Friday, October 7, 2011

Something's MIssing

First of all, please ignore the massive collection of dust and long-lost cat toys!  We are in the throes of a massive home improvement project.  We're replacing our heating system. We live in a house that's seen more than 100 years, and it's been heated with an "vintage" or dare I say, antique furnace with old-fashioned steam radiators.  We have a big house -- and we use about 1500 gallons of oil to keep the house at a chilly 64° most of the winter.  The furnace has been wheezing along for quite some time.  We finally decided it was time to upgrade!  So all of the radiators have been removed.  This is under our front living room windows where a massive radiator sat.  You can certainly tell how far the vacuum wand reached over the years!  The new furnace is half the size of its 50 year old predecessor and we've been assured that it will easily keep the house at 70° on fewer gallons of oil.  That remains to be seen!  We're going to be installing baseboard hot water heat which will help with furniture arrangements and cleaning.    Of course, we just happen to be experiencing the first cold weather of the season --- we've had 2 nights of frost.  And although we rarely turn on the heat before Nov 1st, Spartans that we are,  there is a difference from CHOOSING not to turn on heat and NOT BEING ABLE to turn it on.  The biggest inconvenience however, is that we have no hot water.  Fortunately,  there is no school today, so the fact that I am having a super bad hair day isn't a problem.   Old-fashioned sponge baths with water heated on the stove are sufficing for now.  If we can get an electrician here today, the furnace can be used to generate hot water again, tho' the heat has to wait until the baseboard units are installed.  If the electrician can't get here it will probably be Tuesday before we have hot water.  Sponge baths will be VERY old by then.  Fortunately we can go up to the local wellness center over the weekend to use the showers there, and I will call on some friends if necessary!

Over on the work front, we survived a week of NECAPS, our annual state test which determines whether or not our school makes AYP (annual yearly progress.)  We have not been successful and are officially a SINI (school in need of improvement).  So this has been a very stressful week for students and teachers.   I won't get on my soapbox about all the things that are wrong with the testing and with the way our district has responded to SINI requirements.  All I say that if I had my double-block of language arts time like I used to have, my kids would have improved scores.  Instead I have half the time I used to have to cram in all the reading, writing, spelling, and grammar that I'm supposed to cover.  'Nuff said.

We have a 3 day weekend - again, the result of very odd-thinking.  Our weekend starts today, Friday, even though if parents have a Columbus Day weekend, they're off on Monday.  It started a number of years ago when so many teachers wanted to go the state teachers' convention, held the Friday before Columbus Day, that there weren't enough subs to go around.  So the district decided to make this the day off.  I only ever went to the convention a couple of times -- I found it not worth the time it took to make sub plans.  So today I am home, at least for a while.  I am going to go in to school a bit later.  I stayed until 6 pm last night getting my progress reports finished, and getting my planning done for next week, but my room is in desperate need of a clean up.  So I will go in (where it's warmer too!) and do some de-cluttering, desk washing, and new seating plans.    I also want to stay out of the plumbers' way as they work on the heating system.

The rest of the weekend is dedicated to billing and bookkeeping, a visit with friends, and a possible quick visit to some relatives in another state.

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