Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WNBP: Hellooooo? Anyone Still Out There?

Yeah...probably not.  That's OK.  I understand.  You can't invite people over and leave them waiting in the living room while you attend to other matters about the manse for a couple of months.  Eventually they will gather up their coats and head out to find a more congenial  host.

No harm, no foul.  I'll just leave a note (or a Wednesday Night Bullet Post) for those who still drop by to make sure I haven't gotten lost or been kidnapped by aliens.

* I haven't been hanging out in other corners of the internet either, in case you were worried that I abandoned you for hipper media outlets.  Facebook and Twitter have been largely ignored lately as well.

*I know this because Facebook and Twitter have been emailing me to let me know I've been missing a great deal of amazingness.

*Our school's winter vacation is in February.  I put it on the calendar because that is my favorite school vacation.

*Apparently, bronchitis reads my calendar because I was stricken within hours of settling in for my week of obligation-free vacation time.

*I staggered into the doctor's office on Tuesday morning of that week already so sick I could barely breathe without coughing up lungs, spleens and other various organs best left inside the body.

*I know I only have one spleen.  I was trying to be descriptive.  You know...exaggerate for effect.  

*But if I did have multiple spleens, all of them would have been on my living room carpet what with all the coughing.

*I left the office with a shiny new inhaler, cough medicine with blissfully high amounts of narcotics mixed in and, of course, antibiotics.

*This thing held on like grim death for the entire vacation week and well into the first week back to school.

*I finally felt better on the second Friday of my back-to-school routine.  

*I can be exactly that specific because I caught a cold the following Saturday.

*A doozy of a cold that was almost as bad as the bronchitis except for the part where it hung around in my sinuses and required that I make weird honking noises for another ten days in order to keep them semi-clear.

*I blame the children.  You know the ones I mean.  The ones that show up around 7:15 every day and hang around spreading their foul germs until 2:15 when they finally return home to their parents.

*Where they, no doubt, plot further germ warfare against me.  I'm sure their parents have no idea.  They all seem like very nice people.

*I'm feeling much better now.  Although I still deal with leftover sinus issues from time to time.

*I originally wrote that as, "Although I still deal with leftover sinus deposits from time to time." 

*Then I rethought that sentence because it seemed gross and I changed it.

*You're welcome.

*I took the car in for that oil change it had been whining about for a while.

*There I learned that I was due for an inspection.  Or past due if you are being picky about semantics.

*Either way, there is a rather spendy obstacle between me and that sticker so it will have to wait.  That kind of cash doesn't just magically appear.

*Although the service technician seemed to think that repeating the official date of my motor vehicle inspection thirty seven times might cause cash to suddenly rain down from the sky.

*At least that is what I assume.  I didn't ask as I was too busy paying for my oil change and studiously ignoring him.

*I'm well past the age where I believe that magical incantations work in the service center.

*On a happier note, several of the kids in my class caught my cold.  I'm sorry they don't feel well.

*But I consider payback to be completely fair under these circumstances.  My illness fell partially during a vacation week and that was dirty pool on their part.

*There is also a stomach flu going around.  I am not planning on getting that one.  

*Seriously.  It's not happening.  Not even funny to consider it.  I don't have time for that.

*I am in the market for a new couch.  You can only pile on so many pillows before you have to come to the conclusion that you need a new couch.  

*I am currently up to three layers of pillows.

*The only thing standing in my way is waiting out the car payments.

*You may remember when I bought my car.  My truck was on life support and required many, many dollars to fix.  Thousands, in fact.

*I could choose between paying thousands that I didn't have and hoping that it was enough to keep it running or going into a new loan while still owing on the truck.  

*The former was an expensive gamble that could probably pay off.  Or not. Surprises awaited. The latter was expensive, but predictable.  Sure, I'd be paying through the nose, but at least the newer vehicle would have a warranty and I'd be paying less in repairs.

*I chose the second option.  My car payments rival those of people currently driving off the lot in shiny new luxury vehicles.  Or those of people driving two (maybe even three) lower end economy cars with fewer bells and whistles.

*My repair costs, overall, have been minimal.

*Six years of double car payments.  Six years.  Double car payments.  The lesser of two evils.

*I am have less than two full payments left.  I am in the home stretch.  

*When my car is paid off, I fully plan to spend that day dancing around the waiting room in the local branch of the bank that holds my loan.  There will be lots of fanny waggling and shouts of "Take that suckah!  You don't own me or my soul ANYMORE!!!"

*I doubt seriously that anyone at the local branch of the bank that holds my loan will have any idea who I am or why I'm waggling my fanny in their faces, but I'm going to print up some flyers to toss around in my wake as a means of explanation.

*I've pretty much covered all the picky details except what I'm wearing.  I'm stuck between a belly dancing outfit and some sort of animal costume.

*Let's see...what else happened while the blog was dark?

*Oh, yeah.  It snowed.  Then it snowed again.  Then it stopped snowing long enough for us to get to the store and stock up on more snow supplies.  

*And then it snowed again and we ran out of places to put all the snow so we just started parking on top of it and pretending it wasn't there.

I think that covers the highlights.  You'd think that, with this amount of time having elapsed, there would be more to report.  To be fair, though, that whole thing with the lung hawking and sinus inflating kind of took up a bunch of my time.  I hope your Wednesday (and the many that have preceded this one) went smoothly.

Personally, I'm just glad I got through it without contracting the plague...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WNBP: Incoming

Even if I didn't  have access to multiple forms of regularly updated information via television, newspapers and the internet, I'd still know there was a storm a-coming.  No, I'm not psychic, nor do I have sophisticated radar equipment hidden away in a closet secretly monitoring the airwaves for hints of precipitation.

What I do have, however, is a sinus cavity that has developed an intense dislike of pressure change and a classroom full of students so attuned to nature that the slightest disturbance in the force is enough to set off giddy outbursts and the sudden need to debate who was looking at whom and why I should punish him for that.

Did I also mention that it is the week before school vacation?  And that school is closed on Friday so teachers can make up the workshop day we missed due to inclement weather back in January? Or that kids who are anticipating two extra days of vacation are not remotely interested in learning stuff?  Oh, and you should also factor in that the school's Civil Rights Team is sponsoring Be Yourself Week so everyone was observing Wild 'n Wacky Hat 'n Hair Wednesday.  It's been a long day...

It is, however, the tail end of that day and, as it also happens to be a Wednesday. I suppose it might be a good time to update the blogosphere with the latest and greatest bullet points detailing the life and times of Good Ol' Sheepie.

*Tomorrow is Thursday.  That is the day when grades 6-12 begin school two hours later in order to accommodate staff development needs without closing school for a month.

*Grades K-5 don't have weekly late start days.  They have monthly early release days.  Tomorrow is one of those.

*The incoming storm, which is predicted to either be a regular sort of storm for this area or Armageddon depending upon its track and who you listen to, is scheduled to land sometime late in the morning.

*It's the kind of storm that is generally managed through a half day of school.  That is the sensible course of action as the kids get home before things go to heck in a hand basket and we don't have to make the day up.

*The last time our superintendent attempted to do this on a day when we had varying start/end times for all the schools doing staff development was a disaster.  Over half the school employees ended up at work two hours too early with nothing to do because they can't legally make us work if school isn't officially open.  

*Kids were dropped off at varying times, none of which had anything to do with our actual schedule that day because parents didn't know it was a partial snow day.

*Like I said...disaster.

*Today, we got the email at 2:00.  Mr. Superintendent wasn't even going to bother trying.  School is cancelled for tomorrow.  You could almost hear the frustrated sigh in that email.

*It probably sounded a lot like the one Mr. Principal issued as he attempted to conduct a staff meeting at 2:30 this afternoon amidst the giddy chatter, sharing of snow day plans and waving of wacky hats.

*That was the shortest staff meeting I've ever been to.

*It was the one we were having to make up for the one we missed last week due to a snow day which is kind of ironic when you think about it...

*There's a cute little discount store chain that just decided to hawk their wares in my town, but I don't think many people have figured out it's there yet.  Mostly, I think the Family Dollar Store is biding its time until the summer folk show up to purchase cheap flip flops and sunscreen.

*But they do happen to have a full (ish)grocery section and it's the kind of place where a girl can get frozen pizza, chocolate and yoga pants all within a three aisle radius.

*Hint:  Frozen pizza, chocolate and yoga pants = my version of preparedness.

*It's my Storm Prep secret.  I can stock up on supplies without fighting the mobs of people frantically grabbing up loaves of bread at the supermarket.

*They also have cat food.  The kind that the cats don't normally get to eat and which they love simply because the vet says they should be eating more wholesome fare.

*Not that it matters...

*My recent plan for combating the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty's aggressive attempts to get any foodstuffs I might be preparing was to allow him sink access.

*If it's in the sink, it's his.  All I have to do is put a sauce covered spoon in there and I'm all set.  He spends ten minutes chasing it around the drain licking up every drop and I get to ladle the rest onto my plate in peace.

*The first flaw I discovered in this plan was pasta.  Pasta is kind of a loophole.  It's in the sink.  It needs to drain.

*But it isn't his pasta.  It's my pasta.  And that is hard to explain to a cat.

*The second issue (and one that surprised me even though it probably shouldn't have come as a shock) is the Monkey See/Monkey Do syndrome.

*The Very Complicated Kitty, normally a timid lad who doesn't get up on the counter for fear of incurring my wrath, soon realized that good things were happening in the sink.  

*Now I have to put two spoons in there in order to accommodate both furry diners and the pasta situation has gotten completely out of hand.

*Although, I have to admit that not needing to soak and scrub the casserole dishes has been rather nice.  You'd be surprised at how clean those things are after a few minutes in the sink without running water.  Nary a baked on, stuck on, burnt on bit in sight!

*Still, it does beg the question:  does it really matter at this point if the cats are getting the healthy canned food from the pet store?  I mean, seriously.  Baked ziti with three kinds of cheese is probably going to overwhelm any health benefits in those cans...

*It hasn't affected their energy level much, though.  The minute they sense kitchen activity, they rocket in and hurl themselves into the sink like little furry bullets.  

*They don't even shout a warning, which seems a bit inconsiderate.  I mean how much time would it take to shout out a helpful, "Banzai!"  Or "Fore!"  Or, "Comin' atcha!"

*Even the snow storm has the common courtesy to let us know it's on its way.  Incoming cats don't seem to set off my sinuses nor do I hear the dulcet tones of bickering children before getting slammed aside in order that a spatula might be investigated. 

Well, it seems I inadvertently left a bag of cotton balls on the counter.  (I also picked up cotton balls at the little discount store but those weren't storm supplies.  I just have a nail polish situation going on, is all)  Those cotton balls appear to have attracted the attention of a certain feline who can't imagine why anything in a plastic bag might not contain something yummy and I'd probably best disabuse him of this notion before things take a bad turn.

Although I don't know why he should think they are his.  They aren't in the least not yet.

I hope that your week has been a good one and that if you also happen to be in the path of this or any other incoming storm, you have been able to adequately stock up on chocolate and yoga pants.  Preparedness is important after all.

Perhaps not as important as a crusty casserole pan in the sink, but it's still pretty high on the list.


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

WNBP: New Year/Old Year

Why, hello there!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  The last time I saw you, you were knee high to a grasshopper, if I'm recalling it correctly...

Well, perhaps it hasn't been quite that long.  Long enough that I'm going to be posting across two distinct years, though.  I partially blame my technological difficulties for the delay, but mostly blame a crazy lack of energy brought about by the "season" and the fact that my credit card company strongly believes I should remain employed in order that I might continue financing the aforementioned season.

What follows is a random sampling of 2013 and 2014 and I won't promise any organization whatsoever.  I never once claimed that the Wednesday Night Bullet Post would be anything easily understandable.

*Happy New Year.  

*I thought I should get that part out of the way.  It seems like the polite thing to do at this early stage of the 365 day allotment.

*This post is going to take a long time.  The internets be slow tonight!

*It's the cold.  We may have warmed up to positive digits but I suspect even the inter-web doesn't like it when its nose is sealed shut by its own frozen boogers...

*I had the most fabulous holiday break.  Probably the best I've had in years.

*The way Christmas and New Years fell, combined with teacher workshops and a very well timed snow storm, I ended up with almost two full weeks off.

*And four days before Christmas landed to get stuff done!

*I was worried about Christmas.  I felt extremely unprepared.

*I was relieved to have those days, especially the two that fell on weekdays when everyone else was at work and I could buzz through the stores without having to deal with the populace.

*When I started wrapping my gifts on Christmas Eve, I was still a bit worried.  Did I have enough?  Was everyone to be gifted or would I have to hide behind the tree frantically stuffing cash into envelopes that once contained utility bills in order to have something for those individuals I somehow managed to forget???

*I compensated with bows.  Frilly, elaborate bows that would detract from my lack of preparedness.

*At 10:00 that evening, I began to recall the shopping I did over the summer.  And that stuff I bought at the school book fair last fall.  And those little "somethings" I saw and thought would be nice gifts for people as I went about the daily business of keeping my cupboards stocked over the past couple of months.

*Not to mention the baked goods, jellies, jams and whatnots that somehow got done when I had the time to create them.

*The bows got a lot less elaborate at that point.

*At midnight, my back was aching and my knees couldn't stand another moment of me being hunched on the floor over yards of wrapping paper.  I started setting gifts aside for next year.

*By 1:00, I was finally done.  The gifts were wrapped and packed for travel the next day and I vowed to never again leave this task for the last minute.

*I don't care who does it, but one of you is  in charge of reminding me of this.  I suggest you start nagging me in October just to be sure I get the message.

*I spent the rest of my vacation recovering from the whole Gift Amnesia Episode and enjoying the fabulous booty I brought home myself that day..

*And shopping.  There was more shopping than is good for a person.  Or a bank account...

*I saw The Cheerful Teaching Assistant last week.  We were supposed to have two days of workshops before school started, but we only ended up with one due to the weather.

*I'm glad I caught her.  It was her first day back after birthing her girl child.

*Of course, I forgot to bring the gift I purchased for the little bundle of joy.  I blame the Christmas Eve wrapping incident.

*The CTA is doing well, very well.  She looks amazing and motherhood suits her so well it almost makes me teary eyed.

*I sent the little girly outfits over to the high school via the school social worker who works in both buildings.  

* little girly outfit and one almost girly outfit.  And the other one with the skull motif on it because someone has to be mindful of the less girly side of things.

*I went to the mall with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach the weekend before last.

*I was offered samples of cuticle oil by a Highly Confident Kiosk Person.  I accepted them because she was French and Intimidating.  Plus I like free stuff.

*Of course, this afforded her the opportunity to see the state of my nails which meant I had to endure a quick tutorial in the use of the multi-sided buffer tool.

*I know how to use a multi-sided buffer tool.  I have one somewhere.  I used to use it all the time, but I haven't been in a Nail Phase lately.

*Lately=Last five years.

*As she revealed my gleaming thumbnail and smugly awaited my gasps of shock and awe, I was pleased to inform her that I already possess the gear she was hawking in her firm French accent.

*Without missing a beat, she pierced me to the core with her steely eyes and barked, "Well, why aren't you USING it??"

*I bought a twenty dollar manicure kit.  What else could I do?  Vive Le France.  Victory over the smug American who thinks she knows better.

*I'm afraid to go back to the mall now.  At least not without nails buffed to a mirror shine...

*I went to bed at 11:45 on New Years Eve.  Is that bad?  It feels kind of like giving up.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has become extremely aggressive about procuring foodstuffs now that he's realized the spray bottle I used to repel him doesn't contain acid.

*He literally shoulders me out of the way in order to get at what I am preparing.

*We have finally reached a compromise.

*Discards in the sink are his.  Have at 'em.  I don't care.  Just leave the main course alone.

*This was particularly necessary during the holiday baking for obvious reasons.

*I might be used to a little cat hair here and there, but I don't want to inflict the extra fiber on my family.

*Note:  the sink plan backfires horrifically when I'm attempting to drain pasta.  

*How bad would it be if I drained my pasta in the bathroom?

*That's bad, right?  Not cool at all...

*The Very Complicated Kitty proved himself to be the finest of roommates over the lazy vacation days.  

*If you don't have a fat cat who is willing to let you put your feet on him while you nap then I feel sorry for you.

*You don't know naps.  You think you know naps, but you don't.

*A fat, warm pile of purring cat on your feet while you nap is the epitome of restfulness.

*Look into it.

*Hey, guess what?  My computer is working now.  

*Hundreds upon hundreds of dollars worth of equipment were wrestled back into compliance with a ten dollar mouse and a twelve dollar keyboard.

*Bluetooth be damned.  My computer, for reasons known only to its own circuitry, stopped talking to bluetooth.

*It will, however, communicate with off-brand cheapest-of-the-cheap hardware.

*Go figure.

*Of course, this is the first time in years I've worked on a full sized keyboard and I keep typing backslashes.

*But that is a small price to pay.  I can delete backslashes.  Eventually, I will develop the motor memory necessary to type on this gigantic collection of keys.

*Or the computer will get over its quarrel with bluetooth technology and I can go back to the other stuff I paid a billion dollars for.

*I'd like to say that this will increase the frequency of blog posts, but I don't want to make rash promises.  

*Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best.  If nothing else, you can rest easy knowing that I can now cruise the internet and my monitor is finally showing something besides the view of my desktop I've been staring at in frustration for over a month.

Well, that's about all I have time for tonight.  It's time to think about dinner and figuring out a strategy for arriving at work tomorrow clothed.  It's only the first week back with the students and I figure I should be making the effort at this point.

It's a new year after all.  They might have made an exception back when 2013 was winding down, but we're all supposed to be shiny and hoping for the best at the outset of 2014.  I can risk showing up in my pjs later on, perhaps.

Best wishes to you all in this New Year and I'm looking forward to all the new bullet posts to come!