Cue the Threatening Music…

…because the slightest hint of a snow flurry in our area means BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES AND GO BUY SOME MILK BECAUSE WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. Our local meteorologists will say “possibility of accumulation of less than one inch,” and within ten nano seconds all the gas stations are overrun and finding a parking spot at the grocery store or Target is IMPOSSIBLE and don’t even think of going to Wal-Mart because it’s like WWF and WWE just let loose all their second string wrestlers and there is NO WAY IN HELL you’re going to be able to get out with the loaf of bread and diapers you thought you’d “just pick up” while you’re there.

Two days ago our meteorologists had the NERVE to say accumulation of between six and ten inches. I thought the Rapture was happening, and I wasn’t invited anymore. No, really. Cars we’re all pulled up at Harris Teeter in parking spots they’d created just for themselves so that they could be the first to get the gallon of milk and case of beer to hold them through the STORM OF THE CENTURY. I walked by one car that still had a door open because obviously a box of Cheese-Its is worth having the stereo stolen out of your BMW. I went to get ingredients to prepare a winter feast (read: bagel bites and crap to make mini-pigs in a blanket) fit for a king, and it took me AN HOUR AND A HALF to spend $12.87. AN HOUR AND A HALF, INTERNET! Then I had to listen to Husband complain for the rest of the night as to how dumb weather people are because “there was not even a cloud in the sky, so, obviously, it was not going to accumulate ‘six to ten inches,’ but I’ll park the car at the bottom of the driveway anyway.”

Husband woke up every hour on the hour Friday night (kill me now) to check the progress of the non-existent snow. Finally (THANK GOD), around 4am it began to flurry, and the verbal report was “it looks like a light dusting.” At 5am, I was informed that the snow was “maybe an inch deep.” When his phone rang at 6am, I realized that all men must like to report on the progress of the weather, and if they can confirm it with each other, then it must be true and real and not just some elaborate plot your neighbor had to psych you out because really we all know that neighbors have that kind of time and those kinds of resources on hand.

At 6:45am, I couldn’t take it anymore. I got up, got dressed, and took the dog out. Husband decided we were going to go to Hardee’s for breakfast and to check out the rest of the town. Because we don’t get a lot of snow here, most people don’t know how to drive in snow. I learned this when I ALMOST DIED SIX TIMES on the way to Hardee’s because the same morons who went to buy the gallon of milk at Harris Teeter the day before and were in too much of a hurry to shut the door on their BMW drove past us on a ONE LANE road at LIGHTNING speed onto a BRIDGE and, really, we all know BRIDGES FREEZE FIRST. Thankfully, Husband can drive, and he avoided killing me so that I could get my coffee and biscuit at the Hardee’s.

Following near death, breakfast, and near death again, we went up to the time capsule that is my town and took some pictures. Though the Blackberry is not equipped with the most stellar of cameras, I thought it did okay.

The last one is really crap resolution, but if you squint and tilt your head left just a bit, you can make out the outline of a big brick building we ostentatiously call the “Governor’s Palace.” That’s right, Internet, we roll deep here in the ‘burg. Anyhoo, getting the pics almost made near death worth it, and we ventured safely back home before it got too bad. This morning, upon waking, we discovered about eight or nine inches of snow piled up outside. I made chocolate chip pancakes. We built a fire. And I’ve now decided that if it were to Rapture right now, the only thing that would really piss me off is that I haven’t been sledding yet. So before God decides to test all of that stuff out, and I get really pissed off, Husband is taking me on the Great Sledding Adventure of 2010. I’ll be sure to post updates from the emergency room via Twitter.

Good Mourning

Hello. My name is Amber, and I am a nerd.

I used to live my life through books. Now, I make my money trying to convince others to live through books. I remember one particular summer when I decided I was going to read every book on my bookshelf just to see if I could do it. I got started with my project right after school let out for vacation. After spending six days in my room, talking to no one, and emerging only to torture my sister and forage for food, my mother staged and intervention. The punishment? Go outside. Live. Be a kid. And in the moment, while I was sitting there with my book in my lap on my white day bed with accompanying multi-colored heart comforter, she could have told me I was going to Space Camp (the other nerdy thing I’ve always wanted to do), and I wouldn’t have been more stunned. I was crushed, but I moved on.

All this is to say that I’ve always been connected with books. I envision the characters and the places and the writers. It all becomes a part of my life, and, in a way, they change me indefinitely. And while it may not be the healthiest of actions, it’s one that I choose because the world of books is so much more exciting than my reality sometimes. And even if it’s not more exciting, it’s much safer. (If you’re still with me at this point, holy wow. I’m trying to get there, Internet, I just didn’t realize how much I had to say.)

When I was in high school, I discovered a tattered copy of The Catcher in the Rye in my school library. I met Holden. I learned about phonies. I learned that when you say “goddamn” after every three words, it kind of loses its potency. I got to meet the coolest little kid sister (other than my own) in the world. I learned that kids really are innocent, and that sometimes you’ll reach a pont in your life when all you want to do is make sure the important kid(s) in your life never have to experience the phoniness of the world. The book changed my outlook on life, and it’s cliche because that book is credited with changing so many peoples’ outlooks on life. The cliche pissed me off; I needed an experience that was more singular and more unique. I looked up this Salinger guy to see if there was anything else of his I could read. That’s when I met Franny. Then I met Zooey. And who could forget Seymour? Then we raised high the roof beams, and life was good.

For two years, I read Salinger exclusively. I wrote my senior honors thesis in high school on Salinger. The teacher used it as a model for future classes. I wrote several papers in college that connected Salinger to other things. He became a huge part of me. Yesterday, J.D. Salinger died. I never met the man. I never sent him a letter. I never heard his voice. I never saw his face except for in a few old pictures. But I feel like a part of me is missing now, and I’m sad. I am really, truly sad. But, in a way, I’m also kind of happy. The fact that Salinger’s death affected me reinforces the idea that people forge incredibly strong connections with others, even those they don’t really know. It makes me think that maybe we aren’t all islands of isolation. It makes me realize that we all have common threads that connect us together in a wonderful, large tapestry that reflects the good in the world.

So while I’ll mourn Salinger, I’ll do it with a smile because once again he’s changed my outlook and made the world’s tapestry a little more vibrant through the threads he left behind.

Love. Sweet Love.

Today is a special day.

Eleven years ago today my world changed. For the better.

Today is a good day.

Happy Anniversary!

Mr. and Mrs. since January 23, 1999

Perspective

I complain about my job a lot. I think most people do. It’s like we’re hard-wired to bitch about things rather than praise them or exude excitement. Normally, my complaints are kid based. Yesterday, I realized just how unfair that is. There are so many more “good” kids than there are “bad” kids. This is especially true in my career. And I am so incredibly lucky for that.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sponsoring one of the five blood drives that my school holds throughout the year. The Key Club (only the best high school organization ever!) hosts the Red Cross throughout the year in order to encourage more students in our building to practice service to our community. While yesterday’s drive was plagued with issues outside of my control, it still reminded me of how awesome it is to see kids take responsbility and give back to the community. A well-oiled team of five students “ran” the drive, took care of donors, cleaned up, and organized all of the paperwork for Red Cross (and what a ton of paperwork it was). They ensured that their peers made it back to class on time. They fanned the fainters. They brought juice to those in need of a quick sugar boost. They hauled and moved and smiled and thanked those involved and were some of the most pleasant people I’ve ever had the chance to work with.

These five students reminded me of why I do what I do. They reminded me that I needed to renew my committment to my job and to them. If these kids are the future of world, I am confident that we are heading to a much better place.

The Future of America

In the last five minutes, I’ve heard conversations ranging from white lighters, Mr. Miaggi, Eminem, how to skip gym, why red Gatorade is better than orange Gatorade, why Mike is not cool and people hate him because he stares at people all crazy like, X Box live, killing ants with microscopes (really, I thought this was outdated), and how “it’s not that I don’t pay attention, cuz I paid attention today, it’s because I forget and stuff… dude, that’s a good idea, I’m going to go to guidance and tell I quit then I’m gonna whip out my switch. My switch blade hair comb.”

There are days when I wonder why I don’t need medication for my ADD and why I keep coming back to work here.

New Year, New Goals

I’ve really been intending to post. No, really, I’m not just saying that. Over the last months, I’ve handwritten a bunchof stuff to go on here, but they have somehow never made the leap from the page to the screen. I feel like I can sum my life up in that last sentence. How often to we make plans or have ideas, but never put forth the effort or get past the frist necessary step to accomplish them? I’m guilty of this ten thousand times over. For me it ranges from the most simplistic of things (respond to an email) to the most lofty and complicated (the novel I’ve been playing with in my head for six years now).

I’m getting really frustrated with my lack of follow through. And when I read this post by Ryan over at his really awesome blog, I said “Self, wouldn’t that be a great way to get off of your ass and do something?” And Self responded to the affirmative. So last night, as I was watching Sleepless in Seattle and waiting for Husband to get off of the phone, I made a list. It’s a short list, but I felt the shorter I kept it, the more attainable it would feel.

Goals for 2010 (and maybe a little further down the road)

1. Paint the bathroom upstairs (right now it’s a really dark toffee color that does not jive with the shower curtain, etc)
2. Learn how to put in a toilet (so that I don’t screw up CW’s bathroom remodel this summer)
3. Put the outline for the aforementioned novel down on paper
4. Publish Husband’s second book
5. Stay more organized
6. Sort mail when it shows up, not three months later
7. Lose some weight
8. Run a 5K
9. Stay up later (right now I hit bed around 9:30 or 10)
10. Keep all of my promises
11. Eat healthier, eat local, eat green
12. Perform regular backups on my pc (I just lost a bunch of stuff last week at work)
13. Update this blog at least twice a week
14. Surprise Jon with a trip
15. Grade papers within two weeks of getting them
16. Commit myself fully to teaching
17. Read 15 really good books
18. Write more letters
19. Learn to make flash websites
20. Take Sadie for more walks
21. Make curtains for our living room, office, and guest room
22. Shoot a .38 at a target perfectly
23. Save $1,000 more this year
24. Smile more
25. Talk more
26. Attain 100 more subscribers on my Google Reader feed
27. Pay off half (or more) of my outstanding debt
28. Refinish the bedroom suit for our guest room
29. Pray more
30. Be a better friend
31. Promote Husband’s books/business with more heart than I did this year
32. Go to a Dave and Buster’s
33. Visit D.C. for the first time, like ever
34. Make a trip to my old college roomie’s place
35. Take a picture of something every day

So that’s it. Renewed committment and steps to a better life and some really dumb stuff along the way. What accomplishments do you want to make this year? The answers may surprise you.

I. Hate. Laundry.

But, really, what woman doesn’t? I know my mother did/does. The greatest achievement of her life was likely the day she convinced my sister and I to start washing our own clothes. And when she married the second time around, she was smart enough to find a man too OCD to let anyone else wash his clothing. Be jealous, World. Be jealous.

In college I got around the washing laundry thing by buying more clothes. There were numerous occasions where I would walk to my dresser and discover that I was on the last insert-article-of-clothing-here. That’s when I would immediately head over to Target and purchase insert-article-of-clothing-here.

Now that I’m married, the laundry sings a different tune. I’ve accumulated enough clothing that I only have to do laundry for myself about once a month. Impressive, isn’t it? Husband, on the other hand, does not have the multitude of choices that I do when it comes to attire. His wardrobe must be laundered and pressed on a weekly basis. (Oh, kill me now.) Because I dread the task so much, it is typically saved for Sunday evenings.

Flash forward to this evening. It’s 9:45 pm (EST). We are getting ready to dope up on cold meds and head to bed. Husband calls to me from upstairs: “Do I have a shirt for tomorrow?” I respond: “I don’t know. Do you?” Husband answers: “No.” I swear profusely at the kitchen counter before trudging upstairs to his laundry basket and pulling out the soiled articles in need of washing. I mutter as I go back downstairs, clothing in hand, to the laundry room. After I start the wash, it then dawns on me that in order for all of his clothing not to be wrinkled, and thus me not ironing, I now get to stay up another two hours.

I. Hate. Laundry.