Saturday Night Serenade–Saturday Night and We In the Spot…

It’s done.  I’m officially retired from education.  My last day was Wednesday, but I volunteered the final two days to maintain the continuity for my students.  My feelings about the whole situation are more complex than I’d anticipated.

The job is difficult, with rough kids and an Administration who bullies and abuses teachers.  Leaving to write full-time is a dream come true.  But having identified as a teacher for so long, it’s a little weird.  I’m sure I’ll find my way.

Mixed emotions aside, I’m still in celebration mode.  Which brings us to tonight’s serenade, Uptown Funk.  I love this performance from Saturday Night Live.

Hope you’re enjoying this summer weekend.  I know, it’s not officially summer yet, but the pace is slower, the days are longer, we’re cooking more outside and less inside, and vacation beckons.  Hug those you love and have a happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy!

Welcome to the unofficial start of summer!  It’s a three-day weekend, and I’m only two work days away from retiring.  Starting June 1, I’m a full-time writer.  Hopefully that means that this neglected little blog will get a bit more attention.

We’re taking a big chance, Mr. R and I.  His fledgling real estate career is just beginning to bear fruit.  By retiring early, I’m walking away from a sure paycheck every two weeks.  But life is short, getting shorter every day.  So we’re seizing the day, taking the opportunity to try something new.

For now, that means he’s selling houses in Palm Beach County.  And I’m working from home, writing and promoting steamy romance.  On the other hand, we may consider selling everything and taking to the road.  Recently Mr. R showed me a video of the island of Mauritius.  “Here.  Let’s move here,” he said.

I can write from Mauritius, y’all.  And I imagine someone has to sell houses there.  Or work in television news.  Or whatever he decides he wants to do.  It’s thrilling to know that we don’t have to settle for the status quo.

Confession:  I’m hedging my bets.  I’m packing into the garage everything I’d need to start a first grade classroom again.  Worst case scenario, I end up going back to teaching at some point.

But it’s a beautiful day today, I’m in love with the love of my life, and dammit, you know what?  I’m happy.  Hence tonight’s serenade.

I wish for you all the happiness in the world.  Hug those you love and enjoy your weekend.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Love Shack

Can you believe February’s almost gone?  I must admit, I’m pretty happy about it.  I’m counting down the days until June 5, which, if everything works out, should be my last day as a ‘highly qualified professional educator.’  I’m planning on walking right out of there, the better to write full-time.

This week, Mr. R is taking his newly minted real estate license and joining a firm with a household name.  He’s thrilled to be out of the television news business and moving on to being his own boss.

Our massive home reno project is very nearly finished.  All that remains is my bathroom sink and vanity top, which should be in place by Tuesday.  And do I have photos for you!  But that’s another  post.

Yep.  Right here in the middle of our f-word years, Mr. R and I are reinventing ourselves.  Mid-life crisis, you say?  Maybe.  But the truth is, life is too short to continue to settle.  There’s no time like the present to actively pursue our dreams.  Will we succeed?  Who knows.  But we won’t succeed if we don’t try.  There will always be news stations that need video editors, photographers, and assignments editors.  And there will always be schools that need teachers.  So like they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Tonight I’m feeling all retro and funky.  Kind of like the B-52s.  I hope the end of February finds you well.  Kick back and enjoy a little Love Shack, baby.  Hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Love Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
“15 miles to the
Love Shack”
Love Shack, yeah, yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack
I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (a-Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)

Sign says (woo) “Stay away, fools”
‘Cause love rules at the Love Shack
Well, it’s set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the highway

The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at

Huggin’ and a-kissin’
Dancin’ and a-lovin’
Wearin’ next to nothin’
‘Cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
Yeah, the whole shack shimmies
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s
Movin’ around and around and around and around
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, baby
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, baby
Funky little shack
Funky little shack

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail
I got me a car, like, it seats about 20
So come on and bring your jukebox money

The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (a-Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at, yeah)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)

Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, baby
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, sugar
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby (Knock a little louder)
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Bang, bang (On the door, baby)
Bang, bang (On the door)
Bang, bang (On the door, baby)
Bang, bang
Your what?
Tin roof, rusted

Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at, yeah)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)
Love, baby, Love Shack
Huggin’ and a-kissin’,
Dancin’ and a-lovin’
At the Love Shack

This Should Be Interesting

We have an issue at work these days.  For anyone who doesn’t know, for the time being, I’m a teacher at a high-poverty, low-performing public school.  According to last year’s high-stakes testing, we are actually the lowest-performing elementary school in the entire district.  That’s not good.

Because of the poor test results, the Principal of the past six years was removed in the middle of the summer.  He was replaced by a woman who has quite the reputation in the district.  When people out in the community find out who our Principal is, they generally make the sign of the cross.  And, no, that’s not an exaggeration.

This woman is vile.  She makes Kevin Spacey look like Mr. Rogers.  Staff members have been dropping like flies.  The Assistant Principal, the confidential secretary, the data processor, the attendance clerk, two different IT guys, and about twenty custodians have been replaced.  People have been escorted out by police, only to have this woman tell us in a staff meeting how she clung to their ankles and begged them not to leave.

Teachers have been singled out and bullied, called on their mobile phones after hours and told that they’re not being “team players.”  While I’ve had one documented observation, some of my colleagues have them nearly every week, and they’re told that they’re not working hard enough, that their skills are inferior.

Paranoia reigns, and it’s not uncommon for folks to look over their shoulder before they talk to their friends and co-workers.  Stories abound of Admin listening in to conversations, of loyalists who report back on things that people say.

That’s not all, either.  There is evidence that the Administration has tampered with the recent standardized diagnostic testing, the tests that predict how students will do on the formal tests in the spring.  There is also evidence that Administration is playing fast and loose with finances, failing to comply with district-mandated procedures regarding money students pay for special events.

All of which is why, very quietly, a small group of us is working with the union to see that these things are investigated.  It’s not unheard of for a Principal to be removed from a school if it is deemed that that Administrator is creating a hostile work environment.

Morale is in the sewer, to say the least.  Unlike every year since I started working at this school, there is no formal holiday party planned.  Which is why a few trusted friends and I thought it would be nice to get a group together for an informal holiday happy hour at a local watering hole.   Just a little spirit-booster to say, ‘Hey, we’re in this together.’

But then…

A little spazz we like to refer to as Hurricane (who wasn’t included on the invite list, by the way) got wind of our plan and decided EVERYONE needed to be invited.  I’ve seen her running around the school, babbling like a slot machine that hasn’t stopped spinning, telling everyone about where and when.  She even marched herself into the office and invited Administration.

So.  A handful of people, including some of those who have been removed, are meeting in a very different location from the original plan.  It’s not what I’d intended it to be.  I wanted to give some folks a bit of hope right here before Christmas.

What about me?  Like I said, knock wood, by and large they seem to be leaving me alone.  But when you hear about groups of teachers being called in and berated about ridiculous things, you know it’s only a matter of time.

I’m quietly planning on this being my last year in education.  The industry sucks anyway, and this situation only exacerbates that fact.  Luckily, because of ignorant choices I made early on, I can actually retire any time I like, taking with me a nice nest egg of a retirement, plus they’ll buy out my banked sick hours at 100%.

Next fall, when every is dragging themselves back to the grind, I’ll be writing full-time.  But I might as well raise a little hell before I go.   😉

Saturday Night Serenade–Is There A Doctor In The House?

We’re in a state of flux in the R. house these days.  I mentioned in a previous post that we’re taking on the adventure of a huge renovation on the foreclosure we bought five years ago.  We’re putting in wood flooring in place of the cheap carpet we bought when we first moved in.  We’re replacing the builder-grade kitchen cabinets and counters with beautiful custom made cupboards and granite counter tops.  And we’re completely overhauling both bathrooms.

Having refinanced the house and taken out some of the equity, these projects will be done with cash.  We’ve met with the contractors a couple of times and we’re finalizing plans to begin in January.  It seems we’re all systems go.

However, there is a monkey in the wrench–two weeks ago, Mr. R. shocked me to pieces by announcing one afternoon when I returned home from work that he’d quit his job.  Just resigned and walked out.  Yep.  It took me a little time to wrap my head around it.  I knew he hated the job.  I just didn’t think he’d up and quit.  Anyway…

The reno is still on.  He’s not sure what he’s going to do to help pay the bills, but he’s working on a plan to start his own media business, including a production company.  He’ll probably have to get a job and do that on the side right now, like I do my writing on the side.

Long-term, we’re talking about completing the renovations and thus increasing the value of the house so that in a couple of years, we can sell it and use the money to move somewhere new.  Mr. R. grew up here in south Florida and is itching to live somewhere with seasons and mountains.  I’m not entirely sure why anybody’d want to leave paradise, but I’m hip about quitting my job, and selling the house will allow for that.  I can write anywhere, and he can do his business anywhere, too.

So like I said, we’re in a state of flux.  Tonight’s song?  We have a man-cold at our house this weekend.  I thought the song was fitting.  In lieu of flowers, feel free to make donations to your favorite charity.  I’ll keep you apprised of the situation.  Happy Saturday night!

P.S.~ Oh, and we will be sharing our adventure in home renovation.  Up first, an unintended project due to self-inflicted Hurricane Matthew damage.  Yep.

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Labor Day!

It’s Labor Day Weekend, the official end of summer.  Doesn’t it seem like we were just celebrating the 4th of July?  I’m thrilled to at least have a nice three-day weekend.

Tonight’s serenade celebrates the working man.  And woman.  Hell, we all work hard.  So let’s take advantage of the time off and kick it old school with a little Huey Lewis and the News.

And just for good measure, I’ve thrown in the Dropkick Murphys and their Workers Song.  Because it wouldn’t be a holiday without a little jig-punk.  When you watch the video, notice the moshers near the front of the stage?  When the Murphs came to West Palm, I ended up being right there with them.  I just figured we had a good spot to watch the concert.  Who knew we’d have to fight like gladiators?

Tonight, I’m raising a glass to the working folks.  Because let’s face it, we’re the ones who make it all run.  Enjoy your holiday weekend and spend it doing what you love, with those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Have A Nice Day

It’s Saturday again!  Finally.  There were moments this week when I didn’t think it would ever end.  I’m back at work after a way too brief summer break.  And I’m not just whining about having to go back after having nine weeks off, not really.

There have been massive changes in my workplace.  The management has been completely replaced.  And over half of my co-workers are gone.  Many who stayed have been shifted around to other positions.

Mind you, I hated my job before.  Now?  Now, it’s all, “I know you’ve done it one way in the past, we do it MY way from now on.”  And the ‘get while the getting is good’ ship has unfortunately sailed.

So I’m left thinking, how is it that I (and most of us, if I’m not mistaken) spend such a huge percentage of our lives doing something that makes us miserable?  I supposed it comes down to necessity and the choices we’ve made.  But sometimes I just want to stand on a table and scream out profanities.  Which, of course, I can’t do because we have a mortgage and bills and…

So instead, I believe I’ll just calmly say, “Have a nice day.”  Only y’all will know what I really mean.

I believe I’ll pour myself an adult beverage and flesh out my five-year plan for making my escape from hell.  Mr. R. is with me all the way.  Let’s raise a glass for Tommy and Gina, who never backed down.  And may we be more like them.

In other news, Green Day has a brand new song out, which accounts for the bonus track. It’s not really a quiet little date night song.  But it’s pretty awesome, nevertheless.

Happy Saturday night!