Tuesday, March 31, 2009


There is such a thing as Universal Knowledge.  There are just some things that we all "know."  We might find ourselves a bit lost in certain social situations or when exploring other cultures, I'll admit this.  But, for the most part, we can all pretty much wander around knowing what things are, what stuff means and that it is poor form to pick your nose at the salad bar.

Parts of our lives, though, are governed by Specialized Knowledge.  This is usually Career Stuff.  There are oodles of things I don't need to know.  I don't have to be able to define everything.  For example, I will probably never, ever have to use terms like "glucose drip," tensile strength," or "fiduciary" at any point in my work-a-day life.  And I almost never have to call anyone "Mr. President."

You may need to use those terms.  I do not.  I have my own Specialized Knowledge.  For example, I know this:

When there is a large group of middle schoolers gathered in the hallway and all looking in the same direction, something of note is happening.

Impressive, no?  Get this one:

When that same group of middle schoolers is gathered in the hallway, looking in the same direction and bearing expressions ranging from excitement to outright glee, something very, very bad is about to happen.

There is no class on this subject at Teacher School.  You just kind of pick it up as you go along.  It's very handy knowledge to have.  I unearthed this bit of data from the Smart Stuff Bank this morning as I was patrolling the halls of my school, desperately trying to locate the half of my homeroom that had yet to show up.  I saw The Gathering.  I took note of The Synchronized Gazing.  I prayed to every deity that might possibly have some scrap of hope to offer me that I might not see The Glee.

But I did.  

And so investigated.  It was a fight a-brewin'.  Worse, it involved one of my students.  Even more worser, it was The Kid Who Really, Really Tries To Do Better.  I did my duty as an educator, interrupted what looked like a Swing In Progress and convinced my student to walk away.  I will leave out the juicy details out of respect for the combatants, but teen-aged hormones were flying everywhere and the language was...saucy.  

Within the hour, no fewer than four people commended me on my bravery and deft handling of the situation.  Which was fraught with wrongs, by the way.  Unless you know for an absolute certainty that you have a good enough relationship with a kid, you don't ever, ever, ever get between two of 'em when they are fighting.  Are we very clear on this?  Kids big.  Sheepie small.  Sheepie was working on sheer confidence in the goodwill of one kid.  Sheepie didn't know the other one and was hoping for the best...   

That judgement call aside, I couldn't help but ponder something at that point.  If there were that many people around to witness the scuffle then...

Where the heck were they?????  Why was I the only one to notice a large group of kids exhibiting clear glee?  And who elected me the School Referee?

I'm glad I knit.  Knitting is soothing except when it isn't.  But today it was and I finished the ribbing on my sock-in-progress while I contemplated adding more weight training to my workout routine.  Apparently I'm going to be adding security terminology to my Specific Knowledge Base and I probably should have the muscle to back it up.

I sometimes marvel over the fact that Mommy Sheep raised two kids and that both of us were, at one point or another, middle schoolers.  I like to think that we were good ones and I don't think that we ever got into any fist fights.  Still, I suppose we offered up our share of challenges.  So on this, her birthday, I extend my best wishes for a wonderful day and any apologies that might be required for my middle school years.  Happy Birthday, Mommy Sheep!

Keep an eye on the mail.  I've done the math and it does not appear that getting your card to you on time is within my scope of Specialized Knowledge.  But isn't it nice that I can duck a punch?


Monday, March 30, 2009

Pencil Me In

When last we left our intrepid Sheepie, she was recovering from a two day search for the Perfect Pencil.  She found the one she sought, but questioned her purchase.  She then decided to snag another package of pencils which, while made by the same company, were slightly less expensive.  Both would accept the gi-normous .9 lead of which she is so fond, though.  She planned to test drive these writing instruments and see who won the prized spot as The Best Pencil Ever...or at least until the next "best one" comes along.

It is entirely possible that Sheepie has too much time on her hands, but we are not here to discuss that right now and I'll thank you to use your judgement for more important things like corporate corruption and kittens with big, sad eyes who need homes.

The pricier pencil had the advantage of being of durable construction.  It was also yellow and who doesn't love a yellow pencil?  They are so much harder to lose that way.  However, its diameter was skimpy and Sheepie likes her pencils on the fat side.  She would need to forever use this pencil with a sparkly, plastic gripper thingy which, while not necessarily a bad thing, doesn't always project the image of a Very Serious Writer Of Very Important Things.

The less expensive pencil was not as hefty as the first, in spite of it being more gifted with girth.  It did not come in yellow, but offered the writer the choice of a blue or black housing.  (The leads are the same color no matter what)  It also sported an eraser, something its vivid competitor did not.  I'm not married to the idea of an eraser, truth be told.  I actually don't erase when composing drafts longhand.  Sometimes the best stuff is the stuff you didn't appreciate the first time around.  It's kind of like yard sales...if you look hard enough you find treasures in the cast-offs. I cross out, but I almost never erase.  

Still, it was nice to be given the option to do so should the urge to wipe out my horrific misspellings overtake my creative rules...

In the end, I planned on keeping both pencils.  I did, after all, go to great lengths to obtain them.  But one was going to be the winner.  Would it be the luxury pencil, bright of hue and sturdy of make?  Or would it be the economy class pencil, forgiving of mistakes and rotund enough to make sparkly grippy things unnecessary?

It was a quandary.  But in the end, only one could claim victory.

It was the cheaper pencil who belted out that ululating victory cry.

I threw some knitting in there so that people wouldn't forget that this is still something of a knitting blog.  As you can plainly see, I knit several rounds while riding the little exercise bike today.  Plus it sort of provides a little bit of scale for the mighty pencil who has so thoroughly consumed my time for days and days on end.  

I seriously do need to examine my life a bit, I think.  It is certainly possible that I have lost just a little bit of perspective...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

In The End, They All Belong To Me

After yesterday's epic journey in search of The Perfect Pencil, I honestly didn't think I had it in me to visit the grocery store.  I planned to simply travel the mile or so to the corner store, stock up on a variety of doo-dads and assorted nibblies then call it a day.

But once I was out, I figured I might as well just get it over with.  I was already soaked to the skin from the walk to the car.  (Did I mention it was raining?)  The right thing to do was stock the house with something besides dip in a can and jelly beans.

As always happens to me in the grocery store, the other shoppers seemed to know I was coming.  They did their best to make certain I was challenged by the experience.  Heaven forbid that I just grab some tomatoes and be done with it.  No.  Shopping should involve leaving the cart somewhere near the entrance so I can better navigate my way around hordes of browsers who suddenly feel the need to stop and chat in the produce section.

None was more dedicated to this endeavor than Cammo Dude.  Clad in his fatigues, dirty sweatshirt and ball cap, he was the epitome of the Confused Shopper.  Everywhere I went, he was there, squinting at his list and looking confused.  If I needed to use the scales, he needed to weigh one mushroom.  If I wanted a little plastic bag in which to place my 'maters, he needed to take the last one.  

He clearly had no idea what he was doing as a shopper.  But as an Annoyer Of Sheep, he was a champ.  I wasn't worried, though.  I knew I'd own him and that it wouldn't take long.

Sure enough, our paths crossed again in Ethnic Foods.  (Because pasta is the very definition of exotic, international cuisine over here in the wilds of Maine...)  I waited patiently for him to finish staring at the lasagna noodles so that I might have a turn to do the same.  Eventually, he stood back although he did not have a single noodle to his credit.  And that's when I heard it:

Um...excuse me.  Miss?  Can I trouble you for a minute?

I smiled and stood up.  (Lasagna noodles are on the bottom shelf because the universe hates me and my knees)  And there it was.  My moment.  Block my path to the produce if you will, but you will need me eventually.  Everyone does.  I have that kind of face.  If there is a shopper in need, I am the one to whom they turn.  I can always be counted upon to have at least one complete stranger accost me with some shopping-related issue.

I looked into his eyes and the story was clearly written there.  It was a sad tale and one that helped to explain how this poor, emotionally unequipped man ended up being the one having to do the grocery shopping early on a Sunday morning.  

I indicated that I was more than willing to help out a fellow consumer and he tentatively showed me his shopping list.  It was not exactly the most legible document and his having been clutching at it compulsively since Frozen Foods wasn't helping matters.  He said that his wife sent him out to purchase No Boil Lasagna Noodles.  Another look deep into his eyes told me that he probably wasn't going to be allowed back in the house without them.  

You don't often see that look in the eyes of gigantic, middle-aged men wearing camouflage pants.  I almost regretted the little bit of triumph I felt when I knew I was holding his very fate in my hands.  Almost...

I quickly found his noodles for him (also on the bottom shelf, mind you) and snagged some of the Must Be Boiled Variety for myself.  We went our separate ways for a short time.  But stores are nothing if not conducive to path-crossing and we ended up in the same aisles several times after that encounter.

But he didn't block me once.  In fact, he even made a point of moving aside in the dairy section.  I didn't need anything dairy-based, but I bought some cheese just so he'd feel like the gesture wasn't wasted.  

In the end, everyone needs me at the grocery store.  Stand in the way of my veggies if you must, but know that I will be the one to whom you turn in your hour of desperation.  And it doesn't hurt to call me "Miss" on a rainy-bad-hair-day when I don't have any make up on.

I figured my good deed had earned me a trip to the Dollar Store next door.  I had, after all, saved a marriage, if not a life.  Somewhere out there, a cammo-clad family is enjoying a hearty lasagna and maybe thinking about how everyone deserves a chance to use the plastic bags.

I found some rather cute, little area rugs which I didn't think would be too much of a decorating disaster in my kitchen.  I also spotted several skeins of crochet cotton in a lovely shade of blue.  I happen to think that crochet cotton is the biggest scam in the fiber world.  Making that little bit of string look like a gigantic ball of useful yarn at a reasonable price...shameful!

But I'll pay a buck for it.  Especially if it matches my new scatter rug!

Who knows?  Maybe that will be the skein that gets me knitting again?  I've been remiss in the fiber department all weekend.  I've been much too busy buying new pencils, fighting my way through the grocery store and making the world a better place one noodle at a time.

Now if I only had a clue what I was going to do with all this crochet cotton.  Maybe I could make shopping bags for my next trip to the store...


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sheepish Annie's Guide To Fiscal Responsibility

In these trying financial times, it is good to have a plan.  We all have to rethink how we spend.  Now is the time for being thrifty and for putting great thought into where our money would best be applied.

I, like many others, have had to come up with a new definition for "treating myself."  No more vacations in the South Of France and that new yacht is just out of the question right now.  Instead, I opt for little things to make me happy and use those as rewards for spending my money wisely in other areas.

For example, I recently promised myself a small gift if I found a way to deal with what we will call Minor Inconvenience A.  If I solved A, then I could have B (my reward).  Energized by thoughts of B, I tackled A with great gusto.  And I solved the problem.  

I'm using the term "solved" a bit loosely here, but it is my reward system and I can structure it any way I please.  Besides, the nice computerized calling system over at the credit card company was starting to sound really, really concerned.  Maybe even a little bit desperate with worry over how I was doing.  I have successfully soothed the computer and now it can enjoy its weekend.  Short term solutions count as far as I'm concerned.  I earned my prize fair and square and was determined to have it this weekend.

I'm sure that, at this point, everyone is thinking, "Yippee!  Sheepie went a-yarnin'!  Let's all sit back and see what pretty fibers she bought for our enjoyment!"  I can see why you'd think that, what with this being a knitting blog and all.  But it wasn't yarn.  

It was a pencil.  Specifically, this pencil.  

Yes, my reward was a pencil.  What can I say?  I'm picky about my writing instruments and I revel in the purchase of those which meet my specific needs.  I also have a thing for notebooks and the type of paper I write on.  Some things are just better than others.  As far as mechanical pencils go, I like one that takes a .9 lead, the big, fat kind that I can really lean on without lead bits snapping all over the place.  I spend a great deal of time thinking about these sorts of things and my research led me to the pencil I thought would make me happy.  I even knew where to get it.

I could have ordered it, but it seemed silly to spend the money having something shipped when I could just pick it up on the way home.  So I double checked to make certain the local office supply store had what I wanted and scheduled in a stop there Friday afternoon.

I was so invested in the purchasing of this pencil that I even used the store locator on the company's website to make certain that I knew where I was going.  We don't want to waste the gas searching for a store, now do we?  This would have been nothing short of genius had the website not been using directions for where the office supply store used to be many moons ago.  I ended up going five million miles out of my way and still not getting my pencil.  I went home empty-handed and having spent as much on gas as it probably would have cost me to have a pencil shipped to me using any delivery service.

I was not to be thwarted, though.  I would have my new pencil, by God!  I set out this morning, armed with the correct directions to the store and the will to succeed.  Just to be sure that I was ready for the trip, I stopped on the way to pick up a highly caffeinated soda-type beverage.  This added another dollar or so to the total in this little graphite-based adventure, but I figured it was really more of an investment in my eventual success.

I arrived at the office supply store shortly after it opened at 9:00 a.m.  I stalked purposefully to the section marked "pencils" and quickly found the exact item I sought.  It was a bit more expensive than the one on the website, but no so much as to make it less attractive to me.  I snagged the package and dropped it in my basket.  Then I got to thinking...

I like a "fat" pencil.  I never really got over those wicked cool red ones they gave us in the first grade.  You know the ones I mean.  They didn't have an eraser, but were otherwise the coolest writing instruments ever.  Big fat pencil, soft lead, nice thick line...gorgeous!  These pencils before me were kind of skinny, in spite of the fatter lead.  I figured I should get some of those gel gripper thingies to put on my new pencils so they'd be easier on my hand.  Ergonomics is important after all and the grippers are just a couple of bucks.  

Next to the grippers, though, were a slightly thicker variety of pencil.  They were made by the same company and also used the .9 leads.  Should I get that one?  They were cheaper.  But what if they were not the same quality?  There was but one thing to do:  buy both and see which one I liked best.  The third item was added to the basket.

Now my mission was complete.  And I'd finished it so quickly!  Why, I even had time to do a little browsing!  Not buying, mind you.  I was here for a pencil and nothing more.  Well...two packages of pencils and some grippy things.  

Twenty minutes later, it occurred to me why I never go to the office supply store.  I am helpless in the face of office supplies.  They lure me in with their siren song and I lose all sense of myself.  I see organizational possibilities, things that will turn my whole life around!  I see sticky notes and they are just about the finest thing ever created!  Oh!  Look there!  Magnetic dry erase boards on clearance!  That would be just the thing for holding lace pattern charts!

I lost all track of time and certainly lost track of the budget.  When I finally came back to my senses, I needed to trek through the entire store to return things that really have no business being in my home but which I had been powerless to resist.  Even with that little burst of responsibility, I still found myself lugging a full basket up to the checkout.  However, like I told myself as I staggered along under the weight of my purchases, they were all things I used regularly and very much on clearance.  It was only a bit more than I'd meant to spend...

Then I happened to notice that they had my tax prep program.  I'd been meaning to download that for two weeks but kept forgetting.  It wasn't any more expensive to just buy it now and one must be a responsible citizen.  One mustn't forget one's taxes!  I checked the box to make sure that it was compatible with my Mac and into the basket it went.  

At the checkout, I was rewarded for my taxpaying ways.  The clerk told me I could get a free flash drive!  All I had to do was take three steps back over to the Tax Racks and grab one!  Hooray for rewards that come with rewards!  I am the greatest bargain hunter and money manager of all time!

Of course, I had to pay for it first and then send in for the rebate but that is just a technicality.  What's another ten dollars when you've already done such a good job problem solving, rewarding, bargain-hunting and thinking about tax-paying?  Ring me up, my good man!  And tell all your friends about how you got to meet the most fiscally responsible Sheepie of all time!

Small, simple rewards are the key to surviving these difficult times.  (I threw the sock in there just so we could all pretend that I have time to knit in between two day Reward Junkets...)

I sometimes wonder why I'm even allowed to leave the house without adult supervision.  How I managed to get this far in life is a mystery to me and probably due to nothing more than dumb luck.  This all started with a simple pencil.  Most things in my life seem to start like that.  I'm usually pretty tired most of the time...

Meanwhile, the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has discovered the joys of Simple Rewards.  He finally decided to play with the cardboard beverage box that I tossed on the floor for his amusement.  It's free and good for hours of entertainment!

He'll never fit in there, but I'm not going to tell him that.  He's happy and hopeful and that is a good thing.

It's nice that my cat has come around to understanding my economic theories around spending less and enjoying life more.  Of course it would have been nice if he'd come to that realization before I bought him that Deluxe Scratching Toy yesterday because I felt badly about him not liking the box...



Just a quick reminder before tonight's "real" post:

Don't forget about Earth Hour!  Sheepie will be going dark again this year.  Will you?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Idiocy Or Something Like It

When I was unceremoniously transferred over to The Bad Job At The Middle School That No One Else Would Take And Into Which I Was Totally Suckered I took over a suite of rooms. Giving me a "suite" of rooms was their way of saying, "Here's lots of rooms. Now you never have to feel like you should come out. You can just wander around freely in the pen we've created for you." I suppose it could have been worse.

The suite/pen once housed the Assistant Principal and I inherited his office. With that office came The Good Phone With Lots Of Cool Buttons That I Can't Figure Out. This marvel of modern communication also has a display window which tells me who is calling me and where in the building they are hiding. This is ever so much better than some of the other phones. They are just The Slim Little Phones That Look Rather Sleek But Which Offer Nothing In The Way Of Cool Features.

I always know who is calling me. I mostly pretend that I don't because I wouldn't want anyone to feel that I was lording my superior phone over them. But I know who is on the other end. For example, I know when the Assistant Principal is calling me to tell me things I don't want to hear about students who didn't want to hear me when I told them to not do the things that they eventually ended up doing. And should he call on a particularly bad day when I am at end the end of my rope with the Spring Fever Behavior, it is very likely that I will pick up the phone and say simply:

I quit.

I'm an idiot sometimes. I forget that the Assistant Principal knows perfectly well that I know it is he. I am answering him from his former phone. He probably knows how it works. He will not be overwhelmed and mystified by my omniscience. He will simply say:


Which was a very witty response, but did nothing to make me happier about what he had to tell me. I am also rather disturbed by the fact that I cannot seem to leave The Bad Job At The Middle School no matter what I do.

I drove home dejectedly, dutifully completed the Thursday Workout Session then sat upon the sofa contemplating some knitting. From the kitchen, I heard a sudden crashing and thumping. One does not have to be a genius to know who is up to no good out there: It could only be the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.

In the kitchen, I found the cardboard soda container in which I'd left a few cans that wouldn't fit into the fridge. The box was in the middle of the floor and I feared for my poor beverages. I chastised the beast responsible, but knew that he was going to go after that box again no matter what I said. It made more sense to remove the cans, open up the box at both ends, thus forming a tunnel into which he could try to fit his girth and toss it into the middle of the living room.

You can only imagine what this did for the decor. I am now living like a squatter over here...

And did he find the box at all appealing now that it was his for the taking? No he did not. He has not so much as glanced at it since it was given over unto him. He couldn't care less.

I'm starting to think I might be not too bright. I am living only to take note of the obvious solutions and failing to see the subtleties. First, I cannot seem to understand that people know how interoffice phones work and now I wonder if I may have been blissfully unaware of a plot in my own home. I think that the AGK and I may have been set up.

What am I saying? That's crazy talk! I'm overreacting... There is no plot. All is well in my world. I'm OK and so is my ability to process information. There's no need to over-think this...

Everyone here except for me is an idiot. And I hate my Absurdly Gi-normous brother.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Or Thursday?

Well, I'm running behind today in about six different directions.  I just happened to glance up at the clock and see that it is almost 7:00!  Um...where did 4:30 go?  That's what I saw the last time I looked.  I don't think I fell asleep...

It's a mystery.  I'm certain you are all tired of hearing how I can't ever seem to get a handle on what day it is, but you can only imagine how I feel about it.  I'm actually living in this calendar nightmare!  Now that I've managed to lose track of the hours, I don't see how I am ever going to function in this world.  

I don't think I've done any Bullet Points for a week so I'm going to take a shot at that and hope that it is Wednesday.  If not, you'll just have to take your bullets where you can get 'em.  I think we can consider ourselves lucky I'm able to remember my Google password so I can make blog go.

*There is a notice at the top of my screen from Blogger.  It says, "Scheduled outage at 4:00 PM PDT on Thursday (3/25)."

*Are we beginning to see how the universe is conspiring against me and my sense of time/space?

*I may have to scoot to the kitchen before this is done.  I missed the dinner hour and now have to cook my chicken at almost 7:00.

*I wondered why I was so hungry...

*I also wonder why I had a gi-normous package of chicken thighs in the freezer.  I am but one person.  Why did I need eight thousand chicken thighs?

*I don't like thigh meat.

*I've been eating chicken thighs all week.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty seems to think that this was a good investment, though.  

*Gi-normous Kitties like gi-normous packages of anything food-related.

*He didn't get any chicken thighs.

*He did get a nice can of salmon kitty food.

*I don't normally buy the fishy foods.  The Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty (may she rest in peace) was not a fan.

*I was not a fan of what it did to her digestive system.

*Kitty Poots.  Gah!

*I'd forgotten about that.  Until last night when I fed the cats...

*Note to self: stick to chicken and beef-based cat foods.  I no longer have the time or energy to fend off the lingering smell of canned fishies.

*I started the second sock this afternoon.  It seemed like the right thing to do, what with having one finished and all.

*I didn't get far.  Today was a strength training day on the workout schedule and that, as I've mentioned before, is not really conducive to knitting.

*It is, however, good for a great deal of whining and complaining.  

*And for a shortened workout since even I couldn't take the constant negativity.

*It was a long day today.  Most days are long now that I don't know what day it is and have to keep asking everyone.

*I decided to cheer myself up by checking the Panda Cam.

*But there were no pandas to be seen.

Just lots of other people looking for pandas.  I'm guessing they are having better luck than I.

*I just realized that I never set the timer on my chicken thighs.  

*Wouldn't it be tragic if they got all burned and I had to eat pizza instead?  Oh the humanity!!!

*I've now reached the point where I don't even recognize time anymore.  That can't be good...

*I just checked them.  The thighs seem fine.  Probably not overcooked at all.

*Not that it matters.  I'm gonna cover 'em in ketchup anyway.

*Don't judge me.  You eat the vegetables you like and I'll eat the vegetables I like.

I'm kind of starving and need to put some ice on my tongue since I sort of sampled a piece of chicken right off the grill.  I should probably go and see to all these physical issues.  I should also make sure that the AGK isn't messing with my chicken.  (He doesn't like ketchup on his, but I haven't added it yet so you can see how things might be getting dangerous out there in the kitchen...)

I trust that you all will have a delightful evening and that Blogger will, perhaps, consent to post this little missive in between possible scheduled outages that may or may not be happening on Wednesday or Thursday or some other day in the near future.

I'll just be here eating my chicken thighs and hoping that tomorrow brings me a little more clarity.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Where's The Honor?

I was in a meeting today.  During the course of that meeting, Someone Who Is In Authority made a statement.  I can't repeat what was said verbatim given that it was one of those "confidential" kinds of meetings, but I can give you the gist of it.  In essence, He Who Has Power said that he would give half his salary if he could make a certain something happen.  He said this in front of five witnesses and with great sincerity.  Heartbreaking sincerity.  Sincerity was oozing all over the room.  I feared I'd drown in it.

Then the task of making this happen was handed to me by consensus.  Actually, I sort of jumped in and took responsibility because I was seeing that look in the eyes of my colleagues.  You know the one I mean.  The one that that indicated they were coming up with eight million other things for me to do.  I had to act...

I later confirmed with One Of The Other Authority-Types in the meeting that this task came with half an administrator's salary.  She said that she had clearly heard the statement. I noted that this extra cash would come in handy since no one has paid me yet for those Safety Procedures classes I taught.  She made a note in her little book regarding that matter, but I wasn't worried.  I was about to get a big, fat raise!!!

However, when I happened to be in the main office and mentioned to Mr. Authority that I was looking forward to my half of his salary, he did not seem to remember what he said.  In fact, he was rather grumpy about it.  You could almost say he was "dismissive."  There may have been a chuckle.  I ask you, whatever happened to honor?  I remember when an Authority Dude's word actually meant something.  

The fact that the office was full to capacity with students who, much like me, have recently realized that Spring has sprung and are celebrating its advent with great gusto might have had something to do with his lack of attention to detail.  I suppose that it could have been a bad time.  But still...

I guess I could hold out hope for the extra dollars, but I have a bad feeling about the whole thing.  I think he might have just been trying to make a point during that meeting and that he has absolutely no intention of giving me half his salary.  Can you imagine?

I suppose I should keep on sticking to the budget.  There is no way I am going to be able to hire that Personal Sock Knitter I've been dreaming of for so very long.

I'm gonna have to knit my own...

It's tough living in a world without honor.  Especially when you only have one sock to call your own.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Long Term Projects, Short Range Plans

I've been working with my class on a rather large project for the last six or seven million years.  It is one of those stupid things that I think sounds wicked cool when I conceive of the idea and which quickly spirals out of control in its complexity.  Before I know it, I'm knee deep in unmotivated children who have no interest whatsoever in the topic, let alone the project requirements.  But I'm committed at that point.  There will be an epic display of student work or I will die trying.  

Last week, we began discussing the due date for this mammoth undertaking.  The darling children all made their suggestions (which ranged from "tomorrow because I'm bored with this" to "never because this is so stupid.") and I reviewed their progress.  I finally decided that April 1st was the best date as it would give them another week and a half to wrap these things up and I figured I might still have an iota of sanity left at that point if I conserved my not-crazy carefully.

Then it hit me:  April was just around the corner.  This suspicion was confirmed today when one of my teaching assistants happened to comment that the spring vacation is now less than three weeks away.  

April?  Within shouting distance?  How can this be?

I've always thought of the time between Maine's February vacation and the April version of this event as The Dreaded Eight Week Stretch.  It is usually somewhere around eight weeks long, give or take, and it can be a bit brutal.  The weather is bad.  There are no holidays of any real consequence in there to break this up a little and the kids are not exactly user-friendly for that period of time.  

So how is it that this Eight Week Stretch went so fast?  Maybe it was the snow days we had scattered throughout?  Who knows...I'm not going to complain.  I'm just going to enjoy the fact that there is another school vacation within shouting distance.

With vacations come time on my hands and that can be a wonderful thing if I happen to have ways to fill that time.  If I don't, then I tend to spontaneously think of stuff to do that is probably not within my skill set.  (sort of like the project I've got the kids working on right now...).  If I'm not careful with my vacation time, I might end up thinking that I can paint a mural on my bedroom wall, grow a garden in my living room and learn how to be a lion tamer.  

I need a plan.

Fortunately, the vacation is still a long ways a way and I don't have to come up with anything right this very minute.  But, even if I did, I think I could pull together a pretty good plan without even thinking too hard about it.  If you don't know Susie, you should know Susie or, at the very least, you should be sad about not knowing Susie.  

Susie is awesome.  Seriously awesome.  As in the "so awesome that she probably glows in the dark just a little bit from all the awesome-ness."  She is that awesome.

I sometimes wonder how I ever got so lucky as to know someone this awesome. (and who dyes fiber like nobody's business...)  Susie recently offered up some yarn as prizes for folks who helped her out by voting in an online contest.  As I happen to like clicking on things and this was all that was required to vote, I was happy to oblige.  Who knew that there would be such a generous reward?  I had heard tell of a skein of yarn.  I even got to pick my hues!  But a little extra skein for funsies?  And sparkly batts of spinnable goodness?  I'm in heaven, here!!!!!

Did I mention that Susie is awesome?  And that she puts pretty crystal stitch markers on all her yarns that I wear on chains because I cannot bear the thought of them not being seen everywhere and as often as possible?  

Between the thought of a coming vacation, the fabulous new fibers at my fingertips and the coupon that Big Fish Games sent me today as compensation for some ordering issues, I think I have a plan.  A good 'un.  Very, very good.

If you need me, I'll be here hugging my yarn and marking off the days on my calendar...


Sunday, March 22, 2009

There's A Pattern Here...

OK.  This is getting serious.  I am starting to see a disturbing pattern here.  I probably won't find a way to work up the energy to do anything about it, but I think it's a rather healthy sign that I can identify the problem.

This business of dozing off on the couch every Saturday night is leading to some slacking off.  It always seems to go the same way.  I get sleepy while watching TV.  I tell myself that I will not fall asleep, though.  One should not sleep on the couch unless one is napping or sick.  Those are the only two times this is acceptable behavior.

That's usually the last thing I remember before waking up on Sunday Morning.

Then the pattern of irresponsible behavior begins to assert itself.  Once you start seeing the sofa as a bed, there is no going back.  The entire living room is now the bedroom.  When you live in a small place, there is no place to hide from The Lazy.  It's all over.

The lights have been blazing all night, the television has been aiming programming at eyes which cannot see and the computer has not been put to sleep.  This is disastrous for any virtual pets one might have living in their dashboard.  Unless these poor creatures are fed and entertained while the computer is on, bad things will happen.

I kill poor Flappie on a regular basis.  Should I even bother reviving him?

Because I have, according to my own perceptions, been in "bed" all day rather than on the couch, I have had no energy to do anything.  I am fed and watered.  That's good.  I may not have exactly gotten dressed unless you count the sweatpants I slept in as being "dressed," but I did managed to shower.  There has been little else in the way of activity.  I just can't seem to convince myself that I am up and ready for the day.  Couch=Bed.  End of story.  It will probably be Wednesday before I get the system reset.  

I managed to roll my bloated self over long enough to grab the sock-in-progress from the knitting basket at one point and even knit a couple of half-heartedly executed rounds.  But even that felt like a great deal work.  I was too lazy to even nap.  For what it's worth, I thought about doing lots of stuff.  Maybe next weekend, I'll even get around to doing it...

Meanwhile, though, I found myself rather bored.  The fact that it was my own fault for sleeping on the couch, thus destroying my ability to distinguish between "nighttime behavior" and "daytime behavior" made no difference whatsoever.  Thankfully, I can always count on Kat to send me something amusing on days when I am unable to work up the energy to be interested in much of anything.  I find it highly unlikely I'll ever have use for such a thing as a wedding cake topper or that, if I did, anyone would have the time to visit the bridal registry what with it being the end of the world and all.  But I think I could envision myself choosing this one should the need ever arise.  

I might even consider risking bringing about the End Of Days in order to have a wedding cake topper so in keeping with my highly sophisticated tastes.  If I wasn't left with a silly 'ol marriage when the whole thing was over with, I'd do it in a heartbeat!  I do love me some cake and crave constant attention, after all.

Besides, what groom wouldn't want a blushing bride who lolls around on the sofa all day 'n night and who can't clearly recall just why it is important to ever change out of her sweatpants? 


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fickle Weather, Fickle Sheepie

I was driving home from school yesterday (A long day, BTW.  I woke up thinking it was Saturday, even though I knew perfectly well it wasn't) and couldn't help but notice how much bare earth was showing along the roadside.  Spring/Not-Quite-Spring is a weird thing.  One day it looks like it will be winter forever and the next you are shedding your jacket.  Then you have a blizzard and think dire thoughts about locking yourself in a closet where you won't have to look at "weather" ever again.  It hasn't snowed or anything.  In fact, it has been rather Spring-y around here.  It's kind of easy to be lulled into a false sense of seasonal security at these times.

And I am nothing if not easily lulled.  I am lullable.  Look up "lull" in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of me looking all lullish.  I'm all about the green grass and sunny skies these days.  I'm feeling quite giddy.

I think that might explain my rather fickle behavior today.  I'm a lullified, fickled up Sheepie, I tellya!  This may not be a recognized condition yet, but mark my words:  It Shall Be!  I will personally fund the research so that I can use this as the excuse for my next two or three sick days.

The fact that I will be returning cans, mowing lawns and digging loose change out of the sofa cushions to fund this project will probably keep things at the theoretical stage for a while.  Unless, of course, any of you would like to contribute.  I'll write your sick notes for you if you do...

At any rate, I'm not exactly focused over here in the land of Possibly False Spring.  With a perfectly good fleece already half spun and a bobbin of the stuff awaiting completion at the wheel, I could simply sit down over over there and spend some time with that.  A sock so close to completion that I can almost feel the yarn encircling my foot in its cozy warmth is sitting not two feet away from me in the knitting basket.  I have also unearthed a single sock that I knit last summer who would probably feel more content in this life if it had a mate.  

Any of these little projects would have been a lovely way to pass the day today.  Not only would they have filled the hours with pleasant activity, but I would have been awash with the satisfaction of a job almost done.  I would have felt all responsible and productive.

But I attended to none of the aforementioned projects.  Instead, I found a spindle and played with that.  It wasn't even anything that I'd planned on doing.  Or thought about planning on doing.  Or even remembered that I had in the fiber stash.  I just saw it and got all excited thanks to my overly fickled, lullification.  I spindled away without a care in the world for all things pending.

And I didn't even finish it.  Sad.  Very sad...

I suppose that's the beauty of something one does as a hobby, though.  I've never really found my fiber pursuits to be a pressurized kind of activity.  I sometimes get a little tweaked when the holidays draw nigh but, mostly, I don't worry about it.  I do it for funsies.  Funsies don't come with stringsies.  And Non-Stringed Funsies are quite well suited to we Ficklized Lullened Peoples.

I do sometimes wish I could be more like the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty, though.  He can focus on more than one task at a time and combine his most favorite things in one, gi-normous hobby-fest.  He can surround himself with comfort objects without missing a beat.

Here we see him with two of his most beloved things: his Dollar Store Cat Cave and his Stolen Scrap Of Wallpaper.

Since he hasn't removed any further paper from the walls, I can only assume that this is one he hid from me while I was stalking about the manse, muttering all the Very Bad Words and collecting the bits of interior decoration he'd stolen from these hallowed halls.  When I discovered this one, I just left it there.  What's the point?  If he wants wallpaper, he'll just take more.  It's probably in my best interest to let him have this one until I can afford to strip the old paper and put up some non-shredding paint.  

Besides, I want to study him further.  He's like a role model.  Even with the possible advent of warmer days, he can still multi-task.  There is much to learn and still one more day of weekend left to go...


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Things Over Which I Have No Control

It's best to accept your limitations.  I say that a lot, it seems.  But it's true.  If I didn't take a deep breath sometimes and just let go of my need to control everything, I'd go utterly mad.  I'd end up in a downtown dumpster sorting the refuse.  I don't think that is how I'd like to see my fifteen minutes of fame play out.

Here are just a few of the things I've decided to accept as my Karmic Due lately:

Parent/Teacher Conferences And The Boredom Thereof:

Several people commented yesterday on the absurdity of my having to stay at school until an hour past dark-thirty when I had but two parents scheduled.  The fact that I was sitting in my office and rambling to the inter-webs about my lack of things to do while the taxpayers wrote the check seems pretty ridiculous to me sometimes, too.

However, the teaching contract isn't really designed to be logical.  It is designed to be fair.  The simple fact of the matter is that, if I want to be paid the same as the other teachers and be released for summer vacation along with my colleagues, I need to put in the same number of hours.  There is a limited amount of space into which to fit these hours given the nature of the school year, so I stay. 

For what it's worth, I wasn't completely slug-like.  I did six months of MaineCare insurance billing for day treatment services.  I planned for two days worth of lessons.  I cleaned out my office and got rid of all the stuff from last trimester so I could find the left side of my desk.  There was lots of productive behavior going on.

Until 6:00, anyway.  That's about the time when I lose any and all focus and have to go bother other people or my head will explode.

My Mouth And Its Tendency To Run When It Shouldn't:

We have two secretaries in the main office.  They split the late shifts so that someone would be manning the desk throughout the conferences last night.  I adore both of them and looked forward to bothering them.  They are nice, but in very different ways.

The first shift was covered by The Secretary Who Likes It When I Come Down To Bother Her And Will Talk About Zombie Movies With Me.  She is fun.  She is highly entertained by my antics and enjoyed it immensely when I took a little time out of our conversation to torture the administrators with my pleas to be fired so I could go home.  She also knows more movie quotes than you can even believe and recognizes the ones I toss out every now and again.

The second shift featured The Secretary Who Is Highly Organized And Is Kindly Willing To Overlook The Fact That I Am Not.  She is also The Secretary Who Has Enough Of A Maternal Instinct To Take Care Of All Of Us But In A Somewhat No-Nonsense Manner.  

Going down to bother her was a mistake, as was telling her that I was bored.  She saw this as a challenge.  Rather than entertain me herself as would anyone else who knows the rules of this game, she saw my statement as a problem to be solved.

And so it was that I did not get to knit or watch TV on my computer.  Instead, she found me a task.  She did this, and I kid you not, in under ten seconds.  I spent the last hour and a half of conferences working on the school yearbook.  My job was deleting duplicate and unusable photos.  There were approximately three thousand of them.  

I think I heard my poor, half-finished sock crying from my office.  And I know I saw a smug look on the secretary's face as I headed upstairs to the yearbook advisor.

My Own Home.  My Decor.  My Pets.  And Anything Else Around Here:

I know that I don't have much in the way of decorating sense.  I don't really care about that sort of thing for the most part.  I'm not a total frat boy.  I try to match stuff and I like certain "looks."  But I'll admit that I probably won't be winning any design competitions any time soon.

I don't really have to.  I have someone on staff to do that now.  The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has a new hobby.  

He is removing the wallpaper.  

It says a lot about my attention to detail that I failed to notice this until I saw him chasing a piece of paper around the floor tonight and thought to take it from him.  We don't want the poor boy choking or anything.  He has apparently been doing some redecorating while I've been out earning a living or sleeping.  Or simply not paying attention.  

Iz outdated 'an uffendz mine aestheticz.  I fixes.

I'm trying to be mature about this.  I hate to be oversensitive.  But I have to admit that it hurts just a bit to have my taste questioned so harshly.  It was even worse when he presented me with a stack of decorating magazines.  He'd put sticky notes on the pages he thought might be nice choices for our new living room decor.  

And he has expensive taste.  I gave him the latest circular from the discount store and told him to get creative.

We are negotiating the matter.  I'll let you know how it goes...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WNBP: A Report From The Field

It's a little of the "remote blogging" tonight, folks.  By my clock, it is 5:47.  This is normally a time when I am sitting happily at home contemplating my soon-to-be-before-me dinner and perusing my prime time television options.

Not so tonight.  Tonight, I must sit here at school and not have Parent/Teacher Conferences because that is what my contract says I must do.  I need to do this until 8:00 and then I can go home to rest up for tomorrow when I don't have to do conferences but will have morning bus duty and a full teaching day.  

Thankfully, the beverage machine in the teacher's room carries Mountain Dew (although not the diet variety) so I've got my soda buzz going and can carry on for this long evening.  I'm also rather grateful for the fact that it is Wednesday.  Let's take a look at today's highlights.  And let's also remember that Sheepie has been sitting here for a very long time.  She is a little bit punchy...

*My first conference of the day was at 12:30.

*My second conference of the day was at 2:00.

*I don't have any more conferences scheduled for today.

*I have now begun annoying all the other people who don't have conferences.

*They think it's funny at first.  But they have all planned more effectively for this night and have stuff to do.

*An hour from now they will not find me nearly as amusing...

*My conversation with the Assistant Principal thirty minutes ago:

Sheepish Annie: I'm bored.  Do you have the list of stuff I need to do to get fired?  I'm just wondering...

Assistant Principal:  No.  That is confidential.  If I told you I would have to kill you.  And we don't fire anyone in March because it's too much of a bother.  

SA:  Oh...that's a shame. 

*I then had to explain to him what Hulu was because he is apparently living in a cave of some sort and does not know of the amazing advances in the field of Things To Keep You From Ever Getting Off The Couch.

*My Principal came in a few minutes later after having been out for much of the afternoon.  Our conversation went something like this:

Mr. Principal:  How's it been going?

SA:  (completely ignoring the fact that he is talking to the school secretary and not to her) Omigod!!!  It's been chaos without you!!  We only just got the fire put out.  And then there was this guy with what looked to be a big, huge and probably super-loud gun!  I had to wrestle him to the ground, I tellya!!!  The police just came and got him and we put the chairs back where they belong so it's kind of hard to tell, but you can trust me.  It happened!

Mr. P:  I see...

SA:  Yeah!  Oh!  And I forgot about the part where I hurt my neck.  Really, really bad.  I'm just going to fill out all the paperwork now, but I'm pretty sure that I need to go home.  In fact, I'll probably be out for the rest of the year because of my heroic endeavors and whatnot.

Mr. P:  No.  I cannot authorize that.  Nice try.

*I then told him that his Assistant Principal does not know what Hulu is.  I said I found this oh, so very sad.

*Then I had to explain to the Principal what Hulu is because, apparently, there is room for two in that cave.  

*On the plus side, they both agreed that I could watch whatever I want on my computer tonight while I wait for Parent/Teacher Conferences to finally come to an end.  

*They did not say I could blog, but I'm guessing that they were including that with watching TV online.

*Or I could tell them that is what they meant because I don't think they would know that it isn't at all what they meant.

*I brought the sock along with me for knitting breaks.  I think I'll get some knitting time in while I watch Hulu tonight at taxpayer expense.

*I don't feel as good about that as you might think, but a contract is a contract.  There is nothing I can do about it and I've run out of things to do that are school-related.

*And I believe I already mentioned how people will be getting sick of me very, very soon if I don't find something to occupy my time.

*I never get many conference appointments.  Small caseload, lots and lots of meetings all through they school year on kids...most parents don't bother with a 15 minute conference when they already have at least one hour long program review coming up.

*Can't say as I blame them.  I've spent the entire dinner break trying to get someone to fire me and make me go home so I think you can guess how I feel about being here.  I can't imagine being here by choice, for crying out loud!

*I just drank an entire 12 oz. can of Mountain Dew in under five minutes.  I think I might be a little dehydrated...

*I wonder if I can go home for dehydration?

*Probably not.

*They wouldn't send me home for taking down that fictional gunman.  That makes me a fictional hero with a fictional neck injury.  And a fictional Workman's Compensation Claim is nothing to joke about, people!!!

*If they wouldn't send me home for all that, they probably don't care that I am dehydrated.  

*The other bad part about Parent/Teacher Conferences is that they don't let you wear you jammies.  They make you wear your very, very nice clothes.  The kind that pinch.  

*The pinching is exponentially worse if you have just consumed a full can of soda and a gi-normous bag of pretzels.

*A dress code makes no sense.  Why do I need to wear pinch-y clothes if all I am doing is sitting around watching TV, drinking soda and eating pretzels?  

*I do that at home and I wear jammies.  I fail to see the difference.

*I wonder if they would fire me for wearing jammies...

I see by the ol' clock on the wall that I have killed enough time here.  I do believe that I am scheduled to go bother the guidance counselors for a while.  Then I have to swing by the nurse's office and see if she wants to entertain me for a minute or two.  (If I distract her enough, I can swipe a whole bunch of those cool, super long cotton swabs!)  Then, it's back to the main office to see if either of my administrators know what an electric can opener is and that should take me right up to TV-Viewing-On-The-Computer-Time!

Aren't you glad I am hard at work out here in the field?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Signs Of The Times

After I finished last night's post on the joys of taking a day off for a doctor's appointment, I suddenly realized something.  I wondered if I might be mistaken and even went so far as to hoist myself off the couch to go check on things.  I was not mistaken.

There was no message on my answering machine confirming my doctor's appointment.

I knew I had one.  I even double checked that little card they gave me that said the exact time and date.  But they always call...

Of course, by then it was well after office hours and the appointment was early enough that I couldn't call in the morning to check and then still make it to school should there have been an error.  It was going to be a day off either way.  But I really needed to see the doc if I was going to get my prescription refilled so I hoped for the best.

My physician has always had a fairly small practice.  She recently increased her office hours and I don't think that everyone is really into the swing of things yet.  I've had a few mix-ups with appointments and sometimes things run a bit more slowly over there.  I like my doctor and I love the woman who covers the office more than is really socially acceptable in this day and age.  (She always asks after the cats and compliments my knitting...what's not to love?)  I think it's a fair trade off most of the time and I don't mind waiting if it means hanging out with happy medical people.

My suspicions regarding a potential snafu were confirmed when I presented myself at 8:15 this morning and plonked myself into a chair.  I was quickly called to The Secret Discussion area where I learned that I was not in the computer.  All was well, though.  The Amazingly Lovable Keeper Of The Main Office would never let me down.  I would get in to see the doctor.

But I had to wait a bit.  I'm not great with waiting, however I can usually find something to entertain myself.  The Distraction Du Jour came in the form of a woman and her two teen aged sons.  Their behavior led me to a question.  And that question was this:  

At what point did the rules stop applying to everyone?

It has always been my understanding that it is a no-no to talk on a cell phone at the doctor's office.  Or the pharmacy waiting area.  Or anywhere else that has a medicinal air about it.  I began to question this understanding when Lady Chatterly whipped out her cell upon hearing its dulcet tones.  (that was sarcasm...it was loud and not dulcet at all)  Apparently the call was related to her visit to the doctor since she proceeded to the desk where she could ask questions and continue talking on her cell phone.  

Right next to the sign that says, "Please turn off your cell phone.  Thank you."

She then returned to her seat and ended her call.  Clearly still needing to communicate with the outside world and perhaps feeling a bit lost without someone with whom to chat, she contented herself with a lengthy texting session.

Not to be outdone, one of her sons whipped out his cell phone and began tap-tap-tapping away just like Mommy.

I found this behavior irritating, completely without regard for the rest of the human race (particularly those of us who follow the rules) and an absolutely wonderful way to pass the time while waiting for my doctor to become available.  I wondered if anyone would say anything to her.  No one did.  I certainly didn't.  I'm not good with confrontation.

And how am I ever going to maintain my level of righteous indignation and sense of moral superiority if I make a point of telling people that they are in violation of the rules so they can change their behavior for the better?  Watch the evening news?  Please!  I hardly have time for that sort of nonsense!  

On the plus side, all that extra time and huffy indignation were rather good for knitting.  I knit like the wind.   Apparently, I am perfectly capable of muttering vile things under my breath and wrangling sock yarn at the same time.

It's like being ambidextrous only better...

The appointment took longer than I thought it would, but that's OK.  It simply further justified my decision to take the whole day off rather than just the morning.  I didn't get much knitting done once I was home, but I do believe that what I accomplished in the waiting room more than made up for that.  I celebrated with some blueberry waffles for lunch and took a nice nap.  

Poor cell phone manners and HIPPA violations aside, it was truly a lovely day off.  I'd do it again if tomorrow wasn't Parent/Teacher Conference Day and my presence at school wasn't required.  They need me to be the "teacher" part of the equation.  I also think I'd get a lot of phone calls demanding that I come back to work and that would defeat the restful nature of a day off.

Tomorrow will be a long day, I fear.  I may be late with the blogging.  I'll see what I can do about posting from school.  Maybe the filters will be kind and give me access to the blogging world.

Tomorrow is another day, though.  In the here and now, I would be remiss if I allowed my currently restful state to let me forget all about the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty's message to you all.  He was really quite insistent about about wishing everyone a very happy St. Patrick's Day.  Or maybe he was resistant... I know it was one of those.  

I iz startin' to hates the holludayz...


Monday, March 16, 2009

Dodging Responsibility

I took the kids to the gym last Friday for some free time activities.  They get to earn a break for being good little boys and girls every day.  It is the only hope I have of ever getting any education squeezed into the equation.  

While they played what can only be described as a "killer" game of dodge ball, I leaned against the gymnasium wall and tried to remain awake.  I also tried to not look too closely at the game in progress since the velocity of the foam balls being thrown was probably lethal.  I didn't want to be considered an accessory should anything go wrong.  I wanted to be able to claim complete innocence.  

Plus when I told them they were throwing the ball too hard, they laughed at me.  Even the kids who were getting hit chuckled.  I believe the word, "wimp" may have been bandied about, but I can't really be certain...

In order that I might divert my attention from the Middle School Dodge Ball Death Match being played out before mine own eyes, I began chatting with a few of the other adults in the room.  We don't know each other all that well and we all clearly have different interests, abilities and personalities.  But there was one thing upon which we could all agree without reservation:

This whole five-day-work-week thing is for the birds.  

You don't give people umpty-bazillion snow days and a week of vacation then expect them to not see the flaws in full time scheduling.  We begin to realize that five straight days of working in a row is simply unacceptable.  We do not like it.  We do not like it one little bit.  

Then a wildly thrown dodge ball came careening at us and we had to scatter for our very lives.  By the time order was restored and all involved were reeducated on the solemn and sacred rules of dodge ball (the first of which is: Don't Hit The Teachers Because They Are In Charge Of The Balls), the conversation had lost some of its rhythm.  We went back to being People Who Just Work In The Same Building.

The camaraderie may have been lost, but the gist of the conversation was not.  I was planning to cancel my doctor's appointment for tomorrow.  I thought it might be better to wait until the last paycheck of the month to start tossing money around like a sultan and behave more like someone who is rolling quarters to pay for gas.  (All is well.  I just paid off a few bills while I had the means to do so recently because that is what responsible people do, I'm told)  I further thought it might be nice to wait another month to see if I could maybe shed some of the pounds created by those Valentine's Candy Sales.  The nice nurse who never weighs me wasn't there the last time I went in and who knows if the new nurse will be as kind.

But then I remembered the Pre-Dodge Ball Assault Conversation.  I worked for five days in a row last week and I did not like it.  My teaching contract will never make me rich, but I do have pretty good insurance, a low co-pay and more sick days than I know what to do with.  I have used very few this year and have many, many more left over from all those other years I didn't use them.

I'm going to surrender my $15.00 in the interest of a shorter work week and will tell the nurse that she can't weigh me because it is against my religion.  (I'll work out the details as I go along...it should be fine)  I'm using a sick day for my doctor's appointment.  It's an early appointment, too.  I'll have the whole day to do as I please.  I will also take notes because I think that I can come up with a pretty convincing argument for a four day work week.  I wonder how I will spend this glorious day of "pretend retirement?"  Napping?  Watching television?  Reading quality fiction?  Watching zombie movies?

Ahem.  You will be knitting a sock.  And dispensing treats.  You only think you are the boss.

Or I'll be sock knitting and treat dispensing.  Whatever.  At least I'll be doing it from home...