apple picking in new england

Saturday afternoon I went apple picking with my advisory. These nine students are pretty awesome. Funny, smart, and kind, I am incredibly lucky to work with this group of students and to watch them grow up during their high school years. We headed out to Belkind Family Farm in Natick for some bonding and to continue to build our friendships. It was fun watching them be goofy with one another but more importantly inclusive of one another. I am hoping that this “advisory bonding” can continue to occur this school year. As juniors, they are so close to their final year of high school and it is just amazing how fast time is going!

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Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.52.51 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.53.07 PMThat’s right, we got to ride a camel!

beach babies?

In approximately 192 hours the school year will commence. Gosh this is a cliche but the summer flew by! I feel like I just got settled into a routine I enjoy (which includes iced coffees most mornings with Laura) and finally shook off the post-school year fatigue and now it is time to head back in. Yes, I know that the majority of Americans do not have the luxury of a summer vacation like a school teacher and believe me I am so grateful and appreciative of the time I do get off. But, it is always a little sad to say goodbye to the long summer days. As soon as I see the students and get settled into my classroom, it will be second nature and hard to imagine ever not being in the classroom with those particular students. The only really difficult part of the school year starting is the inevitable loss of summer’s sunlight that will be exchanged for winter’s snow. ¬†Therefore, Laura and I set out on Monday to hold onto summer just a little longer with a full day at the beautiful Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. At the end of the day, we packed up our little campsite and bid the sand and surf adieu until next year.

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Welcome to Good Harbor!Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.17.49 PM

Despite being a random Monday in August the beach was PACKED but we still enjoyed ourselves even though we had to share the shore ūüėČ
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The obligatory feet in water shot. The water was freezing cold.  So cold that I felt my shin bones freeze and Laura and I dared each other to dive into the waves. Which we did three times. Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.24 PM

See those two mansions out there on the cliff?  Yes, that is where we live.Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.41 PM

Laura reading at our campsite for school.Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.58 PM

I brought The Art of Racing in the Rain and have fallen in love with this story. It is funny, poignant, and makes me want to snuggle my puppies ever closer. I am devouring the novel as my last summer read.

post 1. the great wall.

This wall is a monster. When we bought our first home we were totally in love with it. ¬†It was built the year we met and immediately I felt a connection to this mound of wood and plaster. It must have been built for us, no? ¬†Everything inside is brand new and gleaming with that “never been used before” sparkle. Everything we do to the house will be a first. It is the perfect little nest for our young love.

Except for one thing…the backyard is a bit small. When we first spotted the home and fell head over heels for her flashy looks and sexy personality, we neglected to thoroughly price out the cost of redesigning the yard. ¬†Our realtor seemed to suggest so¬†nonchalantly¬†that to build the retaining wall we would need to turn our sloping hill into more reclaimed flat surface was a piece of cake. Looking around the neighborhoods of New England these field stone retaining walls are everywhere. ¬†How much could it really cost? ¬†Well, the number was staggering. We spent our first year in a sparsely furnished home while we saved, saved, and saved for this wall. I worked extra hours, took on more classes, and even tutored three times a week on top of providing Pilates in the afternoon program at school. ¬†And, after 10 months of this horrendous schedule that left us exhausted and without friends (because when you work like this, you see your friends very little) we had the money to build the Great Wall.

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We hired a contractor/mason we got through a friend’s recommendation (however, I do not hold any grudge or responsibility for this nightmare over my friend). The mason is a nice guy. ¬†A bit chatty but then why not make a friend of the guy who is going to build you a 75ft long x 4ft high stone wall? ¬†Well, he is a slippery one. Everyone always says beware of contractors. And now I know why. ¬†The project timeline is 3 weeks. We are currently at 2 weeks in. The mason has only worked a total of 3 days of those 2 weeks but still demands to be paid according to our original project plan (How do we handle this!?). ¬†It is nuts! ¬†He likes to text and so he usual texts at night with some great line like: “Just wait until tomorrow. I will arrive at 6am work all day and then through the weekend. ¬†You two will get so tired of my face by the end of this.” ¬†Tired of his face? I would love to see his face! ¬†What does he look like anymore?? ¬†I have kept my temper in check which is hard for an orignal Long Islander. I have never once raised my voice or acted out in aggression. ¬†But, I am getting close to my breaking point. All I want to do is see him work like he promised he would so that this wall can be done in a reasonable amount of time. Currently, the front of our beautiful house looks like a disaster zone. ¬†Trees tossed about, rocks and sand and boulders piled sky high and mud everywhere. Geez. ¬†Being a homeowner when a MAJOR project is underway is quite difficult.

Today, I was about to lose my cool.  He promised to arrive at our house bright and early and no sign of him as per usual. I texted David at work and our conversation was as followed:

Me: I am going to go bat suit crazy on this guy should he ever show up.

David: Bat suit crazy sounds awesome!

Me: hahaha! ¬†That’s right. ¬†That is how crazy I am. I am putting on a freaking bat suit!!

David: Haha

By noon the mason finally arrived. At 1:10 he was off to Home Depot. ¬†Back at 1:40 and then lunched for 20 ¬†minutes at 2:30. I have now decided to have myself a glass of wine and to seclude myself in my room. ¬†Being home for the summer with this project going on is going to be interesting. To be continued….

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