Day Eight – Under Pressure, Part I

Quick Update: I got 7 out of 10 guesses for Best Picture nominations correct! I lost on some of the more entertaining features that lost out to The Blind Side, An Education, and A Serious Man. I thought Star Trek, the Hangover, and (500) Days of Summer would get nominated! Sorry comedy, you’ll never get the recognition you deserve. Instead, they’ll nominate dramas that, with the exception of The Blind Side, no one sees or cares about.

This past week has been an extremely emotional one. Amber & I have felt the strong sense of impending disappointment. Unfortunately, due to an excessive misuse of fund allocation Aurora Public Schools has a multimillion dollar deficit right now. Instead of eliminating extraneous spending in some areas or looking at non-teaching jobs to eliminate, APS is demanding massive teacher cutbacks. This, to me, is a sign that things are only going to get worse in education. Because they are cutting about 13 jobs in her high school alone! For me it also means tough times as a substitute are ahead. APS is not the only district cutting massive jobs. Unfortunately, I feel that the Democrats have proved that they are just as incapable of real change and real decisions. Instead, they make speeches and act like they are improving. I only hope that the Massachusetts election instills some checks and balances as our government should always have no matter what party is in power. (Matt Lira, you and Eric Cantor are becoming my Mr. Smith whether you want to be or not, get in there and do something!!!)

I digress. As a result of the APS deficit, a lot of teachers won’t have jobs and will join the substitute ranks out of necessity. I don’t blame them. However, it’s already a bit competitive to get a job on a day to day basis. Unless you check the web for openings several times a day, you’re not getting jobs. Next year it’s going to be even harder because the market is going to get oversaturated with substitutes. I am going to have to rely on my good relationships I have built with some key schools.

Our biggest fear is for Amber though. Theater isn’t part of the required curriculum for a high school diploma, therefore it is an “expendable” program. However, as time is going on and we are looking at the situation, we are realizing she will probably be all right. She is the only theater teacher, this year they invested additional money in her for IB training, and she is not the most recent hire to the English department (where they allocate the theater program).

The day we found out about the job cuts we had a strong sense that everything is going to be all right. We are planning now for the worst just in case. One thing I have felt compelled to do is two things. First, I need to up my search for a full time job with benefits. While I am working full time as a sub right now, the pay isn’t astounding, I make half of what regular teachers do, and I have no benefits. APS doesn’t want others joining their health care plan so it would cost us $600 a month to add me onto their benefits, thanks health care.

Second, I am going to write and stick to the schedule I have set. I am working on definitive deadlines beyond March 31st when I will be finished with the outline, character biographies, and the Thales manual.

Update on those: The outline is coming along very well! Last night I got to the outline for 32 chapters! I am thinking the finished outline will be at about sixty chapters. I am condensing from the first outline by half and having more events occurring per chapter to keep the story moving faster and more taught. Character biographies are getting there. The basic pasts of the characters are written. However, I want to dive into details still. We’re talking what their favorite movies are, music, what their apartments/condos/houses look like. The better I know the characters, the more they can be defined.

Listening to “Under Pressure” by David Bowie & Queen at the gym, the lyrics have never had more meaning. After hearing it, I set the song to repeat and listened to it at the gym for the rest of the workout. With the threat of relying solely on the income of my pay as a substitute teacher if Amber were to lose her job and not be able to find a new job would be bad news. We would inevitably have to rely on our savings that we work really hard to build.

As a result, my drive is stronger than ever. Amber and I realized that these are the challenges that can make our marriage stronger or pull us apart. Moments like these define you as a person, I hope my choices can reflect that decision to make our lives that much better. So here’s hoping the 5th of February brings with it some good news, that’s when the Children’s Museum job as Education Program Manager will open up. I am hoping my time working at A Film Company and undertaking those business projects partnered with my education and work as a teacher will make me a perfect fit! I am hoping really hard for an interview, it would be an amazing job!

As well, I am going to write like a mad man. I want so hard to do the things I love in this life and unless I take the initiative for myself, it will never happen. I don’t have an “in” to the book publishing world or the movie industry, unless one of my “Code” actors makes it big, which they should! But since right now no one I know can do me any favors, it’s up to me. Like some corny action hero, I have to fulfill my own destiny. This is my burden. Insert additional clichés that are applicable and completely true here: _____________________.

I am staring this choice and this path down with great enthusiasm. I am beginning to grow exceedingly excited for this novel. Unlike when I was fleshing out the ideas, I am now realizing this is a book that people would be interested in reading. At least I want to read it. We’ll see if people will want to jump on board as well.

So as the economy begins showing the ugly side even more and indicating we are nowhere even close to resolving, it’s Amber & I who have to do our best and take a hold of the chances we are given and the opportunities we can create for ourselves. Together, with the help of my wife, friends, and family, I look forward to the future despite the uncertainty. I look forward to it because I head toward it with a lot of love, support, and enough initiative to write all night long! See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you

No man ask for
Under pressure

That burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming ‘Let me out’
Pray tomorrow – gets me higher
Pressure on people – people on streets


One comment

  1. Hey Tom, Your attitude of hope, love and persistence will carry you and Amber through. As you stated, this experience will make you both stronger as an individual and a as couple. Mom and I have experienced many toils, struggles and losses and we have always committed to one another to pull through it together. A true loving commitment to one-another makes the rough road smoother and the burden lighter. Love, Dad

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