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,
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.
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! 😉
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 the “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.
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.
I 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.
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.
The 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.
Just a little shameless self promotion above 😉
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.
Yesterday we spoke briefly about the structure of a story and how plot is important to dissect. I’m going to read a short story to you and as I’m reading, you are to fill in the Parts of a Story Organizer you have on your desk.
I perch precariously on the desk with 4 different leg lengths. Not a great idea. I stand and begin.
“Maybelle was a short haired chihuahua that was found wandering my neighborhood at dinnertime on Wednesday. Sara was the one who noticed her right…..”
I hear the shuffling of slippers before I see them standing directly between me and the rest of the class.
Um, can I help you? (and why are you wearing slippers to school, again?)
She hands me an index card, folded 4 times over to make a teeny tiny square (THIS BETTER BE GOOD, I scream in my head and thank Wellbutrin)
I open the now warm, faintly damp, missal.
R U PERGO?
It is SO darn refreshing how honest kids these days are.
(The answer is NEITHER)