Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catching Up

You can tell that it's been a healthy week for us, because I haven't updated my blog in almost a week. When it's an unhealthy time, then we spend a lot of time in the hospital. Hospital time means hurry up and wait, which allows for maximal blogging time. Non-hospital time moves a little bit faster, or at least a little bit differently.

This weekend, and this week, has been a wonderful stretch of weather. While we've had a couple of days of rain, we had nothing like the floodwaters that have hit northern New Jersey. (Thoughts and prayers go out to my friends who are now swimming from their houses.) Even through the rain, the temperatures during the day have been in the 50s and 60s, which has allowed us maximal time outdoors. We've been making due quite nicely with the Frick Park Blue Slide Playground, which The Boy really, really, really enjoys.

Saturday night, The Wife and I both had concerts. I was singing with the Steel City Harmonizers, and she was playing with her orchestra. Both shows went well. On Sunday, we just kind of recovered - spent a couple hours at the park, played with the kids, that sort of thing. Nothing besides normal life happened that day: dirty diapers and clean pants, baths, "Tackle Daddy!", some naps, and eating lots of noodles.

Monday, I had an interview to teach 8th grade math at, basically, the best middle school in the city. It's a maternity leave position, until June 15, and it's an emergency start: the teacher left for her maternity leave three weeks early due to some complications, so they were left a bit up the creek. Considering that most of the people interviewed were... involved... (if you're a teacher an unemployed in March, there's probably a reason), and considering that I am an exceptional interviewee, they hired me! It doesn't hurt that I'm experience in the classroom, and yet cheap (because my certification hasn't come through, I'm on substitute pay, which is a lot cheaper than classroom pay).

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Don't get me wrong: I'm excited for the opportunity. If there's ever a place to teach mathematics, this school is it. And, it is strikingly fortunate that I got the job: my wife, subbing last Friday at that school, happened to run into the principal when she happened to be talking with somebody nearby about the immediate need. Good timing and all that. I know that I'll work my butt off, and even if I'm not as polished as an experience math teacher, I know that I'm a better teacher than 95% of the people out there. I'll put in my hours of research, try a few things (some will fail, some won't), and do a better-than-average job filling in for the teacher.

But, I'm still nervous about the whole thing. Considering the fact that my last job had administrators that were openly hostile about The Boy's situation and the need for me during emergencies, I made sure to tell them that up front. Normal chemo, normal transfusions, normal stuff like that is not an issue. Mommy & Grandma & the crew will handle it. Emergencies? I'm there. The Boy gets a 103 degree fever at 3AM? I'm there. Period. End of story, no discussion, no negotiations. My general rationale (besides that I'm a sub and on sub's pay instead of being paid as an authentic faculty member) is that my heart and my thoughts will be enough in the hospital that I will not be remotely effective as an educator.

It's hard. I'm a prepare-for-the-worst type person, and it's hard to prepare for a full-time job and to be there for my family in the fashion to which >>I<< need. I know what they need, and I know what I need, and I'm concerned that working a full-time job will seriously impinge on my emotional needs in this case. They did in my last job (soulless administration and co-workers), and I think I'll always be paranoid about it. It has nothing to do with the teaching, and nothing to do with the children, and nothing to do with the particular administrators with whom I've met this week; it has everything to do with the constant level of fear, worry, stress, anxiety, and outright terror, under which my family has lived for nearly two years. Having lived through one family death when I was NOT there to help (my brother), and another family death when I was there to help (my mother), I know that one screwed me up long-term much more than the other. I know that I need to be there for The Boy's emergency issues; 50% for his needs, 50$ for my needs, and 50% for the needs of the rest of the family.

Tuesday, we spent one last whole family weekday: out to breakfast, two hours plus in the playground, lots of napping and tumbling around and fun and happiness. Younger Bro crawled up steps for the first time, and The Boy played with a couple of different kids. It was a nice farewell to the "break" from teaching that I just "enjoyed," and the start of a new phase of our struggle.

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