If these April showers keep falling / And the floods come raging through / Don't come over to my house / My house'll come over to you.

- Barney Miller, "Rain"

Probably the reason our power was out last week.
We survived the earthquake, we laughed at Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Katia looks like it might miss us entirely... Lee, on the other hand, (who is only a tropical storm and didn't even make landfall in our general area) is totally kicking our butts.

I'm writing this while taking short breaks from bailing out my basement; The KingofHearts stayed up all night with a shop vac as his only companion, graciously letting me sleep while trying to keep the now-saturated ground from emptying it's liquid contents into the only dry space left in the D.C. Metro area: my music studio (but then I guess others have it worse).  He burned through the motor of one shop vac and then went out this morning at the crack of dawn with the contractors and day laborers the minute [insert name of big box home improvement store here] opened to pick up another, along with any additional water bailing equipment still left in any store within a one hundred mile radius. When he got home, I took the day shift and sent him to bed.  If the rain doesn't stop adding to what's already in the ground soon, we're gonna need a bilge... or an ark.

You may not be able to see it well, but there's
three inches of standing water in that stairwell.
In ten-plus-some-odd years, we've only had problems with basement flooding in this house three times.  In each case, at least one of our neighbors (who both have sump pumps and whose houses sit a little bit lower than ours) lost the use of their sump pump because the power was out or the motor burned up or some other sump pump catastrophe.  I guess it's time to stop depending on the kindness of strangers.  

In the meantime, I want to publicly thank all those who commented, emailed and called about my educational dilemma post the other day.  I think I always knew what I needed to do (obviously: advocate for my child) but it's nice to have a forum in which to vent and at least hear that my concerns aren't invalid.  I'm a therapist with a decent amount of training in educational theory.  One might argue that it's just enough training to be dangerous, and that One might have a point, but I get how things should go and why they sometimes don't.  I used to work in a school and I've worked with a lot of teachers.  I get how hard their jobs sometimes are and I totally sympathize when it is.  So I worry about coming off as one of THOSE MOTHERS when I have a complaint or an issue I need to bring to their attention, but ultimately? I'll be one of THOSE MOTHERS in a second if it means my kid will get better services.  If someone's gotta take one for the team, I choose me.

I did write to the teacher: a probably-too-long email in which I vaguely described my concern, while carefully crafting my words to avoid directly pointing fingers at the previous teacher (but hopefully leaving it there between the lines if this teacher wanted/needed to see it).  The good thing about having only four days of school in the first two weeks, is this teacher could hardly assume that I was being directly critical of her teaching style since there've not been a lot of days of actual teaching since school started.  I explained that we know what our daughter's issues are and what we've been doing to work on them (so much stuff, it turns out, when I actually sat down to enumerate them) but that I was concerned about her self-perception as a learner and didn't want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I also said that I knew my daughter had many positive traits too and if she had a moment, I'd like to tell her about some of them. 

I sent the email Monday (Labor Day) morning when we were off school and received a response by Monday evening, so hopefully that's a good sign that the teacher even bothers to read her school email on a holiday.  Her response was brief - probably too brief - but she said she understood my concern and it was an important issue for her as well.  In my email, I had floated the possibility of coming to class to observe one day if The Dormouse's problems continue.  She tried to poo-poo that idea; it was clear she doesn't really want me there, but admitted that I could do it if I really wanted to.  (Yeah, like I was waiting for permission.)  I don't know if ultimately this will have helped, but in my experience, when you make people aware of their own stuff, at very least, they're... well, aware of their own stuff and that's really my goal here.  

Each morning, the first thing this teacher does is have the kids copy a DOL sentence off the board.  On Tuesday, The Dormouse came home from school and told me that the DOL sentence for that day was about her and involved something positive I'd written about her in my email to the teacher.  It made her feel special.  Positive reinforcement: a novel approach.  I asked if the teacher usually wrote sentences about students in the classroom and The Dormouse said she didn't think so.  But wouldn't it be cool if every day there was a new sentence saying something complimentary about at least one of the kids in the classroom?  If that's the only benefit of my having written the teacher, I'll take it.  At least I know she's thinking about what I said. (But honestly, I'm hoping for more.)

With all this weathermageddon, I've totally neglected to tell you about our new pet, Rocky... or Steve... depending on which one of us you ask.  The KingofHearts thinks his name is Steve, but apparently he's not aware that The Beatles have set a precedent for naming raccoons.  Rocky joined us several months ago in the quietest of ways... one might even say he nosed his way into our family... through this entry point, to be exact:

Rocky now lives in our attic and we've been trying to get him to go ever since. For awhile, we thought he'd moved onto greener pastures (my gosh, can you believe how hot it must be up there during the day in summer months?), but this week we realized that Rocky Raccoon has not yet checked out of his room and is still bedding down in our insulation pile during the day with Gideon's Bible, then pushing the soffits out at night when he wanted to exit.


Can't see?  Let me point it out:

OK, you still can't see, but trust me, there's a very camera shy raccoon huddled down under all that insulation.

I love raccoons, and so far Rocky hasn't really been destructive (however we do think he might be responsible for the "phone line disconnected" error message our security system keeps sending us in the middle of the night) but my one, personal experience with a live raccoon in the past was as a kid when one wandered out of the desert and holed up in our shed.  It was as big as a dog and mean.  We had to call animal control since you couldn't get near it without it screaming and baring its teeth and it took them several hours to capture it without losing a hand.  It's also possible that it might have been rabid.  So I guess our attic is not the best place for Rocky to settle down and/or have her babies.  Plus, heaven forbid he/she die up there and then we have to deal with dead animal smell. 

The KingofHearts plugged up his entry point - again - this week.  We know she got out because the soffit was pushed out again, but since the entry point is still secure, we're hoping that's the end of Rocky.  In my dreams, he finds a nice hole in a tree to live and be cute in and doesn't come back, but just in case, we bought a live animal trap to put in the attic.  So either she's gone for good, or I'll have better pictures soon.  Stay tuned on that front.

 Do you see this?

This is how she insists on going to school most days.   I honestly don't think she even knows that socks are supposed to match.

It was The KingofHearts who suggested my blahblahblahblahblahblah text to divide sections of these minutiae posts be changed to chickenpotchickenpotchickenpotpie and I wholeheartedly agreed.  If you haven't seen the "Slow Donnie" episode of Just Shoot Me before, you owe it to yourself to watch at least once:  part one is here, part two here.  It is David Cross as his finest, even better than as Tobias F√ľnke on Arrested Development.  The show aired on January 5th, 1999 and somehow, we happened to catch it back in the days when we still saw live television and not just everything that's been piling up on the hard drive of the DVR.  Ten years later, it's still hilarious and to this day, one of us will randomly sing chickenpotchickenpotchickenpotpie! at unexpected times and totally crack the other one up.  Then the other person will yell, "IT'S A VACUUM!" with no explanation and to the bewilderment of all those who surround us.

Oh, how I love jokes that never die.

Back to my underwater house, just call me Captain Nemo.