Category Archives: Work

Momma Didn’t Raise No Pencil Pusher

We were home about 5 minutes tonight when I heard the unmistakable sound of Wonderbutt chewing on something illegal.

We were home about 5 minutes tonight when I heard the unmistakable sound of Wonderbutt chewing on something that was splintering way too fast.  I grabbed my phone and caught him in the act.



So, what do you think he was trying to tell me with this act of rebellion?

A.  How is this different from my dog food? They both taste like sawdust.

2.  I hate people who spend time writing their blog instead of paying attention to me.

III.  I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box but that doesn’t really matter now, does it?

Four.  I’m going to make this #2 live up to its name.


Good Morning. This Day is Going to Suck.

“Umm.  Shouldn’t you be getting ready for work?”

This is never a good way to start the day.  If anyone ever has the bright idea of inventing an alarm clock with this spine-tingling statement as its wake up call, rest assured that you will never rest assured again.

However, I will kiss the person who invents an alarm clock that intuitively sets itself when you fall into bed late at night or screams like a banshee when you make any attempt to shut it off in your sleep.

The middle of my day was actually not that bad considering how it started. Surprisingly.

But, apparently my Libran consciousness cannot abide by imbalance.  So, I decided to end the day just as spectacularly as I began it by spilling a venti mocha all over the table at Starbucks.  The table on which my iPad and iPhone both rested.

Don’t worry, though. I have my priorities.  I snatched both devices out of the chocolate ocean and yelled for life-saving equipment.  (Paper towels)  I had to yell because not one of the other customers leapt to my aid which, sadly, has been my consistent experience with witnesses to every single one of my life-long string of disasters.

I think the electronics may have miraculously survived.  My iPad case and my dry-clean only skirt did not fare so well, unfortunately.

To some people, this set of unfortunate occurrences might appear to be minor inconveniences.  To me, they are clearly a message.

My husband is one lucky guy.

Who else gets to start his morning with a crazed woman leaping out of bed spouting expletives and end his day with that lovely lady returning home to repeat the same eloquent speech?

I just hope he appreciates his good fortune.



What If I Was Competing in the International Extreme Ironing Tournament? Would That Have Made It Okay?


Quick pop quiz. Your 10-year old daughter qualifies for Nationals in her chosen sport, let’s say Chess Boxing.  (Yes, that’s really a sport.)  And she has to travel to another state to compete.  Do you let her go?

Well, of course.  She’s been preparing for this Chess Boxing tournament for three years.  Duh.

Oh wait.  Second question.  Do you go with her, even though there will be four other adults accompanying the team of 6 girl, uh, Chess Boxers?

Trick question.

Are you her father or her mother?

This is important.  Think carefully.


I don’t care what you answered.  You’re wrong.  Especially if you’re her mother.  Because whatever mothers do, they are wrong.  According to the experts – other mothers.

If you are her mother, for example, and you have an important professional conference to attend that you’ve been trying to get financing for the last 24 months and it happens to overlap the Chess Boxing Extravaganza and your husband volunteers to accompany your daughter so she does not have to travel on her own with 5 other girls and 4 adults, and you can then participate in the conference for which you paid a nonrefundable registration fee, then you are, apparently, someone “who hates kids.”

Now, if you are her father, and you opted to go with your potential Chess Boxing Champion, and are stuck on a trip with 6 girls between the ages of 10 and 12, and four women, for 5 very long days, then it takes you about 5 minutes into the trip to realize you are also very wrong.  Fortunately, you are the only one who realizes this fact, and the rest of the population on this planet canonizes you and declares you the “Best, Most Patient Man to Walk the Earth Since Gandhi Passed.”  When you get home, there is a ticker-tape parade in your honor and a National Holiday is named after you – “The Man Who Went With His Daughter to Her Competition Because Her Mother Was Too Selfish Day.”

Of course, you could have each made different decisions, resulting in the mother “doing her duty” and resenting that she will not have another opportunity to attend the conference for at least 4 more years, and the father going about his daily life while attempting to console your bulldog, Wonderbutt, for the five days of your absence.

But I guarantee that no one will crown the mom to be “Best, Most Patient Woman to Walk the Earth Since Mother Teresa.”

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is:

A.) Don’t get your daughter involved in Chess Boxing; Giant Pumpkin Kayaking is much safer

2.) I swear I don’t hate kids,

8.) I love my husband, and

5.) Congratulations to the Same-Sex Marriage Proponents in the USA on today’s victories, maybe now we can

D.) Work on Same Expectations for Parents No Matter What Your Gender and

III.) Cutting Moms Some Slack.  Or slacks.  But don’t make her iron them.

Waterboarding is for Sissies

I discovered today that I apparently missed my calling as an interrogator.

I had a bit of a mystery in my classroom as someone had played around with the settings on one of our laptop computers.  Considering I teach 6 grade levels a week, two other classes had borrowed the laptops in the past few days, and I host the Robotics Club in my room, I was pretty certain I was not going to discover the culprit out of a pool of over 100 suspects.  So, I figured I would just lecture everyone, beginning with today’s 5th graders.

“So, apparently someone changed the name of one of the desktop icons, which one of my 4th graders discovered yesterday.”

The students started looking around at each other.

“It was Evan!” two of the kids said in stereo before I could say one more word.  I couldn’t believe how quickly I had gotten them to rat someone out.

“What?”  Evan is in Robotics club.

“Yeah, a few weeks ago he messed with the desktop but we changed it back.”

“Well, that’s not it, then.  But I will definitely be talking to him.  This was something that happened recently because it was noticed yesterday.”

“It was Harry!”  someone yelled.  Three other people nodded and murmured, “Yeah, I saw him do it.”

I looked at Harry, who seemed completely bewildered by this sudden onslaught of accusations.

“No, he changed the names of some files, but I changed it back,” another student defended (?) him.

“Harry, you and I are going to talk in a minute,” I said sternly.  “Now, back to what happened yesterday.  Someone changed the Internet Explorer icon to say something different.  I’m sure you were just being silly, but you guys could get me in a lot of trouble by doing things like that.  If people don’t think I’m supervising you enough they could take away the technology, and wouldn’t that be sad?”  Encouraged by the seeming willingness on the part of my class to throw people under the bus, I laid it on thick.

They all nodded that this would, indeed, be sad.

“What did they change it to?” someone asked.

I shifted uncomfortably.

“Purple Mustache,” I said, and waited for the laughter.


Slowly, a hand came up.  A quiet voice said, “I did it.”

It was my daughter.

“You did?!!!” I said – along with 15 other people.  My daughter has gotten one conduct mark during her 5 years of elementary school.  The only one I suspected less of changing the icon to “Purple Mustache” is my dog, Wonderbutt.  And that’s only because he didn’t have access to the computer.

Crap, I thought.

“Well, you and I are going to have a serious talk at home tonight, young lady,” I said.  Even though I wasn’t sure about what.

I had no idea that I had this kind of confessional power.  Apparently I somehow mastered the technique of the Guilt Trip without even knowing it.

Now, if I could just master the technique of the Don’t Even Think About It Trip, maybe her teen years won’t be so bad after all.


If I Was Going to Commit a Crime, This Would Not Be My First Choice

So you know how you get up early to go to work on a Monday morning, and you’re kind of cranky, and you put the key in the door to your office/classroom as you think about how much you would rather be in bed and you get the door open and LIGHTS START FLASHING AND SOMEONE STARTS YELLING AT YOU, “ROBO!  ROBO!  ROBO!”

And you have no idea why you are being yelled at because you took 4 years of French in high school, not Spanish, because you lived in Louisiana at the time and there was never any indication you were ever going to move to Texas but you did have some vague impression that you might somehow end up in Paris at some point so your ignorance of both Spanish and French (because, let’s face it, it’s been 25 years since you had to conjugate a verb) leads you to believe that someone is shouting Tony Romo’s last name at you as you drop all of your bags to the floor and wonder if you should wait to be tackled by a Dallas Cowboy or get the heck out of the room before the police come and arrest you for breaking into your own office/classroom.

And it’s 7:15 a.m.

And you have had no caffeine yet.

And then the disembodied voice switches to English and starts yelling that you have violated an area protected by a security system and you better leave immediately or he will start yelling at you in Spanish again.

And you say, “Muy bien!  Yo no quiero estar aquí de todos modos!” after looking it up on Google Translate on your smart phone.

And you go home and back to bed.

After you change your underwear.

You mean your day didn’t start like that?

Not as alarmed as I was.,d.aWM&psig=AFQjCNGYEubssBTL6a2eg6Rzjud6PB2z1Q&ust=1366163304002704

Not half as alarmed as I was.  
photo credit:





I’m Not Sure How to Handle This

I am NOT looking forward to this day…
photo credit: pinkiwinkitinki via photopin cc

Do you ever have one of those days, you know, when you wake up and think, “This is going to be a great day!”, and then you start living your day, and then it starts sucking, and then it becomes progressively worse, and then you think, “I hate my life.  Why did I even get out of bed this morning?”, and then you’re driving and a tire falls off the back end of your car and you almost flip your car over?

Well, that was not the kind of day I had today.

Surprising, huh?

First of all – and let’s be clear about this in case you have some kind of distorted perception of my personality – I never wake up and think, “This is going to be a great day!”   I pretty much greet each and every day with a groan and a prayer that 3 feet of snow accumulated outside during the course of the night, rendering the entire city helpless and making it impossible for me to go to work.  Not because I don’t like my job.  Just because I like sleep better.  Than anything.

Since I live in San Antonio, Texas, and it has snowed about an inch here in the last 25 years, you can safely conclude that my hopes are dashed every morning.

So, already, after approximately 3 minutes of wake-itude, my day is pretty much ruined.

The up side of this is that my low expectations are nearly always met.  If my life was a standardized test, I would meet my self-prescribed passing standard 7 days of the week.  Not many people can say that.

Today was different.  Oh,  I began the day with my usual grumpiness, which was compounded by the sight of a parking lot full of cars and a median obliterated by hundreds of signs when I arrived at work.

Voting Day.  At my work.  A school.  Which also happens to be my polling location.

Thanks to John Mayer and Donald Trump, I was not able to vote early last Friday.  So, today would be my last chance.  And my schedule was packed.  And the line was already way out the door.

Grump. Grump. Grump.  I walked past the line of people who do not have to be at work at 7:15, who do not have ant farms to maintain and students to entertain, who can vote at their leisure.  And go home.  And back to bed.

And then my day got better.

Everything went right.  My ants didn’t die.  My students were thrilled with everything I planned.  I helped a teacher solve a technology problem.  The Xerox machine did not make origami out of my copies.

And… I had time to vote.  And they didn’t turn me away!  And the touchscreen actually pretended to confirm my vote instead of saying, “You are obviously not from Texas.  Go back to your own kind.”

It was a great day!

Now I’m worried…

Don’t Report Me for Antabuse

I set a box of ants on the dining room table, and I am now sitting in the back of the house wondering if that was a wise decision, considering that our bulldog, Wonderbutt, likes to eat cardboard and doesn’t like it when I leave him alone in the front of the house.  But, I am too lazy to go save the ants from Wonderbutt, and besides I am doing very important research.  I must find out how long ants can live in a box, because I did not expect them to arrive this quickly.  My second graders do not come to class again until Monday, and they will be very disappointed if I release the ants into their new habitat without any witnesses.  However, they will probably be even more disappointed if I open the box and a bunch of dead ants fall out.

The last time I ordered ants, I followed the directions carefully for the transfer from box to ant farm.  It was highly recommended that the insects be refrigerated for awhile so that they would become sluggish, thus rendering them less hostile as I vigorously shook their package to allow them to fall into their new home.  Perhaps not surprisingly, this “sluggish” period was fairly short – about 1/10 of a second, and I immediately had ants that “might bite” racing all over the table while my 3rd graders gleefully tried to catch them. Death reports flooded in.  “I think I stepped on that one.”  “This one just jumped off the side of the table.  It’s not moving anymore.”  After a 20 minute round-up and thirty minutes of carefully inspecting the classroom, I think we got about 10 ants of the original 40 into the ant farm.

Once they were in between glass, the ants were fascinating to watch.  So, remembering the delight and new respect for small creatures that it gave my students, I decided to repeat the disaster this year.

So far, I have had no luck discovering how long ants can live in a box, but my Googling Genius has revealed that ants can wreak havoc if they decide to nest in your Apple iBook.  You will be happy to know that there is an entire thread in the Apple Support Community that will give you advice on how to deal with this nasty problem.

I suppose that I have procrastinated long enough – and it is ominously quiet in the Wonderbutt section of the house.  It is quite possible that he has swallowed the box whole.  Or, even more likely, that he has ripped it to shreds and there are now ants crawling all over the dining room.

Maybe if I had a more appealing ant habitat, the little guys would be less inclined to attempt their Alcatrazian escapes.

What I really need is a new habitat for Wonderbutt…

What Did You Think Teachers Do In Their Spare Time?

So, just when I thought that my life had become devoid of any mirth, I ran across this on an educational website:

(Sorry, it’s so small.  That’s the only way it would show in totality using this blog theme.  Click on it if you are having trouble reading it.)

I think what completely sent me over the edge was the offer to host a custom pubic event for my colleagues.

I just started working at a new school this year.  I don’t think I know my colleagues well enough to send out invitations to that kind of event.

I’m glad I took a screen shot, because the evidence was gone today.  I’d like to know how that conversation went down at the Education Sector…

Now I can’t even look at this without giggling.
photo credit: superkimbo via photopin cc

A Mahvelous Wardrobe Malfunction

I don’t know about you, but when people tell me that I look good, I get cocky.

Then I walk through a paint pan, or drip oil on my silk shirt, or break a heel off my shoe.

So it went the first day of working at my new school this year.

When I walked into the kitchen that morning, Dimples gave me a thumbs up, and the Cap’n told me I looked “hot”.  I felt great for about 5 seconds, then realized that they had both just sealed the coffin shut on my first day.  I have never once escaped the Compliment Curse, and I knew this day would be no different.  The more I needed to look “hot”, the less “hot” I was going to be…

I brought Dimples to school, and we parted in the hallway.  She is a morning patrol this year and I, well, I had to do something to look official on my first day.

I wandered around greeting parents and helping people find classrooms, then meandered back to my classroom to start work.  As a GT teacher, I don’t have any students the first couple of days.  But, I have plenty of work.

After a couple of hours of going cross-eyed with paperwork and basking in my “hotness”, I decided I deserved a break.  I walked to the main building, which, as we established in my last post, is the exact distance from my portable as Mars is from Texas.  Yes, Mars the planet.

In the Teacher’s Lounge, I passed a mirror.  And that’s when I saw it.

The entire raggedy hem of my skirt was hanging down in the rear.  Not attractive.  Not professional.  And definitely not hot.

My first thought was, “Wow, I wish I had a sewing kit here at school.”  Dumb.

A.  I don’t know how to sew.  2.  Where exactly did I think I was going to take off my skirt so I could sew it back together? I certainly couldn’t do it in my classroom, and people were bound to get suspicious if I barricaded the bathroom door for an  hour.  And their suspicions would probably be worse than my actual predicament.  AND, being able to sew doesn’t become any easier when you are in a bathroom closet sitting on a toilet.

So, I backed my way all the way back to my portable, and emptied the drawers of my desk, praying that Neumo, our classroom pet cockroach, would not leap into my face to make my day truly complete.

The tape drawer showed the most promise.  I had lime green duct tape I had borrowed from Dimples for some classroom decorating.  I imagined myself on Project Runway modeling my new lime green raincoat skirt with masking tape pockets.  Definitely hot.  Too bad I didn’t have the roll of leopard tape, too…

But, then I noticed my “mavelus tape“, and decided to give that a try instead.  I taped my hem, and then strategically placed a bunch of not-so-straight-because-I-use-them-on-my-bulletin-board-pins throughout the entire skirt.  As you can imagine, this took quite a bit of finesse considering I was still wearing the skirt.

And I was in a bit of pain any time I sat down.

But that’s nothing new.

I spent the next 4 hours as a voodoo doll, wincing every time I pierced my own skin, and composing a lecture to Cap’n Firepants about how he should never, ever, under no uncertain terms call me “hot” again.

My temporary “fix” made it through the rest of the day with some minor adjustments to my walking stride that I’m certain did not make me look awkward at all.

MacGyver would be proud.  Heidi Klum?  Not so much.

Yes, my sewing skills are only equalled by my talent in photography.

Don’t Be Mad

Well, folks, the worst has happened.  I can’t believe that it’s happened to me, but it snuck up on me when I wasn’t paying attention.

I have become a BACKER-INNER!

In my defense, I haven’t exactly been at the top of my game this week for the following reasons:

A.  I got my butt out of bed early for two successive mornings during my summer vacation to participate in a “voluntary” teacher in-service.

2.  I did not stop for Starbucks coffee on my way to the in-service.  And I had time.  A LOT of time, dangit.  In fact, I shouldn’t have gotten up that early.  What the heck was I thinking?

III.  Wonderbutt spent 2 hours last night acting like he had swallowed a tiny lizard who was crawling around in his throat.  I could not find any evidence of what foreign object he had recently ingested.  Probably because he had recently ingested it.

H.  I spent the first of my in-service mornings worrying that Cap’n Firepants would be murdered by a stranger from Craig’s List who offered to buy our mother-in-law’s washer and dryer.

7.  I spent that same morning worrying that Cap’n Firepants would forget he was supposed to meet the guy from Craig’s List, and that the Cap’n might fall for one of those Craig’s List scams that you read about.  “No Cashier’s Checks,” I told him (the Cap’n)  “Cash Only.”  But then I realized that I did not tell the Cap’n it should be American money.  And that we don’t have one of those special lights to check if it’s counterfeit .  And, why is it that flight attendants don’t accept cash for drinks?  Should I text the Cap’n and tell him he should only take a credit card?  But we don’t have one of those machines…

10.  I came to the sad realization that I must have caffeine if I am going to be required to think clearly before 11 AM.  Also, I should get that app for drunk people that keeps you from texting when you are somewhat confused.  But, then I would never be able to text, I guess.

So, this all came about because I participated in a Robotics in-service for a day and a half.  As part of my role at my new school I volunteered (cough, cough) to be one of the sponsors of the Robotics Club.  I figured, hey, I learned BASIC when I was in high school – how hard can it be to program a LEGO robot to roll around on the floor?

Hmm.  A bit harder than I thought.  First, our team had to sort all of the pieces.  Then, we had to assemble the robots.  Two of us had no prior knowledge of Legos.  Sad, right?  Fortunately, our third member grew up eating, breathing, and uh, excreting the things, apparently, so she totally rocked in that department, thank goodness.

Fido. I wanted to name him Wonderbutt, but that was too many characters.

Then, we had to make it do stuff.  By programming it – not by yelling at it.  Caffeine deprivation is not helpful with this, either.

Our final challenge was today – we had to start 4 robots at the same time, and get them all to back into different “parking spaces” without sparking any Road Rage incidents.

My competitive compulsions overwhelmed my anti-backer-innering stance, and the GAME WAS ON!

As you can see from the video below, all 4 robots did fairly well.  My team programmed the 2nd robot from the left – the one that ended up in the third parking space (last one to backer-in).  The robot destined for the 4th parking space made it every single trial time – until I videotaped the experience.  Then it suddenly went rogue and acted like it was being driven under the influence.  Hope he wasn’t texting at the same time…

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