I'm keeping it real people.
I often get emails commenting on how I have it all together.
Far from it.
I just have some tricks up my sleeve to stay organized and to keep from being overwhelmed with teaching and with life in general.
Because if I don't stay organized and two steps ahead then it's not pretty folks.
So in the interested of full disclosure, I am about to tell you a true story.
And with it comes great appreciation for you.
And with that comes a gift to show my gratitude.
So read on, grab your gift(s) and feel free to laugh at me along the way.
As you all know, I was on vacation last week.
A wonderful, relaxing, much-needed vacation in a warm and sunny place that allowed my to be barefoot most of the week.
Because I am a planner and I like to be organized, I plotted each detail.
I booked the flights.
I booked the car rental.
I packed WAY before I needed to be packed.
Heck, I even left detailed sub plans just incase something (snowstorm, travel problems, my deciding that I loved beach life and never returned to my home state, etc) came up.
I am organized and so well-planned and so gosh darn thorough that I even set my alarm for bright and early last Sunday morning so that I could get up and print our boarding passes at the exact moment the airline allows you to do so 24 hours in advance.
And that's where I was when trouble began.
I was trying to print my boarding passes on the Southwest site and kept getting an error message letting me know that wasn't allowed.
Hmmm....I figured that my clock and their clock weren't in sync and poured more coffee while I waited.
Still didn't work.
So I called the 800 number, gave her my confirmation # and was told that it was for a flight the following Saturday.
I've been known to book each leg separately so I hung up and went to see if I had a different confirmation number.
I saw that the number was correct and tried again.
Now I was annoyed with Southwest and called them back.
The call went something like this:
Me: I'm trying to print boarding passes for my flight tomorrow and have been getting an error message.
Southwest Lady: May I have your confirmation number?
Me: (insert 6 letters and numbers)
Southwest Lady: Well I see the problem.
Me: (hopeful this will now be resolved and they will be so sorry for their technical glitch that I'll be moved to first class with endless peanuts and unlimited refills of those shot-sized plastic cups they call refreshments)
Southwest Lady: The problem is that the flight isn't for tomorrow. It was today. And it took off 20 minutes ago.
Needless to say that since it was school vacation week they were sold out and couldn't get us onto another flight until WEDNESDAY! I tried 4 different airports all within 3 hours of here and every Southwest flight to Florida was booked.
Luckily with Southwest you don't lose your money and instead get a credit, but that wasn't going to help the situation at the time.
Jetblue could get us there. Heck we could even have our choice of 4-5 flights that day. If we were willing to pay.
Five roundtrip tickets aren't cheap on a good day.
Five roundtrip tickets the day of travel on school vacation week? Let's just say it wasn't cheap. It could have been much much worse, but it wasn't a bargain.
I debated not going. However, my kids would have been crushed. My husband wouldn't have been able to validate taking a week off to hang around the house and he really needed a vacation. My in-laws have been telling me for months how excited they were that we (translation: the 3 grandkids) were coming down. I had bags backed. I had toes pedicured. I decided to just do it.
And we did.
And it was truly the best vacation we've ever taken as a family.
It was relaxing. We were (mostly) unplugged. The weather was awesome. We really and truly enjoyed just spending time together and getting away from the normal chaos and routines.
About halfway through the week, I realized that the trip was only happening in the first place because of Teachers Pay Teachers and the extra income it affords us. However, I am certain that given the circumstances, there is no way the trip would have happened the way it did without TPT and the support I receive from all of you. I have mentioned before that I am truly grateful, but I don't think I can say it enough.
To show my gratitude I am doing the following:
While I do feel that my family needed a vacation, I realize that the daily life we wanted a break from is hectic, but lovely. I know that there are families that need a vacation much much more that we do. Therefore I am "paying it forward" by making a donation to Give Kids the World in your name. The donation will be made in your honor.
I looked through my entire store to pick a product to mark as COMPLETELY FREE as another way of saying thanks. I decided on my Dr. Seuss Writing Packet since so many of you are going to be getting your Seuss on this week and into March. I wanted something applicable to all of the elementary ages and also something that would require very little effort on your part to use. Head on over to my store to download it for free. Again, it's only going to be marked free for a very short time so hurry hurry hurry!
Be sure to follow my blog and store and Facebook Page for notification of the Freebies. Click here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.