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Lady Madonna

July 20, 2010

I think I may have to give up on posting this week. It’s just been that kind of week. Crazy amounts of work. Crazy amounts of household stuff. House guests arriving tomorrow. Here’s the important stuff up to now. I’ll catch up when I can.

Yesterday, I should have been cleaning in preparation for our house guests, but I’ve been feeling like summer is passing us by and so I decided to spend the day with AJ instead. And I do not regret it, except that now I’m a little panicky about getting everything done. We headed out fairly early to make the trek to the Boy Scout Store to pick up his new uniform and handbook. We’d never been there before. We used to be able to buy what we needed at a menswear store in a nearby town. But the store, which had been there for many years, closed recently, the victim of the recession. I was sad to see it go. It was the last non-chain menswear store in the county. It was a relic out of another era.

The Scout store was less from another era than another dimension. We examined the pocket knives, the compasses and the bows and arrows. We bought a new khaki shirt and AJ’s new insignia, which all looks a lot more militaristic. But we had fun checking out the handbook, which has much more interesting badges than last year.

From there, we headed a few miles up the road to Mitsuwa, the self-proclaimed “largest Japanese supermarket in the U.S. I’ve taken AJ there before, but really only to the food court. But today, we explored. AJ was hoping to find some Japanese Pokemon cards. I was looking for a new sushi mat, soba noodles, mochi and Pocky. We started out in the bookstore, which I’d never been in. Although most of the books and magazines were in Japanese, AJ found a graphic novel translated into English that you still had to read right to left and back to front. He was also fascinated by a very artistic book about Japanese kanji, but we decided to save that one for another day. We spent the rest of our time wandering around looking at everything — the squid and whole fish in the seafood section, the sponges with faces in the cleaning supply section (although sadly, the faces were only on the packaging), the dried fish in the snacks section. We spent a lot of time in the snacks section. We picked up assorted Japanese candies, including some squares of pancake flavored candy with a syrup center, rice candy where you can eat the wrapper, and several kinds of mochi. AJ was enchanted by the smells from the bakery, so we went in and bought him a cream bun for dessert. Then we picked out sushi for ourselves, paid for our food, and sat down in the food court to eat.

When we got home, we got a call from some friends and ended up meeting them for bowling (free, thanks to his summer reading program) and mini golf. Then AJ went back to their house and I went home to go teach. From teaching I went straight to a school board meeting.

I had been going to skip it, but we’ve decided to leave AJ at his school for at least one more year. We really can’t swing tuition this year. Another year will give us time to save up and search for financial aid. It will also give us a chance to see how the new regime will actually work.

There were actually three back-to-back-to-back meetings last night. I only stayed for the first one, which was 2.5 hours long. The replacement of programs with volunteers is looking better than expected. And they voted to put a referendum on the ballot. That’s good, I guess. But the referendum they voted for is an emergency. If it doesn’t pass, the state will take over the district. A similar referendum didn’t pass a year ago. Our commercial base is poor and our overall taxes are some of the highest in the state. It’s a very unsexy referendum. It would not bring back any programs, nor would it prevent more cuts in the future, although it will reduce their impact to $4 million from $6 million. I think the plan is to put this low impact referendum through because without it, they can’t pay their bills. The teacher contract is up for negotiation this year. I think they will try a limiting rate referendum (a more permanent fix that would raise the percentage of tax to education — ours is one of the lowest in our county, which is low overall) after they’ve renegotiated the contract, which is a large part of the problem. The last go around, they negotiated a contract they couldn’t afford. This time that won’t be happening. If the teachers walk, they will hire new teachers for less money. There are plenty of out-of-work teachers to choose from. Meanwhile, our property values are plunging. More and more for sale signs in town are turning to for rent signs as people are giving up on an escape. Even a best case scenario won’t fix this damage until AJ is in high school. We feel trapped. All we can do is work to reduce the impact on the students. There are a lot of people working hard to do that. But will it be enough?

I’ve got an hour a day for after school school. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing, but I want one of the things we do to be a language. I was thinking French, but AJ is thinking Latin. We’ll see.

And now, I have to get back to scouring and laundry. My brother and family arrive tomorrow. Hooray!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    July 20, 2010 10:17 am

    I know you’ll have a good time with your brother and family. Dusty checked out a similar graphic novel from the library the other day. The Pier I in my childhood neighborhood (since razed for a McD’s) had that rice candy with the disolving wrapper. I loved it and bought it all the time.

    Don’t clean too hard!

  2. July 20, 2010 12:38 pm

    Hooray for making a decision (that always makes me feel better, to have made it) and for after school school!

  3. readersguide permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:51 pm

    Latin! Much more exciting than french.

  4. freshhell permalink
    July 21, 2010 2:18 pm

    I like both and once you’ve got some Latin under your belt, French is much easier.

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