Graduating to the Big Cups

Our oldest looked up from her phone for a second to mumble something that sounded like “yeah, that one’s okay” before returning to Twitter. In her defense, my response was similar.

Our youngest, however, was more involved.

Our girls passed a milestone in their lives today, although one was forced to wait longer than the other and hasn’t technically made a decision: they got to choose their own drinking cups.

This seems like a small thing, but it was a big deal for our youngest because she not only chose a cup, she paid for it with her allowance. She did this at a flea market sponsored by her elementary school.

Of course, being related to me, there is a certain contrarian streak involved.

She Who Must Be Obeyed also went to the flea market and, despite my best efforts to hide as much money as possible, she managed to find enough coins scattered about in the sofa and on the floor to purchase a pair of annoyingly cute cups. Because the cups feature a character that our youngest likes, SWMBO seemed to figure these would be the cups to rule them all.

However, our youngest is in a Pokemon phase and she found a cup with five Pokemon characters on it. This is now her official cup.

I’ll make sure she takes care of it. In fact, I think she’s going to have to wash lots of dishes to make sure it doesn’t accidentally get broken.


International Phone Calls and Government Agents

Today’s post can be blamed on the Kansas government.

Because my Kansas driver’s license is expiring this year and because I’d rather not spend a thousand dollars or more to travel home and renew it, I decided to call the Kansas Department of Revenue and beg for mercy.

Oddly, the voice who answered was surprisingly accommodating.

As a rule, I hate talking on the phone, although that’s mostly when other people are around, and I especially hate dealing with government agencies. I also hate being in line on the phone and paying international fees to stay on hold.

However, I called right after the office opened and ended up second in line. The voice I got, who never told me his name, listened to what I was saying and then put me on hold for several minutes. When he came back, he had a number of specific instructions for me to follow that may, emphasis on MAY, save me a thousand dollars or more.

I have to do some writing and some copying and some submitting and then a lot of praying, albeit with Claudius’ qualification:  My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: / Words without thoughts never to heaven go. 

I still might end up having to go home (note: I have to have a valid driver’s license from the USA to get and keep a Japanese driver’s license without having to spend even more money. Long story.) and if things don’t happen quickly, it will probably cost me more money, but it’s worth the risk. (Second note: I suspect my mother is saying a much different prayer…)

Tomorrow will be spent writing a letter that begs for mercy. This could get interesting.

Matters of Payback or Bad Timing

Mother nature added a cruel twist to the story in a previous post.

Although my Tuesday with the typhoon worked out well in the end, more or less, if you don’t count being soaked from the waist down, today mother nature was a bit cruel.

Today was Autumnal Equinox Day here in Japan which meant that our youngest and I were at home whilst our oldest went to club and She Who Must Be Obeyed went to work.

Unfortunately, mother nature brought the cool weather (which is good) but seasoned it with rain (which is ungood). Any desire to go outside was lost as was much energy to the calming sound of rain.

Tomorrow I’m off to the school where I work. It’s supposed to be raining tomorrow, too. I’ll see if Tuesday’s shoes have dried or if they are still wet. If they’re still wet, I might actually wear them.

When I get home, wet and miserable, it will be time to make holiday travel decisions.

Bah, humbug.

Wednesday Blues and Stuff

Any analysis of it, no matter what method you use, confirms that Wednesday’s suck.

When they try to call my bluff, though, it gets kind of fun.

For reasons I don’t understand (karma?) I somehow manage to have three bad classes on Wednesday.

It starts with a junior high first year class that, despite being “higher level” has fairly bad behavior. Today I played a yellow card/red card activity. This involves the students interviewing four other student under the rule “No Japanese”. If they use any Japanese, they get a yellow card. Three yellow cards equals a red card which equals 10 sentences of homework. (Long story.)

I then reset and they get a second set of yellow cards. A second red card means the homework doubles. Then they get another set of yellow and red cards and the homework doubles again.

The record is 160 sentences. Today’s class thought they, well, they weren’t thinking, and they ended up with 80 sentences of homework. They then mocked the notion that I would keep them during lunch or after school. They do not understand that I do this stuff for sport which means I expect a lot of surprised students next week.

After that, I have an hour to recover before I have my worse lower level junior high first year class. Today they were average. Noisy, but average.

Then, after lunch, I have my worse high school second year class. They were also pretty good, relatively speaking. The student who takes 20 minute toilet breaks thinks he’s being clever. I’m actually glad to be rid of him.

Please don’t tell him though. I’m afraid he’ll stay if he knows.

Weather, Trains and Technical Adultery

I suppose I was pre-disastered, but it actually wasn’t that much of a disaster. That had me worried.

With Typhoon Whatever (not its real name) on its way to Tokyo the first concern (after mudslides and drowning) are the state of the trains. Even with a little bit of rain, my train to work was delayed. I hurried on to it when it was on the platform–I was in such a hurry I boarded the non-air conditioned car–and then sat there for five minutes before the train moved. Then the train moved a few hundred yards and stopped between stations. I used the pause to move to an air conditioned car and then enjoyed the 40 minute version of my usual 15 minute train ride.

As the train filled with delayed travelers I also got pressed close enough to several people that I think it technically counted as adultery.

This train ride wouldn’t have been an issue except that I also had an evening class that was scheduled during the arrival of the typhoon. This wouldn’t have been an issue except that I would be in Tokyo and, on a good day, I don’t get home until 11:30 p.m. I was informed that I’d be informed around three in the afternoon if the evening class was cancelled or not.

At 4:00, after hearing nothing, I headed down to Tokyo. I was then taunted a bit by the obligatory arrival of news crews at Shinjuku Station. They traditionally set up shop at the large South exit and file nearly identical reports about the rain flowing down the street.

The trip to the office involved a 75% useless umbrella and resulted in wet feet and an ill temper.

Oddly, after all that foreshadowing, the night ended with a bit of deus ex machina that would ruin a movie. The storm decided to take an abrupt right turn and I was able to get home with little trouble.

Somehow, that has me worried.

The Best Laid Plsna, Plnas, Whatever

I had a post for today, then I didn’t. Well, something like that.

Worked on the review of a couple pens I’ve had for a while and even broke out a digital scale from the kitchen to see how much they weigh. I wrote a few lines and then checked the photos I’d taken.

That’s where the technical difficulties ensued. The picture files were fine, they just weren’t that good. This means I’ll have to go back to the drawing, er, picture board, before I’ll be willing to post them.

Some of this is stems from my experimenting with using a smartphone and/or a tablet for all my photos. This, of course, is a way of saying I’m too lazy to dig out and set up my regular camera equipment with its awesome lenses.

Tomorrow I’ll work on better pictures and then try to post everything. Or I’ll take better pictures and put off processing them until Wednesday. Either way, at least I have part of the writing done.

Although, knowing me, I’ll probably end up rewriting it all anyway.

Bad Memory Makes Bad Decisions

I would have sworn I had another year.

I think I set an alert for it, but it may have been on a different program than the one I’m using now.

Now I have decide to travel or not.

My Kansas driver’s license expires in November and this wouldn’t be that big of a deal except it makes it difficult and expensive for me to get and keep a Japanese driver’s license. I’ve written before about how complicated it is to get a license in Japan if you’re from a country that’s not Canada and drives on the correct side of the road (right).

This means I now have to decide if and when to go back. Going back will, oddly, save me money as Japan’s training courses are quite expensive. I can apply for a six month extension and then go back for Christmas and New Year but then I have to decide to go back by myself or take the girls. Since only two of the three girls are interested (She Who Must Be Obeyed is not) it may end up just myself and the kids. (Note: our oldest, being a teenager, is not interested in anything.)

Or, I may just go back by myself.

I have to decide soon, though. And I traditionally make bad decisions when air travel and money are involved. (More on all of this in a future post.)

Plans and Other Strange Things

I’ve got plans. That’s not the problem.

Spent part of the day trying to organize this blog so that I can get through some reviews of things I’ve had a long time. Somewhere in there I also managed to clean four pens and change the ink flavors each was loaded with. That actually took a long time thanks to one pen, but more on that in a future post.

I also tried to plan out the remainder of the Sunday course I’m teaching. I’ll be teaching it until the end of October and then may or may not be teaching it.

Tomorrow I’ll be working, but it will actually be a different version of the class (long story) that’s been planned by someone else. My job is simply show up and keep people speaking English.

I’m also working on clearing out the last of the ink inventory that I’ve assembled (after acquiring a couple more bottles of a popular, hard to find flavor). That’s complicated by being back at work and waiting for days off so that I can send emails and box ink for shipping.

I’ve got the plans laid out, but I’m still trying to find the follow-through. I’m pretty sure it’s buried next to this box of ink that needs selling.

A Little Less Conversation a Little More Mercy

It will cost me money, but it’s totally worth it.

I’ve been substituting for a teacher while he’s on a work related trip, but today he contacted me and said he plans to take the class over.

Although it costs me money I was like “yeah, sure, please”.

This leaves me with a much needed entire day off and a chance to sleep in a little. It’s been a long eleven days.

Of course, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I decided to have a date night (that was sort of sabotaged by our oldest). We couldn’t go to a local beef festival, but we did manage to go to a couple local places.

Now it’s bed time and I’m looking forward to it enough that I’m actually falling asleep as I write this.

I hope my readers are not.

Long Day Short Post

Been pondering one of my daily habits, mostly because lately it seems to be neither daily nor a habit.

For a couple years I’ve been writing a “daily” list of 10 ideas on various topics, business ideas and writing ideas, but lately it’s been more of a burden than a benefit.

It’s useful for testing pens and paper, but leaves me with a lot of random sentences on random topics. It may be one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, and maybe it was, but now it would be scanned.

I have an impressive stack of notebooks full of ideas, but mostly they just take up space. I’ve got a few ideas for how to deal with them (tossing the batch is around idea seven) or at least bring more focus to them.

But more on that in a future post, after some rest.