Sunday, September 30, 2007

Frittering Time With HM

I'm feeling a little tired this afternoon. This morning I arose bright and early at 8:00 and took my #1 son to church to run the PowerPoint, and took my other son to The Devil's Playground for the things we forgot yesterday. I then washed a bunch of dishes and put away the purchased merchandise.

After that I was contemplating some school work or laundry, but instead wrote a book in my head, with ideas for 3 sequels, sent off a query letter, sorted through some rejections, sent the first three chapters in a proposal, got myself an agent, went on tour with my bestseller, optioned the movie rights, and then sat in the recliner with my feet up until lunch time. Whew! I didn't even have time to cash my advance and royalty checks, what with this being Sunday and all.

Now that I've rested, I can get on with the everyday routine. By evening, maybe I'll be ready to spend my PowerBall millions.

I've got quite a bit of school work...a lab type up, a list of vocab. words for the nonlabbers to keep busy, one class worth of lesson plans, some evaluation instruments (which are just tests or activities to assess specific learning objects for certain items in the curriculum), three or four algebra worksheets to create...and that should do it. That should fill a couple hours. The laundry can wait until I have time. It seems like only yesterday it was Friday, with the whole weekend stretched ahead of me. I think the Mansion sits in some kind of funky time warp, where time accelerates on the weekends. Something's rotten in the space-time continuum, methinks. Or maybe I just need to throw out a bag of potatoes in the pantry.

I also have to send in my tainted hamburger bar codes and sell-by dates. Because here at the Mansion, we're all about the money. It doesn't grow on trees, you know. And we're on a cash budget.

This week brings a dentist visit on Tuesday. I am not looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Close Call

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is still planning to write y'all that poem. Really. If she survives long enough.

This morning I ventured out bright and early to pick up a package at the post office. I had the #2 son in tow, what with HH and the #1 being gone to a car show in the Pimpmobile, sometimes called the copper-colored 1980 Olds Toronado. But a trip to the post office is never as simple as it sounds for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

We first had to stop at Hardees for a large serving of grease for the boy. The only way I could get him up without whining was to promise him a sausage biscuit. He said, "I hope the hash rounds don't taste like they're cooked in old grease." Quite a grease connoisseur, My Little Pony.

Next, we stopped by Casey's for gas and PowerBall tickets. You woulda thought there was a sale on gas, as busy as that place was. Silly people. It was about 6 cents cheaper out by my mom's house, but then, I wasn't driving all the way there today. I parked and pumped and left the Pony in the car while I walked in to pay. The grouch behind the counter looked like she wanted to serial kill me and My Little Pony, too. I walked back past the first line of pumps. A small red SUV had whipped into the line right next to my pump. I was turning left to go around the back of it when the driver gassed it in reverse, cut the wheel to the left, and nearly crushed my toes with his right front tire. I was taken aback. Actually, I jumped back. He would have hit me. Especially if I was a faster walker, and was behind him when he did it. Or a slower jumper, and hadn't moved back two feet. He had neither looked left nor right nor said "BOO" to the ghost of Hillbilly Mom. His Jebediah-looking, Fred Ziffel-bearded passenger just looked at me like, "What ya gonna do?" and shook his head in apology. I'm callin' meth-heads on the both of 'em. Anyhoo, it would have been tragic for My Little Pony to see his mama run down by a truck like his dad did to his dog Cubby.

After my adrenaline shakes from my near-death experience leveled off, I turned the corner to the post office to see about 60 cars lining the streets. "Wow," I thought. "A lot of people got packages today." Then I saw a tent roof thingy set up in the little park across from the post office, and heard a band playing. Some kind of fall festival shindig, I suppose. Again, I left the Pony in the car. Shhh...that might just be against the law here in Missouri, but he IS 9 years old, and I lock him in, and I was only going to be gone for a minute. Or so I thought. I entered the post office, and remembered why I always send the #1 son in to get stuff. That place stinks. Like in REEKS of something very similar to dead mouse. You'd think they would notice that and do something about it. I had to wait a good long time breathing that mouciferous odor while a lady did what looked to be an entire week's worth of eBay shipping. I finally got my package, plus two more. I think the worker felt bad that I had to wait. That's what he said. And he threw in those two bonus packages. OK, they were really mine, all part of the same Amazon order, but I guess two came in this morning. And the worker didn't even card me. He always does when my mom tries to pick up my stuff for me. Asks her for a driver's license and all. She gets carded like that at The Devil's Playground pharmacy as well. And she doesn't even have a Fred Ziffel beard.

Speaking of The Devil's Playground...our trip there was fairly uneventful. As was the final stop at the Save-A-Lot. I didn't even buy any tainted ground beef. That's still in the freezer. I had to look up the refund address. I was going to have the #1 son throw it out to the dogs this morning. "That's THREE pounds of meat!" he said, as if he's the one who paid for it. Then I thought better of it, because maybe it would make the dogs sick as well, even though they are well-known carrion-eaters, which probably harbors E. coli as well, but I think I'll let HH toss it on his bonfire and be done with it. Of course, I will have to caution HH not to nibble at it. For some reason, the image of Homer Simpson lovingly cradling that sub sandwich after picking it out of the garbage can comes to mind.

Not only is my life a Seinfeld episode, it's also a Simpsons episode.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Three Odd Mice

I think I have tennis elbow. Not from playing tennis. Laws, NO! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was never very good at tennis. She thinks she acquired this tennis elbow from a mouse. The mouse that sits at the right hand of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and scrolls through life with her, singing Zip a Dee Doo Dah, drinking cherry Kool Aid, wearing a big smiley face t-shirt. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, not the mouse.

In other mouse news, the Absentminded Professor has bought himself a $30 wireless mouse as a gift for Lappy. He used to use one of those scrolly-finger thingies, and then tired of it and went to the rectangular pad thingy on Lappy himself. The problem with this new, unattached mouse is that he uses it in the LSUV. That means when I round a curve, that mouse gets to steppin'. Just today, as I pulled out from the bank, Mousy made a beeline for my lap. So I told the boy, "If that mouse jumps into my lap, there's going to be an accident."

If there had been a mouse in my classroom today, he would have had a good chuckle. One of the students was a bit intractable. I offered a chance to work with partners on the assignment, with the stipulation that I picked the partners from my deck of index cards with their names. I told anybody who preferred to work alone to speak up now. Nobody did. We pulled cards. One child did not like his partner. He stated that he would work alone. Which all agreed was OK, because there was an odd number, and the last card went with the abandoned partner. But thennnnn the loner was spotted sitting by another set of partners. No. Not permitted. Go back to your own seat. You chose to work alone. The child muttered and puttered, but knew he had no defense. He went back to his seat. But lo and behold, a minute later, and that partner group had moved up the row to the seats behind him, and he was turned sideways leaning on one's desk. No. Not permitted. You chose to work alone. I don't believe you are working alone if you are leaning on that desk. Turn and put your feet under your own desk. Oh, dear me! A tantrum erupted the likes of which I haven't seen in one this age. He turned. He huffed. He picked up his desk and put his feet under it, clanging a bit too much. The kids on the other side of the room were snickering. I did not say anything except, "Oh, my." He had no idea what a fool he was making of himself. I could not draw further attention to him. He huffed and puffed all hour. Poor thing. He is having a rough time learning that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, and not he, is the boss of the classroom. And if there had been a mouse under my desk, it would have gotten quite a laugh. And some round holes of paper that fell out of the 3-hole punch while a kid was fiddling with it. Which is why Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has that Never Ever rule about touching things on her desk.

And we now conclude our mouse trilogy for this evening.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #4

Once again, it is time for Random Thought Thursday. I wish I had made a Note-To-Self about all my random thoughts since last week. Since I didn't, I'll have to dredge the top of my head and the tip of my tongue.

A backpack is not important until it's gone.

A little boy should not be sad that he didn't get called up and recognized at the big assembly because he only scored 'Advanced' in two out of the three MAP testing areas. What happened to the I'm-OK-You're-OK-Everybody's-A-Winner mentality when you need it?

Grandmas make the world go round.

A Baur Baur Baur dog on the porch is worth two sleepless mornings in the recliner.

Will I be hurting someone's tender self-esteem if I reward the kids in a certain group who were good with a shiny new mechanical pencil? If you're the boy who stated his career goal was to be a supermodel, you better bring your own writing instrument. To sign all those contracts and autographs, don't you know.

Hot & Sour Soup should balance that fine line between hotness and sourness, and not have an overwhelming red-peppery bouquet.

Snide, sneaky students who on the surface cause no trouble do not like it when the person in front of them is absent, and they are in full view of the teacher in their snarky whispered comments to the reader-of-the-paragraph.

I just had the most scathingly brilliant idea for a post. It involves a parody of a D H Lawrence poem. It will be good. REALLY! I know Meanie will enjoy it. She's of the poetry persuasion. The rest of you, get some culture, will ya? It's coming in a few days. Or tomorrow. I'm a seething cauldron of creativity tonight. Or maybe it's just gas.

Does it seem petty and ungrateful that I have been told I will be attending an educational conference in February, for 3 days at a lake resort, and I do not want to go? I mean, really. A lake resort. In FEBRUARY. And I've been there numerous times on other conferences. See what happens when you join the core subject teacher ranks again? You become un-invisible. And what about the children?

I've got more stuff in my skull than I thought.

We didn't get mail today. I think the mailman is holding out on me. Just Saturday, he gave me two pieces of another person's mail. Then Monday, he gave me that veterinarian postcard about poor Candy and her doggie liver transplant. I have not had mail delivery this bad since the day I complained about getting other people's mail and none of my own. Just watch. Tomorrow, I'll get a truckload of my own mail.

The world is out to get me. That's what the voices say.

My son is a bad egg. He took his computer-controlled rocket launcher thingy to school in his backpack, after I told him not to. That is OH SO WRONG. He could easily have left it in the LSUV to get after school. But what is even OH SO WRONGER is that when Mabel's mathie crony came to my room to borrow some Wite-Out, that rotten egghead shot her with it!!! And then he tried to say he was aiming at his brother. Lucky for us the crony is child-friendly.

Never believe that a computer survey is anonymous. I'm talkin' to you, Mr G. I've grown accustomed to having lunch with you again, and would hate to see you disappear.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Little Pony Saves The Day

The overpriced school fundraiser merchandise has arrived. I wrote out a check for $172.50 so my boy could win a Flying Hog and a Choir Hoodie. Thank the Gummi Mary that it wasn't all MINE. Thanks to the generous spirit of Mabel, her mathie crony, a distant relative who is a colleague, Grandma, a Church Lady, and My Sister-the-Mayor's-Wife, I got off easy on this one. Oh, and My Little Pony also ponied up a hefty amount of allowance to buy his grandma a heart necklace, an angel pin, and a chocolate angel (for himself). That boy is downright spiritual, by cracky!

Today was duty day, which brought a mad rush at departure time, what with the Absentminded Professor decreeing that we play a rousing game of Where's My Backpack. He swore that he left it in the LSUV overnight. I do remember him declaring when we pulled into the hanger--I mean garage--that "I am just going to leave my pack out here since I don't have any homework." He searched the Mansion. He searched the car. He looked high (on his top bunk) and low (in the basement) for that thing. No dice.

On the way to school, I asked if there was anything he needed in it.

" planner."
"Do they check it every day?"
"Nooo...but I can't leave the classroom without it."
"Why do you need to leave the classroom? Go to the bathroom between classes."
"I won't be able to go to the Tech Guy's office to set up the new laptops."

(It's a special deal they have going on. They let him out of P.E. every other day to work with the Tech Guy. The only thing is, he will have to take P.E. all year to get his semester's credit. He is all for it.)

"They have extra planners for sale, don't they? In case kids lose theirs?"
"Yeah. $3.50."
"I will give you the money, but I'm taking it out of your allowance."
"No. I don't want another planner."

Grandma, the PhoneLingerer, called.

"Hey, Grandma. Will you look in your car and see if I left my backpack in there after school when you stopped by?"
"Honey, there's no backpack in my car."
"Let me talk to Grandma. When I bring you the Baur Baur Baur dog this weekend, I'm including the Absentminded Professor."
"I can only keep ONE. Oh, he's just a kid. Can I run over to school and see if his backpack is in your room and take it to him?"
"You don't have to go to that trouble. He's got to learn responsibility."
"Oh, he's just that age. I'm getting dressed and coming over."
"I have duty. I won't even be in the room."
"Will you have time to look and call me it it's there?"
"I'll try. We're already behind."

I disposed of the PhoneLingerer. I dumped the Professor at his school. I got rid of My Little Pony. I rushed in, turned on the computer, and taunted the USA map which had remained on the wall overnight. There was NO backpack. I called the PhoneLingerer.

"There's no backpack here."
"Oh, my. I'm driving out to your house to look for it."
"That's wasting your time. He already looked."
"I don't mind. If it's OK with you."
"Suit yourself. I have duty. Gotta go."

When I got time to call her back at 1:30, she reported that there was no backpack to be found. The Pony got off the bus after school. We discussed the backpack issue. The boy is very observant.

"Well, he had it when he came in the room yesterday."
"He says he took it out to the LSUV when Grandma stopped by, and then he brought in the Lappy pack."
"I know when we left, he only had Lappy."
"Where else could it be? He went to the computer lab, but didn't stay. Maybe you can run down there and check."
"Wait a minute. Maybe he left it in the ParkingSpaceStealer's room when he went to get a slushie! I think he was wearing it when he came in and you gave him the money."
"Run down there and look. We have to go pick him up with his fundraiser stuff."

I hear the pitter-patter of tiny hooves coming back up the hall. It's a LONG way to the ParkingSpaceStealer's room. Almost as far as it is to Mabel's room, but in the other direction, and without that body trapped in a locker on the way. The Pony pranced in, pleased as punch. He was saddled with the Professor's backpack.

"I FOUND it! And the ParkingSpaceStealer was just leaving!"

I love My Little Pony.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hatin' It

Don't you hate it when...

You get out of the shower at 5:00 a.m., all ready for your hour nap before waking the kids, and one of your dogs decides to be all big and bad? Like emit a baur...baur...baur.........baur sound for 45 minutes. Not quite a bark, that baur. And not for any reason. Just baur. And when you think you've heard the last baur... .... you haven't.

You tell your son his breath is bad, and he says, "Actually...I just farted."

A student does a good deed of emptying the pencil sharpener, and puts it back that funky way where the long part is at the back, not hanging down where it would catch more shaverage?

The girl who corrects your pronunciation to save you future embarrassment is not in class, due to preparing the ParkingSpaceStealer's 50th birthday extravaganza, and you come across a word referring to rock walls that jut into the ocean to slow beach erosion, and the word is "groin", but you don't think the regular pronunciation of 'groyn' is correct, but perhaps something more fancy, like 'grow in' might be more appropriate, but you are left hanging? Fie on that ParkingSpaceStealer!

There are only about 3 people you can trust in your whole workplace?

The secretary sends an office worker to your class 7th hour to ask about a specific kid and whether he was tardy 6th hour or didn't show up at all, and you have to tell her that you don't even have a class 6th hour, so you doubt the question was meant for you, since you certainly did not record an electronic attendance thingy 6th hour, because that would be impossible, what with no class roster to launch it from, and she looks at you like YOU are the crazy one, as you stroke your Old Red Gradebook lovingly and let one single tear slide down your cheek?

You get the wrong mail in your mailbox, not even addressed to the same street address, and it is a card saying it is time for 'Candy' to go to the vet, but it doesn't say what Candy is wanted for, which makes you think that by the time you get around to dumping that odd postcard back into the USPS's circulation, Candy might be on her last legs, or leg, pulling her nether regions around on a wheeled cart, waiting for a doggie kidney transplant or something, unless Candy is a snake, in which case she wouldn't be on her last legs, but maybe has an impacted wisdom fang, and needs competent medical care STAT, and you hate to think that you are the one making her suffer?

You don't have an idea for a real post, and type up something like this?


Monday, September 24, 2007

The Future Of Our Nation

It has been an interesting day for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. An interesting day of unintentional eavesdropping.

Standing in the hallway, doing my duty of...umm...preventing anarchy in the hallway, I spied two of my stragglers walking head-in-arm up the hallway. It's kind of like the young 'uns when they're sweet on each other, walking arm-in-arm. But not exactly, because this is usually one kid bullying another to show his power. But in this instance, the two are classroom companions, though not exactly friends outside of class. They were joking about the not-quite-a-headlock but more than an arm-around-the-shoulder contact. They entered the classroom. And I heard a kid on the front row say, "I had no idea. I suppose next, the two of you will be buying a little chihuahua."

Am I missing something here? Is he insinuating that they are gay, and all gay men of course own little chihuahuas together? As opposed to big chihuahuas, I imagine. I don't really know where this one came from. It's not an expression I've heard before. Nor wish to hear again.

My class after lunch had turned in their assignments, and I let them sit where they wanted for the last 5 minutes while I got a head start on grading. Then I heard, "I didn't even wash my belly-button after lunch." Hmm...another new saying, I suppose. Which begs the question, "Are you such a messy eater that you need to wash your belly-button after lunch?" Or perhaps the retort, "I didn't wash my belly-button after lunch, either." Is this some new clean fetish, like those people on at 4:00 a.m. showing you horror slides of what is really in your colon? Should we all be washing our belly-buttons after lunch?

To complete the Non-Sequitur Trilogy, my 7th hour class ponied up the following command. "Feel my butt! It's all wet! Feel it. Not my butt, just the pants. See? They are soaking wet. It must be from P.E. class." I certainly hope so. And why, OH WHY, would anybody actually follow through on that order? Some people are born leaders, I guess.

Behold, the future of our nation: wet-butted, chihuahua-sharing belly-button washers.

Hold your heads high, my fellow Americans!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Week Ahead

What will this week bring, I wonder. Last week of September. We're fast approaching the end of 1st quarter. Then it really goes fast until Christmas. I am getting into the routine. I have developed a truceful relationship with the students. If they don't rattle my cage, I won't rattle theirs. Nobody has tried to be a bad boy yet. I have only almost driven one student to tears. Hey! She's the sensitive type.

I am still waiting on further information from some cohorts on that prank I have lined up. I am eagerly anticipating the aftermath.

Mabel continues to remain unseen and unheard. Not that she's imaginary or anything.

Some people need a filter. I, for one, would never say that I found 6 really big rats in my house. And a nest of hairless baby rats. Even if I did find such a thing. But I didn't. But if I did, I sure wouldn't talk about it for all to hear, like it was the most normal thing in the world. Sometimes I have to practice my not-recoiling-in-horror response.

Other people are born pure evil, and will remain pure evil, no matter how much you dress them up and parade them around in a role model kind of way. Not that I am dressing anybody or anything. I am the poster hillbilly for bad fashion.

Have you ever noticed on the news that teachers have absolutely the worst style and haircuts of any profession? I mean it. Just by watching a group file out of a meeting on the news, I can tell when they are teachers. Even if the sound is off, I can tell. Usually it's a union vote on some issue in the city schools, but I'm tellin' is not hard to spot the teacher chic. It may seem that I am calling the kettle black, what with a post sometime in my past that began with: "I forked my hair today." But I still proclaim that forking one's hair is better than not combing it at all. Disclaimer: Of course all of the people I currently work with are not so slovenly in their appearance as teachers in schools that I don't work with. Aha! Snuck in that preposition-ender.

I have some major lesson-planning to do tonight, so I regret that I can not continue with this high level of humor.

The school year is almost over, you know.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Careful, I Might Hear You

Tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Is everybody as busy as I am this week? I have been thrashing just to keep my head above water. Tuesday, I found out some new things are expected to be done within the next 6 weeks. So I'll be staying after school every day until 5:00 to get them finished. Like I did this week. Hey! Did you know that when you stay after school until 5:00, then get home and cook supper, and check the kids' homework, and make lunches, and wash dishes, and throw in a load of laundry, and pay the bills, and lay out the clothes for the next day, and do the routine school work that you brought home because there wasn't time after school...the day is pretty much gone, and it's midnight, and you have to go to bed whether you've gotten everything done or not? And that the 30 minutes you stole for blog time could better have been used elsewhere?

The students have been teaching me about life. You are justified in complaining that your laptop needs a new motherboard and more memory and it will cost you about $150. The laptop that you got for absolutely free when you asked a friend's mom if they had any desktops they wanted to sell, and you heard his dad in the background yell, "We've got that laptop. Just give it to him."

It's good to have a girl that you cheat on your girlfriend with, even after you marry your girlfriend, because then you don't have to worry about getting kicked out. You'll have somewhere to go. But make sure you get an extra girlfriend with her own place, and a car, or you won't really be any better off than you were alone.

Your girlfriend better not get pregnant, because this would be a hard time to raise a kid. You plan to go to college, and that would ruin it, especially if you're still in high school and have a kid. You might even want to kick your girlfriend in the stomach, or grab her around the shoulders and fall down the stairs, because that would be an accident. Or you could just buy an abortion pill. But the stair-faller declared that is just wrong. He could never do anything like that.

Sometimes a girl needs to get a new boyfriend. Especially if the old one slams her phone down on a desk at summer school, so it is cracked to pieces, with acid leaking out of it, and says, "Here's you phone!" And besides, he doesn't even have a job, and you work, and always give him money, and he treats you bad. Sonny there would treat you better than that. Except that Sonny says, "Hey! Don't go talkin' like that! I don't want to get killed by Ex if you break up with him!" The girl thinks she needs to get a new boyfriend first, a subject on which there is disagreement, what with the females saying no, you need to get rid of him, then get a new boyfriend. You shouldn't leave one for the other, because then Ex will think it is the guy's fault, not YOU that want to break up with him. Apparently this has been discussed many times before, with the girl declaring, "You are the third teacher today telling me that I should break up with him." Some people hear what they want to hear, I suppose.

Myself, I hear what I don't want to hear. Like all that stuff above, as they are supposed to be doing their bellringer, but apparently they can write and talk at the same time, while I am taking roll. And it's not the first time I have made the comment to a student, "You don't have to settle for that. You are worth more than that. Look out for yourself." Which in my opinion is not advice to break up with your boyfriend, but common sense for life. If you work two jobs, and give half your money to a parent who goes to a gambling boat every day, and the other half to a boyfriend who buys a truck with it, then what are you working for?

I know what I am working for. A Mansion with a spanking new outhouse. HH and the #1 son are going to dig the hole after supper. I suppose there will be a christening of sorts, though I seriously doubt that a bottle of champagne will be involved. I don't really want to think about it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Bit Of Opinion

I have nothing to say on this Friday night. Nothing of interest that I can report has happened. My boys got their progress reports, the lowest score between the two of them being 95%, the highest being 106%, which puts most of their grades around the 100% that these numbers average. Amazing how good TV is at raising kids. All I can take credit for is talking to them in my wordy way, giving them the vocabulary of old fogies.

Here is a question for you...Do schools have an obligation to punish kids who misbehave on the way to school? I'm not talkin' bus riders, or shenanigans on school property. I'm talkin' tomfoolery between the time they leave home, and the time they set foot on school property. Here's my example, ripped from the headlines. By that, I mean 'ripped from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's eyeballs and eardrums'.

I had duty on the parking lot this week. Imagine my surprise when I saw some administrators come outside with an irate woman. Yeah. Cause things like that never happen at a school. But this was not a parent. This was some woman in a business suit who had a bone to pick with one of our students.

Seems that Business Lady was on her way to work. She encountered a carload of kids who were driving too fast. She harped about them going at least twice the speed limit. That road is dangerous. Something must be done about this behavior. She even drove through the parking lots of two of our schools looking for the car. She found it. She went inside to complain.

At what point do schools stop being the wardens of our youth? Why is it OUR problem that this kid was speeding? Why didn't that Business Lady call the police? That would seem the most logical to me. Let them catch Speedy, and give him a ticket. What are WE supposed to do with him? Give him detention for something he did on his own time? Take away his keys? Hey! Isn't that what his parents should do? How about calling them? Is that our job, too? Why didn't she just get the license number and file a complaint?

Oh, and how about Business Lady stalking the students? How is that right? Can just anybody cruise around school parking lots? Better not let the pedophiles know that. So why can somebody stalk our students willy-nilly? Business Lady had no business on our school property. What if she was a thief? Or operating a rolling drug store? It boggles my mind. Just sit her down and call the police for her. That's my opinion. That's probably why I'm not in charge.

Great Googley Moogley! Next, we'll be offering 24-hour student surveillance services.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #3

It is OH SO WRONG when you burn a Superstars of Country CD, and the CD info that pops up from the innernets is: Rudy, Don't Take Your Love To Town. Imagine it: "You've painted up your lips, and rolled and curled your tinted hair...Rudy are you contemplating going out somewhere?"

On that musical note, let me share with you the pitiful musical smarts of today's youth. This morning, a student told me he and his brother bought the greatest music EVER last night: The Queens. "Hmm..., " I hummed politely. "I have not heard of them." He gawked at me. "YOU'VE never heard of The Queens?" I shook my head. "No. Do you mean, maybe, 'QUEEN', like, 'A Night at the Opera' Queen?" He ducked his head. "Oh...yeah."

I probably should comb my hair at least once a day.

When your 7th grade girlfriend breaks up with you at lunch, I kind of think she has given up any right to call you after school and complain that you ignored her all afternoon.

I am about to pull a prank on a co-worker. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but just tease him. The ball is already in motion. I hope Basementia has my back.

Here's a novel idea for kids: Sleep at home at night. Stay awake at school during the day.

For 3 months I have been telling HH that the new brakes he put on my LSUV are still squealing, and I am tired of people staring at me when I stop. HH has told me that there is nothing wrong with the brakes. They are new. They just make that noise because they are new. My #1 son informed me that last week, HH heard the brakes on his Mercedes squeal. He said he is going to have to fix them. I brought up my braking issues once again, and HH said, "Oh, your brakes squeal? I've never heard them."

I set up my classroom for a lab tomorrow with my 9th graders. I know. I'm very, very brave. But what I set out to tell you is: Some teachers are VERY possessive with their stuff. Go figure!

It is amazing how many kids can score 100 on a lab safety test when they know they can not participate if they miss even ONE question.

What do you buy a 90-year-old for her birthday?

Staying after school every day until 5:00 is not how I intended to spend my twilight years.

Tonight is a new Survivor.

Buh bye, now!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What If?

Let's play a little game called "What if?" It's a little different from my other game called "As if." That one is a little bit snotty. It has attitude. Drinking-fountain-kicking attitude. No, "What if?" is a harmless little game. You don't even need dice, or gamepieces, or a spinner. You just spout out what you're thinking about, and make a game of it. I'll go first.

What if...we really had 'skin of our teeth' ? Would some people tan it? Would it grow little hairs that had to be shaved or Naired? Would people tan the skin of their teeth to make it as dark as possible? Would that be a status symbol like bleached white teeth are now? Would there be a special Oil of Olay for Teefs? Would you bite yourself every time you chewed? Would people say things were 'soft as a baby's toothskin'?

What if...somebody actually stole your thunder? Would you want it back? What good is it, anyway, except for scaring dogs and small children? Would that mean you couldn't hear your thunder anymore? And why would somebody else want yours, unless he was a freakish thunder-listener who couldn't get enough, like the crack-addict of nature's sounds?

What laid down with dogs? Would you really get up with fleas? Or would you get up because the porch is cold and hard, even with those dogs piled on top of you? Would you shake your leg if someone scratched your belly? Could you balance a biscuit on your nose, then toss it in the air and eat it? Could you lick where dogs lick? And if so, would you at least be embarrassed to be seen doing it?

What if...too many cooks spoiled the broth? Would one of them take the blame for it? Would they scrap that pan of broth, and make some fresh broth? Or would they run a special 'broth du jour' and sell it anyway? Would the customers think it was good because it had a Frenchy kind of name? Would the cooks snicker behind their hands as they watched snobs slurping their spoiled broth? Would the Department of Health ban them from brewing broth for a few weeks?

What could take it with you. Would Heaven be piled with people's belongings? Would it take a while to unpack? Are there banks and safe-deposit boxes for the valuables, or is everyone so honest that there is no need? Would people hold garage sales without garages?

What if...the journey of a thousand miles began with one small step? Would hecklers stand at the starting line of the journey, yelling "Get to steppin'!" Would they shout, "Take bigger steps, you small-steppin' moron!" Would they give hecklers a bad name? Would the journeymen need to strap on backpacks full of shoes? Would they carry pedometers so they could look down and sigh, satisfyingly, "Only 999 more miles to go." ?

What if...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom put her talents to use and did something besides fritter her time away with this Mansion? What might she accomplish if she focused her energy on one large piece of writing, instead of 365 small ones every year? What then? What talents? What energy?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's My Duty

I'm a bit busy tonight. I just returned from selling tickets at a game, which was not something I would ever volunteer to do, you see, but is part of my job. And Mrs. Hillbilly Mom never shirks her duties. It wasn't so much selling tickets as taking money and not giving out any tickets, because what good would tickets do, anyway, besides get thrown on the floor, and that really isn't doing any good in my book, or the custodian's, either, though neither of us have written books, but both read quite a bit.

We had a busy day at school, meeting with our department for the last 3 hours, and typing a bunch of gobbledegook on computers in the library. Which are just not all that nice, if you ask me, which I don't believe anybody did, but I am telling you for your own good. Just when I got on a roll, really cutting into some stuff that has to be done yesterday, it was time to go to that gosh-darn not-ticket-selling-volunteer-duty-job. Of course my youngest child had to go with me, and this night of all nights, had homework in 3 subjects, when all he has had all year was Math. So I had to check his work, and read the local paper, and make small talk with my mom, who came to watch the game with the kids, except they both spent their time doing homework, and can you believe it, these rude people kept interrupting me, wanting to buy tickets! There are no tickets! But I DID take their money. It was the least I could do. And believe you me, I am very good at doing the least.

Oh, and out in my little hallway sector, a couple of girls from the opposing team came to the drinking fountain to water themselves. One was drinking, and the other stood at the side of the drinking fountain KICKING IT and smirking at me when I frowned at her, which most often is Teacher for STOP IT, but apparently this girl did not speak Teacher, and kept on a-kickin'. I do not know what purpose that served, besides making Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's blood boil, because first of all, she had to DO something about it. Which was holler, "Hey! Stop that!" At just that moment, 3 people walked by in front of me, and when they reached the Pele of the drinking fountain set, the man said, "Hey! Stop that!" At first I thought he was mocking ME, but then it seemed like he was mocking HER for getting in trouble. And wouldn't you know it, one of those ladies was her mom or grandma, because she stopped and talked to her. I don't know what was said, probably something about what a rude b*tch I am, but Pele said loud and whiningly, "BUT THE WAAATER'S NOT HIGH ENOUGH." I could not bite my tongue. That might hurt. So I shouted, "KICKING IT ISN'T GOING TO MAKE IT WORK!" The mouthing kind of stopped after that, with Pele looking all sulky. Now she will go home and cut herself until the voices stop. Anyhoo, I don't care if they complain about me. That's no way for a guest in our school to act. Great Googley Moogley! That drinking fountain has been there for nigh on 90 years. Well, the school has. I'm not so sure they had drinking fountains way back then. Show some respect, girly, and you'll get some.

I came home to find that HH had grilled himself 10 bratwursts for dinner. I'm asking myself that same question. He didn't eat them all, of course. But apparently one pack can not be separated from its buddy, because it would pine away in the bottom of the fridge and die. If it wasn't already dead, of course.

That's about all the enlightening I can do for today. I just don't have any more in me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

HH's Folly

HH is building an outhouse. Yes. We already have one. But in HH's mind, you can never have too many outhouses. OK, so the old one blew over in a storm, and the door fell off, and the wood is pretty much gray and bendy now. It was made of that stuff that looks like plywood, but it is cheaper, and you can see wood chip shapes in it instead of the smoothy smooth wood grain of the plywood sides.

The new outhouse is going down by the creek, near HH's MiniMansion. Hopefully, not too close. I don't really think we need it. I can have my son drive me back to the Mansion proper in the Scout to do my bidness in a real flush toilet if need be. HH says I should invite some of my 'teacher friends' (as he calls them) out for a weenie roast. His words, not mine. If they get wind of the outhouse agenda, I doubt they will come. I don't think wild horses could drag Mabel to my outhousewarming party.

I saw the new outhouse yesterday. It is parked in front of the BARn door. It is not nailed together yet. Only stacked. No such saying around here as "Built like a brick sh*thouse." Nope. In our Hillbilly lingo, it becomes "Stacked like a cast-off wood sh*thouse." Which is not actually so flattering, methinks. It smacks of garbage you see at work that is too good to throw away.

Yes, HH had himself a most scathingly brilliant idea. I dropped off some money to him to take the boys for a haircut yesterday (we are still on our cash budget--me more than him), and HH asked me to sit in the scrap sh*thouse. I don't exactly think it was an honor. I think it was more a means of seeing if I would fit. You see, these boards are not more than 36 inches long. Perhaps less. HH had stacked them three-sidedly. Like, there was no door, only a back wall and two sides. I certainly hope he is going to remedy that little sh*thouse faux pas, but what with his penchant for peering into bathrooms, I am not holding my breath.

HH had his tool box sitting inside the SH. I said, "Is that the hole?" And he said, "Well, it won't be so low. But yes. That's it." Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is borderline claustrophobic. She must sit at the back of the theater near the door. She likes to have her back to a wall in large meeting rooms. She does not like things close to her and (gasp!) touching her. So when I humored HH by backing into his SH, and pretending to sit down on his throne, I was quite uncomfortable. The walls were about an inch away from brushing my arms. Now don't go calculatin' and say, "Hmm...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is 34 inches wide." HH's wood is 4 inches. Ahem. Perhaps I should rephrase that. The boards HH is using are 4 inches high by 4 inches wide. They are long cubes. Stop shuddering, Mabel. I'm not so mathy in my description as you might be. So in order to attach those boards at the back wall, HH has inset them so that he is actually losing 8 (count 'em: 8!!!) inches of space from the inside. Now we're down to 28 inches of wiggle room. And I'm not doin' your calculatin' for you any more!

Need I remind you city slickers that the inside walls of outhouses are notorious for harboring DADDY LONG LEGS? I'm havin' none o' that. Nope. Nada. No way, no how. I shall not subject myself OR my imaginary guests to the creepy crawlies. I will even scrub my Mansion toilets and let said imaginary guests use my facilities. Only the boys' bathroom, though. Can't have people looking through my medicine chest and seeing my tube of fungal medication. Oh. I don't have any of that. That was a Seinfeld episode. Really.

If you receive an invite to the Hillbilly Mom Weenie Roast, I hope you an hold it. A long time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ripped From The Headlines

Hell Freezes Over
The recent cold wave has been attributed to one Hillbilly Husband. Just last week, the HH scrubbed the bottom of the shower. With this being the first household task performed by the HH in approximately 5 years, a ripple effect was felt throughout the atmosphere. Meteorologists say the cold snap could last for as long as 5 days. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom offered her take on the matter. "If I had known that leaving Comet With Bleach on the shower floor all day would result in HH actually cleaning the shower, I would have done it years ago. I'm still not sure whether he actively scrubbed, or whether it was just the friction of his calloused man-hooves as he washed himself."

Great Clips Puts Hole In Boy's Head
A Hillbilly youngster returned home from a haircut today with a hole in his head. The hole was located on the back of his neck, right side. When asked to comment, the boy stated, "I knew something was wrong when she held the mirror behind my head. I saw that big bald spot, and when she asked if everything looked OK, I said, '...umm...' Then she said quickly, 'Oh, that's the way your hair grows back there.' When I went out front, I wanted to tell Dad, 'Look how she butchered me!' But I was afraid to." The boy was last heard muttering, "First hour...Jimmy. Second hour...Susie." His mother explained that he was calculating who sat behind him, and who would make fun of his disfigurement.

Woman Contracts Mystery Illness After Close Encounter

An area teacher came down with a mysterious ailment following a job-related incident last week. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom fell ill after coming in contact with a slimy substance under a schoolhouse desk. A student who witnessed the incident said, "It was kind of funny. She sat down, and next thing you know, she was screamin' and shaking her hand and gagging. Then she ran to the cabinet and squirted a bunch of GermX all over her hands. All I know is, it kept us from working for about 5 minutes." The victim is currently convalescing at home, with the help of, in her words, "...some sweet, sweet Histinex, and my husband's cough medicine prescription from 2005." Her husband added, "She ain't the first woman ever to catch a cold."

Elderly Widow Wins PowerBall
A septuagenarian residing at the outskirts of town hit Wednesday night's PowerBall number for a prize of $3. She did not realize her windfall initially, due to the local paper (not this one!) printing the Power Play number in place of the PowerBall number. Upon notification her good fortune, she told her daughter, the ticketholder, to check with Mabel, a local math teacher, to see what a 3-way cut of the winnings would bring. When the loot was divvied up after taxes, the pool participants agreed to put their -$0.47 apiece back into ticket purchases. Congrats to all.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes
A local small fry was questioned about the whereabouts of his father last evening. The boy replied, "I think he went to the barn. To inflate something. Maybe his ego." The father would not be reached for comment.

Time Travel Possible?

A 12-year-old student at one of our local schools it planning this year's Science Fair project on a wrinkle in the Space-Time Continuum. Seems that his mother has observed that each successive school year flies by more quickly than the year before. Hopes are high that the youngster can parlay this project into a Nobel Prize winner, coming off his 1st place finish in last year's 'Physics-Middle School' category. Good luck to our Junior Einstein.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing

There's nothing like this blank page looking at me to make me forget anything interesting I had to say.

The boys went bowling today. Their league started last week. That means HH has started working again on Saturdays. I tell him that is very suspicious. He leaves work early and meets us at the bowling alley. I have been doing the shopping during that time, rather than watching and eating fries and inhaling second-hand smoke. I'm sure I will fall back into my routine in a few weeks.

I am proud to report that I got a full 7 hours sleep last night. A full 7 hours, if that doesn't count the 5 minutes I woke up every hour to cough out some lung snot. I've only done one load of laundry today, and one last night. I am severely lacking in laundry motivation. I have three bills to pay. And work from work. But instead, I sent a juicy email to Mabel. Nobody can dish the gossip like Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Y'all thank the Gummi Mary she is discreet.

Coming home from the store, I saw our neighbor mowing his field. The field that HH set on fire a couple of July Fourth's ago. We used to be pretty good friends with this neighbor. The pyromania episode had nothing to do with the "used to" part, nor did the night his daughter and her friends egged and biscuited our garage, or the time the same daughter caught the woods on fire, nearly incinerating our cedar Mansion. No, we have just grown apart. Funny. Back in 1991, we used to party like it was 1999. That was before we erected the Mansion next door. I think that saying, "Good fences make good neighbors" is false advertising. We still have a fence.

No inspiration has flown into my brain, so I am going to cut this session short. I think I'm entitled, what with the epic proportions of yesterday's post.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Don't Give Me A Cookie

Things have a way of going wrong for me. Not that I've ever let you know. A shy shrinking violet like myself doesn't often share her feelings. But let it suffice to say that once something goes wrong, it goes totally wrong. OK. That did not suffice enough. You may want to read this over several days' time. Methinks it will not lack for length.

Arising this morning after my 20th hour of sleep this week, I packed the younger boy's lunch. I went to my old stand-by lunch of sharp cheddar, crackers, and a dill pickle. And my day began. The box of thick, crunchy Toppers crackers was open. And so was the bag. Gaping open, with no sign of the metal clippy thingy that had been on the folded bag last week. It takes a lot to steal the crunch from a Topper. But alas, the crunch was no more. I opened a new box.

By now, I was 5 minutes behind schedule. I quickly called in the #1 son's allergy prescription on the automated pharmacy phone. As quickly as you can do business with an automated phone. By now, we were at 6:25 instead of 6:15 for waking the sleeping beauties. That meant we missed Sammy's Stars and the pound pet on the morning news. The #1 boy didn't get to lie on the couch for 5 minutes. He packed his Lappy and grabbed his girlfriend's homemade birthday card and handed me a note card to write him a note to get a bus pass so he could ride to her house after school for her 5:00 to 8:00 birthday party that he just told me about at 7:30 last night.

We rushed to school, as fast as we could rush with having a policeman pull out in front of us. When I dropped off the #1 son, he kicked a bunch of flotsam out of the LSUV, like a mouse for Lappy, and a pencil. Though he declared the pencil fell out of his pack. Actually, he said, "My pack is leaking." I sped off while his jaws were still jacking. As fast as I could speed in a 20 mph school zone. At the #2 boy's school, there was a produce truck parked in the drop-off lane. So cars had to drop off their precious cargo in the driving lane. And that produce driver was gesturing out the window with his hands, like, "I'm workin' here! Ain't anybody gonna let me out?" When I got to my building 10 minutes later than usual, I saw that the #1 son had left his cell phone in the LSUV. The cell phone he would need to call his father to come pick him up from the birthday party.

I took in the phone. I sorted out my stuff that needed copying for today's lessons. I quickly ran the copies, then headed down the hall in search of a traveler to pack-mule my son's phone to Basementia. She was as elusive as my ZZZZZs lately. I had to go all the way to the end of the hall to find Mr S and inquire as to her whereabouts. He sang like a canary, but wanted to chat about his new apple cinnamon plug-in air freshener. After disentangling myself, I darted across the hall to the also-elusive Mabel's room to break the news that my mother had hit the PowerBall Wednesday night, and what did Mabel think her cut of the $3 should be. I had to wait in the tutoring line to speak to Her Royal Highness Mabel. She said that after taxes, a negative $0.47 for each of us sounded about right. Then I high-tailed it up the hall to find my mule. Wouldn't you know it? Out of that room she darted as I was about to go in. We walked up the hall together, bartering over transport services. As together as we could walk, what with her loping stride, a regular Secretariat of pack mules is she. She shoved the cell phone in her back pocket and agreed to the deal.

By now, I really had to book it to get back to my room and fire up my newfangled electronic gradebook, set up my 24-minute video, write the bellringer on the board, lay out the tests from yesterday to give back, and get a swig of water, because in case you haven't heard, I am the first woman to ever have a cold, and my throat was coughing for a drink. I got so far as the video set-up. Technology is not my friend. I was getting nothin' from the VCR. Upon closer inspection of its outer innards, I discovered that it was not connected to the TV. Which makes me think it might have been kidnapped and returned without ransom. I then dashed to the mini-fridge and found a bottle of water that was not frozen. In the midst of the swigging, my door squeaked open, and in came NearbyNeighborTeacher, telling me in mid-swig that Somebody'sMother was here. I whispered, "What am I supposed to say to her? I've got a million things to do this morning!" Meaning I have had this kid 4 weeks, I'm not an expert on his IEP...and I have a million things to do this morning. Good thing I whispered, because NNT said, "Well, she's right here." Duh. I'll get her for that. Though to be honest, I think I had written on my calendar an IEP meeting this morning at 7:30 for that kid, which is my fault, but I cry FOUL, because she used to do this to OldBuddy science teacher all the time, because they need a classroom teacher on those forms, and often they just put one on there and let you sign later and not actually attend the meeting, but I really need to work this out with her, because I am not going to be the designated teacher that is put on ALL of these, because let's face it, when your prep hour is 6th hour, you really need that 30 minutes in the morning to set up your day. So I went back and dug out those tests, and went to the other corner of the room to fire up my newfangled electronic gradebook and log on and go to that class so I could see the current grade. I handed SBM the test, said he was doing fine in my class, and went to write the bellringer on the board, all the while saying, "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be rude, but I've got to get this done before the bell." Duh. What good is a bellringer if it's not ready when the bell rings? SBM was very nice, and I felt sorry that I could not sit down at a table for 30 minutes and chat, but that's how it goes in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's world.

On my last sentence, the bell rang. I boogied to the doorway to supervise the hall. Let it never be said that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not do her job. Except, perhaps, for IEP conferences. All this extracurricular dashing had left me without time for my 8:00 a.m. pee break, which is not really a good thing for a person taking medication that makes them pee a lot in the morning. I took the lunch count, even getting it right and actually recording 14 pizza lunch trays in the pizza box instead of the hamburger tray box as I had done for the first 5 weeks of school. I was better on the old pencil and paper lunch count form. But my newfangled electronic gradebook is a jack of all trades. Of which, so far, I have mastered none. Then I had to take roll and send the three make-up testers to Outer Libraria while we went over the test. Which I must say was better than the last test. Then we rushed into the video and completing the info from the bellringer. While that was going on, the 3 testees (heh, heh...TESTEES) returned, and I had to grade them. The tests, not the testees, because that might hurt their tender self-esteem. That's the bad thing about tests. They need grading. I recorded them in my newfangled electronic gradebook. By then it was time for the bell, and going through the whole routine again.

There was no time for a pee break yet, because I had to stand in the hall. Once I got this class going, I had to figure out how to put in 200 out of 230 points for a new girl who transferred with a B from her old school. Oh, and I got back work from a homebound student, and had to sort and grade and record it and give out the next batch. Then there was the girl delivering the announcement, and that girl who knocks but won't come in who has a stack of St. Louis Post Dispatches and even though I tell her I don't have time and don't need one, gives me a pitch to rival a used-car salesman, so earnest is she that you'd think she gets a commission on each paper she gives away, so it is just easier to smile and take one and throw it away the minute the door swings closed.

By 3rd hour, I had to take the pee break. I figured I was supervising the hall as I walked up it to the bathroom and back down it to my doorway post. I had more testees this hour. My brain switched to moment-to-moment mode. Get rid of them. Grade their papers. Gather work for the homebound. Set aside tests for the absent. Organize work for the absent-all-week kid with special permission. Go to lunch.

4th hour. Give another make-up test. Grade it. Print out the newfangled electronic gradebook grades to put in my pretty robin's-egg-not-Olympic blue three-ring binder. Oops. Newfangled electronic gradebook locked up. Said something was exceeded. Had to restart. And re-log on. And go back to that class. And enter those two grades again. And print.

Oh. Reading day. Sit down for 30 minutes and read. Do not think about all you've got left to do. Read. Nothing else allowed. Got through 32 pages. Set the three late assignments from 3 different classes aside. Do them later. Don't think about them. Gotta do them. Excused absences.
5th hour. Go over test. Show students grades. What's this? Principal calling for students who have mandatory after-school tutoring next week. There goes the first of 3 groups to be called. Give them some word problems to work on. Get that make-up work graded and entered in the NEG if you can find the 3 keys to the work in the front of the Old Red Gradebook. She's a lifesaver, that old gal.

6th hour. Plan time. Go to make some copies for the homebounder. And an Algebra page. And a little somethin' somethin' for 7th hour, because you've changed your mind 3 times today about what you want to do with them on this day after their test. Oh. The copier is as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. Put paper in Drawer 1. Put paper in Drawer 3. Forget Drawer 2. It's a no-man's-land used only by Mabel. These darn people must be sitting in their rooms, printing out their NEG grades, not knowing that the copier does not fill itself. OK. Got copies. Back to room to put new bellringer for next class on the board. Oh. Custodian is cleaning as he is wont to do every day on your plan time. Get into a conversation about Robitussin and Mucinex and insurance scams with generic meds and lobbying. Oops. He's called away to the phone. What's this? An earthquake, you say? How inconvenient for the earth to quake on my planning period! Stand in the doorway until mock shaking stops. Search rooms on my end of hall for victims. Stand outside. Go in. 10 planning minutes wasted, plus those 5 minutes stolen by the reading monster, equals 15 minutes less plan time for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom today. Just when she needed it most.

7th hour. Barely got that bellringer done. Go over test. They're not displeased. They got to use their notebooks on the test, since there was an early out the day before, and they didn't get a review game or list of what to study. As IF. Sucks to be those who don't keep up with the notebook. Give assignment. Grade. Record. Print. Final bell.

Busy week next week. Game duty, dental appointment, round up work for after-school tutoring students, start new units in two classes. Stay after to sort through stuff needed. Take it home where there is more time to do it. Read story #2 son is writing for school. Tell him to take out words: Poopy Head. Call HH to yank his short leash. He's at the doctor. Who knew? Minor infection. HH getting antibiotics and pizza. Leave school at 4:30 with a load of homework.
Forget to pick up that allergy medicine at the pharmacy.

Welcome to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's world. Don't begrudge me my summers off.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #3

I love this Random Thought Thursday thingy. I had the most scathingly brilliant idea! Let's get right to it, shall we?

It's amazing how music can take you back to another place and time.

That 'first day of school' smell is the same at every district. Are they all in some consortium to buy the exact same cleaning products?

Sometimes I feel like a nut. Sometimes I don't.

Did anyone else find that Bill Murray/Chris Makepeace relationship in Meatballs to be just a little bit creepy?

If one class chooses the name "The Colins" for their team in an educational review game, another class is bound to see it on the board and ask, "Who wants to be called "The COLONS"?

Inservice days ain't all they're cracked up to be. Especially if you miss your plan time.

It is eerie to drive through a section of woods that smells like the old people aroma from the Free Hairwad Hot Tub.

Dogs should not be named Crock Pot.

The people at the lunch table seem annoyed when they get to order out pizza, and one lunchmate spends the lunch half-hour lecturing them about dieting.

Neighbors who put out trash in a can without a lid need to buy a golf cart and start a 'Pick Up My Own Trash' route.

Dogs love trash without a lid. In fact, they yearn for it. It is like Doggie Christmas, only better, because it rolls around once a week.

If your youngest son gets his picture on the front page of the local paper, you can be sure that he is the one thing that is not like the others. As in everybody else respectfully watching the flag, and him mouthing to the little girl next to him.

One of my classes gives me flashbacks to Wasting Away Again in DoNot Loserville. But without that warm, fuzzy feeling. Maybe I'll compose a song about it. Maybe not. Depends on if I feel like a nut.

Hot and sour soup is really hot.

A girl who asks to get a paper towel because she just touched something wet ain't gettin' any sympathy from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Expecially when she is one of the students who did not bother to worry about Mrs. HM during her unfortunate stranger-snot incident.

Sixteen hours of sleep in four nights is not really a good thing.

Every now and then, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom must crack the whip. Today was a now.

Sometimes I think about that old commercial where the couple was booking a vacation, and the woman said, "I wonder if they have Magique?"

'One' is not the loneliest number.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is now thoughtless.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Sad

Oh, yeah. I have to write a blog post tonight. How time flies when you are on the Histinex. I made it from 5:30 last night until 5:30 tonight without taking any cough medicine. My lungs are on the mend, but my snot is running the show. Heh, heh. Snot...running...get it? I'm so clever. One thing they should include on the sweet, sweet Histinex label is this side effect: worsens spelling. Do not write professional documents until you know how your body will adjust.

Not that this is a professional document. I'm needing to type up 3 tests tonight. Great Googley Moogley! I'd better get busy! Anyhoo, I can't just use those tests that come with the textbook. They have all that matching and true-false mumbo jumbo. We are supposed to be teaching those little minds to flex their muscles, not limp-noodlishly guess which choice to select.

It seems like I had a point when I sat down here. It escapes me now. Sweet, sweet Histinex. Better than Benadryl. Except for a broken arm. Not a 'brokem are' as I first typed. Perhaps I should jsut let thigs come out as they may. It will look like those letters my mother used to type me when I was in college. She drug out the typewriter, and thouht is would be fun to type instead of write. Hey! There were even telepheses back then. And I don't mean the tin acn and string kind. Yet she chose to type. Those things were hilarouid. Much better than the phnone calls that I got from her on Sunday morninga at 9:00, when she would say repeatedly in the middle of other sentences: :There's somebody there, isn't there?" I dont' know what she was insinuating. As if I would have a sleepover guest on a Satureday dnight that woul still be there on Sunday morning. The nereve of that woman! Gosh. This is making me look like I'm not goint toi be the next Teacher of the Yar. How sad.

Yeah. I sust don't get it. This always happens when I take the sweet, sweet, Histinex. It takes me twice as long to post, becuase I have to correct my new plthora of errors. Well I ain't a-doin' it tonight. What you see is what you get. I supose it's a good thing that I dont' take the Sweet H while I'm going to be driving. Methinks it must be some type of narcotic. Though I did see on onte of those Cpperish shows that some criminals dipped their cigars into the stuff. Not in my Sweet H, buddy. None o fthose commercials wigh us being all cutesy and saying "You got gigar in my Histinex!: "No, you got Histines in my cigr!"

Sweet Gummi Mary! I mstu end this exer ise in futility. I can only imagine ihow painful it must be for eyou to read. Though I ghing I've just ginve you a glimpes inside Mean Teacher's workld. A nd the red pen doesn't womrk on the monitor, by cracky!

I'm going to get a nicesoft pillow an dput it here on the keyboard. I have sletp about 12 hours since Satuerday night. OK, so I told the kids it was 8 hours, but I'm allowed to lie to them. I'm thier teacher. Wha ws I talking about again? I think thsoe keys stick. they are not typing what I want. I ned that pillow becuae my head is going to fall over any minte when I drowse off. At which point i lill wump up, throw my arms in the air in a V shape, and shout, "Just resting my eyes!: Which is what my dad used to do when he would fall asleep in his chair by the fireplce so that he looked like a bobble0hear doll, and its a wonder he didn't break ihis nexk dong that all evening. Except that he didnt' rall y jump iup--he jsut looked around like a stranger in a asteraned land and announced about the eye-resting.

I'm otta here. I hope the kids like the test I make up for them. Somehinhg tells me I should take a little np befeore starting that bit of typing. Later, gatore!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Drug Up By Hillbilly Mom

This just in...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is still sick as a dog. I have been dosing on some cough medicine HH had left over from December, 2005. Do you think it will kill me? Quit getting your hopes up. It worked last night at 5:30, and again at 12:30 a.m. It's not my sweet, sweet Histinex. It's something called 'Cheratussen'. I don't know what's in it, but it says to take 2 teaspoons every 6 hours. That is one smart, time-keeping medicine! At the stroke of 6 hours, it wears off. And the way it wears off is that the wheezing and liquidy lungs return instantly, and you cough up about a barrel of snot from your lungs, about enough to choke a person who has not been exposed to stranger snot and built up a bit of tolerance.

Yep, for two doses, my new best friend Chera dried me out and stopped that harumpfing. Then I put off taking it, because, well, I was at school, and every good teacher knows that at school you are meant to suffer. So I lolled some mentholyptus cough drops around in my mouth, which made it a bit easier to catch a gasp of air in my lungs, but that gets kind of old after 10 or so of those not-so-good-tasting morsels. By 1:30, I was jonesin' for some Chera. I took about 3/4 of a dose, so as not to fall asleep and have a male appendage draw on my forehead in permanent marker by my 7th hour ruffians. That didn't work nearly so good as before, because while it DID stop the harumpfing and hacking, it turned on the faucet I used to call a nose. And my eyeballs floated around in a kind of eye snot juice, so I was dripping snot tears the whole drive home, what with the brightest sun of the year making its appearance around 4:00 p.m.

Once home, I fiddled and faddled in that aimless way I have of frittering away time, baking some pork steaks without the shaking stage, washing dishes, putting in a load of laundry, making myself converse with HH, who wanted me to ask the foreign exchange student if she brought her handshoes with her to the Land of Opportunity. By 5:30, I decided it was time to give Chera the boot, and hook up with my old pal Histinex. At least this prescription is from June 1 of this year. There's not much left, but I am going to chug Histinex while the sun shines. My last resort is some other HH reject from 2006 that clearly states on the label that it contains codeine. I am steering clear of it unless everything else runs out, because the last time I resorted to it, it put me to sleep. With a pain in my stomach. I figure if I keep dosing myself illegally with another person's prescription medicine, I will eventually either get over my snottiness, or die tryin'. Note To Self: Do not try this at home. I would never take anyone else's antibiotics or other prescriptions, but I have declared that cough medicine is fair game.

I could probably save myself all these decisions, decisions, decisions by buying a keg of Benadryl. I hear it's even good for broken arms.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Teachers Are Mean

In case you haven't heard...teachers are mean. Right, Meanie? We are not above having a laugh at the students' expense. But sometimes they just ask for it. We can't pass up the perfect set-up.

Last Friday, the kids were all a-buzz about drug testing. Several of them, in different grades and classes, asked me if our school was really going to give drug tests. I told them I hadn't heard anything about it. They went on. Some thought it was only for the athletes. I said, "Well, you sign a contract to play, don't you? I'm sure it mentions something about drugs and alcohol." They agreed.

This morning, we had more students absent than normal. I attributed that fact to the snot-related illness that's going around. At the end of 1st hour, the kids asked me when the drug test would be. I said, "Well, I have not received any special teacher announcement about it, so as far as I know, we're not having one." They thought I was out of the loop. Or just not telling them.

Second hour, they started it again. When would it be? The straight arrows declared that they didn't have anything to worry about, though they did not want to pee in a cup. I said, "You do it at the doctor's office, don't you? What's the difference?" A boy said he didn't think he could do it. It would be too difficult. We females just stared at him. I told the class, "They can do the same thing with a hair sample, you know." Maybe that gave some of the non-pee-ers hope. They were acting like they would be called out to the center circle on the gym floor, to provide the sample in front of the entire student body.

Third hour, a girl declared, "Mrs. ParkingSpaceStealer said they are going to take a blood sample for the drug test. I hate giving blood." I tilted my head sideways and looked thoughtful. " can do a drug test that way." Start polishing my Emmy.

At lunch, we asked the principal why the kids were all talking about a drug test. He chuckled. "I don't know HOW this rumor got started. I've had kids coming up to me all morning asking when they're going to be called out. I wish I could call somebody with a white coat to come in and stand in the hall." Heh, heh.

Fourth hour was concerned about the bloodletting.

Fifth hour, a girl asked to go to the bathroom. Another one commented, "I have to go really bad, but I don't know what hour they're doing the drug test, so I'm saving it." I told her I thought she would be OK if she went now.

Sixth hour was my plan time. In the hall, I stopped Mrs. ParkingSpaceStealer and told her about the 'saving' incident, and how she had my students worried about the blood sample. She laughed. "It has to be my 7th hour class of freshmen. I'll really get them good. I'll set out those little Styrofoam cups that I use to sell the small snow cones. Then about 15 minutes before the bell, I'll tell them, 'We're going to have to put things up so we have time for the drug test.' That'll get 'em going."

Just before 7th hour, I saw her by the office, putting her head together with the principal. As she walked past me, she said, "The secretary is going to buzz my room and say, 'Mrs. ParkingSpaceStealer? The drug testers are ready for your class now.' It's going to be good." I told her I would probably hear the screams all the way up in my room.

But I didn't. After the final bell, though, those kids were chattering like magpies as they came up the hall. "Mrs. ParkingSpaceStealer scared us to death! We thought we were doing the drug test!"

Never underestimate the meanness of a teacher. Especially when the school year is almost over.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Caught You!

I think I caught some disease from the snot. You know, the anonymous snot that glommed onto my hand Friday when I tried to move a desk. It is giving me snot. Snot that trickles down the back of my throat, snot that wheezes its way out of my lungs and into my throat so I can harumph about 4 times per minute. My neck balls are all swelled up. Neck balls: that's what an old friend used to call those glands under your jaw, the ones that get the mumps. Well, not any more they don't, unless they belong to some homeschooled youngster whose parent is some kind of hippie, because the mumps vaccine is required for school attendance. It's one of the Ms in the MMR vaccine.

Anyhoo...I thought I could catch more readers with snot than with shower crud. That's the other thing I'm thinkin' about today. That and catching some flies. I'm debating on whether to use honey or vinegar. I have completed one layer of sandblasting on my shower so far. Not so much sandblasting as Comet-with-Bleachblasting. Now the shower is lying dormant under a coat of Comet paste, bleaching. I used to have this newfangled automatic shower-cleaning thingy. Actually, I still have it, hanging in the shower. It is just nonworking right now. See? I have to do everything around here. I told HH back in May that it was not working. He didn't do anything about it. Even after several more reminders. Now don't go thinking it has been 4 months since I cleaned my shower. The point is that HH is too lazy even to push the button on the automatic thingy, and didn't know it wasn't working. Even though I told him at least once a month. He finally checked it last week, and declared that it was because the batteries were dead. Unfortunately, my children eat batteries like they are candy. Not really, of course, because then my children would be dead. More candy for ME! Harumph. Sorry about that. It would be just my luck that if HH ever put in a dishwasher, it would run on batteries, and once they were used up, I would never be able to use that dishwasher again. That's how HH rolls.

I completed the order form for my #2 son's school fundraiser of outrageously overpriced food items, which is due tomorrow. I looked over the order form for his outrageously overpriced school pictures, which will be taken in two weeks. I am awaiting the arrival of merchandise from my other son's outrageously overpriced candy fundraiser. And I wrote out a check to Scholastic Book Clubs. They're surprisingly economical. But then, I have to order them every month.

This week brings us an early out on Wednesday, for a teacher inservice. WooHoo! I get out of two and a half class periods, and one of them is my planning period. At this rate, I'll never get caught up. The end of this week also means we are half-way through 1st Quarter already. One-eighth of the school year will be gone. Who woulda thunk it?

The school year is almost over, you know.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hillbilly Mom Is Never Happy

That's right. Hillbilly Mom is never happy. Go figure! If I was happy all the time, or even every now and then, I wouldn't need this blog, now would I? And y'all would have to get your free entertainment elsewhere. Yep. There would be no need for blogging as I went about my unquiet life of undesperation, frolicking under rainbows with butterflies and unicorns, cheerfully teaching the world to sing, with rose petals floating out my butt at regular intervals. You're so lucky I am never happy. It's not my nature. It makes for less boring stories.

My issue today concerns privacy. MY privacy, of course. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a recluse. She is not touchy-feely. She does not like people messing with her stuff. Give her a wide berth, and she will not harm you. Go on about your business, and she will not attack. If she hears you coming, she will hide.

HH has not learned this major personality quirk of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom in the 100 years that they have been married. He bulls his way through the china shop of her life each and every day, oblivious to what makes her tick. At their old house, during his bathroom reconstruction project that left the only bathroom without a wall for several weeks, HM, who is quite talented, but can not hold her body fluids for three weeks, commanded sternly: "I have to go. Don't look." The missing wall faced the kitchen area. No need to worry. HH would never enter the kitchen. He was ensconced in his La-Z-Boy recliner watching TV. The coast was clear. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom settled down to do her bidness, looked to the right at the missing wall, AND SAW HH STANDING THERE WATCHING HER! It was more traumatic than putting her hand under a school desk and pulling it out with a streamer of snot attached.

Then there was the childbirth issue. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom labored for 14 hours with HH's big-headed offspring, who happened to forge his way out of the womb sunny side up. As the doctor sat between Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's splayed legs, repairing the damage with numerous stitches, HH darted out to the waiting room and dragged in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's parents. The astounded doctor shouted, "Here, now! Just a minute!" Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was too weak to chastise HH that day. But she planned to do so as soon as her strength returned.

HH does not understand the privacy issue. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is his property, after all, and he should be able to show her off as he sees fit. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom only wants her privacy. She is quite unlike HH. She does not run around the Mansion grounds in only a pair of tighty-whiteys, or pee beside the pool, or behind the camper, or off the back porch, or right out in the front yard. In fact, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom wants to tape up the door cracks in public restroom, lest some stranger see her very private parts. HH practices the philosophy of Jeff Goldblum in The Big Chill, when he states: "That's the thing about the outdoors. It's one great big toilet."I do not try to change HH. He can pee at will, and expose himself to his heart's desire. That is his nature. But he needs to realize that he cannot change my nature. He needs to respect my idiosyncrasies.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom demands her privacy. Just this morning, she told the boys she was retiring to the master bathroom to revitalize her lovely lady mullet. They understood. No fighting or bone-breaking for an hour. It was L'Oreal time. Imagine Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's surprise when she emerged from the shower to find a new Entertainment Weekly lying on the bathroom sink. That could only mean one thing. Somebody had opened the sacred closed door of the bathroom. That is OH SO WRONG. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom stops short of locking the door, just in case an emergency should happen while she is incommunicado. Something like, "We've got a bleeder!" Like when the #1 son put his teeth through his bottom lip performing kitchen acrobatics. The boys know not to open the sacred closed door of the bathroom. They will bang and thump and slip notes under, but they will not open it. Which leaves but one suspect: HH.

When interrogated about his alleged privacy faux pas, HH replied, "I was just doing you a favor. The boy said you were in there, so I gave you something to read." Hmm...the boy who told him why I was in the bathroom is the boy who also brought me three books (at my request) to pass the time. Before I sealed the crypt. So why would HH think I needed something to read? He must have done the dastardly deed while I was in the shower. You can't see the shower from the door, but you can see its reflection in the mirror. Sure, it has opaque glass doors, which are also covered in soap scum, making them fairly impenetrable to the human eye...BUT IT'S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE MATTER. When questioned about whether he bothered to knock, HH stated: "No. I could hear that you were in the shower, so I knew you couldn't hear me knock. " Which begs the question, "Why would I need a magazine to read while I am in the shower?" Which is a question I did not bother asking, because HH's logic, much like his head, is full of holes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom deserves her privacy. At no other time in history has HH ever brought Mrs. HM a magazine in the bathroom. What gives him the audacity to boldly open the door, and then declare that he was doing her a FAVOR? Methinks it's HH's King of the Castle mentality. Everything belongs to him, and he can come and go as he pleases. And he will act out these little episodes every so often so nobody dares forget it. Kind of like a dog marking its territory. Like HH peeing all around the yard.

If Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ever wins the PowerBall, or the Mega Millions (courtesy of Mabel's part-time Illinois-residing significant other), she is going to invest in a hermit cave. With round-the-clock security.

I'm done now. Quit staring at me, by cracky!

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Horror

The most terrible, horrible, nasty thing happened to me today. There I was, sending my Algebra students to the white board to argue over which color dry-erase marker they would use, who got custody of the eraser, and who had to use tissues to erase...and it happened. I sat down at a desk at the end of a row, so as to keep an eye on the 6 boardies and the 6 wait-until-they're-done helpers in case anybody got a wrong answer. I put my list of problems on the desk. I put my blue mechanical pencil on the desk. I can't think without a pencil in my hand. I grabbed the side of the desk to pull it back toward me, which is easier than sliding the chair and grooving the floor wax. AND IT HAPPENED!

My hand grabbed something wet. EEEWWWW!!!!!!!! I yanked my hand away, and screamed, "EEEWWWW!!!!!!!!" The kids stared. Go figure. I looked at my hand. A clear chunk of something stretched out about two inches. IT WAS FREAKIN' SNOT! EEEWWWW!!!!!!!!

One of the kids, the one with empathy, who is related to one of our staff, said, "What's the matter?" And I said, "IT'S SNOT!!!!" I ran (well, we're talkin' Mrs. Hillbilly Mom here, folks, so it was more like I walked at a faster than normal pace) to the cabinet and grabbed the GermX, which I've kept hidden ever since I used to leave it out on the desk to encourage handwashing after noseblowing and that kid pumped a big handful and used it as hair gel, and I pumped myself about a two-inch-deep reservoir in my hand, and instead of using it for hair gel, I scrubbed and scrubbed until it was dripping between my fingers, and then I kind of shook my hands and flung those sweet, sweet alcohol-laced droplets about the room, and went back to the same desk, and sat down, and only put my hands on top of it where I could see that it was dry, and continued with my lesson. You've gotta get right back on the horse, you know. The horse that slimed you.

It was horrific. I am still shaking. And gagging.

Kids. Can't live with 'em...can't catch mononucleosis without 'em.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #2

OK, so this is really Random Thought Thursday #3, but the first one was called 'Randomocity', so I suppose I am technically correct. Which reminds me of a scene on ER, back when Abby was still a nurse, not a doctor, where some unfortunate kidney girl was watching Abby overfeed the fish in a giant aquarium, which of course you need in an inner-city ER plagued by gang violence, although Abby didn't know she was the Angel of Death, and the girl said, "Are you a good nurse?", no doubt worried that she might end up like the floater Abby had just picked out of the giant disadvantaged people's fish tank, and Abby replied, "I'm technically proficient, despite certain attitude issues."

If I didn't stand in my doorway to supervise the hall between classes and just before and right after school, I could have an extra 32 minutes of time to record scores, grade papers, and fill out forms each day.

That 32 minutes in the hall is part of my job. So I do it.

I see Mabel so rarely these days that I am starting to think she is imaginary.

Three separate staff members offered to give my #1 son a ride to my building after a committee meeting. Are they that nice, or is he that annoying?

When a boy who is afraid of the dark wakes up from his couch bed to go brush his teeth in the dark morning hours hears a young beagle scratching at the front door because he wants in, the boy immediately thinks it is The Devil, and runs back to his couchy sanctuary to bury his head under the pillow.

Not so farfetched, when you consider that the beagle was in cahoots with The Devil only weeks ago.

A Sprite Zero can, at rest on an end table by the blue recliner, will remain at rest until the guilty party disposes of it.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's urge to clean can neither be created nor destroyed.

Bad things sometimes happen to good people.

Two-faced, self-important, scoff-rule people really, truly piss me off.

The above two thoughts are totally unrelated. Random, if you will.

I am writing a short story about how the Strong Man and Bearded Woman adjust to married life after the carnival. You can too. Check it out. Get crackin'. The deadline is September 10.

If 40 percent of your class is absent, is it considered lazy teaching to push the lesson ahead one day, and bond with the exchange student?

"I didn't know there was a bell this hour to say you were tardy" is not a good excuse for an 11th grader who has earned enough tardies already to take a short vacation from my class.

Hmm...I'm planning a new defense in case I become a scoff-rule and I'm found guilty. "I didn't know we were supposed to supervise the hall between classes."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

An Abbreviated Edition

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was right on schedule with the typing of her blog tonight. But then her child decided that she should do his math homework for him, because he didn't understand. That meant a hour of him stuck to her like glue, asking on every problem, "I don't get it. What do I do?" For the record, he did actually read the problems, and make an attempt. But's not MY homework. You can't tell me he's the only child in that class who doesn't know how to do these problems. He is in some class that has the smarty math kids. They are doing 8th grade work at the beginning of the 7th grade year. He is not expected to know how to do all of the problems. I know that. I spent an entire year next door to this class. And every day, I heard, "If you don't know how to do some of them, we will go over them tomorrow." I do not think I should be walking him through all of them. He thinks otherwise. I am going to email his teacher for her opinion.

Now I am behind schedule. It's hard to get anything done with the apron strings so tight. I am tired of living my life for everyone else. I did not even have time to take my check to the bank today. I had forgotten that it was payday. Go figure! The first payday since June 5, and I forgot all about it. I have been too busy. Too busy doing 7th grade homework. Too busy staying after school for an hour every day to get materials ready for the next day, and put in grades, and run copies because the copier is mysteriously booked up during my plan time every day. Oh. Did I mention that my plan time is 6th hour? I'm sure I did. The day (much like the school year) is almost over by then. I wish things were like the olden days when I first started teaching. All I had to do was teach. No frills. No club days and reading days and advisory days and weekly writing assignments and computers to enter grades and helping kids plan their 4-year schedules and trying to fit in some actual teaching in the spare time. And the Old Red Gradebook was the Bible. Anything you needed...right there in green and pale green. You could carry it with you and work anywhere.

Ahh...the good old days. How I yearn for them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Inside HM's Head

I hate to go back to school the day after a long weekend. I've got a lot to do this morning. Put that DVD in and get it to the right place. Great. Both maps are mocking me this morning. Stick those devils back. I can use that sticky tack stuff later when I have time. Turn on the computers. Write the bellringer on the board. Go to the bathroom. It's a long time until lunch. Gosh darn there's the bell already. Stand in the hall. Look like you're glad to be here. Ahh. The tardy bell. Go into class and be friendly even though it's not your nature. Take lunch count. They're almost done with the bellringer. Go over it. Set up the DVD. Get them seated where they can see. Get it going. Point out the stuff you want them to remember. Here come the announcements. Oops. That guy is absent. Which reminds me, I'm in trouble now. I forgot to take roll this morning. DVD over. Quick 23 minutes. Go over the stuff. Write it on the board. No, you don't have to take notes. But sometimes this is on a quiz or test in a multiple choice form. Ahh. 5 minutes left. No extra assignment. Now I know how it works out.

Second hour. They're becoming my favorites. Small class. Smart class. Can have decent discussions. Hey, I can catch up on some grading while they watch. Keep one ear and one eye on the screen to point out that stuff as it comes up. Good. Another one down. What's this? If I was going to the moon and could only take two things, what would it be? That's a good one. I don't know. Do I have my food and water provided? No? That's what I'd take. Yeah. Kind of like his bucket of water and baloney sandwich. We must think alike. Too bad we'll die of no oxygen. Bell.

Third hour. Gotta keep an eye on them. Good kids, but get sidetracked. Whoa! A visitor. Good day to pick. You won't see me do anything until 30 minutes in. I knew you were making the rounds. Oh well. I wouldn't have changed my lesson for you. It's the right time for this stuff. Great Googley Moogley you're doing a lot of writing. I know. It's that checklist thingy. Well, I've got the bellringer, all are on task, I've established set, objectives are on the board, students respond to my questions, room is decorated with droopy maps, classroom atmosphere is pleasant, there's evidence of planning and continuity, I think I pass. Wish it wasn't this lesson, though. I didn't get to use my neon index cards to call names for volunteers to answer questions. 15 minutes doesn't seem like time to judge my lesson. Oh well. I hate this stuff. I always want to talk and be cordial, but that would be like breaking the 4th wall or some such thing. I'm not the worst one here. I'm as good as my next door neighbor who walks down the hall singing that she's going to be the next teacher of the year.

Lunch bell. Oh no. I don't have time to tell you how your student is doing. Because I would have to go all the way to the back of the room and open the gradebook program and look him up. Here. Let me look in The Old Red Gradebook. She ain't what she used to be, you know. There. He's missed two 25-point assignments. And he got a 4 out of 36 on the test. Yes. I agree. Yes. He is a good kid. We are not serving his needs like this. Yes. I agree. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Now if you'll excuse me, I don't mean to be short, but I have my lunch to microwave. The 23 minute lunch period will be over before I know it. There's the lunch tardy bell now. OK. Now all the good seats are taken. I'll have to sit where the students squeeze by the table and kick the legs of my chair. I hate that. Umm. Methinks this should have cooked longer. Oh well. Eat it. Act like it's good. Cold peas and carrots with that rice are not good. Even warm, they are not good. Oops. Dropped some rice. Pick it up, because you'll probably have to sit here tomorrow, and it will be a crusty paste by then. Gotta go. Because I've got a class and it's a long time until my 6th hour plan time.

Yes. You can go to the bathroom before the bell. BELL. OK. Point out the bellringer. Get them going. Take roll. Hey. YOU're tardy. You didn't ask to go anywhere. Where's that bathroom guy. It's been five minutes. Gosh. I'd better have someone check on him. You. Don't be afraid. Go in and yell his name and say I want to know if he's still in there. He is? OK. Darn. What'd he eat? There. They paid attention. That's always up in the air with this group. Tracking, anyone?

Fifth hour. Algebra. Let's send y'all to the board. Uh huh. Not so easy just to guess at an answer and turn it in, eh? You six go first. We'll get to the other seven later. Yeah. Most of you got it. Your time's up. NEXT! Oh, my. What have we been doing for the past two weeks? You guys need some first aid. Stand aside. Let me walk you through it. You there. Go up and help those two. OK. So good for now. You won't remember it tomorrow. You really need this class, by cracky!

PLAN TIME! Ready, set, GO! Get the last of those papers graded. Record all scores in the computer. Nope. No time. Write them in The Old Red Gradebook. Then it will be quicker to enter them after school. There. That only took 5 minutes. Oops. Here comes the custodian. Quick. Get out before you get sucked into a conversation. Go look for that worksheet for 7th hour. There it is. That's the one. These look good for later in the week. Only need 12 copies. Oh oh. Someone on the copier. Go to the office. Oh oh. There's that other teacher that's on plan. NO. You're not using the copier. Yes, the other one works. It is OCCUPIED. What business is it of yours? You're not the copy minder. This copier sucks. It is like Basementia's. What a pain. OK. Done. Back to room. It's clean. Hey. Go make some more copies. There she went. Oh oh. Copier says print job. Great. Try it anyway. Aha! Snuck mine in. Bell?

7th Hour. OK. Let's start that new chapter. You guys are not unpleasant. Just flunkies. I don't mean that in a mean way. You ALL failed this class and need it to graduate. Except for that exchange student. Let's try it a bit differently this time around. Not so much paperwork. More discussion. We'll see. BELL.

Oh my gracious. I've got so much to do in the next hour. Gotta get to the Post Office before it closes. And pick up that medicine. Ahh...Don't follow me back to my room from the copier. NO. I like to talk to you every now and then, but this is really not a good day. Gosh darn it. Take the hint. Sigh. Enter that stuff in the computer anyway. Nod politely. Don't mess up. Act interested. Whew. I thought you'd never leave. Write that stuff on the board for tomorrow. Duty, you know. Won't have time.

Hey! 4:00 already? The school year is almost over, you know.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Laboring Day

The boys and I went to the Labor Day picnic around 10:00. HH was supposed to go, as we do every year, but he jumped out of the LSUV at the end of the driveway and stomped back to the Mansion. Go figure! I swear that man has a screw loose.

We got to town about 10:30, and the streets were packed. I thought the parade was at 9:00, but for some reason it took an extra long time, or else it was at 10:00. We got a really good parking space on the other side from where HH usually dumps us. Even though I had to pull in a guy's driveway to turn around to park in front of his house, and tell the boys to quit walking in his yard. It didn't help that he was IN the driveway, washing his motorcycle, glaring at us. Hey, buddy. You should have thought of this when you bought the house right next to the park. We were one of about 6 cars to do the same thing. And nobody even blocked his driveway.

The boys rode the Scrambler, after #1 son swore that he would sit on the outside, so as not to crush his little brother. The size difference between them right now is tremendous. In fact, just Saturday afternoon, #1 picked up #2 and draped him over his shoulders like a boa. Constrictor, he declared, as the bony boy was not fluffy enough or pretty enough to be the other kind. Anyhoo, I made him get on his knees for the draping, and by cracky, that boy stood up and walked around with the young 'un on his shoulders. He's strong as an ox. And stubborn as one, too. He looked kind of like a wrestler doing the airplane spin, from when I was a kid watching Wrestling At The Chase on Sunday morning, Channel 11. Any St. Louis people will know what I'm talkin' about. Dick the Bruiser, Andre the Giant, Rick Flair. Back when wrestling was...umm...still fake.

The #2 son also rode the Viper, which lets your feet dangle, and takes you up to a height of about 15 feet, and spins you. He then went on the Somethingthatscaresthesnotoutofme. I forget its actual name, but it is that big box thingy that swings back and forth until it goes over the top 7 times one way, and then 7 times the other way.

The little boy wasn't much for riding the rides. He threw darts and won a penguin. He picked up a yellow ducky out of a blue swimming pool and won an inflatable mace. Yes. A mace. The medieval spiked ball on a stick, blow-up version. He really wanted to throw ping pong balls at floating glass ashtrays to win a live rabbit, but I decreed that wasn't happenin'. There were some cute bunnies hopping around inside the chickenwire. Those who weren't swooning from the heat. Some looked like they had no bones. Like my old black miniature poodle, Buster, would get when he was told it was bedtime, go to the basement. Every bone in that dog's body disappeared into thin air. You had to drape him over your arm like a waiter's tea towel to carry him to the basement door. My brother-in-law-the-mayor said both of his kids used to do the 'dead dog' in public if they didn't get their way. I don't doubt it.

We had sodas, snow cones, and a funnel cake, and called it a day. A fair to middlin' time was had by all. It was just SO HOT. Next year, maybe we'll break tradition and go at night.