Sunday, April 5, 2009

Things I learned this weekend

I was off at a conference this weekend where I learned a lot of things you might find mildly interesting if you teach high school freshmen. Odds are, you don't fall into that category so here are a few other things I learned:

Renting a van from a rent-to-own furniture store to save a few bucks probably isn't worth it. The initial plan of renting a giant SUV from a reputable national car rental chain got vetoed, and we ended up in a minivan the district hired from a furniture store. It was filthy inside, and after we got up to fifty miles per hour, the handling became alarming. We took it back and the guy at the store offered us another minivan that wouldn't even start. After a bit of fussing, the store guy took the first van to get it checked out and discovered that the treads were separating from one of the tires. The van was more or less okay after that, and by more or less okay I mean it didn't start making horrible noises until we were back within our own city limits.

Posh hotels can be fun. Fancy suites, cooked to order breakfasts, seriously comfortable beds, guitar players each evening, and indoor pools and hot tubs are nice amenities. I can understand why people like to vacation this way instead of spending a few hours in a Motel 6 and/or driving straight through on the way to a relative's house where they'll end up sleeping on the floor.

A sex on the beach is yummy. The hotel where we were staying had a free reception every night, and I decided to partake after my head principal, assistant principal, the woman from the central admin office, and the mentor teacher assigned to me by the district all ordered drinks. It turns out that mentor teacher gives good advice about drinks as well as students. I consumed half a drink Friday night and one and a half drinks Saturday night, putting my total alcohol consumption this calendar year at two drinks. This is on the heels of my unprecedented five drink December! Thus, I'll probably lay off the booze for at least the next couple of months.

It's possible to turn a profit on a nice weekend away for work. I can turn in receipts to get reimbursed by the district for Friday's dinner and today's gas station snacks. However, Saturday is a different story: because we were away on school business all day, we will be receiving a per diem of $42. It doesn't matter that breakfast was provided by the hotel and lunch was offered at the workshop. I spent $1.50 on a cash tip at a buffet Friday night, $9 on a touristy activity that everyone else wanted to do Saturday evening, $1 on tipping the bartender, and $5 on dinner and tip on Saturday (Hurray for cheap and filling cups of soup!). My assistant principal isn't sure whether this will be the case on this trip, but she said people have gotten paid for working on Saturday while off attending these sorts of things in the past.

All in all, it was a pleasant and productive trip.

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