Blame the dog


the last day lily of summer
the last day lily of summer

I am up north for the weekend. It’ll be the last weekend for a while and I enjoyed the sunset last night and the morning view with my coffee for one last time this summer.

I drove up by myself Friday after school. B and the kids stayed home; W had a football game Friday night and again Saturday morning along with loads of homework, I do hope he is making a dent in it, and O had softball Friday and Saturday, too. It’s strange being here alone. I had a long list of things to do and I added to it as I walked around yesterday. The boats are out and stored for the winter, the dock and boat lifts, too. The patio furniture is in the garage and I have shuffled the organization from summer to winter mode with snow shovels and the snow blower ready for action when we come back this winter. I have a few more chores before I close up and leave this afternoon and I am debating about leaving the vents open and scheduling one more trip before winter sets in to close them.

It is hard to believe but Monday will be the fourth week of school. Day 11. The year is moving quickly and I am already behind. Our building is piloting the new curriculum aligned with the Common Core and it is a huge shift for us, especially me. I feel like a first year teacher, all over again. The four of us plan together, meet weekly, and talk daily. The pace is much quicker and I never seem to get to all that is on the schedule for the day. My students are engaged in what we are doing and that in itself is a huge plus. We are reading multiple texts and at first, the kids were confused but all of the texts have a central theme – Community. I am reading Seedfolks by Paul Fleischmann. It’s the story of inner city Cleveland and how one young girl plants for lima beans and others join in. It’s short, only 69 pages, and each chapter is a different character joining the garden for their own reasons. The kids were on the edge of their seats Friday. Most could remember the details from the short chapters as we struggled to make sense of the first three chapters: Kim, Ana, and Wendell. Tomorrow we check out The Giver and begin reading and discussing the book. It is a personal favorite and every time I read it, I see something I missed the first time I read it. It’s a great book and if you haven’t read it, you should.

Even with only ten days of instruction behind me, I have a stack of papers I need to read and grade. I’ll do this before I leave today, or at least I’ll start. The first three weeks of school were ‘chunky.’ School started on a Thursday and the weekend came after just two days. The second week was a full five-day week, but ended with a four-day weekend for my students due to Labor Day and a teacher’s meeting day scheduled for Tuesday, creating a third week of school of just three days. Tomorrow will be a full five-day week and we will not have a break until Columbus Day weekend. It will be good to have full weeks and I am sure when Friday morning rolls around, I will be ready for the weekend. However, weekends are hardly a break for me with W’s and O’s schedules.

Staying home last weekend was a good decision. I was able to prepare for the coming week, W banged out his homework, and O had just had a good time. W’s football game that started Friday afternoon, was finished Monday afternoon. They won 12-9 and it was a good game, a great start to the year. I am glad we stayed.

Last Tuesday I got up early to plan my day, review my list of ‘to dos’ and get ready for all day teacher meetings. I let Ivy out, as I always do. She was out for what a seemed a long time and then I heard her yelp at the back door so I let her inside. I could smell an odor and when Ivy came inside, it came in, too. Ivy had found a skunk, up close and personal. My entire morning was turned upside down, B’s too. I shuffled Ivy into the garage, set up her crate, and put her inside. I had a few things to do before I could deal with Ivy. She reeked. I took Ivy outside and gave her a quick bath – the water was cold and she did not like it one bit. She yelped and whined, I wasn’t pleased, either. I scrubbed and rinsed a couple of times, but I hardly made a dent in the stench. I dried her and put her back in her crate. I still had to get W up, shower, get ready, and ….tell B. She was even less pleased than I was.

I was behind schedule and late. I am a ‘late person’ by character and habit; yeah I am one of those. However, driving W to school has actually helped me be on time. I realize it sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually works to keep me on track and on time. Yet by washing Ivy, I had used up time I did not have for an unexpected task and I climbed into the shower about the time I usually leave the house. W was ready and as always when the chips are down a huge help, getting my bags in the car, and getting breakfast. We left the house fifteen minutes behind schedule and I showed up at school fifteen minutes late. Teacher meetings always begin with a group meeting in the cafeteria and I walked in right in the middle of the principal’s message. I could not have been more conspicuous. I quickly found a spot to sit and listened to the rest of Mark’s message. We had a busy schedule with time to meet and work with the grade level, my ELA colleagues, as well as school wide discussions. Mark dismissed us to the next session, but before leaving, I approached one of the AP’s and did what any self-respecting person would do, I blamed the dog. I explained what had happened and apologized for being late. The remainder of the day went smoothly and I had to laugh. Sometimes, there is nothing left to do, but laugh.

the old 'my dog ate my HW' excuse....cartoon clipped from Chicago Tribune - November 21, 2012
the old ‘my dog ate my HW’ excuse….cartoon clipped from Chicago Tribune – November 21, 2012

When I pulled in the driveway Tuesday afternoon, Ivy was outside and very excited to see me. She always is – whether I’ve been gone all day or just fifteen minutes. This time she was hoping I’d forgive her and let her free to roam. B had washed her several times and she still reeked. She had been outside the entire day and the crate in the garage was hers for the foreseeable future. We got her in for a pet wash and deodorize on Wednesday, but she still smells. But, I still love her. Friday she lay down beside the car as I loaded and even jumped in, hoping to be included in the adventure. But, she stayed home with the kids.

I’ll get a great welcome from Ivy when I pull in this evening, I always do. B and the kids will be happy to see me, too but Ivy will be the first one to meet the car and give me a hug, a jump, a tail wag, a lick, and show some love.  I love that dog, and she loves me. I have a few more things to do before I call it a day and head home. Today is going to be a great day, a magnificent day, I know it and I can feel it. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Today is gonna be a great day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, even when it stinks, it’s funny, sort of.

When was the last time you were late and EVERYONE knew it? What did do? How did you handle it? 

6 thoughts on “Blame the dog

  1. When I was a kid we had a dog who kept running off and getting into altercations with a porcupine. I think it must have been the same porcupine. The dog would eventually come whelping home with a snout full of quills. He was a great dog, and we all loved him, but he just had a thing for that porcupine.

    p.s. I also think The Giver is a brilliant book. Curiously, my son found it too unhappy in tone. He couldn’t bear to read the end.

    1. Mary…I think Ivy learned her lesson though she stills has a faint smell of skunk.. sort of the animal equivalent of ‘eau de natural.’ I first read Teh Giver when W was only a couple of months old and my wife and he were struggling with nursing. Chapter 19 really struck a chord with me. I’ve since read the three other books in the quartet and know that “Jonas Lives.” I always felt he arrived in a safe place. Many kids have the same reaction. Great book, the first of many books where kids learn to think and wonder. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I bought my copy of The Giver a couple of years ago, after hearing Lois Lowry speak at a conference. It was one of those books I’d thought I read, but actually hadn’t. I was glad I got to hear her speak. And i think what you wrote, Sometimes, there is nothing left to do, but laugh, is a great motto!

    1. I have been laughing a lot lately. It has kept me going. I went to the bookstore yesterday with my daughter and we added to our pile of books to read. She’s ten, going on eleven, and starting to really enjoy reading and exploring the world through a book. If you have time dig out that copy of The Giver and give it a whirl, there are three more in the quartet culminating with Son. good thinking books, for many 7th graders it’s the first thinking book they read, and certainly not the last. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by MtDC!

    1. It was a great weekend and I got a lot done, I made a date for late October and closing up the vents and hopefully some yard work. If it weren’t for the dog, some days, I’d feel pretty crappy. 🙂 Got some LOVE this morning. She’s a great dog, even though there is still a faint skunk smell. It’s a grey and dreary day. right now, she’s staring out the window behind me wishing for a sunny clear day, me too. Take care and enjoy your Sunday and the week that comes after it.

Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?