Sunday, August 31, 2008

I can't wait to no longer be a Tata Indicom "Customer"

Yet another week without Internet access. But if we try to switch providers, that's a huge hassle too.

Rather than write out something new, I'll just cut and paste what I managed to e-mail my parents (edited of course) earlier this week. From work. Shhhh, don't tell.

It's been an interesting week. We started up yoga again on Tuesday. My neighbor, Gwen, has the instructor coming to her house so she doesn't have to schlep the baby around. Of course we missed Thursday and couldn't reschedule for Friday, so on to next week.
Tuesday night was Back to School night for the Elementary school. We visited Nicholas's classroom and Rebecca's classroom and they both have teachers new to the school. Since Jonathon's teacher is the same one Nicholas had last year, we just popped in to say Hi. All 3 of our Elementary teachers this year are very good. Rebecca really likes her teacher and she's so energetic. Nicholas's is very creative. Jonathon's teacher commented right off how different the 2 boys are. No kidding! Next Tuesday we go back to the Middle School Back to School night. That I'm not looking forward to as much, considering Katherine has already made her presence known and not fully in a good way.
Thursday I had a meeting with the Middle School principal about Katherine. Ian came too. She called the meeting so we had no idea what we were going for, as Katherine has been pretty positive about school so far this year. But apparently she's also quite bored. And with boredom comes laziness and, new to this year, with boredom comes an attitude. Now, I'm not really sure what happened, we all know that Katherine's perceptions of things aren't always the same as the rest of the world. One of her teachers said she was talking back, questioning things but in a bad manner, etc. We asked Katherine and she said she's too "scared" of the teacher to ever talk back that way. But I can completely see how she would use a snotty tone and not realize it, and that's something we've pointed out again. I'm thinking we need to drill into her to kill people with kindness (especially teachers), and then she'll come across as "proper" in class. But she's bored. And she did admit that after the teacher has repeated things a bunch of times and the subject is too dull to care about, she pulls out a reading book. Again, we've said that's not allowed. Fake paying attention if she needs to, but otherwise she's being disrespectful.
We'll see how it goes. Her teachers and the principal are gauging how she does this quarter to determine what she needs the rest of the year. Of course, with being bored in some of her classes, the laziness kicks in and she doesn't do what she should and it all backfires. She's not going to get moved up in math if she doesn't complete her assignments because they are "too easy." Actually, one of the things we were told is that she takes forever to get on task in those classes. I told the principal that Katherine knows she can finish in 5 minutes so doesn't bother to just do it. It's something we need to keep working with her. I think I need to tell her (haven't yet) that if she does the easy stuff first and quickly, then there's the opportunity to talk to the teachers for more challenging material to fill the rest of the time. Parent-teacher conferences should be interesting.
Then we had a talk with the Head of School about the bus schedule. Right now there is a single afterschool bus to bring the kids home. But there are 2 release times, so the younger kids are waiting until the older kids arrive a half hour later before anyone can leave. The problem was that the older kids (2 of them, and they aren't always on the bus afterschool, or right now it's often only Katherine they are waiting for) get out at 3:40, and the bus monitor starts pitching a fit if they aren't in the cafeteria at 3:45. Last year, with 2 after school buses, the second bus left at 4 p.m., letting the kids go to their locker, say bye to friends, check in with a teacher if necessary, run to the library, etc. Now, I get a phone call if 3:55 comes around and Katherine hasn't shown up yet. I understand that the younger kids want to go home, and hey, I have 3 of them sitting around waiting, but I also don't think it's fair that Katherine should be frazzled and yelled at because she's not racing. No easy solution has been found yet. Even more annoying though is that when we tell the bus that the older kids are NOT taking the afternoon bus, they will still make the younger kids wait until 3:45 rather than departing at 3:30. Tell me what sense that makes? They drivers have been given a schedule and by golly, they'll stick to it no matter what.
We did get one immediate concession, Katherine and the other middle school kid will be released 5 minutes early from Advisory, and they'll be allowed an additional 5 minutes on the other end. That gives them 15 minutes, vs. the original 5, to get themselves to the bus. And the Head did agree that yelling at the kids was not the best way to get them moving.
Friday Ian and I had lunch with our friend from Embassy Colombo. Then there was a work meeting at work 2 p.m. Ian wanted me to stay for that.
So now we're on our 3 day weekend. Saturday morning was busy, just like last week. Jonathon and Ian had tennis from 8-9, the girls were at school for swimming from 10-12 for the last time trials, the boys had soccer from 9:30-10:15. We made it to Cedars for lunch with the neighbors before setting the kids up to color paper flags for an impromptu flag ceremony Saturday night. We have 7 first tour Junior Officers who found out their onward assignments. The lucky 7 are headed to Slovenia, Romania, Czech Republic, Pakistan, South Africa, Afghanistan, and Ecuador. All got one of their top 3 bids. Actually, two got their #3, one got her #2, and the other 4 got their #1. Not too shabby.
No, we still don't know where we're going. Probably, hopefully, mid-October.
Oh, we learned that we've lost our second R&R. Here's how it went down. When we arrived we were told that we could take our first R&R in the first year, then a home leave, then a 2nd R&R. R&Rs must be taken after being at Post 6 months and before 6 months from the final departure date. Our original orders didn't include the second R&R, it was then amended to include the 2nd R&R after we explained in detail our curtailment. We've been talking about planning our R&R now, and this month our Management Officer decided to look into it further and determined that while we could have had the 2nd R&R, we had been incorrectly informed regarding the timing. Apparently, we would have had to take the first R&R Christmas time of our first year in 2006 and home leave summer of 2007, leaving a full 24 months left in our tour here to allow for a 2nd R&R, oh, right about now. Since no one told us that, we lose the R&R because from the time we took our homeleave in Dec2007, there are not 24 months left in our tour, so not enough time to "earn" an R&R.
There you have it. More cash for the house fund.
In other news...
We're looking into starting up USA Day each month again. It doesn't seem like we have enough older kids though, all the new families have young kids (3rd grade and under, most in K and under). I think they have the impression that USA Day is a teaching sort of thing, geared towards little kids. It's not, it's a participatory program where the kids do 90% of the work, and 3rd grade and under won't do much or get much from it. It's a lot of effort, but it's still something I'm considering. It needs to start next month if we're going to get it off the ground again.
We're also tossing around a book club and a game night. Game night looks like it'll start up in September, the book club is really something Gwen wants to start up, so I'll just participate there. Madras Kids begins on September 20 and that I'm involved in, we have a lot of work in the next 3 weeks to prepare. It looks like it's be a Music Throught the Ages sort of thing. Have the kids do the "Twist" followed by a Beatles song, followed by something by Madonna, etc. with a play/narrative to go along with it and pull it together. This year there will be one show, performed probably in April, to give plenty of time for sets, costumes and choreography. The songs will lend themselves easily to kid performance.
Tomorrow is Labor Day. A holiday for the lot of us (oh yes, let's keep Labor Day but take away Thanksgiving! Bitter? Me? Nah.). We have plans to go to Ideal Beach. Some folks spend just about every weekend there and we have never been. It's the only resort that sells day passes for the pool and beach, everywhere else requires you to be a guest of the hotel. It's an hour away on the ECR which is a hazard to drive, but I'm looking forward to seeing it. The girls have opted not to swim in the morning, so they'll be swimming T-Fri morning instead, and are getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep as the practices are now moved to 6:15.
And mom? I'm almost done with this blanket I'm working on. Then I can finally get back to scrapping.

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