Dear Facebook Family,
I, Shawn Wise, being of sound and sane mind, do today, declare that I’m taking a break from the Facebook world.
Please, if you do need to reach me my email is Shawnbwise@gmail.com.
Have a safe and fabulous summer holiday!
January 14 Maryland
Dear Tiny Friends,
I sit in my car waiting for the cracked windshield to defrost, hoping that an angel from above will actually remove the 6 inches of snow from around and on my icy, rattling Volkswagon. I find my thoughts turning to all 26 of you as a group and as the amaz individual little beings you are becoming. Are you enjoying your snow days off? Are you remembering to fill in your nightly reading logs? How many hours have you each logged in video game/screen time? Are you being mindful and polite and patient with your siblings and parents? Most importantly, are you warm and full? Are you safe. All of these questions certainly prove to me how slyly each and every stinkin’ one of you have secured a permanent place in my heart…..no matter how many times you sulkily glare at me each day and refuse to take control of your own education…you have such a fab team of support at your beck and call. We will work to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity we call free education once again on Monday. Now, go hug your Mamas and Papas and thank them for keeping you healthy and occupied this week (trust me, this will work to your advantage).
Your Defrosting Teacher,
Right to write. The classroom that filled her days with absolute joy and a whole lotta pain was empty. The windows shut and the computers unplugged. She contemplated taking the rolled-up rug from the corner beneath the spent vintage pencil sharpener that seemed to demand punishment from her middle school boy students. Decision made, she lightly and slowly backed out and with a skip in her step, practically slid down one flight of gray-Lego-like stairs out to the blinding sun towards Teacher Lot 2. She was spent. She was driving out to the stop sign in a paid off 2008 Passat Station Wagon with a sunroof.
Her chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s next to the school tasted so sweet. Sweeter and colder than she could remember in a long time. She wiped up the ketchup stain from her stack of personal journals that practically wept with joy at the sudden physical attention. She grinned on the way home as the back-left window unintentionally allowed a small piece of trash escape out onto 97 South. She knew that piece of decade-old slip of paper would be where she picked up when she was alone and safe with her writing- her way of developing who she was in this world and her way of carving out what she wanted her sons to know and remember. Her seat reclined ever so slightly, she eyed it in the rear-view mirror as the dust settled behind her and the blinking highway sign above alerted her of the 19 mile back up on Route 50 East towards the Bay Bridge.
I find myself staring blankly at the smudge on our floor beneath the dish washing machine. That smudge is from an unidentifiable foreign object that may be associated with Aunt Jemima, Box Merlot or an Ice Cream Sammy. Regardless, the color has noticeably changed over the last 2 weeks or so. Like the sudden realization last week that I have sun-spots- A LOT of sun-spots that have so callously appeared on my skin without warning- I curiously wonder if that spot has always been there or has it just recently emerged as a new Wise-Guys visual stimulation-exhibit?
Does it cross my mind to wipe it up? Well, yea, in my absent-minded-Amelia-Bedelia-like way…I’ll get to that spot…perhaps.
Sitting on the boy’s bathroom toilet (trying not to touch too much) waiting for the younger one to finish his bath (in a tub you couldn’t PAY me to take a soak in at this point), my eyes adjust and focus on 3 of the thin slips of plastic that one peels from a bandaid. One slip of plastic is intimately connected with the small, round “cover”- (bolt cap, see featured image). That area, surrounded by RED circle and dotted/splashed with yellow represents THE MOST DISGUSTING GAG-INDUCING PART OF THE TOILET. What the hel* happens in this bathroom? Seriously, are my boys urinating all over the toilet on purpose? To spite me? No one in my home ever thinks to ask who is cleaning the toilets, even as I’m screeching at them to back it up, I’m cleaning the toilets. I’m getting a bit nervous about the lack of urgency (pun intended) regarding the bathroom hygiene in my home. Knowing that sooner or later I would have to take care of the bandaid invaders, I add it to running mental list of things to avoid/do/avoid.
The Yellow Part of the Toilet Diagram, well, that’s where I’m convinced P-Targets are located. Notice on featured image that the pee goes everywhere except where it’s supposed to…
The Purple represents an iffy-area. Taking off this amazingly heavy ceramic piece off and placing it somewhere is Issue #1. Insecure in my Toilet “Fixing” skills, I uncertainly place on the floor. Be aware that this cover, also, will have urine samples clinging to it (sorry, super grody).
The Orange is perhaps the most risky, fraught with danger. The diagram does not include the actual seat cover. The exposed area is one that no one is clearly interested in sanitizing. One has to basically thread bacterial wipes through and around the area which is also filled with small unmentionable DISGUSTING things…small pieces of toilet paper? Hair samples? Lego Pieces? No one wants anything to do with actually cleaning that area-except I am FORCED to deal with it.
I mean, it’s pretty bad when I keep my bathroom light off during showers or brushing my teeth so I can avoid identifying and analyzing the grime that has been steadily sneaking up on myself and family.
Per the diagram above, the area circled in RED -the bolt caps- who needs those? I’m ANNOYED by those. I know they are intended to cover the bolts, but more often than not, I am crouching, breathing through my mouth and squinting my eyes as I reach for those god-forsaken bolts when they slyly roll themselves behind the toilet. Notice the Yellow. YELLOW REPRESENTS URINE. Note the AMOUNT of Yellow OUTSIDE OF THE ACTUAL TOILET BOWL??? Why bother even having a toilet?
I have, found, due to the Half-As* Housekeeping in my home, when I do clean the bathrooms, I lord it over the others in my home-
I find myself constantly shouting to the menfolk that yes, it was ME- again- who cleaned the thrones, and that it was SOMEONE ELSE’S TURN TO TAKE CARE OF THAT CRAP!!!!!
As soon as I hear a panicked child rushing in from down the street saying he needs the bathroom and he needs to go Number 2 and then, ha ha, just as a joke, threatens Number 3 on his way towards “my” bathroom off my bedroom, I violently fling my body in front of the entrance, claiming I’m in the middle of cleaning it and they can use their OWN UPSTAIRS BATHROOM- as if I can ban them forever from my now sanitized WC.
I really love it when I wander above randomly poking my head into one or all rooms upstairs later that day and find a thoughtful surprise or two or three waiting for me to take care of in the bathroom. It’s literally never ending. The struggle is real.
I still am processing the tragic loss of lives that occured Thursday @CapitalGazette.com -in my hometown-I can not stop thinking of the families. I can’t stop thinking of our five friends’ last thoughts. I feel heartbreak and literal sickness for those who witnessed their work space become that “war zone”. We have been surrounded by gun fire and death in our area with major cities such as Baltimore leading the way for violence in the country. IN THE COUNTRY. When do we deploy the troops here in our backyard. Who will command the units to STOP THE VIOLENCE AND THE WAR IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, SCHOOLS, WORKPLACES AND AREAS OF SUPPOSED SAFETY AND FREEDOM? I’m sick of it all. I’m DONE with the GOFundMe sites. I’m DONE with the obits. I’m DONE with TV and Social Media recording our children- OUR CHILDREN!!!- PLEADING PLEADING PLEADING for their lives to our President and those who make the laws. How dare our CHILDREN have to grow up watching their peers and parents die in these tragic type of attacks. How dare our CHILDREN have to march across the country to gain attention.
I’m DONE WITH THE CANDLE LIGHT VIGILS.
WHEN WILL SOMEONE HIGH ENOUGH APPRECIATE IT AND MAKE A STAND.
I received the text in aisle 3,192 of the Super Walmart -my husband informing me that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. We appreciated his shows, Trevor and I. They were part of a handful that both he and I could sit and watch together-satisfying both of us to be physically close to each other and watch something that appeased both of our appetites. Bordain was easy listening- a voice that was often just randomly playing in the background of this screen-addicted home.
I suppose because his voice was always so immediately recognizable that I kind of just felt it would always be here for us. I thought of that term, here for us. I can’t imagine the total amount of perfect strangers that also felt the same way, that Bourdain was simply unstoppable, not in a flashy way- more in a “he’s a fighter way” making his rounds of our globe with such unaffected glibness that it further endeared him to all. Imagine the burden of feeling that so many people assume you have to be there for them; you are everyone else’s fighter…!
As a plucky gal who suffered Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression with each pregnancy and currently work (ha) with Persistent Depressive Disorder (basically an aberration if you will-of my brain chemistry) , I struggle with “what could have been” if only I had been treated with depression and anxiety as a teen rather than taking so much of my adult life to soothe and mellow my brain waves. My friend “Darla Downer” was an absolutely life-altering and all consuming companion for so so long. Without my amazing therapist and her ability to match me with proper medication, along with my fab fam, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything close to what I have over the last several years (which includes anything from becoming re-certified to teach to making it through the day without bursting into ferocious tears listening to the Edie Breckell CD that is permanently stuck in my car player on my way to the Dunkin Donuts). Sidekick Darla nearly killed me over the decades in a myriad of wonderfully depressive and potentially devastating ways and my empathy nearly doubled me over right there in the Dorito Dome. I wasn’t ashamed to feel my face burn and my tears begin for his family left behind. Each tear and stomach cramp and deep yoga breath-dedicated to his legacy.
Val Kilmer’s letter to the public regarding Mr. Bourdain isn’t an easy one to read. But read,we must. We have to acknowledge all sides affected from this horrifying rippling effect called suicide. For the Robin Williams’, the Kate Spades, the Kurt Cobains, the Alexander McQueens, L’Wren Scotts, the Scott Hutchisons, the Annabelle Neilsons-they selflessly shared their raw and honed talent with the world, sacrificing much for others, yet did not have the POWER to sustain their own lives. Let their fall into personal canyons from which they couldn’t climb out of be a call of action for better services that can spread awareness and outline the signs of depression for all people, ages, colors, religions, and economic and health care status. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Before and between my days of being a proper school room teacher, I had the opportunity (sometimes not quite the right word) to engage as an employee for a number of highly regarded job sites throughout the state of Maryland. Posts include Beach 7-11 Hostess, Flapjack Dealer, Steamed-Crabs Hawker, Counselor in Training, Counselor for Real, Math Tutor (had no business taking that job over for my sister-who is a MATH teacher), UPS and Post Office Liaison, Hair Model (lasted exactly 3 days), NatureStore Holiday ELF (in a MALL, natch), Babysitter, Adultsitter, Teensitter, Petsitter, Housesitter, Bank (yes, Bank) Phone Receptionist, and Corporate Binder-Stuffer.
The Binder-Stuffer program took place in a creepy warehouse with about 10 others who all seemed to know each other from a local prisoner-work release program. I owe this opportunity all to the gals at the local Job Placement office, a typing test (on a real typewriter, vintage!) and my habit of not reading the fine print before signing- (Oh, me? Why, yes, I ALWAYS wear houndstooth mini skirts and WHITE Buck Shoes when dealing with large, heavy, cardboard boxes as far as my near sighted eyes can see). Fortunately, I had occasion to stare blankly at pallets for long stretches of time while my cohorts smoked cigarettes by the back door every 11 minutes. Another job included short order cook within a wine and coffee bar (yet another misguided attempt in self-preservation within a college- that would be college number THREE for me). I fibbed a bit on the application and was stunned when I was called to train so soon after posting my availability. The beautiful, young entrepreneur that ran this show walked me through the kitchen for 8 hours until I realized that they expected me to actually, well, fill food orders! Whoopsie. I thought short-order cook meant garnishing and delivering.
I even went as far to go on an interview in the far corner of my state to see if I was interested in selling rehabbed vans to people in WHEELCHAIRS. WHAT? Had absolutely no background or business selling vans to people in wheelchairs. I don’t think I could even complete the survey that they had me do in yet another cubicle-one designed to aide companies in determining appropriate pairings between employees and employers. I remember thinking, why in GOD’S NAME am I here? This is embarrassing. I think this is around the time my parents were looking up BIPOLAR DAUGHTER on WebMD.
By far, the most highly regarded position was as a Sales Representative for two highly-competitive Wine and Spirit Distributors- which, for me and my fabulous- past- decision- making- skills regarding personal intake of liquor and beer, seemed horrifyingly natural at the time (alcohol damages a gal’s brain in that way). Well, you guessed it, seems I got myself into yet another situation that I didn’t necessarily need to be in. I wasn’t stopping at this one, however. I knew my job-experience capers needed to settle down to prove I could succeed professionally in SOMETHING (hey, why not stay a friggin teacher- LIKE YOU WENT TO ALL THOSE
COLLEGES FOR, MORON). My stories as a wine and spirit representative are the juiciest (no pun intended). Mostly, my kids rode around in a car that smelled like spoiled Tuaca Italian Liqueur and was stained with gorgeous hues of Merlot and Cab Franc of varying price points and mouth feels. My kids also had the sweetest swag a toddler could wear from my liquor suppliers-I mean, what’s not appropriate with dressing a 2 year old up with a Jack Daniels Official Taste Tester cap on? Cute, right? (Paging CPS).
Each job deserves its’ own entry. This is just the beginning. Look for my flashbacks throughout the blog and enjoy. NO JUDGING JUDYS ALLOWED.
Growing up in a family of teachers is quite unique and taught me many things. Several episodes of my past attempts to sneak my way past any necessary extra work to spare both of my parents any more stress or additional emotional pain never-ever-ever-ever-EVER worked (phew!).
It’s like they had a Sixth Sense, a Spydee vs. Spidey Sense-
Trying to copy another’s paper? Busted- Mom was my 4th grade teacher for a bit. Nothing slid past her. Learned this the hard way. Also went for passing notes. Was humiliated. And grounded. This is a story that lives on today in my history of poor decisions regarding my education.
Interested in skipping school? Busted- My anxiety and fear of being caught by my parents generally overruled any fun that may have been had. The thought never even crossed my mind…until I realized we were able to sign ourselves out at 18 from the front office. Even then it was only to run home to grab a sports uniform or a snack because, well, what did someone DO when they skipped school? #naive #catholicschoolgirl
Looking to sign FOR your parent? Busted- Pencil, purple crayon, 6th grade. Weekly grade sheets for some reason were thrust upon the scene. Most likely a poor math grade, I had been diligently practicing my mother’s specific teacher-scrawl for years for occasions such as this. Quelling 11 year old panic (as only the child of a teacher can do), tried to cross it out via a purple crayon-because what Math Teacher DIDN’T correct any signature requests with a purple crayon? Dang it. That signature just poked right on through the back of the sheet.
When it was time to face the music, all my Mom had to do was hold it up to the light she was sitting next to and out came the indentations of my misguided attempt to spare her any pain. Her bullsh*t meter didn’t even tremble. I was rewarded for my brave foray into the world of forgery by being one of the few who had to continually use a grade sheet longer than any other child in the history of the 6th grade.
Invited to an after-prom-party? Busted. Spent the night out after a dance with a bunch of others and LIED about where I was actually spending the night ( I know, right? Super original). All they had to do was pretend they had seen the parent of the supposed-parent-chaperoned-overnight at the local grocery store and out came my story.
Practicing to be a race-car driver in your parent’s station wagon? Busted. My parents seemed to have spies out for me whenever I drove that tan and brown gateway to my (limited) freedom. “I spoke to Mrs. Daniels and SHE said she saw you driving WAY TOO FAST on Montgomery Village Avenue. Give your Dad the car keys.” SH*T! BUSTED!
Now that I am a teacher and the parent of two strikingly different boys in regards to general awareness of WHAT NOT TO DO when you are the child of a teacher, I try to remember those good old days of generalized paranoia and give them one or two chances in addition to many stories of my growing up. Because the time is rapidly arriving that I, too, shall demand return of those keys to freedom- to keep my boys safe, to keep others alive, to keep pushing for self-restraint where necessary. It’s tough, being the child of a teacher.
Now, go back and re-do sentences 7-19 and correct those wonderful mistakes I just found on your homework, sweetie. Also, we will expect you to know your 9’s in multiplication tables by the end of dinner tomorrow night. Love ya! 😉
Miss Tiddy & My Pussywillow- just two characters whose names will create pure havoc whenever presented to even the most sophisticated middle-schooler (courtesy of Red Moon at Sharpsburg-historical fiction).
There are many words that I find myself saying and instantly wishing I hadn’t while standing in front of a roomful of striplings and damsels in my chosen field of education. There have been articles, chapters, even YOUTUBE videos that myself or others did not fully scan for any type of potential word bombs.
Word bombs can sneak up on an educator or parent of the middle school variety and one must learn how to quickly, glibly assume wide-eyed innocence at the very suggestion that anything is different from the intended use of the term. Doing so can prevent minutes of off-task behavior…perhaps even hours. The list below is a running one. It refers to words, phrases, and terms that, when illustrated or verbalized, blow the mind of the 14 year old boy.
20. MOIST: This word is the one that started the entire meltdown. I’ve found it scratched onto desks, scratched onto boards, smudged in that gross-pencil-smudge often found on desks…always a boy’s desk. I made the mistake of asking why this particular term was being spotted all over the upper middle school …for some reason, this is “ew” to me. (I stopped them from explaining as soon as they opened their mouths-some things are better left unsaid.)
19. MOAN: Expect to get a similar reaction (compared to moist). There is an app that provides “sounds”. During a sensory exercise in which the students are asked to close their eyes and identify sound, never, repeat NEVER hit the moan key. It’s better to even strike the fart key.
18. PENAL/PENALIZED: Tomato/Tohmahtoe- I find myself speaking in a British accent when having to deal with these two.
17. NO: A teacher never truly knows the reaction of a middle schooler who is presented with the word.
16. ANNALS: To place the wrong emphasis on the incorrect syllable here could get a little dicey. Importance of correct pronunciation
15. YES: Again, a teacher never never never truly knows the reaction of a middle schooler who is presented with THIS word. Possibilities are, well, endless and frankly a bit terrifying at times.
14. ORGANISM: Not that many know the other term that this one can be mistaken for while reading…just one that the author for some reason always felt anxiety when reading out loud. CLIMAX falls a close 13.5 on this list.
13. HUMP: This term one may come across whilst studying military history….to walk during combat conditions is the definition for this urban slang word. I suggest NOT comparing your job of teaching to humping. This will end any remote chance of successful teaching that day…perhaps even that month.
12. GROIN: Some students have no idea what this area is…tell them to ask a friend during lunch time and let those lunch monitors earn their keep.
11. NUTS: Guaranteed to make your favorite animated student screech this word 5 times quickly in a row…this is where you choose your battles.
10. UDDERS: Civil War novels are good for one or two scenes involving characters using these to sustain life.
9. JACKASS: At this point, a non-sequitur
8. BITCH: Used in books about wildlife, domesticated animals, non-domesticated animals, farms, coming-of-age-stories….do you have ANY idea how many of those types of required middle school reading there are?
7. URANUS: Since the beginning of time; a classic.
6. CRAP: Super unoriginal, but uttered too much, can cause a breach in classroom security, as in “CRAP! Where is that pile of quizzes????”
5. URINE: “You’re in trouble.”
4. HELL: “You can go to dang Hell, Larry!”
3. STONED: Self- explanatory
2. AROUSED: ” the squirrel’s attention was aroused …”
1. BALLS: major no-no as in “If you are holding any blue balls, rotate to the right.” “Turn all your balls in before you leave.” “Those with the little hard balls please stop touching them while I’m speaking.” One teacher finally let us in on the secret: refer to the balls as SPHERES. Done.