Thoughts and thanks

          Hello, again … I’ve missed two three Sunday posts here, and I’ve started writing this entry four different times about four different things, but I feel it’s time to put something up and get back on track. So here is a couple weeks’ worth of thoughts, observations and a link…

          So Halloween was canceled? Or postponed in many communities because of a freak storm that left as many as three quarters of a million people in Massachusetts without electricity. Sure, it’s been great weather ever since, but I was one of those people left without power for a few days, and I have neighbors who didn’t get their power back until more than a week after the storm had passed. My home got its connection back to the civilized world around one in the afternoon on Tuesday, November 1, 2011. As is usual for me, this “event” gave me much to think about and reflect upon. Here are a handful of personal observations:

  • I am woefully under prepared for emergencies: The truth is that I have lived through many events that would qualify as emergencies, such as the the blackout of ’77, the blizzard of ’78, Hurricane Gloria, Y2K, the noreaster of 2004, the financial meltdown of 2008, and so on. While each of these events impacted my life in some small way, each was a relative blip in my emotional landscape. I’ve been really fortunate to have lived four and a half decades of a relatively crisis free life. I’ve never been in the bull’s eye of something like Hurricane Katrina, Chernobyl, Bhopal Gas Leak, the World Trade Center or any other such catastrophes we learn about daily. Perhaps it has been this experience that has led me to be so lax in preparing for real catastrophes. So far, I’ve gotten by okay with just what I have available to me to get by, until things get back to “normal”. If my wife hadn’t sold candles at some point in the past, we wouldn’t have had any in the house. The only flash lights we had were all attached to my oldest son’s “spy gear” toys … night vision goggles, nerf guns with lighted scopes, thumb sized LEDs.
  • Electricity & indoor plumbing are the roots of modern comfort: Sure glass windows are great, and electronic gadgets that we plug into the walls make for awesome forms of entertainment, but the truth is that we really only need lights, heat and water indoors to make for pretty fabulous modern living. I use my computer, television and radio like the media addict that I am, but I didn’t miss them hardly as much as I missed having lights to read a book by, and water to rinse my hands and take a shower. I can, however, learn to live comfortably without most of my appliances. During my years in college and grad school, I didn’t own a TV for seven years. Even today, I’ve never owned a microwave, ipod or a DVR unit. I don’t eat much toast or make much coffee at home. What I do need at home are lights, a refrigerator for food, a stove for cooking, heat in the home, and a working sink, tub and toilet. Everything else is a bonus.
  • I am no longer a city boy at heart: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and while I did have to shovel out my stoop and the sidewalk, I never had to worry about trees or leaves or any sort of yard work. It has been more than ten years now since I bought my first home and I have learned how much work it takes to maintain a house and the property it sits on. Even though I have a lot of land to cover, I really enjoy the time I have just being outside, raking a bunch of leaves, clearing some brush, cutting back a tree. It is hard work and time consuming, and I don’t really do any gardening or beautifying of my place. I don’t wear headphones or listen to music while I work outside. I just listen to the sounds coming from the woods around me, monitor my breathing and lose myself in thought or thoughtlessness.
  • I love my solitude, but recognize my need for others: While I was out there clearing my yard of the debris left by the one day storm, I couldn’t help but feel really lonely at times. Individualism is held in the highest regard in the United States and it is the reason we all want our own homes, our own cars, our own rooms, our own everything. We are not used to sharing, especially when it comes to sharing burdens or responsibilities. I grew up in a house with two younger brothers, two adopted cousins, my maternal grandfather, my paternal grandmother, two uncles and an aunt. Whenever there was something that needed to be done, there was much help to be had. Nowadays, I have to bribe, threaten or trick my eleven year old son to come help me; but once he’s out there, it changes everything.

Quick Hits (In the spirit of thankfulness)

  • Thank you to Ms. Jones, for giving me the idea of being thankful, and for always having a smile and kind word … no matter what.
  • Thank you to Ms. McClain, Ms. Nunez-Donnelly and all their dancers for their wonderful presentation in the LMC for Hispanic Heritage Month. The enthusiasm and eager participation of the audience demonstrated the finest qualities of our student body and left us all feeling really good heading into that weekend.
  • Thank you to Ms. Patturelli and all the guidance counselors for their wonderful effort in organizing and supervising the college fairs held in the LMC during October. It was great to see so many schools visiting HHS and realizing how many opportunities you open for our students through your work.
  • Thank you to all the teachers (too many to name) who continue to use the LMC computer labs and resources, despite several technological set backs. Your patience and understanding in dealing with our technical difficulties proves you always have a plan “B” to fall back on. We’ll continue to work hard to keep our labs in the best condition possible because we believe your students’ time and work matters.
  • Thank you to the building maintenance crew who always comes around to help in a pinch. Your attention to detail makes a huge difference in our work environment. I like the color coded hallways if for nothing else than to break the beige monotony. (Now help me finish painting the mural out side the TV studio).
  • And of course, my biggest “thank you” to Ms. Sicard, for refusing to stop showing up. Thank you for being there day in and day out, bright eyed and fluffy tailed, ready to take on the hordes that come at you before I even step into the building. You are like the NOAA tsunami warning system in the ocean of my job. (Too much Big Bang Theory in the background).

The LINK: As always, I look through TED Talks to find a fascinating speaker. I hope you feel the same way after listening for twenty minutes. Charlie Todd: The shared experience of absurdity (Like we’d know anything about that).

Now this post is done … and I can move on. Thank you for reading, and I hope there are many things you’re thankful for today.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.