On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, disaster struck the great state of Alabama. Numerous tornado-filled storms tore through the state, leaving behind a path of destruction and death.
Storms had already taken lives and property in states to our west before beginning to show their power in Alabama. The storms began early in the day in North Alabama. Places such as Phil Campbell, Cullman, Arab, and Hackleburg were affected. Around 5:01 PM, a large tornado began making its approach to Tuscaloosa, AL. The Weather Channel and local stations provided live streams of the tornado as it bore down on the city I once called home and still love. To hear the meteorologists describing what was happening was unbelievable.
"Krispy Kreme has been demolished."
"Full Moon Barbecue is no more."
"You can stand in the parking lot of University Mall and see Coleman Coliseum."
Words cannot describe how I felt once I was finally able to see pictures of the McFarland Blvd.,/15th Street area. It was completely unrecognizable. A poster on www.tidefans.com said his/her son saw pictures and wanted to know if they were of Japan. In the picture to the left, you can see DCH in the background.
I later found out that Rosedale Courts, a public housing neighborhood, was essentially wiped from the face of the earth. Two elementary schools---gone. Two UA students were among those who lost lives. So far, 194 deaths in Alabama have been reported.
As the storm left Tuscaloosa, it headed toward Birmingham. Again, live, streaming video was being shown, and again, I could not tear my eyes away from the screen. As the tornado traveled to the east, it grew to a massive size. The approach was to the north of Birmingham. At one time, it was believed that the airport would be hit, but the storm went just north of it.
Later, Tallapoosa county was placed under a tornado warning, so John and I got the pups and headed to the basement. I took the laptop, too, so we could continue to watch the weather. We didn't stay long because the storm was headed toward the northern part of the county, but we did end up going back down because another storm was headed toward Dadeville. The path was heading toward StillWaters, a subdivision on the lake not more than a five miles from us. About the time the meteorologist said that, our power went off, and we heard a distinctive roar. Within seconds, the power came back on and the roar was gone.
When I got to work yesterday, I found out that Ed, one of my co-workers, had some damage to his place. He and his family don't live very far from us, maybe a couple of miles "as the crow flies." Huge pecan trees were uprooted. In another part of the county, million dollar homes were decimated at The Ridge subdivision. One picture shows a pick-up truck thrown on top of downed trees right on the water. (I can't post any of them but you can view them at http://kennethboone.smugmug.com/News).
I would guess that it is gong to take months for many places to even come close to being "normal" again, and some may end up with a different kind of normal. For some people--those who experienced the tornadoes first hand or who have lost family or friends--normal may never happen again. For those, please keep them in your prayers.
Surgery is definitely needed for John's shoulder. It's scheduled for next Wednesday (the 4th), but we don't know what time yet. It was around this time last year that he was having his wrists operated on. I think next year, I'm going to put him in a bubble. A bubble wouldn't have helped with his wrists, though. :)
He said that the surgeon told him that he should be able to return to work in about a week and a half. Working with a sling shouldn't be too hard for him. Or at least I hope not.
What will be a challenge will be learning to use his left hand to do all the things he is used to doing with his right one. For the next few days, I should try brushing my teeth, washing my hair, or shaving my legs left handed just so I can have an idea what he'll be going through for six weeks. Oh goodness! I just thought about trying to do my hair with only my left hand. Heck, doing my hair with only my right hand would be next to impossible. No, I'm sure it would be impossible. If I were incapacitated, a visit to Lynn for a SUPER short 'do would be in order!
In other, EXCITING news...
Jess and Lance have bought a house! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!! They haven't closed yet, and the bank wanted to do it on July 1, but they are going to try to get it earlier. Jessi is just afraid July 1 is cutting it a tad too close to Mr. Layton's arrival. It would be their luck that right in the middle of the signing, her water would break. LOL
John and I haven't seen the house in person yet, but from what we've seen on the website, it looks great. It's a nice size, it looks like it has been kept up well, and it has a very nice fenced backyard. To me, that is probably one of the nicest features because they have 3 dogs AND because it will give Layton a nice place to play. Distance wise, I don't think it will be any farther away than what they are now, but it will probably be a little more convenient to swing by since we are usually in Opelika a few times a month. Hopefully, they'll get the closing done and moved in something mid- to late June.
Tonight is bunco, and honestly, I wish I had a sub. I am tired (my left eye has been twitching like crazy), and I have a headache. I just want to go home and sleep. Maybe I can nap for a while before I have to leave to meet the others.
I didn't realize until just now that my last post was my 500th one! Woo Hoo!!! This calls for a celebration! Ah, nah...who am I fooling? I'm too sleepy to celebrate. It's gonna be time to go nighty-night before long.
Out of my 52 students, 50 turned in rough drafts. (Now THAT is cause for celebration!) This is the first time I've ever had almost everyone turn in a paper. The two who didn't...one has quit school according to some of his friends, and the other, sad to say, probably should quit. The first guy hasn't been to school in weeks now. I want to look at him and ask, "WHY? Why give up when you are only a few weeks away from graduation??" I know some students have situations beyond their control (and far too often we aren't aware of them.) I don't think that is the case with this guy. He is simply one of those kids who doesn't realize the value of an education.
The other one had a 20something average for my class last semester. She was out two or three days a week every week (and she still is.) She rarely makes up any assignments she missed, and she only half does the ones that she is in school for. A couple of weeks or so ago, she was in an accident. Supposedly, she was trying to get into a vehicle when the driver decided to take off. She was knocked down and I think a trailer that was behind the truck ran over her or something like that. Of course, rumors were rampant that she'd been run over and was in serious condition. Not that she didn't have some injuries, but the rumors were much worse that reality. She finally showed back up this week. I saw her earlier in the day today, but by 4th block, she had left. Considering the fact that she was out of school for a couple of weeks, I will give her an extension on her paper, BUT she has to put forth some effort. Again, she is one who doesn't realize the value of an education. What does one do? Not a whole lot!
Our interns were kind of shocked at the apathy/lack of motivation/uncaring attitudes. The ones who are preparing our college students to become teachers are, too many times, out of touch with the real world. They tell them to use these cutesy ideas, but honestly, for the kids who don't care, not a whole lot will work. They tell us to try to find out exactly what does motivate these students, but who has time? I mean, we already have 25+ students per class (and we teach four classes a day), and by the time we try to cram everything we are supposed to cover, not a whole lot of time is left to get to know our kids. And usually, the ones who I'm talking about aren't the outgoing extroverts who make it easy, but I do make the effort.
Right now, I'm just counting down the days until the end of the year. I'll do what I can, but for some of the kids, that may not be enough.
Speaking of the end of the year...in exactly 5 weeks, the class of 2011 will be nearly through with their commencement ceremony. That means we have 4 full weeks of classes. The final week will be exams. Monday will be a normal day. Tuesday will be 1st and 2nd block exams for seniors and a normal day for 9th-11th grades. (It will be a completely normal day for me since I don't have seniors until 3rd and 4th blocks.) Wednesday will be exams for 3rd, 4th, and 5th blocks for everyone, and it will be a half day. Thursday will be 1st and 2nd block exams for 9th-11th grades, and it will be a half day. Friday was originally a professional development day, but we're having to use it for our weather make up..from January 10th because we didn't have ANY time built in during the 2nd semester. It will be a half day for students who come (and we are not encouraging them to be there!) We have our make up PD day on May 31. (Cough cough sniff sneeze hark...I think I'm getting sick.)
The last Friday will be ca-ra-zy!!! All seniors, all administrators, the band (I think), the counselors, the senior sponsor, and who knows who else will have to be at the Sportplex that morning for graduation rehearsal, so IF any students show up for school that day, we won't have any "official" people there.
John goes Tuesday for the consult with the orthopaedic specialist about his shoulder. The radiologist feels that surgery can't be avoided, but I guess we'll wait to see what the ortho says. I just hope he can get relief because he is miserable.
Allergies have kicked in this afternoon/evening, and I've taken Benadryl, so I'm thinking it's about time to call it a night.
I've seen this look quite a bit over the last 4 weeks, and I know I'll see it quite a bit more over the next week.
Senior rough drafts are due today, and the final papers are due next Friday. I have a handful who haven't had many questions. You know, the really conscientious students who usually have everything pretty close to perfect anyway, but they just want clarification. Then, I have a handful of students who have had lots of questions, but they are all good, relevant questions, and they are asking because they truly want to know so they can get things right in their papers.
And then there are the majority of the students. These are the ones who have done as little as possible and have been content to just squeak by all semester. I could probably count on one hand the number of questions they have asked (and I'd have fingers left over.) These students are the ones who make me want to scream! Most of the time, they are quite capable, but they just do not see the value of an education. For a few of them, this paper could be the difference in whether they receive their diplomas on May 27. For a couple, I honestly believe that their mommas may have written their papers. (Just for the record, if I didn't do what I was expected to do in high school, my parents wouldn't have done it for me. It would have been a lesson learned!)
Yesterday, I have a few students who were stressing out because they weren't able to access their works cited information because easybib was down. I told them to keep trying, and IF it didn't go back online so they could get their saved documents, I would make an exception and print THAT for them. I won't penalize them for something that is beyond their control. (I refuse to print anything the day the paper--rough or final--is due. Otherwise, I would spend the entire day printing papers.) Technology is wonderful, but it can be a pain when it isn't working correcting.
Let's get this day started! One week down and only FIVE to go!!!
In my other blog, I posted about John's fall at the lake and his injured shoulder. He wasn't any better by the time we got home, so I reiterated that he better have it scanned on Monday. About 2:00 Monday, I called him at work to see if he'd found anything out, and of course, he had not even had it scanned. He did say they were extremely busy and that he didn't have time to get it done, and he promised me he would have it done Tuesday.
When he got home Tuesday, he said he did get it scanned and that Dr. Turner would read the MRI on Wednesday. I started once to call him yesterday to see what the verdict was, but I decided I'd wait until I got home. When he came in, he had a folded up piece of paper in his hands. He put his keys and wallet on the TV before handing it to me. I unfolded it and read the radiologist's report. Naturally, the report used all of the "big" words that I didn't quite understand, but I did understand "full thickness tear of (insert big word here) tendon" and "partial tear and relocation of (insert big words here) tendon." So yeah, for the second spring in a row, it looks like we'll be scheduling a surgery. Hopefully, this will only take one day instead of the two days it took for both wrists last year.
He said that Dr. Turner had called and left a message for Dr. Hartzog (I googled him...Dr. Heartthrob would be more accurate!!! VERY easy on the eyes!!!!!) According to Dr.Turner, this guy is "the best." When I googled him, I learned that he graduated from Birmingham-Southern summa cum laude and was first in his class. His resume looks extremely impressive, so I feel good.
Maybe John will have an appointment for a consult soon, and then he can get the surgery scheduled fairly quickly. As Jessi said, he has a baby to hold in about 11 weeks! She sent him a message and told him not to use this to try to get out of babysitting. Like that would ever happen. LOL Pop Pop loves his boys!!
Today is the last "official" day of spring break. **sigh** With the exception of a couple pieces of sad news (Lance's Gran passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, and my dear friend Karen's mom passed away on Monday), it's been a good week. You can check my other blog for updates and pictures if you want to.
It will be back to the real world on Monday, BUT there are only 6 more Mondays to go. I think I can I think I can I think I can. No, I KNOW I can! The next five weeks will be crazy busy, so that should make them go by quickly. The last week will be spent doing exam reviews and giving semester exams. Teachers have a make up PD day on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and then I'll be leaving on June 1 for the 3rd Annual Vest Girls' Beach Trip. Woo Hoo!!!
I plan on enjoying the day tomorrow, but I have procrastinated and HAVE to grade note cards. Today was a perfect grading day because it was stormy, but we rode to Falkville to visit with Billie, and then we made a couple of stops to browse, so it was about 3 before we got home. I was sleepy and tried to nap, but that never happened. I didn't go anything tonight either. Oh well! :)
The light at the end of the tunnel just keeps getting brighter and brighter. This time tomorrow about 70 teachers will be laughing with joy because spring break will have begun.
My seniors have note cards and outlines due tomorrow. To quote my friend Misty's son when he was about 6, "What the hell was I thinking?" (That's a story for another day.) I should have given them an incentive to turn their cards and outlines in TODAY (like an extra 15 points on top of their overall preliminary research grade.) Those who turned them in wouldn't have to worry about them tomorrow and just maaayyyybbbeeee would catch spring fever and not feel like coming to school. LOL
I did have several ask me today what they needed to do if they weren't going to be at school tomorrow. I told them they could bring their stuff by and drop it off or they could send it by someone, but I had to have it. About six or so did turn theirs in today because they aren't planning on being at school.
We're heading to the lake Sunday. The original plan (skip this if I've already blogged about it...) was for us to load everything up in the truck this afternoon, and then John would drive it to work tomorrow. When he got off, he could just head straight to the lake. I would come home and get them pups when I got off and then head up. He was going to come home Sunday, and then go back up Tuesday night. Monday is payroll, and I don't think his employees (or his wife!) would be very happy if they didn't get paid. He decided he would go ahead and take the whole week of and just go Sunday morning to do payroll. At first I was going to go on up tomorrow, but after thinking about it, I decided I'd just wait and go with him Sunday, mainly because it would be more dark than not by the time I got there tomorrow. It isn't that I would mind going in after dark (I've done it before), I would just rather not.
So, Jessi and I are going to do pedicures on Saturday! Yea!!! I need one SO badly, and she said she had told Lance she was sure she did, but she can't see her toes. LOL She is really showing! For her to be just under 27 weeks, she is "huge"...HER word, not mine. I think she looks beautiful. After we do pedis, we're gonna do a little shopping. I need a good vacuum to leave at the lake, and she said she needs some new maternity clothes. I'm sure we'll do a little eating in there, too. :)
I guess that's about it for now. I meant to blog earlier this week, but I haven't even wanted to get the computer out once I've gotten home. Since we've started research, I've been doing more of the teaching. Getting back into the swing of teaching hasn't been as hard as I thought, but it has worn me out. It's hard to believe that in 20 calendar days, Ashley will be gone! This semester has flown by!
I'm a small-town country gal who loves God, my family, and my friends. My husband is my best friend, and I can't imagine my life without him. We have 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 2 grandsons, and a gender-unknown on the way. My "babies" are my rat terriers, Ali & Bama. :)
I teach 11th and 12th grade English. I love my job and my kids, but retirement is getting closer and looking so sweet.
I have some of the best friends anyone could hope to have. I love hanging out over a cup of coffee and talking.
My life is filled with so many blessings, and I thank God every day for each and every one of them.