Friday, June 27, 2014

Big News

I'm recovering this morning from a visit from Princess June. At three years old, it was her first time to visit alone. As the little sister, she's always been here with her big sister. I took lots and lots of pictures and there will be several blog posts coming up. But first, I have some big news to report.

Pending a background check, a physical, and a drug test, Patrick has found a job. It's right here in Corpus Christi so we won't have to relocate. He'll be doing inside sales for a company that sells many of the things he's sold in the past -- industrial hoses and fittings, gaskets and packing, expansion joints, and other industrial products and services. The pay is somewhat less than he was previously earning, but the benefits are good and, after a year, he will participate in their bonus program which should help with the salary difference. And, there is a good chance for advancement.

We expect that he will start working sometime late in July, which is perfect timing because his severence and benefits from his old company expire at the end of July. The only concern we have is that the new company has a three month waiting period before their health insurance kicks in, so we're looking at potentially two-to-three months without health insurance. And, before you ask, we have already explored the COBRA option. At more than $1,100 per month, we simply can't afford it. So we're looking around for some gap coverage.

In addition, the whole time we've been dealing with the job loss and job search, we've also been dealing with my mother-in-law's declining health. She's 84 years old and has been in reasonably good shape until recently. Since May she's had a mild stroke which has left her with significant weakness on one side, a surgical procedure to open a blockage between her kidney and bladder, and now she has hairline fractures of two vertabrae.

She can no longer take care of herself and, even though one of her daughters lives with her, family members have had to step up to help take care of her. For me, that means cooking meals to send down to her several times a week. For Patrick, that means helping transport her from home to medical testing and doctor appointments a couple of times a week. It also sometimes means just sitting with her. It's been keeping us busy.

Now, about my long absence from blogging ... I don't really know how to explain it. Patrick and I were talking about it last night. It's like this whole experience just kind of stole my voice. I would think of topics to write about. I would even start writing. But I would not or could not finish and publish them. Our life went on almost like normal. We never missed a paycheck, but there was a huge feeling of loss. I can only compare it to the death of a loved one. There was always this spector of impending disaster in the distance.

Thank you to to all of my blogging buddies who have checked on me from time to time. I can't tell you what that meant to me.

I would also like to thank the staff at the school where I substitute. The ladies at Wood River Primary School, especially Dawn Denman who handles scheduling, kept me working almost every day from the time I told them that Patrick was losing his job until the end of the school year. I truly appreciate their thoughtfulness and support. It would have been so much harder without them.

I'm hoping that as he goes back to work, life will get back on track and I'll be able to get back to blogging on more of a regular basis. I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Substitute Diaries - What's That Name Again?

I have found that one of the most interesting and frustrating parts of working in the school system is learning the names that are in vogue at the moment.

I will preface this post by telling you right up front that I am not a fan of unusual names. Honestly, I don't get the fascination with giving your kid a name that no one will ever pronounce or spell correctly. My mother named me Vicki. No, not Victoria, just Vicki. Vicki is one of those names that is often misspelled. I often get Vickie or Vicki. In high school I had a teacher who insisted it should be spelled Vikki. And I have family members who still don't get it right to this day. But, no matter how it's spelled, the pronunciation is never an issue.

When our first child was a girl, we were shocked and unprepared with a name. We had a boy's name picked out before we even got married. The hospital staff insisted that we give her a name before we were discharged. So after hours and hours of deliberation we named our daughter Kathryn Anne, always intending to call her Katy. I will confess that I wanted to name her Katy Scarlett, but my husband was having none of that. He insisted on formal names rather than nicknames.

Then when we had our second child, we still had our boy's name in reserve, but we had decided if it was a girl she would be named Emily Marie. I named him right there in the delivery room, Nicholas Patrick. When he was about 9, he came home from school one day and told me, "Mom, everyone else calls me Nick." From that day on he's been Nick.

Years later, when I told someone our children were named Nicholas and Kathryn, they asked me if I had an obsession with Russian aristocracy. Honestly, that had never occured to me.

Since I've been working in the schools, I have seen a lot of names that I've never seen before.

I've had both an Aubrey and an Aubryna in the same class. I've also had Kristin and Kiersten in the same classrom.  I've had Riley, Rylee, and Brylee, some of those are boys and some of them are girls. Then there are Isaiah and Izaiha. There are Amia, Amaya, and Ayana. Also Desiree, Desarae, and Dezirae. Madison and Madisyn. Destinee and Destiny. Kamden and Camden. Tiffany and Tiffinee. Kaylee, Caylee, and Kailey. Baylee, Baleigh, and Bailey. Carly and Karlee. Cameron, Kamryn, and Camryn. Jonathon, Johnathon, and Jonathen.

Among the unusual names are Wilmer, Seidi (pronounced Sadie), and Anazaria.We've also got River and Rain who are siblings.

I'm never quite sure what parents are trying to accomplish by giving their children unusual names. A name is not what makes a child stand out. But, hey, it's a free country. Name your kid whatever you want. But, if you choose to give them an unusual or oddly spelled name, don't expect everyone to be able to pronounce it or spell it correctly. You'll need to prepare your child to cope with that. And, please, above all else, teach them to be polite about correcting people who get it wrong, especially adults. I've actually had first graders roll their eyes at me when I mispronounced their name while checking attendance.

Monday, June 9, 2014


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