Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Rescue

Trout Lake is slowly turning into a boggy pond. It has been raining about 4 days a week since school started and since Trout Lake is already surrounded by muskeg, the water has no where to go. It sits on the road and causes problems. When the road gets like this, I avoid driving and stay put in Trout Lake (unless someone else is willing to drive).

Last night, I had just finished my movie and was about to head for bed when my phone rang. The students had not got back from their field trip to Peace yet because their bus had broke down somewhere between Red Earth and Peerless. Would I be willing to help rescue them?

Of course I was willing. Then I looked at the clock - 12:30 a.m. It was one by the time we left the school in a caravan of three teachers vehicles. The night was dark with cloud covered skies. It was hard to see the path for the vehicle through all the puddles and mud. And some points in the road, it would be really rough and I would wonder if their was an easier way but the dark road did not reveal a smoother path. Bumps, puddles and sand trips made the trip very tense. I needed a massage then but now the shoulders are even worse.

I got to the bus without any major incidents at 2:00 a.m. Yes that is an hour on crappy mud roads. I only had one fishtailing incident just passed Peerless. Students loaded into my vehicle. We figured out how the middle belt works (Apparently I had not had anyone sit in the middle of the back seat yet) and we were on our way. I was on gaurd for the sand trap that caused the swerving on the way out. The Peerless sign was right in front of us and I prematurely breathed a sigh of relief. We had passed the trap. That is when my car started skidding and swerving again. A quick prayer , "God I have students on board" and some quick maneuvoring and we were driving straight again. Not one student screamed. Thankfully.

We were almost home when one of the students asked, "What is that?" Ahead of us were strange lights off to the side of the road. One of the other teachers had driven into the ditch. I promised the kids I would come back and pick them up after dropping off the first load.

At 3:00, we arrived in Trout. I drove to all corners to drop off my load and at 3:30 headed back out to the mud to pick up the second crew. I felt that I could have been in a commercial. "What do teachers in Trout trust to pick up stranded students on a washed out road. No not an F150. No not a SUV. But a Subaru Impreza. The best little car in the world." And then people would see images of me pulling out of my fishtails and going through puddles with wipers going.

It was 4:30 by the time that batch two was dropped off and I arrived home. I thought that I would be too wired to sleep at this point but apparently I was pretty tired because I dropped off to sleep right away and woke up this morning to discover that although I had locked the door, I had left my house keys and car keys dangling right in the lock. I also woke up to see the sun shining on a beautiful fall day, revealing my mud caked car. Next weekend, my dad is going to help me wash it in Edmonton as we try to figure out why one of the side panels is popping off.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


This weekend was a beautiful fall weekend. The air was warmish with that underlying fall crispness. The leaves were yellow and beautifully reflected in the lake next to my house. I so wanted to go outside and enjoy it but I couldn't it. I was trapped in my house.

Across the creek that runs in front of my house, there is a house where there has been a party all week. I don't think that they have stopped drinking for 7 whole days. Friday night some of my students joined them and on Saturday morning they were hanging out by the teacher's houses. One of them with his bloodied shirt trying to stop his on and off again girlfriend from picking fights with other guys. Their drama unfolded in front of us. One second loving each other, the next yelling at each other. I stood at my window to be sure that they were safe and not being harmed. But I didn't feel like I could leave the house because I did not want to deal first hand with the drama.

After they left, the party at the house moved directly across the bridge. A crowd of 15 people sat in the grass and continued their drinking. They were sitting right by the path that I walk on. So I left my house and went to school. I didn't want to leave the safety of the teacher's houses. Not that I feared that I would be harmed physically but I just didn't want to deal with the drunkeness of former students and present students. I didn't want to feel harrassed. I didn't want to feel awkward.

I was trapped in my house. The alcohol in the community affects everyone - even myself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

And so it begins

I think our calendar year has it all wrong. This is the start of the new year. Through out childhood, we are programmed to set goals and start new projects in September and now that I am a teacher, I am never going to get it out of my system.

So I have moved. I am spending so much time at school that I decided to simply move my matress and a small fridge into my classroom and save on the rent. CHA I am so kidding. Seeing the school from my back window is enough to remind me of the oodles of work that I have to do. And no matter how much time I spend at school I never seem to get ahead. Maybe it is because of all the socializing that I do at school. School is my social life. If I want to see people, that is where I go. And we sit around and complain. I have to keep on reminding myself that there isn't really that much to complain about. School is vastly improved.

This year, at this moment, I love my students. Ask me again on Monday, if that is still true. They seem to really want to try this year. Almost all have improved in the politeness department. The ones I feared the most last year are now the ones that make me laugh the most. There is a different atmosphere this year.

It is a good thing that I love my students because I hate the weather and I hate being "under the weather". It rained everyday last week. It is almost always cloudy. It is hardly ever above 12 degrees Celsius. The leaves are turning yellow already. Plus my head is full of snot and I can hardly breathe.

So maybe it is a good thing that we have New Year's in January. It reminds us that spring does come again and the seasons do change. Right now it seems like I am settling into a long, cold and very dark fall and winter.