Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WNBP: Little Bits And Pieces

I had to make a quick run down to the school library printer yesterday afternoon in order that I might grab a piece of paper vital to the continued education of my students.  There, I met another teacher who was holding my most important document and looking a tad befuddled.

"I think I accidentally grabbed your very important piece of paper," she said.  "I've been staring at it for, like, over thirty seconds and trying to figure out why I printed this."

I smiled consolingly and replied, "That's OK.  I do that kind of thing all the time.  It's sort of standard practice after the noon hour, in my experience."

She looked at me sadly.  "I suppose.  But I'm not here to print.  I'm supposed to be copying something..."

Yeah.  That also sounded kind of familiar to me.  I tried to be encouraging while she copied the wrong page for one of her students and did my best to keep him from getting frustrated while he waited for his poor instructor to get her act together enough to copy the information he required to complete the assignment she gave him in the first place.

"Don't worry," I reassured her.  "You are probably just all excited about our big two hours of free furlough time tomorrow morning."

That got an eye roll and a well-deserved one at that.  When the teachers all agreed to give up a day of pay in order to try and find some semblance of balance in our current budget crisis, I don't think any of us planned for it to look quite like this.  My colleague was quick to assure me that getting our day off in one and two hour increments wasn't the cause of giddy excitement which resulted in her crippled copying ability.

"Oh, I don't know," I mused, "When I agree to freely give money back to my school department, I kind of like it when it's as complicated and non-beneficial to me as possible.  Keeps things...interesting."

In spite of my two hour late delayed start to the work day today, I am exhausted.  But I am nothing if not responsible so here we go with this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  I thought about taking a furlough from that, but didn't really see where that would benefit me in any way and I'm tired of things that make my life more complicated.

Sticking to the plan is really the way to go...

*I heard a few people say that they enjoyed their leisurely morning today, but that wasn't really my experience.

*I allowed myself to go to bed an hour later than usual, figuring that I could always sleep a bit later if I needed to.  Otherwise, I'd just get up at the usual hour, congratulate myself on keeping to the routine and get a few bits of random chores done about the manse before strolling out the door.

*Then I lay awake for hours and hours worrying about whether or not I'd correctly calculated my departure time and factored in the things I might want to do in my two hours of unpaid furlough time.

*Finally, I gave up on the idea of keeping to the usual routine and set the alarm to allow myself another hour and a half of morning snooze time.

*I was awakened at 4:45, per usual, by the persistent feeling of eyes upon me.

*"Isn't she cute when she's sleeping?"

*"Oh, a little angel."

*"Seems a shame to wake her."

*"Yes.  The right thing to do would be to let her get her beauty rest while we just sit here and appreciate her for all she does around here."

*"Mmmm...that would be the right thing to do, for certain."

*"But we aren't going to do that, are we?"

*"Of course not.  Don't be silly."

*So I was up before 5:00 in the morning to feed the cats because, in spite of their good intentions, two hours of furlough time has very little meaning when you are starving to death.

*I thought about going back to bed, but the die was kind of cast at that point so I just gave in to what fate and my feline roommates clearly wanted.

*I consoled myself with the thought that I would at least not have to worry about being late for work now.

*Except that I forgot I needed to stop for gas.

*I made it to school within the given furlough day time frame.

*With a minute to spare if you go by my car clock and not the main office clock.

*No one seemed to notice.  They were all doped up from that extra cup of coffee they got to have this morning, I suppose.

*Then I remembered that I'd forgotten to have an extra cup of coffee so I lost another five minutes trying to find a cup in order that I might fill it with the dark elixir of happiness.

*Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk finally took pity on me and procured the desired vessel.

*I felt obligated to listen to her rhapsodize about her relaxing morning after that kindness.

*And, because she is a very nice lady who let He Who...PROJECTS set up his own mailbox in the office and even sends him daily mail so he won't be sad, I was happy for her.

*Mostly.  "Exhausted giddiness" and "happy" are states that are kind of easily confused.

*Boy, I am doing some mental math and really wondering just how long it will take to get this thing posted tonight.

*Internet still working at a snail's pace.

*The plan was to do some temporary reconfiguring of the home set up over the weekend and see if I couldn't hide the ethernet cable well enough that a certain Very Complicated Kitty wouldn't see it and eat it.

*Because that is just what he does.

*And my stupid internet provider won't write a repair ticket without an ethernet test.

*Because they don't guarantee wireless service and they are afraid I won't pay the bill if it turns out the problem is on my end.

*And they don't necessarily understand a home computer set up that is worked around the digestive habits of felines.

*BTW, they are right about the bill.  I wouldn't pay it because I know it isn't my problem.  It's the same problem I've had before.

*Which isn't my problem.

*Also possibly related to that time my phone began randomly dialing 911 without my permission and I ended up with police in bullet proof vests at my door.

*That was also the time that the Big Fluffy Kitty stole my turkey sandwich while I was otherwise engaged convincing the local authorities that I wasn't trying to blink "save-me-save-me-oh-please-save-me" at them surreptitiously.

*But I didn't have time to deal with the internets this weekend.  The ethernet cable remains hidden somewhere in the depths of my spare bedroom.

*Otherwise known as That Room Where I Put Things "Temporarily" Until I Can Find A Proper Place For Them.

*There is a lot of stuff in there...

*I woke up in the very, very wee hours last Thursday morning with a horrifying realization.

*I have no semi-formal wear.  Which is fine for most of my life.  I don't dress up much.

*Or if all I have to worry about is being invited to a redneck bar mitzvah.

*But my current circumstances weren't nearly so devil-may-care.

*Niece Sheep's nuptials were Saturday.  And my redneck collection wasn't going to cut it.

*I staggered off to Ye Olde Department Store's clearance racks after school on Thursday.

*I managed to locate a very cute faux fur jacket, a simple pair of black dress pants that would work and a bag of Belgian chocolates.

*Shut up.  I know.  It wasn't a choco-shopping trip but I don't do a lot of shopping that doesn't involve denim and this was a very stressful experience.  I don't need judgement.

*I awoke in the very, very wee hours on Friday morning with yet another horrifying realization.

*Simple black dress pants require shoes and I didn't have anything that matched unless you count the stained suede clogs I sometimes still wear or my winter hiking-type boots.

*Furthermore, the cute jacket doesn't button and it was going to require a top of some sort.

*I was back in the stores Friday afternoon where I located a black, ruffly, scoop-necked sweater, underpants that promised to squish everything back to where it used to was and some snakeskin wedge heels.

*That was a lot of black, but I figured the cute gold purse with the handle wrought to resemble diamond encrusted brass knuckles would break it up nicely.

*Shut up.  Brass knuckles are perfectly appropriate wedding attire.

*Niece Sheep appreciates that sort of thing.

*And besides, no one notice besides Baby Brother Sheep.

*Even when I waved the purse around to punctuate my speech like a maniac...

*It was a lovely wedding and seeing my little brother walk his daughter down the aisle actually caused me to have a "moment."

*Which was unfortunate as I'd forgotten to load my brass knuckle purse with tissues.

*In my defense, I don't normally go to pieces at weddings and I sort of forgot about the whole Little Brother As Father Of The Bride part of the program.

*But my cobbled together wedding duds all worked rather fabulously.

*Unless you count the brown boots I had to wear because the snakeskin shoes hurt my feet.

*I was pretty much counting on dazzling everyone with the purse before they had a chance to look down that far...

*There was a meeting at school yesterday.  It occurred at 8:15.  I wasn't invited.

*At 12:30, a colleague was in my room with a printed schedule and notes she'd scribbled on a napkin.

*Apparently, I am to be gifted with one of her students on a daily basis from 8:15 to 1:00.

*She proudly handed me the schedule they'd developed at this morning's meeting.

*It scripted out the lad's day, including how I'd be supervising him through my prep period, lunch duty, recess duty and during times I'm supposed to be teaching classes.

*My own carefully crafted schedule was in tattered bits and hanging limply off this shiny new document.

*She was certain I'd be glad to know that this would all be starting the very next day.

*I declined.  Which is a bold move considering these sorts of plans can't actually be declined but I figured I could at least buy myself some time.

*Time I used to send a scathing email to my director reminding her that I do not like being told of new students with only hours to prepare and without any input into the scheduling thereof.

*I also pointed out that I was in the meeting with most of the people involved prior to that meeting and that I doubted my role in the new schedule was something they didn't already know about at that time.

*And, just in case it was something that occurred to everyone after I left, I further reminded her that I am two floors above the meeting room, not two mountain ranges and a small village inhabited by ravenous werewolves away.

*As insurance against further argument, I mentioned the school's handy in-house phone system that doesn't even require a person to clamber up the stairs to get a message to me.  No carrier pigeons required.

*In short, I am available for comment.  And sometimes have interesting things to say.  Give me a jingle.  I'm happy to wander down and be a part of the stupid festivities.

*The good news?  It was agreed I should get a little time to review the schedule and work with the boy's case manager to find coverage for the times I wasn't available.

*I also wasn't fired so that worked out as well.

*The bad news?  No one wanted to be the one to call the parent and tell her she needed to give me a day and they just hoped someone else did it.

*So, while I was giving the new boy a tour of the classroom today, reassuring his mother that he would be just fine and trying to pretend like I wasn't scrambling to figure all this out, my staff was avoiding eye contact, hiding the scissors and trying to come up with a plan for what to do when my head exploded.

*My director received another email from me today.  She showed up at 1:20 looking as pale as I've ever seen her and I wasn't fired for the second email either.

*Let's just say this isn't the first time I've had this happen to me over the past few years.

*I know how this goes.  I will be getting pretty much whatever I want for the next month and don't think I won't be taking advantage of that either.

*I left the building at 3:30 with my nerves shredded and my ability to love my fellow man/woman/people who go to meetings and have brilliant ideas shattered in a billion tiny pieces.

*Really sharp pieces that will cut the feet of anyone who doesn't tread lightly around me for the next few days!

*I was down to the last few minutes of my commuter entertainment and feared for what I might have to resort to.  The good audiobooks are never available without some sort of waiting list at the library.

*However, I was shocked when I went online and found the honest-to-god NEXT BOOK IN THE VERY SAME SERIES!!!

*Yay for me!!!  And yay for the fact that I was at school where the wireless actually works and doesn't deliver information in itty bitty bits of data which crawl at a snail's pace!

*I started Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, Book 4) during today's late partial furlough day commute. 

*And was almost distracted from the fact that I hate having my schedule disrupted because it never really works out as well as it looks on paper.

*On the other hand, they are taking my day's pay out of my checks in the littlest amounts possible from now until next September so I suppose there is an up side to the whole thing.

*But I still can't help but wonder if getting my "day off" in hours and minutes is more trouble than its worth...

And there you have it.  An almost published post (although I'd strongly urge crossed fingers) and a total of six and a half hours of furlough day accounted for.  Assuming I get through the next two days without sending the email that finally goes too far, I can look forward to another hour and a half of this nonsense.  Then it will be done.  A whole work day whittled and chipped down over the course of months.  It's like magic except for the part where no self-respecting magician would bother with this kind of tedium.

I think I might need to bring my new purse to work tomorrow.  Sometimes a girl needs to feel a little control when the pieces start to fall out of place...


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WNBP: Strong Words

Every year, we end up with some kind of weird "theme" in my classroom.  We usually don't mean just kind of happens.  And, heaven forbid, I end up having to follow kids through the grades for several years!  There is a risk of that theme tagging along for the ride.

A while back, the inevitable theme grew out of classroom need.  (It often happens that way.)  Hence, I had several kids repeating their mantra at me for three straight years.

Hate is a strong word.

I suppose it is good to remember that, especially since we sometimes forget how powerful certain verbal slings and arrows can prove.  But, sometimes, there is really a need for strong verbiage.  And, gosh darn it all, it feels so GOOD!!!!

As I weave my weary way through this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post, it is entirely possible that a little bit of venom might sneak its way in.  I apologize in advance for that.  I know "hate" is a strong word and I will try to avoid it.  But there are some things that simply cry out for my scorn.


*Snow cries out for my scorn.

*Piles and piles of snow that have absolutely no business hanging out all over my car or on the path I must travel to reach work or sustenance.

*We had another storm yesterday.  This one left about a foot or so.

*I'm not even going to try to hold back on this subject.  I am hating this snow.  I hate it with the burning passion to ignite a thousand suns.

*And that is not an exaggeration.  

*Because all those suns might melt the stupid snow.

*It was cute at first. 

"Oh, look at the pretty white stuff!  See how it coats the trees and makes everything all festive?  Such a wonder, a miracle really...Mother Nature all decked out in her winter finery.  Let us stop and gaze upon it whilst breathing in that fresh, crisp winter air!"

*Yesterday I wasn't so much stopping and gazing as I was kicking at various drifts and screaming, "No! Bad frozen water! Go home!!  NO ONE WANTS YOU HERE!!!!"

*And I don't care what the neighbors thought.  Frankly, I was simply acting upon exactly what they were thinking.

*My phone rang around 7:00 Monday night.

*It was Daddy Sheep.

*Who is in Florida.

*And who was calling me in Maine to let me know that school was cancelled the next day.

*Ah...the miracle of the modern age!  Courtesy of TV station text messaging, my parents can still be the ones to tell me I have a snow day.

*I actually had flashbacks to fifth grade.

*It's good he called, though.  My phone was buried in my purse and buzzing futilely.  My own version of that text wasn't likely to get my attention and I might have gone to bed thinking I needed to set that alarm!

*I'd have hated that...

*I am not a person who loves housework.  In fact, I dislike it a great deal.  I do it because I fear the day I am buried in clutter and grime and they have to send in a rescue team.

*You just know a news crew wouldn't be far behind.

*However, the plethora of snow days I've had lately certainly lent themselves to a great deal of dusting and vacuuming. 

*The Boy With The Cutetht Lithp EVER is not cute right now.  Not at all.

*He could be cute if he would start doing his homework.  But he doesn't seem to agree with my thoughts on this matter.

*In fact, he is determined to prove me not only wrong, but also to be an overly anxious, homework obsessed harridan who doesn't appreciate all the stress involved with being eleven years old.

*He has now put me in the awkward position of having to explain to his father that he has a detention for not doing his homework and that he has further placed the responsibility for the lack of said work squarely upon his dear papa's shoulders.

*Apparently, his father keeps him so darned busy that he cannot do homework.  Not even a little bit, so jam-packed is his schedule.

*His father was kind of surprised to learn this due to his having set aside homework time since TBWTCLE started school.

*I spoke with the lad about this matter firmly today.  It's not the first time, but it is the first conversation we've had since Dad and I have chatted about the matter.  It went well.

*In fact, I had him right where I wanted him: contrite, but not so beaten down that he wasn't willing to take up the homework banner and carry forth to fight the good fight.

*Then I got cocky.  And I tossed in just a few more comments. Like how he'd done his homework yesterday and now we knew he was capable.  A little bit of extra naggage to push the point home...

*I should have known better.  Rookie mistake, actually.

*TBWTCLE looked up at me and said, "Well, Mth. Theep. YOU need to underthtand that thum dayth are jutht better than otherth.

*I kind of hate myself for thinking I deserve the Teacher Of The Year Award for not strangling a student.

*However, if anyone on the awards committee had been there at that moment, I really do think I would have gotten at least Honorable Mention...

*The opposite of hate is love.

*And that is what I feel for my library right now.

*Because I was on the last thirty minutes of my audiobook and was deeply concerned about the state of my homeward commute.

*But, when I checked my email, there was the notice letting me know that the title I reserved was ready and waiting for me!!!

*Such timing my library has.

*Now I get to enjoy At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3).

*This makes me happy.

*That is going to have to be my last link of the night, though.

*I am having a few internet "issues."

*Just so you know, I love my Very Complicated Kitty.  Very much so.

*But, even if I didn't, I still wouldn't want to see him electrocuted.

*Hence, I have to place all electronics very carefully.  If I don't he kinda, sorta eats the wires.

*My internet provider doesn't want to write up a repair ticket on my connection issues because my desktop can't reach the ethernet cable.  They agree I have a problem.  They just don't want to fix it without wires involved.

*And I can't move the desktop without dangling tasty, tempting wires.  

*I could probably do it on a temporary basis.

*But I don't want to.

*For the record, they fixed it last summer when it was broken and unwired.  And, even though the helpful service "specialist" wouldn't admit the problem is more of the same and clearly not on my end, he still wouldn't do it.  He even chided the other helpful "specialist" who did do it for me last summer.

*I hate my internet service provider.  And I'm not taking that back.

*I was supposed to bring my school laptop home today, then dig out the ethernet cable to set everything up in a super-secret, cat-proof location but I forgot.

*And I kind of didn't want to.

*Maybe I'll remember/want to tomorrow and then we can get this ball rolling.

*He Who...PROJECTS has been slowly inserting himself into all aspects of the school's key functions.

* He has full access to the kitchens because they love him there.

*He brought a giant cardboard box to school with a slot cut into it, his name on the front in magic marker and helpful illustrations so that everyone will know that this is where they can put his mail.

*The secretaries let him set it up in the office.

*Today, however, I felt we had crossed a very important line.  One that cannot be ignored.  He just went too far.

*I found him coming out of the men's staff bathroom.

*This required a "discussion."

*At this rate, I'll be working for him by May.

*Let's hope he is a benevolent overlord.

*I'd hate to disappoint the boy who successfully managed to take over the school in under seven months.

*Plus he talks very, very loudly and I cannot imagine how a dressing down would sound....

And now I have to stop.  Something just caught my attention.  Something horrible.

I just heard the weather dude on TV say something about a possible storm.  I cannot have heard that correctly.  I don't care if it's a "slim possibility."  That is too much possibility.  In case I haven't been clear, "hate" is not too strong a word in some cases.

Not too strong at all.  At least as far as this winter is concerned....


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WNBP: Springing Forth And All That Stuff

Yeah, yeah...I "sprang forward."  Is it just me or does that pesky clock-changing deal seem to roll around earlier and earlier every year?  I know it was extended at some point, but somehow it seems to me that they are sneaking it into the schedule in ever-increasing increments until I have to start losing and/or gaining an hour of sleep every other day...

The extra hour of evening daylight is kind of nice, though.  In fact, I was still so energized that I ran a few errands after school today.  Of course, this has put me even further behind schedule than I normally am on a Wednesday, but that just comes with the territory, I suppose.

Being behind schedule certainly reinforces the fact that it is Wednesday, though.  So why don't I just spring wholeheartedly into this week's Bullet Post?  Maybe I can breeze through it and make up a few minutes along the way...

*Today sure did feel pretty darned Springy.

*Sun, was almost enough to make me shed my woolen coat and perhaps even crack a hopeful smile.

*They are forecasting another possible snow storm for next week.

*I'm going to face the sun for as long as I can and see if I can get some vitamin D into my system before we are all plunged back into the winter blahs again.

*The budgetary battles rage on in my school district.

*The board is publishing statements declaring their innocence in this fiscal nightmare.

*The teacher's union dilly-dallied over putting the matter of a cost-reducing furlough day to a vote, citing procedures that require more time before issuing a ballot.

*The superintendent said, "Sure.  I understand.  Take all the time you need.  Meanwhile, I'll just be over here decimating the music and gifted programs then making sure that I issue a public statement on the matter while I'm waiting."

*The union was forced to hustle off to vote, which took time out of their scheduled emails detailing where they felt the budget problems began.

*Everyone behaved about as badly and unethically as I've ever seen and it made me proud to be neither an administrator nor a member of the teacher's union.

*The furlough day was voted in, thus saving music and gifted programming.

*They sprang the details on us a few days ago.

*In order to decrease the impact on instructional time, we will not have parent conferences tomorrow, will get to come to work two hours late in a few weeks and leave school an hour and a half early on the last day.

*That last one is another way of saying, "Please enjoy coming back in later to finish marking cumulative folders and packing up your rooms during your unpaid time. Oh, and the schools will be shut down on and off over the summer months to cut further costs so good luck with scaling the walls and shimmying into half-open windows."

*And I'm still working without a contract.

*Let's just say that negotiations got a bit...sidetracked.

*It's enough to yank the spring right out of your step...

*I stopped by the mega-home improvement store on the way home.

*I need to do drywall repair.

*I do not look forward to drywall repair.

*But what if something happens to me?

*Then the people who come to clean out my meager possessions will see that picture I hung over the gigantic hole in my kitchen wall and forget all about how I probably shuffled off this mortal coil in some heroic endeavor involving the rescuing of infants and kittens.

*All I'll ever be remembered for is the picture over the hole in the wall that fooled no one.

*There's an epitaph to avoid...

*We all know the story of Athena springing forth fully formed and armored from Zeus' noggin.

*He Who...PROJECTS sprang forth onto the playground today fully clad in cardboard armor he'd crafted during morning daycare.

*I did not know that he crafted cardboard armor.  Much less that he was slipping away to don it before recess.

*It's his Anti-Bullying Armor.

*Look up "irony" in the dictionary.  There's a picture of a small boy charging onto a playground filled with 6th and 7th graders whilst fully garbed in cardboard armor.

*The other adults thought it was the sweetest thing they'd ever seen.

*Leaving Ms. Sheep the nasty job of explaining to HW...P that it isn't a good idea to wear cardboard armor on the playground because other kids don't really "get" that.

*It wasn't Little Einstein's opinion that his bus driver is unfair and overly involved in her passenger's drive-time activities that got him into trouble this morning.

*We probably could have overlooked that.

*It was really more the manner in which he chose to express that opinion.

*Which mostly consisted of single-finger salutes and comparison's to female dogs of great girth.

*That was the part that caused the principal to take note.

*And then come up to reenact portions of the show for me.

*Which was funny except for the part where it wasn't because I also had an irked 7th grader rampaging about the room.

*Situation contained and remediated.  I'm keeping LE under wraps for a while.

*Probably bad timing that he also got into a scuffle on the playground yesterday.

*Coincidence works against overly boisterous boys with strong opinions regarding bus driver ethics and fair play in football...

*Blood Magick (Bloodlines #1) sort of sprang off the digital page when I was looking for cheap reads the other day.

*Actually, what really caught my eye was Zombie Confidential (Bloodlines #2.5) because that one was a freebie and I was kind of without a debit card at that point.

*My new card arrived and I figured why not try the series upon which the zombie story was based?

*It's not bad.  But the zombie story was better...

*Definitely worth the couple of bucks I tossed down for it, though.

*Even better is the audio version of Undead and Unappreciated.

*These are short, but long enough to kill a week's worth of commuting.

*This is now how I measure audiobook length.

*And I love Queen Betsy.  She makes me happy.  

*Even if she can't exactly enjoy a nice spring day like I can.

*She makes up for it in awesome shoes.

*Talk about a spring in your step!!!

I'm not doing too badly, time-wise.  But I still think I should do a wrap up here.  I have, once again, failed to make the "eat dinner before 7:00" mark but I think that is just going to have to be a Wednesday Thing.  Sometimes you have to accept matters.

Tomorrow is another day with another chance for eventful happenings and who knows?  Maybe I'll get some spiffy new armor or find someone who wants to repair the giant hole in my kitchen wall without commenting on the fact that I have a giant hole in my kitchen wall.

Or something else will spring forth to surprise me.  You never know...


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

WNBP: Lost

Well, here we all are.  Another Wednesday is upon us and I am yet again so far behind in the night's agenda that I can't even believe it myself.  I even toyed with a Blog Night Off, just to see if I could maybe get myself together enough to catch some TV before bedtime rolls around.

In the end, my overwhelming sense of responsibility took over and I sat myself down to see if I couldn't come up with a tidbit or two for your reading pleasure.  I think it's important to stick to the schedule.  Frankly, I need the schedule.  Any small, even tenuous, grip on the norm would be nice these days.

So here we go.  It's another fun-filled rendition of The Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  Whether you wanted it or not...

*I have somehow managed to lose part of a filling.  Or all of a filling.  Or an entire tooth.  Or I've offended whatever deity is in charge of pain-free chewing.

*I think it's really just part of a filling or something amiss with the crown, but I've decided to make the whole thing as dramatic as possible because it's a right side issue and that is the chewin' side.

*What I clearly haven't lost is the overwhelming urge to poke at the offending tooth.

*Which is generally not recommended when there is tooth pain.

*I guess I just keep hoping it's naught but a bit of seed or pulp and that it will soon work its way loose, leaving me with my formerly happy mouth situation.

*I do not want to visit Dr. De Sade DMD.  I'm gonna ride it out.  Surely everything will be fine if I ignore it hard enough...

*I tried to buy gas yesterday.  I say "try" because, while purchasing fuel isn't really all that hard what with all the modern marvels available to us nowadays, the process didn't go very well.

*I needed to buy gas because I got lost going to a meeting at a different school and used more of the petrol than I meant to.

*Then I got lost again on the way back to school.

*But I didn't tell anyone about that part because it seemed kind of crazy to miss the same turn twice.

*I really wanted to just give up and go home since the school day was almost done anyway but they've cut all the hours for teaching assistants and the clock was ticking down towards my classroom being manned by naught but a couple of 7th graders with a only a very general idea of the dismissal process.

*My debit card didn't work when I tried to buy gas.  The same way it kind of didn't work the night before when I was paying my cell phone bill but I'd forgotten about that what with all the getting lost and clock ticking and whatnot.

*Plus, I figured I'd just forgotten to enter my new debit card information since I received a new one a while back.

*Thankfully, I remembered that I'd put some cash into my pay-as-you-go card and I was able to get some of the go juice with that.

*When I got home, there was a message waiting from the bank.

*Yup.  The card was locked up tighter than survivors awaiting the end of the zombie apocalypse.

*Somewhere, some vendor had their database hacked.

*And sometime in the near or distant past (who knows for sure since the vendor wasn't identified) I made a purchase from that establishment.

*And now my card has been shut down.  Which is fine.  Responsible of the bank, actually.

*However, a heads up would have been nice.  Preferably before I was stranded 60 miles from home with no cash and naught but a thimbleful of gas.

*I'm just saying is all...

*This isn't the first time this has happened, by the way.  I'm fairly familiar with the process.

*But that doesn't take the sting out of losing my ability to make purchases anywhere, at any time and with wild, plastic-wielding abandon.

*For three to seven business days.

*Tiny Macho came out of the back classroom the other day waving a paper at me.

*Tiny Macho:  Yo, Ms. S.  You gave me this paper about frogs and I can't answer the second question.  I can't read this here word.

*Ms. Sheep: (taking the paper and squinting at the tiny print. she wonders briefly when they started putting out worksheets with such itty-bitty fonts)  OK.  I've got it now.  Let's sound it out, shall we?

*TM: Was kinda hoping you'd just tell me...

*MS:  AM-PHIB-IAN.  Now put it together.  AMPHIBIAN.  Yes, that's right.  The word is "amphibian!"  Isn't that wonderful???

TM:  (with eyes wide) What?  Amphibian?  Does that mean frogs have NO SOULS????

*I don't know why that struck the adults in the room so funny, but we all pretty much lost it.

*TM has a fairly good sense of humor so it wasn't as cruel as it sounds...

*Apparently, it is now acceptable for snow to fall every single day.

*Mostly just flurries, but I've sort of lost patience with the whole sorry business.

*Thankfully, winter wear is now on sale to make way for the spring clothing I don't anticipate ever being able to wear.

*So I was able to get a giant, fluffy hat with kitten ears and and attached scarf with little kitten paw pockets at the end quite cheaply.

*It has been made clear that the kids in my class have lost all respect for me.

*And that I am no longer allowed to speak to them when we go out for recess.

*This could possibly be related to my having invented The Cute Little Kitten Dance to go along with my new hat.

*Interesting new audio book located for the daily commute.

*V Wars is rather long and involves a pretty complex story line.

*And is told through a variety of short stories, not to mention different narrators.

*But I have to admit...I'm transfixed.

*Not bad for a library freebie!

*And it's an "always available" download so there's no problem with the vast amount of listening time required to get through it.

*I've made it up to book 5 in the Vampire For Hire series. (Samantha Moon Rising: Including Books 5, 6, and 7 in the Vampire for Hire Series: Vampire Dawn, Vampire Games, Moon Island, Plus the Short Story "Teeth")

*And snuck in a short story to cover a bit of the details I would have otherwise missed.

*Christmas Moon (Vampire for Hire #4.5)

*But now I'm stuck because I can't get the next one.

*See above note regarding lack of magic plastic money card.

*I wish for all hackers a failed nighttime schedule and a filling/crown situation that impairs dominant side chewing abilities.

There we go.  That about covers it.  I think I'm glad I stuck with the schedule.  I really do feel better for it; like I somehow grabbed a piece of normal away from the clutches of fickle fate.

Now I'm off to see if I can salvage my hair.  I seem to have lost track of time and it has gone and dried without me.  To say I've lost control of this situation would be an understatement and I fear no amount of product is going to straighten this mess out before bedtime.

It's oddly comforting to know that at least fickle fate is sticking with the plan...