Saturday, May 31, 2008 

Five Things I Want My Kids to Know (before they grow up)

I saw this as a meme, and decided to do it. Five things I want my kid(s) to know (before they grow up) are:

1. Your parents might have screwed up along the way, but you're still solely responsible for who/what you become.

2. You have alcoholic relatives on both sides of your family, so don't mess with the sauce.

3. Even the best childhood friends tend to fade into the background pretty easily, so worrying about what they think is a waste of your time.

4. Anyone who's trying to sell you something, get your vote, or convert you to their way of thinking is probably lying.

5. If you waste your free time on the internet instead of doing something more productive, like reading, you will one day find that you can't think of a list of five things you want your kid to know before he/she grows up.

Okay I really had to work to come up with five things, but I know I've thought of hundreds of things that could go on the list. My kids are in trouble, I guess.

I'm not going to tag anyone. Do it if you want. (I'd like to see it.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008 

Off Guard

I've been lazy. For the last six months I looked forward to the freedom and relaxation that May 23 would bring, and once it arrived I didn't know what to do with it. The first few days were great, but by the end of Tuesday I was bored.

Pathetic, I know.

What have I been doing? Well, let's see. I did have that doctor's appointment Tuesday, and I've done a bit of cleaning and way more cooking than usual. I've also taken a nap every day except yesterday, and when I say nap I don't mean thirty minute snooze-- I mean power naps. They start shortly after 4:00 and go until 7:00. Yesterday I didn't feel much need for a nap at all, and today's nap was a half hour snooze, so maybe I just needed some rest once the school year was over.

I also refilled the hummingbird feeders, burned a small pile of trash, went for a motorcycle ride, spent a bunch of time playing online, registered for summer professional development, ate some crawfish, bought a new purse, and grew out of my bras.

Being pregnant is a lot like puberty in that your boobs get bigger and your body starts doing unpredictable things, most of which are unpleasant. Today I went to the mall because I wanted to buy a new purse and see if I could find any maternity clothes and/or bras. I found a purse almost immediately, and as I was making my way back out of the department store I suddenly felt very sick to my stomach. As I mentally planned the quickest route to the bathroom, I wished I was anywhere besides the mall. There's only one bathroom in the whole place, and it's in the middle of the food court. So with my churning stomach I had to make my way past the pizza place, the cheesesteak place, the Chic-Fil-A, a McDonald's, and the Chinese place where they chase you down with little pieces of very fragrant red colored mystery meat on toothpicks, shouting "You try! You try!"

Once I was safely past the olfactory offenders and into the bathroom, I went straight to the handicapped stall. It's the farthest from the door and I thought I might need some, uh, space, if you know what I mean. As soon as I stepped out of the stall, I nearly tripped over a handicapped woman in a wheelchair. Oops. First time that's ever happened, and it made me feel like a dick.

After that, I wanted to continue perusing through stores in search of clothes, but I was suddenly drained of energy, so I came home and had my half hour snooze.

When I got up, I decided to make more black bean soup. I made it a few days ago and it wreaked havoc on my digestive system, but it was soooooo gooooood that I had to have more! I settled onto the couch with a bowl of soup in hand, braless in my pajamas, when much to my horror there was a knock at the door.

Nobody ever knocks on our door, so I thought the dogs must have gotten loose and torn into someone's trash. It was the neighbor from across the street-- the one with the John Deere basketball goal. She wanted to know if she could have some pine straw from our yard. We've got it raked into piles that we're waiting to burn. I don't even remember the words that came out of my mouth while I was talking to her because I was too busy hoping she didn't notice that I was braless, or that I had clearly been in bed in the middle of the day. Too bad I don't look pregnant yet. That would've been a nice excuse for such laziness.

The school called today and played a recording to inform me that the "extended school year" would begin June 4 and continue to June 26, and will last from 8:30 to noon each day. That pisses me off. It undermines everything teachers do during the school year. I'm telling you, a kid has to really work hard to fail. I mean they have to absolutely not give a damn. The system makes it so hard on teachers when we fail students that it's a lot easier to let them scrape by with D's than it is to give them a well deserved F.

This year, I awarded eight students with the F's they worked for. Approximately 10 others deserved F's that they didn't get. So those eight kids were special, and I don't mean short bus special. Their performance in my class was equivalent to standing with both middle fingers up for ten months. That's all I could get out of them. But it doesn't matter at all. In three weeks of half days, they can get the credit they need to go on to the next grade. And they don't even have to call it "summer school." It's the "extended school year."

When I was in school, it was summer school. It was an embarrassment if you had to go. It lasted two months, cost $250 to register, and lasted until 2:00. It was easier to just pass the regular school year.

Extended school year. Horse crap!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 

Vote for Penis

This morning I went to the doctor, and it was as boring as always. BUT my next appointment promises to be a rockin' good time, because I'm getting an ultrasound, and I get to see a penis, or the absence of a penis.

I think all 7 people who read this blog have already voted, but if you haven't, you only have 3 weeks left to cast your vote in the "boy or girl?" poll. It's in the right sidebar.

In other news, I hate Morgan Spurlock. Who the hell does that hippie think he is, going around the world enlightening people with his hippie bullshit? And he needs to shave that jacked up moustache thing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 


Why is it that I have gone for years without any major allergy symptoms, but as soon as I got pregnant they appeared out of nowhere to kick my ass one sneeze at a time?? I can't remember how many years it's been since I have taken medication for allergies (I got a lifetime worth of Benadryl as a kid, after all) but this year I would take something hardcore every day if I could. But I can't. All I can take is Chlor Trimeton and a bunch of other shit that doesn't work.

I want drugs.

Friday, May 23, 2008 

Scavenger Hunt Obstacle Course

Today at work I was thinking about how trying to get through end-of-the-year checkout is like an obstacle course and what a great blog post I could write about it, only to come home and find that Hillbilly Mom has already compared it to a scavenger hunt. Maybe it is more like a scavenger hunt than an obstacle course. Damn you, hillbilly. Stealing my thunder.

Oh well. I'll just tell you about my experiences with the scavenger hunt obstacle course.

The objective is to get signatures on each section of your checkout sheet. A different person is responsible for making sure you've done each thing. For example, one assistant principal signs off to say that I've turned in my gradebook, lesson plans, faculty handbook, and textbook inventory sheet. Another assistant principal verifies that I've turned in my room keys, cleaned the room, and removed all personal belongings. Signatures are also required from people like the librarian, the evil book keeper lady, and the counselors. The final signature-- the big one-- is the principal. He signs to say that you've completed checkout, and that is when you are free to leave.

I got to work at 6:55 this morning with the idea that I would hit the library early and print out everything that had to go in my gradebook. We have an electronic gradebook online which works perfectly fine, but we also have to have a hard copy of everything. Because not requiring us to have a hard copy would eliminate a task from our busy days, and that's not acceptable. I also needed to turn in my school issued laptop and get a signature from the librarian, but my big plan was foiled from the start.

First, nobody arrived to unlock the building until nearly 7:30, so I sat on the front step for over half an hour beating fire ants off my exposed ankles and getting angrier by the minute. Someone is supposed to be there at 7:00. By the time I got to my room, I was only about 15 minutes early. I could've slept!! Then the librarian didn't arrive until 8:00, and the kids were coming in by that time so I didn't get the chance to print out what I needed (my printer has been out of toner for six months) or turn in my computer.

Having the kids there was such a joke. At first, I made an attempt to make sure my kids were in my room and not wondering around, even though they kept asking permission to go to this teacher's room or that teacher's room. I let them go turn in their books, but made them come back. Meanwhile, other kids came to ask if they could stay in my room. The answer was NO. I had too much to do, and the fewer kids I had, the better. A few kids came to me with notes from various teachers saying it was okay for them to stay in their rooms, so I let them. Like I said, fewer kids = good.

The anal retentive principal actually walked the campus and bitched at kids for not having their shirts tucked in, for eating chips and candy, etc. At one point he said, "I can't believe this. It's like I have to do my job at the teachers' jobs too" or words to that effect. (I don't listen to him anymore.) I smiled and agreed it was outrageous, but in my head I was fantasizing about telling him to pull the corn cob out of his nether regions. It's the last day of school. It was like he wanted us to have them seated in straight rows with their shirts perfectly tucked in.

I kept about 5 of my kids with me and we finished moving my stuff to my new storage room. I sent them on various errands while I tracked down a couple of signatures and finally got my printouts for the gradebook. The kids left at 12:00, and then the real games began because everyone was more mobile. Every time I thought I had completed the requirements for one signature, I would find little details that I had missed along the way, and I would have to go back and tie up loose ends before I could ask them to sign. Once I did have things done the right way, everyone had started moving around campus and it was impossible to track them down. I chased one assistant principal across campus three times before I finally tracked him down, and then he told me he would meet me in my room-- and THEN he forGOT and he got away again! Argh!

I thought I was ahead of most people on this checkout process, but most of them somehow finished before I did. My biggest obstacle was the train wreck that was my classroom. The janitor hasn't mopped the floor all year, and the word "nasty" doesn't come close to describing the floors. They looked like we had held some sort of mud wrestling event in there at some point and never finished cleaning up. I knew they were dirty, but once everything was off of them it was easier to see how bad it was. And there was dust everywhere. And I'm not the most organized person, so even after everything was supposedly packed up, I was finding things that needed to go in my closet, or in my car, or where ever. I finally ran out of energy and just started throwing stuff out. Screw it.

Having finally acquired all the signatures I needed except the principal's, I headed to the front office to get the final stamp of approval to go home. My loaded-down car was right outside the door, ready to carry me into summer, but when I got to the office I discovered that the principal had taken a long lunch with the secretaries. They would be back at 3:00, someone said.

I checked the clock. It was 2:30. F*ck it. I put my checkout sheet in his box and hit the road. I thought I would call back after 3:00 and make sure it was okay, but as soon as I got home I fell asleep for three hours. They can fire me Monday if they want. As uptight as he is, I wouldn't be surprised if I do hear about it at some point.

Oh well. It's summer!!!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008 

Two and a half days to go.

The kids are horrible and I'm losing my cool. Yesterday I yelled so loud at my first period class that I peed on myself a little. Today I had fifty things going at one time and two kids started shouting and threatening each other. I told one to shut up and she blew her lid and told me I wasn't her damn momma, so of course I had to write her up, which of course meant I had to admit that I told her to shut up.


Yesterday I made an eager beaver clean out my closet because I was told that I'd have to move it all to a new closet today. That didn't happen, but I did find out where my new room is. I can't complain. It's a back room so it's a little bigger and has more usable space. It's the exact same distance from a bathroom as my current room, and it's on the opposite end of the campus. I won't have to walk as far to make copies. I'll be teaching only eighth grade, and I know I'll have at least one section of Pre-AP. It'd be nice to have all Pre-AP, but I don't think that's how it works.

Today I was thinking about what a massive pain in my ass my first period group has been all year. They've been hell on wheels from day one. And I know it's kinda fuctup, but I was thinking that I won't feel an ounce of sadness when they go. We haven't bonded. Sure, there are a few kids in the class that I'll remember, but I can only think of one or two. They don't like me and I don't like them and it's just time for them to go. They're a group of do-nothing weed smoking gangster wanna be little fuckups, and I haven't had a successful moment with them all year that I can remember. Good riddance.

With my other eighth grade group, things have changed drastically since the beginning of the year. They've done a total 180. The entire class was united against me in the beginning. Sometime around the end of October, they started turning around. Today you wouldn't believe they were the same kids.

The coming summer break is a much needed one.



As if this week wasn't already busy enough, our school was selected to take some kind of state test. Yes, we just finished the state tests, but this is another one that not everyone has to take. I don't understand why they just now decided to inform us that we were selected, but we have to take it today. That means that I get to spend at least 4 hours in "test mode" today, which means I can't sit down or anything. This SUCKS. When they announced it, a lot of the kids groaned. Hell, I groaned. I'm hoping lots of the kids stay home today. They should rebel.

Our washing machine has crapped out on us, so I barely have enough clean clothes to get through the week. There is only one thing I can really wear my sneakers to work with, and I wore it yesterday. That means I'll be in dress shoes today--- but I'll probably kick them off and wear my Crocs during the test. They're comfortable, but they're not good for hours of standing. Not as good as New Balance sneakers, anyway.

I'm angry at the prospect of having to spend another day standing up, but I do feel worse for the kids than for myself. They already endured three days of this bullshit, and we promised them it was over. It's really not fair for this to get thrown to us at the very last second. What can this test measure that the MCT can't? I mean besides our ability to endure yet more bullshit?

I am beginning to lose my sense of humor about it all.

Sunday, May 18, 2008 

The school year is almost over.

Mississippi State just called here to do a survey about people's opinions on tobacco use. Normally I hang up on surveyors, but I have opinions on tobacco use. Plus I like Mississippi State. They have a lot of awesome programs that help people across the state and probably do more for people than the other universities combined.

The school year truly is almost over. This is the last week. They are forcing us to give 9 weeks tests on Wednesday and Thursday. My test is super easy, but we will "review" on Tuesday, then everyone will take it on Wednesday. I can't review them tomorrow. They'll be too busy helping me clean out my storage closet. I'm moving to another classroom next year, and I'll find out where Tuesday afternoon when I move the stuff to my new closet. Let's hope it's not in the basement. I really just hope it's near a bathroom. I have to go a lot, and that's only gonna be worse when I return in the fall.

On Thursday afternoon from noon to 4, they're having the May Day that was cancelled last week. This was originally designed to reward the kids who continued to behave like human beings, and the rule was that if you had a referral for any reason you were suspended on May Day. Well, now that they're having to do it on the same day as a 9 weeks test, everyone is allowed to come. I knew it would work out that way. I've never known a school to successfully keep the rabble rousers from participating in something that's supposedly a reward for the good kids. It sucks, but it's better than cancelling it and punishing the kids who have been good all this time.

So Thursday is basically a half day, and Friday is too. I have no idea how I'm going to clean out my room, count books, move, load up all my stuff and take it home by the end of the day on Friday. I may have to go back Monday to get some stuff.

It's gonna be a busy week.

Friday, May 16, 2008 

Clusterfuck, redefined.

Yesterday may have been the greatest clusterfuck of all time. We were scheduled for the last day of testing, and it was the math test. For you non-teachers, the distribution of testing materials is a pain, but on math day it's even worse. This is because all testing materials are "secure," and each teacher has to stand in the little vault and count each individual item and sign for them. On math day it's worse because there are more items: calculators, rulers, formula charts, etc. (Why do they get to use all that stuff, anyway!?) So it took a while for all 40+ teachers to get their materials checked out and back to the rooms.

It was getting very close to time to start. I had all my students seated where I wanted them, had taken up all their personal belongings, had threatened their lives if they didn't hand over their cell phones, and had even handed out the pencils. I was just waiting for the green light to start testing. The intercom clicked, and we all waited to hear the go ahead. Instead, we heard, "Attention students and teachers. This announcement is very important, so please listen closely. We have just received word from the central office in Jackson that we will not be allowed to test today due to the weather that is on its way here. Testing is postponed until tomorrow. Please gather your testing materials and come check them back in."


Checking test materials back in is the exact same as checking them out. You have to count everything. So basically, the proctors, who are made up of volunteers in the community who generally have NO experience in dealing with students, were left alone in the classes with the kids for 15-30 minutes while the teachers went to check the stuff back in. I was back to my room in 20 minutes, but I wasn't worried about my proctor. She subs all the time and can handle them as well as any teacher. Still, I hear all hell broke loose in one or two rooms. What did they expect? It really could have been worse.

Now with the test postponed until tomorrow (today) the kids were upset because they had been promised a May Day today. It's postponed until next week, which should be better for them since it might rain again today, but you can't tell a 14 year old anything. Also, the teachers were all planning to spend 1st through 4th periods testing. So now every teacher is trying to pull something together at the last minute.

I decided we'd have Mercy Day. This means that all the people who are failing either for this term or for the year (and there are a lot of them) would have a chance to complete some work for major extra points. It was worth 120 free daily points PLUS a test grade of up to 100. They had to do six English assignments, but they weren't that hard. Most of the kids finished it in the two hours they were with me. Well, except for the class that spent an hour on the floor during the TORNADO WARNING.

Yeah. My 1st period class came in at 8:30. We went through the hurrah of the cancelled test. Second period was late getting started, but it didn't matter because all mine come back to me for 2nd period too. Mere seconds into 2nd period, we're told to line up on the floors against the wall because there is a tornado warning.

The kids don't take this seriously enough. They don't understand that a warning means a tornado has been spotted in the area. Everything is a damn joke to them. I had to scream at the top of my lungs to get them to fcking MOVE. They were actually arguing with me and refusing to get on the damn ground! Unreal. Then they wouldn't really get in the right position, which I'm thinking they MUST have been taught from kindergarten on, and they spent the entire time bitching about having to be in the floor. There are worse things in life, people. I couldn't believe what an ordeal it was to be in a tornado warning with that bunch, and we were down there for over an hour.

This is my hell. Yes, if I died and went to hell, it would be me with that particular group of kids in a tornado warning for eternity.

Once the weather threat had passed, they moved on the 3rd period, which is my planning period. There were only 30 minutes left of 3rd period, but at least I got some kind of break. It's the first time this week I've actually had a planning period, because testing usually goes through 4th, and instead of trying to be fair and have the kids return to a different class each day, they have been sending them straight to 4th period after testing.

The rest of the day dragged on. I showed a video in my 6th and 7th periods. Today I think they will have Mercy Day, but fewer of them need it, so I'm not sure how it's gonna go.

When the last kid finally dragged out of my class at 4:00, I was thinking the day was over. I had completely forgotten about my nephew's high school graduation. Tim had to work, so I had to go alone to make sure our little corner of the family was represented. They live about 50 miles from here, so I had zero time to relax after work. I freshened up, changed clothes, and hit the road. Then I spent 90 minutes in a HOT gym just waiting for the thing to start. That's how early you have to be to a graduation in a small town, because everyone goes whether they have family graduating or not. The thing just dragged on, but we got the boy graduated, then there was the family get-together/party afterwards. I was the first person to leave, and I was still there until 10:00. It was close to 11:00 when I finally made it home.

Even when I got here, it seemed like there was no chance to sit down for an hour or so. Things just had to be done, and they were urgent. For a fleeting moment I thought It won't stop-- where does this day END? And then it occured to me that this is a drop in the bucket compared to what must be in store. I guess I'd better get used to it.

Funny. I had a similar thought in the ER Wednesday night when they were jabbing tubes into my various holes.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 

Why does the medical community hate me?

Today I ended up in the ER after some cramping and bleeding. I spent most of the time just lying there, but they finally came in and started with their torture devices.

I had a CATHETER, y'all.

That Doesn't get much more uncomfortable than that. Having it put in was bad, but having it be in was worse. Nothing quite compares to feeling like you are about to piss yourself, but not really needing to or being able to do anything to relieve that feeling.

They did an ultrasound, which should have been a great event, but wasn't. The crap on t.v. where the husband is at the wife's side, holding her hand, and the ultrasound technician is lovingly pointing out the different parts of the baby while the couple ooooohs and ahhhhhhs? Yeah that's not what this one was like at all.

They wouldn't let Tim go back there with me. When I got back there, the first thing she did was fill my bladder up with cold water. YAY. Then she started the ultrasound and I asked her if she could see the baby. I couldn't see the screen at all. She said she could, and I said, "Tell me if you see any sex organs." She said, "I can't tell you anything. I don't even look for sex organs." Hmf. So it's gonna be like that, huh? Fine. A few minutes later I leaned over a little to try to sneak a peek at the screen. She turned it away from me and said, "I can't show you anything."

Bitch. I almost started crying. I'm already fragile. I'm tired, I'm scared, I've got a tube in my pisser, and the ice queen won't let me sneak a peek at Little Wendol, who might be in grave danger? What gives?

The ultrasound-- if that's even what they really did -- lasted about 15 minutes, then ice queen wheeled me back to my room, where Tim was waiting. By this point the catheter was really starting to bother me. The ice queen said the nurse was coming in to take it out right away, but she didn't. I had to deal with it for another 20 minutes, but it seemed like longer. I'm not sure which sucked worse-- having it put in, or having it taken out. Both hurt. I was just glad when that was over.

The doc came in and shined a light into my nether regions and said my junk looks good. (Of course it does.) Then he said the ultrasound looked normal-- I'm measuring about 16 weeks, which is just a few days ahead of where I thought I was. Little Wendol has a strong heartbeat and seems to be doing well in there. There's no explanation for the little bit of spotting I had, but I'm just supposed to take it easy for a week.

Oh, and I'm not supposed to worry about it. Right. I keep telling myself this happens to people all the time and things work out. Still. Nothing puts a cold feeling in a pregnant woman's stomach like the sight of blood in the bathroom.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008 

The Frazzled Nurse and The Chair of Death

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas. I hope your children wore halos all day if you have little ones, or that they gave you a nice gift (or at least called) if you have big ones.

I spent another day being sick, but this time I spent it being sick in a doctor's office. It was the only clinic that was open today. They didn't open until 1:00, and when I pulled into the parking lot at 12:55 there was a line of people wrapped around the building. Fabulous. They didn't take too long getting me back there, and the doctor zipped into the room shortly after I was taken back. She spent about 11 seconds looking into my throat and listening to me breathe, then said she was going to run some tests, and she zipped right back out. Honestly, she wasn't in the room a full minute.

About fifteen minutes later a nurse came and took me to the lab, where they realized there was no room for me. A guy was already in The Chair, so they just told me to stand near the wall while they finished with him. I opted to go pee instead. When I got back, the man was commenting on how painless the needle had been. Great, I thought, at least they've got a good nurse. But I was not to be so lucky.

I finally sat in The Chair, where I sat watching the nurses scramble around and trip over each other and generally behave in a very confused manner. It only took me a minute to figure out that none of them worked there on a regular basis. They just fill in on weekends sometimes, and this was apparently the first time for both of the ones who were in the lab. They couldn't find anything, couldn't figure out how the machine worked, couldn't keep straight what tests had been ordered on what patients, they jostled charts around and dropped things and it was just a mess.

The most frazzled of them all finally approached me and started digging through drawers. She was going to do a finger prick instead of drawing blood from my arm. It took a few minutes to find the finger pricking device. Then the other nurse told her that the test that had been ordered had to be sent out, so they had to draw blood from my arm. It took a few more minutes while the device for that procedure was located. The most frazzled of them all handed me a handful of glass vials and said, "Hold this!" while she continued digging through a drawer in search of "a hub," whatever that is.

She finally got the little needle, the wipey cloth, the cotton, and everything else ready, and began poking around for a vein. She couldn't find one. I gingerly guided her toward the area where it is most often found, but there was nothing there either. She said I had "tiny, no-good, rolling veins," and finally tied the elastic strap around my right arm. She stuck me. Not too bad at first. But the blood didn't come, and she began moving the needle around inside. It stung like a mofo. Then blood squirted out-- not into the vial, but onto the floor! It was disgusting! She said, "Woops!" and started trying to reach around me to get something to catch the blood with-- a cotton ball, I guess-- but she was still holding the needle in my arm. I reached behind myself awkwardly with my left arm and grabbed a bag of cotton balls. She finally got one, covered the needle, and pulled it out of my arm. "That didn't work."

No shit, Sherlock. It did hurt like hell though.

She apologized, cleaned the blood off of me, taped a cotton ball over the still-bleeding hole, and began poking around for another place to stab me. After a few more minutes of poking, she threw her hands up and said, "I'm gonna let one of you do it!" and she disappeared around a corner.

A less frazzled nurse happened to walk in about that time, and asked what was going on. No one knew. She turned to me and asked what tests were being done on me. I repeated a medical term I had heard but didn't understand. She grabbed the finger pricking device and the other nurse said, "Doesn't that have to be drawn and sent out?" She said, "No, we do it here, so we can just prick the finger." A tiny prick later I was on my way back to Room 4. All that poking and bleeding wasn't even necessary.

I waited in my room for a few minutes, and the other nurse came in and swabbed my throat for a strep test. Then the real waiting began. The doctor finally came back in and said that I didn't have strep or walking pneumonia. She said I probably have something viral, and that she's seen a lot of it going around. She said it's going to take a week to a week and a half to clear up, and that I should stay home for a few days.

Right. The state test is this week. I can't miss work-- they'll kill me dead if I call in. Anyone can proctor a test, but the administrator has to be certified, I think. Anyway, it starts Tuesday. I might take off tomorrow, but I haven't decided yet. I feel better now than I did yesterday, or even earlier today, so it's possible that I could feel better in the morning. I've got a written excuse, so if I do have to call in I'm covered.

This sucks!

Saturday, May 10, 2008 

Double Yolker

I made brownies for my classes a long time ago, and they've been begging for more brownies ever since. So I decided to make some for the last week of school. Today I thought I should do a practice run. I do have a brownie making reputation to protect, after all, so I can't afford to serve mediocre brownies. Besides, I owe it to the children.

I cracked open the second egg for the mix, and it was a double yolker! We used to find them all the time when all the eggs we ate came from my mom's chickens, but I haven't seen one in years. My sister and I would fight over who would get to eat the double yolker.


I never buy the "jumbo" eggs at the store, but I did last time because they were out of the ones that are "cage free." I guess all the double yolkers are in the jumbo eggs. The cage free ones are brown, like eggs are supposed to be.

Anyway, that was the big adventure of my morning. Don't you envy my exciting life?

In other news, I'm sick. My allergies have been worse than I can remember them being since I was a little girl and my mother would leave me at grandma's dog-infested house where my face would swell up and I would beg them to take me home. They always said, "Go wash your face and your hands! That'll make it stop!" No, bitch, only Benadryl will make it stop! Wouldn't you know that the one time I really needed Benadryl it wouldn't be available?? And if you still think it's bad that my mother would give me Benadryl for everything-- headache, broken arm, sprained ankle-- you should hear what my grandmother would give me. Hows about a dose of Grandpa's HEART MEDICATION!? Yeah, she did that when I was 3. They say I slept for four days.

Oh, I hated going to Gramma's house. It was torture.

I thought I had somewhat outgrown my horrendous allergies because I haven't had much trouble with them in years. This year they're awful. My skin itches, my throat and the roof of my mouth are itchy, my nose is permanently clogged. My nose being congested makes my ear hurt, and also forces me to breathe out of my mouth, which is probably why I woke up with the worst sore throat I've ever had-- or at least the worst I can remember in recent history. I am hoping that breathing out of my mouth is the cause, and not some infection or virus. It's more sore than you would think it would be just from sleeping with your mouth open, but I don't have a fever.

The big test is this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so it would not be good for me to get really sick and miss work. Some Assistant Principals would be very, very upset with me. They have already said that if you're going to miss any more days of work, you have to have a doctor's note. I guess they did that because it's so hard to get subs to come in at this point of the year. They don't want to deal with the wild ass children-- not for $40 a day.

I can only imagine what they would say if I called in on the day of the state test. Who would give it? It's kind of a big deal because you have to do all this training before you can give it and they threaten to throw you in prison or fine you if you break any one of the nine thousand piss ass laws regarding what you can say, what you can do, etc. I'm sure they wouldn't actually toss me in the slammer if I broke one tiny rule, but the point is that they come across as being total Nazis about what can be done during the test. I doubt they'd want a sub to do it.

I'm already wondering how my fat pregnant ass is going to manage not sitting down for over 4 hours. I will start having pains in my stomach, which I assume are round ligament pains. The only way to get rid of them is to take a Tylenol and sit with your feet up. They will ease up after only about 10 minutes of sitting down, but the longer you stand, the worse they get. I've had them hit me pretty hard a couple of times at work just from the normal amount of standing I do while teaching, and that doesn't compare to standing without any break for 4-5 hours. I normally sit down at least a little bit at work. Don't these bastards have to accommodate me to some extent? The other pregnant chick said she was going to ask the principal, but I didn't hear anything about it.

I guess I can suck it up. My mom worked in a factory when she was pregnant with me. Something tells me they didn't let her pull up a chair and put her feet up.

My head feels like it could potentially explode. I hope the congestion will not prevent me from being able to taste the brownies. That would be at least as tragic as an exploding head.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 


I just watched this movie, and while it was definitely an hour-long advertisement for midwives, it did contain some useful information. I'm sure the info is accurate and not twisted to suit the message of the film because I've heard most of the same stats many times before. It's nice to be reminded that there's only one other developed country with an maternal mortality rate as high as ours. They didn't say which one, but I'm betting it's China.

Tonight there was an awards ceremony for the 8th graders. I gave out 2 awards-- one for 7th grade English, and one for 8th grade English. The 7th grader got his award Tuesday.

The 8th graders received invitations to the ceremony, which let them know they had been given an award, but they did not know what the award was for. Several of my students have been giving me knowing looks, believing that I gave them the English award. Today one cornered me outside the restroom and begged me to spill the beans. I honestly didn't know what her award was for; it didn't come from me. So this afternoon when I was having that internal struggle with myself about whether I was actually going to get up, get dressed again, and return to the school for the ceremony, I decided it would be worth it to see her get the big surprise. I also wanted to see the student who did get the English award.

When I arrived, I sat next to the one and only teacher I could spot. She leaned over and said that we were the only two teachers who showed up. I thought she had to be wrong, and I scanned the room. Nope. No other teachers. Hard to believe. Anyway, it turned out that the girl's mystery award was for Reading Fair, and the girl I gave the English award wasn't even there. Her name was called for probably half a dozen awards, so I was surprised she didn't come. Some parents...well, some have work schedules that won't allow them to attend many things. Others don't give a damn. I tend to automatically think they don't give a damn, but it's possible that she just couldn't attend. That's a damn good reason to have two parents in a household, isn't it? At least one can almost always be there for the kids. My dad missed most of my important events because of his job, but Mom was there. And of course if Dad hadn't been working, Mom couldn't have been there.

I would like to take this totally random opportunity to:

1. remind you all that Obama has no experience. None.
2. tell you that I am craving salt and vinegar potato chips.

I'd better go to bed before I eat something, or, God forbid, start pulling for Hillary.


On a more positive note

The school year is almost over! Today will be a normal school day-- or as normal as it can be at this point, anyway. There has been a fight almost every day for the last week. I know that when people picture our school, they imagine that fights break out daily. However, we've only had maybe 4 fights the entire year up until two weeks ago. It's just that time of the year. It gets hot outside and they go nuts.

Anyway, today will be a "normal" day and I think tomorrow is too. Next Monday will be a "normal" day, and that's the last one. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are MCT days. Friday is May Day. They've got a field day organized with lots of games and booths and activities for the kids. I have been assigned to man the horseshoes. Because I'm really good at handling the students when there are heavy metal objects flying through the air. Another teacher who's at that station with me is an ex-military guy, so maybe he can break someone's trachea if necessary. Actually, Mrs. D told me that she assigned me to that area because nobody likes horseshoes and I won't have to do anything but sit in my lawn chair all day. The dogs ate my good beach chair so I've gotta go buy another one. I think I'll get one with an umbrella. There's a snack shack, so maybe I'll just grab children as they walk by and make them go get me Diet Cokes and chips while I sit on my fat ass with Mr. Army.

The week that follows is the last week. They're supposed to take a 9 weeks test, but I think it's pretty much going to be a breeze. I'm going to give a test, but on the other 4 days they're going to be helping me clean up. There will be food, I hope. The administration has said no parties are allowed, but I don't plan to have a party. I plan to have a plate of brownies and maybe some chips available to children who help clean and pack the room. It's not a party if you're working, right? Right.

My next appointment is the 27th, and I'll be 17 weeks. I think they could possibly do the "big" ultrasound then, even though they like to do it between 18 and 20 weeks. We made our reservations in San Francisco, so I won't be here when it's technically time for my next appointment, which would be late June. Maybe they'll do it this time. I'm gonna call ahead of time and ask, because if they're going to do it I want Tim to come along. I still feel like I'm getting pink vibes.

Hey Hillbilly Mom, you wanna trade one of those boys for a girl? C'mon. It's barely been used.

That reminds kids were reading out loud a few days ago, and when a girl came to the word "c'mon" she read it as "semen." As soon as I heard what she said, I expected the room to explode in laughter, but none of them caught it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 

Bad things about pregnancy, bad things about bad people

This post contains toilet humor and may not be suitable for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

Pregnancy really sucks sometimes. People only tell you about the symptoms that aren't embarrassing. So I'm here to tell you about the embarrassing ones, because I'm Real like that.

Let's start with indigestion. I can open my mouth to speak, and accidentally burp. That's not pleasant. It's disgusting. It's probably more disgusting for the person I'm speaking to than it is for me.

But not as disgusting as the God-awful gas. It's nonstop, and it doesn't matter what I eat. Sometimes it's the painful kind. Last night, I was doubled over in pain. I swore I was cramping and that something unthinkable was about to happen, but then I, uh, expelled the culprit and harmony was restored in my bowels. Temporarily.

Constipation. You fart until you think you're about to shit your pants, then you can't squeeze anything out. It's lovely. Really. Maybe the pushing is meant to prepare me for the childbirth experience. When we were kids, my friend Snookie and I referred to taking a crap as "Giving birth to a brown baby boy." I don't think we realized how racist that may be. Comparing a brown baby to a turd. But you get the point. Our vulgar little hearts were in a different place than that.

The acne does seem to have backed off considerably, and I have a little bit more energy. I'm not as moody, though my tear ducts are still working some overtime on occasion. My patience is still short with the kids at school, but has improved. Right now I'm not inclined to think it's me. It's alllll them.

Did I tell you that one of the students went to a teacher's house, knocked on her door, and attacked her with a wrench or a screwdriver when she answered it? Remember that fight that I said happened last week? He was in that fight, and apparently got beat up a little. He went over to the kid's house to get his revenge. His mother, who happens to be the basketball coach at the high school, opened the door. He asked for the kid, she told him to leave, and he pushed his way inside and beat the hell out of her. She's got a bunch of staples in her head but she's going to be okay, and he's been charged with aggravated assault. He's not one of my students and I can't picture his face even though I've heard his name many times.

Kids these days. Hitting their teachers in the head with heavy objects. Little rascals. Let one of the little fuckers come to my door. I got something for 'em.

Honestly, as rambunctious as my students are, I don't think I have any that are capable of doing something like that. I could be horribly wrong-- I mean, a parent did try to poison me. But I can't picture any of my students wielding a wrench or other object intended to bash my head in. They would rather kill me slowly by working my blood pressure up until I stroke out. Once they've got me partially paralyzed, the real fun will begin.

Monday, May 05, 2008 

Why it's hard to believe

There's a real possibility that I might choke one of the kids in my 5th period class before the year is officially over. They are nucking futs. I am not joking or trying to be funny. They have lost their rabid ass minds. The behavior is completely outrageous.

Last Friday there was a cookout and party on the front lawn of the school for the 8th graders. It was designed to celebrate their graduation from the D.A.R.E. program. We had city cops and other officials who volunteered to grill burgers and hot dogs, which were served up by teachers and-- get this-- trustees. That's right. I served up hot dogs and hamburgers alongside a dude in a green and white striped jumpsuit while the local news station filmed it for the evening news. Even a college degree can't help you escape fate. I also thought it was symbolic of how teachers are regarded in our society. Stick me behind the serving table with the convicts. What's the difference, right?

The kids were mostly behaving well from what I saw, though I did think it unwise to let 400 8th graders roam around the parking lot and front yard for 4 hours with no organized activities to occupy them after the meal was finished. I predicted that something ungodly would happen, then at 12:30 I left to go to my 1:00 OB appointment.

That night I watched the news, but they didn't show anything about us. They showed the kids from the white school marching and riding bikes through town while holding signs about reducing fuel consumption. There was another piece about some other white school that won an award of some type. But no sign of me and my little black D.A.R.E. graduates. I became infuriated. Why the hell did they come film this if they weren't going to show it? And why do people want to see the kids from the "good" school but not our school? Something positive was happening at our horrible school, it was filmed by the local news station, and they weren't showing it! Why the hell not!?

I brewed over this the rest of the weekend-- when I wasn't busy crying hormonal tears for Eight Belles. (P.E.T.A. is an organization of fools, by the way.)

Then this morning when I went to work, I learned that an all out riot had erupted about an hour after I left. The kids had organized a game, someone got mad, and next thing you know there was a brawl. There are students claiming that a gun was brandished at one point and that it was a gang-related tiff-- even though it sounded to me like two groups of guys playing football on opposing teams, they swear it was gang vs. gang.

Now I don't know if there was a gun, or if the kids were separated according to their gang affiliation. I tend to discount most mentions of gang problems just because it seems to me that even the kids who do make references to gangs are really just playing make believe. Scribbling "Vice Lords" on your binder doesn't make you a gangster in my book. Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself, but I've never seen a gun at school or heard a rumor about one that turned out to be true. They did have the cops do a "random" search today, so maybe they felt there was a threat.

Anyway, the fight might explain why the celebration didn't make the news. Can you imagine what the broadcaster might have said?

Teachers and convicted felons served up weenies today at We Be Cool Middle School to celebrate the eighth graders' graduation of the D.A.R.E. program. Five hundred students were recognized for completing the drug prevention program. The celebration ended with the arrests of 57 students after a football game turned into a gang war. And here's Jamaal with tonight's sports news! Jamaal?

This is one disappointed teacher, signing off.

Sunday, May 04, 2008 

Random Thought Whenever

My parents got here yesterday afternoon and stayed until this afternoon. Mom and I planted some tomato plants. I hope they produce lots of tomatos so I don't have to buy the ones at the grocery store, which have never tasted quite right to me.

I cried-- really, really cried when Eight Belles went down in the Kentucky Derby. Not that I had any particular connection to any horse or anything to do with the event, but I was just watching the coverage of it all morning and most of the afternoon while we waited for my folks to arrive, and for whatever reason I just liked that one because she was the prettiest to me. Her trainer was calling her "sweetheart" and she just seemed special. It kills me that she (or any horse)could be running in (and damn near winning) the Kentucky Derby one second and lying stone cold dead on the track the next, and they have no explanation for why or how both of her front ankles splintered like toothpicks. Just...damn.

Our furniture-- all of it-- is finally here and set up properly. They took the box springs and replaced them with the low profile ones, which lowered the bed four inches. Four inches is a long way, or at least it feels like it. It made a big difference. I can get out of bed now without having to drop half a foot before my feet hit the floor, and I don't feel like I'm going to hit my head on the ceiling fan if I sit up suddenly.

The summer trip is almost planned. I think we've finally agreed on a hotel. I'm just sick of looking at hotels and weighing the pros and cons of each one like we know jack squat about them. It's exhausting. Just pick a damn hotel already.

I got a doppler thingy to listen to the baby's heartbeat, and I can't hear shit with it. I'm doing it the right way and I know where they've been finding it at the doctor's office, but when I do it at home it just makes my stomach hurt from pressing down and irritates the hell out of me that it isn't any easier to find the heartbeat. If I can't find it in the next month or so, I'm sending the stupid thing back before they charge me any more money.

The baby doesn't like strawberry shortcake. At all. Pickles, on the other hand, are a welcome treat.

I haven't written any lesson plans for this week. I'll just have to go in without them in the morning and write them during my off period. Who knows if they'll even notice at this late stage of the game.

Fifteen days of school left. Subtract 3 for state testing, 2 for 9 weeks testing, 1 for the final regular test, May Day next Friday, and the half a day for the last day of school, and there are actually 7.5 real days left. We gotta pack up sometime, so I'm thinking there might be 5 days of actual work remaining. That is assuming you don't consider testing work. It's still work, but walking around a room for 4 hours while kids fall asleep during the test is an agonizing task, but still slightly less nerve-racking than trying to get them to behave and focus as hyper as they are lately. Come on, May 23.

Thursday, May 01, 2008 

The Tell-Tale Farce

Today at 3:30 an office worker came bouncing into my room to tell me that the principal wanted to see me "promptly at 4:00." Of course I spent the next half hour trying to think of every questionable thing I may have said or done in the last, oh, forever. By the time I got up there I was certain that I was about to endure some kind of talking-to from him and/or the Academic Coach, which would, of course, be designed for the sole purpose of covering their respective asses when all my kids bomb the MCT next week.

When I got up there, he said, "There's a parent here who wants to talk to us about something that happened with her daughter yesterday. Was there some kind of incident with [Angelic Daughter] in your class?" I told him no, there was no incident. I had no idea what he was referring to. So he says the child has told her mother that I made her empty out her pockets in front of the class, and that her pockets had contained some personal items, so the student was embarrassed. After making the student empty the contents of her pockets onto my desk, I allegedly snatched the items up angrily and tossed them into the trash can.

Here's what really happened: Angelic Daughter was wearing a long-sleeved sweater type thing with one of those big pockets in the front that you can put both hands in. She had it packed full of miscellaneous items, which she was tinkering with during a reading assignment. I gave her The Look, and even verbally warned her to focus her attention on the task at hand. The third time I saw Angelic Daughter with her head down looking at whatever was in her pockets, I asked her to empty her pockets onto my desk. With her back to the class, she did this. And the contents of her pockets included a chewed up straw, a single, rusty earring, and a tube of lip gloss. I thanked Angelic Daughter and she returned to her seat.

There were no personal female items. There was no angry snatching of her belongings. The items were not thrown away. Okay, the straw and the rusty earring were thrown away, but not in the angry way the child described. In fact, they remained on my desk until this morning when I threw them away and placed the lip gloss in my drawer, where it is even now.

I thought it was kinda strange that this child had fabricated this story and taken it home to her mother. Why would she? It's not like she had some expensive item taken and had to explain it to her mom. And I didn't embarrass her and give her a reason to feel she had been wronged. She literally pulled this out of her ass and took it home to start some shit.

Then she told on herself. Middle schoolers do that sometimes if you listen. While raving on about how I had humiliated her in front of her peers, she slipped up and said, "Just like when she said we cheated on that test! I ain't cheat on that test and she got in front of the whole class and said we cheated and she threw my paper in the trash in front of everybody!"

Oh. Now I remember. And now I see why Angelic Daughter needed to make Mrs. DeadpanAnn seem like a raving mad woman. Because she did, in fact, get cold BUSTED cheating on a pop quiz yesterday. I hadn't even thought of it until she said it.

The class read The Tell-Tale Heart, by Poe. For those of you who have not read this, or for whom it has been a very long time, the story is about a madman who kills his roommate (I guess) and hides him under the floor boards. After reading the story, we took a pop quiz, just to see who had listened. During teh quiz, I saw Angelic Daughter and her neighbor, Wayward Child, looking at each other in a suspicious manner. I had also noticed them taking notes (making a cheat sheet) before the test. Everything was put up, so the cheat sheet was supposed to be put away too but I was keeping an eye out for it just in case they got brave.

Well, number 3 on the quiz asked the question, "Where did he hide the body?" The answer is "Under the floorboards."

Angelic Daughter's paper said, "He shot him."

Umkay. Let's back up. The question was, "Where did he hide the body?"

Her answer: He shot him.

I sighed and moved on to the next quiz when I saw that. The next one happened to be Wayward Child's paper. Her number 3 answer? "He shot him."

Well, well, well. Two identical, off-the-wall answers to the same question on two kids' papers who happened to be seated next to each other and also happened to be caught attempting to make a cheat sheet before the quiz.

So I gave them zeros. And yes this was done in front of the class, but only because I was going back over the questions with the whole class and reading out their answers and asking them to explain them, so I happened to catch this while talking to them about their other answers.

The best part? Once they were busted in front of the class, they actually acknowledged their evil deed and the entire class had a good giggle about the fact that they got caught cheating.

I told the parent and the principal this, and also noted that the student was no longer laughing but had come up with a fictional story of her own to detract attention from her admitted wrongdoing.

The student became enraged, and swore up and down that I was making it all up. I also told the mom that I hadn't thrown the paper in the trash, but it was setting on my desk at that moment. Mother requested a copy.

That kid got busted. I just hope the mother whipped her ass after she made a fool out of her in that conference room. But I don't hope that as much as I hope that quiz is still setting on my desk. I was cleaning it off today...

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