I’m writing this well after midnight, so I can say that yesterday was the first day back with the students, and OH, THE JOY TO BE BACK WITH THE LITTLE ONES!

It was a long, long, long day, and my 20 students and I were together every single minute (except during lunch).  They’re so darn cute that it suited me just fine.

I’ll go ahead and call it after the first day.

I LURVE my second graders!


At Which Point In-Service Redeemed Itself

I’m sticking to my guns about Thursday’s day-long in-service that gave all of un an insight into what hell must be like.  I’m still a little worked up about the seven hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

However, Friday’s in-service was more than worth the three hours that 5,000 Shelby County teachers spent together.

We all gathered that morning for the annual pep-talk by a motivational speaker.  And let me tell you, friends, this one did not disappoint us in the least.  He was PHENOMENAL.

We were blessed to hear from Ron Clark, and if you don’t know who he is, please take a look at the links I’ve posted.  When I heard his name, I kept thinking that it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place him to save my life.  Once the introduction began, I couldn’t believe how dumb I was.  He’s an outrageously out-of-the-box-thinking educator, author, and founder of the Ron Clark Academy in inner city Atlanta.  A couple of years ago there was a movie, The Ron Clark Story, in which Matthew Perry played Mr. Clark.  I didn’t see it when it aired, but you can believe I’m going to find it and watch it within a few days.

Anyolehoo, I’m glad to know that someone at our board of education knows how to plan a meaningful day of in-service.  And this time, the sound system worked and no fire alarms went off.

In Which My Inner Ouiser Reared Her Head

I love the part in Steel Magnolias when Ouiser says, “Well, I’ve found it.  I am in hell.”  There have been a few times in my life when I’ve uttered the same words.

Yesterday was one of them.  It was the countywide inservice day for us, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s an all-day offsite meeting something akin to Chinese water torture.  At one point I pictured myself curled up in the fetal position in a corner screaming, “Make it stop!  Make it stop!”

There were 2 hour-long meetings in a gymnasium with an audience of over 150 teachers, one presenter, and NO sound system.  At first I thought I might learn to read lips until I realized that I didn’t really care what was being said.  I was too distracted by the numbness in my behind from sitting on bleachers for what seemed like the last 30 years of my life.  In one session I looked at the girl sitting a couple of rows in front of me, and she was reading away on her little Kindle.  She had it neatly concealed on top of the packet we’d been given, and from the way she was holding it, you’d have sworn she was completely engaged in what the speaker was droning on about.  I decided right then and there that if she and I taught at the same school, we’d be fast friends.

The bright spot in our day was an hour and a half lunch break, during which my grade level and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a Mexican restaurant.  We considered having a round or six of margaritas, but then we decided that we didn’t need any extra help in passing out during one of the afternoon meetings.  Of course, that would have been impossible to do in the first session because the fire alarm went off no less than seven times during the speaker’s presentation.  With no sound system and an overactive fire alarm system, I’m sure she thought our county school system was all that and a bag of chips.

Three o’clock finally rolled around and we were herded into the auditorium like 300 or so sheep where we were treated to one last powerpoint presentation.  Or as I like to call it:  a quick nap, a little snooze, or a siesta.  Ouiser said that she didn’t go to plays because she could nap at home for free.  I could say the same for inservice days except that since it’s work-related we get paid to nap.

Mercifully, the day ended at 3:30, when I ran screaming from the building and hopped into my car, where it was 135 degrees.  So great was my joy, however, that I didn’t even care.  After the air conditioner kicked in, I sent my inner Ouiser back to her hiding place, where she’ll stay until I find myself in another part of hell.

More About the Lightning

So I’m still on this lightning storm we had last Thursday night that blew out our internet and satellite service.  The internet was fixed by Monday, but the satellite wasn’t back until Wednesday.  We still have three TVs that are being looked at, so David’s TV watching is still limited.  I think that’s what brought on the plague that he has now.

Here’s the tree as it looks from our porch.  At the base of the tree, just below all the stripped bark, is a hole about a foot and a half wide and a foot deep.

If you look closely at the middle of the picture, you can make out the place where the lightning struck.  It looks like a fuzzy black hole.

Here’s another picture of the same thing without overusing the zoom feature of the camera.  You can see all the white bark, and right above where it starts is where it was struck.

Here’s a hunk of wood that was blown off.  There are a few more chunks scattered underneath the tree.

I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this tree and its lightning tattoos, but I have gone just a tad around the bend about it.

Maybe it’s because I know that lightning not only struck the tree, but the satellite dish, at which point the electricity traveled inside through the wiring.  Hence the blown-out TVs.  Three of them are probably goners, and we were told by our insurance agent that we should also check the furnace to make sure its something-or-other wasn’t fried as well.  We don’t want to turn it on in November and find out we have no heat, so we have to turn it on TODAY and see if it comes on.  The high today should be somewhere around 100 degrees with a heat index of about 110, and we’re going to run the heat for a little while.

I can tell you are jealous that you can’t be here for all the sweating and fainting.  I may have to treat myself to a diet coke from Sonic after this little episode.

I hope the old adage rings true that lightning never strikes the same place twice, because once is plenty for us.

Do have a lovely and lightning-free day!

A Hodgepodge

Tiny bits of tantalizing information for you to relish, remember, and repeat.

Or not.

1.  I got my hair cut last Wednesday, and unlike last year’s back-to-school- haircut, I like this one.  Wonders never cease, right?  It’s just an above-the-shoulder bob.  Nothing Earth shattering.  I considered a pink mohawk but decided that might scare the 2nd graders.  Or at the very least their parents.

2.  Small Fry, as is age-appropriate, is my little shadow and is having quite the attachment anxiety issues.  It’s endearing at first, but after a while I started to wonder if I’ll ever go to the bathroom or take a shower by myself again.  Speaking of showers, Small Fry has an unholy fit if I take one.  I’ve been relegated to washing my hair by sitting in the tub and using the shower hose while Small Fry throws toys into the tub.  I realize I could lock the door to keep him from coming into the bathroom with me, but that just makes him stand at the door beating on it while wailing.  It’s just pitiful, bless his little heart.

3.   It appears that FOUR is going to be the year of throwing fit after fit after fit where Tater Tot is concerned.  I’d heard that four is the year that the fits stop and the sweet child returns.  I’m not saying that Tater Tot isn’t sweet, because he can be sweeter than southern sweet tea.  But.  He has perfected the art of screaming, crying, and jumping up and down as the preferred way of voicing his displeasure.  Fabulous four, where are you?  (I have a friend who said her little boy stayed three for about two years.  You can imagine how reassuring that was…)

4.  Since I’ll have several months throughout the year of car duty, I need a good raincoat, and I’d prefer that it be sort of cute.  I’m wild about these raincoats with the polka dot lining, but they’re a little on the expensive side.  But I do love the red one.  These are a little less expensive and cute too.  I think I would choose navy or yellow.  Which do you like better?

5.  I’ve been consuming A LOT of coffee lately.  The other day, Tater Tot told me not to talk so closely to him after I take a sip because my breath hurts his nose.  I wonder if there’s a Tic-Tac flavored coffee.

6.  It’s still 147 degrees here in the River City, and it may be a little early to think about winter clothes, but this sweater is calling my name.

I have no idea why I think you’re remotely interested in my wardrobe issues, so I will stop now.

7.  We, the teachers, are officially back at work.  The last two days haven’t been so bad, and I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone and working to get my room ready.  We have our class lists, and so far I’ll have 22 little 2nd graders.  I. Can’t. Wait.  🙂

8.  Yesterday was registration day, and we could either work the early or late shift.  Thinking that the late shift would work better for our little family, I signed right up for the 12:30-7:30 time slot.  I figured that if I worked the late shift, David wouldn’t have to help out with the boys until after work, and it would only be for a couple of hours at the most.  Well, you know what I get for thinking, right?  Poor David came down with something horrible Monday;  sore throat, congestion, hoarse, fever, the works.  He stayed home yesterday and had to take care of the little ones and feeling awful.  After what happened the last time I left him to fly solo with the boys, coupled with yesterday’s experience, he’ll probably never agree to keeping the boys by himself again.  (I can’t really say that I blame him.)

9.  A few nights ago after Tater Tot’s bath, he decided to wear his fleece robe and a Santa hat for a little while.  It was like Christmas in July.

Oh, how that little boy makes me laugh.

That is all for this session of Tater randomness.

Here’s hoping the rest of your week is filled with lots of fun hodgepodge.

Wine, Food, and Lightning

Last Thursday night I went to a girls’ night out party called Corks and Canvass.  About 30 of us met at a friend’s house for a little wine and appetizers followed by an art lesson from our very talented friend, Jessie.

Our objective for the evening was to make mosaic crosses with a painted background.  I’ll be the first to admit that I broke out into a cold sweat just thinking I had to be creative.  I was happy simply to be out of the house and around grown-ups for a few hours.


I opted out of the corks part of the get-together because (1) I’m on a strict coffee diet, and (2) wine tends to give me a headache after the first glass.  Knowing that school was starting in a few days was enough to give me a headache, so why add to it?

Of course, after we finished the final product, I thought that a little vino might have helped.  The background is supposed to look like distressed wood, but it looks like the only distressed part of it was the artist.

Some of the crosses turned out beautifully, and regardless of what we took home, we all had a great time.  We hardly noticed the storm that was a-brewing outside.  There was thunder, rain, and an insane amount of lightning.  It soon passed over us and I headed home with my lopsided cross in tow.  I expected to find the house nice and quiet with two little boys tucked snugly into their beds.

My expectations were a little too lofty.

As luck (or unluck) would have it, the lightning storm was pretty severe at our house.  The big sycamore tree that stands about 30 feet from the front door was struck by lighting.  Bark is stripped off all over the thing, and you can see the hole in the ground at the base of the tree where the lightning hit the ground.  We’re hoping to save the tree, not necessarily because we love it, but because we don’t want to fork over the money to have it cut down.

The tree getting struck, however, wasn’t the worst part.  The storm knocked out our internet and the satellite.  HORRORS!  For three whole days we had no TV or internet access, and David and I were nearly beside ourselves.  I didn’t so much miss the TV, but oh my stinking heck did I miss the internet.  David practically went into mourning, because you’ll recall that TVs are his love language, which is why we have six in our little house.  Heaven forbid that we should walk from one room to another and miss an episode of Big Brother or an O.C. rerun.

The boys didn’t handle the storm very well.  From what I understand, there was much crying and clinging and whining and carrying on.  I think David white-knuckled it until I got home.

After which he needed a little cork party of his own.

When Breakfast Bars Happen to Clean Babies

At first it’s a little distressing.

And then it’s plain old fun.

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