Sunday, October 15, 2017
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Sunday morning I took the kids to school as I always do. I decided that since I was always late to school, maybe taking them a bit earlier would help. Boy, was I right about that. It seems if I leave 5 minutes earlier with the kids, I cut almost 15 minutes off my journey. Crazy!
We had implemented a new duty schedule, and we had made it very clear that all teachers were supposed to be visible by 7 am, yet no one showed up for duty. It was frightful!
During the day, I tried to make sure people were at their posts. Everyone was doing as they like. Im beyond excited for the local senior leaders to show up. When that happens, this lackadaisical behavior will stop immediately. We are hoping this happens by the end of the week.
After school Sunday, I picked up the kids from school. As soon as we were home, homework started. They had actually done some on Saturday and were starting to get into the swing of things. It's still a bit rocky, but I think they are starting to figure it out.
I had a snack and then fed the kids. Our house was cleaned on Sunday by a new cleaner, Tina. She did a phenomenal job. She was Sean's cleaner at his old house, and we were not happy with our old cleaner so it worked out rather well.
I went to the club and decided I needed to start working out on Sundays and Tuesdays while the kids practiced. It seems my butt has fallen and it can't get up. I weigh the same as I did about 7 months ago, but it is obvious to me and my clothes that my muscle tone is not nearly what it had been. So back to the exercise regime for me. When we got home from rugby, it was showers and a snack for the kids, then bed for all.
I got up and walked with Lara. School was a mess, as it is with a new school. We never have enough hands on deck, nor do we have enough man power to get everything done in the day that we need to get done. We decided to have a parent meet and greet. It was hectic, but necessary. I walked the building with the head of assessment management. We walked around and decided on what was needed to make a complete building. The assessment of furniture was absolutely no fun. I'm not sure if we made progress or not.
I got to my to school on Tuesday and as far as we knew all teachers were in school, until we found out they weren't. Three didn't call in. Since we have to rely on other teachers who don't have full teaching schedules to cover in these cases, we had to rush around to find teachers to cover the classes. It's not a nice job to have, having to tell another teacher they need to cover a class that isn't theirs.
I left school exhausted but knew I had to go workout at the club while the kids practiced. I really didn't want to but was glad I did once it was over. When we got home the kids showered, had a snack and went to bed. Naturally I fell asleep on the sofa.
Wednesday morning we were all up and off to school. My school continues to be beyond hectic. Stuart has been told he is teaching 15 periods of grade 3 this year, which doesn't please him. Needless to say, the start of the year has been a bit difficult for both of us. Since my Vice Principal found out she was being transferred she's done nothing. That has left everything up to my principal and myself. There is still so much to sort out at this school that we often don't know where to begin.
After school I picked Jack up and took him to Eleanor's. Millie wanted to stay but couldn't. They wouldn't have had enough room in their car to bring her home. Plus, it was Jack's play date, not Millie's. After dropping Jack, we went to sign the papers for my car. I dropped Stuart off to pick up Sean's car which we had taken in for a service. It seems for the last three weeks we have done nothing but play 'musical cars'.
Millie and I stopped at wine shop and then headed home. Stuart was going to get Kayleigh's car cleaned, but I had her keys in my bag so that didn't happen. I was frustrated a bit because the plan was to go to Dubai for the weekend and I wanted to get the car back to Cathy before we left Thursday. So it was decided that we would attempt to leave school early on Thursday to get everything sorted out.
Stuart went to rugby and Millie and I got a cab to the Ford dealership to pick up our new car. We then went to collect Jack from his friend's and headed home. Millie went straight to bed, and Jack followed shortly after her. I wasn't far behind either of them.
Thursday morning it was a bit windy when we went to walk. We left the house earlier to get to school and decided we would do that from now on as it allows me to actually get to school about 15 minutes earlier, so I'm not THAT late.
I had two more observations on Thursday. We had initially been told that all new teacher observations had to be completed by the end of the first week of October. Once my 5 observations were scheduled, we found out that actually they had to be completed by the end of October. Since I had already scheduled them I decided to just stick with what I had planned. I left school around noon to get home and get the dogs to the vet for the weekend, as well as get Kayleigh's car detailed.
We picked the kids up from school and left for Dubai around 3:45 pm. Because we took my new car, we had to stop and get a toll ticket in order to go into Dubai. Because I didn't have the registration card it was really quite difficult. We finally found a petrol station that I could whatsapp the copy of the registration card and they could process the toll ticket that way.
We got to the hotel and checked in to the hotel at 5:15 pm. We went to the room and waited for Scott and Clare to arrive. When they showed up they came to our room and we ordered room service. The kids played cards and the adults chatted for a few hours.
Friday morning I woke up around 6:30 am but just laid in bed. Finally I got up and met Clare at the gym just before 8 am. We worked out and were down for breakfast by 9 am. After breakfast we came back to the room to get changed for the pool. We stayed at the pool until around 2 pm. Stuart left us around noon to go to his rugby match. We had lunch at the pool and a couple of happy hour beverages.
Once we were back in the room we had a bit of downtime before heading to Kite Beach to go to the skate board park. Sadly, we forgot to bring Jack's tennis shoes which meant he couldn't go into the skateboard park. As a result, no one else went in either. I really didn't pay attention when we decided to add this activity to our agenda, which is why my kids didn't bring tennis shoes. Oops.
In the end, we walked along the boulevard while the kids rode their scooters. We then stopped for an ice cream and everyone was relatively happy, oh except for Jack who stated that 'we never do anything fun'. He's at his ungrateful stage in life I think.
We caught the hotel shuttle back to the hotel. We arrived at about the same time as Stuart. They lost their match, but he didn't seem to upset about it. He was upset by the refereeing. Apparently they filed a formal complaint.
We went to the pool and let the kids swim for about an hour, then got dressed and walked to Pizza Express for dinner. We were then back in the room and everyone went to bed.
Saturday morning we were up for breakfast just after 8. We then went to the mall. We were looking for Halloween costumes, but came up empty. There were costumes, but they were super expensive. So we went to plan B, making costumes for the kids.
On our drive home Stuart discovered the breaks on my new car were not so hot. It seems that they shuddered as you put pressure on them. So once we were home I took the car to the dealership while Stuart and the kids went to get the dogs. A curtesy vehicle brought me home and I finished up laundry from the weekend. We went to Scott and Clare's around 5 pm and had curry.
The kids played outside for a while, then after we ate they had showers and settled down a bit, watching television until it was time for us to leave. Millie was terribly cranky. I suspect she's coming down with something. Time will tell, I'm sure. It was a busy weekend, but terribly relaxing and needed for all of us.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Once I dropped the kids off at school, I headed to my old school to collect supplies. I had several conversations with my previous principal, a westerner, and she was keen to help us out. Sadly, she had a change of heart once I was out there collecting supplies. So that was a totally wasted trip. It was very frustrating. I was terribly late to school and had nothing to show for it.
I got to school just after 9:30 am and hit the ground running. Things were getting more and more tense with certain staff members. There had been tension brewing for well over a week. It seems the line of protocol was curvier every day. It was an awkward and uncomfortable situation. I just wanted that part of our work environment to go away. Being in a foreign country where things are not as you are used to be is bad enough without added stress from people who should really step back and remember their role in the school. Not everyone can be the boss.
I left school to go to the bank and found out they wouldn't give me a loan on a used car for three years. It seems that Americans are a huge flight risk. Too many have borrowed money and skipped the country. It really makes it difficult for those of us who want to be here and do the right thing. So now I will have to figure out how to get a car and break the news to Gemma and Fechin that we are not buying their car.
I got home and got the report that the kids had been horrible on the way home from school. So they had no PS4 and no television. They were getting ready for rugby when Millie lost her wad and ended up staying with me and going to bed early. Getting back into the swing of things seems to be more difficult than I thought it would be. While I was bummed not to go to the club, it gave me a chance to fix our school time table........AGAIN! When Stuart and Jack returned from rugby, Jack showered and had a pbj, then he was off to bed. Stuart made some dinner and after I ate I fell asleep on the sofa. It was only Sunday and I was already sick of the week.
Monday at work was a miracle. The person creating the stress, resigned. It's a long story and may be incriminating so let's just say it was a good thing, but was ugly getting to the final result. Although she resigned via email, I knew it wasn't over.
Monday after school we went to the club for Tua's birthday party. The kids played games, ate pizza and had cake. My principal showed up and brought her son to join he rugby team. She said he really loved it and would start practicing every Monday and Wednesday.
Tuesday I went to school and guess who was there? Yep, Stressful Sally. I can only assume she was told to come back and stop throwing fits. It was awkward to say the least. She claims she wanted to come back and finish her assessments for the school. I believe they told her to report to work until they could find a place to transfer her. Time will tell what actually happens to her. Stay tuned.
I picked up Claire and Millie from school. Jack went to swim club. So just about the time I got home with the girls, we had to turn around and pick up Jack.
On Tuesday, on the way home from school, Jack lost a tooth. He's been talking about there not being a Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus recently, which makes me a bit sad, but I knew he was getting close to figuring things out. Well, I almost brought him to the realization when the Tooth Fairy only remembered to get the tooth on Wednesday morning, about 20 minutes before he woke up. Thank goodness I pulled it off. Little boy can be a little boy for a bit longer.
We took Stuart to the Ford dealership to pick up a curtesy car because his truck was still being repaired. We then traveled on to rugby. When I got home, I worked on the schedule for duties for my school. Since the person who was supposed to do that seemed 'unavailable' to us anymore, it became my job. My eyes went all googley after about 2 hours so I stopped for the evening.
School on Wednesday was as usual, hectic. The office drama was still there, but the person in question just kept to herself and only spoke to people when it was absolutely necessary.
I went to a meeting from the assessment team for the district. It seems our merger with the Ministry of Education is a bit more challenging than we had all anticipated. We were asked to implement a new computer based program, which would be ideal if we all had computer labs and every child had an electronic device. Although the country, as a whole, is very wealthy, there are still the 'have nots'. Some of us became a bit discouraged by this particular meeting. But we will get it done. That's what teachers do!
I went back to school after my district meeting. We had a staff meeting where the attendance was not that great. My principal is getting frustrated at some of the apathetic behaviors. I have told her that once we have a local senior leader, the tide will turn. Truth!
I took the kids to the golf course for free lessons that they had been offering all week. They loved it. It was hot, but they got a little bit of personal attention from the local pro and they were stoked. Of course Jack stayed more focused than Millie, but they both enjoyed it.
We came home and everyone showered. We then went to celebrate Claire's birthday by going to sushi night at the golf course. Mandy, Cathy, Claire, the kids and myself had a wonderful meal. But because Stuart didn't come with us we actually had to pay full price. That sucked! Ha!
Thursday we all kind of muddled through. The cover plan was awful. We had 3 English teachers out and several local teachers out. When this happens, we have to cover classes with people who don't teach 24 periods a week. Naturally I am the least popular person at school! Many complain, but most just get on with it. My principal spent the morning at a school that is fully kitted out but no children live in the houses in the neighborhood. So that school has been sitting pretty while we are waiting for chairs and tables. Oops! She was told we could have some of their furniture, so that made us happy.
I was supposed to be at a meeting at 11 am with other Heads if Faculty to figure out the best course of action for the new Pacing Guides that were introduced by the organization we are merging with. Since Tiffany wasn't back until about noon, I was late to my meeting. Not everyone could make it anyway, so it ended up being a little bit of a catch-up session.
I found out at the end of the meeting that I got a speeding ticket right in front of the school. It seems the speed limit there had been lowered since last I was around there. Super! I love wasting money on speeding fines. Ugh!
I picked the kids up from school, took them home to change their clothes, and then took them golfing. Stuart went with us this time. We left a bit early because Jack was going for a sleepover as was Millie and Stuart and I were to go to a fund raiser Foot Golf event. When we arrived home, Ben's mum was waiting for Jack. He grabbed his bag and they headed to Bounce for an hour. Millie showered and we dropped her at Cathy's for the evening. We suspected she wouldn't stay the entire night, but she was going to give it a try.
We then went to the golf club to meet up with Gemma and Fechin. We were to meet them at 5:30 pm, but as we have come to know, Gemma and Fechin are late to EVERYTHING! So they arrived around 6:30 pm and we headed out for our Foot Golf tee time, which was 7 pm. What a blast we had. The pictures tell the entire story!
I got up Friday and Skyped Grammie and Pop. We then went to the grocery store. When we returned we just lazed around the house. It was really nice. We finally headed to the rugby club around 3 and sat and had some alone time. I spoke to a few people and then Jack showed up. He looked wiped out from his sleepover and full day at the Mecure Hotel, where they have a fabulous pool with water slides. I could only believe he would be cranky in a matter of minutes.
We left the club after the match. Stuart played the second half of the match, which was for the first team, which he had intended to not play with them this season. I suppose a guy can change his mind.
The kids were exhausted and really didn't put up much of a fight to go to bed. They were up before I was on Saturday morning. Once breakfast was over and teeth were cleaned, we headed to look for a new car. I was informed that getting a loan for a new car was much easier because if I skipped town before the loan was paid at least they would get the car back. They clearly don't know me. I wouldn't know how to 'skip town'. At any rate, we looked at a Mini Cooper, which was the dream, and then settled at Ford. Ha! So as long as the loan goes through, we will have a new Ford Escape in a week or so. Stay tuned......yet again.
Once the brutal shopping was over, we went to Scott and Clare's for a late lunch. It was good to really finally reconnect with them. Everyone has been so crazy with the beginning of school stuff that getting together with friends has been more challenging than normal.
After we ate, Clare and I decided to go to the Karama (fake, knock off handbags, sunglasses, and jewelry) of Al Ain. We had heard about it and had been to the Karama in Dubai, but had never been to the one in Al Ain. Because it is illegal, it is difficult to find. We had to ask around and even people we felt knew what we were talking about wouldn't give up the ghost. We finally walked into a shop and a brace Soul took us to a different location, in a basement, where the goods were stashed. It was awesome and I felt like a criminal. I ended up getting a pair of Roberto Cavalli sunglasses and a pair of black leather sandals, no particular brand. We got much better deals in Al Ain than we had in Dubai. Clare got two Louis Vuitton bags for the equivalent of $81. A steal for sure!
We got back to Scott and Clare's and then took our two home for showers, a snack and bed. I had a bag of popcorn for dinner. It's not the most nutritious food in the world, but it filled the hump.
Another week in the books!
Sunday, September 24, 2017
We had a new schedule at school. Everyone complained about the lunch schedule, so naturally I tried to fix it and no one followed it. Ha! Sometimes everyone is in their own agenda.
Sunday was a difficult day, but it was over quickly. Gymnastic for Millie was still canceled so we decided to let her start rugby training just in case the gymnastics thing doesn't pan out for this term.
When we got home from rugby, the kids were bathed and fed, I fell asleep on the sofa and stayed there until almost midnight. I always forget how rough the first month of school is, no matter what country you live in.
Monday morning I took the kids to school and then headed to a friend's school to collect some much needed resources. She gave me a lot of math kits and reading books. The boxes had been in her school so long that termites had gotten to the boxes. It was gross, but beggars can't be choosers.
School was still crazy. Systems are still not in place and schedules are still not finalized, but the show must go on. I just feel we are somewhat spinning our wheels. The left hand doesn't seem to know what the right hand is doing. I'm sure it will work itself out, but right now it is crazy.
At the end of the day I came home and chilled out. I did nothing all evening. The kids played upstairs and then went to the Karnik's. I erred dinner to them and put them in bed. I made an egg casserole for dinner for the three adults. It was delightful if I do say so myself.
Tuesday I took kids to school. Once I was at my school you could have cut the tension with a knife. It seems not all the leaders of my school are on the same page. I'm usually one to be confrontational, but when I'm not the one in charge, I usually want to hide during tense moments. This made my principal laugh a bit.
Once I was home, I decided I couldn't live with all the hair our animals were producing. We vacuumed up tons of dog hair. The house was a wreck. We were off to the club because the gymnastics classes were canceled again. Mille didn't seem terribly fussed so we talked about maybe letting her just play rugby this year.
After the kids trained, I collected more materials from another Head of Faculty. I am receiving a lot of things, but I am still missing textbooks.
We got home and while the kids took their showers, Stuart made dinner. Dinner was eaten and off to bed everyone went, even me.
Wednesday was another day of work. I left school just after 11 to get to Abu Dhabi to seek out new materials for our teachers. There is a huge warehouse where all the extra materials from years past. I wrote down every little thing I wanted. I'm hoping next week when they deliver, we get all the supplies any one would ever want.
I got home around 4:30. The kids were playing. I ventured to a neighbor's to give some stuff to her to give to teachers at my old school. We had a little chat and both wallowed in our misery a bit. As I was walking home I noticed the kids had escaped the house for another half hour of fun at the Karnik house.
Millie came home without Jack. She seemed to know it was 5:30 pm, the time Stuart had told Jack to be home. Stuart left for rugby before either kid got home. Jack finally came home, a half hour late, and apologized all over himself. The kids then took showers and had a bite to eat.
Millie had a meltdown just as she was going to bed. These first two weeks of school have been tough on her. Thank goodness Thursday was a holiday, Islamic New Year.
Thursday we got up and went to Abu Dhabi for the day. We first went to Ikea and bought a few things we needed. We also stopped in at Ace Hardware, one of our other favorite stores. We bought a new trash can and some other items. We had a challenge getting everything into Sean's car. He drives a VW Golf GTI. He had left for Australia on Wednesday morning and said Stuart could use his car while the truck's transmission was being sorted out.
We got home just before 5 pm, having made a stop at Yas Mall and having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Stuart cooked chili for us, Cathy, Mandy and Claire. We had a slight birthday celebration for Jack's birthday. Cathy made gluten free cupcakes for the occasion.
We got up Friday morning and spoke to Grammie and Pop. Our Internet is awful right now so they couldn't see us, we could only see them.
After our conversation with G and P, we let Jack open his gifts from Grandma, Grandpa, Granny and Auntie Cheryl. Then he opened his presents from us. The beloved PlayStation 4 had finally arrived.
We then went to the mall so he could buy a new game for his PS4. We had his birthday lunch, bought treats for his and Millie's birthday party the following morning. We then spent the afternoon at home. Jack was able to play with his new Play Station after the games had loaded. He let Millie play as well. At 4:30 pm, we went to the rugby club for the match of the community team that was to start at 5.
Stuart played the entire match and looked wonderful. He admitted he was sore afterwards and his strength wasn't what he wanted it to be, but he would be fine in time. They actually won the match, but had to forfeit the points because they had fielded too many players for the match. Oops!
We got home just after 7 pm. Cathy came with us. She stayed for a bit. Stuart followed shortly behind. He had to stay for the match speeches, but now that he doesn't down beers any more, staying much longer than the speeches, for him, is kind of boring.
Cathy and I had ordered mixed grills from the 101 Cafeteria, one of our favorite food places. Stuart had told me he would eat his left overs from the previous day at the Cheesecake Factory. I forgot, of course, so we ended up with more food than we needed.
Saturday morning the kids were up and raring to go. We had decided to have a dual birthday party for Jack and Millie. We had a swim party at the rugby club. It was a lot of fun and the kids loved every moment. Oh wait, until she didn't enjoy her party because she couldn't understand why she couldn't open her presents whenever she wanted to. She finally settled down, we had our pizza lunch, we cut the cake and she got to open her presents.
When we got home from the mall it was nearly 5 pm. The rest of the evening was spent just sitting around. Our three day weekend was over. Boo!
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Sunday we had students in school even though we had no textbooks, missing student chairs and tables, no computers, no copy machine, and the gym had furniture that needed to go somewhere else. But the show must go on. The schedule I made did not flow as much as we would have liked, and by the end of the day we were all beat.
I had a meeting with the KG teachers and it actually went well. They are a strong headed group. They remind me of a group of teachers I worked with at Sanborn! We were awesome when we were all working in the same direction, but combustable if one of us decided to go another way.
After a long day, I headed to pick the kids up at their new school. Stuart had taken them to school, along with Claire (Cathy's daughter). When I got there it was manic. Since I had to go to Dubai for Millie's first gymnastics class, I was beyond stressed about the cars. I went in to find them and that set me back about 10 minutes.
Millie and I joined Stuart and Jack at the club instead of going to Dubai. Jack was very excited about his first rugby training. He has gotten a bit chubby over the summer so it was time to get out and work off some of that flab. Millie helped 'coach' Jack's team.
When we got home, the kids showered and ate. Then Millie went to bed. The adults ate, and then Jack went to bed. Everyone was so tired from their first day of school. I finished the blog and watched a little television. Of course I fell asleep on the sofa, waking up to take Molly out for a pee, and then I was off to bed.
I got up to walk with Lara on Monday morning. We had missed walking with each other and having a good gossip session. Monday was another crazy day at school. It's frustrating when others don't fully understand what the schedule is supposed to look like and seem to be focused on their own agenda. Without a local senior leader on our staff it becomes difficult to communicate with our local staff. I ended up staying late at school. Our parents were upset because a few of our buses didn't get students home until about 2 hours after they left the school. No one can blame them.
I tried to get home early enough to go with the rest of the family to get our new family member, Duke, but I didn't make it. So they collected him without me. And boy, is he a good dog. He's not crazy, like Molly. Once they were home, Stuart left for rugby and the kids and I gave the dogs baths. What a series of comedic errors that was! Duke stood perfectly still while I washed him and then once he was out and dried, he hopped back into the tub and laid down. Whereas, Molly, on the other hand, hated every second, jumped out several times, leaving me to spraying the entire bathroom with the shower head, and ending in several choice words to the crazy Saluki dog.
On another note, the dog's loved each other and got along like a house on fire. It was perfect. It made us know we had chosen the correct dog for Molly.
Tuesday morning I was awaken by my alarm and immediately messaged Lara to say I was lazy and couldn't walk. School was better and we got new teachers that we really didn't need. I'm not sure how they work these things out, but we will take what we can get. We are not provided with substitute teachers, so these extra teachers do actually serve a purpose.
I left school just after 2 and picked up the kids. Still there was no gymnastics classes in Dubai. Millie was disappointed, but the upside was that she would get to go to rugby again on Tuesday.
After rugby we had soup for dinner, which was really good. Stuart had made it and since he is an expert in the soup department, we were all thrilled.
Wednesday we were all up in the morning and off to school by 6:45 am. At my school we got books delivered for the English teachers. I had to count them all, which amounted to 3,332 books. Yes, you read that correctly, and they are consumable books. It's incredible.
I met with teachers regarding books and let them know because there is no storage in their rooms, I was more than happy to let them house their books in my gigantic office. They seemed fine with that. I left school around 3 pm. I got home and reworked the schedule, hopefully for the last time. I finally was able to send some forms to my teachers that I had intended to send last week.
Stuart had to pick up meat for a BBQ on Friday. He went to the club and brought back 2 huge coolers full of chickens and other meats. They sat in our house to defrost for a couple of days. What a treat for us!
Stuart had grounded the kids from television because of their behavior throughout the day. That was beyond convenient for him, as he was off to rugby for the evening and I would have to deal with the kids and evening with no television. Millie was in bed early, and Jack was as well. The kids have been exhausted this week.
Thursday I got to school and started sorting through the thousands of books we received. It was manic. We all left just after 2 pm. I felt I didn't accomplish anything and to make things worse the schedule was not right, yet again. I got home and fixed the schedule, again. I then observed Stuart making dinner for over 200 people. What a sight that was. He loved it and was so thrilled to be home with all the makings of a fabulous BBQ!
Friday morning I was up and went to the grocery store after making pancakes for the kids. We spent a while at the house and then we decided to go to the rugby club pool for a few hours. After lunch and a lot of swimming, we delivered Ben to the Rotana, where his parents were, and then headed home to get dressed for the BBQ.
The BBQ was a great success. The kids and I hitched a ride home with Scott, and ended up only staying a couple of hours. Stuart stayed a bit longer, but wisely left before clean-up started. Smart man!
Saturday was a 'favorites' party at DeDe's. The assignment was for us to bring something from our summer travels. I took leather coin purses from Italy. They were a hit. It was good to get away from my school worries and hang out with my gal pals.
After my party, we took our truck to get its last service under warranty. We then had Cathy and Claire over for dinner. We haven't been terribly active this week because we are all exhausted from the first week of school. The week ended on a good note and now to gear up for the next week.