Monday, July 28, 2008

Apparently, Repairmen Need Not Apply

I came home from running errands and PrepGirl and BrownBear said that they thought that there was something was wrong with the garage door we can use with the outside opener. 'Great,' I thought. Just something else we're going to have to deal with. I had come inside using that door but hadn't heard anything unusual. They insisted that I come upstairs to hear how bad the door sounded. Indeed, when I got upstairs and the door opened and shut, it sounded like it was grinding and rattling. So, I made a decree. Don't use that door until your father gets home.

Fast forward. To Saturday afternoon when I remembered why I hadn't been using the garage door on my side. I explain my dilemma to LawyerBoy and ask him go stand where PrepGirl and BrownBear had me stand in the kitchen to listen while I opened and shut the garage door. "Do it again," he shouted. "I've got it."

He's got it? He fixed the garage door from the kitchen? I have always teased him that his JD was tantamount to a miracle degree - allowing him to diagnose disease, predict pregnancies, tell you what's wrong with your car - so I assumed he had taken that law degree and done another miracle diagnosis.

My garage door problem? Kitchen Aid mixer was sitting loose on its stand and that was causing the crazy rattling as the door opened.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Did You Ever Feel Like You Just Don't Do Enough?

While channel surfing this morning, I stumbled across "A Baby Story" and had to stop. This woman, Eve Moskowitz, gave birth while wearing her pearls. Apparently the ones she is wearing in the above picture. Same earrings, too.
Come to find out, she was a New York Councilman/woman, has a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins and has started a charter school in Harlem. Oh, yes, and she's married and the mother of three.
I'll bet Eve never channel surfs.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Plans A Plenty

After reading Angie's Thursday Thirteen and realizing that my summer vacation is coming to a screeching halt, I have begun to think about what I need to do to get ready for school.

I am all Language Arts and Math this year. One section of Math and the rest Language Arts. In one way, this is my dream job. Writing, grammar, spelling and, of course, all things math. We are going to departmentalize and I am going to see all the 5th graders every day. How exciting!! How middle school!! (Have I mentioned how much I miss middle school? I love my school, but I love the excitement of middle school - I admit it; even the hormones and the drama. The departmentalization is a nod to me missing middle school. But it is also a huge step in getting these babies ready for that gigantic step of going to middle school in another year. None of them are ready for all the changes that occur - by rotating them around in 5th grade, we thought that we would be giving them a little preparation for one of the many huge changes that are awaiting them in middle school.)

Now, what do I need to do? Plenty. But I am in a better place this year than I was last year. Two subjects instead of six. I have to plan but I just can't get myself there yet. I really have to get Prep ready to take her driving test next Friday. She is starting to get nervous, so I am going to make her drive everywhere for the next week. EVERYWHERE. (Consider that fair warning.) And, of course, my vacation ends right as we celebrate PrepGirl's and PrincipalGirl's birthdays. (They share a birthday. And believe me, you better celebrate both of them.) So, just as I begin the freak out of going back to school, I have a house full of company.

So, my plan is to just enjoy - the stress level will be what it will be later.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oh My Holy Hell, Part 4

I just checked the calendar. I report for duty in 15 days. Count 'em, people. FIFTEEN days. Personally, I still think there is something wrong with children going to school while the beach is still calling to me in August. Remember my battle with the AC last year? I have already had to call in a request to repair my AC. Blown breaker, people. It is working fine, now, but you know how that goes. I was wearing shorts before it was over last year. And flirting with AC technicians. They knew me by name.

"Howdy, teachergirl. Cool yet?"

Boys, if I were cool, you wouldn't be here.

So, two weeks. Let's party like it's 1999. Or something like that. Maybe I could plan a lesson or two.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

I Needed to Tank Up: It Is Pediatrician Day

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Teachergirl and BrownBear for Hire

BrownBear and PrepGirl spent last week in New Orleans working with their youth group to help with the clean up. BrownBear helped paint a school and came back so fired up, she offered to help me paint my own classroom this week.

For those of you who don't know, I teach in a portable. A trailer. When I was first assigned to this trailer, I was apprehensive. I am in front of the school with two other fifth grade trailers.

Let me tell you that this trailer assignment is a thing of beauty. I am virtually left alone by administration. My Assistant Principal does not like to get her hair messed up and if it looks windy, misty, sunny, warm, or whatever, she won't come out. Delicious, right? I can come and go as I please. My key works 24/7. Every other teacher inside the building has to work the hours that the building is open. So, if I need to do something after hours which requires my room, I am set.

This week, BrownBear and I decided to paint my room. My room was originally the nastiest institutional green you can imagine. It was chipped, it had marks on the wall and it was depressing. I could not function in this environment for one more year. So, my little painter girl offered to help paint and I could not refuse her offer.

In a few short hours, we transformed my hideous little trailer into a thing of beauty. Now granted, I just painted like hell. There is a little paint on the baseboards and a little paint on the floor and a few marks on the ceiling. This is driving BrownBear crazy. She is patient, careful and (I think) a little OCD. She wants to go back and fix our mistakes.

I'm just so happy with how it looks now, I can hardly see our mistakes. When I get posters and bulletin boards up, no one will be able to see our indiscretions. And I'm thinking that BrownBear and I could hire ourselves out for the next couple of days, renovating portables.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh My Holy Hell, Part 3 (and maybe I'll stop)

.... this just in:

I got an e-mail from the cheermom (OMG, the cheermom) and this is what part of it says:

Wednesday August 6- 3:30 pm Cheer Perfomance for Parents

Thursday August 7 and Friday August 8- Cheer Practice 9:00-12:00.

The parent meeting is very important, and we really need everyone in attendance. At this meeting, we will go over the cheer budget for the season, and there will be lots of opportunities to volunteer . The Varsity cheerleaders, football players, and their families are invited to an after party after all home football games and including the Westminster game. This party is held at school and the cost of the main meal is included in our cheer budget. The players and cheerleaders are usually starving, so it is a great way to feed them and celebrate those victories! Each of us will sign up to help host one after party, and the football parent in charge, will call you with what you need to bring.

There will also be a sign up sheet for the Cheerleader Pre-Game dinners for home games and the Westminster game. Senior Parents get first choice, must live close to Lovett, and have one other mom help them with the dinner.

Every Friday morning during football season, all the football player Moms and Cheerleader Moms meet for breakfast at OK Cafe at 8 am. This breakfast is a long standing football tradition and a great way for the moms to visit and get to know each other. Each person is respondsible for their own meal.

There will be lots of other things we will go over at the meeting, but these were some of the highlights.IMPORTANT!!OK, last but not least... The cheer budget is ready and I have attached a copy to this email. Coach McCarter and I tried to think ahead and plan for everything up front so you would only have to write one check for the season. For the returning Varsity girls, the big difference in this years budget vs last year, is that we have added the cost of the End of Season Cheer Video and the cost of snacks for the away games to our beginning budget, rather than collecting for them during the season. I cannot promise that something else may not come along, but I think we have most of it covered. Basically, the Seniors owe $255 and the Juniors owe $245. I have opened a seperate bank account for our expenses, so please make your checks out to me. You can mail the checks to me directly at:

(teachergirl needs another job - send funds immediately - because I can guarantee that this is the tip of the iceberg; uniforms, jackets, shoes, socks, sportsbras....)

I nearly fell out of my chair when I started reading this missive. Apparently, I tried out for a squad that I don't want to be part of. I'm going to get to host parties before and after football games? With stinky football players and cheerleaders. I can't wait!! And Friday breakfasts with football and cheerleader moms. So we can get to know each other.

Let me check my calendar. Nope. It's not 1957 and I'll be calling roll about 8:00 AM on Fridays. (Don't comment about comma usage and grammar - I just cut and pasted.)

I find it extraordinary that in today's world, we still have people who go to garden club and do lunch. And fill their days with stuff like this. With the world collapsing around us, I am amazed. I am sure that these parents are fulfilled by engaging in these activites, but I have volunteered to teach 10 year olds how to function in the world without their parents. Part of my fulfillment is a meager paycheck and health benefits, but I also do it to make certain that two young women in this house realize that self-sufficiency is an option. While I had the opportunity to stay home with them while they were little, I wasn't the garden club girl - I needed to have something to fall back on because I realized that these little girls were going to grow up and the void that they were going to leave is immeasurable. And I like what I do, most days - because every 180 days, we get to start over with a whole set of new employees. Perspective, people. Perspective.

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Oh My Holy Hell, Part 2

Harold Ford, former congressman and Barack Obama spokesmodel, has just spouted off and said that "people in Alabama don't read The New Yorker." Apparently, what he's trying to say is that us crackers aren't too educated and don't understand satire.

Hey, cowboy, The New Yorker was required reading for me in one of my Deep South college writing classes, dumbass. I get it. Do you get the First Amendment?


Monday, July 14, 2008

Oh My Holy Hell

Two weeks from tomorrow is PrepGirl's SIXTEENTH birthday. I was taking it in stride. Of course, she was not.

I didn't realize, however, that the rest of our family was getting ready to coronate the heiress presumptive. (And trust me, she and BrownBear are the only two grandchildren on one side and they are two of three grand children on the other, so realistically, we are getting ready for a freaking coronation.) The grandparents, ShoeKing and LawyerBoy are figuring out how to give her a car - a car - so she can tool around in relative coolness and comfort during her Junior year. And by coolness, I don't mean AC.

I have staged a mini-revolution: I have thrown myself down and declared that I will have a continuous fit if she gets a car before I do. Let me show you what I am driving:

Mine doesn't look this good - 203,000 miles will do that to a car. Now, LawyerBoy is in complete agreement with me; he is working on finding me that perfect car that doesn't say old lady - something more like teacher in midlife crisis.

I am still apprehensive about tossing keys to PrepGirl. However, when I turned 16, I had an uncle who told me that he had a car waiting for me and I am still waiting for him to toss those car keys to me. (I look in the driveway every Christmas morning and birthday, just in case.) I want her to be that princess on her birthday, but oh my holy hell, I don't want her to be legally blonde...


Friday, July 11, 2008

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it - John Steinbeck

Several weeks (0r months) ago, Cupcake pointed me in the direction of Lisa at Clusterfook. Lisa is going through some difficult times, to put it mildly. She is doing many, many things to make the difficult times bearable.

One of those things is getting her marriage blessed in the Catholic Church.

I had friends in college...imagine. Mike was a mild mannered Georgia boy. I think he was a Methodist or something. He was a KA. Frat brother of LawyerBoy. His girlfriend was Mary. Tall, dark, Italian and hot-headed. Catholic. Chi Omega pledge but I believe she told the sisterhood to shove it.

After graduation, LB and I had the wedding and then went on to graduate school. Mike and Mary had to finish up. Once they graduated, they decided to get married. So, they went down to the Wedding License Office, got their license and went home to their new apartment.

Because they thought they were married.

Two days later, they went to the justice of the peace and sealed the deal, so to speak. Not before they had called their parents, though, and told them that they had gotten married on the day they got their license. Of course, Mary's parents were devestated in all possible ways. No church wedding, no Catholic church wedding, no Catholic boy... you get the picture.

Fast forward to about ten years later. Mike and Mary decided they wanted to have children, but before doing so, they thought that they should have themselves a church wedding - or at least a church blessing. They planned a ceremony, a lovely dinner reception and invited all their friends and family. Everything went as planned until the priest said that this blessing was retroactive to the date of their original wedding. That wedding which was two days later than everyone's parents believed it to be.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Road Trip

Going downtown to Ikea. Looking for various and sundry things only found in a warehouse the size of Delaware. I will leave a trail of bread crumbs - if you don't hear from me, remember me fondly. But it would be lovely if you would send a search party.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Keeping It Real

After my mother died, we worried that my father wasn't doing the things he should do to take care of himself: you know, eat the right things, get the proper amount of exercise, see people, those kinds of things. Well, with the girls gone and LawyerBoy in the midst of a crazy summer, I have also exhibited those same signs of craziness.

I have slummed around here like I am a hermit. I should probably be worried about myself, especially after I did get dressed yesterday and treated myself to a Heath Bar blizzard for lunch. But after Angie informed the folks that Staples was having their back to school sale (kill me now), I had to get out and buy 50 million folders for 1 cent apiece. (Thank you, Staples Guy, for not making me go back and forth a hundred times to honor the 10 folder limit, 25 for teachers!!)

I am having an especially hard time keeping up with all the cheerleading paperwork this year. Ask me why? I couldn't tell you. First off, I don't know why the parents of a junior should have to do anything with cheerleading paperwork. I'm not cheering - I don't care what the point system for penalties is - I don't care if you chew gum or not and I certainly don't care if you wear your hair in a ponytail for practice. However, I have neither signed the form nor returned the unsigned form and you would have thought that the axis of the earth had shifted. Now, all this drama has not come from the coach, but from the cheermom (OMG, the cheermom - again, kill me). I never would have taken on this responsibility, but then again, I have real responsibilities - home, hearth, family, education.

When I was a high school athlete, my parents wished me well and I bicycled to practice. (Can you imagine?) We then ran laps and had two a day practices for tennis. I had more tape on blistered parts of my body than you can imagine. But did my mother stress over signed forms? I don't think there were forms to be signed. It was good luck and Godspeed, John Glenn. Did we have a team mom? Uh, no. We had a coach and she coached the hell out of us. Did we have snacks and cuddles and parents waiting and watching our every move? Uh, hell no. We got to buy a coke from the coaches' locker room every Friday after practice.

I remember one Friday afternoon when the coach was letting us into the locker room with the Coke machine and all of a sudden, she threw up her arms to kind of block the door and said, "Uh oh, girls!" Being right behind her, I kind of plowed right on into her back and into the locker room. And there, completely naked was the football coach who was, of course, my biology teacher. My coach and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I think we stumbled over each other. And I believe she called my parents that night to explain why their daughter got to experience some biology up close and personal.

Everyone laughed. And I got an A that year.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

What's a Girl to Do With All This Time on Her Hands?

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before, but my darling girls have gone on a trip with the youth group and won't be home until Friday night.
What to do with all this precious time? I have no idea....but I have to tell you, the quiet is deafening.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than the means."

"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”

-John Adams

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

The View from Here

I love me some summer vacation. While I know I should be involved in a routine that includes laundry, kitchen duty, lesson planning, de-cluttering, and other assorted tasks that need doing, I have been engaged in lallygagging around in my pajamas until the break of noon, lounging at the pool, making do with dinner and getting my fill of Frasier and Will and Grace reruns.

We (BrownBear, PrepGirl and I) always make the comment that Niles and Frasier Crane are remarkably similar to LawyerBoy and the ShoeKing. Uncannily similar. Their banter, their preferences, and often the predicaments they find themselves in. We laugh at Frasier and Niles but we are really laughing at Daddy and Uncle Shoe.

Tomato Update: we got maters from the grandparents garden yesterday!!! I am so excited, I don't know when I'm going to eat them. I feel like I need a special occasion, but I don't want to wait too long because they will spoil. Ridiculous, right?

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You Never Know Who You'll See

My city is a crazy amalgamation of who knows who you'll see in the Publix parking lot. Tonight, it was Martin Luther King, III. As I him to showed PrepGirl and BrownBear, BrownBear piped up, "I know Ted Turner's granddaughter. She's in the grade ahead of me in school." And Hamilton Jordan came to PrepGirl's 8th grade Grandparents' Day.

A hundred years ago, before Prep was born, I was bestest friends with a crazy girl named Vicky. She was crazy in the funnest sense of the word. We did things that I had only imagined in my white bread upbringing. I think my mama and daddy would have died to find me in Yasmine's Fish Supreme eating with the Muslims. The black Muslims. But oh my word - I have never eaten fish and bean pie like that before in my life. And Vicky got me to Deacon Burton's Grill for the best down home cooking I have ever eaten. Vicky got me to places in this city I never would have experienced because I am a fraidy cat. Gracious - we went to Cancun for girls night out. She talked the ticket agent into putting us into first class because there weren't any seats together and I was a sissy flyer. We came back three days later - three days of tequila drinking and dancing on the beach and tequila drinking. LawyerBoy picked us up at the airport - I got back into the country with a notarized, photocopied copy of my birth certificate that I had kept in my back pocket (pre 9/11, obviously) - and he just shook his head. There had been lots of turbulence coming back and I had thrown my food (yes, real food) all over my shirt and shorts. I hadn't slept in days and I had sprained my ankle in some drunken escapade. (There was a lot of LawyerBoy headshaking.)

Crazy Vicky married the father of the children she had once nannied. (I know. I told you she was crazy.) Her wedding was at their West End mansion (and I mean mansion) one Labor Day weekend. Her fiance was one crazy Atlanta lawyer - at one time, he had been one of Wayne Williams' attorneys. The guest list was a veritable list of movers and shakers in Atlanta. I think Martin Luther King, III was there. I came flying out of Vicky's sitting room and ran head long into Andrew Young. "Hello, Mr. Mayor." "Hello, Teachergirl. Is our bride ready?" Mr. Mayor officiated at the ceremony. While this ceremony was taking place, LawyerBoy pointed out the people he knew and those he thought were supposed to be in jail. Really - we had had a rash of unscrupulous behavior and several convictions. I don't know if they got time off for weddings or what.

As we were eating wedding cake (some of the best wedding cake I have ever eaten), somebody said, "Aren't Teachergirl and LawyerBoy cute as a button? They look just like they walked out of Thirty Something." Looking around, I realized I did look like I had fallen out of Thirty Something and into A Different World.

Vicky and I had babies within two months of each other. One of the first outings we took them on was to a baseball game at the old Fulton County Stadium. And we sat in Hank Aaron's seats.

So, tonight, as we pulled out of Publix after seeing MLK,III, I drove them to Turner Field for one of the Braves games down Hank Aaron Drive and I thought that this town is pretty amazing.


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