Saturday, October 31, 2009

On getting older (and our budget)

I need to go to the grocery store. There is a list (mostly compiled by me because other members of the family either don't notice when they use the last of something or figure an audible is sufficient but that is another post) of things I need to get.  Last week I noticed my roots are starting to show. I realized that I am coming up on four weeks since I last recharged my mane.  So I put hair color on the list.

Our budget is beyond tight right now. As I looked at the list on my way past the fridge the hair color caught my attention.  Sure, I think my red hair suits my complexion and my temperament better than my natural color but is it worth the $12-$16 a month (not to mention the time and the fumes) that I pay?

Some people color their hair to cover grey.  I've always said that I like my grey because it is really more of a sparkly silver.  It's the mouse-brown I've never been fond of. (My apologies to mice everywhere but mouse-brown sounds better than shit-brown).

At this point I'm not even sure how much grey I really have.  It's been a few years since I went back to being a redhead. At that time I had a lot of grey around my temples but it was underneath the brown. So. The only time it really showed much was when I pulled my hair back off my face.  It will be interesting to see how much there really is and where.

So, this could get interesting over the next few months as I return to my roots. And I figure this will (at the very least) give me a few dollars for the yarn budget. After all, that's what life is all about...More Yarn For Me.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Disasters on Sept 11th

Thursday, September 10th came and went.  I ran into the Head of Max's school and he assured me they were "working on it".  Being a hopeful person, I could only assume that meant working on what the conditions would be if they didn't expell him.  Maybe I was right.  Maybe not.

Maybe there just weren't enough conditions possible.

Thursday turned into Friday.  It has a way of doing that.  They were still "working on it".

Early Friday afternoon we were summoned.  So, Addison, Max, and I went to the school.

Max was done.

They left open the possibility of re-enrolling next year (his senior year).  They also very kindly did not ban him from the school grounds.  As long as he is with one of us he can attend his brothers functions and go with me to drop off/pick up.

We live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The local school system sucks.  I don't know how else to describe it and sucks really isn't strong enough.  PA public schools in general are pretty crappy.  While it has been a few years since I graduated I have not seen any evidence of improvement since I was in school.  I attended three public high schools (Opelika, Alabama, Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Susquehanna Township here in Harrisburg).  If I had to rank them from best to worst it would look like this:

1.  Shaker Heights.  Period.  Nationally ranked and noted school.
2.  Opelika.  I had some really great teachers there and the educational environment was very progressive.

Susquehanna township was considered one of the better school districts when I attended.  Still it.  Sucked then and I can only imagine that it still sucks today.

When we moved here I went from an AP US History course where we were studying the formation of the Supreme Court to a US history class taught by the football coach whose idea of a quiz was to pair us up, take out his stopwatch, and see how long it took us to put together a wooden puzzle of the US.  A kindergarten-age-appropiate f*(&^ing puzzle!!!!

The really sad thing is that the school district I live in now (Harrisburg City) is a million times worse than Susquehanna Township.  We live a block from the line dividing the two.  So, we looked into the option of sending Max to Susquehanna Township as an out-of-district student.  The cost would have been in the neighborhood of $800 a month!

*** Yes, I am aware that we could move to a different school district.  Selling our house/buying a new house is just not financially feasible at the moment.  Besides, that would mean not just cleaning up my stash/stuff but hiding it from prospective buyers and that is probably impossible. ***

Our only other option is cyber school.  PA now has cyber school available to all students living in the Commonwealth of PA as a public school choice.  I was completely unaware of this.  Ok, a little aware but I had no idea that it was the same as public school and that anyone could go.  Wow!

It is now October 7th and we are still in the process of getting Max enrolled at PACyber (there are a number of cyber schools available and competing for students but we heard this was the best).  I talked to his guidance counselor for the first time this morning, he is scheduled for his classes, and his text books, computer, and other materials have all been ordered.  Looks like we are about to start another new chapter...

Monday, October 05, 2009


Wednesday, September 9th was a good day.

I talked to my buddy Pete first thing in the morning. We got caught up on the goings-on in each other's lives. This only takes a couple of seconds-there isn't much going on. But, it's still great to hear his grumpy voice.

Then, I talked to my bff, Ron, while I headed south to Chambersburg. I hadn't been to the "Yarn Basket" in at least a year if not longer.  I wanted to reaquaint myself with the lovely little shop as well as look for the fiber for the cute little spring jacket I have been thinking about.

Ron and I had one of our off-the-walls conversations where we go from one strange topic to another in a stream of conscience sort of way; laughing most of the time.

At the yarn shop I found orange sock yarn for Jake (don't ask), some purple-ish sock yarn for me, and the sweetest alpaca yarn in pastels that just screams (ok, it whispers) spring.

I made my way back home with my newly acquired treasure and shortly after I arrived the nice day ran off the rails.

I'm not talking a glitch. Or an inconvience. No minor setbacks here.  I'm talking blood and guts, smoke and flames spewing, get the medic kind of this-aint-gonna-fix-itself and it-aint-gonna-be-pretty disaster.  The kind where years later you still remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.

Addison and Max came in the house together. On this otherwise lovely Wednesday. In the middle of the day. Silently.

Max had been suspended. And made to clean out his locker. And was now waiting to find out if he would be allowed to return to the school.  Ever.

My uninspired, unmotivated, unenthusiastic, ADD-challenged 16 year old had (with a couple of his buddies) signed himself out of study hall and gone to "the cove" (an area at the bottom of the stair well decorated with fish and furnished with a bench and a desk) to study. He got bored.  He played with a broken lighter.  When it finally lit (to his surprise) he used it to light the corner of a piece of paper on fire.  He blew it out in the same instant.  A teacher walked through and saw the corner of the paper still glowing.  A jackass of a teacher who doesn't particularly like Max.  He got caught.

He got written up.  He was later yanked  out of lunch by the Head of the Upper School and told, "I want you out of my school". Addison was called at work.  Max cleaned out his locker.

So, they were home.  On that beautiful Wednesday in September. Max sat at the dining room table with his head hung down in shame and bewilderment.  Addison sat in the living room with his head in his hands fighting back the tears of anger and disbelief.

I didn't know what to think. What to say?  What to do?

Friday, October 02, 2009

An Intervention

My name is Susan and I am a ...

a what?

a packrat?  No, that makes me think of those people whose houses are filled from floor to ceiling with magazines or whatever.  It's not that bad.

a stashaholic?  Maybe, most of my organizational challenges currently involve my stash of yarn, fiber, and related tools.  Although close, doesn't seem to encompass the whole issue of the mess.

a wrinkle-challenged, over-fiberated, individual with diminishing floor space? Ok, but the wrinkle thing is in relation to the laundry.  If it weren't for the wrinkles I wouldn't care.  Well, it's kind of hard to even think about putting it away in its current state so I guess I care a little.  That and the cat keeps knocking my pile of clean stuff over to get at the sweaters underneath.

a person with good intentions, too much stash, too much laundry (both clean and dirty), and too little time?  Yeah, that's a lot closer but still not quite it.  I know, add in too many ideas and too many WIP (works-in-progress) and that's it!  Oh, and Susan sounds too stuffy and formal...

Hello, my name is Sue and I am a person with good intentions, too much stash, too much laundry (both clean and dirty), too many ideas, too many WIP's, and too little time.

Glad that's solved.  I've got stuff to knit.