Saturday, January 22, 2011

Can't Say No

Last week, I taught the modal of ability.  Ok, I know you all aren't English majors.  Most of you wish to forget those long, boring grammar lessons anyway.  A modal was called a helping verb when I was in school.  Later, I think I learned they were called auxiliary verbs.  The grammar book we are using to teach English to international students call these helping, auxiliary verbs modals.  That works.  Teaching usage is more important than teaching terminology.  The concept that I taught was that when one wishes to use the correct word to express ability to do something, the person uses can, could, seems, or is able to along with the verb.  I can dance.  I could ride a bike when I was younger.  I can't say no.


Yes, it seems, I can't say no when it comes to accepting a job.  Guess what, neither can my husband.  Just days after I wrote in this blog how my husband said that he does not miss working, just days after he adamantly said he would say no if he were ever asked to work again, just days after I publicly stated how my husband said he felt, he was offered a job.  Guess what he said?  It wasn't no, nor was it hell no as he was fond of saying his answer would be.  His answer was, " I have to talk to Sally."

Sally came home from shopping not long after he got the call.  He was all smiles, very upbeat, and quite proud of himself.  He said he had to talk to me.  A lot had changed while I was gone.  He'd gotten a phone call.  He'd been asked to go back to work.  The smile would not leave his face.  I noticed a new bounce in his step.  He was thrilled and excited.  Yes, it seemed much had changed.  He wanted to go back to work.  He wanted a new challenge.  He wanted to be involved.  He wanted to see how a different district operated.  I saw the change in his demeanor.  I saw how energized the idea of working again made him appear.

My first question was, "Can you really do this again?"  (Note the use of the modal to express ability.)  He assured me he was.  His health was not a problem.  His blood pressure would be fine.  He would not over do.  He would not work too many hours.  He would eat right.  He would exercise.  He really did want to work again.  Forget what he had said before.

So, he said, yes to a return to work.  I supported it with just a bit of reservation.  He would have to drive, during the winter, to Fountain, Colorado which is about 30 minutes north of us.  He would be working as an assistant principal, a job he never had done before, so I knew that he would have the heavy load of being a principal.  I agreed that in many ways it would be good for him.

We talked about the possibility of me being asked to return to work.  I said, "I think I won't go back.  Since you are working, I need to stay home and keep things in order here.  I need to cook decent meals.  I need to be here to support you."

Then, I got the call.  "Will you come back to work?  We really need you.  Situations that have occurred here that have caused us to really need you.  We are shorthanded.  Will you consider helping us out?"  My answer, "I'll have to talk to Jim."  He asked what I wanted to do.  I didn't want to get up in the morning, I wanted to get projects done at home, I wanted to keep to an exercise plan, but I also really did want to go back to work.

We've both just finished our first week of work.  We were exhausted every night.  We fell asleep in our chairs in front of the warmly burning fireplace with an open book in our laps nearly every evening.  We woke up to an alarm.  I hired a house keeper.  Now, I really wish I could also hire a cook.

Last night, Friday night, we went out for Mexican food just like we always do.  Last night, at dinner, we debriefed.  Jim is meeting new people.  He is using his wisdom and expertise in new ways with new people.  He is learning new things.  I am energized and uplifted by the new students in my class.  I am using my knowledge and skills to help others learn English so that they can reach their lifetime goals.  I am surrounded by youth.  That keeps me young.  I have a reason to get up and pick out clothes to wear, fix my hair, and put on make-up.  I see my friends and colleagues at the University.  I am part of things at that wonderful institution again.

We are adjusting to working again.  We are happy with our decisions.  We have the ability to work.  We have the ability to say no.  We could have said no.  I shouldn't say, "We can't say no."  We could have.  We chose to say yes.  We are happy we did so.

20 comments:

Linda said...

I think this is just wonderful. Retirement takes the pressure off. Now you're working because you want to, not because you need to get the years in so you can retire. Now you can quit if you no longer enjoy it. Congratulations.

KleinsteMotte said...

Now that would be for me if I were well. Work is fun in my book. Hubby never quit and he's very happy at 71. Good for you two!

The Minute Man's Wife said...

Great post! I guess its true what they say: You DO learn something new everyday. Thanks for the educational bit on helping verbs. I think I got it down... let me give it a try: You Can Do It!! Now if only there was a name for verbs that you thought you wouldn't do....

Joanne said...

WOW! Good for you both! How lucky are the people that you will be working with. Isn't it funny how you both were asked? God has a plan for us all. God bless you both in your future endeavors! Blessings, Joanne

Linda Myers said...

I might go back to work if something fun and interesting came up. I don't expect that to happen, but you never know.

Sounds like you two have made a good decision!

#1Nana said...

Good for you. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I've been substituting at the middle school and as much as I enjoy most of it, I'm looking forward to it ending at the end of the month. I go to work when it's dark and return home in the dark. I'm too tired at the end of the day to do anything but drag myself home and colapse on the sofa. I need to find something part-time.
Your husband's new school district is so lucky to have someone with his experience to fill a mid-year opening. Keep looking for a cook...I bet you could find someone to prepare a few meals a week for a reasonable price!

Kay said...

I am so happy for you, Sally! It's great to know you're both enjoying yourselves. You're making me wonder what I would do if I were asked to go back to work. Hell, no. Just kidding. But then again... I don't think so, I really do like waking up when I feel like waking. :-)

Then again, I love the idea of being useful again.

Mollie said...

Good on ya, mate! I don't think I'm ever going to retire. I've been out of work for seven months and I sure do miss the classroom environment.

Good luck with the new group!

becca said...

how wonderful and great post

Laura said...

Congratulations on your new employment! I hope you enjoy every moment traveling in your new direction. Life does seem to throw surprises at us now and again doesn't it?

I'm happy you found your way to Our Scented Cottage. It was so thoughtful of you to leave your calling card so I would be aware of your visit! I do hope you come again soon for tea and a bit of a read. I have many interesting tidbits in my archives and we love new friends. :)
Blessings for a day of wonder,
Laura

DJan said...

It sounds good for you both. I thought briefly about returning to my work, but I had the opportunity to take a short assignment and worked so hard I could barely wait for it to all be over. I love my retired life, it's so full I wonder how I found time to fit in a job.

Plus the politics of my old situation were very unpleasant, and I moved away from the state, which really helped to start a new life. My husband had been retired for awhile, so I was the lagging behind one.

Olga said...

I understand. I took long-term sub jobs each year after retiring in 2005...until this year. When my old school district called in September with the next offer, I realized I really was done and I said, "No, thanks." Honestly, it was that I just could not stand the thought of having to wake up to an alarm clock again.

gayle said...

You are returning to work and all I want to do is retire! So glad you are enjoying it! It was very smart of you to hire a house keeper!

KathyA said...

Oh my! I'm excited for both of you!!

I had been asked to come back and long-term with the option of a contract at the end of the year. I thought long and hard and decided against it. I do miss the kids, but I do not miss getting up at 5:30 every day and having to grade essays every night until I can no longer see straight.

Sightings said...

You're very lucky to have the option to go back to work, on your own terms. Enjoy and appreciate!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Good for you! Hope you continue to enjoy your jobs for as long as you want to keep at them!

Deb Shucka said...

What a great way to tell a story! Both places are very lucky to have you and your husband. May you continue to find happiness and fulfillment and joy.

Barb said...

Doing work that's fulfilling (even if tiring) is good. Returning is your decision, and that's what counts.

Jeanie said...

I love this, Sally. Because you realized the main thing -- you have choice. Choice to go back, choice to stay. Maybe even choice to hire a cook or go out more -- save the cooking for the weekend when you can enjoy it! If it stops being fun, you know you can stop. And you also know that perhaps you can cut back. But to feel happy and fulfilled and have the energy your post does (emotionally, even if you're tired at the end of the day) -- well, then I say to you Bravo!

Mare said...

I think it is so beautiful and considerate that you both wanted to consult each other before accepting the positions. Good for both of you! I am happy for you, and hope it is a great experience on many different levels. God bless you both.