Monday, December 14, 2009

Busy Busy Busy!

I should have anticipated that with a new job, new schedule, upcoming holidays, out of town guests, and the still on-going family crisis that I wouldn't post regularly. I'm really sorry for anyone who'd started reading me regularly and now finds I'm not updating. I must find a way to incorporate a quick (read: not a small novel with hand-drawn illustrations) post into each day.

Burgundy's having the worst time in Pre-AP Algebra II. She had a 68 average going into the holidays, and we spent all of the holidays and most of the week after focused exclusively on that class. She studied with a tutor, she practiced the material alone, and she worked like a fiend. On 12/4, she took the exam that could have brought her average back into Passing Land. She made a 63. Poor girl cried and cried, Mark and I fought and fought, and we initiated the process of getting her transferred into another class. Burgundy is taking an all pre-AP/AP load in school. She has As in all her classes right now except science, where she has a B on the border of an A, and Algebra II, where she has an F. Seeing the level of effort she's putting in, I'm inclined to believe that Burgundy is not the whole problem. There are concrete issues with the teacher, but it seems at best crass to blog about them where the whole wide world can read and judge the man.

Regardless, they will not transfer her until after the end of the semester. She has a quiz this Wednesday, an exam the Friday of the week she returns from Christmas break, and semester exams the following week. We've doubled up on the tutoring (more like quadrupled up: she meets with a different teacher twice a week, and she meets with a private tutor twice a week), we're working with the private tutor (a former teacher turned aerospace engineer) to devise a strategy for preparing for the semester exam, and we're praying. A lot.

I'm really enjoying the new job and the level of flexibility that I have. I'm working six hour days this week so that I can take off next week starting on Tuesday. The following week I'm travelling for personal reasons, so they gave me permission to work from home (or on the road, as the case may be) for a few hours, and then I can work six hour days the week I get back. In other words, I can work (roughly) two forty-hour weeks instead of four twenty-hour weeks. I feel as though I've been set free.

Mark gave me the go-ahead to purchase a grain mill. I ordered the more expensive mill. It was about $100 more than the base model, but it provides a wider range of flour textures. I've been buying wheat berries from Bethlehem Harvest for a couple of months and ten pounds at a time. I then paid Mrs. DeGray $2 per 5 pounds to grind the berries. Once my mill comes in, I'll be able to just buy the berries right out. Which is good, because they'll last a while, and I can mill my flour fresh right when I need it. I know having Mrs. DeGray mill it for me still made it miles fresher than the store-bought stuff, but it was MUCH more expensive. Given that I'm able to keep up with my family's bread demands and given that I've been doing this without a hitch (well, we did have to buy one loaf of bread. One.) since mid-October, I think I'm here to stay, breadwise. And I feel okay shelling out the dough (har har har) for the mill. I thought about asking for it for Christmas, but I realized that asking for household appliances sends the wrong message to DH. If he bought me a mop or a vacuum, we'd be in counseling. Or he'd be in physical therapy.

I've finished our family's Christmas letter, and it's almost ready to mail. It's four pages this year; last year it was three. I hope I can hold the line next year at four pages, because if we add another sheet, we're going to have to up the postage. Besides, I think four single-spaced, 11-point font pages with 1/2" margins is a bit much to ask of the people who love us, even if they do enjoy reading. I'm hoping to print page 3/4 (the signature page) this evening and get the family started on the signature process. We have nearly 140 of these bad boys to print, so it's a several-day process to get everything signed, printed, folded, stuck in the envelopes, addressed (even with mail merge and stickers, it's a lot of work), stamped, and mailed. I really need that done by Saturday. I want the ones I love to get their letters by Christmas.

BabyDaddy arrived yesterday. He was scheduled to arrive Saturday night, but he ran into horrible rains in New Orleans, got turned around and lost on the way to the airport, and missed his flight along with a bunch of other people. His mom sprang for a hotel in NOLA, and he caught an early AM flight into Houston. I picked him up at 9:45, and I had him at the church by 10:40. Burgundy caught sight of him, dropped what she was doing, and threw herself into his arms. I'm happy for her, and I hope they're able to have a good visit. Still don't know where or with whom he's going to stay. His flight doesn't leave until January 5. He stayed with us last night, but we're going to have to figure something out for the long term. We're going through too much turmoil to try to serve him right now.

That's it. I need to work. Work work work. I like the new job.

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