Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Invisible Change

I've written before that I am not afraid to change things when it comes to my hair.

I've had short.
I've had long.

I've had black hair-jet black, blond hair, red hair.

I've even accidentally had spotted yellow brown bad-move-on-my-part-trying-to-highlight-my -own-hair, hair.

When I was a younger girl, at one time I wanted a perm, and I got a perm, and BOYDIDIREGRETTHATPERM!!

Change with my hair is good.
Obvious change is good.

But what if you have to vote for change, change that will impact the visible memories of generations for the rest of their lives?

I'm talking about a school referendum vote.
This vote will change the entire way a middle school does their "business."

  • Presently the current school isn't energy efficient.

  • Only 4 students actually live within walking distance, the majority of the students that attend this middle school, live in the southwest portion of our district-a nice comfortable more time for mom bus ride to and from school each and everyday, in a town with another name, as a matter of fact.-

  • The current school is over 80 years old and is in need of significant repairs main focus of repair is it's mechanical systems

  • The current middle school isn't handicapped accessible. So, if my cousin's daughter is injured in gym class, in order to get her by wheelchair to the nurses office, they will have to go outside first (WE HAD BLIZZARD LIKE CONDITIONS HERE LAST NIGHT, the WIND REMINDED ME OF WHEN WE HAD TWO BACK TO BACK HURRICANES IN FLORIDA-not much snow stuck, thankfully-GIVE ME FLORIDA SOON, please!!)

  • The amount of money it costs this school to heat (the middle school) costs just as much to heat our two high schools, and they're double the square footage.

  • The water and gas lines near the science lab classrooms work at about the same pace as a 'burn out' does (NOTE TO READERS: I'm not selling out Burnouts) would do his/her homework...very inconsistently.

The vote is to build a new, better middle school with all the bells and whistles, closer to the majority of the students, although that isn't as accurate as the superintendent that I spoke with yesterday on the phone claims, however overall it does make it easier on the students. Plus, the building will be handicap accessible for not only students, but parents, and visitors too.

The building will host the smart high performance sustainable "GREEN" Design; Daylight harvesting, energy recovery, bioswales, and water efficiency landscaping, with HIGH EFFICIENCY HVAC. There will be more space, provide an environmental teaching station that may possibly have a "green roof." This school will be LEED certified (Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design). New computers, equipment, enough electrical outlets and obvious space. Therefore eliminating the "dead end hallways" that the current middle school has.

Basically it all sounds good. After all, change is good thing. However, change or perspective is also based on how things are described. Change is based on so many things, such as history, redevelopment, and of course the big one, how well we, the ones involved or most impacted by the change, how we allow it to affect us.

The new 'proposed' site, has had some controversy though. Because it sits near a BP plant. Parents are concerned about the LUST factor. 'Lust' being, Leaking underground storage tanks that will contaminate the water and soil supply. Records indicate that BP has a history of responding to and dealing with the "lusts," in a timely fashion required under their regulatory requirement standards. Records also indicate that any or all current issues are being controlled and actively managed.

Parents were concerned about contaminated soil from run off waste. For the past 2 years, the EPA has done many tests to determine if the "proposed" site is in good condition. Only one soil boring area was recommended to have the eight foot removal, although first of all, it's not even close to the site of the potential school, they did make sure to inform us that the removal of the soil wasn't based on environmental issues, but more so because of geotechnical concerns.

The concern about the nearly 6 million pounds of hazardous chemical emissions from the Bp Campus over ten years is a big concern. But rest assured they have informed us that the hazardous chemical emissions from this plant are fairly similar to those that come from gasoline vapors. In the year 2005 they only totaled about 2300 pounds. So then what about those volatile organic compounds, or VOC's? No big deal they say, as there is no difference between the magnitude of toxic chemical emissions at this 178 acre campus (where only 33% of the 1600 employees work in research, and only a third of that 33% actually deal directly with chemicals) versus the type of emissions found at a gas station.

Sure, but I don't spend five days out of the week sitting in a gas station, now do I?

All of this has some serious high quality substance, and rest assured this district, political infrastructure, and everyone else tied to this, has done quite a bit of research. You'll laugh and ask me why all this fuss, or missionlength post, when I tell you that this change won't even impact my own sons. We have a junior high/middle school just down the street, so my sons won't be those bused to the toxic waste area. They'll attend school down the street.

BUT!! I care about change, this change does matter to me and not because of the six scientists that have rare forms of cancer:

Certain groups against the move did their research and invited a former retired what was once Amoco, employee to the school board meeting. This employee has a lawsuit pending against BP in which he contends that a benign brain tumor was brought on by hazardous chemicals in his workplace. "It just makes no logical sense to put children across the street from a petrochemical facility, " one of the parents of that group stated. But, studies have shown that it would cost $45 million to renovate versus $35 million to build a new school, not including the cost of the land.

In 1999, researchers had conducted a three-year study of the cancer cluster at this research plant, and concluded that not just one, but six cases of brain cancer were most likely work-related. Yet the scientists were never able to identify the source. The six employees all worked in the same building, during the same period, in the late 1970s and early '80s. "Five of the six men worked on the third floor, which has since been closed, but the remainder of the building is open and the BP campus still employs about 1,000 people," says a BP spokesperson.

The families of the six employees have sued, and their cases have been settled. One attorney that represented his deceased scientist father, said that his father died of glioma, the rare, malignant brain tumor ironically common to all six workers. Scary stuff! But, then again, this was around 28+ years ago, I'm sure things have changed.

How many times throughout this post have have you changed your perspective? Forget for a second about the property tax change, the obvious, but how much of your own "WHAT I WOULD DO," has been swayed based on words here?

For me, it's so much more on top of all of this. For me, the change will mean destroying history that isn't or won't ever be classified as a land mark. But it has family history!! My dad, his parents, their much history within the walls of what is now a middle school, and what was at one time a high school. Remember that high school that closed my junior year and converted to a middle school? Yes, that one.

For me, I feel guilty voting for the new proposed enhanced site. Maybe all the green environmentally friendly school will offset any negatives that may come up from the plant campus situated near by. Heaven help the school, if an explosion ever occurs over there. But, a plane could crash into the present middle school so why sit and worry about what could happen?

I feel guilty voting for the change because I feel like I'm going against my fathers side of the family-all their memories. The history, theirs and my own, my memories, my first locker, the dead end hallways where I remember catching a smooch(or two) from a boyfriend that lasted all but a week, even though it still counted, after all, it was high school.

The auditorium where my grandma would do her cheers up on stage, because at one time it was the gym. My Grandpa and his wonderful success in baseball which later led to a Cubs chat as he was a great pitcher... he went to war instead. So much history, so many memories, that I emotionally feel as if I will be turning my back on it, if I mark YES for the new change on SUPER DUPER TUESDAY, February 5th.

I go back and forth. Because obviously the change will mean the destruction of the present site. It will improve the flood zones that have done so much damage to many homes near the old bricks.

But my memories!! I am lucky, I have the memories stored in my head, I can close my eyes and picture the drivers Ed classrooms, where if you wore a skirt on driving day, he'd give you an A. The smells of the hallways, the classrooms, all of that in my mind still. So the struggle for me on top of all the facts that have been listed here that I go back and forth with is that can I deal with holding onto just the memories in my head for the rest of my life? Obviously my vote won't make the big impact, but I can't have that perspective either, if I did, then I'd most likely never vote for anything.

So basically what I think is that change is all on how you make it. For the rest of my life I could be bitter about destruction, or I can cherish the fact that my memory is still ripe enough to recall the relationships I built within those brick walls, and not base it necessarily on the structure of the bricks, but the quality of growth that I discovered within my own self, from walking the hallways of what most likely will be a demolished structure. I will glance at a lake in the future where my HS once stood. A winding cobblestone old town field road, with mini boutiques and quite possibly a hotel, but I will have the image in my head. Just like I have the image of my grandparents although they are no longer here.

Just bricks, and bricks don't make the memories..they're just backgrounds.

So, if you made it THIS FAR, then you'll be rewarded, with, pictures of my many different styles of hair. (there's always a strange link, isn't there?) Pictures of many different occasions in my life. The one with the straw hat was a road trip driving to a campsite where my friends and I rafted, camped and drank beer for three (or two, now I can't remember) days..The dealership that I worked for back then, had allowed me to switch my demo coupe silver SEBRING with a Purple Plymouth Voyager. I knew then, that one day, I'd be driving a mommovile..

Enjoy the many different colors of Crustybeef...

Yes, as you know, I have been known to climb into things, and make funny gestures..I'm crusty, give me a break! As long as you know there are so much more to me, then you're welcome to laugh along with us here! My two best friends had made me this scrapbook as a gift after I had Sullivan!! They knew I needed a laugh, it was a toughtime then with my hormones.

Welcome TO Crustybeef~
Thanks for making it this far with me.


Tink said...

You're such a hottie!! I vote for short dark hair. I think that compliments your face the best. You know that really is the ultimate compliment because not many people can carry off short hair.


awwwwwwwwwwww!! You are sooooo adorable! And congrats for making it thru the referendum rant!!
Short black hair, eh? Got a specific cut in mind??
Let me know, I love new things, and am about due for a cut! :)
Happy birthday the other day!!
Did you find the discounted TINK BUbbles? :)


Cheryl said...

I started off here with lots of time. A good thing when you're visiting Elizabeth. I immediately scrolled down a bit, looking for a hair picture, but didn't see one so came back to the top to read. Then you took me back and forth on an ethical philosophical journey. Finally, the're a total cutie and could pull off any color or cut. Your beauty radiates!

I hope this day finds you happy, with a healed hiney!

Mary said...

Wow!! It took a while but I made the journey with you. I'm not sure how I would vote on the issue but my 'knee jerk reaction' is to fight putting a school near the BP complex.

Hair color and styles????? I say, "Whatever makes you feel good at the time."


Cheryl and Mary: only me, right? Lengthy but worth it! :) Hope you both have a great day..sorry for the long lengthy post..I'll have to tone it down..been in that mode of book writing I guess. :)

Anonymous said...

To me all that matters is that you are happy with you and whatever style you choose. Your are so hot no matter what.

We should fight the new school because as parents we should not only want the best for our kids but for all of our future leaders.


captain corky said...

I agree with Tink. Your hair looks great short and dark.

There's way too much to think about as far as schools are concerned these days... When I was a kid I just went to school. I used to fight everyday (more like wrestle really) get detention every other day, and somewhere along the way I learned to read and write. Those were the good ol' days. I still can't add though...


BDDANON: What part do you want to fight for though? memories, good upgraded school, better for the flood zones, uh, chemical plant? Thanks for the hottness my guy-I guess I "owe you...:)..." {{{{snickering!!}}}

Corky: Agreed! BUT!! I bet your parents worried, we never gave where we went to school a second thought, as we were just "told" to go by our parents,..I gty that they worried about the school. So you wrestled, big deal!! YOu weren't a bra strap snapper, were you? Cause then I'd have to say you must have sat behind me in Creative Writing class!! :)
1+1+1=have another one


Tex said...

I hate to say it, but I don't wanna see our old school get the wrecker. I can still picture strolling down the hall with my long hair in my face thinking of the next album to get high too....talking with my buds in the Senior Center about who's getting the beer for the weekend. Looking down the hall at those old familiar faces I would tell myself to talk to...but wouldn't for some odd reason (yeah wonder who that's about?) There's so much stuff that went on there that I don't wanna see go the way of the dinosaurs. As for your hair, Crusty.....I with hold judgement. No guy should suggest that unless they're married to ya and BDD already made that judgement.
**off to bed for another 12 hour day**

Kelly Jene said...

First of all, good on you for looking into these issues that most people (even myself unfortunately at times) never really bother to deal with. These things can influence generations to come and you are doing the right thing by wanting what is best.

Next, I love the hair! I have done the same things. I have been every color in the book except all the way blond. I've had huge blond chunks, but with my freckles, I'd look funny all blond. I like the dark on you! It's fun to be creative and change our hair with our mood, huh?

austere said...

Not near the plant..reminds me too much of what can possibly go wrong.

Completely admire your adventures with hair..someday someday, I shall as well..

SOUL: said...

you could pull off any style or color-- you , (**&^ (just kidin)
i'm havin a bad hair life again--can ya tell? :))


Tex: Great visual! By the senior center too! Gasp! YOu got HIGH? (LOL!!) Good luck today! Almost Friday!Bigdogg is your new best friend, fyi~ :)

Austie: They (the spokes"MEN) claim it's not any issue...scary, the race to use up extra space...will be a hard decision for me, harder then voting for the presidential candies...

Kelly: I had you and Austie backwards, whoops! :) I'm thinking of dark and short..but not too short...Bigdogg will never cheat, every 6months there's a new woman in this house! :)

Soul: I love your hair blond! Are you calling me a shit? It's fitting with the 2weeks past! :) LOL!!
Coffee..pulhease! Oh, and I'm seeing Sauntering Frank tonight...{{{Sticking my tongue out at you!}}} :)


Foster Communications said...

I used to write about educational spending as a reporter. I was in support of the referendum and thought I presented it clearly. Now, as a school district employee, I understand more than ever the challenge of making dollars stretch, making decisions with those few dollars as a guide. I see staff members spending their own money (I'm one of them) to make the experience better for students. I don't like the idea of a BP nearby, but, for me at least, it's so hard to say no.

Oh and your hair rocks, btw. I always have a variation of the same long dark brown...

SOUL: said...

why do you keep sayin i'm callin you a shit???
i did no such thing.. when? where? i did not.

have you thought of frosted ORANGE???

Gypsy said...

Elizabeth you are one of those fortunate souls that has the kind of face that suits any colour and any style. You're a KNOCKOUT girl!

As for your dilemma with how to vote, first good for you for caring and looking into it. All the way through I kept getting an image of Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. Don't envy you having to make a decision whether it has an impact on you personally or not.