Sunday, February 26, 2017

February Break

Two wonderful things happened to me last week: 1. My school was closed for February break 2. My friend, Mike, showed immense jealousy over the fact that I was on vacation and he was not.

Let's dive into number 1.
On Friday, February 17th, the glorious sound of the last bell of the day rang out for all to hear. Kids walked quickly and excitedly down the hall to get on their bus. A couple of them lingered to say goodbye to their beloved teachers. I, of course, immediately began my vacation song which goes something to the tune of Whitney Houston's "All At Once" but with lyrics like, "I cannot see you, I cannot hear you, I'm on vacaaaaaation." When the last child had left the building, I grabbed my bag and headed for the door without looking back.
Dylan and I had planned a road trip to Savannah, and after 8 hours of driving, an over-night stop in Virginia at my sister's, and 8 more hours of driving, we had arrived! Savannah was charming, sleepy, and rainy. In short, it was adorable but overpriced. We took a day trip to Tybee Island, and very possibly decided to move there. Wouldn't you?



After a few days of trolley tours and people watching in Forsyth Park, I became restless. It was clear that I needed more beach time for this to count as a vacation. So, we booked a hotel in Hilton Head and made a stop there on our way back north. I am going to say this with complete sincerity: I loved it there. I don't golf. I'm not rich. I hate seeing children when I'm "off the clock." And yet, despite all of these things, I felt like I found my legitimate home town when we parked the car at the Holiday Inn in Coligny Park, Hilton Head. Beach volleyball on a Thursday in February? Sure! Margaritas brought to your table pool side? Why not! If I died and went to heaven, it would have the scenery of Hilton Head, with Tina Fey as my bestie,  I'd constantly be slow nodding and drawling, "I told you so," spiced in between "Sure, you can top off my drink," and everyone would tell me how good the Eagles look for next season. This vacation, was pretty close to all that.




Now on to number 2.
Mike is a dear old friend. I have thought of him fondly for years now. But this past week, he really solidified his spot in my top 10. I know all of you are now wondering how you too can be in my good graces. It's really not hard. Show a near constant jealousy for my life and a somewhat frank hatred for your own and you too can make your way up the rankings. As I posted pictures of a warm, sunny beach, Mike would respond with comments lamenting the fact that I was on a vacation while he was stuck working all week. At one point, he actually asked me if I was traveling for work or for fun. Great question, Mike. While I was traveling for the enjoyment of it, I will remind Mike as well as the rest of you, that I was in fact getting paid to go on that trip. My paycheck next week will be the same as it always is with no time deducted. I didn't have to call out sick, fake some illness, or pretend to have a family emergency. No, this time off was given to me by the great state of Maine just for choosing my career wisely. So, as I hopped up and down the coast, sipping the local Georgian beers and tanning my shoulders, I relished in the fact that I was still making the big bucks while the rest of you chumps, Mike most especially, wasted your youth in an office.

Cheers!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2017

Loyal Reader,

I apologize for my lack of consistency in updating you on the wonders of my life. Years ago, when I was living and teaching in San Francisco, it was easy to update this blog over my summer break from teaching middle school. I seemed to have plenty of time off, and the occasional foggy day in SF allowed me to spend my time updating you on each new facet of my life. I told you about my bike rides through the city, the constant lounging in parks, and the viewing of Victorian homes. You saw me enjoy more than one sunny afternoon in a beer garden surrounded by teacher friends. Life was good back then. My nostalgia for those days is still strong.

Before my first year of teaching, I had been a behavior therapist (or glorified teacher's aide), and was paid by the hour. A sick day (for me or for the student I worked with) meant no compensation. A school holiday was nothing to rejoice about as my paycheck would be smaller as a result. It was truly medieval. When I finally finished my Master's program, earned my teaching certificate, and began teaching, I wondered briefly if my lifestyle would change at all now that my position had changed. Seeing my salary for the first time was the biggest shock as I realized my income had literally doubled in the last year. I remember my dad telling me to save 10% of my paycheck, and I told him I had been steadily saving 33% of it. Yes, I worked part-time at a barre studio, coached sports, and took on every paid stipend position at the school, but still, I was rich.

I remember feeling completely in awe at the fact that even with this tremendous increase in compensation that I would have three full months off each year. I immediately thought, "They will pay me this summer to NOT work. I will actually be paid to take the summer OFF from work. What is this life?" The summers really made it all worth it to me, but even during the school year, I experienced fantastic perks that my silly corporate friends could never dream of. The school where I worked ended at 1:50pm. Yes, 1:50. I would get to the bar so early, breakfast was just ending and happy hour wasn't even on the horizon yet. Some days, I would get off of work, go to a fitness class, come home and shower, and THEN go to happy hour. Can you even imagine?

Since those early years a lot has changed. Of course, we've moved to Maine. School now ends at 2:50 (the audacity!) and most importantly, I've gotten used to the lifestyle. I've had waves of gratitude for my life but have also taken many of these elements for granted. I've gotten used to the huge bi-weekly paycheck; I automatically expect all national holidays off from work; June rolls around and I complain if the last day of school is too far into the summer. I have briefly lost sight of just how fortunate I am and just how lucky I am to live a life so superior to your own. Don't worry... I have once again come to the grand realization that the life I have curated for myself is one of the best and deserves to be understood and praised by all.

So, take this as your fair warning that the boastful posts you love and have missed so much will now be coming to you on a very regular basis. I will once again keep you updated on my afternoon strolls that start and end before you begin packing up for the day. I'll let you know how I spend my hours from 3-6pm while you're worrying about how much traffic you'll hit on your way home. I'll post pictures of my many days off from work (176 working days minus 15 sick days a year...) and I apologize in advance if you soon regret all of the decisions you've made in your life to get you to where you are (or are not) now. I'm sure you'll appreciate it all. Stay tuned.

Kristen