Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blowing off the Dust, and A Few of My Favorite Things

Hey! I haven't been here in forever! And it's realy dusty... just like my house. Man, it's incredible how much faster my house gets messy at this time of year. All the extra stuff is like a dirt magnet, I swear.

The kids have actually been off for well over a week now, because the snow made such a mess around here (ie, the state can't handle it) that side roads were pretty much screwed until most of it melted. The big problem is, here in MD, everything is run by county, so if even one town in the county is impassable, the entire county is shut down. Since there are many, many towns in a county, and since our town is surrounded by rural places, every time anything happens at all, the whole place is closed, even when our own area is fine. Thus, the mall in town was PACKED all three days when the schools were closed due to 'treacherous conditions', so much so that it took some friends of mine over twenty minutes to circumnavigate the parking lot (once you're in, you pretty much can't get out).

Our Xmas has been great. The doorbell didn't ring for many days, and neither did the phone, which was wonderful. Usually, there are kids all over the place around here, and the bell rings several times a day, setting off the dogs, interrupting me constantly, and making family time nearly impossible. Also, with my classes over, and the kids at home, and all the extra activities over for the break, we've actually had time to play games and hang out, just the four of us.

The Elf Project I ran ended on the 18th, and in the end, we helped thirty-one kids from fourteen families. It was awesome. Most of the families were really nice. I hadn't been sure what to expect on pick-up night, whether people would be friendly, or shy, or what. Almost everyone was really friendly, and only one person was downright nasty, which I think is a pretty bug success. I got to meet the boy whose presents I bought, which was a treat since he's 13 and I didn't think I'd ever see him. He doesn't know it was me, of course, but just from meeting him I know he'll like what he got. Seeing the families made me sad, but also happy that they were there. I feel like I learned a lot, and got at least as much out of it emotionally as I put into it.

Patrick has a 'testing' date for the magnet program we've applied to; we're going at 10am on the 9th, so less than two weeks away. I'm nervous, but also excited for him. I can't go in with him, and he's never taken a test like that before, so I'm wondering what it will be like, and how he will take it. I haven't talked much about it to him, because I don't want him to psyche himself out over the idea of a test, especially since I have no idea what it will be like. His current teacher refused the idea of my sending in anything extra to take up his time, and the 'enrichment' teacher refuses to work with him, so we're back to square one. I'm really frustrated. She noted on his mid-term progress report that she's providing challenging work herself, which seems to me to be crap, since he's bringing home the same work he always has.

I can't help but wonder, a little, if some of this isn't a bit of backlash for what happened with Josie's teacher last year, and the letter I wrote that eventually was used to get her removed from her position a year ago and fired at the end of the school year. It wouldn't surprise me if everyone knew what I'd done, and while I don't regret it, I guess I didn't think about future repercussions other than having to run into Her in the hallways, etc. I suppose anyone who liked her (I can't imagine) would think I'm a pretty big dillhole.

Anyway, interestingly enough, since telling Patrick that we no longer care about his 'color', he has gotten ALL GREENS (the best behavior). ?!?!?! WTF?! Here's a funny thing - his teacher asked what we'd been doing differently, and I had to tell her that it was nothing other than telling him that we didn't care anymore. HA! So, I don't know if this was one big attention ploy on his part, or what. I'm going to cancel the appointment with the doctor for his ADD eval, because it's in only a few days, because I want to see what happens in the weeks after break. More and more, I think it's Nothing To Worry About. No one other than his teacher thinks there's a problem, not his karate instructor, his friends' parents, or our relatives, including my SIL whose child actually *is* ADD. So, we'll wait and see.

Tomorrow, I'll write about the cool games we've updated our cabinet with. We're big on games in our house, and we got a lot of fun ones this year! I can't wait to catch up on all your things; I've missed everyone, but also haven't felt like parking on the computer. After being chained to it all semester, it was nice to just look at email as I walked by and be done at that. I knew you'd all be right there when I came back. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Awesomest Web Site EVER

For those of you who love a) PostSecret, b)Pets, or c) both, go here:

I found out about it when I came across the site's book the other day in a store. I heart it.

More soon, I promise. Finals are this week. I still have an A in both classes, and it's going to stay that way, dammit. I hope to be done Tuesday, but we'll see.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not-so-Mellow Yellow

I am reaching the point of being pretty stressed out about Patrick.

In his parent-teacher conference last month, Mrs. W hinted that she thinks he may have a hyperactivity problem. She of course wouldn't say anything outright, because they're not really allowed to, but she said that she was letting him use handheld fiddle toys to help him sit still and give him something to do, because that's what her mother did with her brother, who had ADD. When I asked her if she thought he had a problem, she backpedaled so fast it's a wonder she didn't fall over her own feet, and said if that was something WE were concerned about, we could talk to a doctor about it.

Uh, when you plant a seed like that in someone's head, who wouldn't be concerned, whether I believed it or not? Either he has an issue, and needs help, or he doesn't, but she's treating him like he does.

Not to mention, he's been getting Yellows almost every day, all year long. (For those of you w/o school-age kids, this is a behavior thing; kids start the day on 'green', and get moved down a scale to other colors based on the teacher's perception of their behavior. Yellow is the first color down after green.) In this particular class, there's no physical chart, so the children aren't moving a clip or marker of any kind, and therefore have no idea when they have moved from one color to the next. This nice in that there's no public humiliation, but a pain because the kids don't know exactly what they did sometimes to get whatever color they get.

For months now, we've been trying to encourage the green behavior, while stressing out over whether he's just not capable of it, and if not, maybe there IS a problem, etc. Then, the other day, I caught him lying about having already done his homework, and the root of the problem smacked me in the face: he started crying and saying he didn't want to do it because it was too easy and boring. (This is true; his class is doing simple addition when he could multiply many of those numbers.) After talking with him a little further, I realized that the times he's getting in trouble are when he's waiting for other people to finish their work, and he's sitting there bored in his seat looking for something to do.

Suddenly, I felt like I had broken through the ice and could breathe again. There's no problem with my boy. There's a problem with the school. They're not challenging him, and he's bored, which makes him fidgety, which in turn is making the teacher treat him like he's got some medical issue. I know he does a lot of weird things, and boredom probably isn't the only reason he gets in trouble, but I'll bet it's a big part of it.

Enter The Guilt. I was taking the side of the school's behavior system over my boy, and believing things they were not-quite-saying rather than looking for an answer myself. He's not having problems with his schoolwork, he has lots of friends, and he functions well in almost every environment but those where he has to sit still and simply wait quietly. I should have known. I'm his mother, why did I come so close to accepting someone else's definition of my son?

Last night, I did two things: one, I filled out an application for Patrick to get into a magnet program for science and math next year at a local school. It's a drive, but he would get to do schoolwork 1-2 years above his grade level, and yet still be with his own peers. He was so excited when I told him about it he started jumping up and down. The other was that I emailed his teacher, explained what I thought was going on and how it's the same as last year before his K teacher started sending him to 2nd grade for reading, and asking if he could either have more challenging work, or if I could send in a workbook or something for him to use when he has down time, even if it wasn't something he handed in to her. I haven't heard back yet, but I'm almost scared to. I tried talking to her at the beginning of the year about it, and got shut down, so we'll see. Fingers crossed, people.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mad Scientist Hearbreaker

It has come to my attention that Patrick has been conducting Experiments in the bathroom. (Wait, it's not what you think.)

I have been finding random cups of water in the shower for awhile now, and have been dumping them out, grousing about why on EARTH there are glasses of cold, dirty water in the shower all the time. The other day, though, DH and I were talking, and he told me that these are actually Patrick's experiments! He's been finding out thing like, 'if I cover a cup with a facecloth, will the water still evaporate?' and 'what will toothpaste do in water after a few days?'. That just CRACKS me UP. I knew he had put Mythbusters kits on his Xmas list, but bathroom experiments are just in a whole other league of pocket-protector-hood. That's my boy. :)

Last night, Mr. Wizard came to say goodnight to me while I was sitting on the couch watching TV with Josie. He leaned over and hugged me, and I whispered to him, 'who loves my pickle boy?' He whispered, 'you do, and daddy does... but she doesn't.' Meaning Josie. Who has been unpleasant to him for a long, long time. Who I have been warning and talking to about this whole idea. Her jaw hit the floor. She said, 'I do, too'! He looked at her, and then back at me, and whispered, 'yeah, but I don't believe her'. My heart just broke. He was so matter-of-fact, like please pass the butter, Josie doesn't love me, can I play Wii later? She was floored. I asked why he said that, and he replied that it was because she never wants to be with him, always says no when he asks her to play with him, will only do something with him if I'm there too, and leaves when I do, and isn't nice to him when they're with friends (like A, who lives down the street, and went to prek w/ him for a year, but is now more friends with Josie instead).

I maintained a neutral face while he said all of this, and after he left, I looked at Josie and said, 'well, how did that feel?' She was still floored, and said, 'um.... not too good.' So I told her that whatever she was feeling in her stomach and heart right at that moment was what she's brought on herself, and is exactly what she deserves. I also told her that I can't help her, and that she's going to have to find her way out of this one herself.

Today, I saw her catch herself on the walk home; after telling him 'oh, nevermind' on the way home when he asked her to repeat himself, she stopped short and explained exactly what she had said. Later, when I asked if she'd like to be the one to give Patrick his iPod for Xmas, she said yes.

Maybe, finally, something will sink in. At least for awhile. Because hearing my resident mad scientist describe why and how his sister shows that she doesn't love him breaks my heart.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stop the Ride, I Want To Get Off

A few days ago, my MIL called me while I was driving around town running six errands in my small two-hour window and asked if we were free on the 20th, which is the Sunday before Xmas. I said I thought we were, thinking she was scheduling the larger-family Xmas gathering, when she said, 'oh, I'm not going to tell you'. Suddenly, I was paying a LOT more attention, but it was too late. I had just Agreed To Something, and worse, I had no idea what, because she wouldn't say.

It turns out, she's planned a whole Girl's Day Out for my two SIL's, Josie, my oldest niece C, and herself. And, it's a Surprise.

Oh, no.

The good news is, it's apparently somewhere near us, which means one less time I have to drive all over creation.

The bad news is:
1. yet another day that I'm scheduled; I am now officially down to TWO days that I have no plans, classes or appointments until Xmas.
2. yet another day that our family will be going in all different directions. With karate, piano, school, my classes, me working, and the Xmas pageant which rehearses 3x weekly now, we are almost never all at home for any amount of time. I HATE that.
3. an entire outing with my SIL K. The one who sent me that awful hate mail this summer. The one who, along with her husband, makes me so nervous now that I feel half-ill even thinking about being trapped in a car and on some excursion with.
4. I feel seriously duped, although had I been paying more attention to what she was saying I might have caught that it wasn't a family thing, just a girl thing. I know she wasn't trying to fool me, and it was my own leap, but I'm still annoyed in general at thinking something is one thing, and it's another.
5. I HATE surprises. We have NOTHING in common. For all I know, we're going quilting, which she and K are really into. Even if it is something I would like on an ordinary day, see #1, 2 and 3. The last girl's outing we went on was to a tea house, because that's what she wanted as a gift. Yeah. A TEA HOUSE. Egad.

I love my MIL. She's a lovely person, and even though we have nothing in common, she's always been very kind to me. I will do whatever it is and smile because I have to. DH keeps telling me that I should email or call her and say that really, we're swamped, and are in desparate need of having time to do something with our own little family, but it's too late for that. She sent an itenerary of when she's going to be picking people up, which means that there's a schedule for a reason, and probably money has been spent. Besides, it would hurt her if I backed out. So, that's that. I tried to explain to my SIL J, who I love to pieces, why I wasn't thrilled, but she just said to relax. I don't think she can understand the severity of my stress level at being around her sister. I think it has something to do with how I lived until I was about 20 - never knowing when someone was going to snap and start screaming and/or throwing things at me. I was terrified so much of the time. That most recent hateful, massive email outburst from K and my BIL finished it off; I think they trigger the same panic-run response in me that my first family did. I will never, ever relax around them again.

Relax = my couch and my family and a movie or a game AT HOME, FOR ONCE.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In the holiday category:

My favorite decoration is my Christmas village. I enjoy my little neighborhood WAY too much. See?

This year, it's in the dining room on the folding tables, where I get to see it all the time. I made the skirt to velcro on around the bottom (thank you, Mr. Glue Gun), which I think is a huge improvement, too. It has street lights, shrubs with lights, people who actually skate, and, new this year, Santa and the reindeer on top of the Smithsonian (I put little lights on them, so you can see the sleigh, on the right). I think I like it so much because, deep down, I would love to have lived when things were all mufflers-and-sleighs. Sigh.

In the school category:

Took my third trig exam today on the most blisteringly-horrible chapter EVER. I had trouble logging in, and the 60-something testing lab staff person actually ROLLED HER EYES at me when I questioned her comment of 'you'll have to go down to the lab to try and log in with your password down there to find out what your password it, but you can't leave'. huh??? That comment was wrong on so many levels, it's a wonder my head didn't explode. I was so pissed by that point that I couldn't let it go by. I looked at her and said, 'Did you just roll your eyes at me?!' really loudly. She was embarrassed, and stopped being such a bee-yotch. Then the manager came over and helped; really, all I needed was someone to give me the password to get into the exam. Someone had obviously used her Fixodent to spackle the wrong hole.

I ended up with an 85%, but only because I'm pretty good at eliminating choices based on sign and probability. I can't believe I did that well. There were TWENTY ONE formulas in this chapter, and they're all pre-calc, so they make no sense at all until you actually get to calc, which is a place I'm SO not going. One last exam left. If I can manage a 79 on the last test, I'll still get an A in the class.

In the matching category:

ALL THE KIDS ARE MATCHED WITH SUPPORTING FAMILIES!!!!!!! Last night, I got three more people who wanted to take on children, and that was all I needed!!!!! What really did it was that my friend Kristi's mom is in a local women's group, and the family they have supported in the past has moved away, so they took on the five-child family, plus they're giving them store and grocery gift cards as well. I could have CRIED when I heard that.

In the soft and cuddly department:

That's my soft and fuzzy Brown Dog. :) Mmwah!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happiness is...

... getting the new Super Mario Wii for $5.62 because the cashier screwed up the 'turn in two games and get it for 9.99' offer, and decided that he didn't care and gave it to me anyway!

... having five whole days off with the kids with no rushing around, no lessons, no rehearsals, NOTHING!

... having a family move to the neighborhood with their three kids, two girls who are already friends with Josie and a boy who is already friends with Patrick! The girls are the first of Josie's age in the neighborhood, which is chock-full o' boys but no girls - until now! The three girls ran around together all afternoon, and it was a joy to see!!!

... having twelve children sponsored out of twenty (so far) for the Elf Project!! Most parents only got the sponsor letters sent home yesterday! There are many generous people out there, including you all, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for offering to help. Hopefully, I won't have to take you up on it, but I love knowing that you all are out there!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wishin' and Hopin'

(I love that song!)

The letters looking for sponsors went home with all the kids at the school today. I'm up to seventeen kids, plus one teacher has identified another family that she wants to sign up to receive help.

I am so nervous. What if the whole thing falls flat on its face? What if no one calls, or only a couple of people do? I will be so humiliated if that happens, not only because I offered help to people and then couldn't get any, but also because that would make me part of a community of people I wouldn't be very proud of.

I'm also so excited! What if it goes so well that every child on the list gets a sponsor, and I have a few sponsors to spare? I will be so thrilled and overjoyed that I could do this, and so proud to be part of our school community.

Come on, phone. Start ringing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Partied, I Drank, I Came Home (*not necessarily in that order)

Let me start out by telling you that I downed a Mike's Crantini (hard cranberry lemonade martini yumminess) before we went. I do think it helped.

I got through the party. There *were* a lot of people there, and I *was* uncomfortable, but then, I think a lot of people were, because there were people from several sides of the family there, plus some friends of theirs who looked totally lost and who were introduced to no one. We stayed until around 5:30 (it began at 3:00), which was just after the cupcakes were had.

Kathy was nice to me, Shawn didn't speak to me, and I made no effort to speak to him, either. It ended up not being a big deal, since he spent most of the time outside working on their new addition. Because, that's what you're supposed to do when you invite a large number of people over for your kids' birthday - ignore them in favor of construction work. Right?

Here's something - they didn't open the gifts people had brought. Maybe they did it after we left, in all fairness, since there were still a lot of people there when we got in the car, although several were also making sounds about needing to get home. But... whatever. We got them two adorable sets of footie jammies and two flip-books apiece, so it wasn't like we'd brought the Taj Mahal or anything, anyway.

One thing we did notice was that it was a LOT cleaner in there. As in, I could actually smell a cleaning product in the bathroom for the first time EVER. So, again, progress.

I will see them all in a few days again, and this time will probably not be able to avoid Shawn, since he won't be at his house, so he can't go and do random construction jobs. However, there is usually wine at Thanksgiving, so I can get half-sauced and maybe it won't matter. In fact, I'll bring my own bottle of wine, just to be sure. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Phew... THAT's Over!

I had my interview with the grad admission staff this week. It went AWESOME! I was so nervous, especially because one of my interviewers was the advisor who has been screwing me around all this time, but she didn't say anything about it (although she knew who I was), and neither did I. They seemed to have only a tiny knowledge of my portfolio, because they were only briefly looking through it when I went in, which was frustrating, but it turned out that it *was* helpful that I had put it together, because all the questions they asked me correlated directly to what was in there.

The best part was, as it turned out, everything I have ever done in my life has led me to this. Every job I have had has either involved my learning something new, my teaching other people something new, or my working with people in education. The fact that I do a lot of volunteer work helped a lot, too. Anyway, they were laughing by the end as they tried to write everything down, and told me that they were exactly what the program was looking for, and I shouldn't have any problem getting accepted (it's a competitive program, with only so many slots). I'm not going to count my chickens quite yet, but it certainly was encouraging!

Yesterday, I picked up the forms that the 'needy' families filled out for the Elf Project at the school. There were six forms, with ten children, and I knew of another family that was for some reason not included in the office's list, so I called them up (I know the mom well) and asked if she'd like a form. Of course, she said yes - they have four kids and are basically living on food stamps and local Food Pantry items. So, we will have seven families and fourteen children, if no other forms trickle in next week. I hadn't thought about it, but of course the families included younger and older siblings on the forms, kids who aren't in the school. I don't know how supporting families will feel about that, but I'm going to change the letter that will be going out on Monday to mention casually that they have the chance to support their children's 'classmates and siblings' rather than just the classmates, and leave it at that. With fourteen kids total, it shouldn't be too hard to find enough people to help out, but I will make sure that the school kids are taken care of first, and any siblings afterwards.

Tomorrow is the first birthday party for my twin nieces. I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go. DH and the kids were always going, but I wasn't sure if I could stomach my SIL and her husband for yet more family time this week, since I'll be seeing them all at Thanksgiving, too. My original, official excuse was going to be that I had a trig exam tomorrow, but that's been moved to after the holiday. The rest of the family won't know that, so I could still use that excuse, but I would feel like a really bad person. As disconnected from those kids as I feel, I should be spending all the time with them I can to try and establish some kind of relationship before they're old enough to sense that on of their aunts really isn't that interested. That's not a person I want to be. So, hate it or no, their Auntie will probably be there tomorrow, even if it *IS* with irish-cream-spiked-coffee in a travel mug.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You Got It!

I *was* thinking of Nemo in my last post, but CK pointed out to me that it's also in Jaws, and now I'm not sure which is more appropriate!

I just got my last recommendation via email; I finished the rest of the porfolio this afternoon, so once I do a page for this one, I'll be completely done! I'm probably going to do it tonight so I can drop it off in the morning. Thank heavens, because this has been a HUGE load on my mind. Now all I have to do is get through the interview on Wed, and it will all be out of my hands. I think it's funny how interesting and wonderful a person can look on paper. I'm nothing really out of the ordinary, but on paper I look pretty good! :)

The last rec that came today, though, makes me a little squeeged inside. It was from a friend of mine, who is also the mother of Josie's best friend. I work with her at the school, to, and have subbed*for* her with one of my favorite kids, an autistic boy named A. Anyway, it's taken her forever to get me this letter, in which I was hoping that she would mention how I've worked for her, and been with A, since I talk about how I have really liked working with the special ed kids - it was why I asked her to write one for me in the first place. She didn't mention any of that, but that's OK.

What makes me feel all twisted up inside is that I ended up posting quiet hints to her twice on FB to get her to give it to me, like 'hooray, I'm all done except for one page, time to get back to worrying about trig!', that kind of thing. About an hour after I posted that (the second quiet prod in about a week), her letter came over email, and now I feel like I had to 1)drag it out of her, and 2) she didn't really want to do it in the first place, but just felt like she had to do it since we're kind of intertwined in all these areas. So, I feel hugely embarrassed and twisted up inside that I asked her to do it, that I ended up pestering her a little, and that it was kind of obvious that she wasn't sure what to say. I hate asking for help; it makes me feel like I'm making a bother of myself, and when I get the feeling that I'm dragging that help out of someone, it makes it 100x worse. Crap. I really like her, and I feel like I've made an ass of myself.

BUT, at least it's almost done. Math is kicking my ass at the moment, and I'm really scared that I'm going to blow the chapter exam next week. I have a quiz this week, but they're only worth ten points apiece in the grand scheme of the class, so it I mess it up, it's not a huge deal; if I can't get a hang of the whole thing in time for the exam, though, I'm going to be in trouble. Each problem has so many parts, and so many sign changes and square roots, that there are about ten ways to mess up on each section of the problem. Ugh. Only one more month, and I can't wait. No more math, EVER AGAIN, in just 32 days and counting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Just Keep Swimming....

That line (which, five points if you get the movie, which should be easy for all you parents out there) runs through my head almost constantly lately.

I have to have my portfolio turned in by Tuesday at the latest for review by the Pope, or someone, at the admissions office of the grad school I'm applying to. It's almost done, aside from two reference letters I should be getting this weekend and a couple of divider pages I need to make. I'm a little pissed, though, that the scrapbook I bought, which is navy silk-covered, has a scrape on the front that I didn't see because the "protective" cover apparently only procected the mark from my view rather than the book from the mark. Crap.

School is flying along. Thankfully, I have only one more test in bio before the final, which she said will be take-home like the midterm. I have a 98 average in the class. This means that I could literally fail this next test and still get an A in the class. Guess who's not going to bother studying too hard??

I think the grad school has FINALLY decided that I don't need to take any additional writing or math classes. It has been over TWO MONTHS since I started fighting that particular battle, people. I don't know what their problem is, but I hope this isn't going to be a reflection of the entire school experience with them.

The community college registration procrss for spring was a nightmare. It started at 6:30am last Saturday, and guess what? I was locked out of the online system. The tech dept was closed until 9am. The school was closed up tight. There were no advisors on duty for the whole weekend. Once I finally got into the online registration, guess what else? Remember that awful advisor I saw in August, the one who called the prof an asshole, etc? Yeah, she never entered my pre-requisite info into the system. I had to go in on Monday, only to be told that they were missing my grad transcript from UMD, and couldn't register me without it, even though it had no bearing on my pre-reqs, even though I'm already IN classes that REQUIRE the pre-reqs that the science and psych classes I need are looking for. I basically started to lose my shit, which finally the attention of a manager, who came over and fixed the whole thing in about thirty seconds. Forest for the trees, much? Sheesh.

I'm hoping to start catching up on everyone's blogs soon. I miss you guys!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Exciting Development!!!

Guess what? I've talked to the school secretary and nurse several times over the past few weeks about starting a program that pairs up able families with needy families at our school for holiday and seasonal items. I've participated in this kind of thing at other schools, and it's been wonderful. They really weren't interested, and used the excuse that it couldn't be done due to privacy concerns.

SO, since I'm also the PTA VP, I took it to the PTA meeting on Monday night, broached my idea and how it would be run, and what do you know? The principal was there, and thought it sounded good, and everyone was totally on board!

So I'm going to run it myself! HA!

I wrote up two letters, one for Participant families (ie families in need) and Supporters (donating families), detailing the project. I made up a spreadsheet for the participant families to fill out with their kids' names, clothing needs and sizes, what books and authors they like, and toys they would enjoy having. I stressed to the supporting families that they would be able to anonymously help children that sit beside their own kids at lunch, and that at school events, they would actually be in the building with families whose lives they have personally improved.

The school secretary (who is a very nice person, just not into starting things, I think) is going to distribute my participant invitation letter to the children whose names appear on the Thanksgiving basket list (PTA gives food baskets to needy families each year), and the ones who are interested will return it by next Friday. The following Monday, a Supporter letter will go home with every child at the school, telling anyone who is interested in supporting a family to call me and I'll match them up with families, whose names will be removed and replaced with numbers (ie, Smith family with Jenny,8, and Jacob,5, will be replaced with Family 104-8G and Family 104-5B). They will then shop, and in Dec there will be an evening where I will accept donations from 5:30-7, and hand them back out 7:30-8:30. I will be the only one who will have the list of participants' names, and only myself and one or two other people will be at the school accepting and handing out.

I am SO EXCITED. This is going to be GREAT!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two Firsts (And Almost My Fists)

First #1 - Josie has strep. If she's anything like me, this will be the first of many, many of these lovely infections.

Also for the first time ever, I had to raise a stink at the doctor's office.

We saw someone new, which was fine, and after looking at C's throat, Dr. said she'd be shocked if the test came back negative - but they had to send it to a lab because BCBS won't pay for in-house strep tests. (Why am I paying for this crap insurance again?)

Dr. said it would be back in the afternoon. Whatever. Then the Nurse came in, and asked where I'd be TOMORROW, and looked at me like an idiot when I told her that the doctor had said the same day, because duh, it takes 24 hours. So, I asked how much it would be to just pay for it to be done there, and it was only $20, so I said to go ahead and do it. (Seriously? It's cheaper for BCBS to pay for it to get sent to a lab, tested by someone else, and sent back? I doubt it.)

Nurse came back in a few minutes later with the swab and informed me that SHE doesn't test HER daughter until she's been complaining a week, because she doesn't get a really red throat and she wants the poor kid to try and fight it off herself, anyway - her tone implied that I was being ridiculous for insisting that my kid, who has been sick since Saturday, be treated.

Then, she got out two of the big swabs, and Josie's eyes got huge. She asked if Nurse was going to put them down her throat, and the Nurse said no, and the next thing we knew she had literally stabbed Josie in the throat with them!!!!!! Poor Josie almost threw up and burst into tears - and you know's my three-inch-scar-on-her-leg girl is tough. I was SO PISSED!

Nurse walked out like nothing had happened at all right after she did it, so I didn't have time to ream her out then, but once Josie had stopped sobbing, I went out into the hallway where she was scornfully telling the billing staff that 'the lady wanted to pay for the test, so you'll have to bill her for it', again, like I was an idiot. Once she had turned around (surprised to see me, I think), I told her that in the future maybe she could be more gentle, because she had made my daughter cry. She said, 'oh, sorry, but I have to do it fast' and walked right on past me. She never apologized to Josie, nothing!

When the doctor came back to tell us it was positive (duh), I explained what had happened, and asked if there was a way to have it noted on the chart that we didn't want that particular nurse ever again. Thankfully, *she* at least seemed upset and apologized several times, and said that she didn't know anything about making a note on a chart, but to talk to the office staff about it. She also told me that the Nurse was usually very good, etc, and I said that perhaps she was having an off day, but I still don't trust her near my children again.

I ended up not really bringing it up to the front office staff, who obviously already knew what had happened and are never exactly sweet, anyway, but this time were positively frosty. Whatever. When I see the kids' regular doctor again I'll mention it to *her*, and I'm sure she'll put it in the chart for me.

I know they have to be fast, but seriously, there was no need for that crap. Josie was obviously already in pain, and Nurse knew she had no idea what was coming. It's not like she's three, and would have cried regardless - for a 10yo to cry, it takes a lot more than a casual poke. >:< If I didn't like her regular doctor so much, I would never go there again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stressing Out

As part of my application to grad school, I have to make a portfolio. This has been described to me as like making a scrapbook of things that pertain to my getting an education degree. It is entirely freaking me out.

1. I am not a teacher. I have never created lesson plans, attended teacher retreats, or gotten any certificates from seminars / study programs that would have any bearing *at all*. I have looked online all over the place for ideas, and can only find portfolios made by students who are graduating their programs - hence, they actually have things to put in one. This is why I'm GOING to school for my degree - so I can get some stuff to put into an educational portfolio!

2. I am NOT a scrapbooker. I hate that stuff. I went to AC Moore today to get a scrapbook, and nearly hyperventilated at the dizzying array of choices. The very idea of making a scrapbook about anything work-related seems so unprofessional and ridiculous to me that I can barely get my mind around it. It's not like I'm applying for an art degree. Am I really supposed to use those little sticky-flair things in something that's supposed to be professional?!

3. I am now thirty-six years old. Scrapbooking to prove my worthiness as a student sounds like I'm in kindergarten. I want to be a respectable, creative adult, not an old lady at a craft fair.

4. They gave me a list of things to include, like a resume and ideas for educational practices and whatnot, but what the hell do I know??? That's WHY I'm going to school! What if, in my ignorance, I write something completely moronic for a philosphy?? I don't even know how to craft such a thing, since I HAVEN'T LEARNED IT YET.

5. I love substituting (generally speaking). I love seeing the kids every day, I love that so many of them are;" happy to see me, and I really want to have my own classroom. If I screw this mysterious project up, I will jeopardize my chances of getting into school, all because I have no idea what they're talking about. I could lose my chance to do what I am loving because I failed an art project that has no direction, and be doomed to be forever Just the Substitute.

People, I am practically in tears over this. I have to submit it in about two weeks, and because my mother is coming next weekend (more on that later), and school and whatnot, I really want to do it this week and get it over with (schools here are closed M-T, and I'll be out Fri to get my mother at the airport, so I'm just taking the whole week off, probably, to do schoolwork and this Thing).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

These I Submit To You.....

I had to take the cat to the vet for shots. Sasha doesn't like crates, but does well on a leash in the car (comparatively speaking), if you call perching on the center console and loudly crying in my ear 'well'. At the vet, she refused to sit on the table, but insisted on leaping onto a stool and pillowing herself all over it. She growled at the vet. Many times. (But, since she never scratches or bites, whatev.) On the way home,

Me: I'm going to run into Sheetz (a convenience store pronounced as, Grab Food Here Now And Get The Shee-eets later) for a drink. My throat hurts.

Her: MEEROW!! (translation: I'm going to pee in your car.)

Me: Be right back!

Her: MEEE-ROOOOW! (translation: Let me move to the back cloth seat.)

Me: I'm back!!!

Her: ..... (hiding under the passenger seat

Me: What's that smell? Hmmm..... (looking in back seat) WTF?!?!?!?! @#$%#$%!!!!!!!!!!!

Her: *glare* Mrrrrrrr. (I told you, dumbass.)



Me, working on take-home bio midterm after spending half the afternoon at the grocery store while DH and the kids were at the movies: Can you put the chicken in the oven?

DH: Sure. It's in this bag, right (holding up Perdue Chicken-In-A-Bag).

Me: Thanks!


Me: Huh, that chicken sure smells strong already. You put it in a roasting pan, right?

DH: (insulted) Yeah, of course I did!


Us: *running to kitchen and flinging open oven*

Me: You put the chicken on a COOKIE SHEET?!?!?!?!?!!!

Fire Alarm: Beep! Beep! Beep! Who let the man cook??? BEEP! BEEP!!! He who once tried to bake cookies on COOLING RACKS (BEEP!!!) because thought they were cooking racks?! (BEEP!) Dumbass!!!!! BEEP!!! (are you seeing a trend here? I am.)

Stove: Uh, I'm covered in molten chicken juice and plastic, here..... hello........

Me: Peeing with laughter, and taking photos.


Me, still working on bio exam: What's that smell?

DH: No answer.

Me (going into kitchen): What're you WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!

Stove: Um, I'm on fire here......

DH: Don't worry, the flames that are making the oven look like a fireplace are totally normal when you run the cleaning mode. Right?

Me: ?!?!?!?!!?!NO?!?!?!?!?!?!

Kids: Whoa! Cool!!!

Stove: Help me, I'm melting!!!!!!

End Scene

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Christmas in October

Today's task was to prepare a Christmas package for Mirriam, our sponsor child in Zimbabwe.

Last year, the orphanage sponsored by our church didn't get their gifts on time, so this year we're sending them even earlier. The package will go out on Monday, in hopes that it will reach them by 12/24.

There are many rules about what we can and cannot send, or say in our letters. We can't send anything of value, so I can't pack Mirriam a pretty bracelet or necklace, because the customs agents will take it. We can't send the children any money, because the officials will take it. Last year, the inflation rate there reached 231 million percent, meaning prices doubled every 24 hours, and the government stopped releasing year-on-year data at that time. Since then, some small stabilization has occurred, but the desperation and corruption is still so severe that officials will still stoop to stealing gifts, money and food from the children it is addressed to. If we mention anything remotely political in the letters we send, the entire package would be destroyed, and the orphanage could be put in danger.

That limits our abillity to send any real presents to the individual children we sponsor pretty severely. We can each only send an envelope so the package won't be too large. This time, I packed a musical card with letters from Josie and I, photos, slim headbands, stickers, nail decals, and a few other flat things. The school will also receive money to purchase things that the children would like, but are too large to ship.

I would like to be able to write to her more often, so she knows that we really do care about her, rather than just seeing her as some charity project. The things that I can't say to her in these letters, that we know how hard it is for them, that we want to help them have better lives, that we know how unfair and suffocating and frightening their government is, make me feel that my letters are silly bits of fluff. It doesn't seem enough to wish this child, who watched her mother die as they fled fighting in theri village, a merry holiday. It is hard to tell her about is and our lives without simultaneously, unintentionally flaunting our gross prosperity.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen when she is grown and too old for the orphanage. Will we still hear from her? Would she want to leave Zimbabwe? Our church does mission trips every year to the children's village, which is in a compound with other similar schools. I hope to be able to go when our children are older, and meet Mirriam. What would I do if she told me that she wanted to come here? Would that even be possible?

I don't have any unrealistic expectations of swooping in and being a savior to this girl and her sister. I know that if such a thing ever did happen, it would be a very difficult time of transition for everyone, and may be downright impossible. I do know, though, that when she is grown, if she wants to come to university here, there would be no way I could tell her, this girl whose photos and letters are on my refrigerator, that I would not do my best to help.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

...and this is why none of my problems matter

I just got home from the store with Josie. We were buying a sympathy card for one her her classmates. The girl's father died from complications of pneumonia and swine flu after two weeks in the hospital. She was in school today, and will be going on the big 5th grade field trip tomorrow to DC, and then to her father's wake tomorrow night. She's 10, and has three brothers and sisters.

They don't even make sympathy cards for children. All the words are big and flowery, and don't mean anything to a child, or make any sense coming from one. We picked the simplest, plainest one we could find, about her being in our thoughts and the love of friends surround her in her time of sorrow, or something like that. I'm not positive what it said exactly because I was trying so hard not to cry, and I couldn't read all the words.

I don't know this girl, and Josie's close to her, but I thought it was important that she do *something*. DH nixed the idea of taking her to the wake; since I grew up with my grandmother, I went to lots and lots of wakes and funeral services, so it seemed natural to me that we would go to show support for her classmate, but he thought it would be too much. So, we went to the hugely inappropriate card section to look for words, when really there are none.

I can only imagine how stricken and devastated those children feel, not to mention their mother, suddenly a widow with four grieving children. The idea of not being here to see my kids grow up, and imagining them trying to cope after losing DH or I, makes me want to grab them and burrow deep into the blankets of our bed, where we would be safe, and warm, and blissfully, perfectly together.

So tomorrow night, send out special thoughts and love for A and her family, at the wake. I know how horrible and surreal it was to see my nephew in a coffin. I can't begin to imagine children seeing their father in one.

Hello? Is This the Party To Whom I'm Speaking?

I am totally pissed off. Last Friday I got a voicemail from V, the graduate advisor at the main campus of the college I'm applying to for the MAT program, saying that she needed to talk to me about my requirements. I've been calling her back ever since. Nothing.

Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail from her outlining my supposed requirements, both those that have been met and what I still need to do. It's totally messed up. It lists my science requirements as being met, even though I haven't finished biology or even registered for my third required science yet. It shows trig as completed, and then lists my 'methods of soc teaching' class with question marks next to it as a possible third math class that they would need to approve. What on earth would be math-y about teaching sociology??? That was my undergrad TA position for a race relations class!!! It then goes on to list that I need prove that I've met writing ability requirements, and that I have to take PRAXIS I, the teaching exam, even though my SAT score was 1250, which places me out of that requirement. Her rationale for that gem was that my undergrad GPA was 2.74, (I know, I know, horrible, but my last two years of school I got all A's and B's - once I got into seminars where it was more important to think and WRITE than regurgitate boring crap into tiny bubbles on tests) and they want you to take it if your GPA was between 2.5 - 2.74. Lucky me, .01 and it wouldn't have mattered.

First of all, I emailed the local grad advisor, K, over a month ago with the info from my previous grad program to show that I took GRADUATE LEVEL STATISTICS and can, in fact, write my way out of a paper bag because I've only written, oh, A MILLION research papers. I had my own freakin' column in the college newspaper!

Second, I guess I can take PRAXIS if they insist, but it's expensive, time consuming, and frankly a pain in my ass. I'd lose an entire day of work and/or studying because it's not offered anywhere nearby (the closest places are 90min away), and I'd have to find someone to take my kids after school in case I couldn't get back in time.

What I want to know is, why is it that only my previous undergrad work will count towards my GPA? My GPA from my previous grad work was 3.8, and as long as I continue in even remotely the same fashion I have been this semester, I should get above a 3.5 in these classes as well. Why doesn't that count? Are they *really* only interested in things I've done before the age of 23? And if so, why the hell do they care if I've taken these four classes I'll need before I can start with them???

I was BOILING mad by the time I'd finished reading that damn letter. I sent off an email to her, which took me an hour to write because I couldn't swear in it, with a forward of the one I'd sent the local advisor, and asked all the above questions, but a lot more politely. I mean, I've done a lot of things sice I was 23, and really, the grades that brought my GPA down were from when I was 18-19, when I wasn't even old enough to buy my own martinis! AAAAHHHHHHH!

Then, last night, I got to talking to some of the other students in my bio class who are also applying to FU (hahahaha, I just realized that those are the actual initials of the school!!!! HAHAHA! OK, really FSU, but still.) I was both relieved and dismayed that they are having similar problems with the satellite and main campus advising offices not communicating.

Like it's not hard enough getting all these classes we don't even like out of the way; having to battle with these incompetent boobs and submit the same information over and over again is totally uncalled for. If they're not going to be efficient or reliable at all, what's the point of having a local outpost? It was enough yesterday to make me think that maybe I should just substitute for a few years and really think this through more, before I just fall over from stress and exhaustion. If she writes back (IF she writes back) and says that I'll have to take another math and a writing course (which there was some nonsense on for form saying that you're not allowed to fill that requirement at a cc, WTF) on top of the trig, bio, meteorology and psych that I'm already taking, plus the PRAXIS, I don't know what I'll decide, because that's just plain ridiculous.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The shopping went fine. As usual, once I was actually prepared, nothing at all happened. We went to Penny's, which has an excellent plus-kids section, picked out three pairs of jeans and four or five new shirts and got out in less than an hour. While we were in the dressing room, I casually mentioned that she looked really pretty in one of the shirts she picked out, and then asked her, 'you know that, though, right?', to which she smiled and said 'yes'. Then I said, 'because you were a little upset at the doctor's office last week, and I was wondering how you're doing with that?'

She - get this - looked at me like I was a complete headcase and said, 'Huh? No, I wasn't.' She meant it, too, I could tell. Hello, anticlimactic; you could practically hear the air squeaky-leaking out of my brain bubble. Of course, since I was prepared, nothing came of it, and my little mental speech I had ready to go went to waste. I'm sure when I least expect it, she's going to come home and demand plastic surgery.

Today was spent at home, paying bills, preparing white chicken chilli in the crockpot and apple muffins, and doing the ever-present trig. This afternoon, I went over to the kids' school to be with them during their walk-a-thon, one of the PTA fundraisers, where the kids do a few laps around the school (at a half-mile a loop) to raise money.

Before I went, I had to personally run some payments over to a couple of doctor's offices. I have tried everything to get these places to send me a receipt when I send checks in the mail, including a pre-addressed and stamped envelope with the check, with a little note on the bill to please send a receipt so we can submit it to our HCRA, which is really picky and demands one rather than using a cancelled check, or just the bill.

I have never once received one in the mail.

What are they doing with my envelopes and postage? Sending their own bills places? Or looking at it and saying, 'pfft! this lady's crazy if she thinks I'm going to do my JOB and all!' and throwing the whole thing out? Piss me off! It's not like it's only $5, either; I had a hospital copay and the remainder of what the insurance didn't cover for DH's last surgery to take care of. So, I drove around town for half a hour like the frickin Billpayer Bunny. Argh.

Now the kids are at karate with DH, and I'm supposed to be working on the take-home bio test, which is actually a redo of the debacle we took the week before last that most people failed (not me, but I got an 80, way lower than usual). She won't let us look at our original test, so we can't just write down the ones we got right and fix those that were wrong; we have to redo the whole thing. If I don't do it, I could keep the original score, but that seems like a waste of a sure A. Oh, AND we have another group presentation to do, this time with FOUR people to a group, on two kinds of cancer. Once again, this has nothing to do with the actual class, she just wants us to relate more to biology in real world. Hello, I have had kids, and created my own BIOSPHERE. I think I understand. Thank you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shopping for Self

Thank you all so, so much for all your comments and encouragements over my 'weighty' post! Everyone offered up so much encouragement, be it book titles, strategies, or simply just support, and I am so grateful. Those of you who said that you were 'no help' are dead wrong: even just concerned words of caring are really, really helpful, because as Josie and I start down this path of, god help me, Tweenage Discovery, I'm going to need all the support I can get! Most of our IRL friends' children are younger, and those who have kids the same age have boys, so we're kind of bobbing along on this river on our own.

AND, your comments are all just in time, too, because today Josie and I are going (cringe) clothes shopping. Those of you with eyes will have seen that girls' clothing has gotten pretty slutty clingy and stretchy over the past year or so. Do the people who design these clothes have daughters?! Or are they just pedophiles still adolescent boys, hoping to see an outline of something? Because that's certainly what a lot of these clothes look like. Not only are these clothes inappropriate, but they also serve to perpetuate the 'what should I look like' worries at an even earlier age. I find the shirts particularly puzzling, since most of them are about a yard long, and four inches wide until you stretch them out with whatever budding attributes these girls may have. Why do clothing designers want our young girls' bodies displayed so intimately in public?

I digress.

Because Josie is short, many jeans drag on the ground on her. I could cut them off, but most jeans have designs on the legs now, and cutting the legs means cutting close to or through an embellishment. Thankfully, many stores have started carrying 'plus sizes' (there's a fun term for girls to get used to at an eary age) in girls' departments, so shopping for my short, sturdy girl isn't as hard as it used to be. Shirts, however, are a problem, since there aren't lengths to choose from, which means they, and their necklines, plunge south. Gulp.

I have a feeling that in the dressing rooms today, with the lovely lighting and multi-angled mirrors that make even the best of us want to jump off of a bridge (or into a pint of B&J), the topic of body sizes and scales will come up. I'm going to try and let her do a lot of the talking, or at least bring out what it is that she's got floating around in her head (so I don't give her even more ideas), and then talk about how important it is that she *is* different. Besides perhaps being heavier than some of the other children, she is also smarter, more musically talented, and able to do a ton of pushups. None of her friends is exactly like one of the others, or even remotely physically the same as the other girls, and none are as good as she is at what she does. Not to mention, none of them has her killer eyes and dimples.

The most important thing, though, will be impressing upon her she cannot let others tell her who or what she is. We all have doubts and insecurities. Her biggest job is to define her own self, and her opinions are more important than anyone else's, even mine or DH's. Some people will pander to her, and others will try to pull her down, and she can choose to walk away from them, or carry them, unquestioning, with her always.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weighty Issues

I took the kids to the doctor, and it's just a nasty cold. Patrick also has a sinus infection, and they both are back on an inhaler until the horrible hacking cough goes away completely. Josie is a day behind Patrick, so she stayed home again today, but he went back to school this morning and was fine. The albuterol throws him for a loop emotionally, though; he's hyper, and very teary.

The sight of the two of them laying on the couch yesterday, sniffling, coughing and blowing just tore my heart. The poor things looked so pathetic!

We ran into a snag at the doctor's office, though. As usual, the kids had to hop on the scale before going into the exam room. Patrick got on and off, and Josie got on. She saw her weight, and said, 'Oh.' and got off. This had never happened before; always she would jump off exclaiming in delight at how big she was getting. Not this time. She went dead silent, and I could tell something was upsetting her.

We went into the office to wait, and I wanted to say *something* without being too leading, so I just said, 'Wow, Pea, you're finally as big as the dog!' She was quiet, and I asked her what was going on. She said, 'None of my friends weigh that much.'

Oh, no. Here we go.

You have all seen photos of Josie, and she's perfectly perfect for who she is. She will never be skinny, but she's certainly not obese either. I didn't know what to tell her about that, so I just replied, 'Oh. Is that bad?'

'It seems like a lot. Even my friends who are taller than me weigh less than that.'

To be honest, it had seemed like a lot to me, too, but not for the reason she was saying; the last time I remember her weight, it was 20lbs less. I think it may have been weighing heavy, because I think I would notice if she was suddenly 20lbs heavier. I decided that I would tell her to hop on the one at home if she mentioned it again, but she didn't, so I didn't either.

I don't want to make a big deal out of this and make her think about it more, if she's let it go for now, but I also don't want her to be wandering around with a nagging voice in her head that she's fat, either. I think the whole thing came up because her friends have been talking about how C, a girl in their circle, still needs a booster seat because she's so small (their whole family is tiny), so I think all the girls were talking about weight this past week.

Do I bring it up on my own to try and replace whatever negativity she may be feeling with something more positive, or ride it out and wait for another comment, hoping that nothing said is nothing thought?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The good news: my mother *isn't* coming this weekend!!!!!

The bad news: she's not coming because both kids are hacking and sweaty.

Patrick has had a fever for two days, and started really barking last night. Josie, who only had a headache yesterday afternoon, started coughing deeply last night, too. Sigh. It's 9:30am now, and Patrick is still asleep in my bed; I have a feeling he must not have slept much last night, because he never sleeps past 8 or so. We have an appointment at the doctor at 11:15, just in case it's bronchitis. Josie's had that before, but I made the mistake of not taking her in for awhile, because she didn't have a fever, and the doctor we had then shamed me so much (and then blamed her subsqeuent asthma on me) over it that now I'm utterly paranoid. No one has thrown up yet, thank goodness, but you never know. I feel not 100% myself, actually, but I think I have just allergies, because there's junk runnning down the back of my throat all the time (you're welcome!).

I spent the last two days in a K class, and am shocked at the things that children are making up now. When I was little, it was a huge lie to say that someone shoved you on the playground. Now there are kids making thing up like having a sibling in the hospital, or one sibling actually having killed another one! WTF?! What are these kids watching on TV that they are thinking this stuff up?? I find this absolutely *SHOCKING*, and really, really disturbing. The thing is, the kids whispering these things to me are quiet, sweet children, not ones who act up or misbehave. I asked other teachers about these stories, and was told that they have made up similar things before. !!!!?????!!!!!

I am also surprised at the number of special needs kids in schools now; not physically-differently-abled, but those with emotionally/psychologically/educationally special needs. I don't know if the number of children needing alternative/additional assistance has actually changed since I was in school, or if it's merely a reflection of the mainstreaming environment that schools have now. Maybe the number hasn't changed, and it's just that these children would have been in a special ed classroom full time twenty years ago.

Regardless, one of my favorite things is seeing the typical kids interact with the less-typical children. Whereas when I was a child I saw a lot of teasing and otherizing behavior, I only once seen any children picking on or being cruel to the special needs kids in their classrooms, and that was only last year, in Josie's 4th grade class, where the entire environment was toxic. In fact, what I have seen over the last few years is an incredible change from what I remember; the typical kids, at least in our kids' schools, have almost adopted the most severely challenged children. Never when I was a child would I have seen the typical children seeking out the challenged children on the playground at recess. I don't know if this is a reflection of the environment at our school in particular, or a wider sweep of the country's schools, but I *love* it, and it only makes me want to be there more.

I've started getting feedback about my substituting, and I'm so excited! One teacher told me to get ready, because people have been "raving", and I'm going to be getting a lot of calls! OMG! About ME?!?!?! When in life do you ever hear things like that??? Certainly when I was in an office, it was all about cutting people down so you could step on their heads on the way up your own ladder. It is such a relief to be in a place where being nice is actually considered a positive thing, and not a weakness. All along, I thought it was *me*, and it seems to be turning out that no, really, it *was* just the office environment and what it turns people into. HA!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ow! My Thungue!

OK, who gave me dairy?! Becauthe someone gave me dairy. I'm looking at you, new Tharbucks employee.

I know this becauthe I have a volcano-thized sore on my poor, poor thongue. It is thoe huge it hurth to even talk. It'th right in the middle of the top, tho it rubs if I eat. I have to really work to not let mythelf rub it along my lip all the time. I think if the athronauts looked out their window, they could thee it from the spathe station.



Little Delilah dog has massive yeast infections in both ears. I noticed awhile ago that her ears were always dirty, but last week, they started seeming wet all the time, and they started to stink the other day. I mean, STINK. So, $90 later, we have a special ear wash to use every other day and ear drops I have to put in each ear twice a day for two weeks, and then once a day for another week.


My mother is cursing us with her presence next weekend. More on that later.


My bio exam I spent every spare minute studying for for two days ended up being open-book. That really pissed me off. Also, 50% were trick questions, so much so that I wrote a few sentences justifying several answers because more than one could have been correct depending on how you interpreted them (ie, how to things diffuse? a) from high concentration to low, evenly, or b) high to low, unevenly; the answer is BOTH, unevenly at first, and then ending up evenly). Pisser.


Patrick and Josie both had friends over today after school. It was a half day, so Patrick's friend has been here seven hours now (Josie's friend had to leave at 6). This was longer than I had inteded for S to be here, but they get along well and he's sweet, so I don't mind. (His mom is the one who lets him call at 4 and 5 asking if he can come over at least twice a week.) While they were playing outside, another boy stopped by, and when I wasn't listening, apparently let off such a string of foul language that JOSIE told him he had to go home! Patrick and S came inside after that, and Patrick nonchalantly told me that this D had said, 'oh, the f word, the s word, the d word, and other ones, too'. I don't know which disturbs me more, that the boy said those things, or that all the other kids were so not-shocked. Holly firecracker carp.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rockin' Our Bad Selves

First thing's first, people - I got a....

wait for it....

wait for it....

NINETY SIX on my exam!!!!! Oh, yeah! The woman at the testing center actually *hugged* me! I did the end-zone dance all the way outta there. OK, only in my head, but STILL. Whee!

And now, this:

Patrick has been wearing these 3-D glasses ever since we went to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs on Saturday afternoon. He wore them to school today, even. He was wearing them when he came home. I have been singing Rocket Man ever since I took this photo. And now, I give the gift of unending mental music to you. You're welcome!


After my exam, I went shopping for new bras. Next to bathing suits, bras are the worst thing to buy, EVER. I made the mistake of starting at Walmart, simply because I bought my last bunch 'o boulder holders there for $5 apiece a year ago (yes, they were crappy and are now dead, but for $25, I'm fine with that). Did you know that they now refuse to let you into the changing room without scanning you for shoplifting, even if you're obviously only holding a few hangers of bras? What did she think I was hiding in there, a toaster?! (well, on second thought, maybe I could have been, by ta-ta's *are* quite grand.) AND she reminded me TWICE to make sure I gave the stupid plastic number hanger back to her, so she could be sure I'd left. The changing room's a closet less than two feet from the desk she was slouched at. I had to walk by her to leave, and I really don't need a plastic number hanger at home, k'thx. That put me in a crappy mood right there, AND the bras were bad, so it was a total waste of a trip.

I finally broke down and went to Kohls, where I spent a small fortune on four push-up bras (so I don't trip on said ta-ta's). BUT, thanks to Josie, I saved a bunch of money on shoes, because we realized the other day that kid's size 5 is the same as adults' 6.5 - 7, so I bought a cute pair of sketchers mary janes for myself in the girls' dept and saved $20. HA!

I also bought a Hoover floor washer thing at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I hate mops, and Swiffers just don't deal with real cleaning (although they're good for general spills and doggie messes). I used it today, and I think I like it. At least it leaves the floors dry, which is nice considering I can never keep people/pets off the floors.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day and Night

Last week went really well. I substituted twice, both times for a half day, but they were day-and-night experiences.

Thursday was in the kids' school, in third grade, and it was pretty fun. I actually taught math and writing for the day, and the kids behaved themselves fairly well. No one had to flip their card (they have rainbow-colored cards to chart behavior), and I managed to deal with some crying over hurt feelings / catty behavior at recess without having any of them hate me or each other. I knew three kids in the class because they were siblings of my kids' friends, and I think the fact that one of them, a boy who is an obvious ringleader, has actually played at my house once, was really helpful. I already knew a lot of the staff, and felt comfortable hanging out in the teacher's lounge during lunch. At the end of the day, several people came over to me to ask how everything had gone, and to congratulate me on having a good day.

Friday, I arrived at another nearby school at 11:45 to take over for another sub in a fifth grade classroom. I could hear the children from down the hall as I exited the stairwell, and as I walked over, two of the children came flailing out of the room shouting, 'Are you our substitute?!' The morning substitue flew out the door like she was on fire with nary a word to me after telling one of the girls to 'fill me in'. The 'helpful' girl showed me a schedule written on a piece of paper, which I tried to read as the classroom swirled around me, literally - things were flying through the air, groups of kids were clustered around computer games yelling and cheering. All their shoes were off, and the whole place smelled like a locker-room. Getting the place under control was a struggle, and later that afternoon (after lunch, recess, and the science teacher had come and gone), I wanted to avoid a similar zoo during end-of-day free time, so I said that they had to stay in their seats while I read to them and called them in groups to use the computers. This led to the crowning moment of the day; being called stupid by The Big Class Handfill for sticking to my guns. During the day, none of the other teachers stopped by, no one asked if I needed help, even though the chaos of the morning had been plain for all to hear, and when I had gone into the lounge during lunch to get a snack and a water bottle, I got the feeling that everyone was just staring at me. None of the teachers made any effort to make me feel welcome at recess, and in fact turned their backs to me and talked amongst themselves like I wasn't even there. It was a little like being the dork in high school. Maybe they all thought that I had been there in the morning as well, and was failing abysmally, but that should have been an even greater motivation to say something to me. I'm not feeling so inclined to go to *that* school again, although at least now that I know what to expect from the staff there, if I do it won't be a surprise.

The kids walked home from school by themselves for the first time on Friday, because I wasn't sure I'd be there in time to pick them up, and it went so well that they're going to be walkers from now on. I was so proud of them; they had walked together, exactly as I had asked, and Josie was all ready with her key in her hand, just in case I wasn't here yet. I was so proud of them!

Tomorrow I won't be working, because I have to take my first big trig exam. After that, it's back into the trenches. Ohm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


OMG, I just got my first substitute teaching assignment!!!!! I'm so nervous and excited, it's like I've had about fifteen cups of coffee. I'll be at Josie and Patrick's school, which is nice, because I'm at least familiar with it and know a lot of the people there, in a third grade classroom. In fact, I know the woman I'm subbing for, because she lives in my neighborhood. When the phone rang, I jumped out of bed like I was on fire, but was so nervous that I almost didn't take the job. Plus, I have an oral group project due tonight in bio, and my partner only got me the slides we're working from *last night* (I found material, she did about 10 slides with it, and I'm doing the 5-10min presentation), but I should have time to get together what I need to say this morning before I go, if I can calm down enough to think straight. It's my first offical day working in over seven years! Wish me luck, guys!!!!!!! *breathing in and out of paper bag*

Also, cross your fingers for my friend L, who is finding out today if the little girl she's been wanting to adopt will finally be released from foster care into the 'adoptable' arena. They've spent weekends, vacations and lots of other time together, and she loves this little girl so much. They really, really deserve each other.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So Far, So Good

Things are going really well lately, but really, really fast. I feel like I barely have time to breathe anymore!

School update: both subjects are going pretty well. I got 100% on my last trig quiz, and only needed two tries to get it, which, for me, is amazing. Also, that means that I didn't have to freak out about it all weekend, and thus didn't have Math Dreams all weekend (ie, where I can't see the problems, or try to compute the compounded interest I would gain on dinner glasses, which doesn't even make sense). Bio is making me feel REALLY good - after four grades, I have over a 100% average. Hooray! We have a group project due this week in bio, which I did the research for, my partner is doing the slides for, and I'm presenting to the class on Thurs, plus I have a quiz AND an exam due on Monday in trig. The exam will be really telling, since we get one shot and I have to go to the testing center to do it.

My weird boy, doing the multiplication he wanted me to teach him the other day 'for fun'.

Subbing update: Funny story - when I went to get fingerprinted last week, I had to bring two forms of ID, so I brought my license and my birth certificate, which I had in the house because we did a refi on the house a few months ago (usually it's in the sd box). The woman, who was in her fifties, looked at it, and then at me, and informed me that she wasn't sure she could take that as ID, didn't I have my SS card on me? ??!!!??? No, because my ss card is on its last legs and wouldn't survive being in my wallet, plus I'm not sure where it is. Plus, hello, you have to have a birth certificate to get a ss card AND a driver's license! It's not like either one has a photo on it! I just looked at her, and she said she'd have to go and ask someone. A few minutes later she came back, slid it next to me while I filled out my paperwork, and said she was ready to do my fingerprinting, like she hadn't just practically pitched a ridiculous fit. Sheesh.

'Yeah, I'm in microwaveable rice blanket bag, so what, you wanna fight about it?'

Yesterday, I went to the substitue orientation, which was pretty full since they require returning subs to go to it as well. It was supposed to be 2hrs long, because we had to watch several gross videos on sexual harrassment and blood borne pathogens (both of which were uncomfortably graphic), and go through paperwork. We ended up going a half hour over, though, because these two old women insisted on sharing a personal experience for every. single. point. the board of ed person made. It was really annoying, and I can only imagine how annoying it is to have them be your teacher. Blecch. Anyway, I'll get my employee id this week, and should be able to start selecting jobs next week. Hooray!

This morning, I celebrated by going to breakfast with my good friend, Jessica, and her adorable baby boy. I could just squish him, he's that cute. Then, I went to Petsmart, and got the most beautiful bag, as well as another Indestructable Toy (seriously, we have a few of these now, and Gorilla has lated being Baci's favorite toy for several months now). I think Squid is my new favorite thing, though.

The squid may not be so smily after he realized he has been adopted by the dog equivalent of the tasmanian devil.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I got my email to work after restarting my computer late last night. It must have been something with the firefox update, or the HP update, which was kind of a big one. Maybe my cookies were crumbled, or the scones were stale, or whatever.

Since I have two bio quizzes this week (one on lab stuff today and another on material on Thurs), plus a math class to watch today, today's post is going to be a pictacular.

Josie in the tunic I finished the day before trig started.

A horse asleep with his blankie.

Josie and one of her best friends making brownies on Saturday.

Patrick not doing homework.

(One other note on the homework thing - he was required to do homework last year, in K. ??? DH and I were talking about it, and it seems to me that the kids who actually need to do it are probably the ones who will now *not* be doing it. Patrick doesn't really need to, but will still be doing it every night Just Because. We have a new principal this year, so I'm wondering if the entire school's policy on homework has changd for the younger kids.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Email Schmemail

Do any of you have Yahoo mail? I haven't been able to get into my account for most of the day. Maybe it's something with my computer; I'll have to check it from my phone later.

Today has been a royal pain. We got locked out this morning on the way to school, and I had to break the glass in the back door to get in. Unfortunately, it wasn't nine small panes as I had thought, but rather one big one, and it shattered into a million little pieces, cutting up my hand. Sigh. And, just for fun, guess what? My keys were actually in the grass in the back yard the whole time. Good times!

I got an 87 on my math quiz! Hooray! I'm taking a day off from doing trig altogether to clear my brain a little.

The woman and her partner that I unfriended haven't noticed yet. We weren't friended for all that long, anyway, and she had upwards of 150 friends, so I'm not surprised. Her nasty snipes at and about people (some of whom I know) were too much for me, so I'm glad I did it. Since that went so well, I took off seven or eight other people whose pages were either stressing me out or who I haven't talked to in awhile. We'll see if anyone notices at all. :) I've been so stressed-out lately with school that just about everything other than everyday stuff is almost too much for me to think about.

Patrick's first grade teacher has decided to take a new tactic on homework; it's not required, and doesn't count in their grades, even if they don't do it at all. She wants it to be a fun thing they do with their parents, if they do it at all, and she provided some worksheets. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, it's nice, because he's little, and I think pressure can be too high sometimes. On the other, it seems a little weird, because if he has it, but gets used to not having to do it, I'm not sure that's a great idea for future habits.


The phone is ringing off the hook today! I'm never going to get this post finished at this rate. Now it's almost time to start thinking about dinner. We have to eat so early these days because the kids or I have something to do most nights, and I don't like it. I feel like we're rushing all the time.

Still can't get into my email. Now I'm wondering, since DH at work has been able to get into his mail. I installed a firefox update today, so maybe it's me and not them - you know how updates always 'improve' things. When DH gets home, I'll check on his computer. Argh. I'm waiting for an email from my bio partner about a project we're working on, too. :(

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Organically Disappointed

I'm going to do a grocery roundup tomorrow, I think, if I can find my receipt from my shopping trip yesterday. It went pretty well, and I am love-loving the new self-scan-as-you-go thingamajig. At the moment, though, as I take a break from studying (because I took the first quiz today and got an 87.5, thank you very much! I might end up even higher, because two of my answers were technically right but the computer wanted them in a different form, so we'll see what the prof says) to talk about some things that I've bought that I really *wanted* to like, but didn't.

First of all, let me say I have really been trying to get behind all the eco-friendly products out there. I WANT to love all these products, I really, really do. BUT. They're just not doing it for me. Specifically, Seventh Gen dish detergent is a huge disappointment. I used it for a month, and it was just terrible. I don't know whether it wasn't coarse enough, or maybe it dissolved too quickly in its excitement to be all 'zero impact', but it was certainly having zero impact on my dirty dishes. It gummed up in the detergent holder bin, so half the time half of it was still stuck in there in a wad, a lot of dishes and silverware still had junk on them, baked on by the heat of the water and steam, AND things were coming out filmy, particularly the glasses. In order to get it to work at all, I had to run the machine on 'pots and pans' all the time, which is about twice as long a cycle as the others, PLUS make sure I put the dishes into the washer pre-wiped. It was a huge waste of water and essentially made me wash them before washing them. I hate to waste, but I had bought two boxes on a sale, and just threw out the last box only halfway used. It was that bad.

Also, while I'm at it, organic bathroom cleaners, especially tub stuff. I'm happy to use my Method spray on the countertops, but I can only get the tub grout clean with Tilex. I love the earth, but I don't want it growing between my tiles. Baking powder is fine for the sink, but I'm not scrubbing the tiles with it on a toothbrush.

Organic applesauce. Have you tried this stuff? WHY do companies think that organic applesauces have to equal bland?! Cinnamon can be organic, and so is brown sugar. Whenever I buy the organic applesauce, I have to dump it all out, add spices and brown sugar, and then pour it all back in. Why?

Scott Naturals products. The paper towel feels like tree bark. Also, I like that the toilet paper is partly recycled, and will break down quickly, but maybe it would be better if it didn't break down while I was still using it. There's a happy medium, people, and it's not while I'm still holding the stuff in my sad, and now unhappy, hand.

Dried pea pods as a snack food. I saw some at the store a few weeks ago, and thought, what a healthy, crunchy, and potentially tasty snack! Nope. Not even on a salad. They are to pea pods what Bacos are to bacon. It was like eating a pumice puff. Blecch. Even the dogs didn't want to eat them, and that's saying something.

Anything you've bought that the rest of us should avoid?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Seriously Scary Shedoobe

I found out today that at 4:30am on Tues, there was a massive attempted home invasion on a duplex house catty-corner to mine, across the street and down about three doors. A guy was getting ready for work, and as he pulled out of the garage, which was behind the house (we all have alleys behind our houses where the garages lead to, and we drive down the alleys to the main roads), and out to the street, he saw several things: two guys in front of his house, two just down the street, and FIVE on his front porch. They had his window screen off and were getting ready to enter his home, where his wife and two young kids were still asleep. He swung around in the car and dashed back into the back of his house for his gun, and the men ran away.

My friend, who lives another three doors past them, lives in the other house the guys were standing in front of. She said she woke up because she heard noises, and looked outside to see the guys standing there and up the street, but she couldn't see the ones on the porch of the other house, since they're on the same side of the road. She said it was pretty obvious to her that they were lookouts for something.

Police came and went, but there has been no news coverage, nothing in the paper, nada.

This is not That Kind of Neighborhood. Like any neighborhood, you can tell based on how people look and how they act whether they actually live here; we're all pretty much middle-class people with nice houses and cars, and we're not usually outside past 9 or 10pm because we all have kids. People don't randomly wander the neighborhood; they are either going to or from somewhere, or watching kids. We have nice yards, and leave our windows and front doors open when it's nice outside.

There are a lot of questions here, like why did they pick a half-house to swarm rather than one of the larger, nicer homes surrounding it? For that matter, why this neighborhood over the swankier one a few streets over? Was it gang-related? We're a pretty small town - we don't have 'gang' activity to speak of. Was it a retaliation for some perceived wrong? Nine guys is a lot for a continued road rage problem. If it was personal, why did they run away when confronted with the owner? Did they know he was leaving, and that a woman would be inside asleep, or did they plan just to rob the place? That particular house is even right under a streetlight. Was it mistaken identity? If so, who were they *really* after? The owner said the guys looked to be in their late 20's-early 30's. WTF?

One of their kids is in 1st grade with Patrick. She must be scared shitless, if she even knows it happened. I can't imagine being them, the wife in particular. How can she EVER sleep again, knowing the last time she slept, a mob was coming in to her and her babies?

I am scared. The only reason I will sleep tonight, if I do, is because we have 150lbs of Dog to scare intruders away. I hate that, because emotionally, it's like sending two of my kids to scare away monsters. I'm here alone all day, from 5am on, and we are asleep after DH leaves, too. It could have been us. It could have been my friends a few doors down. It could have been anyone.

It could have been a lot worse. But I am still scared.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Still Catching Up

Today I surfaced for air and met with the advisor for the grad program I want to attend. The excellent news: my Statistics for Managers class I took when my job was paying for grad school counts towards my math requirement, so this trig class will be my LAST MATH EVAH! Woohoo! The not-so-great news: I have to prove that I've either taken a writing class, or that I've written papers, or I'll have to take one before they'll let me in. Or, I can cough up a paper I've written, after years and years and many moves. Yeah, no.

Let me get this straight: I took two seminars *and* had to submit a research thesis for undergrad, AND I took SIX grad classes, and I *STILL* have to prove that I can write?!?! Are they SERIOUS?!

I actually did find one paper I wrote in undergrad, sandwiched into my filing cabinet, but it's only 6pp, and it's not a research paper, so I don't know if they'll count it. I sent the advisor an email to ask.

Also, my sociology major doesn't give me a pass on psychology, so I'll have to take that next semester, along with another science (and she said meteorology is fine, so at least it'll be interesting). At least it's not MATH!!!!!!!

In other news, I unfriended some people today on Facebook. It was very liberating. This one person has been annoying me for a long time, and I had actually made all the updates to their FB page hidden so I didn't have to read them. Today I decided that that was silly, and after making sure they weren't going to get a big message "YOU HAVE BEEN UNFRIENDED", I did the deed. Buh-bye. I wanted it to be quiet, because we have friends in common (both online and off), and I didn't want it to be a Big Deal. I doubt they'll even notice, to be honest, since I never post in reply to anything of theirs. I think I may do a few more! (Don't worry, I would never do that to You. I love all of YOU!)

I'm slowly starting to catch up on your blogs. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Missing You

I am so sorry I haven't been reading any blogs lately. I miss hearing about you all so much, my friends, and I'm hoping to catch up tomorrow when the kids are at school. I have literally been consumed by trigonometry, to the point that I am dreaming about it (and not in a nice way). My mind is so entrenched in Words that random letters have always been very, very distracting, and I end up spending time wondering why, for instance, an equation says f(x)=3x+2, when really, f(x) just means the Y axis. THEN I get caught up in worrying that the substitutions actually have some mysterious meaning, expecially when OTHER random letters, like H or I come to call, with seemingly no calling card or introduction at all. Why are THEY there?! Who invited them? What do they mean? It makes me just want to make a nice soup out of them all and be done.

So, to do a brief catch-up on me:

1. I have an appointment with the graduate advisor for the program I'm hoping to get into on Wed afternoon. Cross your fingers that they will allow me to substitute my sociology major for the 1 psychology class they like to see for admission, and that they won't give me the same crap about supposedly not having algebra math credits that the undergrad school did.

2. I have an appointment on the 14th to get fingerprinted and interviewed by the county to get officially hired as a substitute. The following Monday there's a 2hr orientation session, and after that, I'm free to start, so I'll hopefully be working by the end of the month.

3. Josie got her yellow belt last week, but I didn't get it on video b/c the recorder screwed up. I'll put up a photo soon, though. She totally kicked butt.

4. I went to a family gathering yesterday, against my better judgement, and it went fine even though my stressful sister-in-law and her husband were there. Their babies, unfortunatly, look very much like their father, who is not feminine at all. While I do not feel any attachment to either the parents, or the babies (still), it was fine, and I held a baby most of the time as a distraction. There were no outbursts or arguments. Perhaps I'll feel more connected to the babies once they're bigger; I suppose it's difficult to feel connected to children of people you really don't like and rarely see.

OK, I think that's it. DH took the kids to the movies so I could have a few hours' peace and quiet to study. I think I'm actually going to take my stuff over to Panera, which should be quiet this time of the afternoon, and have a coffee. I'm sick of sitting at the dining room table, and to do the next section I have to get a calculator that will actually have a bunch of functions on it, so I might as well combine the two. I really need to not be studying late at night if I can help it, at least until I break the dreaming pattern. The last three nights I've not only dreamed about it, but also spent a good half hour in that half-awake state stressing over vague problems I can't quite picture because I'm not fully awake. It's not conducive to a good night's rest, people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Things I Don't Understand, School Edition

Dear Trig Professor:

Thank you for letting me in your class, but there are a few things that are a mystery to me. For instance, why is it called an online class when in fact I had to purchase DVDs from the bookstore with you on them, teaching the class to someone else? I would say it's nice to see you, but honestly, I *can't* see you, since the rhesus monkey you had running the camera put the auto-focus on YOU rather than the blackboard, and since you're always moving, that means that the focus goes in and out like a Christmas light. Just for fun, whatever you're writing on the board only comes into focus every other time you do, or so. It's like a magic trick! Perhaps you could pull the answer to why I care what f(g(x)) is, again? Because I can figure out what the problem means, but I have no idea why it means anything at all to you. For all I know, it's the formula for making a unicorn. Finally, if you could please explain to me why our text begins on Chapter Six, rather than the usual chapter one, that would be great, because it's not inspiring a lot of confidence in your (or the author's) ability to even COUNT.

Not a Mathlete


Dear Bio Professor,

I understand that this is your first class to teach, ever, and that you're a bio-chemist-phlegmologist researchologist person, but perhaps you could have actually read the lab contents before you came to class today? Making *us* remind *you* of the instructions is like the blind protozoa leading the other blind protozoa, and frankly, from the looks of confusion on the faces of the younger students, they're making Stevie Wonder look like an eagle-eye. Seriously, why didn't you tell the poor creatures that you can figure out the difference in how much you can see under the microscope between magnifications by doing a simple ratio (2mm @ 100x = .5mm @4oox) rather than making them do that horrid formula that they were all struggling with? just because they weren't smart enough to see it themselves doesn't mean you should punish them! (Or was it because none of them understood that because the microscope already magnifies at 10x, that the 40x lens actually shows you a 400x magnification? I have seen deer about to be under my car that looked less startled. ) Regardless, it's going to be a LOOOOONG class, so maybe be a sport and be prepared next time, and stop joking that you're just as unsure what to do as we are. But, if you can't, can you at least count? There might be a place for you in the math department.

Not So Blinded by Science


Dear Public School,

Who do you think is trying to get into the school, Osama Bin Laden?! What are all these new security procedures?! Now I have to give you my driver's license number, AND all the numbers of anyone who might pick my kids up early or drop them off late, AND scan my license in any time I want to enter the school, and have everyone videotaped as we enter and leave the school?! AND all volunteers have to be fingerprinted, at the county school office, at $20 a pop? AND I have to send in a note saying that my 10yo is going home with her friend's mom today, even though she's a walker and could technically get into ANY car, at ANY point, on ANY day, on her way home, with no notice at all, should she so choose? Once you're in elementary school, you pretty much know who's a stranger and who isn't, and whether you have a playdate or not, unless you have a severe special-education situation. How much did these cameras cost our strapped system again? Is there really a rash of people busting into the school and taking children who don't belong to them via brute force?! What kind of establishment are you running over there!? What's next, installing a subcutaneous GPS device? I hate to say it, but if someone really wanted to do some damage, they would bust through the glass in the door and come in. A person who has scanned in their license is no less likely to detonate a bomb than anyone else, since they don't care if you know who they are, and they'll be dead, anyway. AND, oh sacred educational establishment, I'm supposed to let you have my license number stored on file so someone can break into your crappily-secured data files and steal it, along with my SSN?! I think not. Does this mean that if, God forbid, DH and I are in a car accident, and no one else's license is on file, they will have to live at the school until we can get out of the hospital and bring our licenses over there to bust them out?

Come to think of it, there are days when I'll just leave my license at home and let you keep them. It's cheaper than hiring a sitter.

Have a Fun Sleepover With My Kid