Monday, June 29, 2009

It may be a sign

We just got back from a weekend trip to the beach with friends. Mr. Happy and Mr. Funny and I haven't been to the beach together in several years. They were still fun to play with even if they wouldn't build a sand castle with me.

We found several sharks' teeth. You know what that means, don't you? That's right! Sharks don't take care of their teeth. My dentist should totally lay off the 'flossing after every meal' soapbox. There are probably hundreds of sharks who could benefit from her services.

I'm going to recommend she go to help out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And then the flood gates were cracked

"Beth. This is your Aunt Jan. Do you remember me?"

My dad's little sister. I could never forget.

"I'm sorry to bother you but I needed to let you know your Aunt Kay died this past weekend."

My dad died almost 30 years ago. He was 36. I was 12. I haven't seen this side of the family regularly since his funeral.

"I called your grandmother to get your phone number."

I've missed this part of my family. Twelve years of memories are all I have.

"I need to get your address because your Aunt Kay left you something in her will."

I used to be bitter about how things turned out. How it seemed my sister and I didn't matter any more. Now I know that it was just life that got in the way.

"They found her on Saturday. At this point, we think she had a heart attack. Just like her son. In the same chair."

Poor, poor Aunt Kay lost both her husband and her only child to heart attacks. Now she can rest between them.

"Your grandmother updated me on all that has been going on in your life. I'm real proud of you. Your dad would be real proud, too."

And those tears I'm usually so good at holding back, I'm not doing so well today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not so tough after all

Despite the heat, I've continued with my running even though the humidity has tried it's best to suffocate me. Regardless, I feel stronger and healthier. I've actually been impressed with my commitment to running because I prefer to lay around on my laurels.

This past weekend, I worked in the backyard. I pulled weeds and then pulled some more weeds. Today, the backs of my legs are in revolt*. I can't walk without stifling the moans of pain. In fact, I can barely walk at all.

Forget running, I've been done in by some rascally weeds.

Since I can't walk, I think I'm going to spend the rest of the day with The Thirteenth Tale. This book was recommended by Jason and I have had to make myself put it down. Jason probably needs to start looking for some cheap tickets to Georgia. Since I can't tear myself away from the book, my summer projects have been neglected. And I have a garage to clean out along with some cabinets and closets.

*Grammar update courtesy of Comedy Goddess.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What happened to the 'through rain or snow or sleet or hail' part of his contract

When I was growing up, we had a mailbox fastened to the house and a friendly mailman who walked the neighborhood with his canvas bag slung over his shoulder. He was a super nice guy who always spoke to us when he made his rounds. He even tried to teach me to whistle.

My mother always scrounged for money to leave him a tip at Christmas and the beginning of July.

These days, the mailmen (and women) only deliver mail in their dorky little mail trucks. And those mailboxes attached to the house are just reminders of days gone by.

But I don't mind walking out to the mailbox to gather the bills mail. It gives me the chance to practice whistling and annoying the cats from next door who view my yard as their litter box.

Yesterday, I received this little slip of paper in the mailbox. It was resting on top of the mail with no explanation.

The first thought that crossed my mind was that my grumpy fatty, fatty two by four mailman was leaving us a thank you note for all the food we left by the mailbox during the recent food drive. I began to read the message.

What the heck!? My idiot mailman is worried about me removing snow? We live in South Georgia. It doesn't snow here. And we are currently in the middle of a heatwave with the Heat Index hovering around 110 degrees. Does he know something about that place with the double hockey sticks freezing over? Should I be worried?

I continued reading and I didn't even ask for help with the big words.

So, Mr. I'm So Darned Lazy I'd Rather Write 'Mailbox Blocked' And Deliver the Mail Another Day felt like it was time to leave a more official note. On a crappy overused copy with snow references even though we live in the armpit of the south where it doesn't snow. Because he isn't going to take the 3 steps from his truck on the road to the mailbox on the curb. What did he think would happen with 6 people in the house and 6 cars?

No wonder his voluminous hiney spills off the sides of the seat of his mail truck.

Does Mr. Funny's car look like it is too close to the mailbox? I think even a blind dude could figure this one out.

This year, the only tip he is getting from me is the suggestion to cut back on the Twinkies.

And now he wants my cooperation in this matter. In fact, he'd appreciate it.

I wonder how much he'd appreciate the thoughts in my head right now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

He needs me!

Mr. Funny is a funny, funny boy. He finally admitted he LIKES to take those standardized tests. He considers them a challenge though speaking of challenges, he seems to be most challenged by the art of making a bed.

This past weekend, Mr. Funny took the ACT again in an attempt to raise the score because apparently he won't be happy until he has a perfect one. And then we packed and ran errands and did laundry to get Mr. Funny ready to go to the 6 week Honor's Program. He'll be living in the dorms with 699 other high achievers who probably get the same thrill from the SAT and ACT that Mr. Funny does. He'll be the one with the horse mask.

Dropping him off wasn't emotional at all. Nope. And I didn't lose any sleep worrying if he'd remember to wear his shower shoes or change to clean underwear. While I'm proud of him for accomplishments and his independence, sometimes a mother just needs to be needed for something besides her ability to lift her wallet.

After we left, he called! It appears that he does need me! Yup, he needs me to drive to the store and get a ping pong paddle. Apparently, paddles are not included with the ping pong table in the recreation room.

What the heck? Is it 1975 again? I've been wondering if he needs a headband and some striped tube socks to go with the ensemble. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When you want to save someone, start with yourself - and conversations from Mr. Strong during the early years

What do you think your mother will say about us?

When my first marriage ended, I stood taller. While my self-esteem had taken a beating, a renewed sense of confidence seeped in as I began to be true to my feelings.

What will your mother say about me being 14 years older than you?

When I dated, I had always been drawn to the underdog. To the boys and men who needed saving. It was my self-proposed plan to save them.

I never thought I could be a father figure to boys.

When the boys were born, I was a single mother. I just didn't get the credit for it until I was divorced. From the moment I saw them, I knew I would do whatever it took for them to make it in this world. No need to rely on any one. It was our own twisted version of us and them.

Please stay tonight. I really want you to stay.

When you are busy saving others, you don't have to worry about revealing the skeletons in your own closet.

I love you.

When you let your guard down, when you really let someone know you, it is healing. I never dreamed it would be me who needed saving.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Strong! Thanks for saving me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sometimes I wish I could just fly away

Today was the big meeting with the Superintendent. He nicely told me how disappointed he was in some of the changes we are making with the faculty teaching assignments.
I don't like disappointing him.

He tried to make me feel better by saying he knew I had a difficult faculty. He even said he thought I probably had the most challenging faculty of any of the other schools in our system.

Still, I disappointed him.

I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I wish I could have seen the video

The other night, my son and his friend were riding with me to help out my husband with some catering. As we were pulling into the large gated community to head to the Club House, I overheard Mr. Happy's friend say something about getting lost in the neighborhood.

For the record, it is a huge neighborhood. And filled with very pricey homes and snooty people.

Mr. Happy's Friend: "Yeah. That was hard trying to find my way out of this crazy neighborhood."

Me: "Did you get lost out here one time?"

Mr. Happy's Friend: "Well, yeah. Your son and another friend blindfolded me, drove around and then dropped me off with a bicycle to see if I could find my way out." (OMG! This sounds like a great idea!)

Me: "So, how did you do?"

Mr. Happy's Friend: "I think I did okay but I want to be sure you know that the cow costume was not my idea."

Just what you'd expect from a bunch of honor graduates, eh?

Good Grief

Attending a conference on one of the Georgia coastal islands has it's benefits. Well, make that A benefit. You can bring your family and make it a mini-vacation. Who wouldn't want to muck around in this beautiful sulfur-ey smelling marsh?!

Actually, I love watching the marsh. There are lots of birds and other animals that call this wetland their home. The picture above was the view from our hotel room.

For the past several years, Georgia has been in a drought complete with water restrictions, fights over the water being dammed like a beaver den in the northern part of the state, and end of the world-like news reports. Well, worry no more! In just a few short weeks, we've gone from droughts to floods.

We took a walk behind the hotel in-between the deluges and killing the insects who liked hotel life and found several fallen trees. The ground has become so soggy the trees are literally falling over. Mr. Strong and I wanted to climb on this tree but the creaking, split in the trunk made us reconsider.

The resort we stayed in is really nice if you like the flame stitch decor of the 1980s and was convenient to both the conference center AND the Hospitality Room. And what a Hospitality Room it was full of liquid confidence and mood enhancers! In fact, the longer we stayed in the Hospitality Room, the nicer the resort looked, the funnier everyone was, and happier we all became.

At the conference, during a break, I cornered the Superintendent. It turns out he wants to talk to my Assistant Principal and I about the changes we made in teaching assignments in our faculty. Uh. Um. Ok.

But they took 3 of my teachers. And they made changes in the number of teachers allotted to each grade level. We had to make changes based on the changes they handed down to us.

I may or may not have the wife of a board member and I probably don't need to discuss that situation here on my faculty. Sometimes this job is a lot more political than I ever dreamed. And I really don't like politics.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mini Vacations and Conspiracy Theories

Today, I leave for a conference on one of the coastal islands of Georgia. Mr. Strong, the world's best husband, is going with me. He may or may not remember each year prior when I call as I am leaving the Hospitality Room with slightly slurred speech. I suspect he wants to see this Hospitality Room for himself though he will be disappointed in their lack of good scotch.

At the conference, most of the women who bring their husbands do so because the husbands are golf fanatics. Mr. Strong is no golfer. As a result, I do believe Mr. Strong will be hanging out with the wives. This usually entails going to the pool, beach, and shopping. Things Mr. Strong prefers over golfing.

The resort where we are staying is nice but has chosen to reside in 1995. There is no internet access unless you head to the conference center and pay a ridiculous sum for a crappy connection. Therefore, I will be internet-free until Friday. I KNOW. I am worried the tremors might give away my internet addiction.

While I am at the conference, I plan to corner my Superintendent. He had his secretary call to tell my assistant principal and I we have a meeting with him this coming up Monday. Holy freak out! The secretary didn't know what the meeting was about or either she did but she would have to kill us if she told and that just freaks me out a bit. A quick call to the other principals let me know I AM THE ONLY ONE WITH A FREAKIN MEETING SCHEDULED. Who schedules a surprise meeting almost a week away with NO CLUE what the meeting is about? Satan, of course.

I figure either we are in trouble or we are going to be knighted.

Fortunately for me, I think I have ways to get the Superintendent to talk while we are at this conference. And if my plan is foiled, there is always the Hospitality Room to help drown out my worries.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Expect the unexpected

To borrow a word from my friend, Michel, it is UNKNOWABLE what to expect from my children. When they were little, I was often blown away by the bizarre pronouncements they would make. Seriously, what kids convince the other children in the neighborhood that they had just returned from the Poison Store and had stuff to decimate the entire block? In my defense, all they had was some dried ice that came in a package of frozen meat we had ordered.

Their imagination is often big and bizarre. And I love it!

This was the conversation at the 5K the other day.

Mr. Happy: "Oh, look. I think that is the dude who works at the Bingo place." (What!?)

Me: "You play Bingo?"

Mr. Happy: "Well, yeah. It is a lot of fun and you can win money."

Me: "Are there other people your age? And have you won any money?"

Mr. Happy: "Just my friend and I go and we haven't won anything yet but I did help this old lady once when she didn't realize she had Bingo already."

So, while some kids are playing video games or sneaking alcohol out of their parent's liquor cabinet, my son is playing the Bingo. With little old ladies.

Mr. Funny will be going to an Honor's Program this summer for 6 weeks and he is getting so excited about getting all his stuff together. He'll be living on a college campus in a dorm surrounded by other geeks Poindexters smart kids studying History and Chemistry.

As he was gathering the items on his packing list, Mr. Funny suddenly turned to me and asked (with excitement), "Should I take my horse mask?"

Me: "You have a horse mask?"

Mr. Funny: "Yeah. I keep it in the car just in case." (In case of what?!)

All I could do was stare and then laugh.

And hell yeah, he should take it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

It is that time of the year

Several years ago, my school system implemented an anonymous survey for teachers to complete rating their school and their administrator. While it sounds like a great idea, when people are cloaked with the veil of anonymity, they can become rather mean.

I'm all for good advice and suggestions that might help me improve myself and our school.

At my the school I worked in prior to my current school, I would receive comments suggesting that I check on when breakfast really started or that a weekly calendar would help with all the changes in the monthly calendar. There were comments I could use to benefit the teachers in the school.

Four years ago, I was moved to my current school and, at first, I was devastated by the move. I had heard about the morale issues at my new school and questioned if I was truly capable of making a difference. But I had no choice, so I put on my big girl panties I moved to the new school with a good attitude and a determination to make things better.

At this new school, there are a lot of teachers with strong opinions, bad attitudes, and a resistance to anything new. I've seen teachers like this in other schools, however, not to this degree.

Which brings us back to the yearly anonymous surveys. I know I shouldn't take the comments to heart. Maybe I need thicker skin. But to say that I am on a witch hunt is just asinine and besides, I took the stake down from the fire pit. The comments listed were just mean spirited and not at all intended to help make changes for the better. Then again, for some, the changes are what drive them to be so bitter.

Not all the comments were hateful. But the hateful comments were the ones to stand out. They were mean enough to make me cry myself to sleep Friday night.

It makes it hard to keep a great attitude every day. Thank God the teachers are gone until the end of July. And it makes me wonder if I would be better off in the classroom. Or in another field like possibly a fry girl. Right now, I just feel defeated.

Not a lot of thanks for working 10 to 12 hours (or more) a day. Trying to help the teachers. Always asking what is in the best interest of the students.

I wonder how the teachers would do if the parents could complete an anonymous survey on them.