Saturday, August 19, 2017

the good, the bad

Well, I survived my first week of Back-to-School.  To be honest, I'm actually a bit surprised how much I'm enjoying this new job.

The staff's great, and I'm enjoying getting to know my students.  I have about 250 of them, so to say I'm still learning everyone's name is an understatement.  I'm sure there are several of them who don't remember my name either, so it's fine.

In reflection on this last week, a few pro and con observations...

The Alarm

I get  up about an hour earlier than I was used to.  Magnum and I actually eased ourselves into this new wake-up time about a week before school started, so to be used to it.  I do actually like being up early, but I need to get better and getting to bed earlier!

The Commute

My commute is actually quiet awesome.  It was one of my decision criterion when looking for a job.  I'm about 4.5 miles of pleasant bike paths from the school.  To help me realize just how awesome the ride in is, I zip on by all the traffic feeding into the high school and nearby middle school.  What a rat race!  As added insult, the city decided to do a bunch of road construction along the main road, taking it down to one lane, starting this first week of school.  I'm pretty sure I actually get to work faster on my bicycle than if I drove!

Dress Code

I didn't really need to revamp my wardrobe for this job.  Tutor clothes are certainly boring enough for a high school.  As far as students go, I have seen a few violations of the dress code - all from girls.  Use your imagination... not too much.


Lunch for the kids is a bit of a zoo as there's only one lunch period for everyone.  It saddens me to see that whole mass of teen humanity filling the lunch area and beyond,  yet see several kids off by themselves eating alone and not necessarily looking happy about it.

Free stuff

So far, I've gotten a free travel cup, a big water bottle, a hoodie, a t-shirt, and a cinch sack.  Yes, they're all emblazoned with the school name and such, but... free.  And speaking of lunch, I brown bag it in the teacher's lounge which has been a good way to meet and get to know some of the others.  I discovered two Keurig machines in there along with a variety of flavor pods.  I asked how much the beverages were and the answer was

"It's free.  The student council stocks that for us"

I love the student council!

Epi pens and beyond

My classroom is "nut protected" because I have a few students throughout the day with severe allergies, so I'm okay with coming up with some sort of nut-free snacks for myself.  Gotta feel for those kids.  Other confidential information on my rosters include depression/anxiety diagnoses, seizure disorders, plenty of allegies and asthma and migraines, and a few restraining orders against parents or other family members.  Jimminy.

That schedule

We all know that public education doesn't pay all that well.  But, my day is done with plenty of daylight left.  And look at all that time off.

And then there's what's-his-face

Meego's a senior this year.  His schedule is lighter than last year, as is typical for seniors.  I'm sure he'll be highly organized and on top of his school work.  (Put that last part in for giggles)


Linking up again with Mama Kat for the prompt - with a bit of divergence:
3. List 8 things you’re looking forward to and/or list 8 things you are dreading about sending the kids myself back to school.

Monday, August 14, 2017

and so it begins

I vaguely remember freshman year of high school.  One notable characteristic was the vast difference between freshmen and seniors.

The seniors seemed SO grownup.  They drove cars, had serious relationships, and muscles (guys), and facial hair (guys)... okay maybe I mostly noticed the guys.  But in general, they all just seemed so old.

So this morning was the first day of school in our district and my new job.  Freshmen-only day at the high schools.  We made a big welcoming "gauntlet", then opened the front doors as these seemingly tiny teenagers came streaming in, looking rather like deer in the headlights.  Some seemed so young and small.  *sniff* you forget how small they are *sniff*

It was nice for us newbies too, to just have a few innocuous students in da house.  After the big gauntlet rah rah, and everyone was settled in the gym, my newbie coworker says, "That was exhausting!"

I looked at my watch.  About 5 minutes had gone by.  Just 7 hours and 55 minutes to go!

Later, after things calmed down a bit and the Freshmen went through their paces without any upperclassmen to harass them, they generally seemed pretty happy to be high schoolers.  I got situated in my room, which was assigned only this morning because of a bunch of last-minute flux.  I went to check wi-fi networks for my phone.

It's interesting to note that the high school is a good-sized complex, but plopped smack dab in the middle of a residential area, so a number of wi-fi networks showed up within range.

I had to laugh at the name of that last one

I guess if you live that close to a high school with 1700 students, it's good to have a sense of humor.

Friday, August 11, 2017

something new, something old

I graduated high school from the same school district I attended on my first day of school in Kindergarten... and all the grades in between.  I never knew what it was like to be the "new kid", and I never really wanted to either.

It seemed so awkward.  Not knowing anyone or where anything is, where to put your stuff, what people dress like, what bathrooms you shouldn't go into, any unspoken hierarchies, etc. And of course, where to sit at lunch.

This week, I was one of the new kids.  I started my high school job.  It was awkward at first, but I think I held my own.  Oh sure, I've started other jobs before, but this one being at a high school at the beginning of the school year, it feels similar to being a new student.

And so far, I'm likin' it.  Everyone seems really cool and nice, and not in an overly-cordial-because-the-principal-makes-us-be-nice-to-new-staff kind of way, but in a genuine-real-and-cool-people kind of way.  People sit with me at lunch.

So yeah, I love it!  Of course, we haven't had any students yet, they start next week...

Also, this week, I got the not-very-surprising news that I'm allergic to bees.  Wasps, yellow hornets, white faced  hornets, and yellow jackets too to round out the party!  Yay!  What the heck's a white faced hornet??

They tested me for a bunch of other stuff too, but that was last week. Apparently, the stinging insect test stuff has to be mixed up $pecial (no, that's not a typo).  Bottom line, if it's a tree, weed, or grass, I'm allergic to it, along with all those stinging insects.  Throw in a few molds for good measure.

I'm not allergic to cows, however.  Good to know?

So I'm gonna start getting allergy shots in hopes it will help my seasonal drunkenness balance troubles.  Runny nose and itchy eyes I can handle, but the vertigo's a b*tch.

The shots won't treat me for the stinging insects, though, since so far, I tend to just get a &$^##! annoying local reaction without the life threatening stuff.  Basically, my allergist advises me to

"Try not to look or smell like a flower"

As the nurse was putting me through all that testing - poking me with a gazillion syringes - she noted the smallpox vaccine scar on my left shoulder.  Who of the readers here is old enough and has a smallpox vaccine scar?  Anyone?  Show of hands?

I don't have too many vivid memories of first days of school, never being too stressed out and all.  But I DO remember getting that smallpox vaccine.

My loving mother took me down to a local gymnasium.  I was all happy because I was excited that I was going to start going to school.  Also, I enjoyed going out and about running errands with my mom, PLUS, she said after the "thing at the gym" we would see Grandma and get a donut!  Win!

Everything changed once we opened the door to that gym.

Crying and screaming children everywhere.  Tears, boogers, the whole caboodle.  They were all about my age. And I was all,

"Mom!  What fresh hell have you brought me to?!?"

I started crying too because it seemed to be the protocol.  I hadn't even gotten the shot yet.

I recall that the shot itself didn't really hurt.  It just had a strange "electrical jolt" feel to it, and left a bloody mark on my arm, now a memorable scar.  I remember thinking I could probably stop crying.

Bring on the donuts.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Share a back to school memory

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

she was

She was...

a wife

a friend

a mom

a sister

a daughter

a runner

a cancer survivor

and much more.

She died on Sunday at only 44 years old, leaving a loving husband, two wonderful daughters, and many many friends including me.

Even though I never met her in real life.

Similarly as with my internet friend JFuzz, I maybe didn't realize how much I cared until Rebecca was sick again.  Until we knew she was dying.

Rebecca was, strangely, one of my first facebook friends. I'd originally joined facebook because a few blog friends, several years ago, prompted me to join so we could play an online game together. One of those blog friends was also a friend of Rebecca's.

So yeah, I met her through a silly online word game.  Thank goodness.

And I learned she was more than her vocabulary skills.  And when her cancer came back, I was saddened, but SHE kept her smiling face somehow.  Through all the chemo and medications and having to miss out on fun things in life, she kept smiling, right up 'til the end.  Even when told it wasn't working.  Nothing was working.

Now she's finally free from all that.  I feel very sad for her husband and daughters, but I'm glad that her suffering is over.  I think of her as not necessarily "gone", just having crossed another finish line onto the next fun thing.

Enjoy your post-race beer, Rebecca.  You've earned it and so much more.

Rest in Peace.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

not in MY mom tent

Today marks the culmination of another of Meego's Marching Band Camp (this one time...?)

Overall, they had a good and productive two weeks as demonstrated in a little show they put on for us parents today.  A good start to the season.

As often happens, I volunteered a bit here and there during camp.  Yesterday, I had duty in the first aid tent, which is really just a canopy for shade and small cooler of supplies.

No real skill is required, they just like to have a volunteer there to help out in case someone gets a minor injury and to make sure everyone's getting enough water and putting on their sun screen, etc.

I did a first aid shift at last year's camp and had to deal with two or three asthma attacks that probably freaked me out more than they did the asthmatics.

So I arrived and went through the supplies and just did a general check over of things.  There was one kid already sitting in the shade of the canopy, with no discernible "injury".  After a few minutes, I realized that he just wanted to be in the shade instead of out marching.  Okay.

A small handful of other kids wandered in and out, seemingly just for some extra shade and downtime.  They are given regular breaks throughout the day.  So I just made sure they weren't visiting the "ER" for any kind of serious problem and didn't bother them otherwise.  But in my head...

Get off yer lazy asses
When I was in HS marching band?
It woulda been downright SHAMEFUL to be sitting here in the mom tent while everyone else was out on the field
Heck, we didn't even HAVE a mom tent!
Ever heard of, "Suck it up"??

Okay, maybe sympathy isn't a strong trait of mine.

I'd gotten there on bicycle Alice.  She felt the same as I did, see?

"What's with these princesses??"

As I look now at the photo of my duty station, I recall I brought a notebook to do some tutor stuff while there.  Maybe I should've had those kids in the mom tent do some math problems while hanging out in the shade.

"March or math!! Pick!"

But overall, the large majority of the kids put in the work and effort.  It's nice to see them dealing with the long days and repetition, repetition, repetition that is marching band.

"Do it AGAIN!  It's okay, I've got NOWHERE else to be at all today!" -- the words of my flag coach still etched in my brain.  Back in the days of no mom tent.

Meego and the rest of the bangers

Meego is center snare in the battery drumline.  They're a fun bunch of kids, and you can bet none of them came to bunk out in the mom tent.  Although one kid was not wearing his drum today during the performance, just marching and going through the motions.  Hmmm....

He'd better have a good reason.  😈


Thursday, August 3, 2017

... and then there was one

It's been many years since we welcomed you and your gang friends into our home.

Almost instantaneously, the three of you began to methodically and thoroughly kill everything that was alive, so I didn't dare bring anything else within your reach.

I kicked the meanest of you out, so you and your partner lived a minimal life since then - no new friends nor new vegetation to murder.

As the years ticked by, I wondered at your longevity and ability to thrive despite the depravity.

Ultimately, however, it was I who controlled your fate, as I think you know.

But I couldn't do it, I could not willingly put you to death, so I continued to sustain you both, feeding the monsters within.

But now, he's gone and only you remain.

Why do I feel sorry for you?

The Death of Monster2

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Write a blog post in exactly 8 lines

Saturday, July 29, 2017

over the (big gelatinous) hump

That bug sting I got on Wednesday at approximately 11:26:43 AM but who's tracking?  Wish as I did for "just a glancing shot", the thing morphed into an ugly angry itchy hot lumpy thing.  Well, I suppose that was all of me in general.

It's a slow process.  In fact, I spent Wednesday afternoon volunteering at Meego's band camp while the leg remained pretty operational despite a growing red patch covering my inner thigh. But by Thursday morning, it was well on its way to Manatee Leg

CoinkyDinkly, I had a doctor's appointment Thursday morning for my annual "well woman" checkup.  That term always conjures up an image similar to--->
in my brain.

Even though a well woman checkup is not similar to that at all

ANYWAY, since I was there, I figured I'd ask the good doctor about this bee sting business

Not surprisingly, the lumpy thing did the asking for me. The doctor's medical jargon reply:

"What is THAT?!"

So we talked bee stings and my typical reaction.  I swear I thought this is something everyone goes through!  When others told me they just maybe get a little bump, I just figured they hadn't been stung by a "real" bee.  😕

But based on the fact that the doc has been through med school and all, and that she even went so far as to suggest I start carrying an Epipen, I began to realize that Manatee Leg (neck/chest/hand...) was not a normal reaction.

I think I'm over the worst of it now as it maxed out sometime Thursday into Friday.  There's still quite a bit of bee juice in there, but the redness and general discomfort has lessened.   I have an appointment next week with an allergist *fingers crossed*

In other news of excess stuff, Wolfgang has temporarily moved in

That's Meego at his computer among most of Wolfgang's crap.  Meego has an entire couch now for a "desk chair".  It was the most logical place for the couch, so be it.

Wolfgang's lease was up at his apartment, and he's not wanting to sign another lease as the plan is to move out of town in the near future.  In the meantime, he has his job here in town, but is looking to expand his employment horizons while filling our house with stuff.