Wednesday, May 01, 2013

WNBP: Sweet And Simple

Spring has sprung.  No.  Seriously.  It is smacking me right in the face and by that I mean I'm kind of itchy right above my eyebrows and sometimes along the right side of my jawline.  Somewhere, something is blooming.

And I think it might be something that hates me just a little bit...

I don't care.  It's been a long winter and I'm past concerning myself about such things as histamine reactions.  If hateful things want to bloom, I say have at it!  I'm ready for warmer weather and all it entails.  Well, almost all it entails.  I'm not looking forward to an overheated classroom and cranky children but, overall, I'm on board.  It's a simple thing, but it makes me happy.

So, with that thought in mind, let's take a look at this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post and see what mindless and yet somehow intriguing things have caught my fancy these past few days!

*If you happened to hear a collective sigh of relief sometime during the past week, relax.  You are not hallucinating.

*That would be my creditors who, having realized that my income tax refund was being generously spread about, were finally taking a moment to enjoy life again.

*March was a lean month.  April didn't start off much better.  My poor creditors were under incredible pressure during that time what with having to wait on me getting those forms off to the IRS.

*Don't know how they managed...

*But a little infusion of cash balanced out this year's furlough days and still unsettled teaching contract so everyone is happy again.

*At least for the moment.  I don't have the heart to tell them that there was an "open" meeting hosted by the teacher's union this afternoon and that God only knows what havoc is currently being wrought in the name of negotiations.

*I didn't go to the meeting.  I am tired.  I couldn't trust myself to stay awake once the faculty meeting was done nor to keep my comments to myself.

*Hmmm...I hate to jinx things but it seems my internet connection is working rather well this evening.

*Wireless internet.  That I pay for.  Actually working at something other than a snail's leisurely pace?

*That, my friends, is a simple pleasure indeed!

*After paying the bills and ensuring that I could carry on for the foreseeable future, I had a smidgen of cash leftover.  Figured I'd indulge myself in what we are calling an early birthday gift.

*Got me a refurbished Mint.  Now I don't have to mop and sweep the kitchen, just like all the other ladies of leisure!

*I know what you are thinking.  A robot sweeper?  For the kitchen?  Have you really gotten so lazy that you can't run a broom or mop around one room?

*Yes.  Yes, I have.  Besides, Mint amuses the ever-loving heck out of me.  Mint wanders around my kitchen, merrily sweeping and creating a map of the room all the while.

*Then, when it's figured out the whole landscape it magically does a sweep around the perimeter just to prove how fantastically awesome it is!

*Mint has limitations.  Mint does not vacuum the kitchen.  Nor will Mint scrub my kitchen.

*If I get the urge to spill rancid molasses upon my floor and then happen to trip and dump used kitty litter all over the sticky mess, I can tell Mint to clean it up.  Sure I can.

*And Mint will do what any well-intentioned but essentially unpaid laborer would do.

*Mint will gamely sally forth and do its best but it will roll its eyes at me the minute my back is turned.

*However, Mint is mopping my kitchen right now and it just snagged that yucky dead spider under where the cabinets jut out and that is above and beyond anything I'd call a mere "simple pleasure!"

*Plus it freaks the cats out just enough to make up for the early morning wake-up antics.


*Some of the high school staff were invited to come to the middle school today to participate in our regular Wednesday morning professional development activities.

*And among them?

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant!!!

*She was late.  She is always late and that is somehow very comforting to me.

*She looked a little green around the gills.  She is often a bit queasy and that is also familiar enough to make me feel at home.  Although we won't tell her that because it isn't nice to take comfort in someone else's digestive upsets.

*Sadly, it appeared she'd managed to gain back some of the weight she lost last year, though.  Too bad, that.  But at least she is enjoying life, right?

*I'm going to assume the rest of you put this together much more quickly than I did.

*In fairness, it was early and I'd overslept and most of the presenters had chocolates with which to tempt us into good workshop behavior so I was kind of distracted.

*Yes, there is going to be a Little Cheerful Teaching Assistant.  We expect his or her debut sometime in November in case you want to mark the calendars.

*I'm sad that I don't get to be with the CTA during this time because I know how much she's wanted to move forward with the family thing and I feel like I was there for so much of the other stuff.

*But I'm happy for her and I expect I might just break out the ol' knitting needles again soon in celebration.

*Lately, it's the babies that seem to resurrect the wielding of sticks and string.  Then I start wondering why I got so far away from that simple and relaxing activity.

*Then I drop a stitch or the cat steals a dpn and I kind of recall a few of the darker knitting moments...

*Let me state clearly that I am a person who believes in Equal Access.  I believe this passionately, particularly when it comes to those things that kids should be able to experience.

*I have, in fact, dedicated almost my entire adult life to this concept.

*The right to an education.  To the arts. To school dances.  To the chem lab on the third floor. To simply be a part of that which most kids experience every single day, even if on a very different and maybe highly modified level.

*I include sports in that list, although I understand how others might not feel the same.  That's OK.  We can agree to disagree.

*And I even understand how, at the high school level, the stakes are a little bit higher and that we maybe need to consider things like scholarships and school rankings.  That makes sense to me, although I still think there is room for some who maybe don't make the cut on paper.  Some kids just need that, you know?

*And, at my teaching level, kids are still very much in the skill acquisition stage.  There really shouldn't be much in the way of argument.  If a kid wants to play, has the right to play. And if the law says we have to provide the means for him to play, then he should play.  Period.

*That said, believing passionately in equal access is one thing. Making it happen is another. The amount of work it is taking me to provide said access for He Who...PROJECTS to the track team is literally costing me sleep.

*HW...P is a good runner.  And a good kid.  And more likely than anyone you've ever met to wander off and end up on a bus to Peoria.  He needs a little extra supervision if he is going to participate in track.

*Yesterday, I had to put him on a bus to the high school so he could have practice there instead of at our school.  I wanted to just drive him myself.

*But a half hour impassioned plea to ride the big bus wore me down.  His winning point?


*I know that isn't true.  I've ridden with him on a bus that didn't have seat belts.  But what can you say to that level of desperation?  He just wants to be like the other kids...

*I won't go into details.  You don't really want to know what it takes to coordinate a ten minute bus ride for a kid who gets lost in his own locker and who is easily distracted by the custodial equipment.  I'll just say it takes a lot of phone calls, pleading, emails and the will to look like a complete idiot as you fret and worry over every single stupid detail of the journey.

*And the help of the school resource officer just to make sure you've covered your bases.

*He made it.  He had a great time.  I relaxed.

*Until today.  Today was his first track meet and we agreed months ago that we would provide additional staff to supervise him so he didn't end up on the wrong bus and heading off towards some unfamiliar school district.

*Track meets, in case you didn't know this, are the equivalent of a twelve ring circus.  There is no coach on earth able to juggle all that needs to be done and still keep HW...P from digging up the sand around the discus throw just to see what's down there.

*However, the person responsible for hiring staff failed to do so.  She said she assumed my teaching assistants were doing that.  It's extra pay, after all.

*Nice theory.  Except for the fact that I sent an email on March 26th stating that my staff declined the additional dollars and that the position should be listed as open.

*This was one day before the meet.  I grabbed the first person who said, "Gee. That sounds kind of interesting..."

*I'll learn tomorrow if it all worked out.  If it didn't, please forward all correspondence to the local loony bin because I've had all I can take.  I'm just going to run screaming through the halls until someone with a nice, big net comes for me.

*Still, the look on his little face when his favorite officer personally escorted him to the big bus with no seat belts...

*And his joy today when he told me all about practicing at the high school...

*And the confidence with which he boarded the bus again today to go back there for his first official track meet...

*Well, I suppose it's worth it.  It made me smile.

*I went to see The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach on Saturday.

*I was so thrilled to be getting a shearing, that I even let her take off a bit more than I'd planned.

*Nothing like a new 'do to make your whole world lighter and brighter!

*Although I'd like to know exactly where she acquired her concept of an "inch."  It's a heck of a lot more than what my ruler portrays...

*Don't care.  I has me some swingy, bouncy hair and that is enough for me!

*I continue to be entranced by The Night Circus.  It is one of those hauntingly beautiful books and I think I am all the better for having experienced it as an audio book.

*Oh, and I loved Dog Days so much that I had to buy the sequel immediately.

*Budget be damned!  New Tricks (A Dog Days Novel) would be mine!!!

*It's been a while since I just enjoyed a story, not purchased or borrowed the book just because I couldn't find anything better.  At least it feels that way...

*Now I'm all about magic and ifrits and jazz!

*Happy.  It makes me happy.

Yes, it is the little things, isn't it?  Like how I had chocolates for dinner last night.  Of course, I ate all the chocolates and now it is 7:30 and I have no chocolates for dinner.  I might be reduced to jelly beans.    We'll have to see how that works out.

Who knows?  Maybe I'll work up the energy to make some brownies.  That is the very definition of pleasure, simple or not!



Adrienne said...

There is a website if your school participates, you can see how HW ... P did in the track meet. I run track meets for our school district, and I think it is great you with the extra few miles to get this to work out for him. Also, track is an athletic event all students should be able to take part in, you are as good as you work to be.

Donna Lee said...

The concept that all kids deserve to play sports is quietly disappearing here. It seems that if someone isn't already very proficient, no one wants them on the team. No one wants to take the time to invest in the kid's future.

I'm grateful for teachers who do. Kids who get help often learn compassion for others and man, we can all use as much of that as we can get.

I see the people who got nothing when they get to be adults and have no idea how to do anything for themselves because no one ever taught them.

Yes, The Night Circus is enchanting. My mp3 player died and I am waiting for a copy of the mp3 to become available at the library so I can listen to it again. It was a quirky love story-and I have a soft spot in my heart for them.

trek said...

Agreeing with Donna Lee here this morning. Friend's kid played baseball in middle school. Did decently well. Decided to give it up in high school because while the school can't officially start practices until the designated date for such things arrives, the rich kids' parents were sending them all off to the batting cages and private lessons in January. Sad.

Julia G said...

Bless you for your dedicated efforts to get your student through the bureaucratic hoops - that should be a team sport all by itself! "Dog Days" was a hit with Mr. G, thanks! I knew he liked the book when he was checking out the sequels on Amazon, and it's next on my reading list too. Perhaps you could train the kitties to ride on the Mint or do something cute to get a zillion hits on the YouTubes and earn some kibble…?