Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WNBP: I Forgot To Mention...

It just struck me that I think I may have forgotten to tell you something important.  It's not an earth shattering revelation, but it is the kind of thing I generally mention once, twice or a billion times at certain points during the school year.

I am on vacation this week.

I know.  It's kind of crazy that I neglected to drop a hint or two.  I like vacations.  I like them a lot.  I'm not saying I chose my career based on time off or anything like that.  I honestly thought I might have an aptitude for educating America's Future.  I suppose the fact that I've stuck with it for a quarter century might bear that out.

But let's not completely discount the school vacation factor.  It might play a role.

Since I've had a few days of non-working bliss under my belt, why don't we explore the comings and goings of this non-work-a-day Sheepie in this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post?

*Truth be told, I approached this vacation with a bit of the ambivalence.

*I like vacations.  Especially the February Break because it is the first vacation of the school year that doesn't require me to spend at least one day baking.

*Or wrapping.

*Or traveling.

*Or remaining awake well past nap time at least once during the course of the week.

*But this vacation didn't just kick off a few days of rest and relaxation.


*It was also Doomsday for some of the teaching assistants and clerical staff, not to mention some of the programs and services we've come to enjoy in the wonderful world of education.

*The recent curtailment order from the governor hit the schools hard.  Really hard.

*The Teacher's Association is doing its level best to try and get a vote in on teacher furlough days to see if we can absorb some of the impact to the support staff, but it's a process.

*And one they can't rush or circumvent.  I'm not a member, but even I get that.

*Frankly, I'm shocked they are even willing to consider it.  In the past they've been, how shall we say...

*"Scornful of the idea."  Loudly scornful and with heaping helpings of eye rolls.

*It's actually kind of a bad sign that they are willing to open up the contract to a vote on the matter.

*Nor is it going to be enough to fix the problem created by hundreds of thousands of dollars in promised state funding suddenly going bye-bye.

*Only to be replaced with public flogging of the educational system because apparently things like teacher retirement and fully staffed schools are luxuries to which we have all become too accustomed.

*Fifteen people were let go last Friday.  Most from Special Education, as far as I can tell.

*All support staff (including my teaching assistants) have had their hours firmly cut and the library will be closed and locked at 2:00.

*The After School Help Program is gone.  As is all staff development funding or continuing education reimbursement.

*The custodians have each lost an hour per day as well.

*We will be living in ignorance and wallowing in our own filth unless someone can figure out how to use that floor buffer thingie in the next couple of weeks.

*Each of the support staff was taken out of class for individual meetings with our special ed. director to discuss the matter.

*As my people were led out, my fingers went numb and I moved closer to the trash can in case I tossed my breakfast sandwich.

*We are safe for now.  We can breathe.

*For two weeks.  Then the second round of cuts kicks in and we get to do it all over again.

*I haven't slept a full night for weeks.  For some reason, it got even worse at the start of vacation.

*But yesterday I found a leftover dribble of the narcotic cough syrup I was taking last Fall and I got to take a four hour nap.

*I woke up long enough to eat and take care of a few other bodily functions (mine and the cats') then it was back to bed for another six hours.

*I have a stiff neck today, but I can live with it.

*I kicked off the week 'o bliss by joining The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach for a day of shopping dining and general revelry.

*We love TWGSALC and not just because she takes me to the Professionals Only Store where I can get volumizing gel at a ridiculous discount.

*I was restrained since I am trying to be a more responsible consumer.

*We dined out for lunch.  If you are a local and haven't discovered this place yet, Mainely Wraps is amazing.  Highly recommended by Sheepie!

*It all went very well, at least until we got back to her house and she inadvertently set off the alarm.

*And then tried to turn it off by hitting the first available button.

*They call that particular protrusion The Panic Button.

*And Mr. WGSALC got to see how quickly the nice people at the alarm company call him at work when his wife hits the panic button.

*They have decided to change the first contact number to the house phone as opposed to his cell since that might have saved everyone a lot of time, trouble and hearing impairment.

*It wasn't a total loss.  We got to meet a very nice policeman.

*And see Roxy The Wonder Dog in full on Protect Everyone From The Very Nice Policeman mode.

*In the back of my mind, I just kept thinking about how, even though I miss him dreadfully, it was good that Max The Best Dog In The Whole World passed a few months ago.

*Max was one of those wonderful, gigantic goldens who loves everyone and wants to sit in all laps in spite of his size.

*Until you threaten those he loves.

*Things would not have ended well.

*Yesterday I cleaned house.  The kind of cleaning that involves using vacuum cleaner attachments.

*As opposed to just accidentally knocking them off their little clip and swearing that I'm going to throw them in the garbage since no one ever uses those stupid things anyway.

*It was the cleaning that led to finding the cough syrup dribble.

*Cleaning is a good thing.  I should do it more often.

*Today I had to go back to the store where I went with TWGSALC so I could buy the 3-day emergency supply kit that was on the clearance rack.

*TWGSALC is awesome and makes sure I get out into the fresh air periodically.

*But she would neither understand nor appreciate my prepper need to have a 3-day kit.

*Or that finding the very one I wanted on the half price table made me giddy with joy.

*I may have picked up one or two other things while I was there.

*Nothing much.  All on clearance.

*Besides, as I chanted repeatedly in my head, I wasn't paying for lunch today.  I had a gift card from Mommy and Daddy Sheep!

*And I'm still telling myself that.

*Because my free lunch clearly balanced out the $71.00 worth of clearance merch I dragged back home with me.

*It came with cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies.

*Shut up.  Cookies do too make a difference.

*And the emergency kit came with energy bars so I won't starve now that my grocery budget is compromised.

*It's still kind of too bad since today, when I stopped in to pick up cat food, the clerk looked me up and down then said, "She's funny.  I like this one."

*I'm good with the banter if not the budget.

*I wish I had more to report on the reading front.  But I don't.

*I've mostly been re-reading some older stuff and trying to settle on something new.

*Between the school budget anxiety and resulting insomnia, my decision making ability has become as compromised as my grocery shopping monies.

*I ended up finishing my audiobook a few days before the end of the school week, which left me kind of at loose ends.

*But then I remembered that I still had some borrowed time left on Cat's Claw (A Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel).

*Not enough to finish it, mind you.  But it gave me something to listen to while I drove back and forth, trying to stay awake.

*Now I can't finish it because time ran out and someone else already had it on reserve.


*That's the chance you take with a library loan.  It's a race you sometimes don't win.

*Probably should put it back on reserve, but I'm sure I'll be into something else by the time it's available and then I'll have to choose between them.

*Which will add something else to my Lie Awake And Worry List...

*I'll never catch up on the lost sleep if that should come to pass.  There's only a couple good napping days left in this vacation.

*And the next one isn't until April.

*I suppose I should start hoping for those furlough days....

That about covers it, I guess.  Come Monday, I get to go back to a full staff who are working almost a full day and that is a good thing.  At least when you consider the alternatives.

Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy these next couple of days and see if I can catch a few more refreshing naps before it starts all over again.

On the "bright" side, most of the firings should be all done before April Vacation rolls around.  Then my head might be clear enough to remember to tell you about it in advance.

You know, so you can prepare for all the merriment, alarm bells and emergency supply sales.



Donna Lee said...

Staff cuts are one of the most difficult things. We just laid off 11 people some of whom had 30 years on the job. I know more will come and i just hold my breath and jeep my head down.

Julia G said...

My heart goes out to you and all the staffers - the layoffs are bad enough, but the climate of stress and anxiety they cause are the worst, even if you're not under the axe. We went through several waves of layoffs and "golden handshakes" a few years ago in the corporate sector, and they had their intended effect, which is people finding other jobs, often not as good, just to get some stability.

trek said...

there goes education in america...

kmkat said...


Y'all have my sympathies. When did teachers and school staff become the enemy?