Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Time, Customer Service, Grandparents, New Things, Laundry Chute, Books, Mr. S, Technology, Remote-Controlled Light

Because I want to get back into the habit of blogging, and because I've been meaning to do this for a few years now, I will be doing 30 consecutive days of blog posts focusing on 30 different things I am grateful for.  Who says Thanksgiving is only one day a year?

I'm such a rotten ingrate!  I went eight days without a gratitude post!  Well, I guess that's sort of fitting as we gear up for a very early Hanukah?  

Time: I'm grateful that I've been able to find time, even amidst all the boxes and end-of-term grading and holiday stuff, to start reading again.  I finished The Raven Boys (love!) and started The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (also loving!)  Little by little, I'm training myself to find the time I already have--time spent reading Buzzfeed lists and poking at mindless iPad games--to read (and soon, SOON--to write.)

Customer Service: I know customer service can be a totally awful and thankless job, especially at this time of year.  But lately I've had small issues with two companies I love (some tea tins missing from an order at David's Tea and my Indiespensable shipment went to my old address because I didn't change it in time.)  Customer service can absolutely make or break my opinion of a company, and the customer service at both David's and Powell's Books (which runs Indiespensable) was stellar.  Prompt, helpful, personable...there's a reason I love them!  

Grandparents: Today was Grandparents' Day at one of my schools.  We had an incredible turnout (and remember, I teach high school!)  I loved seeing our students show their grandparents around, and a ton of girls got up to speak in our packed morning meeting because everyone wanted to show their grandparents their own special part of our school.  It made me think of the grandparents in my life--my own grandmother just moved four hours closer to me than she used to be, to an independent living facility near my mom, and it's so nice that we can see her more often.  My great-grandmother lived to be 106 years old and until about the last six months or so of her life, she lived at home with my grandmother.  So it's only been the last few years that my grandmother is on her own, and it's almost like she's an empty-nester for the first time!  When we visited her, she showed off the pub where she has dinner, the pool where she swims every day, and the room where she competes in a senior Wii bowling league!  I love that she's having such a good time.  And closer to home, Mr. S's grandmother lives in an assisted living facility just a few minutes away from us.  We had dinner with her there this weekend and she's the same as ever--cracking jokes, shaking her cane at us, and insisting that we take home leftovers!  I'm grateful to have both grandmothers in my life!

New Things: This weekend, I helped the residential students (mostly from China or other Asian countries, with a handful of German girls who are here for a semester) make pumpkin and apple pies to bring to the families who will host them over Thanksgiving.  For many of the girls, it was their first time baking, or at least baking these desserts!  (The German girls informed me that pumpkin pie was "weird" and they would need to take apple pies where they were going.)  Seeing the girls try something new and have so much fun with it was really a great experience.

Laundry Chute: We have one.  In our bedroom.  It is glorious.  (I am not, by nature, a tidy person.  Neither is Mr. S.  This is going to make our lives so much better.)

Books: Ok, so we're getting to the end of the month, and it's time to start busting out the obvious ones.  Like I mentioned before, I'm finally reading again and I'm SO happy about it.  

Mr. S: Another obvious.  But just as an example: I had grades due at the end of this weekend, plus the aforementioned pie-baking.  So Mr. S quietly did all the laundry AND started unpacking the rest of the clothes.  Because that's just how he rolls.  (Also: I forget if I've mentioned this or not, but this blog can now be reached at ReadingOnTheFTrain.com!  The domain name was a birthday present, way back in September.  Because he's awesome.)

Technology: Well, yeah, duh.  But I've really been up to my ears in tech this year, as one of my schools is a one-to-one tablet computer school, which means that every student gets a laptop that they bring back and forth to school and to all their classes.  We also have a great learning management system that lets me put up calendar assignments, documents, links, etc. very easily.  Printer's broken?  Ok, I'll just upload the handout for today and they can fill it out using their styluses and email it to me!  I'm not totally paperless yet, but it feels plausible here.

Remote-Controlled Light: This combines technology and books and time and our new house: the light in our bedroom has a remote!  That means I can get in bed and read until I can't keep my eyes open...and just click the light off without getting up!  It is genius.  GENIUS.


  1. Remote-controlled light and a laundry chute?! JEALOUS! My parents' house has a laundry chute and I love it. I guess this means you have a laundry room, too. Oh, the joys of not-NYC living! :)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. It is amazing how much space people live in outside of New York. Our attic is pretty gross--unfinished and full of insulation--and both my parents and my in-laws kind of grumbled about that because they're used to living in houses. But then I showed them our closets--I think there are nine or ten of them--and our basement, where the laundry takes up a tiny corner and the rest is dry, fairly clean storage space, and even they agreed we probably have enough space to last us the rest of our lives. Seriously, if you ever quit your day job, you should think about Buffalo: tons of really lovely housing stock going cheap, great summers, and honestly, they know how to clean up snow here so even the winters feel less catastrophic than they do in NYC.

  2. This new place of yours sounds pretty darn fantastic! We had a laundry chute in the bathroom in one of my childhood homes and it was so, so handy. All this talk of pumpkin pie and apple pie is making me want some so badly. Yummy! That's so neat that your students were able to bring their grandparents to school. We've never been overly close to my grandparents, so I envy anybody who is. One of those things I wish had been different, I guess. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jess! :-)


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