Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'll Believe it When I See It

The first year I taught at The School we were lucky enough to get new science textbooks.

Except they didn't arrive until October.

And school started in August.

Every time we had a faculty meeting, a science teacher would wave his or her hand in the air and ask the soon to be infamous question, "Any news on when we'll get our science books?"

The answer, which our vice principal got from book distribution guys who most likely got it from a publisher rep who probably got it from a guy named Buddy who drove a truck was "They're on THE TRUCK."

We had no idea where THE TRUCK was and soon wildly exciting guessing games were going on about just, where, THE TRUCK was. Many felt that Alaska was a good guess. There was much joy and celebration when the new books, finally, arrived.

So this year, what with the standards changing and our old books having pretty much seen their better days, we are supposed to get new books. We've spent the whole year gearing up for the new books, going to publisher presentations, reviewing the sample copies, and eventually selecting the book that best suited our needs. And we were told that they would definitely be there in August, ready and waiting for school to start.


None of us really, truly believed that. For one thing, there's always a BUDGET CRISIS and one of the first things that get yanked are new textbooks, and there had been rumors going around all year about the fact that we may just have to milk another year out of our old books. That was something none of us in middle school even wanted to contemplate since our standards got all switched around and our books were built around the old standards. One idea floated was to have a class set of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade books and just use whichever book had that particular standard in it. Fun.

And then, after our experience with THE TRUCK, whenever anyone said, "Oh, yes, they'll be there in August," we all snickered and laughed and kicked each other under the table at faculty meetings.

Sure they will. As I told my students last year, "I'll believe it when I see it."

I saw it.

Today Mrs. Eagle and I were coming back from lunch and walked in by the front office only to see a young man struggling to open a door and push in a huge cart with boxes stacked on it. We went and held the door open for him so he could get through, when Mrs. Eagle noticed the labels on the boxes.

"Hey, are those science books?" she asked him.

"Hum, I think so," he said. "I'm not really sure."

"Hang on, I want to read the label," I said and I checked the label out. "It's science books," I said. "But I can't tell what grade."

Since the young man didn't know where the book room was, we gleefully showed him the way...and made him open one of the boxes so we could see what was inside.

Glory Be! They were all seventh grade science books!!!

I think we may have scared him a bit when we started squealing and clapping our hands in excitement.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Panic Attack

It's about that time again.

School starts, for the kids, on the 7th of August, but I have my first in-service on the 30th. Oh boy!

So I decided to go into the building today to get my room unpacked and set up. We had all received an email from Chief Custodian to let us know that all the rooms were pretty much ready to go. They were still working on the floors in some of the hallways, so as long as we were careful we could get in and get our work done.

There was one problem. I couldn't find my freakin' keys.

I always keep my classroom keychain (which has my room key, a key to get into some of the outside doors, a key to my desk, a key to my file cabinet, and a locker key) in a pocket in my rolling backpack along with my ID badge. That way I don't have to dig around in my purse to find them, and I always know where they are at. (I don't know if it's age, too much going on, or what, but I tend to lose things a lot more lately, which, well, sucks.) I used the rolling backpack on our trip to North Carolina this summer and had placed the namebadge and such on a corner of the work table in my craft room/office. And that's where I thought my keys were until yesterday when I went to grab them and they weren't there.

Oh great.

So I tore apart the craft room/office, opened every drawer, cupboard, box, basket, anything that could possibly contain a keychain. I tore apart my kitchen drawers as well, checked the bathroom drawers, all the dressers in my bedroom, and so on.

I didn't find my keys.

So I came to a plausible explanation.

My cat hid them. Specifically, my youngest cat, Jackson, who is an instigator. He loves to play with things on my desk, and it wouldn't have surprised me if he'd knocked the keys off and played with them. This idea got me crawling around on the floor looking under furniture and bookcases.

Still no keys. But a heck of a lot of pipe cleaners (cats love these) and bouncy ball toys.

Could he have knocked them into the wastepaper basket and they got tossed?


So, after several hours, much searching and frustration, I gave up on the keys. I'd just have to see if The Bookkeeper could get me a new one and see if, by some miracle, they had extra spares of the file cabinet and desk keys. The locker key was probably a goner as I think I may have the original. Oh well.

I slunk into school today, hung my head in shame, and managed to get an extra copy of my key from The Bookkeeper. Fortunately, I am apparently not the only one who loses things, she informed me, so that made me feel a bit better. She then handed me a huge, and I mean HUGE, container containing file cabinet and desk keys which would take me all day to go through.


Mrs. Eagle, who is an over-achiever and who has had her room set up since JUNE, came in to help me a bit which was more than nice on her part. Most of my classroom furniture was placed where it needed to be so we only had to shift a few things around. We were moving my desk a bit when the top drawer rolls open, which was odd because I had locked it before I left for the summer.

And there, laying in my top drawer, was my keychain!

"Hey, look at that!" says Mrs. Eagle. "There's your keys!"

Oh good gracious. They never even made it home with me for the summer!!! What most likely happened is that I left them on my desk in the rush to get everything loaded up and summer started, and my janitor found them, unlocked the desk, and put them away for me.

Bless her heart.

And I apologized to my cat for blaming him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christmas in July?

Could it be snow? Inside?

Nope. This is what happens when I forget to hide the toilet paper roll and our youngest cat, Jackson, finds it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I am, at last, home from camp.

Although I had a great time, saw some old friends, had a blast teaching little gifted kids (and making some money at the same time), I am delighted to get home. I missed hubster and the kitties and now it's wonderful to be back although I have a gi-normous pile of laundry to do, a garden to weed and work on, and we start school in less than three weeks.

Whew! Where did summer go?

Did I accomplish all I wanted? No, of course not. I never do.

Did I at least get some rest and recover from the Seventh Grade Class from Hell? I hope so. I just hope our eighth grade teachers got some rest as they will need it.

A few observations...

I am glad, glad, glad that hubster and I made the tough decision and relocated from Up North to Down South because I, at least, have a job. In fact, I will soon be entering my seventh year at The School, teaching in a building I love, with great co-workers and an awesome administration. Some of my friends who graduated with me in 2001 are still unemployed in the teaching profession, some are working as aides, and others are subbing every chance they get. There just are no openings. Many of them also have spouses who have either lost jobs or lost overtime, or took pay cuts so things are tight up there. The fact that they're taxed every time they turn around doesn't help.

When I first got my license, in 2001, Up North, I paid something around $65 to get it. Apparently the government needs money so the fees for licensing got raised a bit - to over $200. Amazing! I've never paid a penny for my license down here. In fact, when I first got mine, I actually called the state and asked where to send the check since the website didn't mention it. They laughed and said, "oh, you must be from up north." Gee, did it show?

It was a lot of fun hanging out with my friend Mrs. Cardinal and her husband and the four kids and the two dogs, the cat, the two parrots and the hamsters! Good thing they have a large house (and I had my own room). We did have a great time, had some cookouts, had a bunch of our pals from school over with all their kids, and generally enjoyed catching up.

Mrs. Cardinal, her oldest daughter, and I went and saw the new Harry Potter movie. Now I love the book series, I love the movies, and I was looking forward to this one. However. It's, well, grim. Really grim. (The book was as well.) I doubt I'd take a kid under the age of 12 to see it unless they are completely obsessed with the series and can handle the dark aspects of the story. And for anyone who hasn't read the books...don't bother. You won't get most of what's happening.

Well, now to work. The house, the cats, and the laundry are calling.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Random Thoughts

No students means no drama. I'm kind of enjoying that. For those of you who read this blog I'm sure you're bored to tears.

That being said...

Why is it that the week that Momma Bird visits we top out the thermometer and have some pretty miserable weather, but now that she's home we're actually below normal and I have the air conditioning off and the windows open?

Had to go to the dentist today to have an old filing replaced. The anticipation was worse than the actual procedure. I took along the iPod, listened to the B-52's and survived. Of course, things are a bit tender and I had a mild headache by the time it was over with, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I do have a really great dentist though. Ice cream would make a great supper, don't you think?

My youngest cat has figured out how to pop off the top of the kitty drinking fountain so he can play with the filter. He is too smart for his own good. I'm sure he'll figure out how to change the channels on the television here shortly.

Naps are the best thing on earth.

I am not getting as much knitting done as I'd hoped. Or as much genealogy research done. Or as much reading done. I'm not sure where the time is going, but it's going fast.

My garden is a mess this year. First the rabbits. Then the ground squirrels. I have five tomato plants, and four look great and are doing well. The other one looks like it's on its last legs. I can't figure it out. Everything else - beans, melons, pepper, etc., are kind of limping along. Maybe our cold wet May has something to do with it. Whatever the reason it's annoying me beyond belief. I should have a beautiful, lush, vibrant garden with veggies and all that and I have plants that look like they just want to curl up and die.

The weeds, however, are kicking butt.

That's it for now.

Time for sweet tea ya'll.