“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?
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.
When you have no money, no authority to promote people, and no extra vacation time to offer, how do you motivate your employees?
Okay, when you have no money, no authority to promote people, no extra vacation time to offer, and a pesky law that prohibits adult beverages in your place of work, then how can you galvanize your staff?
If you are in the education profession, then jeans are apparently the answer. Personally, I think they are the answer to a completely different question, but I am seemingly in the minority. If you want an elementary school teacher to go the extra distance, offer a chance to wear jeans for an entire work day. Want to send him or her over the moon? Give permission to wear tennis shoes, too.
I usually decline jean wearing. In my whole almost 45 years on this earth, I’ve only found 2 pairs that fit me in all the right places. Plus, the permission to wear jeans is usually accompanied by the dreaded caveat that I wear a school t-shirt with the jeans. I look horrible in t-shirts. Even worse, 95% of the time we have to wear the shirt and jeans with dress shoes. Which, quite honestly, is icky fashion in my book.
At my last school, this wasn’t much of a problem. Jean days were rare, and only about half the staff took advantage of them.
Then I came to this school. Here, they take jeans seriously.
There are about 500 days a year we can wear jeans. On payday we can wear them with a college shirt. On Fridays with a school shirt. On Wednesdays with a special pink school shirt. If we have perfect attendance for a month, we can wear jeans on a designated day. If we are having a fundraiser, we can wear the accompanying shirt. And on test days, we wear our special black testing shirts with jeans.
It didn’t take me long to realize that my passive aggressive attitude toward jeans was going to be way more noticed at this school than the last. No one at this school refuses to wear jeans if given the opportunity.
After a month of forgetting to wear my pink shirt and jeans on Wednesdays, I finally decided that I am only good at resisting peer pressure when there is very little pressure. When it comes from 20 teachers and your administrative staff, it becomes less appealing.
I got with the program. I got really good at remembering the days I could wear jeans. I just continuously wore the wrong shirt with them. Completely by accident, of course. So, now I looked less like a somewhat rebellious fashion snob and more like a deliberate insubordinate.
A couple of weeks ago, I nearly came undone at 6:00 in the morning when I realized that it was a Wednesday and a testing day. Pink shirt or black shirt?!!!!! I chose black because, quite frankly, that was my mood. I guess the rest of the staff felt the same way.
Last Wednesday, completely dressed in my Unmandatory, but Not Exactly Optional Uniform of jeans, pink t-shirt and dress shoes, I finished getting ready with 5 minutes to spare. Then I looked in the mirror. There was a huge, and I mean absolutely ginormous, ink splot on my shirt.
Forget the minor conflict between black shirt and pink shirt, this was a new conundrum with only 5 minutes to fix.
I wore a dress.
Feeling completely out of place, I confessed my fashion crisis to one of my fellow teachers. She looked me over and said, “I would have worn the shirt anyway.”
I still don’t know if that was a critique of my wardrobe choice – or an acknowledgment of how important wearing jeans is to her.
Seriously. Would it be so bad to stick a margarita machine in the Teacher’s Lounge?
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?
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.
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…
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…
“It is hard to take responsibility for your own transitioning. What I’m trying to say is – I’m becoming a serial killer.”
~Tina Fey in “The Nerdist” podcast with Chris Hardwick
I always knew Tina and I have a lot in common. I mean, there she was, enjoying great success entertaining an audience on Saturday Night Live, and she decided to leave. Here I am, enjoying great success entertaining a class full of students, and I decide to leave. The similarities are uncanny.
And then, I hear her saying that she is going to become a serial killer – which is exactly what I’ve been contemplating! What are the odds?!!!
The sad truth is that I would be a failure at serial killing, primarily because I do not like to kill even the spiders that crawl in our house. Heck, even the snake that curled up at the bottom of the stairs in our hallway got a free pass from me.
What does appeal to me about being a serial killer at the moment is the part where you are able to become emotionally detached. As I pack up my belongings to move to a new school, I am trying hard to exclusively think of the process and not the people I am leaving. The people I’ve worked with for 13 years. The kids who I’ve known since they were in Kindergarten. Whose siblings I’ve known since they were in Kindergarten. The darn picture one of them drew of me that hangs on my wall, a picture that portrays me as unwrinkled, skinny, and frizzy-hair free. STOP THINKING ABOUT THOSE THINGS, I tell myself.
I try to think harder about the a/c that never works in my classroom, the mysterious person who, for the past three years, has weekly torn part of my bulletin board border off in the hallway, and the horrible cell phone reception that forces me to step out into the middle of the playground in order to ever make a call during my planning time.
If I were to become a serial killer, the bulletin board ripper offer would definitely be the first target. (I’m sure there is a Jack the Ripper joke in there somewhere. I’ll ask my bud, Tina, next time I talk to her…)
I got fired. Dimples and Cap’n Firepants don’t know yet. Actually, I don’t think Cap’n Firepants will really care. It was only a part-time job anyway. He’ll be happy that I have more free time. Well, until he learns the free time is for my blog.
Dimples, on the other hand, is going to be disappointed. She’s the one who got me the job in the first place, and pretty much taught me everything I know about it. She’s pretty savvy, that kid.
It’s not that I didn’t like the job. It was kind of fun. Only slightly demanding mentally, and really not physically demanding at all. But it was 24/7, and I was getting a little tired of my alarm going off at all hours of the day.
O.K. Confession time. I was a store manager. A virtual store manager, I should clarify. Of a fashion store. On my iPad.
Do not dismiss the stress such a job can cause. It is quite wearying to constantly have merchandise coming in that you need to hang on the racks and out on tables. Then you have to order again. If you don’t take receipt of your merchandise in time, then your orders expire. If you let too many orders expire, then your racks and tables are empty, which, of course, means you can’t earn any money. Not that you’re earning money anyway.
And then you have to make sure your store is outfitted with all of the necessary furniture, dressing rooms, cashiers, etc…
Not to mention the constant P.R. I have to go out and visit all of these other people’s stores to get them to come visit mine. The marketing alone was killing me.
I couldn’t keep my iPad in the bedroom at night, because it would keep ringing with notifications from my store about items that had arrived and people who had liked me or sent me gifts.
Over the Labor Day holiday I was at The Dictator’s Ranch with Spotty Internet Access. The only way I could hitch onto the 3G was to wave the iPad above my head while I sat in the swivel armchair, stuck my tongue to my nose, and held my breath. I realized I was willing to do this to update my blog, but not for my fashion store.
So, just like that, I stopped. I checked my empty store one more time when I returned home, saw all of my expired orders and the new available outfit that I didn’t even like, and walked away.
I don’t know what happens in situations like these. Will my neighbors loot my store? Will my virtual cashier sue me for nonpayment of her virtual salary? Will virtual kids in India lose their jobs because I’m not ordering their cheaply made clothes anymore?
And just for the record, I GOT FIRED.
Alright, I fired myself.
Unemployment doesn’t have to know that, right?