Sunday, August 31, 2008 

Gustav, you bastard!

I don't know what to do. I'm at my mother's house at the moment, a safe 400 miles north of the coast. However, my home and my husband and my job are 300 miles south of here, a not so safe 80 miles north of the coast. Guess where I'd rather be? Okay, okay, I know there's no place like home....except when Katrina 2.0 is on the way, and then there's no place like your mother's home 300 miles north of home.


I feel like a coward. Maybe I should hop in the car and go home so at least there will be someone there to throw down towels if the chimney leaks again like it did in Katrina (not that the towels helped, mind you) or to take care of the dogs, who may have to be left outside if I'm not there. Tim works at the hospital, and has been told that he probably won't be allowed to leave for a minimum of 48 hours after the storm hits. So if he's at work for two days straight, the dogs can't be left in their crates in the laundry room that entire time. But if they're outside and 150 mph winds come through, they may not be happy. But I don't WANNNNAAA go home and be 8 months pregnant with no electricity or water just so the dogs will be able to stay inside. I wanna stay up here and be 8 months pregnant WITH electricity and hot water.

I wasn't in Hattiesburg during Katrina. I was employed in the Delta that year, remember? So I was in a fishing cabin in the middle of the woods somewhere in Yazoo County-- far north of the coast, and it still sucked. I had all the shutters closed on the cabin, and every time I peeped out, all I could see was a 3 foot high layer of fog traveling across the top of the lake at high speed, and trees leaned over to kiss the ground. It looked like the end of the world, and sounded like it too. Trees were snapping and hitting the ground left and right, and I just knew one was going to crash through on me at any minute. One particularly massive tree split down the middle and fell, and that was a sound I can't even describe. It lasted about 45 seconds, and I swear you could feel it when it hit the ground. Of course, when I finally got to go outside the next day, I saw that it had landed about 25 feet from where I was sitting at the time, so that makes sense. Not one tree hit my humble abode during the storm, which was a true miracle. On all four sides of the cabin, there were fallen trees. I couldn't even drive out of my driveway because of all of them. As far as I could see around me, fallen trees, but none hit my house.

Tim was at home, and he said it was so scary that there were several times he's sure he would've jumped in his truck and tried to leave town if the truck hadn't been broken down. (We had been up here the previous weekend, and as soon as he rolled back into the driveway in Hattiesburg his truck died.) Tim's calm during weather, so if he was scared enough that he really wanted to get the hell out, I can't imagine how bad it must've been. I'm NOT calm during bad weather. I may have seriously come unglued. I can't even medicate myself this time.

I don't wanna go.

He just called and told me he now expects to be off work during the storm, so there will be someone there. I still feel guilty for not wanting to go home. I should be there with him in case it gets bad and I can't get in touch afterwards.


My mother's birthday is tomorrow and I'm taking her to lunch today at 1:00. After that, I'll make a decision. I was leaning towards staying up here until Tim said he'll be at home. I'll feel safer being there as long as he's there with me.

On a brighter note, I totally racked up yesterday at the baby shower. You can't even walk down the hallway right now for the gift bags. A lot of people showed up, and I think every single one of them gave me a bag that had at least 3 or 4 different gifts in it. One of my aunts handmade some cute little burp cloths with embroidered stuff on them, another made a quilt, and one gave me a high chair. Another gave me a cool bouncy chair thing. I already had a high chair and a bouncy chair, but that's not the point. The point is that they hooked me up with sweet stuff. And everyone was so giddy! It wasn't like that at my wedding shower at all. People love babies, don't they?

As everyone was leaving, they each kept saying, "Good luck." That really made it hit home that next time I see them, I'll have a baby. Did you get that? A baby. A miniature person who depends completely on ME to meet all his needs.

Poor thing.

Saturday, August 30, 2008 

Don't say I didn't warn you.

The next person who tells me I don't look pregnant is getting a knuckle sandwich. I don't care what is actually MEANT by such a statement; all I know is that to me it sounds like, "God, you're so damn fat that nobody can even tell you're nearly 8 months pregnant! That's FAT! Like SUPER FAT!"

I'm telling you. Knuckle sandwich.



McCain picked a woman. Cool. So who the hell is she, anyway? So far, the media has attempted to answer that question by showing pictures of her fishing and doing stuff outside and what not. She's a badass, apparently. I'm not sure how this will work out now though. At first, I thought it was brilliant because now all the people who don't want to vote for Obama have another minority to vote for, and that way you don't have to be a racist or whatever. Either way you go, you're going for "change" in a way. But Tim made the point that there are still a lot of old white guys who only want to vote for other old white guys, and now they may not vote at all. That only sucks if you DON'T like Obama. And I don't. He's good at reading someone else's speeches off a teleprompter. And at dodging difficult votes, which is something he did an average of 50 times per year in the senate. Empty. Suit.

My baby shower is in 7 1/2 hours and I've got a 4 1/2 hour drive and some laundry to do before I can leave. I would bitch about having to drive up there today and back down here tomorrow, but I just found out that a close friend of our family has driven over from Texas just to give me a gift. That totally ruins my bitchportunity, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 

Offender Update

One of yesterday's offenders came to me first thing this morning and offered an apology for what he did yesterday at the end of the day. At first I assumed that he was just trying to get out of trouble, but then I realized that it was so early that there was no way he could even know that I had written him up. Then I noticed a quiver in his voice, and then-- get this-- I saw a tear well up in his eye. So I commended him for coming to apologize, and told him that he'd still have to face his office referral but that I would let the assistant principal know that he'd come to me with a sincere apology. I left a message on the AP's phone. I have no clue what the boy's punishment was.

The other offender from yesterday nearly ran me over as she marched angrily into the bathroom. I happened to be standing in the doorway to find out why it was taking my ladies so long to do their business and come back out. (We go as a class after lunch.) The offender was with the ISS group. I don't know how many days of ISS she received. She clearly has not been lying awake at night trying to figure out how to word her apology.

The class of offenders was much better today. I changed the procedure for getting binders at the beginning of the class, and I made some seating adjustments. I also removed The Ringleader from the equation, temporarily, and that happened at the beginning of class, so I was able to have a day to work on the others without him in there. It was nice. I also noticed that when we went over some board work, everyone was offering answers-- CORRECT answers! Seems without TR in the room, everyone's okay with speaking up. HmmMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 

I'd rather be pissed off than pissed on...

...but this morning, I was both. First just lemme point out that at 7 months preggo, most of my work clothes have gone into the "maybe I will wear this again after I have the baby" closet, so getting dressed for work has become a challenge. I literally have just enough to make it through one week without repeating. Fridays are a bitch unless we have blue jean day, which we rarely do. Anyway, this morning I put on the ONLY pair of pre-preggo pants that I can still wear. I love these pants. Love 'em. They're comfortable, they're cute, they're professional, and they're going to be worn out soon enough. I put them on this morning, and before I even had the chance to put on a top... (I'll give you a moment to soak in the image of my 7 month pregnant ass topless) I detected the faint but unmistakable smell of cat piss.

If that bitch pissed on these pants, I'll f*ckin' kill her.

I pulled 'em off and held them up to my face. Sure enough, it was the pants. Two days ago I got dressed and then detected the smell on a certain shirt of mine. A couple of weeks ago, a load of laundry was pissed on, and I thought maybe that particular shirt had taken the brunt of the piss barrage and had not come clean in the wash. Now that I've detected it on my favorite pants, I think Pocket Satan has managed to carry out yet another terrorist attack, and I just didn't catch it before it dried and the clothes got put up. I sure hope that's it, and that the smell isn't refusing to come out. If the clothes are ruined, I'm about to be super hard up for work attire.

Pocket Satan is no longer allowed inside the house, and that's final. Pookie is normally the only one allowed in, because Millay (Pocket Satan) does have this tendency to piss on things. Lately we've been letting her in to eat, but not letting her come out of the kitchen/dining room/ laundry room area. Maybe this load of laundry was left in there for her to attack it. I don't know. I certainly hope that Pookie is not the culprit, because I'd hate to kick him out too. He's my pal. But Pocket Satan is banished for eternity. I don't give a damn if the sky above our yard is filled with cat eating vultures, her ass ain't comin' back inside.

In unrelated news, I had to write TWO kids up today in my 7th period. Those made office referrals number 2 and 3 for the year. It pained me to do it. I had only written up one, and she begged for it, and just this morning I was wondering how long I could go without doing any referrals. I was patting myself on the back for my much improved classroom management skills. (Yeah, that usually goes before a fall, doesn't it?) Anyway, they were sort of freak events, because neither kid is really bad. They just got wild hairs up their ass. One lost her damn mind and began screaming at me when I told her for the fourth time to put her belongings up and concentrate on what we were working on. The other was on his way out of the door at the end of the day when he decided to wipe his friend's name off the board in an effort to prevent him from getting the detention he so earned. When I saw him I told him to come to my desk. He turned around and ran away. That's open defiance. He's not a bad kid, but he ain't getting away with that shit.

They are the worst class I have. All but 1 of them failed the first test, and half the class hasn't even managed to put together the required English binder yet, despite the fact that I went to Wal Mart and bought a buggy full of binders and offered them up for free. I can't complain about the other 4 classes. But these wannabe outlaws have something coming tomorrow when they get to my class. I think we need to back track and rediscover who's running the show. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but so far this year when I've felt a class slipping up a little, my strategy has been to slow down and reign them in. Have a slow, methodical, boring class, and remain eerily calm-- almost robotic, completely unfeeling-- throughout it. Dictate their every move to them. Clear your desk except for one sheet. Place your textbook on the left side of your desk. Write down these 10 words. Open the book to page 42. Copy the third paragraph from the top. Boring. Slow. No room for acting a damn fool. Hillbilly, you got any ideas?

Saturday, August 23, 2008 


Last week in the chat box I mentioned that one of my kids had used the word "foreplay" after being told to make a word using the prefix "fore-". Well, it turns out that many of my kids made the same word. When one put it on the board as an answer, I suggested we choose a word that was more appropriate for us to discuss. I thought they had been trying to get my goat, but after seeing how many kids used the word and how confused they were when I didn't want us to talk about that word, I honestly don't think they knew what it meant. And strangely, I found that more disturbing-- far more disturbing-- than the idea that they were trying to slip in slightly inappropriate words. Kids trying to say inappropriate things during class is something I can handle. One gave the answer "gayness" the other day when asked to give an example of an abstract noun. That kind of thing is to be expected, and I can take it in stride. But it bothers me that they were using the word "foreplay" without knowing what it meant. Why? Because it means they've heard this word used a lot. Who's out there using the word "foreplay" around middle schoolers???

Tim's off this weekend, and this morning we mowed the grass in record time. Dark clouds were swirling, and the wind was blowing, and we wanted to get the yard taken care of before Fay dumps tons of water on it. So he got on the lawnmower and I took out the weedeater, and we had it done in no time. I think we should do it that way every other weekend when he's home. Of course, it's usually a thousand degrees outside, which slows us down. It was easier today because it was cool and the wind was blowing.

I'm going up to my mother's house next weekend for a baby shower. I'm grateful for the shower, but not looking forward to spending a precious weekend running back and forth.

I can't sleep, and I'm grumpy. This shit's getting old.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 


Monday night was Open House, so I was at work from 7:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. I was so exhausted, and the next day wasn't much better. This morning I got caught by a slow train and spent 45 minutes getting to work when it should've taken 15.

So I had a bad start. Then I walked in to discover that the algebra teacher in my pod has quit. And that's just lovely, because it means that every kid I teach is getting a sub for an hour a day for who knows how long. You could already feel a slight difference in them today. The scary thing is that it could be this way for a long time. There's apparently some special certification requirement needed on top of the math certification that you have to have to teach algebra. Math teachers are hard to find; algebra teachers are harder. That's what I'm told, anyway. I don't know jack about math certification myself. Anyway, it must be true that it's hard to find algebra teachers because they just hired this girl about a week before school started, and she was 23 years old, fresh out of college (she moved out of the dorm the day she set up her classroom), and was an alternate route teacher like myself, which means her original degree was in math, not education. As much as it pisses me off when people throw down on alternate route teachers, I have to admit that you walk in less prepared on day one. That certainly doesn't mean you can't do it if you want to, but you walk in without having done any student teaching, and with very little (if any) in-classroom experience. All your training in the field of education has been on theory, then you're thrown into practice and nothing you learned in school helps.

No one seemed surprised that she quit, but I thought she would make it. I guess the unfettered insanity I dealt with in my first two years has given me tough skin, and the situation we're dealing with this year is in no way comparable to what I did last year and the year before. She had it easy, and still quit. So maybe she didn't want to do it in the first place.

Sucks for the rest of us.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 

Random Thought Whenever

When I was a kid, I loved watching the Olympics. In the summer, my favorite things to watch were diving and gymnastics; in the winter, it was iceskating. In adulthood, however, I find it less interesting, but I've been watching a little bit this year. Now that Michael Phelps has broken the world record for the most gold medals ever won in one year, there's really no reason to watch. Let's face it. Women's volleyball isn't that interesting.

My feet have never hurt worse than they do now. They're better today because I was off work yesterday, but during the week there's no relief. Nothing I could say could make you understand the true extent of my foot discomfort. And my husband won't massage them, even though I think that would really help. At the end of the day they feel like they just need to be rubbed and squeezed.

The Pre-AP class I'm teaching is going to be more of a challenge than I thought. I was really looking forward to having a class made up of the cream of the crop, but it has its drawbacks. For example, they know when I make a mistake, and no teacher likes that. They also know they are really smart, and there are a few truly smart mouthed little boys in there. Finally, they seem to be bored. I'm struggling to find ways to make it challenging for them. I'm used to dumbing things down for students who are far below grade level-- not that the goal is to bring it down to their level, but you have to take it to them before you can bring them up. Anyway, the hardest thing I've thrown at them so far has not been hard enough.

I'm going to be writing my lesson plans in a few hours, and I'm going to go nutso on them this week. I have no idea what I'm going to make them do yet, but they won't be bored, and they won't think the class is too easy for their superior intellects, which is exactly what they think right now. The stuff that's in the curriculum is really too easy for them. I mean, last week we were supposed to teach prefixes/suffixes and run-ons/fragments. In the 8th grade. Anyone who's been half conscious at any point since about 3rd or 4th grade already knows all about that stuff. I almost think I should just give them stuff on the side that has nothing to do with the 8th grade curriculum. Why not? I mean, why not teach that stuff because I have to, but then make them write tons of papers and do projects? I can't think of any reason not to do that. Well-- I can think of one-- I have no idea what to make them do.

Yikes. This is scary.

Last week at work my boss told me to put in for my maternity leave as soon as possible. I was going to put it off until this weekend, but on Friday she insisted that I get it to her by the end of 6th period, so I had about 20 minutes to sit down with a calendar and decide on some dates. I didn't know what dates to take off because it's not like I know when I'm going to have the baby. They assured me that the dates aren't carved in stone. I'm due October 31, so I said I would work until Oct 22, which is a Tuesday. That's really close to the due date, but I didn't want to take off too early and then not have as much time off after the baby gets here. I said I'd go back January 12, which is the Monday of the second week after kids come back from Christmas. I didn't have to count the weeks that school is out for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so even though it's nearly 3 months off, it's still only 8 weeks of missed work. The district only gives 6 weeks, but you can take up to 12 through the Family Medical Leave Act, thanks to Bill Clinton. I thought 8 was reasonable, but the more I think about it, the more I wish I had just put in for the full 12.

I'm getting nervous. The bad thing is that my anxiety isn't so much about taking care of a tiny baby as it is about whether I'll be able to even come close to doing all the other things I need to do. It's hard to get it all done at work now. I run out of energy now. My house is never clean now. I'm always always behind on everything. My lesson plans are always done at the last minute, there's always a stack of papers to grade, there's always a boss reminding me of some task I completely forgot to do, my house isn't clean, my laundry is never done, the floors get cleaned every other week if I'm lucky, I barely have time to go to the grocery store or prepare meals....that's NOW. How am I going to make it through a day with a baby?

Thursday, August 14, 2008 

Baby and stuff.

This morning I had a doctor's appointment, and he said I'm anemic. That explains why I have been able to take 3 hour naps in the middle of the afternoon and still go to sleep at 10:00 at night. At least that's what I was doing before school started back. I may never nap again.

The good news was that I passed the glucose test with room to spare, so I don't have gestational diabetes. He also said I'm measuring 32 weeks even though I'm only 29. So one of us is bigger than we're supposed to be. I think it's probably just me.

Work was a bitch today. It was better than my best day last year, but it was still rough. I hate getting to work late because you're behind all day.

Now I have to go to the doctor every two weeks. What is it that they need to do every two weeks? All he does now is listen to the baby's heartbeat, measure me, and ask if I have any questions. It takes ten minutes-- and probably costs $300. There's the key, I think.

Bleh. I'm going to bed.

Monday, August 11, 2008 

The Other Extreme-- A Quick Vent

Summer does get old, what with the doing nothing all the time. I have to admit that by the end of July, I was ready for some responsibility. Now it's back to the other extreme; I'll have no time for doing nothing. What about the weekend, you say? Ha! When else am I going to wash the dishes, wash, fold, and put away the clothes, sweep the floors, clean the toilets, make the bed, wipe down the counters, buy the groceries, and cook the meals? I barely caught my breath this weekend, and now I must return to the front lines.

Oh well. At least they're not shooting back as much this year.

Thursday, August 07, 2008 

First Day of School

The summer's officially over, and the kids came back to school today. I have one Pre-AP class, three accelerated classes, and one regular class. Pre-AP is supposed to be the cream of the crop, and they seem to be. Accelerated is supposed to be, you know, accelerated, but they're really not that special to be honest. They're probably on grade level. The regular class contains a few kids who failed the MCT. In other words, there are a few who are in exactly the same boat as the ones I taught last year.

The difference is in how the schedules are being done. Instead of being put in a class for two hours like the ones I taught last year, they have a regular class with me, then later in the day they have a remedial class with another teacher. I think there's some new program they're using to try catching the kids up. I like it because this way all the behind kids aren't in one room together. (Or at least it isn't MY room.) Anyway, I only have one class that has a few of the behind kids in it, and so far I don't even know how many of them there are. I don't think there are many. There's one kid who doesn't speak much English, and she's in it. There are a few knuckleheads who want to play, but they're angels compared to the hellions I have dealt with the last two years.

There were the usual first day glitches. Lunch was a nightmare because classes were showing up at the wrong times, getting in the wrong lines (guilty) and so forth.

Overall, my kids seem to be very good and I'm excited because I might actually get to TEACH this year.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 

Orange juice and lemonade

This morning I took the gestational diabetes sugar test. Let me start by saying that it only sucked approximately 1/8 as much as people said it would. I had been told all sorts of horror stories about how I would gag and then possibly regurgitate the stuff you have to drink. However, as with so many other pregnancy horror stories I've heard, it really wasn't that bad.

The drink was exactly like a cheap orange flavored juice, like Jungle Juice or something similar. Remember Jungle Juice? It was really cold when they gave it to me, and I had five minutes to drink a small bottle of it. Since I was supposed to be at work and knew I was missing out on important first-of-the-year stuff, I wanted to get it over with. Rarely do I rush through anything that ends with me going back to work, but nothing sucks worse than being in a really chaotic situation where a lot is expected of you and you've missed out on what little guidance you were given.

Once I finished drinking the elixir, I had to sit in the waiting room for one hour without eating or drinking anything else. That part sucked. I'm currently suffering from some of the worst indigestion imaginable, and soon after the sweet drink landed on my stomach I was tempted to tear into the pack of Rolaids I now keep on hand. Even worse is the fact that I had a cold bottle of water with me, and couldn't drink that either. The hour did pass by pretty quickly though, partly because the baby was kicking me so hard that you could see it through my shirt. I'm sure it's creepy as hell to anyone who happens to be looking, but it amuses me to no end.

Speaking of amusing myself, my doctor's office bathroom has one of those little doors in the wall that opens up to the lab, and you put your cup of pee in there when you're done. Every time I put my cup of pee in the window, I'm tempted to yell "Lemonade UP!"

You know. Like at a diner. Nevermind.

I didn't see the doctor today, so I have to go back next week for that. As bored as I get with the appointments, excitement and uncertainty are probably not desirable features of a visit to the obstetrician. Hopefully these appointments will continue to be so boring that I'll be tempted to amuse myself with pee.

Saturday, August 02, 2008 

Catching Thieves

Thursday I went up to my classroom to get things organized, and of course I discovered that half my stuff wasn't in my new room. The biggest thing that was missing, besides the white projection screen, was one of my bookshelves. There were two in my old room, and I had put my name on both of them, but only one got moved to the new room. To make it more complicated, a new teacher had already moved into the old room. I asked around to find out if another bookshelf was going to appear in my new room at some point, and was told to go get the old one. It was supposed to be moved during the summer anyway. I didn't want to take it from the new teacher, but damn, I have hundreds of books, and those shelves were ordered specifically for English teachers. Just before I decided to reclaim my bookshelf, I noticed the new teacher (who happens to be from the same district where I taught in the Delta, by the way) walking to her room with a projection screen. I asked her where she got it, and she told me she found it in an open classroom. The classroom belongs to my academic coach, who had promised it to ME. I told her that it was the AC's stuff, and she just kind of shrugged. The AC, who was in a training session on the other end of campus, told me to get the screen back from the new teacher. When I went down to her room to claim my bookshelf and projection screen, she was gone. Well, finally not being a new teacher paid off for me, and a pal with a master key let me into her room. I ganked my bookshelf and the projection screen. The bookshelf is in my new room now, and I put the projection screen back in the AC's room. I hope she still plans to give it to me, but I thought it would be safer in her room than in mine for now. Mine is connected to another teacher's room, so people can get access to it. The AC's office has one entrance, which is locked.

The rest of Thursday and then Friday , I witnessed numerous thefts. As my fellow teachers already know, we educators are known for ganking whatever we can get our hands on when it comes to equipment and supplies, but there's a limit to how much of this is acceptable. It's one thing to pick up a doorstop; stealing a projection screen from someone's wall or walking out with an office chair is a lot different.

Today I went back up there for a few hours. The teacher who is in the room that connects to mine is kind of ghetto fabulous, if you know what I mean. I always knew she was GF, but I didn't realize to what extent, and now I'm not real thrilled about the fact that our classrooms are connected. I don't trust her. Today when I got there, she had gone through my room to get into MY neighbor's room, and was standing in the dark pulling stuff out of his desk. I have no idea what she was taking, but she was pulling out handfuls of stuff and handing them to her daughter. It's possible that some of her stuff was left in the desk from last year, so maybe it wasn't so sinister. I'll find out what that was all about Monday when the desk's current owner is there, and if he's missing something from his desk I'll rat her ghetto ass out before he gets done asking what happened. I hate a damn thief.

Speaking of thieves, AT&T is basically refusing to refund the money for the phone I bought for Tim, even though we've waited ten days and we've been back up there to return it twice. Every time we go up there, they have a different excuse. Today's excuse? "Nobody in the store has enough money in their register to give you your money back." What's really funny about this is that Tim predicted it. Then the manager wanted us to give him the phone and the receipt and take his word that a check would come in the mail. I refused. This ain't my first rodeo. I got a little louder and more irate, and he finally said he'd take all cash payments on one register for the rest of the day and call me when they had enough to refund my purchase. It's $342.39, by the way. We agreed to that, and when we left Tim called 611 to complain about us getting the run around.

Two hours later, HIS phone was suddenly possessed. It was in his pocket and closed, and it suddenly started making noises like it was dialing. When he pulled it out it kept making the noise, but nothing was appearing on the screen. He turned it off, and it turned itself back on. Then he used it to dial our house phone to make sure it was working, and it cut itself off and refused to come back on when he hit the power button. Kinda funny that this started happening right after we called AT&T to bitch, so Tim called to find out what was going on. They said the battery needs to be replaced. Riiiiiight. As soon as we get our money back on this phone, we're both canceling our service.

I'm gonna do it with style, too. I think, "BLOW GOATS, MOTHERF*CKER!!!!!" should do as a final farewell, don't you?

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