There were few students at school on Sunday, mainly because we had exams that started on Monday. It is pretty normal for them to stay home the day before testing. I'm not sure why this happens, it just does. There was no rugby on Sunday evening but we went to the club for a roast anyway. The end of the season was basically over for the kids, but the teams had planned a 'fun night' of rugby on Tuesday. In the meantime, no one can deny a good Sunday Roast.
Monday most of my students showed up for school. We started the day with two exams. Thank goodness I didn't have to monitor any exam. But I did have a classroom of crazy girls for three periods after the exam. They thought it was playtime, and really I wished we could have done a little less academics, but we were told to keep them on track with the lessons we would usually teach. Of course Stuart was home by noon because his school did the sensible thing and sent the students home after their exams. We had some parents try to come and get their kids, but my principal was not having it and would not release the children.
While I was at school, toward the end of the day, I got a message that Stuart had sold our car. The transmission was about to go so we ditched it before that happened. We are now the owners of a 2014, F150, Stuart's dream car. We got it for under its value because it was Sean's and all he wanted to do was have us pay off his loan. Done! Jack was very excited about our new vehicle.
After school we went to the club to meet up with Clare and Scott before we all headed on holiday. They had decided to do an all inclusive holiday in the Maldives. I couldn't wait to see their pictures. We had a lovely time. Stuart had a committee meeting, but had decided not to train that evening since he was not going to be playing on the Friday.
Scott ended up driving the kids and myself home just before 7. The kids went straight to bed, after a shower of course, and then I waited for Stuart to come home. Once he was home he ordered some food and I slept on the sofa.
When we got up Tuesday morning and it was pouring rain. Now usually this means no children would be at school. But since there were exams that could not be made up, all the students came to school, well, all except our grade 1 and 2 students. Since they don't take exams they don't come to school. It's a great time of year to be a grade 1 and 2 teacher, for sure. The exams we were giving were to be administered at 8:30. I was shocked not more of them tried to go home after the exams. The students whose parents came to pick them up on Tuesday were allowed to do so since the weather was bad.
The English teachers were not in charge of monitoring exams any other day but Monday, so some of them spent the morning in my office. We laughed and talked. These times are the times we really get to know each other.
Tuesday afternoon I was able to get all my work done and some student work marked since I didn't have to be with my students. Towards the end of the day I got the dreaded email saying 'thanks but no thanks' from Brighton College Al Ain. Although I was disappointed, I kind of knew I didn't have much of a shot. My U.K. experience had been too long ago and the fact that I really have only taught one year in the last 9 years wasn't terribly appealing either, I would guess.
When I got home from school I continued to pack for my week away. The kids got home and were out playing with the neighbors, whom they brought in the house for a while. After the kids were in bed, Stuart and I went out on a date. We went to eat at PF Changs and then ran into some friends, Leanne and David. I hadn't seen Leanne since before Christmas. However, she is one of those friends that you catch up with quickly even though you haven't seen them in ages. It was nice, yet ever so brief, meeting up and we swore to get together soon after the break.
Wednesday school was just as much fun as the day before. We had testing in the morning and we really should have sent the students home because they were nuts after testing. But once again we kept them in order to follow the policies, although many schools did not follow policies in the least. The leadership of a school ran by a local principal and one ran by a western principal, such as mine, is very different indeed.
After the madness had ended at school, I went by the supermarket for coffee and frozen waffles, trying to prepare Stuart for the week ahead without me. He wouldn't ever have issues with feeding the kids, but I like to feel as if I contribute by purchasing some of their favourites. Before I got home I got a message from Stuart saying he got he dreaded email from Brighton College as well. I suppose neither of us was what they were looking for. It was a bit of a blow to our egos, but we know there is a different plan for us at this time. We also know the kind of time those teachers put into each day, and that would sort of defeat one of the reasons we came to the UAE, to spend more time with our kids. Everything works out the way it is supposed to.
Wednesday evening we decided to have Kayleigh over again and go to the club for quiz night with Mandy and Cathy. We won a bottle of vodka for having the highest score on one of the rounds, but we didn't win the whole thing. It was a good laugh, however, and once again Stuart was the genius in the group. Although there were a few times I had the correct answers on some of the questions and I wasn't listened to. Maybe we would have won the dinner for 4 had my answers been used. I try not to be bitter.
We were home just after 10 pm. I watched some television and then put laundry in the tumble dryer. As I suspected, I got up to a load of damp laundry. The dryer died again. Oh well, we tried to make it last. We will most likely be hanging laundry for a while. Since the house is going to be listed on Airbnb our cash flow is a bit in the negative world at this moment. Ugh! But you have to spend money to make money, I've been told.
I had to leave school early on Thursday to have my foot checked. I was convinced it was infected from my surgery, but the doctor assured me I just needed compression socks for the flight. So I dug in my drawers and found some lovely compression socks. Stuart washed another load of laundry and I folded the first one I had hung on the airer that morning.
Once the clothes were hung up to dry, I showered and got ready to leave. Stuart made nachos and the kids showered. We ate dinner at the dining room table, which seldom happens. It was nice. Once the kitchen was cleaned up and everyone had peed, me included, we got in the car and headed to the airport.
Millie fell asleep on the way and Jack just played his iPad. I got a little weepy telling this kids goodbye, and even more so as Stuart was driving off and they were waving out the window. The airport was manic, but for as busy as it was the lines moved right along. I got a call from Stuart as I was waiting to drop my bag. He said Jack wanted to make sure I was okay because 'Daddy, you always get us through the airport and I'm not sure Mama can do it on her own'. I love that kid! And as my mom pointed out, I love that he watches his dad take care of me and of him and his sister. That's so important he learns how to treat a women and children and his dad is showing him how.
So after I eased his mind by telling him I traveled way before I met Daddy, he was fine and then wanted to move on to me buying him something while I was in Arizona. I will miss them for sure.
Once I was all sorted with my luggage and through customs, I decided to sit at a bar, by myself, with no one to talk to, or worry about (at least in that moment), and have a glass of wine. It was delightful. I sat at the bar for over and hour, then decided I'd better get to the gate. I checked in, boarded the flight, and in no time we were up in the air and back down on the ground. I flew Qatar Airlines, so you always have to go through the Doha airport because that is the airline's hub.
I did my best to get an upgrade once I was at the airport, but no dice. It seemed the business class was booked. However, I did get a row of three seats all to myself, and although not terribly comfortable to lay down, I did in fact sleep much more than I ever had on a flight. Of the 14 hour flight I probably slept 7 of it, and about 4 of that was lying down. It was the next best thing to business class.
Once I arrived in Philadelphia, I quickly went through customs and was off to find my gate. For some reason, even though I had booked an aisle seat, I had been assigned a middle seat. Well, a 4 and a half hour flight was not going to be fun in a middle seat, especially considering my foot was really swollen and would have no hope of elevation. But I had to deal with it because the flight had
Once I had sucked down the meat in the sandwich, we all boarded the plane. The flight was relatively uneventful. However, there was nothing to do. My phone was nearly dead and there was no in-flight entertainment. I did my best to sleep, but the seats weren't terribly comfortable. The lady that sat next to me, on my left, had her legs crossed for the first hour of the flight and continued to kick my left leg, the surgery leg. I thought I might have to hit it, but in the end I think my nudging of her foot to move it over was enough of a hint.
I arrived in Arizona about a half an hour early. I decided to get a Starbucks and head straight to baggage claim. I got not to airport wifi and got onto FaceTime to call my mom. They were still driving to the airport, and since I was almost out I told them I would meet them on the curb.
I got to the car and saw my dad, but apparently my mom had gone inside to look for me. I hugged my dad and .....dropped my coffee. Waaaaa! After I dealt with that disappointment, I hunted my mom down and we were off to their house. Before stopping in and getting my stuff settled, we went to get a SIM card for my phone. I had attempted to do this in Philly, but the gal there who dealt with me had too many questions for me about whether my phone was unlocked. Why it is that customer service has become about questioning what I want and assuming I don't know whether my phone is unlocked or not? This is where the age gap comes into play, I think. She was barely old enough to have a job, and I assume she thought I was too old to have a phone. In the end I told her I didn't need her to have my money. So, the T-mobile store in the QC got my business.
Once my things were sorted at my mom and dad's we headed to my house. It was amazing all the things that had been done in the week my parents had been back in Arizona. My mom and dad are rock stars and must be very tired. They had worked very hard getting the house to the point it was. We just continued on once I was there. My dad went to pick Mitch up from the airport around 5:30 pm, and we took a break around 6:30 pm to have dinner. In the meantime my mom and I had both decided it would have been a good idea to have asked some of my friends to come over on Friday night as well as Saturday morning. So, thanks social media, I messaged my 'group' and Sue and Melinda were there, ready to work at 7 pm. It was the end of spring break for some of my teacher friends so I knew some were out of town and had other commitments. Sue and Melinda were worker bees. They just got to it and got things done. I love that my friends don't even ask what to do, they just do it. We couldn't have been ready for the garage sale that ensued the following morning had they not been there to help. Oh, and it wasn't all work. We did have some giggles and memories were made for sure. We worked until 9 pm and then called it a night. I knew I would need to be up at 5 am to get everything pulled out and the last bits of the garage sale items outside. I Skyped Stuart and the kids before retiring for the night. They were fine and the kids weren't terribly interested in talking to me, which was typical.
When that alarm went off at 5 am I couldn't quite figure out where I was. I had a wonderful night's sleep, but it wasn't long enough. I headed to the house with my mom and dad, and shortly after that Ken showed up with 4 tables. He got right to it. I opened the garage door and he started setting up the tables and bringing things out for the sale. Again, another person in my life that just springs into action and gets stuff done. He was such a huge help all morning at the sale. I knew I would have very little time to see my friends while I was in Arizona so I had to let them know that coming over to help me was a way to get to see me. It wasn't a lot, and it definitely was cheap/free labor for me, but it was as good as I could do.
Melinda, Sue and Connie were there shortly after Ken. They started cleaning base boards and completing the list of things my mom had written down. The foreman (Marinell) had scheduled in time for each person to work with me in the garage sale so they could spend time with me. It was so awesome! Sally and Skip came by for a quick chat. Sally was moving herself so had to get back to her own packing. Skip stuck around until
The garage sale was over and helped pack up the crap that was left and needed to go to goodwill. Stuart Skyped me somewhere in the middle of everything, but I couldn't focus on what he was saying. The kids were in bed and he was heading to bed as well.
We finished working around 2 pm and I took the long suffering ones to eat at Creek Side Taco Shack, just by our house. We were all a bit spent. I hated that more of my friends weren't able to come by the house, not necessarily to work but more to chat. However, I know everyone is busy and some were not well, so I totally understood. The one thing I can tell you is that the people who were able to come over helped me make some lasting memories. Oh, and halfway through the garage sale, I got an email saying someone wanted to rent the house the first two weeks in April. Thank the Lord!
Once we finished eating lunch my mom and I headed to several different stores to spend my money. There were things we needed to buy to get the house properly staged for our first guests. My dad headed to Home Depot to get a combination lock for the front door. Once we all reconvened Mitch and I went down to the house so he could put the lock on the door. I wasn't going to work anymore on Saturday, but since Mitch was working on the lock I decided to pack up some more things for storage. We started putting all the things that would go into storage in the garage. We wouldn't need a huge storage unit, but we still needed one.
We finished just before 8 pm and decided we needed some nourishment. We went to Red Robin for burgers. When we got into the restaurant it was a 35 minute wait. It baffles me that there are about 7 restaurant within a block of each other and there is always a wait on a Friday or Saturday evening. At any rate, when we were seated I wished I had a 'light sweater'. My mom had one, of course. It was so cold in the restaurant that Mitch and I became like children and put our arms in the sleeves of our shirt. My mom and dad wanted to move tables. I love when roles reverse and the kids embarrass the parents. It was a good evening of laughter and fun.
So far, although it's been a lot of work, my trip home has been wonderful. What are the kids and Stuart doing? I'm not exactly sure, but Grandma's friends, Janie and Digby, will be with them until Monday and then Grandma arrives for a few days. Maybe Stuart will write a post while I am not there to account for their days. We shall see!