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Ups and Downs of Winter

Posted by Dutchman Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For my first present of winter (the week between Christmas and New Years) I received a $950 bill for brakes on Zach's car. I knew the brakes probably weren't sound, as shortly after purchasing the 2005 Taurus, I had to start replacing brake fluid. Also, upon braking at high speed, there was a definite thump/stutter coming from the brake pedal. I didn't feel too bad about this expenditure, as I now know that all four brakes are completely new and driving the car is safe for Zach.

Right now, Zach is enjoying driving back and forth to school. He gets to sleep in an extra 45 minutes or so, as the bus he used to take, went by the middle school first. Tyler has been riding with him for the last week or so. He kept riding the bus for a while after Zach started driving, as I wanted to give Zach some solo time before both of them were together.

Tyler was a starter on the freshman basketball team for a while, but then injured his back in a game three weeks ago. Apparently he twisted around, and when he straightened out, the T1 vertebrae didn't come along. He missed two and a half games while the local chiropractor made some adjustments. He was able to start practicing again the week before last, however, he lost his starting position. He still played a lot of minutes, but I think the coach is waiting to see how he does before moving him up. Then after last night's practice, he complained about back pain again. In a scrimmage, a larger player fouled him and they both ended up on the floor grappling for the ball. Tyler got the worst end of the deal. He complains that the coach doesn't call fouls, so players are encouraged to do a lot of things that wouldn't be allowed in a game. There is another player that has been sitting out also, as during a scrimmage, several of his front teeth were knocked in and are now loose. Basketball is not a "non-contact" sport.

Tyler had an altercation with a player from a rival basketball team. The kid was trash talking and pulling on his basketball shorts during the game. When the kid went for a layup on a fast break, Tyler caught up with and fouled him. The kid ended up in a sprawl on the floor and Tyler pointed at him and yelled "SIT DOWN". Of course that resulted in a technical foul. The story of this incident has now spread around the school. Last week, in his Algebra class he went up to sharpen his pencil, and the teacher said "sit down!". It took him a minute to detect that the teacher was teasing him. Anyway, you don't want to tug on Tyler's shorts.

Baseball practices started on weekends at the beginning of January. Tyler goes for two hours every Saturday afternoon and one hour on Sunday evening. He missed a couple of practices because of the back issue, but now has some type of sports practice every day of the week.

Zach is working out also. He sometimes stays after school to run on the track around the gym, and exercises on the BowFlex.

Zach had a problem with his Language Arts teacher at the end of the last trimester. A girl in the class, copied one of his short essays. They both received a "0" for the assignment, but the teacher never told Zach about it. He found out from the girl when she posted an apology on her Facebook page. She was allowed to make up the work, but because Zach never knew about it, he did not. I emailed the teacher about it, and he said he had posted the "0" on "Powerschool" along with an attached note. Powerschool is a third party web site where teachers can post grades, keeping parents informed. I rarely check it, as both Zach and Tyler get good grades. When I checked it in the past, there were often "0" grades entered, and when I yelled at the boys, they'd say, "the teacher put in the assignment but hasn't graded it yet". So, what good is a web site that is often inaccurate. I'm not too happy with a teacher who accuses a student of cheating, but only leaves a note on a website about it. The same teacher told the class one day "I'd like to tell your parents what I think of you, but if I did I'd get fired". He teaches Language Arts. I'm told that he has the students read silently at their desks 2 to 3 days a week, while he surfs the web.

Tyler was scheduled for the same teacher the last trimester. That has been remedied with a call to the school counselor and vice principal. You don't tug on my shorts either.

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I'm a middle aged divorced father living with my two sons. We like to canoe, bicycle, fish, camp, play baseball, and spend money when we want and where we want, without permission from anybody. HA!

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