Please read, watch, and vote

30 03 2015

Hey guys,

I don’t do a lot of this type of promoting and begging, but the times they are a changing.

My school is participating in the annual Fox50 Lipdub challenge and we have a chance of winning $10,000 for our school. We are a small school and getting the word out there is integral to having a chance against the bigger schools.

Please go to the following link and vote for the video for “Cross Creek Early College High School.” This was my directorial debut as well as my planning and design. My Glee Club did an amazing job planning it and pacing it, practicing and designing the whole thing. Our kids put time and effort into creating posters and dances and routines for each room. It took a ridiculous amount of work and I would appreciate your votes.

You may vote as many times as you like and every vote matters. Please help spread the word and help us win $10,000!

The link: http://fox50.upickem.net/engine/Votes.aspx?contestid=162653

Go there and vote “Cross Creek Early College High School”





The Penguins vs reality

8 02 2015

The following is transcribed from a series of Tweets I made on Sunday afternoon.

Guys, it’s time for some

Maybe this is a shock to you, but…*psssst* The Penguins are not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. They never were going to. This season was lost years ago when the at-that-time management and coaching group continually drafted poorly (or not at all courtesy of trading away picks for rental players). Can’t continue to draft only one positional depth and waste those talents year after year and be a legitimate team year in, year out. They gambled and went all in on 2013 and Dan Bylsma and his “system” lost the gamble.

In one off-season and 2/3 of a played season, Jim Rutherford and his company have done A TON to wash out the stink of the Shero/DB years but it will take at least one more to get this to be Mike Johnston’s and Jim Rutherford’s team. Too many bad personnel on continuing contracts coming into this year. Just enjoy what we have – which is a Pens team that is, for the first time in years, fun to watch.

If by some miracle the Pens make it out of the 1st round, consider it a rousing victory. Anything beyond round 1 is gravy. GMJR has done a lot of great things – trading away Neal for a more reliable, less problematic goal scorer, bringing in Perron, getting Ehrhoff on the cheap for a year, giving Mike Johnston an opportunity in the NHL, etc. He addressed immediate needs at the draft AND addressed depth. Jim Rutherford did more FOR the Penguins in less than 1 calendar year than Ray Shero did in the last 5.

And, imagine that, not being a xenophobic assclown opens up the possibilities in terms of personnel. Amazing who you can find when you open yourself to the possibility that people with European sounding names might actually, you know, be capable players.

So, Ottawa, you have fun with Ray Shero when you inevitably hire him to replace Bryan Murray. Enjoy when he hires Dan Bylsma, too.

Is Mike Johnston perfect? No. No coach is. Babcock has his faults. Quennville makes boneheaded decisions. No coach is -perfect-. Because HCMJ has made some weird choices and mistakes does not magically make him a failure. He’s a rookie coach. He needs to learn, too. Hell, you bunch of goat pokers gave Dan Bylsma 5+ years to learn and defended him to the ends of the earth. Many of you still defend him.

Dan Bylsma was the exact perfect guy to come in AFTER the Therrien regime. He more-or-less allowed the players to play up to their abilities. 2010 was excusable – two deep Cup runs and Montreal caught lightning in a bottle. 2011 can be thrown out because of devastating injuries. 2012? That was probably the best Pens team headed into playoffs and that series vs Philly was lost ENTIRELY on the back of Dan Bylsma.

I know, the players need to play, but that was entirely a failure of leadership from the coaching staff to keep that team glued together. And, of course, we know what happened in 2013. The loss to Boston was truly, truly embarrassing. And we’re not even going to talk about how Iginla was used, the picks for Douglas Murray, and the absolute refusal to try anything at all different against the Bruins.

Last year was, to the surprise of nobody who had been paying attention, another laughable failure. Shero’s abject REFUSAL to fire DB was his undoing. He had to prove, above all else, that Ray Shero was right. Just as Dan Bylsma was more concerned with proving that Dan Bylsma was right. It was no longer about what’s right for the team. It became what was right for Ray and Dan. The team paid the price.

So, the poor drafting continues and the trading away of valuable picks continues and the young players who did get drafted languish in the AHL or get shipped out for nothing or get lost to waivers. And Shero refused to fire Bylsma until there were no other options.

Mario and Burkle had to step in and fire Shero. And “allow” the new GM to fire Bylsma. And I am PERFECTLY OK with how he was handled. His stubborn fuckery cost that team years of the prime of so many star players. Let him twist in the wind and miss out on a job or two.

So, here we are. The Pens are going through what should have happened last season if DB/RS had been fired after the BOS series. So, instead, because of Shero’s hubris, we wast, effectively, two more years of these players primes. There is no guarantee they would have won any more Cups, but you would at least be trying something different in the primes of the career arcs for these players.

So, enjoy what we’re seeing now, especially the play of the “new” Marc-Andre Fleury, and try to keep the jam levels low. They’re not winning a Cup this year. But there is a LOT to be excited about and, frankly, it’s mostly thanks to the miracle Rutherford has been able to create since June. over and out.





I’m not dead

4 01 2015

Guys,

Really, I’m not dead. I have paid to keep this domain alive this long. I just don’t have time to write, but, given how this semester is shaping up, I fully expect I will need to write in order to save my sanity.

So.

Here we are. I’m not dead and, well, I’m not dead. I make no promises about writing because, frankly, I know I can’t keep them and I hate writing checks I can’t cash.

I’m not dead. Not yet.

2014 is gone. 2015 is here. Walt is alive.

Deuces.





Where Do We Go From Here?

7 09 2013

Bienvenue, mes amis.

It’s been a while since I posted. Pretty much broke that promise of regular updates. The only thing consistent is my inconsistency.

As you have likely gathered, the school year is in full swing and I am, as per usual, up to my neck in work. Don’t take that as necessarily a bad thing, because I do, truly, love what I do…but I do put in some ridiculously long hours and I am grossly underpaid for the work I (and the vast majority of others in the profession in this state) do. Just because I get paid poorly, though, doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off. I could, but I won’t. Believe me, I’ve had enough terrible jobs for terrible pay where I effed around so much I should have been fired a thousand times over. I would push that envelope just to see if anyone would ever fire me. It pretty much never happened (there was one case, but I did get to cross off the “you can’t fire me! I quit!” routine off the bucket list).

I love what I do. There were really only ever two things that called to me and I could see myself doing for a living, and one called way more than the other. I love working with young people. I love exploring new ideas and concepts with young adults. I love to smell the lean calories burning as I challenge every perception of life and world the students have ever had. I love that my students, on the whole, hate me and my class while in it, but love me dearly and thank me for putting them through Hell after it is over. I love my job.

I really don’t mind the completely insane hours, either. Yes, there are times when I wish I wasn’t putting in 80+ hours in a week, but at least it’s a purposeful 80 hours. I’m not spending 70-80 hours slinging freight at the Walmart where I have 20 different supervisors who never worked a day’s hard labor telling me I need to cut labor costs and drive sales or I’ll be looking for a new job in 3 months. I’m also not paid nearly as well as a Walmart manager, which is truly sad, but that’s the way of things.

As pretty much all of you know, North Carolina is a horrid place, especially for education. There are some bright spots in the state, such as Asheville and Raleigh, but those do not, even remotely, outweigh the craptacularity that is the rest of the state. No level of awesomeness in Boone can make up for the utter shittiness of Fayetteville. Unless you are wealthy (or content living in abject poverty), North Carolina is not a place to be. I was discussing this with some other teachers as the year was starting and I made the declaration that the bottom is going to fall out of this state within the next 10 years unless major, sweeping changes are made.

There was a study recently conducted by Public Policy Polling (an admittedly slightly left leaning polling firm) that said prior to the 2010 Tea Party madness and, really, the 2012 election of Pat McCrory and his cronies, North Carolina was in the top 10 of state favorability. Per PPP’s findings,

While southern states generally found themselves toward the bottom of the list, North Carolina was an exception. It polled among the ten most popular states in the country, with 40% of voters rating it favorably to only 11% who had an unfavorable opinion.

There has been a drastic shift in the two years since that initial polling data. The favorability has dropped to 30%, a loss of 10%, and the unfavorable vote has more than doubled, going from 11% to 23%.

While still above water with a +7% favorability, that 7% ranks NC right at 40th place for popularity nationwide.

40th. It dropped from top 10 to 40th place. The commonality? Retroactive, regressive, caveman policies of a dangerous Republican-controlled legislature and governorship, an approach to “small government” that made it so small it could fit in any woman’s naughty bits, which, as we know, is exactly where government belongs.

The ludicrous abortion restriction law was passed by the legislature as an amendment to a motorcycle safety law. Gov. McCrory had pledged during the campaign that he would not sign into law any additional restrictions on abortion. So much for that one, Pat.

Add on to that the insane loosening of the gun control policies and practices here, such as easing the regulations on conceal/carry and expanding the places where a concealed weapon could be carried…not a good situation. I mean, come one, there is absolutely NOTHING bad that can happen in North Carolina in, say, March while at a bar with a legally concealed weapon. Nah, nothing happens in the heart of the ACC in March or April. There aren’t too many colleges of note down here. People’s allegiances aren’t that strong. Nothing crazy could happen, and certainly not with alcohol involved. What ever could go wrong?

And then you get to people like us – the teachers. We are all paid the same statewide. We receive state salaries. Some counties are able to pay a little extra in supplements in the summer, but not all counties pay well. Cumberland county, thankfully, pays a decent stipend. That stipend has been the only reason I survived the last two summers without spiraling into debt or having to borrow huge sums of money.

I am now entering my 3rd years in the state. I have received no raises, which is somewhat expected, and will not get one, at the earliest, for another 2 years (or 3, depending on where you draw the lines – year 6 will be the first raise, and it will be, hold on to your hats, $1,200).

At my current salary, which is $30,800, I make just that much too much to be classified as poor and, thereby, ineligible for most forms of public assistance. My take home pay, after taxes, deductions, etc., comes out to $1735/month. And we do only get paid once a month.

I really want you to let that roll around in your head a little bit.

I never entered teaching to get rich. I know it’s not a career that pays well. If I wanted to get paid, I would work for some multinational and focus only on the bottom line without giving a damn about how I got there. I never really wanted before, nor do I now, to be rich. I’d like to not have to worry if I’m going to make it to payday, but that’s nothing exclusive to me.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many with families, are living day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. I don’t stand alone in living so tight against the budget. It is a systemic problem in this country. And, for what it’s worth, you can really trace most of this back to the Reagan years and the necessity of the double income household.

I’m good with my money and, thankfully, living alone. I can make my $1700/month work, but barely. Sure, if I’m up against it I can cut out some leisure activities/pleasures, such as television. I don’t need TV, but I enjoy having something to relax to when I come home each night. I could eliminate plenty of small creature comforts to make ends meet if I had to. I am thankful that I am not in that position.

I am also not getting much ahead of the game. I’m paying down some debt, sure, but not paying down others *cough* student loans *cough* because I just can’t. Even if I cut out things like TV and my Netflix subscription, I cannot afford to pay my usual bills, buy food, and pay my full student loans each month.

I really want you to think about that.

That isn’t taking into account all of the stuff I pay for out of my own pocket for my students or our school. This year our school has moved to a new photocopy policy – we can make as many copies as we want…because we’re buying our own paper. We were given one case of paper (5000 sheets) to last the year. Once that’s gone, we’re on our own for making copies.

In the grand scheme of the year, an extra case of paper is, what, 45? 50 bucks? That isn’t so bad, really. Except you can’t pay 5 dollars a month for 10 months to buy the paper. And when you’re spent to your last dollar each month, it makes things a little difficult. Again, I am eternally thankful that I can manage my money well enough that I can afford a few extra each month and still be OK. Not everyone is in the same boat as me. Paper is just one small thing, but it is emblematic of a crumbling state that is so in tune with its own dogmatic bullshit that it is willing to destroy itself for some alleged higher purpose (that purpose, apparently, is to become the first negative tax state where lawlessness runs wild and women, blacks, Hispanics, and teachers are second and third class citizens).

I buy sanitary wipes and cleaning products for my classroom out of my own pocket. I always keep a stash of peppermints on my desk for both myself and the students. Those, while cheap, are not free. I have to purchase my own manilla (or, if I’m feeling fancy, colored) folders for the kids. I have to purchase lined paper for my classroom. None of these are huge purchases, but they do add up.

I could very easily say “No, I’m not giving you guys folders to use to submit and organize all of your materials for your research paper(s),” but does that really accomplish anything? No, it doesn’t. That’s just being difficult for the sake of difficult. And I know I’m not the easiest person to live/work/coexist with, but my kids don’t deserve that. I even recycle the folders when possible. I’ll apply the white out and write in new names each year. You want to know how bad it is? When the students see me doing stuff like this and say “Geez, the struggle is real for you, Mr. [name redacted].” Have I mentioned that we’re a Title I school and are approximately 80% black and Hispanic, and the no. 1 criteria for admission is the student must be 1st generation college attendee? Our kids know that the struggle is real…and when the students are offering to buy stuff for the classroom, you know your state fucked up along the way.

So, why don’t I just quit and leave? It really seems simple, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t that simple. Don’t get me wrong, I am personally miserable here. I hate the idiocy of the state and being poor, but I love our school so much and I love what we are doing for the kids in our community. I love my coworkers and, really, I know that I, along with the rest of the staff, am making a difference in the lives of these young people. No manner of dislike for the state and the town in which I reside can be greater than the reward of the job.

So, no, it’s not such a clear cut thing. I do desperately want to get back to PA, Pittsburgh in specific, but I do have a known quantity here and it is, as Raymond Carver put it, a small, good thing. I’m OK with making my life my job. Our kids need it. I don’t have to balance all the things many others do. I don’t have a wife or girlfriend. I don’t have children of my own. I don’t have to worry about finding the balance between the hours for our program and the hours needed for home life. I can work 70+ hours a week without much of a problem. I’m not a social butterfly to start, and I really don’t find much redeeming about Fayetteville. I’m OK with focusing on work on the weekends and each day during the week. I’m OK with it because it serves a purpose.

And that’s a big deal. For years before coming to NC, I was in perpetual pursuit of purpose in my life. Teaching does give me purpose, and that is the biggest, most powerful factor for me. Despite my ongoing battles with loneliness and depression and so on, I’m never weakened to the point of breaking because I do something meaningful.

But, still, we are grossly underpaid and overworked in this state. And NC is a right-to-work state, so, there’s no union representation. Whoever would have guessed where there are no unions the workers would be badly abused? We’ll ignore the laughably poor pay we receive. The state of North Carolina is doing away with tenure for teachers. Are there some who abuse tenure rules? Sure. But there are just as many terrible teachers who keep their jobs because they have a winning record as a coach. Let’s not pretend like this is a one-way street. The state is taking away what little job protection we had. Until a few days ago, they were also going to do away with Master’s pay (those with a Master’s degree or higher received a slight increase in salary), but, magically, Gov. McCrory found some money in the budget to continue paying those with advanced degrees. Because, you know, when you have a recruiting and attrition problem with professional teachers, the first thing you want to do is take away job protection and incentives for continuing your education and improving your practices.

This state truly does not know its ass from its elbow and it is quickly going to realize it must pay the piper. As it continues the ideological spiral downward and outward, we need to ask ourselves “where do we go from here?”

Notes:

The PPP poll can be found here

The North Carolina salary scale can be found here (pdf file)

Additional reading:

The blog, Teaching Speaks Volumes, is incredible. I highly recommend you spend some time there. This post caught my attention over the summer and I’ve been stewing over it for some time.

The blog “Making Our Way” also caught my attention as our school year was getting underway. A truly remarkable and moving post here, which said a lot of what I and so many others wanted to say but couldn’t find the words.





Back to Never Again

21 07 2013

As some of you know, I do not sleep well. I haven’t slept well in 10+ years. There are a million reasons for this. There are rare occasions when I wake in the middle of the night and have a moment of clarity or creativity. I had one of those the other night. It wasn’t even super creative like when you have one of those wild, hallucinogenic fever dreams. It was just something so simple and succinct that came to me as I awoke. A poem. A very simple poem emerged from the darkness.

————–

Lines Written in the Middle of the Night

 

I love you.

I miss you. Please,

come home.

 

————–

 

Nothing special about it. Nothing that hasn’t been said 290784978 times in literature. But it all fit. And I could get back to sleep.

 





On Being Useful and Living Long

11 07 2013

Howdy, folks.

I haven’t abandoned you. I haven’t forgotten. It’s been a pretty wild last few weeks. Come, take a walk with me.

In my last writing, I mentioned some plans going forward. The good news? Those plans actually became actions. Having been back in NC for about two weeks, I have begun, albeit slowly and when I have time, working on my book. It will likely be years to finish, if it even does get finished, but it’s something to work on/toward. I’m still open to anyone wishing to contribute, especially if they would like to write a foreword. The other item on the docket was attempting to finally lose weight and get healthy. That, surprisingly, has been the easier of the two. Not that either are easy, bear in mind. I’ve just been working on the health thing a little more…steadfastly.

I did get back to NC and with having to unpack and shop and so on, it took a few days. I spent the first week back just getting a little more into the swing of things and monitoring my diet a little more. The second week I began the DDP Yoga program. Many of you have seen the video that swirled around the internet about DDP Yoga – the story of Arthur and his transformation via DDP Yoga. If you have not, you can watch the video embedded below.

I don’t expect a transformation like that. Not at all. I’m well aware that those results are atypical. But I do expect some results, and after spending 1.5 weeks, I can definitely tell the program works, but you have to be mindful of a lot of other elements. This is not new or revolutionary. At the end of the day, we all just need to exercise more and manage our diets better. I’ve gone 2+ weeks and haven’t had red meat. And not as a means of some crazy fad diet or because of any dietician’s suggestion. I just haven’t eaten any (this, I will point out, will change next week when I’m on vacation with family in Florida). I’ve eaten a bit more chicken than usual, but that’s OK. I’ve certainly forced myself to monitor my actual caloric intake and be mindful of portion size.

The biggest problem for me has been portion control. I just never really paid any attention to it, and that is, in no small part, why I am the way I am. I am trying to keep a watchful eye on what I eat and when I eat. I still snack here and there, but now I do so with healthy/healthier alternatives – fruit, yogurt, granola, etc.. While those all have various fats and sugars, they are better than many other alternatives. Likewise, I’ve always been good about eating fresh produce rather than frozen and/or processed goods, but now I’m really, really forcing myself to purchase more perishable goods and use those because I hate to ever let anything go to waste.

At the conclusion of the first week with DDP Yoga, I successfully lost 5 lbs. I know quite a bit of it was collective water weight, but I have definitely trimmed a little fat. I’m not actually all that concerned about the number of pounds lost, at least not now, because I’m still in the early stages and it’s much more important to get into the rhythms and patterns of balancing eating, exercising, and work. Once the school year begins, the real test will come along with balancing those items. As you all know, I put in A LOT of time at school. I am making more of an effort this year to do more for me, in no small part because of actions that happened last year. I’m not going to neglect my job or, more importantly, my students, but I am going to put myself a few steps up the priority list.

I will start concerning myself with the number of pounds and things like that as I’ve really moved into the program and away from the baby steps. I can tell right now that I am building a lot of muscle in areas which I have neglected for a long time. I can tell, just by the way some of my clothes fit, that there are some minor changes happening. And that’s good. And I’m going to stick with it. But I’m not worried about the actual number of pounds lost because I can feel some of the differences already.

At the end of the day, I set out to lose some weight, improve my diet, and live a longer, healthier life. Those are not out of the question.

As for some other things, well, it’s been a weird few weeks being back here. I fully admit that returning to NC was very, very, very difficult. I was in Pittsburgh long enough to re-establish some roots. I was able to meet up with a number of friends and build some relationships I tore down in advance to moving down here. I was doing some of my famed amateur-but-still-somewhat-decent home repair for my mother. You may remember from a few years ago when I built the pond in the backyard of my mother’s house? Well, this year was an all new project.

A railroad tie and concrete block retaining wall had been falling apart for the better part of a decade. The steps that led up the hillside (and onto the deck of the old swimming pool, now the overlook above the pond) had, effectively, completely fell apart. The entire ground underneath the stone had completely washed out, shifted, and been dug out by chipmunks. The only things holding it together were some patchwork concrete block and large, flat stone slabs. It needed replaced.

This was a project completed mostly by myself. I did have a little help from my brother, but he mostly helped with hauling the bricks and doing a little (and I do mean little) digging. This was pretty much an 80/20 split in my favor. You can click each image below for a full-sized version.

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So, there you go. When all was said and done, that project was completed for under $500 and took, in actual working time, about 6 days. I stretched it a bit longer than the 6 days in no small part because I could and there was no reason to kill myself. With that said – the project, from top to bottom, was a NIGHTMARE entirely because of the ineptitude of Lowe’s Home Improvement. I have never, ever, ever in my life had so miserable experience from a company.

It took three entirely separate trips to get the bricks ordered. The 1st trip was to comparison shop and get some feedback from the people in the lawn and garden department. That was a great trip. Sadly, it was the only good trip of the bunch. A few days later, after deciding on which bricks to order, we return to Lowe’s. As we walk to the back of the garden center, two employees, who were talking to one another, look in my direction and immediately turn tail and disappear. We waited for 30+ minutes for assistance in the garden center. None came. We asked the sale clerk to get someone. They called. Nobody came. We left without purchasing the bricks and supplies. Thus, we had to make a 3rd trip to make our order. The third trip started the same way as the 2nd trip. Nobody in the garden center. Had to have the sales clerk call for help. Every member of the garden center sales staff was on break at the exact same time. They had to get someone who was covering for the entire garden center plus working inside. He came out and we told him which bricks we wanted to order, how many we needed, and that we would need them delivered. As we were having them delivered, we were going to throw in a few other items to go along with it to save us even more trips. We ordered some bags of gravel and some bags of paving base.

He writes everything down and we all go up to the cash register. The girl on the register wasn’t entirely sure how to do a home delivery, but figured it out eventually. She entered all of the information, rang in our coupon, we paid our bill, and we left. The delivery was scheduled for a few days later. All was right with the world.

Skip ahead to the delivery date. The Lowe’s driver arrives and unloads the bricks. We’ve got a major problem. The bricks he’s delivering are the wrong brings. We had ordered the charcoal (red and grey) castle wall stone, not the pure red. I notify the delivery driver that these are wrong. I say to him that I know it isn’t his fault and I’m not upset with him, but this is a major problem. He tells me I need to take up the problem at the store because he had other deliveries to make that day and he could come by later to pick up the bricks. So, my brother and I gather up the receipts and everything else and head back in for yet another trip. We approach the customer service counter and were less-than-cordially welcomes by a miserable looking woman with an attitude in her tone of voice. I explain to the woman that the incorrect bricks were delivered and the delivery driver told us to talk to the store. The attitude worsens as she begins flipping through her book of barcodes looking for the bricks. Bear in mind, we have already told this woman that we had lined up people to help assemble the wall and that we couldn’t do an exchange. She then begins to get upset with us because she was under the impression we wanted to exchange the bricks for those which we ordered.

We remind her that, no, we can’t do an exchange and wait even longer to get these picked up and new bricks delivered. My brother and mother had made time in their schedules to help me with this. So, we ask for the manager, because we’re not getting anywhere with her. She calls him over and the first thing – the very first damn thing – the manager does is immediately blame us. He looks at the receipt and tells us that accepting the receipt was acceptance of whatever items purchased and that we should pay more attention to what’s been rung up. At this point, I lost my cool with him.

There were about ten different ways for him to handle this situation. That was the single-most wrong way to handle this. Instead of walking up and asking what was the problem and how can this be fixed, he IMMEDIATELY blamed us for the employees of his store being completely and totally inept in every fashion possible. My response to the manager was that, last I checked, I was not an employee of Lowes and shouldn’t have to go over my receipt with a fine tooth comb for errors because, apparently, the other team members routinely cannot handle the basic functions of his or her jobs. Either the cashier entered the wrong data or, and I suspect this is the case, the garden center employee who ran from me one night and then had to be drug out kicking and screaming to take the order info the next night wrote down the wrong information. The delivery driver did his job of dropping off the materials, but he was supposed to pick them back up and return them to the store. It was a massive failure on every level possible, and the manager had the cojones enough to blame us first. Like I said, there were so, so many ways in which the manager could have handled that situation, and he picked the absolute, 100% wrong way to do it.

After some back-and-forth with the terrible management, he offered to refund 20% (originally offered 10%, which was not met warmly). We weren’t looking to get the thing for free, far from it, but the gross incompetence of the staff and then argumentative-ness of the customer service representative and management was certainly worth something.

Wait, it gets better.

Unbeknownst to us, half of the additional items ordered (and paid for) in the delivery were also missing. We completely and totally missed this because of being so flustered over being given the incorrect bricks. Remember how I mentioned earlier that we ordered the gravel and paver base? Yeah, only half of what we ordered and paid for (our receipt, thank you very much, indicated that 6 bags of gravel and 4 bags of paver base had been purchased and paid for). Sooooooooooo….another trip to Lowes. Thankfully this was handled with the local garden center staff. We presented our receipt and notified them we were picking up the rest of our order that did not get delivered. They said OK and marked us off and let us go about our merry way.

So, in the end, we did get the wall built and everything turned OK, but we were beholden to Lowes because of their ability to deliver what we wanted. And it was all screwed up. Nothing went smoothly and most everything was wrong. After being told that we were wrong and needed to do the job of the employees, the manager, in a somewhat condescending way, refunded what amounted to the cost of the delivery, which was also a nightmare.

And that’s my story. So, please be very, very careful when purchasing anything from the Lowes in Monroeville, PA (Store #1660). I would honestly not recommend them for anything even remotely major after this fiasco. I plan on taking my business (or, rather, my family in PGH) to the likes of Home Depot or (semi) local business, such as Ace Hardware.





Destroying the Village

22 06 2013

Howdy folks. I know what you’re thinking; “what is this madness? Walt posting twice? In less than a week? What dark forces are at play here?” Well, there are no dark forces at work, at least none of which I am aware. I did say I was planning on bringing the blog back, and I’m trying to keep to my word.

When I was student teaching and then working as a substitute, I set out to challenge myself on my old Livejournal (man, Livejournal…) to write one post per day, 100 word minimum, for 100 days. Over the course of those 100 days, I missed about 3 posts. I still met the 100 posts, but it took a few days longer. I can say, with some degree of certainty, that I was in a better place emotionally then. I do find writing therapeutic, and God bless all of you for reading whatever inane bullshit I put on the internet.

So why am I writing today? I wanted to give you guys an update on things and what to (hopefully) expect going forward.

I am not trying to delude myself into thinking that this blog is anything great or has a huge readership. It isn’t and it doesn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it the old college try, both for my mental needs as well as for all y’all’s reading pleasure (or displeasure, as the case may be).  I like having an outlet, and I know others do, too. And this is as good a place as any, so…

I am looking at adding people who wish to write here. I’m pretty much open to whatever. I really, really don’t care what you write about and how you go about doing it. Got something on your mind? Be my guest. Working on a short story and want to get it out there for feedback? I’m only too happy to let you use this as a free forum. Dislike the extension of Dan Bylsma and, especially, Todd Reirden even more than me? Go to town.

At the core, I am looking to branch back out from just talking hockey. God knows I’ll do a lot of that, but I want to move beyond sports, and I need others to do that. I am not too proud to ask for help.

Griggsy has said he’ll be back to work on stuff and I’ve talked to a few others. If you are all interested, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Once I get back to NC I will spend some time retooling the blog, too. I’m going to make some cosmetic changes and so forth, so please be aware of that as things will be out-of-place and/or incomplete.

-Walt








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