Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm in Vegas!

Oh my goodness, it is AWESOME here. I sent a first-day update to some people, but we got here about noon local time (it's now 9 pm, making it midnight for our body clocks). We have an AMAZING suite in the MGM (technically the Signature, but part of MGM); we've played some blackjack and slots; spent time at the Lazy River and, of course, have worked up a decent buzz. We just got back to our room for the first time since nightfall and the view is incredible.

More highlights for this week will include a dolphin show and the Price is Right, Vegas-style. He's also taking me to a fancy dinner (I had to buy a DRESS, even)--then again, at these prices, every meal we've had today meets my definition of "fancy."

I'm blissfully in love; he did point out a wedding chapel as we walked by but I really don't think we'll give in to the urge while we're here. Then again, with me, you never can tell. =-)

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Here's the highlights of the past few days:
1) Finished my first year of teaching. Today was the last day with the kids. Didn't get teary till 2:37 (SO CLOSE), when Nathanial gave me a sweet parting speech about how "strong" I was because "my last teacher would run out of the room crying when we were loud, and we weren't really even that bad, but the kids here are WAY worse and you can like calm us down and you don't cry and run out of the room, so you're like strong and stuff." (The speech was sweeter than that, but that was the funny part.)
2) Tuesday: packed everything I owned in preparation for my upcoming move (sadly, this only took about an hour and a half).
3) Wednesday: moved the vast majority of my possessions in Dave's truck, my Escort and Joelle's Taurus (wait, it's not a Taurus, but it's a Ford SOMETHING, kind of like a Taurus). Also sadly, this only took one trip. Unloaded everything into my new SECOND STORY condo, went out to dinner with Joelle and Dave and my new roommate Brad, then went to Dave's to spend the night--I didn't want to deal with unpacking.
4) Came home after school to unpack and get settled. Only took a couple of hours. =-) I'm pretty much settled now, except for a few random boxes that, most likely, will stay packed till I move AGAIN.
5) Signed my official offer letter for the next school year. Still not completely sure that I'm going back, but it's good to know that I have a definite job lined up if nothing else comes through.
6) Got my classroom pretty much packed up and even got my boxes moved down to my new room (took advantage of the free labor, aka my students). Friday, I'm going to help Joelle pack up her room and then spend the rest of the afternoon on the mountains of paperwork necessary to "officially" close out the school year. My grades and report cards are already done, thank God. Actually, it's amazing that I've gotten as much done as I have, considering everything I had going on this week. I learned the true meaning of "time management" the last few days, that's for sure.
7) By this time tomorrow, I will have NOTHING TO DO but get ready for Vegas, whoo hoo!!!! We leave at 6 on Monday morning.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

The calm before the storm

Dave and I had another wonderful weekend away in the Keys. We stayed at a different place but had an even more AMAZING time than we did the first time (including another visit to my new happy place, the Dolphin Research Center). We stayed at the Yellowtail Inn and had a whole COTTAGE all to ourselves that was RIGHT ON THE OCEAN (literally, 10 steps away) and there was a hammock out front so I was swaying on a hammock under a palm tree looking up at the stars.... here's a link to the actual cottage we stayed in, but explore the site and you can see pictures of the whole resort: http://www.yellowtailinn.com/105.htm . It was truly paradise, and even though I live in Florida now I will never become immune to the true beauty of this state.

Oh, and we got to swim in the ocean this time--I SWAM IN SALT WATER AGAIN AND EVEN PUT MY HEAD UNDER (long story, but many of you know about my aversion to salt water)....and I got to eat a coconut right off the tree and drink the coconut water when one of the resort employees HACKED IT OPEN WITH A MACHETE and I saw a sting ray and we walked into a school of barracudas and oh my goodness, we just did SO MUCH STUFF. Dave learned a very valuable lesson about listening to me the first 10 times I say "Hey hon, you're starting to get a little red" (no, he didn't get out of the sun when I told him to and yes, he now has quite the sunburn to show for it). Oh, and I cried at the DRC again because it's just so amazing to see the dolphins that close and it makes me so happy there (which is the whole reason Dave took me back--because he knew how much I loved seeing them the first time).

Then we got home and I found out that I had been robbed.

And they were really nice robbers, too, because they even had the carpets cleaned on their way out.

So no, I wasn't really robbed. But while I was gone, Frank came and moved out the rest of his stuff (which, of course, is pretty much everything)--oh, and he apparently took the cable box with him (and, along with it, the Internet connection)--so I walked into, oh, NOTHING. Seriously. I was so disoriented that I just sat in the (empty) living room and looked around, speechless.

I wasn't supposed to move in with my new roommate, Brad (no, I'm not living with Lauren any more--her plans to move down here kind of fell through, so I went with one of the other people I had been talking to on roommates.com and feel pretty happy with the decision), till this coming weekend, but obviously, plans have changed. On my way to Dave's (he's taking pity on me and allowing me to stay here tonight while I figure out my next move; I feel like a freakin' refugee), I called Brad and said, "I know I wasn't going to move in for another week, BUT..." and explained the situation. He was very warm and sweet and basically told me that I could move in whenever I needed to. The problem, of course (which will be no surprise to those who know me) is that I hadn't even started packing yet (hey, I didn't think I was going to be moving for ANOTHER WEEK, which is like 3 months to normal people)--but now the tentative plan is for me to pack like a madwoman on Monday and move in with Brad on Tuesday, so that I only have to crash with Dave for a couple of nights. This, of course, is also in the midst of my LAST WEEK OF TEACHING, which was going to be crazy enough on its own and is the reason I had postponed moving till NEXT WEEKEND.

My point is that if you don't hear from me for a while, this is why. This week will be insane and then we're leaving for Veags for 5 days a week from tomorrow, so just as things start to settle down from teaching and moving I'll be hitting the road again.

If you need me, you have my cell or you can email me at school (Mom has the email address).

I'm working on getting my new address from Brad.

Thank God I'm returning from my WONDERFUL, glorious weekend, to prepare me from the onslaught of the next 3 or 4 days. (Of course, I can't complain because I'm leaving for ANOTHER vacation in about a week.)

See you on the other side. =-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

And my day just got even better...

(Back story, for those who may not know: I have a daughter who I gave up for adoption 14 years ago. Although it was an open adoption and I've remained a part of her life, she didn't know who I really was until this past summer.)

I received an e-card from Amanda today.

And here's what she wrote.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!! This is your first mothers day card from me. Wow is that weird calling you Mom. I love you and hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day. Love You Lots from your Daughter, Amanda

I've been waiting 14 years for this card.
A good day

1) I didn't want to kill the kids today (and with about 2 weeks of school left, that's considered a small victory)

2) We had our final dance tonight and there were no fights, no major behavior problems and only 2 girls in tears (both boy-related, of course)

3) Dave sent me roses at work--just because.

All in all, not too bad.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Martha Stewart I'm not

The other day, Dave called from the kitchen, "Hey, do you have any vinegar?"

"I don't know," I answered. "Check the spice rack."


"Um....vinegar's not a spice, Corky."

"Oh." [Pause.] "Yeah, I have no idea then."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A good day

Dave picked me up at one this afternoon (or, as I like to refer to it, "the crack of dawn") and we went mini-golfing, where I proceeded to KICK HIS ASS. It should be noted, once again, that Dave is a CERTIFIED GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENT. Now I know that mini-golf (or "putt-putt," as they call it down here) is way different from real golfing--even so, Dave's played a significant amount of golf in his day and I beat him quite severely.

Actually, I only beat him by 3 strokes; I was up by as much as 11 by one point but then I started feeling kind of badly, so I started swinging one-handed and with my eyes closed. ;) It's kind of funny, because at one point my ball seemed to be defying gravity--it would come to a complete stop and then roll uphill and sideways and all kinds of Matrix-type shit. I hit THREE holes in one, a personal record (AND I won a free game). And on a side note, I saw my first alligators today: the course had baby--and I use the term loosely, because they were still pretty damn big--alligators in the water by one of the holes (you could feed them, too, but we didn't do that).

After the game, we went to this cute little seafood place (where I, of course, had a burger and tried not to visibly gag as Dave ate WHOLE CRABS) and then went for a walk on the beach. It was a BEAUTIFUL day in Southwest Florida, that's for sure. The Gulf was warm and it was incredibly sunny. (Now, the neighboring county is under a tornado warning but Dave assures me that it's heading AWAY from us. Still, I'm keeping a wary eye on the sky.)

Really, we had a great day.

As (some of) you know, Mom's been taking care of my guinea pigs for me since I moved to Florida last summer. We lost Fancy a couple of months ago, due to--well, let's just say not entirely natural causes.

Today, Mom took the surviving guinea pig, Pumpkin, to the vet to have her nails trimmed and teeth trimmed down (a lesson learned from Fancy's unfortunate demise). On the way home, Mom stopped at the store to get some bedding for the cage. In Michigan, it was in the 60s and not even sunny (or so she claims), so she figured it was okay to leave Pumpkin in the car while she ran in. (You see where this is going, right?) While in there, she decided to pick up "a few more things" and, allegedly, wasn't in there for more than maybe 30 minutes--again, what she thought was an acceptable amount of time due to the cooler temps.

Or not so cool, as the case may be. When Mom got back to the house and put Pumpkin back in her cage, she (Mom) noticed that she (Pumpkin) felt kind of warm and was breathing "kind of shallow." Mom put the fan on her to cool her down but, when she didn't begin to perk up, she called the vet (the vet they had just left, oh, an hour ago), who told Mom to bring Pumpkin in.

Upon arrival, they took Pumpkin in the back right away. One of the employees came back out a while later. She told Mom that Pumpkin was in shock, that they gave her a shot of something (steroids, I think) to kind of jump-start her again and had her in a shallow pan of cool water. "But it doesn't look good," the vet assistant said. (Mom, of course, is hysterical by this time.)

Mom was on the way to the nursing home (Steve's dad, her father-in-law, is not doing well and, from what I hear, isn't really expected to improve at this point, so thoughts and wishes go out to Missy, Nikki, Steve and the whole family), so she gave the vet her cell number. At one point, not too long afterwards, she received an update from the vet that Pumpkin seemed to be perking up but was warned "not to get her hopes up."

About an hour after THAT, she received another call. Pumpkin had died.

Mind you, Mom had called me once earlier that day--on her way to the vet, asking what kind of bedding was bad for guinea pigs. (There's a particular wood one, either pine or cedar I think, that has oils that irritate a guinea pig's sensitive skin AND aromas and dust that interfere with their breathing.) Then I received a 2nd voicemail from her, about half an hour later, sobbing and telling me to "call her right back about Pumpkin." My first thought was, "What the hell kind of bedding did she GET?!"

Instead, she was calling to tell me about The Incident. When she called me, it was after Pumpkin was in GPICU (yes, that stands for Guinea Pig ICU and yes, I made it up) but before she went to the Big Bedding Pile in the Sky. Mom, of course, was distraught with guilt over what had happened and sobbed through, oh, the whole conversation. It was hard to know what to say--I was, of course, midly perturbed (to say the least) that she had, um--well, that my guinea pig was no longer alive--but I knew she didn't do it on purpose. "There's nothing I can say at this point to make you feel better OR worse," I finally said.

In her defense, 1) she's always been a little crazy and 2) Pumpkin was already elderly in guinea pig years. If she were younger, she may have been able to bounce back.

Nonetheless, that makes 2/2 guinea pigs who have died of "unnatural causes" in the last couple of months. Hmmm.

(No, in all seriousness, Mom is one of the biggest animal lovers and champion of animal rights there is, so I know she feels horribly about this. But....30-45 minutes?! SERIOUSLY?!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The most money you can make in one night with your clothes on!

Hey, if anyone out there is interested: Pure Romance just announced this special thing they're running in May: a $149 starter kit. I'm telling you first-hand that you can EASILY make $200 + at each party, which can make some NICE extra cash for you and your families. Even doing a party or two a month could make a difference. Whether you're a single mom, stay-at-home mom or have a job and would just like some extra "fun money," this could be a great chance to get started for a LOT less than it usually takes.

If it's something you might be interested in, we can even try to work something out so you don't have to pay anything (or very little) out of pocket to get started; you can have a book party or something and I'd give you the proceeds to use towards your kit.

No matter where you are geographically, I can work with you and help you get started. Here's a flier: if you'd like more info, you know where to find me. (Even if YOU aren't interested but you know someone who may be, let me know.) Seriously, it's fun AND it's really good money. Heck, do it for the buying discount alone and have the best "goody drawer" in town!