Well, it was a good thing I actually had a post ready to go for yesterday morning. Having gone to Anamosa to visit Janetʼs folks and see the local community theatreʼs production of Scrooge, braving icy roads from our weekend “blizzard” (it didnʼt quite come together here in eastern Iowa the way it did so many other places, like Minneapolis, but everything around here is coated in ice, especially our driveway), we returned on significantly better roads (good work, Jackson County highway department) just in time to catch the weather forecast (well, Janet did; I was unloading clothes from the dryer and transferring the load we had left in the washer over to dry) for this week (The Lovely One says that itʼs now supposed to snow on Wednesday/tomorrow as well, of all the blooming bad news I didnʼt want to hear — I still have a beloved wifeʼs Christmas presents to purchase), and for me to learn that Andrew Community School was already slated for a two-hour delay Monday (gotta love kids getting excited on Facebook). Then the phone rang, within a half hour of getting home, and I got a job substituting yesterday as well (one of the teachers was snowed in to our north, where the blizzard really materialized in something other than ice, sleet and wind). Even with the two-hour delay, there was no way I was going to get a post up and out there Sunday night or during those early hours before I had to brave icy roads in my skittish pick-up en route to Andrew.
I am, however, typing on Sunday evening after the phone call. Janetʼs wrapped some more presents (several for me — there must have been some kind of secret exchange going on in Anamosa as well), I have made her Monday lunch and our breakfast. Itʼs not hard on either — rip up lettuce; add nuts, berries, cheese [feta], and chicken; pour a container of raspberry vinaigrette dressing, matched with a little container of fat-free black cherry yogurt; wrap a spoon and fork in a napkin; and get our her lunch bag. Breakfastʼs even easier — halve a grapefruit and cut out the little sections in each half; wrap in Aldi-generic saran wrap around the little bowls we eat them in; store in the refrigerator. Now weʼre baking the remnants of a box of year-old frozen fish sticks (which we donʼt eat very often, maybe once a year, obviously) to consume with rigatoni-and-cheese (home-made with shredded cheddar cheese, the only cheese in the house; and itʼs not macaroni because the rig is also all we had in the cupboard). So I have a few minutes to churn out a few words, so that I donʼt have to work or think very hard Monday evening once I get home from school.
(And having topped 500 words, I feel pretty darned pleased with myself. I could just quit here — you wish — and only have to search out some kind of photograph to illustrate this abominable post. Weʼll see. Tomorrow, after all, is another day — which would actually be yesterday once this posts, but weʼve been all over that before. Once I have actualy been through my second day in a row at school — I also subbed on Friday — I might have more to say. Or not.)
My thumbs are making this typing job somewhat clearly difficult. The shoveling I have completed and completed seems to have done a number on my joints, particularly those of my right thumb. However, having started this non-essay typing, I suppose I will finish it the same way. We may not have gotten much snow (about two and a half inches officially, I hear), but the stuff I shoveled out Saturday afternoon was heavy, brother!
Update Added 12/13/2010 (which would be, ah, yesterday)
And my thumbs continue to ache, especially when doing whatever thumbs have to do when I touch type (or whatever you might call my elderly modification of the basic skills of touch typing — that I slowly learned way back in the tail end of the Sixties as a sophomore in high school and have modified and abused and personalized ever since).
The teaching job was pretty simple. The current English teacher is a wonderfully engaged, diligent and competent young woman, and she had excellent lesson plans for me, even severed by hundreds of miles from her books and references (and with lots on her mind other than school — I think I can recall myself calling in sick and never having plan one for the sub back in the Ft. Madison days). Besides, the day started two hours late, so classes were only about a half hour each, and she fought her way back to these sickly southerly climes before seventh period even got underway. Astonishing fortitude and endurance! The biggest challenge was the 17-member speech class, of which at least five were absent, who had to go to the library to begin research for their final project, a persuasive speech. With a single exception (after some actual discussion among the group for perhaps five minutes), no one did anything for the class — frustrating.
Furthermore, before departing the allowed halls, I got my third chance since retiring to volunteer my expertise to get the lights working for a show (this time the upcoming elementary winter concert). I wonder if Iʼll be timed out as of the end of sixth period or if I might get some more dollars for the quarter-hour or twenty minutes spent onstage. Either, way, even with a stop to buy some stamps, I was home before the school day ended in Andrew.
Anyway, the drive up was a little tense, the roads being as bad or worse than Janet braved on Sunday to Anamosa. Even 61 had only one lane on each side relatively clear, and the drive eastward on E17 was nothing but ice in the morning (I was grateful it was so darned cold that the ice wasnʼt even slippery, as I had discovered walking some mail to the box before I left for school). Homeward-bound was much improved, and here I am, adding nothing much to finish this up before I get to real work — pasting stamps on all our Christmas cards, which we wrote and prepared while cabin (-fever) -bound on Saturday. There are only sixty of them to mail out… And then I have to repeat the breakfast/lunch activity for tomorrow/today.
And thereʼs another two to four inches of white stuff heading our way for Wednesday into Thursday, too. “Writing, Life and Times in Iowa” indeed! Not much “Life” in the wintertime, it seems.