Friday, September 14, 2012

Sometimes it's hard not be discouraged as a substitute teacher looking for a full-time English position. It's hard not to be discouraged when you speak with a teacher who subbed for three years and just now got hired as a half-time teacher. And then you look over at the bulletin board in the English department teacher workroom and see five separate postings from English certified subs who are looking for subbing opportunities.

As I sat in that workroom today, looking at those five other subs, essentially my competition, I wondered what course of action I should take. Should I post something on the board myself? If so, what should I write? All the other postings were so bland and similar. Finally, I decided to post a note and here is what it said:

"I learned so much today from Mr. Rowe! Almost as much as I learn form my amazing teacher who is usually here."

"We hate it when you're gone, but having Mr. Rowe as a sub makes it bearable."

"He was the greatest sub ever!"

Do these quotes from students sound made up? Well, that's because they are. All the same, please consider requesting me as an English sub.

Seth Rowe

Certified English/LA 7-12


So I'm pretty sure I either ruined any chance at subbing at that school again, or I'm about to become the most requested sub in the history of American education. Which do you think it is?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Parenting 101

Babies are so needy. They are always wanting you to hold them or feed them or change them or love them. Enough already! Babies are such babies! I mean, I brought my son into this world (well, I was there at least), isn't that enough? But noooooo, he actually wants me to be nearby and even play with him on occasion. After nine months in the womb just kicking around you would think he would have learned how to entertain himself. Seriously, when you are amazed and delighted by ceiling fans, floor vents, and mirrors, how do you ever get bored? And yet, he does. He tires of all his toys and becomes insistent that I hold him. Doesn't he realize how busy I am? I mean, my fantasy football team isn't going to update itself. However, his constant need for affection does have an upside: I have become an expert at one-armed/one-handed living. You wouldn't believe the tasks I accomplish with him in one arm. Seriously, you could stick my left arm in a wood chipper this second and it would have little or no impact on my functionality. Don't believe me? Here is a list of things I have mastered using only one arm whilst holding my son in the other:

-Checking facebook


-Taking out the garbage

-Washing dishes and unloading the dishwasher

-Sweeping the floor

-Opening baby-safe pill bottles


-Harvesting food from the garden

-Making paper cranes

-Cooking dinner

-Making balloon animals

-Mowing the lawn

-Cutting down trees

-Retrieving the mail

-Back handspring

-Google searching for couples who may want to adopt our baby

-Juggling chainsaws

Okay, I will admit, that some of those items are less impressive than others. But it really took me a while to figure out the pill bottle thing.

P.S. In case my grandmother or a concerned citizen reads this: I really do love my baby and he is not actually up for adoption. Most of the dangerous items on the list I only perform on rare occasions to impress strangers.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My take on cloth diapers

"Instead of putting our baby's dirty diapers in the garbage, wouldn't it be much better to put them in our washing machine?"

It was this revelation that really convinced us to use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. I mean, who doesn't want their baby's poop floating around in the same place where you will later be trying to get your clothes clean? Personally, I can't get enough baby poop inside my washing machine.

Too much?

Okay, so let's face it: no one wants poop in their washing machine. I know that every time I crap my pants I opt to go ahead and throw the dirty drawers in my neighbor's garbage can (Did you hear that? That was the sound of my mother's head exploding after reading that last sentence). However, after you realize that baby poop is much different from adult poop and that a double rinse cycle gets both the diapers and the washing machine free of debris, you clear some head space to appreciate all the benefits of cloth diapers:

1. The cost. I am a cheap person. Eating out for our family means an $8 meal for two at Skyline. Quite simply, cloth diapers are phenomenally cheaper over the long haul. It is a lot more money upfront. However, based on how much we will spend on cloth diapers and wipes and the cheapest deals I found on disposable diapers and wipes, we stand to break even at about the 10 month mark (my wife assures me that my calculation is wildly conservative and we actually broke even at conception). So unless our guy is potty trained before that, we're saving that caish.

2. The environmental impact. Do you know what a week's worth of dirty disposable diapers in your garbage can smells like? If you just gagged when reading this, then yes, yes you do. If not, then I advise that you never try to find out. Do you know that 20% of our nation's landfills are made up of dirty disposable diapers? If that doesn't sound like a lot, I will refer you to a previous post in which I explain why 20% is a lot. If 20% sounds like a statistic I made up on the spot, that's because it is. Besides, I'd rather save room in my garbage can for batteries, tires, styrofoam, and the plastic rings from six-packs of soda without the circles cut.

3. Comfort level. I guess I can't say for sure that my baby likes cloth diapers better than disposables. He's never actually told me he prefers them. The only words the three-month old has managed to say so far are, "Are you sure you're mature enough to be my father?" Other than that it's just a bunch of "ah-goos" and grunts. However, they do just seem so much more comfortable. They are soft and fuzzy and have got to feel good on the toosh (tush? not sure on the spelling). Disposables just seem so cold and plasticy and chemically. I feel like I might as well wrap him up in saran-wrap.

4. Style. I will admit that disposables took a giant leap forward when they came out with those jean-patterned diapers. But they still don't hold a candle to the cuteness of cloth diapers. And for those of you imagining a white cloth and a safety pin, you should know that cloth diapers have made some serious progress in the last fifty years. I would also recommend checking out some other world-changing advancements like the Internet and jeggings.

Those are the top four advantages of cloth diapers as I see them. What did I miss? What crazy moms are offended to the core and want to let me know how they resent my cleverly-disguised and yet all-too-obvious assertion that using disposable diapers is the pure definition of evil? What dads are offended that I assumed only moms would be offended? Can't dads change diapers too? Not if we can help it, right dads (wink, wink)? Who else can I alienate with this post? Well, hey, at least you're not actually letting your kid use a pacifier!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wisdom trickles

It's been two days since crumbling under first signs of difficulty during my fast. Here are some lessons this not-even-two-day experience taught me.

1. When undertaking a difficult task, it is a good idea to know what to expect. When I got really sick two nights ago, I didn't know I was supposed to feel that way. I was expecting to feel hungry, not to feel like a victim of the plague. Had I known I was supposed to feel plaguish I may have tried to push through. I heard that worked out for people who actually had the plague.

2. When undertaking a difficult task, it is a good idea to have a motivation that lines up with the expected results. My main motivation for the cleanse was curiosity. I wanted to find out what it would be like. I didn't really care as much about the eliminating toxins stuff. Well, I found out that it was hard. And I stopped.

3. When undertaking a difficult task that requires using maple syrup, it is a good idea to refrigerate the maple syrup after opening it.

4. When quitting a difficult task that left you with a dozen lemons, make lemonade. Seriously, that's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This cleanse is like...a rollercoaster baby baby! (sung to the tune of that rollercoaster song)

We had some ups and downs today.

I woke up at 5am with some moderate stomach pains, which was curious seeing as there was nothing in there. From the sound of its name, you would think the Smooth Move tea I drank before I went to bed would make everything in there feel like angel kisses but instead it felt like my four month old son's little baby fists were punching me in the gut with the force of a thousand charging bulls. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. My son is more like 14 weeks (but the thousand charging bulls thing is spot on).

Anyhow, I drifted in and out of sleep between baby punches until 7:30 when it was time for my saltwater flush. Yesterday drinking a quart of saltwater seemed like an adventure; something I had never done before. Today it was like I was drinking the stomach flu. I drank a little over half in one chug session. I drank all but a couple sips in the next chug session. Those last few sips were a battle though. Yuck. I felt so gross afterward.

Between the saltwater yuckiness and the stomach pains I was really questioning my judgment. Could I really do this?

But as the saltwater began to do it's magic and I got my first glass of spicy lemonade in me, I started to feel a lot better. The only problem was a dull headache that had cropped up out of nowhere.

I went to work and felt great. Still no hunger pains at all. I didn't feel as full as I did yesterday, but I wouldn't really say I was ever hungry. However, the headache slowly but surely got worse and started spreading to different parts of my head. I was also pretty cold all day and I was beginning to feel weak. No problem, this was pretty much to be expected. I hit the grocery and headed home to get ready for hosting a Bible study at our house.

During Bible study my headache continued to strengthen. It was getting more difficult to ignore the pain. To be fair, I have an incredibly low pain tolerance. I blame having four older siblings. Any youngest child of a large family will tell you the first line of defense from an aggressive older sibling is faking like you're more hurt than you really are. Over time though, you begin to really believe that things hurt more than they do, hence the low pain tolerance.

After Bible study I went to a meeting at church and this is where things really took a turn for the worse. Up to this point the headache was a 6/10, totally bearable even for a wimp like me. However, now things were getting cray-cray. It was hard to focus on anything but my headache. The pain kept moving around to different places like there was a termite burrowing into different sections of my brain. Ouchie! I began to taste a weird taste in my mouth and felt like I was completely tired and empty (which I suppose was true). I felt pretty sick to my stomach. Not good. I got kind of worried about driving home. I was really debating whether it was a good idea to continue or not. I have never gone from feeling pretty okay to feeling completely sick and spent so quickly. I had been preparing myself for hunger pains which seemed totally bearable to me. But that was not what was happening. I didn't feel hungry at all. Instead, I felt super sick and my head was throbbing.

Then I remembered something someone asked had me at the Bible study just a little bit ago: "Do you feel healthier?" I had to be honest and told him no. Sitting there in the meeting and thinking about that, I had to admit that the cleanse had crossed over from "fun experiment" to "horribly bad idea."

So when the meeting ended I headed to the church kitchen and drank a glass of apple juice and a glass of orange juice. The cleanse was over at 8:40pm. It lasted 46 hours and 40 minutes.

Tomorrow, after some time for reflection, I will post some lessons learned. For now, my initial reaction:

I'm not sure anyone is more disappointed than me. Well, I'm actually not that disappointed but hopefully no one else cared enough about me doing a cleanse that they are disappointed at all. In many ways one could view this as a complete and utter failure. I only made it to about 20% of my goal. A 20% on a test would put me squarely in the "F" category. However, there are other ways to look at it. If I wanted to hike the circumference of the earth but only got 20% done, that would still be 4,980 miles. Not bad. If I were trying to become fluent in every world language but only succeeded learning 20%, I would still be able to speak 1,380 languages. That's respectable. If I wanted to befriend every living person on the entire planet Earth but only became friends with 20%, that's still 1.4 billion people (totally doable what with the 1,380 languages I know). So you see, when you think about it, 20% is totally impressive.

I think what bums me out most about it being over is that I don't get to blog about it for eight more days. I need some other, slightly less crappy (did you seriously expect me to not include a single poop pun in these posts?) challenge to write about. Any ideas?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day One

It's time to get serious about what happens in the bathroom.

Not really, but have you seen that toilet paper commercial where the lady says that? Doesn't it just make you want to take a shower?

Anyway, today was day one of my fast and I have learned many things already.

As soon as I got up I drank a yummy quart of saltwater. The idea behind drinking saltwater is that the stomach can't digest it and the kidneys can't process it so it pretty much runs right through your digestive system, clearing out anything that's in there. Let's just say it worked and I have some experiences my brothers will want to hear about and leave it at that.

I had my first lemonade drink this shortly after. It wasn't bad but the ingredients don't mix very well and you kind of taste them all in succession. First the almost overpowering sweetness of the maple syrup, then the refreshing lemon, then the spicy cayenne pepper.

Things were going very well for me throughout the morning until my wife and my office roomie tag-teamed on me, telling how unhealthy this cleanse is. Isn't it awful to have people who care about you? I googled the cleanse to see criticisms on it and decided to stop searching when I saw the cleanse referred to as a "starvation diet." Yikes. I don't need that kind of negative talk bringing me down.

I didn't feel hungry really at all today. It was even a bit of a struggle to drink six glasses of the lemonade, which is the minimum suggested amount. That's one about every 2.5 hours. I almost always felt full.

The hardest thing about today was not having the comfort of food. I could do with out the nourishment for one day, but the lack of comfort was harder. Eating is soothing. It's like a hug for my tummy and I love hugs. I also love food. It struck me how much I think about food or see food or smell food. Yum. This does not bode well for the fast!

I just had my nightly Smooth Move tea, and I'm ready for bed. Bring it on day two.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why I'm not eating for ten days...or until I'm really hungry

My mother's worst nightmare has come true. I'm sharing bathroom-related details with the general public. Buckle up reader, I will keep it as innocent as I can.

As I write this I am drinking a delicious beverage called "Smooth Move Chocolate Stimulant Laxative Tea." By "delicious," I mean, "tastes like grass water" and by "beverage," I mean, well, "grass water." (By the way, do you remember how when people used to do something clumsy it was cool to say to them, "Smooth move, exlax!"? Yeah, we were cool back then)

No, I am not constipated. This cup of tea is the first step of a ten-day cleanse in which I will eat nothing and only drink this tea each night, a saltwater drink each morning, and a lemonade drink consisting of pure water, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper at least six times a day. I can also drink plain water whenever I want.

Why on earth would I want to do this? Let me break down the top three reasons as I gave them to my wife when she asked me the same question:

1. Curiosity--I have heard of these cleanses before and they always capture my interest. I wonder how I would feel if all the "toxins" were eliminated from my body (what kind of toxins do I have in my body? This makes me feel like a poison dart frog). I can remember a friend of mine during a cleanse telling me that he hadn't eaten for five days and he was still pooping. I don't know about you but when I hear something like that, I've just got to try it for myself.

2. Discipline--Doing hard things builds character. But I'm too lazy to climb a mountain or figure out why people are still watching Glee. Ten days without food will be one of the hardest things I've ever accomplished (or failed miserably at while trying to accomplish).

3. Health--I'm sure in many ways a cleanse like this isn't actually that healthy. With only lemons, water, syrup, and cayenne pepper, I'm missing several main food groups. I'm even missing three of the four Elf food groups (candy, candy canes and candy corns). However, since I've become a father my metabolism has somehow slowed down to a crawl and I have begun to put on some lbs. I was just warming up to the idea of skinny jeans when all of a sudden I couldn't fit into them anymore. I have to imagine if I cut my caloric intake in half, I'll have 2% body fat in no time. Right?

So this evening I stopped at Whole Foods to buy all of my ingredients (they all have to be organic). I'm not sure what it is that I'm actually smelling, but Whole Foods has the distinct odor of hippie. I know that not everyone who shops there is a hippie, but it totally smells like hippie in that place. It's not a bad smell, it's just a smell. Anytime I go to typical hippie hangouts (Whole Foods, tie-dye t-shirt stores, forests, etc.) I smell that smell. What is that? Can any hippies help me out here?

So there I am in Whole Foods, trying to act like a normal non-hippie person doing normal quasi-hippie grocery shopping for normal non-cleansing grocery items, acting like someone who shops there all the time and knows where things are. Just another ordinary shopping trip: stocking up on lemons, grabbing a huge jug of maple syrup, taking laxative tea off the shelf like it's nbd. I roll up to the checkout and place my goods on the belt and the lady is like, "Oh you're doing the cleanse." Busted. She was really nice about it though. She said that she had a friend do this cleanse once and he got really mean around day two and three (and four through ten?) because he was so hungry.

So stay tuned folks, it's only just begun. And it may be over by lunch-time tomorrow, so don't miss out on any updates. Anyone want to guess how long I will make it? My starting time is 10pm Sunday evening. If you can guess within six hours when I give up (and I give up before ten days), I will buy you a slice of Columbus' finest pizza when it's all over. Just put your guess in the comments.