Well, as usual lately there has been quite a gap between postings. After releasing the great news of the impending arrival of our first child, I have been under a bit of pressure with an array of activities.
Since the last post, I spent about four days in rural, northwestern Connecticut evaluating a high school for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). It was an opportunity presented to me by my employer as a means of preparation, since we will be receiving a visiting committee in a couple of years. I figured it was a good faith effort to show that I like it where I work, I can be a team player, and they should consider rehiring me. Those three points pretty much dominate the life of what is called the non-professional status (read non-tenured) teacher in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (or pretty much anywhere for that matter). What’s more, ever since I found out about NEASC I have had a lot of ambivalent feelings about it. I have often felt that schools jump through a lot of hoops to accommodate their accreditation with the organization, and yet it is only the state department of education that really has any authority. So I figured what better way to really get to know the details about the organization than by serving on a committee. Well, I was right on that count. I definitely learned more a whole lot more about the organization. Funny thing though, when my wife asked me if the experience made me feel differently about things, my response was “Yes, it has made me even more ambivalent than before I left.” Still, it was a pretty awesome overall experience in terms of being able to examine a school and understand what works on an institutional level.
Also since the last postings my wife ditched me for a short respite in the desert with her sister along for the company. Ali had wanted for the two of us to take a short vacation, but I was a bit too slow to respond. Thus, she opted for an alternative, sans me. That’s right, Ali and Keri decided to team up, like days of yore, and headed off to that American oasis of guilty pleasure, Las Vegas. Considering that she is carrying our yet unborn child the rules were pretty simple: no booze, drugs, or prostitutes. Of course those restrictions did beg the question for the chosen destination, but the girls had a whole itinerary of good wholesome fun, including a visit to Star Trek the Experience, Liberace Museum, La Cage, Excalibur Tournament of Kings, Madame Tussand’s Wax Museum, and Cirque de Soleil.
So from sci-fi to master showman to drag show to knights jousting and an array of faux famous figures, rounded out with a healthy dose of the new Vegas economic anchor courtesy of Quebecois neighbors north of the border. It was a jam-packed four solid days for the ladies in the sun and heat. Amazingly, my wife lost less than $30.00 gambling, which seemed nearly impossible to me. But then again, I am blessed with a woman that is even thriftier than me, and she recognizes the perils of an operator or two with the sole goal of separating her from her money.
More recently we have been headlong into the house hunt for the ages. No matter what anyone says about the market softening, New England hasn’t completely realized this notion just yet. Searching has definitely been a challenge and certainly filled with a share of disappointments. I can’t even begin to capture the level or number of lousy places we have had the distress of visiting, however briefly. I swear a few of the places must have been inhabited by squatters, and yet that didn’t prevent anyone from asking in excess of 200 grand! It is sobering to enter a prospective house through a front door, hanging by the thread of a single hinge, to an interior lacking a floor in nearly every room, only to descend into a basement that is topped off with six inches of stagnant water. I was just surprised that we didn’t find a vagabond on skates down there. Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the worst place we have seen.
We have just discovered a couple condo possibilities in the western suburbs but they are at the upper reaches of financial comfort zone. So we’ll see how things develop and continue to keep looking for the future home.