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2002-07-15 - 12:11 p.m.

I'll be brief. I'm using my parents' computer while they're out of town. My computer died a horrible death during moving and Dell, after promising to ship me a new one within 2 weeks, changed the shipping date from the beginning of June until the end of July. I'm withholding absolute judgement on them until after I receive the new one and see how well I like it ... but so far I'm not impressed. Anyway, we moved. It was rough. Expensive, yes. Tiring, yes. Incredibly stressful, yes. All of that and more. And, to be honest, we are still smack dab in the middle of the adjustment process. It's very hard sometimes living with someone who has never truly shaken off their fundamentalist upbringing. Not to mention the fact that she is beset with guilt because she, as the youngest daughter (and supposedly single) in a traditional Mexican family was supposed to stay at home and devote her life to caring for her mother and the family home. Her brothers and sisters already had her in that position for 34 years and they had gotten used to the idea that she would always be there so they could go on with their lives and families without having to worry about their mom. It's very unfair, to me. In my family, the kids are supposed to be equally responsible for helping the parents as they age. Of course, my sister will certainly not contribute any type of support - she didn't even call our mother on her birthday, but at least in theory that's how it's supposed to work.

Verona makes less money than either of her brothers and one of her brothers-in-law, yet she is the one who pays all of her mom's bills in addition to her own. It galls me for them to take for granted that her life is supposed to be one of making their lives easier and guilt free. Yes, it may be a tradition, but it's also exploitation. Why should their freedom be paid for by her?

So anyway - she is torn in many directions. She also gets very irritated with me for being messy, disorganized, etc. and I sometimes wonder if she has forgotten that I was always that way. Sometimes I think she wants to change me - that even though the person I am is the one that appealed to her, she now wants a different person, someone I'm not. It's all very puzzling and confusing and tiring ... but this must be the kind of thing that all people who begin to build lives together go through. We just have the additional stresses of less family support, religious guilt, etc.

It has gotten better, though, and I think we'll be OK.

As for work, I have heard through the grapevine that our crappy principal left to become a principal in another district. Good riddance. However, the damage he did was permanent as we lost many good teachers whom he drove away with his rudeness, lack of respect for their work, and refusal to treat them as professionals. We've lost an award winning drama teacher, an English teacher whose students consistently won writing competitions, a math teacher (who was snapped up by a wiser district that valued her skills), a reading teacher who tried for years to build up the department only to see it slashed time and time again, a choir director who really cared about the kids but was publicly humiliated by our principal at a faculty meeting for asking legitimate questions, and others. So I much prefer this devil I don't know (the new principal) to the devil we knew. At least it's someone new. Hopefully it's a real hardass. Someone who won't take bullshit from kids, parents, or teachers - someone who won't accept excuses and will be more interested in excellence than in making people feel good. Someone who will force us to be better than we are now and will support the teachers who demand excellence instead of pressuring them to change grades and not "damage the children's self-esteem" when parents come up to complain. Someone who will remind parents that we are all trying to make their kids successful and get them involved in the process. Someone who won't tolerate the gangs and the drugs and the bullying that our other principal refused to deal with.

I can hope, right?

Well, I don't know when I'll see y'all again. Thanks for all of the guestbook entries.



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