A Flight, a Free Trip, Discovery Education, and Food Posioning. It Was a Very Busy Day.


The superintendent’s life can be a busy one.Discovery and Shark Week.

But I know it’s the same for principals, teachers, secretaries, custodians, parents, students, and Buddy the Dog.

Well, not Buddy.  He’s not that busy.  Unless you count 17 hour naps  as busy (I’m so sick of holding a mirror under his snout to see if he’s still breathing).

Everyone is busy, so I’m not complaining.

But lately, I have been unusually busy.

School.  The Evil Spawn’s athletic career (I use athletic… and career… loosely).

This week I added to my troubles by throwing in a one-day trip to Discovery Education in Washington, D.C.

One-day and trip should never be used in the same sentence (and I just did it twice… idiot!!).

I really didn’t have time, but I knew I needed to make the time.  After all, it’s Washington D.C. (you can never turn down a free trip to your nation’s capital… unless you are a communist… and if you are… I’m not judging).

The trip was good.  Not great.

Blog sarcasm karma reached up and slapped me in the face.  Again.

When will I ever learn?

Note to self:  Don’t write a blog about what type of person you don’t want to sit next to on a flight because karma will mock you by sitting someone worse next to you the very next day.

I get on the plane.  Take my window seat (which is an opportunity to be the first one to notice an engine is on fire).

And then it happens.  Nope, not a lady with a baby (that’s a different blog),

Worse.

A young strong woman (freakishly strong) sits down and announces "I’m the worst flyer you’ve ever met.  I apologize in advance for screaming and I’ll probably grab you at some point".

Well, thanks for the warning.  And for cranking up my stress level because people with brand new vasectomies always hope to be grabbed by perfect strangers on a plane.

Here’s a sentence you almost never hear people say… "I wish I had MORE swelling!"

The worst part?  She screamed so loud on take off there was no way anyone was going to hear me crying like a little girl when she grabbed my man parts like a grocery bag.

Let’s just say, it was a long flight.

But it got worse.

The airline "misplaced" my luggage.  Which I’m told (by them) is better than "losing" it.

I should have known there was going to be trouble.  It’s never a good sign when you get off the plane on the middle of the tarmac.

The good news is they "found" my luggage.

Since I arrived at the hotel late, I got to eat dinner by myself in their ridiculously high-priced restaurant.

Who pays $14 for a hamburger?

After dinner, I retired to my hotel room to get a good night’s rest before going over to Discovery Corporate Headquarters.

I was excited.

And cramping.

You see, the $14 hamburger turned on me.

It’s 1:00 am.  I’m in Washington by myself.  And I’m face down in the bathroom eating tile.

I thought I was dying.  At one point I was hoping I was dying.

I just knew I was leaving this world like Elvis.

How sad.  A small school superintendent found alone in a hotel in a compromising position.

People were bound to talk.

I didn’t care.

Just stop the cramping.

Luckily, I eventually fell asleep.  In bed, as far as you know.

I got up and felt like a million bucks.  Food poisoning evidently doesn’t last long on the East Coast.

Maybe it’s the time change.

I made my way to Discovey and had a wonderful time.

But that’s another blog.

I’ll get to the Techbook Discovery people.  I promise.

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Fear of Flying.


Tomorrow, I get on a plane for Washington, D.C.

I will be visiting the headquarters of Discovery.

I’m very excited.  I’m hoping to meet Mike Rowe, the Mythbusters, or maybe the nut jobs from Storm Chasers (really… it’s pouring down rain… go inside already).

Meeting important people (even unstable ones) will be the fun part.

The bad part is flying.

I don’t fear flying, I just have some concerns.

On the list is the inevitable groping I always have to endure at the airport.  This time could be especially painful since I’m still trying to bounce back from my "vacation".

Another thing I always worry about is changing time zones.  It’s confusing.

When I travel and have to go from one time zone to another, two things invaribly happen.

One, I’m always hungry.  And two, I’m always doing math in my head to figure out why I’m starving at 9:30 in the morning.

But the biggest thing that scares me about flying is the unknown.

And I don’t mean how does a giant metal tube hurtle through the air.  Or will a flight attendant slam a metal cart full of nothing good to eat into my elbow just as I doze off?

My biggest concern is who I will sit by.

I can’t be the only one who gets on a plane and then waits.

Waits while passenger after passenger boards.  I check them all out to see which one I might not want to sit by.

Don’t get me wrong, 99 out of 100 people I’m good with sharing a row.

It’s the one percent that concerns me.

And you know who I’m talking about.

The mom.

The mom with a baby.

The mom with a newborn baby.

The mom with a newborn baby who has never flown before.

The mom with a newborn baby who has never flown before and the baby has a terrible ear infection.

There’s one on every flight (or maybe it just seems like it).

My only hope is they won’t sit by me.

It’s not that I dislike this mom. In fact, I feel sorry for this mom.

I survived (barely) 6 months of a colicky Evil Spawn.

And I don’t want to go back there.

Ever.

So keep a good thought for me.  I know I can’t avoid the groping, so I’ll just ride that out.

But the crying.

I can’t take the crying.

"Please walk by me… please walk by… please… I promise you God I’ll be good… if they just walk by… please… please…"

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Airplanes Are Giant Tubes of Infection.


Say Hello to Mr. Germ.

This may be my best blog title ever.

Or the most disturbing.

Now that I think about it, it’s probably both.

When I flew to Miami, my main concern was not crashing into anything (primarily the ground).

If you haven’t flown a lot, let me break it down for you.

Flying isn’t bad.

Flying into the side of a mountain is bad.

Please feel free to share this travel tip with your friends (no charge).

As I traveled across this country there was a lot of talk about the swine flu.  I’m not exactly sure what all the excitement is about because I didn’t see a single pig who looked nauseous.

But, I did see hundreds of humans who are gross.

Schools work very hard to teach students personal cleanliness.  This is good.

We then send them home to adults who are disgusting.  This is bad.

I noticed that many adults don’t cover their mouths when they cough (use your arm people).  They sneeze into their hands and then touch every public object within 200 feet.  Worst of all, they use public toilets but not public sinks.

Call me crazy.  Call me a germaphobe.  Call me paranoid.

But who doesn’t wash their hands after they use the restroom?  Especially when they are about to board a plane.  The same plane on which I am boarding.

And trapped in.

For 3 hours.

It’s sick when you think about it…

…sitting among 120 perfect strangers who couldn’t find a bottle of Germ-X if you slapped them upside the head with it.  I’m no scientist, but I’m guesstimating there had to be at least 18,407 germs on the plane.

There could have been more, but I avoided the restroom.

The germs are everywhere.  In the air, on the seats, and stuck to the pages of the airline magazines that are shoved in the back of the seat (next to the barf bags).  If that isn’t enough, there is a germ festival taking place all over those “complimentary” blankets.

Do you know why the blankets are free and an extra small bag of pretzels costs 3 dollars?

Because even the airlines realize they can’t rent those disease-laden blankets for a quarter.  Trust me, if they could, they would.

The good news is I’ve been back from my trip for 3 whole days and I’m still breathing (without a ventilator).

This has come as a total shock to me.

I was convinced I would have some sort of a disease by now.  At the very least a disorder that involves drooling and a facial tick.

Evidently I wasn’t meant to be sick.

I’m as healthy now as when I boarded the Flying Infection Tube (which was delayed 2 hours by the way… even germs aren’t on time).

I’m a lucky man.

At least this time.

My advice… the next time you travel by plane, don’t worry about the landing.  Worry about the free blanket.

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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.

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A Free Trip to Miami. Thanks AASA.


I’m going to Miami, but I’m sure you already figured that out.

In mid-October I will be taking my first official business trip (I’m such a big boy).

Did I mention it’s to Miami?Miami... Here I Come!

For those of you that don’t teach geography… that’s in Florida. Where it’s warm.

Did I mention it’s a free trip?

The mere thought of rubbing elbows with Crockett and Tubbs (80’s reference) is almost more excitement than I can handle.

I’m not sure how many miles it is to Miami but I know it’s a long way from hall duty.

The American Association of School Administrators have invited me to be a small part of a focus group about the development of a school leadership simulation online program (I say a small part because in case they read this… I want to lessen expectations to the point that if I string together a halfway intelligent sentence, they will consider my participation a success).

I’m not sure what a “school leadership simulation program” is, but I would rather be confused in Miami than have everything under control on hallway duty.

Did I mention this trip is free?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what in the world is the AASA thinking?

It was one thing to publish my little blog in The School Administrator Magazine, but picking up my expenses is another thing (can anyone say $14 M & M’s from the hotel mini-bar?).

Let’s think about this. They are flying me to Miami to ask my opinion. They could have gotten the very same “Barely Thought Out Almost Boarding on a Complete Lack of Knowledge Opinion” from me if they had just asked.

I do have a cell phone.

Or they could have Skyped me.

Or possibly emailed.

But whatever. I’m willing to do my part. I’m willing to take one for the team.

So, I am stepping up to the plate and flying to Miami (by myself, which is a first… did I mention what a big boy I am?).

And did I happen to mention the trip is free?

Note from wife: I feel the need to point out that his first plane trip was just 4 years ago when we flew to NECC in San Diego. He has never flown alone and while he is claiming to be a “big boy”, I am feeling a little like a nervous mother. If you see a lost 40-something angry bald man in a suit roaming through the Atlanta airport, will you please contact me?

Here is a link to help with figuring the trip details from our little town in IL to Miami FL. I not only love and use this site regularly, but my company RecessTEC is demoing its use for all classrooms (don’t be afraid to visit us at www.RecessTEC.com as I have time on my hands since I don’t have to make dinner for PrincipalsPage when he is in Florida).

http://www.wolframalpha.com – Type Tuscola, Illinois to Miami, Florida.

How far is from your town to Miami?

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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.