 150 classics and, after an hour or so of patient fiddling (during which came a point where I almost returned it), I figured out how to read library ebooks on it. That means that I can load trashy novels on it in addition to those mind expanding classics.

I also figured out how to format pattern PDFs and other pattern types so that I can load knitting patterns on it and be able to actually read them.

We did other things this weekend, besides play with my new toy. On saturday we found a geocache that had been eluding us (we have now found over 100 caches thanks to Little Squid and friend) and on Sunday we took an, unintentionally, long walk and then went kayaking in the Hudson River, right here in Manhattan.

No pictures of the kayaking because I did not bring my camera -- didn't want it to get wet.

The road atlas is out because we are trying to figure out our vacation route for this summer. With labor day being late, we get almost all of August for a change -- a full extra week! Possible destinations include: the ever popular Lancaster, PA, the newly popular but still unvisisted Pittsburgh, PA and possibly Toronto, Canada.

For now, however, it is time to put on some sunblock and pedal off to work. Mike will schlep the kids to camp later and we will all reconvene somewhere around dinner time.

Ahh summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Graduation Lessons

Everyone should learn a lesson at graduation. Since I sat through two* of them today, I have two lessons.

1. Backless shoes (heels) clang like a bell when worn while descending hollow metal stairs in a stairwell lined in metal. There is nothing one can do to quiet them short of taking them off. And given how grody our stairs are, this was not an option. Think ... thirteen stairs per flight, two flights per floor. My office is on the third floor, the auditorium is on the first floor. I had to make the trip at least 6 times not counting my initial ascent in bike shoes and my final descent in same. Needless to say, I had a headache well before the second graduation.

2. "Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best." This is the lesson shared by my Principal at both graduations. It is a good one, a motto I unconsciously live by, and one that I think I will be repeating for a long time to come.

*We graduated both our 8th graders and our high school seniors in back to back ceremonies today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I had no clue. Fourteen years ago, when I held her in my arms for the first time, I had absolutely no clue of what was to come.

Of the smiles she would cause,

Of the tears -- of joy,

Of the laughter,

Of the pride.

It's true what teens say, adults are clueless!

Happy Birthday Batya!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Price of Happiness

I left work at 6:00 today. And 6:30 yesterday. I get to work at 7:30 in the morning. And yet ... I am not upset. As a matter of fact, I am quite happy and very mellow about it all.

Compare this to last year when I was working my contractual day (7 hours and 50 minutes) and miserable. All day. Every day.

Boy, what a difference a year and a school makes.

(Oh, and I managed to hit my head on the bottom of a fire extinguisher today. Ouch!)

(Squidette thinks she did well on the Earth Science Regents. On to Algebra on Friday.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Regents Week

Regents week has taken on a new flavor in the Squid household. In past years it has been a time of extreme stress for just me as I juggle the testing schedule of my school. Mike has it relatively easy -- he goes in, proctors and grades and comes home. Yes, he has a lot of grading to do, and he has to actually create the exam for his subject but it is a different kind of stress then his usual day-to-day teaching and he tends to relax a bit.

Squidette has just added Regents Week to her "times of stress." Tomorrow she takes her first Regents Exam -- Earth Science. Mike is helping her study by asking random question from her notes. He just finished the astronomy unit and had me in giggles and tears.

Mike: "Where is Mercury?"

Squidette: "It is the closest planet to the sun."

Mom's (silently): "In the plaza at Rockefeller Center."

Mike: "Where is Saturn?"

Squidette: "..." (something relevant ... I forget what)

Mom: Giggles hysterically since I know where this is going ...

Squidette: "Why are you laughing? ... Oh, I get it." (and silently, to self "my parents are idiots!")

Little Squid (emerging from room): "What's going on?"

We know what was coming next ... do you?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The High Line and other Blatherings

I fully intended to show you some nice pictures of the High Line today. As I prepared to load them from my camera chip onto my computer, however, I somehow managed to fling the chip into the vast unknown. And so, if you wish to see the High Line, I suggest you go here instead.

A short while ago I gave up the search for the chip and instead set out to do some actual work -- writing end of year letters and such. It is, however, difficult to concentrate when people keep interrupting my thoughts as they play Zombies or write valedictory speeches. Yes, you read that correctly. Squidette is the valedictorian of her junior high school. Can you see my grin from there?

That said, it has been a quiet weekend with no one up for a bike ride. Instead, on Saturday,we took the subway uptown and hit Zabar's and a crafts fair. Squidette and I got some neat hairclips and then we walked home, capturing a real and a virtual geocache on the way.

Today we walked the High Line and failed to find a cache that was just placed on it. Then Squidette and I went out and bought a new dress for her awards ceremony next week. The Little Squid and I went out and bought a birthday present for Squidette. Then I came home and did laundry and attempted to add pictures to my blog.

I've just gotten Squidette to write silently for a while so I think I will try those letters again ...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rotating Children

I was chatting with the Principal of the Squidlings school the other day, thinking that she had no idea who I was (since I've only met her once or twice) and we were quipping about their rotten trip coordination - the sixth grade leaving the day the eighth grade returned. The timing, you see, does not give parents a child-free night. She sympathized and then I shared a story about Little Squid.

Seems that about 15 minutes after I dropped him off for his trip, he realized that he had forgotten his hat. This led to a typical Little Squid reaction and a cell phone call to me -- who could do absolutely nothing about the situation as the buses were leaving in 15 minutes and I was at work. And his hat was at home. He was not just upset. He was, to quote the Principal, inconsolable. Little Squid tends to go over the top on the rare occasions when he loses it.

Apparently the situation had come to the Principal's attention and she solved it much the way I think I would have done ... she gave him a school hat.

Had I not started randomly quipping about bad timing I would not have known that. Certainly not before Little Squid returned and possibly not ever. Makes me like their Principal more than I already did. And I really like her.

But enough about my younger child.

As the buses rolled up to the school ... and then down the block and around the corner ... I followed to try to catch sight of Squidette. I found her, and she found me, and I followed the correct bus to it's final resting place.

She was one of the last kids to disembark and, quickly, grabbing her bag (which had been unloaded from the bus by the Principal -- told you I liked that woman) came over to me. My comment? "Boy I missed you!" Where upon a teacher shouted at her to remember to tell me what happened today.

I made a quick assumption and said "Oh, I heard about it on the radio," referencing the shooting at the national Holocaust Museum. "No, not that," she replied, "I got dehydrated." Yeep!

Her teachers spotted it before it got too bad and got water in to her in sufficient quantities to stave of further problems. Phew!

Her class, by the way, had visited the museum in question the day before so they were nowhere near it when the shooting occurred. And, n the whole, she had a blast (on the trip -- the museum was somewhat depressing, as it is wont to be).

I try to be blase' whenever I send my kids out into the world but really, I am so very glad when they return home!

Pick up for Little Squid: 3:00 PM today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Need Some Cereal?

So yesterday, I open my email to find the following missive from my father. I sat here reading and, as I choked back my laughter, got strange looks from my son. After reading it through once, I reread it, aloud, to Little Squid to much the same reaction. When Mike came out and asked why we were laughing, all I could say was "my parents are up to it again."

"Ya Gotta Believe,"
as told by my father, Larry Centor.

Kids mine --

So we take one of these little walks that end up in ...

How did you guess?


Where there is a General Mills sale.

You buy 2 8.9 0z. boxes of Cheerios for $4.00 [4X (because with a $16.00 GM purchase of selected products, of which aforementioned Cheerios is one, you get a $4.00 coupon good for your next store purchase of ANYTHING)].

Now for the good part. Inside random boxes [1 out of every 10], there is a Discover card good for $5.00, $10.00 or $25.00.

So Mom thinks it would be great to buy 8 boxes, because with the $4.00 coupon it nets out to $12.00.

But wait, while on line she finds a $2.00 Cheerios coupon, so it nets out to $10.00.

But wait, there's more.

Opening boxes frantically, Mom finds a $5.00 Discover card.

Out net for the 8 box is $5.00.

'Great!' you say.

But wait.

'We have to go back to Waldbaum's.'

Can I argue?

So we return -- and buy another 8 boxes, and get another $8.00 coupon.

And go home. The end! Right? Wrong!

Ripping open Cheerios boxes like a raccoon at a garbage fest, Mom finds -- are you ready? -- another $5.00 Discover card, not once, but twice.

Yes, another $10.00, after the $4.00 coupon, making the net on this batch $2.00.

Can you keep up with the math?

Yes, you're right!

16 8.9 oz. boxes of Cheerios for $7.00.

Life is good. No, life is g-r-r-r-reat!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Springtime for Squid

I know it's been a while since I posted. Let's just say that the Zombies ate my brains and let it be at that.

Unlike past springs, we have done very little biking. The reasons are simple and few -- too many other obligations, too little sleep (making for sloth-like squid) and too much rain. We are thinking, however of ways to extend the rides home from camp next month.

We have, however, done a fair amount of geocaching and managed to push our finds up from 65 to 92 in little more than a month of searching. Little Squid is going to try to capture a few more today with some friends. (NYC elementary and middle schools have a half day.)

Not only have we not been biking but very little shopping has been done. That said, we are now in an almost desperate state for several commodities that we tend to keep in large amounts. Tissues (purchased in 8 packs and down to half a box ... and I have a cold), dishwasher detergent (actually ran out of this one and had to send a squidling for more), laundry detergent (purchased in 5 gallon buckets, down to a few loads worth), chocolate covered raisins (purchased by the gallon and now gone) and most importantly, toilet paper.

We are down to the equivalent of three-quarters of a roll. Split between two bathrooms.

I won't even use it to blow my nose in any more.

Fortunately we are down one child right now and the one remaining child uses less of the stuff due to biological factors. And the other child is due back at ... 8:30 PM tomorrow night. Earliest. By which time I intend to have gone to Costco and restocked.

Got to do something to kill the hours between work and picking her up.

(I could work longer but keep in mind that I actually do not even intend to leave work until 5:00 or so. And I get to work at 7:30.)

The other child is also leaving us -- but we get no benefit from it as he is leaving Wednesday morning and she comes back Wednesday evening. He returns on Friday, a day on which I get to run to his school, pick him up, drive both of them home (silly to make one take the subway when the other is getting a lift), and then turn around and go back to work for the 8th grade prom. Which will come close to ending this spring's roller coaster. Which started 2 weeks ago with ...
a wedding (on Tuesday), a retirement dinner (on Wednesday), a Squidling (both) concert (on Thursday) and my school's senior Prom (on Thursday).

A week "off" followed. Kind of. It ended with both kids being inducted into Arista on Friday night and Little Squid playing a duet on Saturday.

This week we have ... Squidette Drop-off (6:30 am, Monday), Freshman orientation (my school, tonight), Squidette Pick-up and Costco run (tomorrow evening and night), dinner and a show with Little Sister Squid (Thursday -- can't wait!), Little Squid pick-up and 8th grade prom (my school) on Friday.

Next week ... a late meeting for me on Thursday and a possible awards ceremony for Squidette in the same evening and on Friday ... Squidette's 8th grade cruise. For which I have volunteered my home for female primping and shuttle service to and from the docks. (We live near by.)

Oh, and Squidette turns 14 that Sunday. And Mike is being honored the next evening. And Squidette graduates the day after that.

Eek! June 30th can't come too soon!