Sunday, April 26, 2009


You are looking at the product of literally hundreds of hours of work. We should probably post the "before" pictures so you will see how far the house has come from the days of its wretched renters. Those might come next week. For now, if you know anyone who might be interested in buying a nice-looking house on 2 acres in Rogersville, please let us know. It has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and hardwood floors throughout, and it's in the best school district around. We are asking $5,000 less than a realtor suggested, and we'd drop the price even more for someone who wants it.

Gene and Ruthie Bybee are saints, by the way. They put in as many hours as we did, probably more. The house would look half as good without them. (But really, did we expect anything less of them? No.) And I think Ruthie has a career in "staging,"(as realtor-types call it) don't you?

I must say that the oven, along with the hardwood floors and huge yard, are my favorite pieces of this place. It is brown with blue-green accents, and it's called a "Modern Maid." Love it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

fenced in

the lotz household needs a recommendation for a fencing company to come build us a lovely 3-4 ft wooden fence. if you have suggestions, please let us know.

speaking of fences, quite a few of coacher's athletes have disregarded fences altogether, as evidenced by their high number of homeruns. freshmen, in particular, seem unphased by the presence of fences in the outfield...also, it's worth noting that mark queen hit a "bomb" at practice yesterday. you should ask him about it.

for those of you who don't know, coacher is doing a great job with his very young team so far this year. he's cool, calm, and collected (but also pretty hot in his baseball uniform).

Thursday, April 9, 2009


i have been promising some of Coacher's 2nd graders that i would bring banjo (kitty) to meet them sometime before the end of the year. yesterday was the day.

the day looked a little like this:
7:40 - at MSU to meet a student to make sure he had everything in order to take the GED. he was late.

8:10 - left the student alone to take his test. he's independent, so he wouldn't care if i was gone all day. went to the MSU library to print about 100-150 pages of articles about teenage pregnancy and absent fathers for a research proposal that needs to be turned in for editing tomorrow.

8:35 - apparently left my jump drive (including all saved articles and my research proposal in progress) in the computer at the library.

9-ish - got banjo for the ride to rogersville elementary. she cried and crawled all over throughout the trip until she perched on the back of the back seat .

9:10 - apparently got caught by the helicopters doing 72 in a 60 mph zone. i blame this on banjo but, according to Coacher, banjo can't pay the fine so i get credit for it.

9:11-9:16 - got pulled over by a highway patrolman in rogerville and during this time shook while trying to find all necessary documents, keeping a shaking banjo from jumping out of the window, and explaining that i usually don't drive around with a cat in my car. he wasn't really interested in my explanation.

9:17 - took my ticket and drove on, slowly.

9:45 - (because i drove about 45 mph from then on) got to school with banjo, where the kids freaked out with joy and in response, banjo scratched the poo out of my neck.

9:45-10:30 - held a scared and shaking banjo as approximately 20 kids at a time petted her, patted her, made faces at her and told me every single story of every cat they ever had, heard of, or saw a picture of. most stories ended with "and then it died." banjo took it well by hunkering down in my lap, closing her eyes and shaking. i told the kids she liked them because i thought she was "purring."

10:31 - breathed a sigh of relief that banjo hadn't struck out at anyone.

10:32 - left the elementary and drove home at 45 mph.

11:10 - left for MSU to meet the test-taker.

11:45-12:00 - found the test-taker, who hadn't eaten lunch because he didn't bring money. made him get lunch and shove it down his throat quickly before he had to get back to testing. (you can't think on an empty stomach!!)

the rest of the day was sort of a blur with a huge track meet mixed in. needless to say, taking banjo to Coacher's school might not have been the best idea, but i couldn't go back on my promise to those kids, and they loved it...

on a side note, i found out on tuesday night that one of my former students shot and killed someone last saturday. he was a very bright boy; it's sad to see someone with so much potential go down like that. when i heard the news i said "lock him up." then i heard that he might have been trying to protect his cousin from someone, which makes the situation very sticky....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

new rules and a glimpse of daily events

I’ve now been doing this particular job for about 6 months or so, and in that time i've come up with some new rules that i think i'll instate for next year:

1 - do not complain to me about things over which i have no control. yes, i know it's about 97 degrees in here every day, but i checked with some people and it turns out no one else cares. tough cookies. i have lost just as much weight through sweating as the rest of you.

2 - do not ask me what time you get out of class. the schedule has no changed all year long, and it's a waste of my breath to tell you every day.

3 - when i am attempting to carry on a conversation with 4 students while trying to help 2 with their work, do not interrupt. i can only handle about 6 brain processes at one time.

4 - look for your folder at least 8 times before telling me it's not in the crate. trust me; it's in there (unless you didn't put it in there when you left class.)

5 - no whining. you're in high school. it doesn't work anymore (at least, not at school).

6 – lying doesn’t ever really help you out. oh really, you didn’t call me a b*** just because i told you to stop talking while the guest speaker was talking? that’s weird, because I am absolutely sure that’s what I heard come out of your mouth. And really? you weren’t listening to music on the internet? (which I’ve warned you about 6 times already…by the way, it’s a district policy. Revert back to rule #1). I can actually pull up your computer screen and watch every move you make, and I saw you. I SAW YOU. I’ve known at least one professional liar, and you are not very good at it.

7 - if I see your IPOD out, it’s mine. I won’t even turn it in to the administrators; I’ll just sell it on eBay. (I could make a killing on this policy (but there’s probably some sort of law about not selling kids’ stuff.)

That’s all the rules I have so far. As you might guess, this job has been tough…very challenging students/attitudes. But here’s the deal: I do not share this information because I want to you pity me or anything like that. I knew (for the most part) what I was getting into when I took the job. At-risk youth, that’s how it goes. Most of them don’t have parents to teach them right and wrong, let alone love them and make them feel like their lives are worth living and improving. (Example: One girl basically has a restraining order against her mom. The school isn’t supposed to tell her anything about what her daughter is doing. She lived in her car for a while, and she also held down two jobs while taking care of her nephews. I cannot imagine. Another student’s mom keeps deciding she’s going to pack up and move away to some other state (it varies with the day) so she can be with some guy she’s just met. And this kids has worked SO hard to get his academics in line…it breaks my heart.)

Anyway, this job has made me more understanding and calm in sticky situations, yet thick-skinned at the same time. (My thin skin has always been a weakness, and while Coacher might not see me in action at school I think he might be proud of the improvements being made). At times I wonder at how I can so calmly tell a student that I know for a fact that he has just lied to my face or that (for the 100th time) I know it stinks to have to actually do WORK at school. That is so unfair that I’m making him try to graduate! I know the only way I can do it and not take offense is because I have prayed for calm, strength, and thick skin get through the sticky situations

A quick story to give you a glimpse of daily happenings:

Someone just knocked on my door. A student. I wrote him a referral yesterday for continuously talking while we had a guest speaker, sticking his fingers in the back of a computer and messing with the wires, not sitting in the hallway as I’d asked him to do (because if you act like a kindergartener, sometimes you are treated like one), then loudly telling his friends in the hallway that I am a b*** and that I told him to do such and such and he said, “f*** no!” as I walked by. (Of course, he really said the words, and a few others, I’m sure.) He just now told me that he didn’t call me that, nor did he say anything else bad that I wrote him up for. He said I just heard his friends talking about other stuff. He explained that because he got a referral he will be sent back to live in a group home. I let him speak his piece, and then I said that I am sure it was him saying all of that. He said that when they (administrators?) checked the cameras and saw that he didn’t say it I would feel really bad for getting him put back in the group home. I said (genuinely) I would feel terrible if he got put back in a group home because of my mistake, so if he wanted to go have people check the cameras he could. Of course he didn’t want to do that (then we would all see proof that he really did say it). He got all agitated about it and said he was getting out of my class.

I almost cried.

For joy.

But some kids really are a joy, and those are the ones I have to focus on.