Countdown

I tried to conjure days of yore, the days before our work day punch in and punch out was switched to nautical time keeping.  The time when we realized the time had indeed come to switch from the stiff, yellow-stained-white long sleeved oxfords of our uniform policy to the stiff, yellow-stained-white SHORT sleeved oxfords. The space between May and June is a tricky one to fill. Having attended the same school with basically the same kids for 8 years meant we had it down to a science.

The hints that our future was shiny and bright often began with an amazing thing called outdoor recess-one that occurred for 4 days in a row without rain. This is when we realized that the saddle shoes STILL weren’t scuffed enough to stop a running gal in place during a game of Rounders or Run-Across or, God forbid, Red Rover-the violent game that would cause chaotic juvenile arrests today.  This is when we watched the gym teacher lazily perched on the side wall with a whistle and a bag of Fritos (so unfair!) , chatting with another teacher as we ran and often policed our own fun.

The best part about that playground was that it was an empty church parking lot.

When it wasn’t filled with cars, it was absolute nirvana. BOYS CHASE GIRLS! Someone always screeched and yelled and ran. Everyone followed.

We had Playground Mothers- when I was stuck on some type of playground equipment- between the years 1981-1984- and that large hand bell rang to signal the end, I often found myself calling out tentatively, “Mother?” “Mom?” I can’t remember now if we were told to just call them Mom or what, but eventually one would see me and haphazardly lift me down and I was really embarrassed every time.

I watched with jealousy as other girls and guys who were clearly more gymnastically inclined spinning spinning spinning with one leg wrapped around the bar, arms hooked, never stopping. I cringed and almost barfed when another student flew off the swings on swingjumperthe “jump-off” swing game and broke his leg.  I remember one unfortunate 1st grade event in which a school mate peed on the swing seat and wouldn’t move until a Playground Mother swooped in to save the day.

I remember warning others to BACK IT UP!!!! WAYYY UP!!!! when the stars of our group were up to kick during kick ball. We knew everyone’s kick style. We knew who would be the one that acted as though that ball was gonna soar over the building onto Frederick Avenue (now a major road connecting major cities) and actually stopped the ball with the foot and ran like hell for first base.

We knew which girls had the hardest shoes and the longest legs and the boys who were tough ones and the ones who would swoop over when attempting to strike.

We had water fountain lines and no-buttsies. We had a bell ringer and large classroom windows that had no screens.  We only had to navigate 2 levels and 2 hallways.

St. Martins

The author’s school from Grades 1-8.

We knew on Wednesday we had confession in the church and some of us would wait, heart beating, destroying nail beds while waiting for our turn. I would finally be ensconced in the confessional and confess things like, “I told my Dad I turned the TV off when I really didn’t…” and dutifully counted off my penance prayers on my fingers while watching the rest of the class enter and exit the booth. Our biggest scandal was having the priest snoring on the other side of the mysterious grate.

IMG-1274I imagine that at this time, our teachers, as well, were counting down with as much, if not more, enthusiasm as we were. The last minute assignments meant to push the grades up a notch went in and came out of their boxes with alarming speed.It was a time that I miss. I didn’t even know how much until now as I sit, prepping for my day as a teacher, 13 days before the end. The Countdown Continues.

 

The Landscaper’s Wife

After 15 years of marriage this year, I’ve compiled a list of phrases I’ve been honored enough to hear over and over from my husband, a small business owner of over 25 years…check out his site so I can continue hearing them in my sleep. Environmental Landcare Maryland

10. The rain just won’t stop.

9.  We need rain so badly.

8. The flowers are all confused.

7. The yard could use some weeding. (Uh, isn’t that YOUR job?)

6. Who left the hose on?

5. I’ve got a truck broken down on the side of 97 N.

4. It’s just my busy season.

3. The last thing on everybody’s list is to pay their landscape bill.

2. The last thing on everybody’s list is to pay their landscape bill.

1. The last thing on everybody’s list is to pay their landscape bill.

Lucky me.

Where It’s At-The Privilege of Living Where I Live

blueangels2018The East Coast is where it’s at.  Maryland. Annapolis. Even sweeter.

Growing up on the water, my two sons are the LUCKIEST DUCKIEST kids alive.

Growing up with friends who have boats? Priceless! They have NO IDEA HOW GOOD THEY HAVE IT.

Fab Facts:

  •  A big chunk of the Bay came from space. “An asteroid or huge chunk of ice slammed into Earth about 35 million years ago,” reported the Washington Post, “sending tsunamis as far as the Blue Ridge Mountains and leaving a 56-mile-wide hole at the mouth of what is now the bay.”
  • The scientific name for the blue crab is Callinectes Sapidus, which means “beautiful swimmer that is savory.”
  • Blue crabs will eat almost anything, including each other!  The older crabs often eat the younger ones…which is what I tell my kids will happen to them if they don’t just chillax at times.

FACTS ABOUT OUR BAY

  • Plant a Tree!Trees help to clean the soil by absorbing harmful nutrients.  Trees also help prevent erosion, keeping harmful sediments and nutrients out of the Bay.HOW? Environmental Landcare-Small Business

Just a little shameless self promotion above 😉

Cell Phone Stores

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Why is it that every Verizon Store I go to there are 5 people sitting, 6 wandering, and 11 staring blankly at random cell phone crap for sale on the walls- for 54 minutes- and only TWO employees on site?

Also, my son and I were luckily able to witness a 25-year-old male with manpris on and mudsluggers CLIPPING HIS TOENAILS while we were  waiting. By the time Samantha, our “Service Tech”, got to us I’d completely forgotten where I was and ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad.

#goingonminute41 #isthereselfservice#whysocomplicated #noclipzone #isthisguyforeal

The Great and Invisible “Mr. Nobody”

paperclips

Day 8, Grade 7

Dear Tweens of Room 2 A,

See that 10- foot chain of paperclips that “Nobody ” fashioned, stretched across those 4 desk legs? Executed during undercover ops as I apparently blindly navigated your free learning playground?

Yeeeeaaaaa…if you could pass on this message to “Nobody” for me- UNCLIP each friggin’ paperclip and return to teacher desk…. or “Nobody” goes to lunch until the second bell rings.

 

Day 29, Grade 8

Dear Tweens of Room 2 A,

Uh oh, looks like Nobody was in the room again- except this time eating Takis Fuegos and stuffing his trash in desks. Along with Notme’s Sour Patch Kids and Jolly Ranchers scattered throughout the floor, be sure look where you step. #notyamaid pig-sty-5335332

 

Day 34, Grade 8

Dear Tweens of Room 2 A,

Those guys Nobody and Notme are super rude,-messing up your areas, defiling desks, snapping brand new pencils from Teacher’s desk with one deft maneuver. Hey! I guess you can place the blame on those two guys for no more full size pencils with actual erasers being handed out. golf

Yup, I know you are enamored of the golf pencils I procured from the English Department head. No, seriously, keep it. Nope, doesn’t look like I have an eraser, so just feel free to cross any mistakes out. It’s a small (!) gift from me to you so that you are always prepared. Seriously! Keep it! All you, Buddy.

 

Word by the back staircase is that Nobody made the decision to take ALL of the marker tops off (yea, all 79 of them!) and leave the markers out to dry, rendering them useless for creative classroom tasks. But, don’t worry,  Notme was thoughtful enough to crack most of those wonderfully waxy generic crayons in to teeny bits so everyone will have something to work with when the time does come.

br

Actual pile of crayons. 

Lucky you guys! 😉

Fondly, Ms. Wise

The Power of the Basketball

brown basketball on grey floor

Today I planned for the first time to take my students out to the basketball court to chill out for the last 20 minutes of class. They have been testing all week and were barely holding on to the wee bit of sanity they had left.  A colleague down the hall keeps this marvelous ball under his desk. I now know why.

I slid into the room with the ball.  The bell was due to buzz in 1 minutes. Three male students basically bum rush me as I enter:

Them: WHAT IS THAT?

Me: Uh. Jeez. I know it’s warm today, are your brains fried? Also, please move away from me, you are in my personal space.

Me: Girls, please grab your warm up and have a seat, and take that comb out of your hair.

The bell buzzes (sounds weird, but it’s a buzzer we refer to as the bell-old school, right?)

Them: WELL, WHY DO YOU HAVE THAT?!

Me: I’ll let you know once you have completed the warm up.

Them: Tell us now and we’ll do our warm up .

Me: Wow. This isn’t a democracy here people.

I walk slowly around the room. Which, is for once, silent. All eyes are on the orange sphere tucked under my right elbow, snug against my moist (another word middle schoolers hate) armpit. I realized what this sphere of influence could do under my realm. At last. Complete and total control…or promise of.

Sphere of Influence: a country or area (31 physically -not necessarily mentally- occupied desks)  in which another country ( ME! ) has power to affect developments although it has no formal authority (ME! Again! The last 2 weeks have proven how the level of respect for most “formal” authoritative figures within these hallowed walls has slid quite low by now, trust me) I need all the help I can get.

I slowly reveal our daily agenda for the day on the SMARTBOARD.

GOOD MORNING. YOU HAVE AN INCENTIVE THAT WILL REVOLVE AROUND EVERYONE APPROPRIATELY COMPLETING A WARM UP AND LESSON COMPREHENSION  TASK.

THIS IS A WHOLE CLASS REWARD-ALL OR NOTHING.

The questions and insinuations are already flying across rows. Shut up, Eliot! YOU know you’ll ruin it.

You shut the shuck up!

Me: Gee, sure does sound like that basketball court out there will be empty after all, I sigh heavily, regrettably.

Them: WWWHHHHHHHAAAAAAA? WE ARE ACTUALLY GOING OUTSIDE TO PLAY WITH THE BASKETBALL????

Wow.

FINISH YOUR WARM UP, PEOPLE.

 

 

 

Giving Thanks

Dear Friends of Room 12 B,

I’d like to give all of you a shout out for passing on such a wonderful gift this past week…the gift of the stomach virus.  How selfless of you to endow my family members with such an offering. I am astonished how considerate you and your family members have been regarding this wonderful perk of being a teacher and, well, just know that we all have you in mind as we violently heave into strategically placed pots and pans this upcoming weekend.

Cheers, you wretched children.

Mrs. Wise

 

goodbye