This is How We Bungalow

As we finish breakfast, the staff scrambles about, leaving the kids alone for a brief moment while T. heads upstairs to find out what time our final meeting with the Camp Director and Assistant Director will take place this morning.  She heads upstairs, and I glance at the kids for just a moment, and I have an idea.  I race up the stairs to the camp’s offices, and walk over the railing overlooking the dining hall, facing down towards the kids.  I can’t resist, and break into full Facist Dictator mode (no salutes, just lots of crossed arms and chin up, nodding.)  I get the goofy affirmation from the students I was seeking.  T. comes out of the Director’s office.  I give one last salute and I head on down with her.

In my respects, my little “Mussolini” act sort of symbolizes what the choice of this week-long outdoor school means for the kids from our school who have attended this particular camp these past two years as opposed to the camp previously used by the ancien regime previously serving as our 6th grade teachers at our school.  The previous camps attended by 6th graders were at a much higher elevation, often in the San Bernardino National Forest, and did not offer the amount of activities that our current choice of camp offers.  The teachers were also expected to carry the bulk of the instruction, as opposed to the camp counselors at these other sites.  Quite often as well, the 6th grade teachers would go up alone, or send a surrogate, and were not necessarily in the best position to provide instruction that a trained outdoor instructor could give to the kids, much in the manner that our school’s kids received these past two years.  6th Grade Camp became something that teachers tried to avoid, particularly since the teacher who booked the camp each year had no intention of actually attending camp herself, missing out on time spent with the kids on a learning experience beyond the classroom.  Suffice to say, when she retired, the end to many of her practices both in and out of the classroom went with her.  As such, we have this new Outdoor School we’ve been using these past two years.

As a matter of fact, on my way home today, I stop by my wife’s school, and run into one of her teachers, who was a student teacher at my school, and therefore went to the old 6th grade camp.  She is genuinely surprised at how much the event has changed since the time she left.  This is not the week that she remembers from her student teaching time.  I am there, as she was, with the kids, but as I noted earlier today, I am a spectator to their experiences rather than a participant.  That’s a critical distinction, particularly in that I couldn’t begin to provide a quality outdoor instructional experience with my own limited knowledge.  I could try, but it’s far better for these kids to have it from instructors who know their stuff in this area better than I do.   Having now seen this particular program in person these past two years, first on a 5-day week and then on a 4-day, and getting to know the Camp Director as well, our time spent this morning discussing our suggestions for bettering the program–from praising the nurse to suggesting an organic farming experience in a garden setting–have more of a meaningful impact on us, as opposed to a teacher merely booking 6th grade camp, not going herself, and then being shocked when the kids aren’t necessarily taking away what you hoped they might.

As one of our school’s former principal’s might put it:  is this the best thing for kids?

So as I walked down the steps from the Camp’s office towards the door, after my little show on the balcony rail, I think to myself what this past week probably meant for these kids.  We’ll be back with them on Tuesday, a week closer to state testing, but with a week-long list of memories in these kids’ heads as well.  It is inconvenient to be away from home, I admit, but the point of the week shouldn’t have been for the teacher’s convenience, even if the Camp tries to provide the attending teachers with amenities like the room we stayed in, internet access, and a role as an interested observer and friendly face for our students.  This week is not themed for convenience, rather it’s aimed at roughing it.  Certainly, the rain, the cold, and the subsequent snow was part of that very experience.  It was the owls that circled at night, and the bunny that greated us every time we headed back to our cottages.  Unlike my little pretend dictator, nothing of what was done this past week, was meant to be done for my benefit.  It was for the greater benefit of our kids.

I doubt our old grade level predecessor ever truly understood it.  Or, perhaps she once did, but stopped caring.  Hearing the kids sing the “Bungalow” song” on the bus ride home, we know the week went the way it should have gone.


As a final aside to 6th grade camp, I plan on asking my students to share their own thoughts about 6th grade camp with me.  I will post some of the best of those comments at some point next week after the long holiday weekend…


Food Waste Postscript

We wait to meet with the counselors for one final time, but in the meantime, there is one final meal to be served to the 6th graders. Last night, Pizza Night, the kids score zero food waste. This brings their total to 3 meals of zero food waste, passing last year’s 6th graders, who could only manage 2, and only then on the final full day of camp. Still, last year’s class had two boys, AD and JC, who would range around the dining hall eating up stray bits of food. All week, my partner and I would talk about how useful both boys’ iron stomachs were in competitions like this one, especially when, last year, the chef prepared Caesar Salad dressing that was a bit heavy on the anchovies, and only AD was able to stomach more than a tablespoon.

Fortunately, neither boy was needed at breakfast. The kids hit the Zero goal for the 4th time in 7 tries. Then the Camp’s Assistant Director engages the 6th graders in a pep talk over the importance of how food waste doesn’t waste just food, but the labor and natural resources that went into the production of the food. I consider how useful this lesson might have been at the beginning of the week, but at the least, the kids are finally getting the “why” of the competition they’ve engaged with themselves all week.

Now it’s off the Hitching Post for our final debriefing. I can’t wait for the bus driver. Actually, I can wait for the bus driver. T. And I both hope he remembers how to get back to L.A. County…

The End of Yuban

“You just fulfilled the first rule of law enforcement: make sure when your shift is over you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson.” — Malone, The Untouchables

I have shoved reluctant clothes into the suitcase, drinking the last bit of Yuban I will have this week.  I wonder how, especially after how good the coffee is at the Resort’s restaurant, and how good the Camp food has been for the students, why I’m left drinking Yuban that is older than the organic food movement in general…

Our bus driver will be the same we’ve had on Tuesday, which means we’re either going to leave in a few hours, or not.   But there is still one more breakfast, and one more meeting with the Camp’s counselors to discuss the week.  As I type this, I still have to fill out the teacher evaluation form on my experiences for the week, and I puckishly consider noting that I want the same French press coffee that the counselors get–and I am even willing to pour more water on my clothes to get it!

But I’m not.  They’ve done a nice job of giving the 6th graders a memorable experience this week.  My partner and I have been here merely as spectators to the festivities.  When we get back to school next week, we’ll be back in charge of stuff again, and with state testing coming up, this past week will be quickly be in the rear view mirror.  But as rear view mirrors go, hopefully it will be on the vehicles that she and I will be driving, not those of our hapless bus driver.

Regardless, it’s time to go home first.

Fire Watch

“Our last night on the island. I drew fire watch.”

Private Joker, Full Metal Jacket

Tonight meant dinner with the Camp’s Director in the Resort’s on-site Steakhouse, ostensibly as a way to “apologize” for the leaky roof in my original room.  Being happy that I was moved, and now with clothes that were fully dry, this gesture was wholly unnecessary, in my opinion.  On the other hand, 8 ounces of filet mignon later, again totally unnecessary, I considered ways in which I could have other things happen to my luggage for a free dinner, should I come back to 6th grade camp next year.

It looks like my partner, who is the grade level team leader for 6th grade, is already hoping to book 2013 now, to give us the choice of dates going forward.  As we don’t have to share space with another school, this camp gives us some measure of exclusivity, in that we don’t have to share with another school unless we book in that way.  Certainly, the past two years of experiences have put to death any notion about some of the nightmares I had heard of their time in past 6th grade camps.  The counselors handle nearly all of the kids’ instruction and activities, and our job is merely to be the friendly face from home, the interested observer, as well as taking the kids for a hour in the afternoon, when the counselors change shifts.

Unlike yesterday, when the rain meant inside activities for our hour, and we were more concerned with staving off hypothermia among the kids as well as ourselves, today’s sun means we can take the kids out to the grassy area in front of their cabins to run them a bit. We choose to play dodge ball and crab soccer.  In the meantime, we learn more about the kids’ afternoons, as a number of them went on their long hike today.  Of course, one boy, L., from T.’s class, is full of his story about falling out of his canoe out in the cement pond.  But then he embellishes the story, talking about losing consciousness and not remembering how he fell in.  I then learn that he turned an ankle the day before but after spending some time with the camp nurse, felt well enough to participate today.  I had L.’s older brother years before, and remembering how his brother had been with me, with respect to how he treated the girls in my class, and coupling that with the camp’s nurse, an attractive younger girl, and it all makes sense.  He’s crushing on the nurse.

At this point, one of my girls, A., takes a soccer ball off of her face.  T. and I initially think her nose is broken, if not bloody, but fortunately for her, she’d managed to deflect it enough to have it only glance off of her eye.  Still, it hurt, and she heads over by her cabin door to sit things out.  Meanwhile, the nurse, who is trying to make sure that L.  is OK.  We immediately direct her over to my kid, A., who shows the nurse that she can tough it out and is fine.  L.  sees the nurse, and back come the stories about his apparent loss of consciousness, with his friend trying to explain to the nurse that L. had amnesia.  She is a very patient person, very soft-spoken and empathetic, so she listens to what they have to say, eventually talking to one of my other students to confirm what really happened in the canoes.  But L., seeing that he’s got yet another chance to bond with the camp’s nurse is walked back to up to her office upstairs in the dining hall, no doubt considering himself the luckiest boy in the world.

“Um, no”, I think, since I’m the one getting the steak dinner with my teaching partner, while the kids are getting a pizza night.

Dinner turns out to be well-worth the time drying my clothes from the leaking ceiling.  It is easily one of the better steaks I’ve had in recent memory.  (Pity that the distance is too far from home to take Amber for an evening;  a chance to bring her here would have to involve some doing…)  We spend two hours discussing camp, life back home, life at camp, and camp next year.  The Camp Director, after now dealing with him for 2 years, seems like a genuinely nice person to work with to try to bring a unique experience for kids who haven’t necessarily been given much in the way of unique experiences in the neighborhoods around our school.

When our dinner ends, and fortified for the cold, even with the roaring campfire, my partner and I head off to watch the final night’s campfire and cabin skits.  You can tell just how much the kids are both enjoying this final communal time as well as how little in their tank they have left as the counselors run them through songs and skits.  But overall, despite my own misadventures with the cold and the rain, it was never about me in the first place.  My memories are nothing compared to what these kids will take home with them tomorrow.  Just like I remember my own camp experiences from 1974, these kids will likely do the same with their own memories.

It’s time to pack my stuff and get ready for one final night of watching the lamps outside my window creep into my room as I try to sleep.  But I get to go home tomorrow as well.  I’m too old to be homesick, but not too old to want to be at home.  It’s time.

Tonight’s Mystery Meat is Steak!

“How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?” — Say Anything

The other night we had spied two owls on their nightly hunt.  This morning, as we walk out to see the 6th grade groups and again when we walk back, a bunny is out.  It fits the tone of the day.  Whereas yesterday was cold, wet, and eventually snowy, today’s weather, while cold and windy, is brilliantly sunny.  It is a beautiful day.  Even I, who is as far from a sun worshiper as a person can be, is totally taken in by the desire to just sit in the sun–provided we can find from shelter from the wind, that is.

Still, this morning is far better than yesterday’s ordeal.  Windy yes, but a good, sunny day.  For those who know me, that I’m pleased about all of this is saying something significant.  But it will get better.

My teaching partner and I, after watching today’s group of kids try archery, walk up to the Camp’s reservoir to observe the canoeing.  These kids are having a bit more trouble negotiating the cement pond, but they gamely flail away, ensuring that they’ll have to go back and change out of wet jeans when they’re done.  T. and I then laugh, when we overhear one of the counselor’s walkie-talkies:  one of our kids has accidentally left behind jeans and underwear outside of the shower area.  The comment:  “Um, one the campers is walking around without pants and underwear right now” seemed like just the perfect commentary about the past 24 hours.

Finally, the Camp’s Director pulls up in the camp electric cart.  T. has money for him from several of the kids who had wanted to buy a camp sweatshirt before we leave tomorrow.  We talk a bit, in particular about my suggestion from earlier in the week that we “steal” the cart to go off in search of coffee and junk food at the shopping center just off the freeway.  Yesterday, after sharing this idea with our principal during her visit, we see that the cart had a boot that gets secured to one of the tires.  We learn from the Director that they’ve lost more than their share of carts to theft, so the boot was most definitely needed to avoid that situation.

More importantly though, he offers a ride!

We get in and hang on, as he roars down the foothill to their lower pond area, where one of our groups was getting their Environmental Studies lesson in Aquatic Life Science.  We arrive, admiring the view from the area–the camp has an active sheep farm on site, along with “guard” llamas–when the Director asks T. and myself how we muddled through the previous night.  He mentions the kids’ dinner meal (traditionally pizza on the final night), before then adding that the Resort feels bad about my experience with the roof leak last night, and that they want the Director to take T. and I to dinner at the resort’s steakhouse this evening, on them.

Free steak.  Nice.

Of course, you don’t say “no”.  We say “thank you” many times, instead.

It is sunny today, and things are good.

Pointless Acts of Eating French Toast

There are remnants of last night’s snowfall still on the ground as we walk to the Hitching Post for breakfast…

We can see the kids are tired, as they were kept busy late last night.  This morning’s meal will be French Toast.  Once again, as they have been all week, the 6th graders get the obligatory lecture from one of the counselors about the benefits of eating organically grown food.  Still, looking at the large amounts of bacon they serve at each breakfast, I can’t help but wonder if these kids will wind up with cancer nonetheless.  It’s not that neither my partner or I disagree with the thrust of their comments, it’s just that they manner in which they’re hitting these kids with this info is more sledgehammer than scalpel.  As an aside, it would benefit the kids more if they could see where this food was grown, or if they were to work in a food garden to understand the concept of organic rather than to merely “tell” them.  Show, not tell.

After the meal is finished, despite the best efforts of one girl to help another at her table finish her French Toast in order to minimize the food waste, the Camp’s counselor in charge of this morning’s meal decides to nitpick the 6th graders by scooping up random bits of cereal from the floor, which prompts one of the cabin counselors to ask, “Really?”.  A discarded butter pat is also added to the waste, and the Head Meal Counselor gleefully announces that the waste amounts to 3 ounces.  The kids are shut out this morning, as apparently they’ve been too successful in avoiding food waste last night and yesterday morning.  I turn to the girl who had helped her friend finish her French Toast:  “You finished that French Toast for nothing–NOTHING!

Looking at the Bright Side of Night

There is something to be said for having a coffee maker right on your writing desk, even if the coffee tastes like something from pre-drug cartel Columbia.  Still, after watching cold liquid flowing over things last night, to see some hot liquid flowing in my room is a welcome sight.

While I fancy myself a curmudgeon though, there are points when even someone like myself just didn’t want to have to have a reason to complain anymore.  Last night was it.  With wet clothes hanging around my room, and after watching several of the kids on the cusp of hypothermia yesterday afternoon after their experiences in the rain, the appearance of snow last night was pretty much the last straw.  Nah, I wasn’t interested in watching it.  I was cold and wet, heading to a room, that while warming up, was filled with cold and wet clothes I had to dry out.  I was done.  I skipped the final evening activity simply because I didn’t want to go out in the cold anymore.  Nevertheless, I spent the bulk of my evening periodically glancing up at the ceiling to see if any more leaks would spring up.  We go home tomorrow.  I’d like to have reasonably dry clothing to pack back up.

For whatever reason, I wind up with the oddest rooms at this place.  Last year, we stayed in the adjoining ranch house next to these cottages.  I struggled to get a full flow of hot water in my sink all week, and on the final day, the shower gave out, forcing me to take a bath using a coffee cup.  This year, I wind up with the leaking room, which was frustrating.  Then the Camp staff gives me the room next door to my old one, making me worry about the roof for both of the cabings.  But, this will have to do.  After my teaching partner helps me “steal” the original room’s desk and she leaves for her evening, I glance around a room looking to see what it has to try to size up my situation for these final couple of days:  A refrigerator in the closet, but no hangers.  A stolen desk.  A heater that needs to be turned on immediately.  No heater in the bathroom (which the other room had had for some reason) but a better sink.  And all the towels from my two rooms, since I now had to mop up the floor after racing back and forth trying to move my stuff without getting it rained and snowed upon.

At 3:30 a.m., I discover the final aspect of my new room.  I likely wake up from a normal R.E.M. cycle, and immediately grab my smart phone to check the time.  Did I set the alarm?  I did.  I set it, but I quickly go through the menu to make sure I didn’t inadvertently change the time zone or something.  It is quite bright in this room, even with the lights out.  I realize where it’s coming from:  I am sitting smack by the resort’s restaurant’s parking lot, and the big light is right by my window.  Unlike the other room, which had them, even though it faced away from the parking lot, this room does not have the blackout window shades.

I throw my head back on to the pillow.  The room is warm.  I don’t hear drips coming from the closet.  And I am dry.

Some Kind of Beef

‘”Dear Dad. Have made terrible mistake and joined the Peace Corps. Please arrange to have me brought home at once. Your loving son, blah, blah, blah…”

— Tom Hanks, in Volunteers

The afternoon came along with our school’s principal, who brought along rain with her.  My colleague, T., myself, and the boss, are wandering the grounds, cold and wet, seeing the kids try to complete their outdoor activity as the rain slowly begins to grow from a drizzle to a steady rainfall.  When our principal decides, after about 45 minutes of getting wet, that it was time for lunch, we don’t argue.  While the 6th graders get their sack lunches today, which many will wind up eating outside, we’re headed towards the resort’s Steakhouse.  If nothing else, being taken to lunch also means a chance at some real coffee.

The weather causes us to linger a tad bit longer than we should have.  Our principal has to hear my colleague and I needle her about how, last year, she brought high winds with her to camp, and this year, she’s bringing rain.  We finally realize we’d spent enough time away from the 6th graders and we head back out to two other outdoor activity areas:  the low ropes/obstacle course, and the climbing wall.

By now, it’s raining harder.  A Gore-tex jacket can only keep one so dry for so long.  We are getting wet, and there is no other way to describe it.  But it is also cold.  The kids are gamely trying to complete the climbing wall while we watch, and several do.  Unfortunately, in order to work the climbing ropes though, they’ve had to remove whatever outerwear they’d had on; in addition, much of what they were wearing was not water repellant.  As they finish their climbing, we all head back to the Camp’s “Hitching Post” dining hall area.  We ask the counselors if they’ll be allowed to go back to their cabins to change.  I am socked from the knees down, as is T. and our boss.  Several of the kids however, are worse for wear.  This afternoon, we’re supposed to be with the kids for an hour of school time (nothing scholastic, just bonding, per se), before the kids can go back to their cabins to ready for dinner.  The climbing wall group though, is not going to make it through that hour.  Several of the girls are shivering and cold, and looking worse for wear.  I point out to the counselors that they need to change clothes–now.

What was so frustrating was that yesterday, the assistant Camp Director had noted that rain was likely–but it was OK, as they had rain ponchos.  No rain ponchos had come out.  These kids were soaked and not feeling all that pleasant.  While on a normal camp trip, we’d have been outside playing with the kids, we’re allowed to stay for our school time in the Dining Hall, just allowing the kids to warm up.  The Camp’s counselors finally start to realize the gravity of the situation.  The school nurse comes down to take the kids to her office heater, and other counselors gather up wet clothes to take them to the facilities dryer.  We had expected rain, but for most of these kids, as well as us teachers, our rain gear is meant to take us from the house to the car to our destination, and back again.  None of us have the appropriate foul weather gear for prolonged exposure to the elements.  After our hour is up, and the kids warmed up, T. and I head back to warm ourselves up as well.  We’re still a little soaked, and we have dry clothes.

But when I get back to the room, I find I don’t have dry clothes.  My closet is leaking from the ceiling, and while my suitcase was able to escape, for the most part, my extra jeans, which had fallen off their closet hooks are soaked.  It now becomes a comedy of errors.  I try to dry my gloves and cap on the heater in the room, and nearly burn the gloves and melt the cap.  I have one soaked pair of jeans from the leaky roof, and the other pair is wet from being out in the rain all day.  T. texts me:

How it going

Gimme a minute and I will wander over“, I text back.

I start to gather up my stuff.  I will have to move rooms.  I find my last pair of dry pants and change into them.  I replace my soaked socks and I’m relieved that my shoes have dried somewhat.  But I head over to her cottage and tell her that I’ve gotta get moved.  She comes in and sees the leak, which is getting worse.  Yup.

At dinner, we can see the dining hall is also starting to leak.  We’re late, thanks to my having to start to furiously pack in anticipation of having to move rooms.  Luckily, I get the cottage adjoining the room I was in.  Unluckily, I get the room in the same cottage area where the roof is leaking in the closet next door.  But after dinner ends, T. helps me move over the old room’s desk (on which this post is getting typed), and I settle in for the night, eschewing a chance to watch the kids do World Dance, an activity normally done around a campfire, over in the dining hall.

I am too cold and wet to want to go out again and beg off when T. asks me to go with her.  With a soaked rain jacket, and still-sopping jeans drying in a new closet that I pray won’t leak tonight, I am going to stay in.  Besides, after drizzle, followed by intermittent hail, as T. and I walked back from the dining hall, and as I moved into my replacement cottage, we realize that it is now snowing.

Oh yeah, with that factoid, I’m done.

Attention. Here’s an update on tonight’s dinner. It was veal. I repeat, veal. The winner of tonight’s mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed “some kind of beef.”

— Meatballs

Cloudy with a Chance

Important announcement – Some hunters have been seen in the woods near Piney Ridge trail and the fish and game commission has raised the legal kill limit on campers to three. So, if you’re hiking today, please wear something bright and keep low… — Meatballs

After watching several kids force down bananas, and one of my kids reluctantly eat a muffin, the 6th graders finally reach ZERO food waste at breakfast.  It’s a small victory, to be sure, but one that T. and I wanted to have.  She’d even scooped up spilled cereal from around the cereal table and ate it, specifically to avoid any sort of chicken-poop rule change that would prevent the kids from reaching their goal.

After watching several kids force down bananas, and one of my kids reluctantly eat a muffin, the 6th graders finally reach ZERO food waste at breakfast.  It’s a small victory, to be sure, but one that T. and I wanted to have.  She’d even scooped up spilled cereal from around the cereal table and ate it, specifically to avoid any sort of chicken-poop rule change that would prevent the kids from reaching their goal.

In the meantime, with breakfast over, it was time to go watch the kids with some Camp activities.  But it’s cold.  As in “freaking” cold.  As in cold.  And it was also supposed to rain.  Consequently, I am layered with thermal shirt, windshirt, hooded sweatshirt and Gore-Tex outer shell, while my teaching partner, a hockey mom in her real life, is outfitted not much differently.  We head out to go find the kids, and observe one group’s attempts to shoot an arrow at the archery range.  I am happy that the only member of that group who hits a bullseye is the town’s mayor’s daughter (for political purposes, mind you!).  We leave them, and head up the path way to the Camp’s small reservoir, to watch another group paddle about in canoes.  Still, the cold gets to us, and since we have a choice, we head back in to wait for the arrival of our school’s principal.  We’ll be back out in the middle of it in no time at all…

“So, we meet again, Mr. Coffee!…”

As I am typing this, I am using the Camp coffee maker for my morning fix.  I will have to get used to weak and interesting-tasting brew for the bulk of my time here.  I tried as hard as possible to not inconvenience the Camp director, but apparently my requests to just allow me to go fill up in their kitchen is, in and of itself, an inconvenience.  A colleague at school had suggested the Starbucks Via packets, and while I considered it, I decided to be bullheaded and just ask if there was any way I could score coffee without needing my wanna-be Mr. Coffee placed into my room.  It is, after all, Yuban, and I am sure that this can and its coffee grounds are the same that were in my room at Camp last year.

Of course, I also considered the 2+ mile walk up the road to the local strip mall.  It would have been a nice exercise once I completed the round trip, but last night was somewhat spooky.  As I was working at my computer, I was greeted with a knock on the door, asking who I was, with the person identifying himself from the connected resort.  I gave him my last name and he left.   Tripping hard, I immediately texted T., my colleague, across the walkway from my farm cottage, asking her if he had knocked on her door.  Nope.  No knock she tells me, and I lowered the sound on my iTunes to see if he was continuing around the group of cottages.  I didn’t hear anything.  Weird, as T. put it.

This morning, I think I will tell that I think it was another colleague of ours–W.–who knocked on my door last night.  T. and I have gone on several road trips together for school.  On our first trip, we traveled to a magnet school conference in Charlotte, N.C.   Our colleague, W., was/is our school magnet coordinator, and on this trip, she decided that she needed to tap into her inner-Nazi and make me the focus of some suppressed rage.  It’s not like this attention from her was unsubstantiated mind you.  She was worried that I would go “Gingerbread Boy” and run away from the conference, so she was determined to make sure I stuck with the group at all times.  Truth be told, the previous year, at a school conference in Brooklyn, I had slipped away from the sessions to take the subway into Manhattan to visit Wall Street and the Flatiron District before our school’s principal started calling my cell phone.  So, yeah, I understand W.’s concern–to an extent.  My fault, but I had legitimate cause to “miss out” on a conference material that was merely rehash of learning I had gotten as a grad student years before at Cal State Long Beach.

Still, I do think I’m getting too old for road trip room checks.  And I told W. that, in no uncertain terms, much to the delight of T. and another of our colleagues, her bestie, who were in the hotel room across the hall from me.  Of course, I was extremely impolitic in my choice of language, but the point was made.  And the story entered the library of stories that teacher’s swap over lunch.

Thinking about my dream to wander off down the road in search of a decent cup of Joe, I think I will give W.’s name to the anonymous knocker from last night.  It just makes sense.  If it wasn’t threatening to rain as well, I might even decide to wander off in search of my elusive coffee, just for old-time’s sake…