Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WNBP: Hellooooo? Anyone Still Out There?

Yeah...probably not.  That's OK.  I understand.  You can't invite people over and leave them waiting in the living room while you attend to other matters about the manse for a couple of months.  Eventually they will gather up their coats and head out to find a more congenial  host.

No harm, no foul.  I'll just leave a note (or a Wednesday Night Bullet Post) for those who still drop by to make sure I haven't gotten lost or been kidnapped by aliens.

* I haven't been hanging out in other corners of the internet either, in case you were worried that I abandoned you for hipper media outlets.  Facebook and Twitter have been largely ignored lately as well.

*I know this because Facebook and Twitter have been emailing me to let me know I've been missing a great deal of amazingness.

*Our school's winter vacation is in February.  I put it on the calendar because that is my favorite school vacation.

*Apparently, bronchitis reads my calendar because I was stricken within hours of settling in for my week of obligation-free vacation time.

*I staggered into the doctor's office on Tuesday morning of that week already so sick I could barely breathe without coughing up lungs, spleens and other various organs best left inside the body.

*I know I only have one spleen.  I was trying to be descriptive.  You know...exaggerate for effect.  

*But if I did have multiple spleens, all of them would have been on my living room carpet what with all the coughing.

*I left the office with a shiny new inhaler, cough medicine with blissfully high amounts of narcotics mixed in and, of course, antibiotics.

*This thing held on like grim death for the entire vacation week and well into the first week back to school.

*I finally felt better on the second Friday of my back-to-school routine.  

*I can be exactly that specific because I caught a cold the following Saturday.

*A doozy of a cold that was almost as bad as the bronchitis except for the part where it hung around in my sinuses and required that I make weird honking noises for another ten days in order to keep them semi-clear.

*I blame the children.  You know the ones I mean.  The ones that show up around 7:15 every day and hang around spreading their foul germs until 2:15 when they finally return home to their parents.

*Where they, no doubt, plot further germ warfare against me.  I'm sure their parents have no idea.  They all seem like very nice people.

*I'm feeling much better now.  Although I still deal with leftover sinus issues from time to time.

*I originally wrote that as, "Although I still deal with leftover sinus deposits from time to time." 

*Then I rethought that sentence because it seemed gross and I changed it.

*You're welcome.

*I took the car in for that oil change it had been whining about for a while.

*There I learned that I was due for an inspection.  Or past due if you are being picky about semantics.

*Either way, there is a rather spendy obstacle between me and that sticker so it will have to wait.  That kind of cash doesn't just magically appear.

*Although the service technician seemed to think that repeating the official date of my motor vehicle inspection thirty seven times might cause cash to suddenly rain down from the sky.

*At least that is what I assume.  I didn't ask as I was too busy paying for my oil change and studiously ignoring him.

*I'm well past the age where I believe that magical incantations work in the service center.

*On a happier note, several of the kids in my class caught my cold.  I'm sorry they don't feel well.

*But I consider payback to be completely fair under these circumstances.  My illness fell partially during a vacation week and that was dirty pool on their part.

*There is also a stomach flu going around.  I am not planning on getting that one.  

*Seriously.  It's not happening.  Not even funny to consider it.  I don't have time for that.

*I am in the market for a new couch.  You can only pile on so many pillows before you have to come to the conclusion that you need a new couch.  

*I am currently up to three layers of pillows.

*The only thing standing in my way is waiting out the car payments.

*You may remember when I bought my car.  My truck was on life support and required many, many dollars to fix.  Thousands, in fact.

*I could choose between paying thousands that I didn't have and hoping that it was enough to keep it running or going into a new loan while still owing on the truck.  

*The former was an expensive gamble that could probably pay off.  Or not. Surprises awaited. The latter was expensive, but predictable.  Sure, I'd be paying through the nose, but at least the newer vehicle would have a warranty and I'd be paying less in repairs.

*I chose the second option.  My car payments rival those of people currently driving off the lot in shiny new luxury vehicles.  Or those of people driving two (maybe even three) lower end economy cars with fewer bells and whistles.

*My repair costs, overall, have been minimal.

*Six years of double car payments.  Six years.  Double car payments.  The lesser of two evils.

*I am have less than two full payments left.  I am in the home stretch.  

*When my car is paid off, I fully plan to spend that day dancing around the waiting room in the local branch of the bank that holds my loan.  There will be lots of fanny waggling and shouts of "Take that suckah!  You don't own me or my soul ANYMORE!!!"

*I doubt seriously that anyone at the local branch of the bank that holds my loan will have any idea who I am or why I'm waggling my fanny in their faces, but I'm going to print up some flyers to toss around in my wake as a means of explanation.

*I've pretty much covered all the picky details except what I'm wearing.  I'm stuck between a belly dancing outfit and some sort of animal costume.

*Let's see...what else happened while the blog was dark?

*Oh, yeah.  It snowed.  Then it snowed again.  Then it stopped snowing long enough for us to get to the store and stock up on more snow supplies.  

*And then it snowed again and we ran out of places to put all the snow so we just started parking on top of it and pretending it wasn't there.

I think that covers the highlights.  You'd think that, with this amount of time having elapsed, there would be more to report.  To be fair, though, that whole thing with the lung hawking and sinus inflating kind of took up a bunch of my time.  I hope your Wednesday (and the many that have preceded this one) went smoothly.

Personally, I'm just glad I got through it without contracting the plague...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WNBP: Incoming

Even if I didn't  have access to multiple forms of regularly updated information via television, newspapers and the internet, I'd still know there was a storm a-coming.  No, I'm not psychic, nor do I have sophisticated radar equipment hidden away in a closet secretly monitoring the airwaves for hints of precipitation.

What I do have, however, is a sinus cavity that has developed an intense dislike of pressure change and a classroom full of students so attuned to nature that the slightest disturbance in the force is enough to set off giddy outbursts and the sudden need to debate who was looking at whom and why I should punish him for that.

Did I also mention that it is the week before school vacation?  And that school is closed on Friday so teachers can make up the workshop day we missed due to inclement weather back in January? Or that kids who are anticipating two extra days of vacation are not remotely interested in learning stuff?  Oh, and you should also factor in that the school's Civil Rights Team is sponsoring Be Yourself Week so everyone was observing Wild 'n Wacky Hat 'n Hair Wednesday.  It's been a long day...

It is, however, the tail end of that day and, as it also happens to be a Wednesday. I suppose it might be a good time to update the blogosphere with the latest and greatest bullet points detailing the life and times of Good Ol' Sheepie.

*Tomorrow is Thursday.  That is the day when grades 6-12 begin school two hours later in order to accommodate staff development needs without closing school for a month.

*Grades K-5 don't have weekly late start days.  They have monthly early release days.  Tomorrow is one of those.

*The incoming storm, which is predicted to either be a regular sort of storm for this area or Armageddon depending upon its track and who you listen to, is scheduled to land sometime late in the morning.

*It's the kind of storm that is generally managed through a half day of school.  That is the sensible course of action as the kids get home before things go to heck in a hand basket and we don't have to make the day up.

*The last time our superintendent attempted to do this on a day when we had varying start/end times for all the schools doing staff development was a disaster.  Over half the school employees ended up at work two hours too early with nothing to do because they can't legally make us work if school isn't officially open.  

*Kids were dropped off at varying times, none of which had anything to do with our actual schedule that day because parents didn't know it was a partial snow day.

*Like I said...disaster.

*Today, we got the email at 2:00.  Mr. Superintendent wasn't even going to bother trying.  School is cancelled for tomorrow.  You could almost hear the frustrated sigh in that email.

*It probably sounded a lot like the one Mr. Principal issued as he attempted to conduct a staff meeting at 2:30 this afternoon amidst the giddy chatter, sharing of snow day plans and waving of wacky hats.

*That was the shortest staff meeting I've ever been to.

*It was the one we were having to make up for the one we missed last week due to a snow day which is kind of ironic when you think about it...

*There's a cute little discount store chain that just decided to hawk their wares in my town, but I don't think many people have figured out it's there yet.  Mostly, I think the Family Dollar Store is biding its time until the summer folk show up to purchase cheap flip flops and sunscreen.

*But they do happen to have a full (ish)grocery section and it's the kind of place where a girl can get frozen pizza, chocolate and yoga pants all within a three aisle radius.

*Hint:  Frozen pizza, chocolate and yoga pants = my version of preparedness.

*It's my Storm Prep secret.  I can stock up on supplies without fighting the mobs of people frantically grabbing up loaves of bread at the supermarket.

*They also have cat food.  The kind that the cats don't normally get to eat and which they love simply because the vet says they should be eating more wholesome fare.

*Not that it matters...

*My recent plan for combating the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty's aggressive attempts to get any foodstuffs I might be preparing was to allow him sink access.

*If it's in the sink, it's his.  All I have to do is put a sauce covered spoon in there and I'm all set.  He spends ten minutes chasing it around the drain licking up every drop and I get to ladle the rest onto my plate in peace.

*The first flaw I discovered in this plan was pasta.  Pasta is kind of a loophole.  It's in the sink.  It needs to drain.

*But it isn't his pasta.  It's my pasta.  And that is hard to explain to a cat.

*The second issue (and one that surprised me even though it probably shouldn't have come as a shock) is the Monkey See/Monkey Do syndrome.

*The Very Complicated Kitty, normally a timid lad who doesn't get up on the counter for fear of incurring my wrath, soon realized that good things were happening in the sink.  

*Now I have to put two spoons in there in order to accommodate both furry diners and the pasta situation has gotten completely out of hand.

*Although, I have to admit that not needing to soak and scrub the casserole dishes has been rather nice.  You'd be surprised at how clean those things are after a few minutes in the sink without running water.  Nary a baked on, stuck on, burnt on bit in sight!

*Still, it does beg the question:  does it really matter at this point if the cats are getting the healthy canned food from the pet store?  I mean, seriously.  Baked ziti with three kinds of cheese is probably going to overwhelm any health benefits in those cans...

*It hasn't affected their energy level much, though.  The minute they sense kitchen activity, they rocket in and hurl themselves into the sink like little furry bullets.  

*They don't even shout a warning, which seems a bit inconsiderate.  I mean how much time would it take to shout out a helpful, "Banzai!"  Or "Fore!"  Or, "Comin' atcha!"

*Even the snow storm has the common courtesy to let us know it's on its way.  Incoming cats don't seem to set off my sinuses nor do I hear the dulcet tones of bickering children before getting slammed aside in order that a spatula might be investigated. 

Well, it seems I inadvertently left a bag of cotton balls on the counter.  (I also picked up cotton balls at the little discount store but those weren't storm supplies.  I just have a nail polish situation going on, is all)  Those cotton balls appear to have attracted the attention of a certain feline who can't imagine why anything in a plastic bag might not contain something yummy and I'd probably best disabuse him of this notion before things take a bad turn.

Although I don't know why he should think they are his.  They aren't in the least not yet.

I hope that your week has been a good one and that if you also happen to be in the path of this or any other incoming storm, you have been able to adequately stock up on chocolate and yoga pants.  Preparedness is important after all.

Perhaps not as important as a crusty casserole pan in the sink, but it's still pretty high on the list.


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

WNBP: New Year/Old Year

Why, hello there!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  The last time I saw you, you were knee high to a grasshopper, if I'm recalling it correctly...

Well, perhaps it hasn't been quite that long.  Long enough that I'm going to be posting across two distinct years, though.  I partially blame my technological difficulties for the delay, but mostly blame a crazy lack of energy brought about by the "season" and the fact that my credit card company strongly believes I should remain employed in order that I might continue financing the aforementioned season.

What follows is a random sampling of 2013 and 2014 and I won't promise any organization whatsoever.  I never once claimed that the Wednesday Night Bullet Post would be anything easily understandable.

*Happy New Year.  

*I thought I should get that part out of the way.  It seems like the polite thing to do at this early stage of the 365 day allotment.

*This post is going to take a long time.  The internets be slow tonight!

*It's the cold.  We may have warmed up to positive digits but I suspect even the inter-web doesn't like it when its nose is sealed shut by its own frozen boogers...

*I had the most fabulous holiday break.  Probably the best I've had in years.

*The way Christmas and New Years fell, combined with teacher workshops and a very well timed snow storm, I ended up with almost two full weeks off.

*And four days before Christmas landed to get stuff done!

*I was worried about Christmas.  I felt extremely unprepared.

*I was relieved to have those days, especially the two that fell on weekdays when everyone else was at work and I could buzz through the stores without having to deal with the populace.

*When I started wrapping my gifts on Christmas Eve, I was still a bit worried.  Did I have enough?  Was everyone to be gifted or would I have to hide behind the tree frantically stuffing cash into envelopes that once contained utility bills in order to have something for those individuals I somehow managed to forget???

*I compensated with bows.  Frilly, elaborate bows that would detract from my lack of preparedness.

*At 10:00 that evening, I began to recall the shopping I did over the summer.  And that stuff I bought at the school book fair last fall.  And those little "somethings" I saw and thought would be nice gifts for people as I went about the daily business of keeping my cupboards stocked over the past couple of months.

*Not to mention the baked goods, jellies, jams and whatnots that somehow got done when I had the time to create them.

*The bows got a lot less elaborate at that point.

*At midnight, my back was aching and my knees couldn't stand another moment of me being hunched on the floor over yards of wrapping paper.  I started setting gifts aside for next year.

*By 1:00, I was finally done.  The gifts were wrapped and packed for travel the next day and I vowed to never again leave this task for the last minute.

*I don't care who does it, but one of you is  in charge of reminding me of this.  I suggest you start nagging me in October just to be sure I get the message.

*I spent the rest of my vacation recovering from the whole Gift Amnesia Episode and enjoying the fabulous booty I brought home myself that day..

*And shopping.  There was more shopping than is good for a person.  Or a bank account...

*I saw The Cheerful Teaching Assistant last week.  We were supposed to have two days of workshops before school started, but we only ended up with one due to the weather.

*I'm glad I caught her.  It was her first day back after birthing her girl child.

*Of course, I forgot to bring the gift I purchased for the little bundle of joy.  I blame the Christmas Eve wrapping incident.

*The CTA is doing well, very well.  She looks amazing and motherhood suits her so well it almost makes me teary eyed.

*I sent the little girly outfits over to the high school via the school social worker who works in both buildings.  

* little girly outfit and one almost girly outfit.  And the other one with the skull motif on it because someone has to be mindful of the less girly side of things.

*I went to the mall with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach the weekend before last.

*I was offered samples of cuticle oil by a Highly Confident Kiosk Person.  I accepted them because she was French and Intimidating.  Plus I like free stuff.

*Of course, this afforded her the opportunity to see the state of my nails which meant I had to endure a quick tutorial in the use of the multi-sided buffer tool.

*I know how to use a multi-sided buffer tool.  I have one somewhere.  I used to use it all the time, but I haven't been in a Nail Phase lately.

*Lately=Last five years.

*As she revealed my gleaming thumbnail and smugly awaited my gasps of shock and awe, I was pleased to inform her that I already possess the gear she was hawking in her firm French accent.

*Without missing a beat, she pierced me to the core with her steely eyes and barked, "Well, why aren't you USING it??"

*I bought a twenty dollar manicure kit.  What else could I do?  Vive Le France.  Victory over the smug American who thinks she knows better.

*I'm afraid to go back to the mall now.  At least not without nails buffed to a mirror shine...

*I went to bed at 11:45 on New Years Eve.  Is that bad?  It feels kind of like giving up.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has become extremely aggressive about procuring foodstuffs now that he's realized the spray bottle I used to repel him doesn't contain acid.

*He literally shoulders me out of the way in order to get at what I am preparing.

*We have finally reached a compromise.

*Discards in the sink are his.  Have at 'em.  I don't care.  Just leave the main course alone.

*This was particularly necessary during the holiday baking for obvious reasons.

*I might be used to a little cat hair here and there, but I don't want to inflict the extra fiber on my family.

*Note:  the sink plan backfires horrifically when I'm attempting to drain pasta.  

*How bad would it be if I drained my pasta in the bathroom?

*That's bad, right?  Not cool at all...

*The Very Complicated Kitty proved himself to be the finest of roommates over the lazy vacation days.  

*If you don't have a fat cat who is willing to let you put your feet on him while you nap then I feel sorry for you.

*You don't know naps.  You think you know naps, but you don't.

*A fat, warm pile of purring cat on your feet while you nap is the epitome of restfulness.

*Look into it.

*Hey, guess what?  My computer is working now.  

*Hundreds upon hundreds of dollars worth of equipment were wrestled back into compliance with a ten dollar mouse and a twelve dollar keyboard.

*Bluetooth be damned.  My computer, for reasons known only to its own circuitry, stopped talking to bluetooth.

*It will, however, communicate with off-brand cheapest-of-the-cheap hardware.

*Go figure.

*Of course, this is the first time in years I've worked on a full sized keyboard and I keep typing backslashes.

*But that is a small price to pay.  I can delete backslashes.  Eventually, I will develop the motor memory necessary to type on this gigantic collection of keys.

*Or the computer will get over its quarrel with bluetooth technology and I can go back to the other stuff I paid a billion dollars for.

*I'd like to say that this will increase the frequency of blog posts, but I don't want to make rash promises.  

*Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best.  If nothing else, you can rest easy knowing that I can now cruise the internet and my monitor is finally showing something besides the view of my desktop I've been staring at in frustration for over a month.

Well, that's about all I have time for tonight.  It's time to think about dinner and figuring out a strategy for arriving at work tomorrow clothed.  It's only the first week back with the students and I figure I should be making the effort at this point.

It's a new year after all.  They might have made an exception back when 2013 was winding down, but we're all supposed to be shiny and hoping for the best at the outset of 2014.  I can risk showing up in my pjs later on, perhaps.

Best wishes to you all in this New Year and I'm looking forward to all the new bullet posts to come!



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WNBP: Of Cats Coupons And Cranberries

I suppose I have a lot to cover.  It's been a while since last I checked in.  I know this because Daddy Sheep keeps track and lets me know when my commitment to responsible blogging flags.

What can I say?  It's been busy over here.  Probably no more busy than any other year, but I think my age might be showing.  I can't recall ever being this tired after a day of teaching.  Sometimes I feel like I'm in one of those old buddy cop movies from the 80's.  My character would be the jaded veteran who periodically runs a hand across his haggard face and mutters, "I'm gettin' too old for this stuff."

It's that or I was always this tired and am only just getting around to realizing it...

But I'm here now and ready to catch everyone up.  Let's look back at the bullet points from the past month or so and see what's what.

*An Open Letter To The Enthusiastic Extreme Couponer Ahead Of Me In Line At The Drugstore:

Dear Enthusiastic Extreme Couponer,

Happy Holidays to you EEC.  I trust you are well.  I just wanted to take a moment and go over a couple of points with you.  Please put down your scissors for a second and tune in.  I promise I'll be brief.

First, you need to know that I do not think less of you or your frugality.  I actually kind of admire your ability to turn little bits of paper into piles of free merchandise.  I'm fascinated by it and think your dedication to the craft praiseworthy.

I do not mind waiting in line behind you at the store.  I'm as entertain as you (almost) watching the register count down to something close to zero dollars.  I'm perfectly willing to hang out and let you do your thing.  No harm/no foul.


I do mind the educational lecture that goes along with it.  Were you simply making your purchase and moving along, there would be no issue at all.  My time is your time when it comes to the actual transaction.  I do not need to know how it happened, though.  You don't have to tell the story behind every free item or where each coupon came from.  From the look on the sales clerk's face, I think it is safe to say that neither of us needed to see your coupon caddy or know that there was another couponer in aisle twelve who has an even nicer one that you wish to describe in exacting detail.  Let's agree to let the magic of couponing remain an alluring mystery once we've hit the checkout line.

If you are interested, I could refer you to several of my couponing friends who can share with you how they handle checking out.  Each of them is very much aware of how their transaction can slow up the works and they plan ahead for that.  It's part of the game when it comes to coupon wrangling, or so they tell me.

Thank you for your time, EEC and I look forward to watching you work your magic again someday.  Preferably in reverent silence.

The Soaking Wet Lady Behind You Who Just Ran In From A Torrential Downpour To Grab A Couple Of Things On The Day Before Thanksgiving.

* gotta love 'em!

*Well, the worst has happened over here at The Manse.  It's pretty much the end of the world as we know it.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has figured out that water will not melt the skin from his bones.  

*Water was all I had when it came to defending my property.  A quick squirt from the spray bottle was all it took to get him to back off long enough for me to put my dinner together or pour myself a beverage to go with.

*Not so now.  It's over.  I'm officially ousted as Head Of Household.  

*He's pretty much living on the counter and nosing his way into anything and everything he thinks might be edible.  

*When he's not doing that, he's lounging in the sink waiting for a refreshing waterfall to cascade over him.  

*Seriously.  I have nothing left.  Holiday baking has been a trial, let alone the daily act of providing myself with sustenance.

*The Very Complicated Kitty still trembles at the sight of a mere droplet, but it's only a matter of time.  He's been seen on the counter multiple times.

*Although he seems more interested in gnawing on my wooden spoons so maybe I still have time to turn this one around.

*If the splinters left behind after stirring things with what's left of my wooden spoons doesn't kill me first...

*I may have mentioned earlier that I made cranberry sauce this year.  I'd never done that before.  In my world, cranberry sauce came from a can with lines molded into it so you knew where to cut a slice.

*But I liked the homemade, whole berry stuff so much I ended up making a second batch.

*Then I got to thinking that everyone I know might want to eat my homemade cranberry sauce and had to run out to buy more cranberries.

*I ended up with a lot of cranberries before I took a good hard look at myself and realized that I might have a problem.  No one can eat that much cranberry sauce and I can only hand out so many jars of the stuff before I become known as The Crazy Cranberry Lady.

*I used up a bunch of the addictive little red balls making chutney, an endeavor that netted me about a billion jars of something with raisins in it.

*I don't really care for raisins.

*This did not occur to me until after the chutney frenzy but I figured I could give chutney to the people who didn't know about the cranberry sauce and I wouldn't look quite so crazy.

*After Thanksgiving, I took the two bags of cranberries languishing in the fridge and put them in the freezer.  They keep for up to a year and I could always use them later.

*You know...once the whole Sheepie Has A Cranberry Issue blew over.

*I found four more bags of cranberries in the freezer.

*Apparently, I had some sort of cranberry black out during the month of November.

*So, for those keeping track, I have about ten jars of cranberry sauce, nine remaining jars of chutney with yucky raisins in floating around in them and another six bags of cranberries in my freezer.

*And that's the last time I'm going to talk about it.  Some things should just remain shameful secrets as our forefathers intended.

*I put up my Christmas tree last weekend.  It seemed like the seasonal thing to do.

*Putting up the tree is always something of a production what with it being an Old School Kind Of Holiday Trapping.  

*No pre-lit, folding branches for this Sheep.  No sir!  We wrestle with strings of lights and try to figure out which branch belongs in which hole like they did it back in the day!

*This year, the whole experience was enhanced by my having sprayed the tree with bitter oil last season.  

*The Very Complicated Kitty is a chewer.  He chews everything.  Cords.  Shoelaces.  Paper.  And Christmas Trees.

*Also Christmas tree lights.  Spraying bitter oil is something one does when one wants to get another year out of one's old school tree and avoid some sort of electrical event involving a sparking feline with bits of colored lights between his teeth.

*I figured the oils would dissipate over the course of the year.  They did not.

*They marinated in the storage bag.  They perhaps even intensified.  It's OK now.

*But that first whiff was a doozy.  Not to mention what happened when I accidentally licked my finger before washing it.

*Today, I found the VCK merrily gnawing on the metal base of the tree.  It did not occur to me to spray the metal base of the tree.

*Because, well...why would it occur to me to spray the metal base of the tree?  It's metal.  Who chews metal?????

*Don't answer that.  I know who.  But, much like the cranberries, I don't believe I want to think about it too hard.

I think that should cover it for now.  I hit most of the highlights anyway.  I'm also getting really hungry and I think I have a small window of opportunity while the AGK steals ornaments from the lower branches of the stinky tree.  I could use that to cobble together something to eat before he rockets himself onto the counter to see what he can snag before I react.

Whatever I make, you can be reasonably certain of one thing.  It will probably contain cranberries in one form or another...


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WNBP: So...Where Were We?

I know.  It's been longer than the usual Sheepish Blogging Lapse.  I'd make some creative excuse, but I think by now you've heard most of the good ones.  Anything I try at this juncture would just sound kind of pathetic.  I think we're all better than that...

So, in the interest of forging ahead as if nothing happened at all, here is your somewhat belated Wednesday Night Bullet Post:

*The past two Thursdays have involved Parent/Teacher Conference Nights.

*Because we have a delayed start on Thursdays, the powers that be decided staff should come in two hours late and stay two hours longer to accommodate the need to chat with parents.

*No impact to students.  A little extra sleep for the staff.

*In theory.  

*Da Boyz don't know from parent/teacher conferences so they had me up bright and early just as if I wasn't being gifted with two hours of relaxation before the official start of the day.

*Tomorrow is Thursday.  But there are no conferences.

*They expect us to come in at the usual time for staff meetings.

*Which strikes me as somewhat unreasonable...

*I came home today to discover that The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty had turned on the air conditioning.

*This was highly unnecessary given that it is November.

*And probably ill advised since I've also removed the exhaust hose from the window.

*He had no comment on the matter.

*And yes.   I am certain that it was the AGK.  It's always the AGK.  

*No matter what happens, it is the AGK.  

*Plus I've seen him do it before.

*I should just unplug it, I suppose.  That would solve the problem.

*But when I think of it, I am not in a position to actually do it.

*And when I could handily reach the plug, the urgency of the situation isn't quite the same.

*I used to have a Cheerful Teaching Assistant.

*I was there when The Cheerful Teaching Assistant first made the decision to move in with her boyfriend.

*I was there when she got the ring.

*I was there when she planned the wedding and congratulated her when she returned to school after the nuptials were done.

*I was there when she bought her house.

*I was there for lots and lots of stuff.  Now she works at the high school.

*So I wasn't there when she had her baby girl and I had to find out about it after the fact like everyone else.

*Which is a little sad, but not so much so that I'm not over the moon thrilled for her.  I even found a pattern for a crocheted baby sacque thingie and I might even get it done before the kid heads off for college.

*If nothing else, I like the idea of a baby in a "sacque."  It's honestly and truly called a sacque!

*I decided that it was time to do a little work on the ol' hair color last weekend.  Even got a bit bold with it.  

*Went waaaaay too dark.  I mean waaaaaaaaaaay.

*All I could think when I was done was, "Look!  It's Elvira!

*That was Saturday.  Sunday was for fixing what havoc I'd wrought.  Time to bust out the color remover!

*I've been coloring my hair since I was in my mid-twenties not so much out of need as because I think it's awesome to live in an age where such things are possible. 

* I've experienced my share of disasters.

*Color remover is tricky, but living like the Dark Queen Of The Deepest Night seemed even trickier.  I simply don't have the wardrobe for it and maintaining a glower for hours on end is exhausting.

*Not to mention how out of practice I am with the Expected Evil Laugh...

*With a bit of skill, a smidgen of courage and no small amount of luck, I was able to time it out to the point that I removed the worst of the offending darkness in the top layer.  That was enough.  The darker underside is the sort of thing I can claim to have done on purpose.  

*Helpful Hint From Someone Who Knows Hair Disasters:  Always do the strand test when using color remover.  I actually needed far less time than the box indicated.

*Of course, it probably would have also been helpful to do a strand test before I dyed my hair the color of deepest, darkest, reddish evil, but that is something I don't think we need to dwell on.

*I was going to do a re-color, but I think it's best to let my hair recover a bit before plunging back into the whole activity again.

*Our new school staff rules have strongly advised us against posting information online about students.  
*Although I've been careful over the years, I like being employed enough that I'm going to do my best to comply.

*However, I cannot go another minute without sharing the following information.

*There is a kid in my class with the biggest sty in his eye that I have ever seen.  I mean EVER.

*It's the size of a commercially grown blueberry.  Except it's not blue.  It's red and he can't even keep his eye open.  I am afraid of it.

*I keep thinking it's going to suddenly start speaking to me.  Perhaps hint that it is planning some sort of world domination maneuver...

*I'm also afraid that the thing is going to burst right there in the middle of my classroom and I've already announced to anyone who will listen that, should this happen, I am done.

*I will retire on the spot because there is just no coming back from that.

*Insert horrified shiver here.

*On a lighter note, the school cafeteria served their yearly turkey dinner to the kids today.  Early, I know but you can't argue with a turkey dinner no matter when it lands in your lap.

*I don't eat cafeteria food even though I know all the staff personally and love them to death.

*So I stood there throughout my lunch duty smelling turkey and practically floating towards the kitchen like some old timey cartoon character.

*I ended up spending almost ten bucks on a cooked and ready to eat turkey breast at the grocery store on the way home.  

*Which seems crazy now that I'm all full of turkey but I still can't bring myself to regret it.

*I've been making cranberry sauce and canning it so there is almost a logical pattern to the turkey purchase.

*I've never liked whole berry cranberry sauce.  Or at least that's what I thought.

*Upon further consideration, I believe that I never actually ate whole berry cranberry sauce.  Now that I've made my own, I suspect that I actually really like the stuff.

*If my consumption of it is any indication...

I am reasonably sure that there is lots more going on here, but I can't seem to think of anything at the moment.  I am also pretty certain that this is one of the more random bullet posts I've thrown out there in a while but I don't think you can blame me for that.  It's been two weeks since I've put cursor to screen and I can't even begin to recall where I left off.

 I think I'm going to go pick a few more morsels off my Very Expensive Turkey Breast and toss a little more deep conditioner onto my locks.  Now that I think of it, I should probably do another circuit around the manse to see if my darling cat has managed to figure out how to trip any other appliances.

Well, would you look at that!  Remembering to blog is good.  It reminds me of all sorts of other stuff I should probably be remembering to do...


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WNBP: Of Mice And Cats

This is embarrassing.  I wish I could just stick my head in a hole and play the I Can't See You So You Can't See Me game.  I wish there had been a massive earthquake that only affected my living room and that this could be my excuse.  I wish I was out saving puppies from certain doom at the hands of coat-making, crazy-haired harridans.

But, as Mommy Sheep always used to say, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride, if turnips were watches, I'd have one by my side.  Which didn't always make sense to a 3 year old little Sheepie, and yet were wise words all the same.

My excuse for not blogging last week?  A massive temper tantrum brought on by a non-functioning mouse.  There were certainly ways I could have worked around this minor technical issue and made the Wednesday Night Bullet Post happen.  Surely all the various and sundry gadgets and gee-gaws around here could have been put to work solving the problem.

But, no.  I tantrumed and that is the sad truth of the matter.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm mightily shamed by it.  But I think I need to at least be honest about it, painful though that may be.  Perhaps it will be a lesson in the future.

With that out of the way (and my school laptop ready to do the job my stupid wireless mouse won't) I shall sally forth into the bloggy ways.  Here is this week's WNBP:

*I guess it's also kind of last week's WNBP, now that I think of it...

*I'm going to talk about stuff that I would have talked about last week had the whole mouse mishap not happened.

*Like how I had to take Da Boyz to the vet.

*We missed our summer appointment.  That meant we were low on Happy Pills for a certain Very Complicated Kitty.

*I do not care for the VCK when he doesn't have his Happy Pills.

*He wants to tell me stuff.  And he wants to chew stuff.  And he wants to bowl his hapless brother off his feet at random and highly disturbing intervals.

*There are no Happy Pills without a visit to the vet.  Happy Pills require blood work.

*Which is fun for the whole darned family...

*To make matters worse, the speed with which my shattered nerves required this appointment meant that we weren't going to be seeing The Cat Whisperer.

*AKA: The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty's Girlfriend.

*Actual conversational snippets from the aforementioned vet visit:

"Are you sure these cats aren't brothers?  'Cause they act exactly THE SAME!!!"

"I think I see some flea dirt.  There might be fleas, wait.  Never mind.  I think it's glitter.  Your cat is Bedazzled.

"There's something on the chart here I can't decipher.  It may be an important condition...let's see.  FDC?  What the heck is FDC?"

"Maybe this Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty would behave better with a treat.  He hates these treats.  Does he have a favorite treat?"

"Do you have any Italian food?  Pizza?  Ravioli?  He also goes wild for spicy Thai curry..."

"Darn it all...I wish I knew what that FDC stood for.  I'd like to know if it's contagious."

"Where are we on those claws?  Have we finished the first foot yet?  No?  Anyone got an ETA on when we think he'll be ready for us to try again?

"  I hate to interrupt, but I kind of remember the whole FDC thing.  It stands for Freeze Dried Chicken.  I think that is partially why he loves The Cat Whisperer so much."

*I love my cats and I take care of them.  In case you were wondering if one can put a price tag on such things as love and care, let me put the question to rest.

*You can.  It costs $311.00.  Make a note of it.

*And a day later, when the bad feelings and looks dripping with contempt for my betrayal were starting to subside, I got to fire it all up again when I delivered the flea/heartworm/everything else treatment.

*We are over it.  Mostly...

*I took a half day off for all this because that seemed appropriate.  When my staff need to take their kids to the vet they get to take sick time.  

* I'll bet their kids are better behaved.  And that they don't require the purchase of a new deluxe kitty house/scratching post to make things right or demand freeze dried chicken as partial compensation for pain and suffering.

*I was out of the classroom yesterday, too.  I had to take the safety procedures training.

*I used to teach safety procedures training, but I had to cover for one of my staff people so often that I couldn't teach enough classes to keep my certification current.

*So I couldn't teach it anymore.  They solved the problem by hiring someone else to do it.

*The staff person for whom I was covering is now teaching safety procedures classes.  She never misses a training date.

*Apparently the policy around excessive staff absences is to pay them to be absent more often.

*I don't question it.  I just shake my head.

*That's not true.  I did question it.  But all I got were a lot of embarrassed looks and mumbling so I stopped pointing out things that people don't want to think about too hard.

*Both of Da Boyz received clean bills of health when they went to the vet.  Even their respective weights, a constant bone of contention, were considered okey-dokey.  (That is a slight exaggeration with regard to the VCK, but he's still in the process of rediscovering his waistline so we decided to call it good)

*The AGK decided that this pronouncement of good health was license to live it up a bit.

*Yesterday, I came home to find that he'd foiled the childproof locks on the under sink cabinet so he could dump out the trash, root through the empty cat food cans and lick them clean.

*He'd also managed to pick the latch on the decorative cabinet that housed the kitty treats but I got those away from him before he gnawed through the packaging.

*Over the weekend, he helped himself to a mini cupcake.  He licked off most of the chocolate frosting before I caught him.  

*I was no more than two feet away at the time.  He's stealthy.

*When I turned my back to wipe up a bit of spilled sauce, he snatched a slice of pepperoni from the still steaming pizza that was only seconds out of the oven.

*I never found it so I have to presume he has a pizza burn on the top of his mouth but I don't feel badly about that at all.

*I have a full time job.  I don't need another full time job.

*But I am beginning to think it is a full time job having a Smart Cat.

*Mr. Principal (Formerly Mr. Assistant Principal) announced today that he thinks it would be a fine idea to allow the students to wear their Halloween costumes tomorrow.

*I'd call in sick, but I already missed one day this week and I have to cover for the staff person who is now being paid to be absent more often.

*I emailed a parent who asked about costumes to tell her that it was OK.  But I was careful to tell her that we needed to consider our festive garb and not go overboard.  I reminded her that things like excessive blood, masks and weapons wouldn't be a good idea.

*She emailed back to let me know that she didn't think it would be a problem.

*Her son is coming to school tomorrow dressed as a Rotarian.

*Member of the Rotary Club.  Civic organization.  He's wearing a suit.  

*Mom claims he looks rather dapper.

*I shouldn't have been surprised.  He's the most Rotarian kid I've ever met...

*My mouse still doesn't work.  I've replaced the batteries.  I've reset it.  I've chanted and waved holy water around the manse.

*It just sits there looking tired.

*I think I need a new mouse.  I also need a new cordless phone but I'm not sure that is a related problem.

*It's probably something more along the lines of If It's Not One Thing It's Another.

*Or When It Rains, It Pours.

*Or Stuff Breaks And The Universe Finds It More Entertaining When It All Breaks At Once...

*As I type this, the AGK is frantically pawing at the decorative cabinet that once held his treats and still holds the canned food.

*Strike that.  He's opened it.  For the third time since I got home from work today.

*I know I need a new mouse, but I think I'm going to forget about that.  I need to put my money into a nice, solid safe.

 OK.  I need to go deal with this cat.  He is perilously close to dumping the whole decorative cabinet right over onto its side.  I know this because it's not the first time I've had a decorative cabinet dumped onto its side.  I'm starting to think I don't live in a decorative cabinet kind of world.

Maybe it's just part of the ongoing payback for that vet visit.  Or the universe commenting on last weeks' epic mouse tantrum...


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WNBP: Is It Just Me?

OK.  I know that sometimes it really is me.  As much as I like to think that I'm not the cause of anything that goes awry around me, I suppose the odds aren't in my favor.  It is very likely that sometimes I'm partially at fault.

Or wholly and completely at fault.  It's probably one of those at least some of the time...

Other times, I can't help but throw my arms up and wave them helplessly about whilst shouting, "Hey, is it just me or is this an utterly stupid way of going about this?????"

Point of fact:  When you say, "is it just me" what you really mean is "this is so frickin' obvious that Me, all my friends and anyone within a ten mile radius can see the problem here."

With that in mind, let's take a stab at this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post:

*I can't believe it is Wednesday.  Is it just me, or is this week moving along kind of rapidly?

*Long weekends will do that.  I love long weekends.

*They are longer than the average weekend and they make the following work week move along kind of rapidly.

*I thought I had another refill on The Very Complicated Kitty's medication.

*His Happy Pills

*AKA: The Pills That Make Life Around The Manse Bearable And Keep Him From Trying To Dig Through The Walls.

*I did not have another refill.  I also ran out of Happy Pills.

*Let me give you a mental picture.

*Fat Siamese running around in search of something he will never find, pausing only to tackle his brother, nip at his own tail and tell me stuff.

*Cats without Happy Pills are very fond of telling you stuff.

*"Hey.  Hey.  Hey.  Mom.  I wanna tell you something.  It's wicked important.  Look at me.  Look at me.  Look at me.  This time I really, really have to tell you something!!!"

*Eventually, I have to stop and listen.  I'm only human.  But he never remembers what he wanted to tell me.

*He will need to dart off, bowl the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty off his feet a couple of times and then go gnaw on the fan in the back bedroom for a while before it comes to him.

*Then we start back at the beginning.

*I ended up having to go out shopping on Monday, spending money I didn't really have, just to get out of the house.

*I now have four new bras and a mini cupcake maker.

*I also have an emergency prescription for Happy Pills and will be taking half of Friday off from work to visit the vet for annual kitty physicals.

*The immediate need for this appointment means that we cannot see the Cat Whisperer.

*I have not told The AGK yet.

*The AGK is partial to the Cat Whisperer.

*He is not partial to Anyone Else.

*And I'm almost looking forward to what happens when Anyone Else tries to trim his claws.

*I can't even trim his claws.  I don't see how Anyone Else thinks they are going to do it.

*And yet, somehow, The Cat Whisperer manages it handily.

*We will not be telling the AGK that he isn't going to see his girlfriend this time around.

*And that isn't just me.  I really do mean WE.

*Mum's the word, people.

*I didn't blog last week.  I didn't forget.  I know what I didn't do.

*Due to a convoluted series of errors, one of which I admit was mine but the rest of which were not, I found myself doing a massive amount of paperwork last Wednesday.

*Multiple individuals were involved in this calamity of errors.

*But none of them were at home trying to complete this mountain of paperwork.

*That was just me.

*And, in my defense, I did mention that this mound of paperwork was due soon.  I further reminded certain individuals that I could not begin that mound of paperwork unless one more piece of paper was added to the pile.

*It was kind of a key piece of paper.

*Meanwhile, others could have been churning out their own bits of paper and we wouldn't have ended up in this pickle.

*I say, "we."  But it wasn't really, "we."

*I ended up not taking the blame for the debacle, but still ended up trucking home more paper than any one forest could have produced.

*All this was distilled into one final document and sent to my director at 9:00 Wednesday evening.

*With a few terse, but respectful, suggestions for how we might handle this situation in the future.

*Step One:  I don't have to go to staff meetings tomorrow morning.  I can begin slogging through the other mounds of paperwork I have waiting for me, most of which are well beyond the mandated due dates for completion.

*I know it's just me who has an overflowing caseload with a minimum of staff to manage the situation.

*Most people who do what I do have a plethora of staff.

*I was personally told of one program that literally has one staff person per student.

*I do not.  I have two staff people who are trying to cover the support needs in three classrooms while I make up the difference.

*I do not have time to slog through mounds of paperwork.  I mean this in the most literal sense possible.

*Yesterday, the new Mr. Assistant Principal suggested that I reassign one of my staff to provide coverage for a single student.

*I did that thing where you kind of laugh and cry at the same time.

*Then I explained the situation.  Like how, if a student's individual education program dictates he or she have support in certain classrooms, I can't just not do it.  Even if there is one student who isn't behaving very well right now.  As things stand, my staff and I are only barely able to be where we need to be and do what we need to do.

*I further explained that I am currently teaching between one and three subjects at the same time during a single class period and that none of the students currently on my caseload are capable of working independently.

*I am doing this three out of four periods per day and spending the fourth assisting students with their Health projects.

*I finally offered up that the student in question might already be getting a lot of attention since he is in my classroom all day and that he doesn't go to any other rooms.  Short of adopting him and taking him home with me at the end of the day, I honestly don't think I can spend another minute with him.

*The new Mr. Assistant Principal now talks to me in a very soft voice and says very encouraging things.  Gently.  Kind of like how you'd approach the VCK when he doesn't have his Happy Pills.

*He also doesn't come within five feet of me.  Which is probably for the best.

*Today he asked me if my Director was aware of this situation.

*I don't know.  I do know she is currently out of town and that I can't ask her where she stands on the awareness scale.

*I ended today spending over an hour arguing with a student who stubbornly insisted that Freedom of Choice means he doesn't have to do the work I assigned for the day and that I should be reported to the school department for this flagrant violation of his rights.

*He didn't seem impressed when I pointed out that my choices in the matter might count for something or that his current behavioral choice was making several other students question their choice to NOT put a trash can over his head.

*Go figure...

*I'm starting to wonder if maybe that mini cupcake maker was a subconscious sort of purchase.

*The kind you make when, deep down, you know you really need to be eating more mini cupcakes.

*And then find a machine that makes them at half price...

*Tip:  The mini cupcake maker only produces six cupcakes at a time.  No one needs more than six mini cupcakes floating around the house at one time.  That is dangerous.  But you can mix up a bunch of batter, keep it in the fridge for use as needed.

*That is a good tip.  In case you were wondering how I was managing all the mini cupcakes.

*Oh and here's another tip, one that I know others have already discovered.  This is really not a "just me" kind of thing.

*If you haven't read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, you are missing something.

*Even if you don't care one whit about vampires, this book is haunting.

*It is really hard to connect with any of the characters, but I think that is a big part of it.

*Each and every one of them is fully developed, totally fleshed out.

*And, as such, they aren't all very likeable.  They are flawed.  

*And yet, even as you resign yourself to their ultimate fate, you can't help but root for them just a little bit.

*Or mourn when one of them makes a bad choice.  Even the really, really flawed characters.

*I listened to the audio version, but the print offering would clearly be just as awesome.

OK.  The scents wafting from the kitchen tell me that I might have some chicken ready to come out of the oven.  And, if the scents weren't doing it, the AGK prancing between the living room at the kitchen would probably serve as a strong hint.  I'm going to wrap this up.

Sometimes it's just me.  Other times it's me saying, "is it just me..." when I know it's really everybody.  And still other times, it's just me floundering about in a mound of paperwork or slogging through an endless logic loop when I'm pretty sure I should be doing something else.

Is it just me, or are all those things starting to blur together just a bit?