Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankful 3

I wanted to be thankful this week for better pain medicine, but I certainly didn't get it. Instead I can be thankful that - now that I know what's gone wrong - I can do something to relieve what causes the pain and that is lowering the pain significantly.

Monday I was quite thankful that my checkbook balanced on the first try. Few things are as aggravating to me as finding that missing $.06 in a month's worth of spending in a cash-only society.

Tuesday I got some work done I had not expected to get to. Anything that reduces that pile is a thing to celebrate.

Wednesday I intended to celebrate being all ready for Joy's birthday, but didn't quite make it. Instead I am thankful for student evaluations I passed around that will hopefully help me be a better teacher. My juniors want me to pass out my own notes more often (sometimes expressed as liking powerpoint which I avoid whenever I can, but more often asking to get their hands on my slides or other notes.)

I was also thankful to finally understand my student evaluations a little better. I tell them expressly - verbally and on the sheet - that I am looking for suggestions and ways to make things better. So when I have them fill in the blank "I like it when my teacher _______________________" I'm expecting them to tell me something I don't do, but their other teachers do. It used to frustrate me to see them say something that I thought I was doing. "I do a shocking amount of relating what we cover to the real world - why do you think I don't??" Finally I understand they think I'm asking for attaboys and telling me something they like that I do. Well, that's nice and useful to know too. Thank you.

By the way, one of my students put that the best day of class was: the day I painted my face. Let's hear it for Halloween and being the only person on campus that crazy! (It'sa Luigi!)

Also on Wednesday, I was thankful this cute little girl wanted to sing on my lap. That was fun.

Thursday was not a happy day. It was a very hard day. Joy and I spent the evening coming up with reasons to be thankful for unwelcome developments. I was not as good at the game as she was. I am thankful for a wife who worked hard to be thankful and to praise God in the midst of what we term affliction. I am thankful for her faith. Then Friday morning I was thankful for inexplicable answers to prayers. Sorry, you're not getting more than that.

Friday might have been a difficult day because I took the wrong keys to work. I couldn't print things off for my class on Monday when I wouldn't be there. My computer didn't recharge during the night so instead it shut down and lost the -videos I had prepared for class the night before as well as half the slides I prepared in advance.

And yet somehow everything worked out. I learned a new bit of Nigerian electrical sleight of hand to plug a 2 prong cord into a 3 prong socket. [They have a blockage in it that won't let you plug in the two prongs unless you have the third also, so you turn off the power to the socket, stick your key into the third hole, and then you can jiggle the plug in juuuust far enough to pull your key out again and voila!] I was given the opportunity to speak to the soon-to-be-graduating econ students about grad school, and got home early enough to spend an hour playing Mario DS with my son.

Saturday we celebrated Joy's birthday. It certainly started out with drama enough: Joy got zapped by the stabilizer so badly her finger still hurt through half the day; 5 gallons of water spilled out of the water dispenser all over the living room floor, just barely missing the electrical cords; I stood on a chair to get her presents down and then it collapsed underneath me. After that, the day passed quite pleasantly. Joy loved her presents, we had fun as a family, and had a long Thanksgiving lunch with friends at their house. My pumpkin soup was well-received there. The crepes for her breakfast were a solid hit and it looks like her triple chocolate cake came out perfectly.