2 May 2013

New Guy in Town

Posted by Sam

How We Be May 1, 2013

Dear Friends,

My first thought is, this can’t be very interesting; there’s not much going on, but my second thought is, gee, we’ve been busy, so I guess something is happening!

I have started “teaching.” I am a substitute for all grades, over 50 schools. There are about 150 subs and you’d think there wasn’t enough work, but last Friday, for instance, there were 63 openings! You don’t have to have a degree to sub here, but your college hours change your rate of pay. As a college senior, I make $75.00 a day, compared to a person with a degree who makes $80 a day.

I have been working two to three days a week and mostly subbing as an aide in special ed classes. An aide in these classes gets full pay. They feel they should get more, and Dave feels they should get a small taser with the job, to defend themselves.

The taser reference comes from my work with the SUCCESS program, kids who are close to grade level but have significant behavior problems. They most often also have significant mental health needs, and are quite skilled in attention seeking behaviors. After every mass shooting folks ask, “can’t we spot these people before they kill?” Well, I can tell you . . .  yes, we can spot them, but what can we do with . . . .  or for them?

The other special ed classes I like are ones teaching functional academic and living skills, kids with cognitive delays. These classes,to me, offer a chance to maybe make a difference. At least it feels like I’m going something good, not just babysitting. Most of these classes have one or two aides plus a teacher. Almost every school has at least one special ed class.

The School Districts here are huge. (They are so big they even have their own police departments.) They spend a lot of money on their education system. The electronic teaching tools are outstanding (every high school student is issued an iPad.) The jobs postings are handled through a computer program, which lists the jobs and allows me to accept a job up to an hour before class starts. Sometimes jobs are posted days ahead, but most are posted the night before they need someone.

When I sign in for the job, at the main office of the school, I get a folder with any necessary keys and an outline of what I’m expected to do, a lesson plan. Very tidy.

Dave is adjusting well to not working. He feels like he should be, of course, so he does what he can, which is a LOT, believe me! He cleans house, starts dinner, does grocery shopping, walks the dog, and anything else I ask!

About that dog … We are so tickled! We now are the proud owners of a pure bred English Springer Spaniel named Preston (see attachment). He is the Bench variety, with a long, flowing coat, and stubby little tail. Jason found this dog for us at the Fort Worth Humane Society. What a find! His breeding is very, very good (I’m sure that’s where his name came from), but the owners gave him up because he had bonded with the baby in the family and didn’t want the older children near her. This guarding behavior is one that is found in the breed, and it’s not good, but our environment is different and we don’t have that problem. We are watching for it, though, and have talked to trainers and animal behavior folks. Preston is on a rather tight leash at our house. (At least it seems pretty tight to kissy-face me, who feels an occasional table scrap can’t hurt and who wants a dog if you can’t sleep with them!) He minds very well, walks on a loose leash, and every night when I sit on my bed he looks at me with sad eyes. When I pull up the covers he immediately sighs (I think) and trots around to his bed on the other side.

Poor Roxy is upset because she isn’t spending time at our house. Preston doesn’t play well with others and it will take some time before the two dogs can be together. It doesn’t seem like Preston is vicious, but rather it’s “guarding” his people. The dog on the other side of our fence barks at him and he just barely responds. Roxy ignores him, but she doesn’t like Preston sniffing, and you know that’s what it’s all about with dogs. Sooner or later it comes down to the sniff. But we’ll work on it.

Davey is still riding with the Rusty Chain Gang. We hosted the monthly dinner in April at the Oasis on Joe Poole Lake nearby. We also had a couple over for dinner, folks who ride with Dave on Tuesdays. It was especially exciting for Davey because they aren’t Mormon. We really enjoy them.

Kevin and Shelly and Morgan flew in for four days with us in March. It was so great to be with them. It’s hard to believe Morgan is all grown up; seems like yesterday we snuggled on the couch and read “My Friend Flicka.” Nothing fills my heart like having my family together.

Our latest Texas chuckle comes from the local lady who named her new twins “Colt” and “Remington.” Honest! I don’t know how she could have passed on Smith and Wesson.

Weather is still pretty spectacular. Our grass is growing so fast we almost have to mow twice a week. That’s an editorial “we.” If I don’t work I think I’ll have to mow. Were half-way through tornado season and haven’t had more than a strong blow.

I finally got in to see the thumb specialist, and got another shot of cortisone. After about ten days it kicked in and I have had use of my thumb ever since. If it doesn’t last I feel certain this doc will fix it, surgically or another shot.

We think of you all, and watch the weather for Bend and Seattle. Texas spring is so beautiful, but we could really use some of your precipitation. Dave’s been in shorts for a month and rides at least three times a week, so we can overlook a lot of Texas crackpots in exchange for the weather. Of course, come summer, those crackpots may get to us more.
Love to all,

Sam and Dave

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Browse

  • Categories