Off the Grid.


I’ve been a little lax in my blogging.  The reason… we’re on vacation.

The View From Every Window in Our Cabin.

Well, kind of.

I’m not sure if you can technically call it a vacation when you drive over 19,000 miles with the Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog in the backseat snoring (if that isn’t bad enough, they both drool while they sleep… and neither one can figure out why the truck seat is wet).

I must admit this obnoxious snoring is better than hearing “Are we there yet?”

To get from our house to the North Shore in Minnesota took approximately 87 hours.

Or at least it seemed like 87 hours (it may have been longer because at one point I passed out).

The trip was so long that I could have sworn we were going in circles.

I kept thinking… I know I’ve seen this “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign at least a dozen times.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is I’ve been able to drop off “The Grid”.

For educators “The Grid” is a triangle.  It goes from your home to school to Wal-mart (feel free to substitute another large mega-billion shopping store of your choice).

It’s a law.  Every teacher and administrator must spend 90% of their time inside their grid (unless school is in session… then it’s 98.5%).

I think there might be some fine print in NCLB that requires us to stay inside this restricted area.

Rumor has it educators who venture outside the “Grid” too often are never heard from again.

It’s the opposite of tenure.

So it’s a fine line between leaving your grid and going insane (and not a little insane… I’m talking Jack Nicholson in The Shining insane).

Because I don’t see the need in chasing the Tech Queen with an ax, we like to go on vacation at least once a year (unfortunately these never take place during school).

This year we headed for the woods.

A cabin in northern Minnesota.

Frighteningly close to my sworn enemies… the Canadians.

People ask me what I have against the good people of Canada.

Nothing.

I just don’t trust them.

Sooner or later they are going to get sick of the cold and storm our borders with the intent of taking Florida just so they can sit on a beach.

Mark my word, it’s coming.

As I sit here and type this blog, I’m within miles of the US-Canadian border (rest easy, I will keep an eye on them and if I can’t chase them back… Buddy the Dog can… unless of course, he’s napping).

So for the next several days I’m officially off “The Grid”.

No ESPN.  No internet.  No email.  No phone calls. No meetings.

No contact with any other human beings (unless it’s on a golf course… and I do apologize for almost hitting you with my drive off #7).

I’m unreachable.

I’m a ghost.

I don’t exist.

At least that’s what I told everyone at school.

Do you think they will believe I pre-wrote this blog and uploaded it before I left?

I guess I’ll never know since I’m not getting their emails.

Or at least I’m not answering them.

It’s good to be off “The Grid”.

Comments: 7
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve Been Gone. And Now the Good and the Bad.


In glancing at my blog, I just realized that I haven’t posted in close to a week. This is NOT the Baby in Question

This could be a new record.

Depending on your opinion, this could be a good thing or bad thing (haters).

Since I started blogging in the early 1900’s, I have prided myself on quantity.

As with anything in life, I think showing up is half the battle.

Which in blogging terms (and my own head), I don’t have to be good… I just have to blog a lot.

I’ve seldom gone longer than 3 or 4 days before typing up some more new crap and posting it online.

In my mind, I’m making the world a little dumber one blog at a time.  Sure that sounds bad, but I do it for the kids.

Not really, but you have to admit anytime you say “It’s for the kids”, it sounds good.

The reason I haven’t blogged in several days is because I’ve been gone.

To Miami.

And now I’m back.

Sure I could have blogged during my trip, but who wants to type when it’s 75 degrees and sunny?

Blogging is for people north of the Mason-Dixon line.  I’m pretty sure that’s why so many Canadians are into technology (have I mentioned they make me nervous… there is no way we can win a snowball fight with them if they decide to attack on a cold and snowy night… I’m just saying…).

Canadians blog and Tweet.  A lot.

But honestly, what else are they going to do?   How many hockey games can one person watch?  And if they get bored with that… Curling?  Canadian football?

To get to Miami, I had to fly.

While I don’t hate flying, I’m quite content living my life on land.

In fact, I’m relatively new to this whole climbing aboard a giant metal tube, hurling through the air at 97,000 feet, all the while letting a perfect stranger drive (note to self:  it might not be a good thing to see a guy in the airport bar and later see him walk out of the cockpit).

Whenever my plane is taking off or landing, I always say a few Catholic prayers…which is odd, since I’m not Catholic. 

The good news is I survived the trip.

And I feel like I have a better understanding of traveling.  I can now spot a Cinnabon store from 1,000 feet away.

I also got picked up by a car service.  Let’s not kid ourselves; that is cool.

Really cool.

A guy standing in the airport holding up a sign with your name on it.

You have to admit, it beats taking the shuttle.

Plus as an added bonus, my personal driver was named Tony and he’s originally from the South Bronx.  I’m not saying he’s in the Witness Relocation Program, but I’m pretty sure he’s in the Witness Relocation Program.

He said if I had any trouble in South Florida to let him know.

I said “What kind of trouble?”  He said “Any trouble.”

Again, pretty cool.   A car and the ability to have someone whacked.

Life is good.

The car service and the weather were both great.

It was nice to listen to people whine about the cold weather when it was 70 degrees.

I am sorry to say the trip wasn’t totally perfect.

There was an incident (which is good news for someone responsible for cranking out several mediocre to poor blogs a week… but remember “It’s for the kids”)

On the flight down, I was sitting in my aisle seat minding my own business.

Then I made the mistake of all mistakes.

I looked across the aisle to see a young mother and her newborn baby (have to admit… not that excited to see them board the plane, less excited to see them sit right beside me).

What I saw was both disturbing and shocking.

The mother was feeding the baby.  And not in a bottle kind of way.

In a way, I’m not comfortable with.

Now before the hateful emails start rolling in, I am not against breastfeeding… I just need some warning.

A simple “Excuse me, you may not want to look this way unexpectedly for the next 20 minutes or so”… would have been nice.

Or maybe a blanket over the baby.  Maybe a blanket over everything.  Maybe a blanket over anything.

But no.

It was all out there.

I don’t think flying will ever be the same for me.

The next time I see a mother and her baby get on my flight, my first thought won’t be about the possibility of the baby crying.

Best joke I heard on the trip:  Don’t worry if one of the engines on your plane fails… the second engine will take you directly to the crash site.

Comments: 5
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My School is Just Like Newton North High School. Not.


My High School Looks Slightly Different.I was reading online (because no one born after 1970 reads an actual newspaper) about the palace that is the new Newton, Massachusetts high school.

The article details how the state wants to put a stop to these Taj Mahal types of building projects.

Oh, did I mention the school is going to cost $200 million? Did I mention this is the first I have heard of a Taj Mahal type of school?

These building projects have upset some politicians because they feel it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. This also came as a shock to me. When did elected officials decide that wasting taxpayer’s money is a bad idea?

I am not sure what all of the complaining is about. As far as I know there is no correlation between good facilities and the type of education a student receives. If there was, wouldn’t the government step in and try to equalize how education is funded (this is a little thing that I like to call sarcasm)?

This got me thinking how much my school has in common with Newton North’s. Sure, the argument can be made that their school is superior, but I think the case can be made that we are in a much better situation.

Their building is going to be 413,000 square feet (or 33,368 square meters for our Canadian friends). My school also is made up of square feet. Sure we have a little less (about 375,000 less) but on the upside, it doesn’t take as long to clean (or walk down the entire hall).

Their school is located close to Harvard University. We have a junior college 20 miles from here. I am guessing our students pay slightly less in tuition (you might as well get those general ed. requirements out of the way… and at a much cheaper price).

The article says residents of Newton enjoy two symphony orchestras and have a median income of $101,001, which is twice the national average.

Residents of my school district also have incomes. Sadly, we don’t have a symphony but there is a sophomore boy who drives around town playing loud rap music on his 1987 truck stereo (yes, old pickup trucks and rap music do go together).

And let’s not judge him; culture comes in many different forms.

Bloomberg.com says their new school was designed by Gund Partnership, a Cambridge-based firm that has designed buildings for Harvard. This firm won the 2005 American Architecture Award for the National Association of Realtors’ glass-enclosed headquarters in Washington.

We also have an architect. He says we need to fix the potholes in the parking lot before someone gets hurt.

The lesson here? Advice that costs more isn’t necessarily better.

The Newton High School will have an arts complex, an athletic wing, a swimming pool and a climbing wall.

While our school doesn’t have an arts complex, we do have an art class. We are also proud owners of a football field with sprinklers. It is our version of an athletic wing and a swimming pool.

We don’t have a climbing wall, but the kids can hop the fence if they want to take a short cut on their walk to school.

So we are not so different from Newton High School’s new complex.

Well maybe a little different. Actually, if you do the math I guess we are about $199 million different.

I wonder how much they charge the students for steak at lunch. This reminds me we need to raise our hot dog prices.

See, when you get right down to it we are all pretty much the same.

Comments: 2
Tags: , , , , ,

Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.