No way am I gonna make Iron Noder this month. My little clinic is just me and the receptionist. So fifty percent of the staff is out, since Thursday! Augh!

Double duty. I have another employee quite part time. She is taking two hours at the front desk daily. However she is not fully cross trained. "How do I scan?" I do know how to do most front desk things. We turn the phones to message, saying staff is sick. I have a basket in the front for people to write get well cards.

Not clear how long it will be. Between patients yesterday I figured out the payroll, did the bank deposit and contacted our biller to ask for extra help Friday. Today I will move patients who can be moved out a couple of weeks, to free me up to learn Excel on Friday. The incoming payments are tracked in Excel and in Quickbooks. Augh.

One of the lovely complications of billing is that some insurance companies send a check. The check does not say what visit or what patient it is for. In some cases we have to cash it and wait two days for the information. In others we have to go online with one of the 1300 US Insurance companies and search in one of 1300 websites, all of which are different, to figure out which patient it is and what visit it was....are we having fun yet? Does your head hurt?

I moved one non-urgent visit today, one tomorrow, and I may lighten tomorrow even by one more.

Don't know how long this will go on....

Happy Iron Noder. There! I got ONE done!

IRON NODER X: XTREME XCELLENCE

I CONTINUE TO EXIST!

My morning 2nd period class of students sang me Happy Birthday and drew cute birthday stuff on the board, and told me i was their favorite teacher.
The midday 4th period class of students got into trouble and I gave out two referrals for bad behavior. I am certain I am not their favorite teacher.

Let's see what 6th period is like!


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Okay, I am bad at this sort of thing, but our school literally doesn't have a library and hasn't had one in years (construction should hopefully be done in late 2018, early 2019) and the classes I have have basically been using my personal library and books I bought based of student recommendations. I'm having my ELD kids do a reading project where they have to read five whole books that match their reading level, and they have to increase their ACT reading level by three points before the end of the year. However, it turns out my years of hoarding fantasy novels has ruined me, because 90% of my books are of a 5-6th grade lexile level. While that works great for a chunk of my kids, there are a handful whose levels are much higher, and more whose levels are much lower, and not all of them like fantasy anyways. . .

So. Uh.

If you wanna gimme a birthday present, consider maybe perhaps looking at this here wishlist and get my kids a book they might like. If you do, I recommend Using thriftbooks because everything is 5000% cheaper.


So.


Um.


Thanks, E2.

(See here for a little more context)

My trip to Europe is beginning to feel more and more real as it approaches. I've spent the past few weeks on the road, visiting family, trying to finish some things before I leave and postpone other things for when I get back. Since I quit my job and hit the road, this has felt more like the vacation. What's yet to come seems like less of a vacation and more like an adventure.

First stop is Bavaria. We'll be landing in Munich next week. Hopefully some satellite trips to Austria and Italy from there, and maybe Switzerland. Then through the Black Forest, up the Rhine from western Germany into France, Christmas in Paris, New Year's on the coast around Mont Saint-Michel, into England in January and through the United Kingdom and Ireland for the winter, then hopefully back to mainland EU to see Amsterdam and Belgium in the spring.

I'm hoping to journal and chronicle my travels as I go along, but probably by pen and paper. I'll post some things here on E2 retrospectively, and will probably (hopefully) continue to post creative/fictional things here, but I don't plan on giving updates here as I go.

People of E2: for once, in over 8 years of being here, I ask for your feedback. What should I do? What should I see? More importantly, what should I NOT do? Where should I not go, what should I not see? Tell me something I can expect. Tell me something I never would have considered. I don't come from a very wealthy background, I don't get these kinds of opportunities often, and I've never been outside the United States. Tell me something about where I'm going that I ought to know.

Being a response to go ahead i'll listen's request for what they should do and what they should see, as well as not go, do.

 

Do:

Have a compass.

Look up, look down, look both ways when crossing.

Have a little pair of binoculars for when in large cavernous buildings, for peering across rooftops, for seeing what that sign is up the hill.

Leave yourself open to opportunities, such as seeing an enticing door propped open that you might peer into a square, or noticing a flyer for a band that happens to be playing that night, or finding out when the street market takes place, or church recitals.

 

See:

The things you must or planned to as early in the day as possible, to leave time for: wandering an old town street or river/seaside or if weather doesn't permit to sit in a cafe, bar, covered bench and watch the square and people or read and write.

notable building fronts and sculptures to remember your way back.

Many churches, because there will be some architecture, performance and art that may cause wonder or reflection.

 

Do not:

Feel bad about missing stuff. There's always something, and the Mona Lisa is really tiny.

Feel obliged to do something. 'I'm sorry, I'm not interested.' and 'I'm sorry, this makes me uncomfortable/bored, let's try something else.' and 'I'll just hang out right here while you do that, ok?' are all acceptable travelling things to say to a companion. To a member of the public who may be trying to encourage you to donate to something or go to their 'art happening', a more concise 'No, thank you' and walking away will suffice.

Give up too quickly. Often the floor is just one more flight up. Or you actually are on the other side of the street from your goal. Someone may help you with directions and your luggage. Thank them kindly, but not too kindly.

Ignore your feelings, especially when uncomfortable. Backtrack, reorganise, take it easy. Walk away, ask for help, change your plans, compromise.

Get freaked out if you miss a train or bus. An attendant will help you if you ask for it.

Be late for appointments, though.

Worry about being ignorant, obnoxious, noisy, as that is the impression most Europeans have about American Tourists and you won't change their views in one day.

Hesitate to ask about things.

Stress about the language. In a shop you can point at something and use the equivalent greeting and yes or no in that language. It's not a big deal and most people know more words in English than you'll ever learn in theirs.

Rely on just your photos: pick up a postcard for your own memory and momento.


 

In terms of other practical things:

You might want to pick up an external battery for your phone for quick recharges. you can download maps for offline consulting the night before instead of relying on roaming use.  Many places have wi-fi (pronounced wee-fee in several European countries) that you can pop in to dump stuff on to the cloud or check out an opening times or review. (Starbucks always has wi-fi. It's sort of its reason for existing)

Security: keep a copy of travel insurance number(s) and other important contact info in hardcopy on you.

Use common sense regarding belongings. Don't keep a wallet etc in your back pocket: Large currency for the day in one front pocket, smaller currency and coins in the pocket you reach into most. If a situation feels dodgy, walk away.

Money: a coffee in Switzerland might cost you in Swiss Francs the equivalent of 4 dollars, while in Italy in Euro's it may be about a buck and a half, with pastry included. It is what it is.

Allergies: learn the thing you are allergic to in as many languages as possible.

Access: some cities are flat and easy to get around, others all hilly. Old town bits have cobbles: Take care.

Some establishments have no elevators (or lifts), or are hidden away that you should ask where they are. In some cases, a robust mobility is needed, such as the roof of the Sacre Coeur, the whispering gallery in St. Paul's Cathedral. It is often worth the climb.

Winter may be icy, especially overnight: Take care. You can get strap-on cleats for your shows in case of snow.

Some more specific recommendations to see:

Cologne in Germany has a magnificent cathedral and the tour there is well worth it. In i's old town is a Marrionette theatre which i found a little too scary to attend, but you may like it.

Amsterdam is lovely and welcoming and easy to get around and the Rijksmuseum is stupendous. I do recommend the Van Gogh museum nearby it as well if you have any interest in him.

The train down from Amsterdam into Belgium is comfortable and fast. Along the way you may want to consider the following two cities:

Rotterdam is also all of the above with some outstanding architecture, public art, and a charming old town. The museum park there has lots of interest as well.

In Belgium, Bruges is a remarkable city still retaining much of what it was in medieval times, and early Spring is when we visited before: cool, quiet and much to explore. I'll be noding more about it this month, I hope.

In the UK, if you happen to make it up to Edinburgh, former and current E2 Noders include me, heyoka, call and of course Oolong and we love living here. Drop me a line if you are visiting and at the very least you'll get a drink out of it, or a half-day's wander.

 

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