A Few Days of Life
Recently I heard of an Iraqi posting a news letter giving simple day to day events
So, I thought I would do the same to give a view of what life is like here. I hope I’m not too mundane as every moment of
life is not dangerous or exciting. It is surviving and creating a life. I will try not to stir up controversy, fears or hate.
The exact names and places are not accurate to give privacy to my family.
A lady, with a high position in education of an Eastern country, came and toured our school facility*. She asked me about
problems and trouble.
She only had a few minutes so I gave her a couple basic truths that I have found very workable after almost 9 years of
helping in the school. I work as an Ethics Officer. I task is to keep the environment safe and distraction free. I help people
both young and old. I also discipline when I must but that is an exception rather than the usual or normal.
First truth I gave her is that where there is any problem, quarrel or conflict, the exact truth will allow a resolution of that
situation. A difficulty that sometime happens is that there is a third party unseen or unnoticed that is actually causing the
upset between two people or groups. They covert (hidden) activities, often lies, cause tremendous upset and suffering.
The next is that anyone involved in a difficulty, problem, upset, etc, has responsibility. Once the responsibility is realized,
the situation is now ready to be resolved.
However, where there are lies and a lack of responsibility, there will be unresolved difficulties that usually only get worse
At our school*, we do not have any drug usage (maybe an inhaler or some antibiotic), no gangs, and there has never
been a weapon on our campus since I’ve been with the school. (I have confiscated a Boy Scout knife or two when they
forget. The Scouts meet on our campus after school and the children forget or think its okay until I find out about it.)
My son, Mitch, started to do a small remodel on his sister and brother-in-law’s home. They are Miche and Jorge. He
asked me to help.
When the addition was done on their home probably over 40 years ago, the owner, two owners back, put an observation
deck on the second floor.
There was a large metal pipe coming up through the roof of the deck. Not knowing the history at the time, we could not
figure out what this pipe was far. It was directly over the stairwell so it was not a vent or drain.
The roof had leaked when my daughter and her husband purchased the house.
A couple years ago, I went up and re-did the water proofing under the sides of the deck and tarred everything possible.
No leak that year. But the next year it leaked again.
We did not know how this 8 inch pipe was secured in the roof of the area that served as the deck surface.
My son and I spent hours removing the siding from the inside walls of the deck. The big job was removing the layers and
layers of roofing and tar that made the deck surface.
Even as we stripped off layers, we could see there had been leaks and it was still damp and it had been sunny for many
Finally, we removed the tongue and groove wood that formed the floor that all the roofing rested on.
This is the typical southern California weather that makes Los Angeles so very popular to live in. The sky was blue and
there was a light breeze. The temperature was about 75 degrees.
Yesterday was about the same weather.
We found that the old pipe was set in concrete and was between rafters in a boxed in area with metal pipes coming out 3
sides. It probably weighed 400 pounds.
Anytime there was any small tremor (Los Angeles is very subject to earthquakes), this mass was likely to not move with
the rest of the house and stressed the roofing. This broke the seal and roofing. This was the damp area still yet.
Now here is the genius of Mitch. We have this huge concrete block which we do not want to fall down and damage the
floor and stairwell. What to do?
The end pieces of wood that had been added between the rafters to form the boxed in area were totally rotten. Mitch
pulled these loose easily. This left the rafters on either side with pipes embedded in the concrete.
To get it loose, we would have to cut away a rafter and this could mean it could fall.
We had thought of breaking it up but the pipes were above center and the possibility was we would break it, the pipes
would stay in the rafters and 400 pounds or so of concrete would come crashing down.
Mitch figures out how to handle this problem without getting a crane to come in and lift it out. This is a low budget project
and he under bid it so no crane.
We put three 2x6 boards across the entire deck stacked on top of each other. We put a strong rope around the block and
secured it well.
Next we wrapped the rope 3 times around the 2x6’s and I held the rope.
Mitch took out a rafter. It proved to be mostly rotten where the concrete was but it was still good enough to be supporting
one side. The rafter split in the process of removing it. It was an old rough cut 2x8.
As he removed the rafter, the block gradually was worked loose until it was suspended only by the rope.
Mitch went down to the second floor and guided it down so it would not do damage.
While Mitch was breaking it up and throwing pieces down to the ground, I was putting up studs to support the new roof.
The new roof would be pitched at an angle and there would be no deck. The ceiling would be three feet higher over the
stairwell and hall way.
It was hot and dirty work. It felt good to having accomplished so much.
Afterwards, we removed most of the debris from the hallway and we ended off for the day.
Mitch and I washed up and sat down in the backyard to drink a beer.
He likes the dark European beers and I like light American beer. I’m partial to a specific brand but this is not to promote
Mitch drove me home because my wife Vonnie drove my two youngest daughters, one son-in-law, and 5 of my
grandchildren to the beach. So they took my car. They had to take mine because there were too many to fit into any one
Once home, I started this accounting. I hope someone finds it of interest.
Tomorrow, I will be doing my normal week day job. I work in a private school. I will mention that it is the best school* on
this planet that I know of. We have a passing score of 85% and anything the student misses, they have to restudy. They do
not take the examinations in the classroom as a group. The student works at his or her own pace and goes to an area set
up of testing to take their test.
We especially go for the student being able to apply the data, not just pass. We demand that they demonstrate
competency with the data. They do or they don’t go on.
At our schoool*, we have a 30 plus years of curriculum that they must learn. We have general requirements such ability to
study independently, manners, ethics, leadership and much more. After all we are preparing them for the rest of their lives
and want them to succeed.
With both our older daughters and their husbands in Las Vegas, this left us with 5 grandchildren to handle.
Last night, we put them to bed at about 8:30 to get them rested and to give us a break.
Of course my wife went to sleep with the television on. I got up and turned it off a bit before 11:00. I heard noises down
stairs so I went to see what was afoot. Two of the children were up awake though they were in bed.
So after telling them to turn off the lights, I went back to bed.
A few minutes later, my wife woke up and asked me why I turned off the TV. I told her so I could here her snores more
clearly. She got into bed.
So this morning, I woke up stiff and sore from sleeping and from stressing my body over the weekend.
I left before she did to go to work. We both work at the school. All of the five grandchildren are students there.
I’ll give a bit of the family tree. Tom is married to Mel. They have Cam, Sean and Miranda. Then, as mentioned earlier,
there is Miche and Jorge. They have Wes and Chaz. So that covers the 5 grandchildren. They range in age from 4 to 14.
We have more but I’ll get to them later.
So Vonnie, my wife, brings the children.
We spent the night at Tom and Mel’s home because our place is much too small. I went by a fast food restaurant for
sausage and egg on a muffin. Chaz, the baby, wanted a yogurt parfait.
We all made it on time.
I’ll tell you a little about my day.
At school*, each day, I do an inspection to see how each individual teacher is doing towards getting students through
their studies. This is made visible by making a graph that reflects the total actions done by students for that week added
to the previous day. This is compared to last week and they also show a redline indicating the production that they named
for the week. I do this every week day except one.
This gives me an idea of how we are doing compared to last week. If we are doing more, this is good. If we are doing
less, then we need to work harder and get the children to working harder.
I’ll tell you about a few students and what they did. I’ll start with Nicole. She had a tremendous amount of difficulty in recent
years. She spent a lot of time with me helping her figure out what she should and could be doing besides wasting her life
with idle actions and watching television.
Nicole has been functioning as my assistant for 30 minutes 4 days a week. She helps me handle upsets between
I’ve had to work with her so that she does not find herself getting into the upset herself and adding to the problem. She is
getting pretty good.
Last week she started working with a couple students that had a big upset and argument.
Michelle was the female student. Michelle has historically overly dramatized her upsets with lots of sobs, tears and anger.
This situation came to me because she gets uncooperative when this happens. Last week, I instructed her to come to me
after she took a walk to cool off and regain her composure. She did.
I had her sit down and write down what the upset was about. This is a great tool because it is difficult to write without
thinking. It is almost impossible to be “really upset” and think at the same time.
Writing up the upset totally pulled her out of it. However, writing up the upset does not handle the effects on the other
This is where Nicole came in. I had her get with Michelle and go over how she handles upsets and get her to figure out
how this could be avoided.
Nicole did this with her.
Now Michelle and Albert, the other person in the upset, needed to get together. These upsets always have two sides
meaning each person in it has a responsibility.
Michelle started off blaming Albert. Nicole was not effectively handling this so I stepped in to help her and give her some
I pointed out to Michelle that she and Albert knew exactly what happened because they were both there. Michelle did what
she did and Albert did what he did.
Michelle had been standing some distance away from Nicole and Albert. Albert was sitting on the desk. Not the ideal way
to go about this. Too much distance and the positions were not the same.
I had Albert sit in a chair. I had Michelle do the same with both his and her chairs up to the desk.
Next, I had Albert find something about Michelle he could like or admire. He said she is usually happy. I then had Michelle
find something about Albert. She said he is a good performer. Albert is a professional level tap dancer.
I had them do this going back and forth a couple times until the ice was thawed.
At this point, I asked Albert if his manners could have been better with Michelle. He said they could have been. I asked
Michelle the same question and by this time they were both laughing a bit.
I turned them back over to Nicole. She had them go over the upset and got the full data (this was truth). She got an
agreement between them on how they both could prevent this from happening again (this was responsibility).
They left happy with no upset between them.
Nicole learned just a little about how to handle others. The children are all basically good and want to do well. I have found
it true that if you really communicate with children (or adults) and they understand you, they will cooperate with you. (A
person who is very tired, hungry, upset or ill may be incapable of understanding you fully and therefore not cooperate.)
Vonnie and I left in separate cars. I took Wes and Chaz to Miche and Jorge and Vonnie follow me over.
While there, I marveled at the work Mitch had gotten done on the house. His helper had quit Saturday. This left Mitch to
move the heavy roof rafters and tongue and grooved plywood up to the roof of the 2 story house by himself.
Mitch is strong. He pull up two sheet of plywood on a rope at a time. I could have handled one sheet but it would not have
Vonnie is taking courses at night so I took her to our church where she is studying.
We had food at Wendy’s Restaurant on the way. I left the new car for her to come home in and I took the old GMC SUV
home for the night.
When I arrived home, Mitch was holding the newest grandchild, Andy who is 2 months old. Mitch is a good father. Dyn, his
wife, is also a good mother. There is another child, Josh, who is two and a half years old and king of the world. And so it
should be with each child, the king of their universe, king of their world. This is a winning position for a child to be in.
Yesterday was a rather normal day. I saw too many people and did not get enough done. Last night, I went to study at my
church. I am studying a 1953 lecture series that are an advanced study of man, what traps him and how to free him. I’m
not going to go into that as the lecture series is 80 tapes long and there is no way I could do it justice just telling a small bit
her and there.
I will tell you that I did a drill to ensure that I knew the materials with certainty. This is where there are a series of questions
asked and you must answer them correctly. If you miss one, you redo the entire list. You continue this until you can answer
they all correctly.
On this lecture series, the asking of the questions is to me more enlightening than answering them. By asking the
questions, I am given a chance to examine the physical universe and see how the data applies in various situations.
I did a set of questions where I was being asked. I was pleased with myself as they covered 2 ½ hours of lectures and I
got them all correct the second time through. I really knew my data.
I had more fun and realizations about the universe and life when I asked a student who was just a bit more advanced than
I questions about his materials. It took him four times through to get them right. Each time I asked a question, I was given
a chance to think and evaluate.
Have you ever realized something and this caused you to have chill bumps? This happened to me over and over. I
thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Today, I arrive at work on time. Vonnie and I stopped for our breakfast as usual.
The first thing today, I helped a faculty member who realized she was confused. The way to handle a confusion is to orient
someone to something stable such as where she really was at that moment. This is done by getting the person to
examine the environment until they are comfortable with it. You can also compare this environment with earlier locations
and then go back and examine the environment. This is continued until they really are aware and know where they are.
There is an exact series of steps for this which I did not create or originate. The point here is I helped her get into
communication with her current environment and from this point she could continue to help herself. This was Susan.
The next thing was to help a young student, Chelsea. She had just finished handling the fact that she had gotten herself
into a position where she was not trusted.
Next was for her to find out what she really should be doing, what was really needed and wanted by the school from her. I
went over that what I wanted and needed was her help on raising the standards. I pointed out that to allow things to go
wrong around her and for her to fail to do anything about it was wrong as this allowed the outness or wrongness to
continue. I asked for her agreement but cautioned her that if she agreed I would hold her responsible for keeping her
agreement. She did and I felt we had made a good improvement. The real proof will be seen in the future. Will she keep
her agreement for fall prey to peer pressure?
And so the day went. I helped several students be more at cause.
At the end the day, we had a faculty meeting. The lady from the Eastern country I mentioned on Friday 3/28/03, was
discussed. I found out today that she actually control the future of 1,000,000 children’s education. Earlier this week there
was a big event held in her honor and one of our students and two of our faculty attended. The lady told all the people
there that what impressed her the most was our school*. She had toured many facilities and the stellar products of our
school left the biggest impression. This was a major acknowledgement for our school. We were all proud.
After the meeting, I stayed back to help another faculty member that had experienced a lot of difficulty doing her job. I
spent a little time with her to determine what her situation was and found out there were things she did not understand.
She will handle these misunderstandings tomorrow. It was late.
My wife had gone to study again tonight so the lady gave me a ride to my home.
I sat down and turned on Shania Twain and started to type. My grandson, Josh who is 2 ½
came to visit me. Typing is difficult with a two year old on your lap so that’s it for tonight.
* The school referenced is the Delphi Academy Los Angeles.
page created 2006, modified 9/17/08,
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