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, yes...like 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...
Dateline – Toronto
15 hours ago