Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thank You


He didn't die while in the service, but he died very proud to be a veteran. More importantly, he died being an incredible father, which is a service, to me, more important than anything.

I miss him so much.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Garage Sale Season

The weather is allegedly warmer, even though it's not, and garage sale season is upon us.  The neighborhood is filled with homemade neon signs pointing you toward dusty crap and old women haggling.

Last summer I had a major garage sale.  The experience was, overall, traumatic for me.  I am incapable of pricing items for a garage sale.  Seriously.  I'm one of those people pleasers that make us all nuts.  I don't want to over charge someone!  I don't want to offend them by asking too high of a price!  Here, take it!  For free!  Go!  The last time I had hosted a garage sale, I apparently underpriced things a whole, whole lot.  All these Mexican women were so happy to swoop up all of my loot, with cries of "How cheap!"  And I made like $15.  $15!

Last summer, I was selling most of my things for an upcoming move.  I sold most of my furniture and everything.  I had my sister and nephew come up to help me get things sorted and to help me price, and I found myself completely immobilized.  It wasn't fear of moving.  It wasn't sadness getting rid of my things.  It wasn't having anything to do with the recent loss of my dad.  It much do I charge?!  My sister wrote a blog post about it:

Garage Saling
Yes, I can turn the noun garage sale into a verb, just as easily as I do the word tornado.

Anyway, so as I already mentioned, M and I went to Non-Mommyville to help Non-Mommy prepare for her garage sale.  She is selling almost all of her furniture, which she is finding to be very cathartic.  The problem is, Non-Mommy can't seem to price anything.  I think most people would struggle with pricing correctly, either over or under, but she is having trouble coming up with a number.

It's actually quite hilarious.

I don't want to tell her how much to sell her stuff for, so my advice was to think about what you'd be happy to get for the big ticket items, then ask just slightly over, believing that people at garage sales are generally hagglers.

That tactic didn't work.  I said "just tell me what you were thinking of selling the couch for, and then after you tell me, I'll tell you what I was thinking", but all I got was a "I don't know!". 

Some items were easier than others, like the gas grill.  This is the grill that fell over at our house and broke, then birds nested in it, then my dad cleaned it all up for Non-Mommy, but the ignitor stopped working so you have to throw a match into it and pray you still have your hair afterwards.

After we made a list of all the big items, we went to her piles of smaller stuff to start stickering them with prices.  It's an eclectic group, from what I have seen so far.  There was a nearly brand new photo printer, Princess Diana books (which she thinks someone will buy!), watercolor brushes, a wooden shelf that I'm pretty sure my mom bought for me when I was in fifth grade and various Italian countryside prints.

Every other sentence out of Non-Mommy's mouth was "is that too much?".  Literally, books I started to price at 25 cents each she followed up with "is that too much?"  When I suggested 15 cents for an item, she admonished me for forcing someone to go to the extra mile and find a nickle, on top of a dime!

Seriously, she needs lessons in garage sales.  This thing is going to be a hoot.

I can't deal with hagglers.  Imagine how I coped with all my extended time in Central America.  Not well, people.  Not well.  I can't do it.  (Seriously, I was in a third world country.  Instead of arguing to make the price lower, I wanted to give them my entire savings account.  It's just wrong, haggling!  WRONG!)

Next time I have a garage sale, you're all invited over for a pricing party.


I'll provide the stickers.

Single Woman Saturday

Science helps us relieve the tensions of the modern life.  It's important for the single woman to be relaxed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Magnetic Ribbon Theory

I am a very impatient driver.  Unfortunately for me, I have spent the better part of the last year in the car, commuting.  This allows me a great deal of time to analyze the drivers around me.  After significant time in observation, I have now been able to develop what I call the Magnetic Ribbon Theory.  Since this was an unfunded, unofficial research project, I will continue to call it a theory.  However, I am always right (ha!), and I think you will agree with me.

Problem #1 - Minivans

Minivans are not always a problem on the road, but often times the people that are driving minivans are very distracted.  They are carrying precious cargo and feel the need to drive at least under 10 miles an hour under the speed limit.  The age of the driver does affect the speed, as well as the socio-economic status of the driver.  For example, an old rusty minivan with dirty windows, a driver that is chain smoking and 18 unbuckled children are bouncing around will most definitely drive in a slower fashion than your local soccer moms.

Can you please explain to me why old people like to drive minivans anyway?  It's not like they ever use the back seats or need the extra space.  I genuinely don't understand.

Problem #2 - Gold or Silver Cars

A car's color is very telling.  We all know that insurance companies and cops believe that bright colored cars yield speedy drivers.  I am here to tell you that, in general, gold, silver or even white cars are being driven by drivers that tend to drive more slowly.  Young or old, poor or rich, these cars are putzing along.  Is this because they are people that like to play it safe?  Safe car color, safe driver?  Or is it because they are all driving Buicks, and we all know that old people drive Buicks.

I would also like to know why Crown Vic's are the popular choice for the old folks.  It looks like a police car.  They will never drive them quickly.  Hmmm.

Problem #3 - Handicap License Plates

In no way to have a problem with disabled people's rights to have great parking.  They deserve it!  I do, however, have a problem with a handicapped driver driving as if they are turtles.  Come on, people, get to your prime parking more quickly!

Problem #4 - Magnetic Ribbons

We've all seen them.  Ribbons that can be attached to the side of a car, professing your patriotism for our country, support of troops, support of breast cancer awareness...we get it.  However, it's like the magnetic pull of those little tiny magnets is somehow pulling on the cars brakes, rendering them incapable of driving at a speed greater than 20 MPH on surface roads, 45 MPH on highways.  This problem is, without fail, consistently maddening.  I challenge you.  Find ONE car with a magnetic ribbon that is not poking along.  Just one.  It won't happen.  Something about those magnets takes over the driver's ability to drive!

Problem #5 - A gold or silver minivan, with handicap plates and a magnetic ribbon or three

The death knell for your morning commute.

Folks, as a kind community gesture, rip those magnets off, step on it, and get out of my way!

Monday, May 16, 2011

True Confessions

1. I walk my dog with a baggie in my hand so that it LOOKS like I will pick up her excrement, but I can't really do it. I just carry the bags for appearances.

2. Every morning for breakfast I eat an egg omelet with spinach, mushrooms and feta and a mini whole wheat bagel with hummus. It almost makes it worth getting up at the butt crack of dawn.

3. I recently purchased socks with different patterns on the bottoms specifically so that I could make sure that I wasn't accidentally wearing one sock more than all of the others.

4. I throw away all the dumb cartoons and advertisements that people post in the restroom. Look, I'm not interested in customizing a bag for every day of the week, a beach bag, a library bag, an overnight bag, a work bag, etc. I also don't need any Mary Kay. And, those cartoons are not funny.

5. Tonight while walking my dog, I heard a weird mechanical noise and immediately my mind went to the Smoke Monster from LOST.

6. I have never colored my hair. This is virgin hair. It has taken a vow of chastity for all time and eternity.

7. I have become part of a church that is a new denomination to me, and I love it. Love it.

8. I play the piano 200 times worse if I think anyone, even my mother or neighbors, can hear me play.

9. I love trashy shows like "Little Britain," "Absolutely Fabulous" and basically any show on Bravo TV.

10. I am more content and relaxed than I have been in a long, long time right now. It feels good.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Single Woman Saturday

Single on a Saturday night? Wondering why you're home tonight and not out on a fabulous date? Perhaps you aren't Miss Popularity? Watch and find out!

Friday, May 13, 2011


I have so much going on in my life right now.  And none of it, NONE of it, can I blog about!  It is KILLING me!  And now I'm getting out of the habit of blogging.  So, I just have to jump into the deep end and blog again.

Let's talk about field trips, shall we?  Ahh, field trips.  Fun times involving children going nuts and running around, cranky parents gossiping, and more Lunchables than can be found in the biggest Oscar Meyer plant ever.  I have had some wonderful field trips, and it is really neat to see kids out of their element, experiencing something new.  But there still have been some field trips that can go down in history as some of the most...memorable ever.

With that, I present to you my top four worst field trip experiences, ever.

The Field Trip of Death

This was my very first field trip as a teacher.  We were going to a literature festival at a university.  There were a billion, gazillion children there and I was a nervous wreck that I would lose a child (My, how times have changed!  With age comes a state of relaxation called "Don't Turn Around, Ignore What The Children are Doing Behind You").  We arrived to a classroom, where we were to hear from an author.  Imagine my surprise when we met the author and I noticed that he was old.  Really old.  Like, just wheeled out of the nursing home.  He began speaking to the students, but was struggling.  After all, he was about 150 years old.  No wonder!  Suddenly, without warning, the author collapsed on the floor!  BAM!  Given my calm, cool demeanor in an emergency, my reaction was to hold up my phone and say "I have a phone!"

Really, Non-Mommy?  That's the best you could do?

Anyway, suddenly through the fog I heard a voice say "Get the kids out of the room, dummy!"  So we evacuated the room and waited for the ambulance.  We later learned that the author didn't actually die.  He wrote my class an apology letter for scaring them.

Then, he died.

(Don't) Take Me Out to the Ball Game

We took the children to a professional baseball game.  It was looking a little cloudy, but we had the tickets and it was School Day or some such nonsense.  This meant that there were approximately 2 billion children at the stadium.  Each child purchased a healthy lunch of a hot dog or nachos.  We found our seats, approximately ten of my students had taken a seat with their food when suddenly the skies opened and it rained harder than I have ever seen.

Nachos went flying as the children ran for their lives, screaming.  Soon we were huddled under an awning with 2 billion other children, hoping the monsoon would let up in time for the game to be played.

After two hours, yes, TWO HOURS, we finally gave up.  No game.  We're out of here.  Except...where is Timmy?



Timmy was there with his non-custodial parent.  This parent was less than reliable.  Timmy, and the parent, were nowhere to be found.  I began frantically searching for Timmy and the parent, but 2 billion people were huddled like sardines in a tin can.  My heart was pounding.  My hair was curling from the rain.  This was not good.

Suddenly, I spotted them.  The parent was not kidnapping the child.  Phew.  I then had to pack 25 very disappointed (and soggy) kids onto the bus.  My boss insisted that I must call each parent on my cell phone and tell them of the situation.  I was not pleased about this, because this meant that parents would have my personal phone number.

We're Not in Kansas Anymore (a.k.a. the Barf Chronicles)

We went on a field trip to a gorgeous, gorgeous state park.  The bus drivers took us on a very windy journey to arrive at our destination.  The children were looking slightly green.  I was urging my stomach contents to remain in the proper place.  Even so, I was bragging about my field trip barf streak.  Seven years, no puke.

We finally arrived, had a great time, and it was time to go.

As we were leaving, a young lady boarded the bus.  She was feeling very queasy.  We handed her a trash bag and wished her luck.  I managed to sweet talk the bus driver to separate from the caravan and take a much less windy way home.  Before we even left the park, she hurled.  A lot.  The kids around her started gagging and yelling "EWWW!"  I tried to remind them that barfing is bad enough without an audience, so how must she feel?

The poor girl puked, and puked, and puked, and puked.  Soon, she reported that she was feeling tingly and numb.  This was not good because the young lady had a seizure disorder.  Remember, I talked the bus driver into going on a new path.  So we now found ourselves in the middle of NOWHERE, with no one else remotely close by.  We were so far from civilization that cell phones had no service.

We stopped in an abandoned town, at an abandoned cafe just like The Whistle Stop Cafe, to let the young lady get off the bus.  Maybe some fresh air would help.  We frantically tried to call ANYONE for help.  The girl was seeing black spots.  We couldn't get a hold of anyone.  The only choice we had was to get back on the bus and floor it.

Meanwhile, her poor face wasn't the only thing that was green.  We noticed that the sky was very green. It began to storm very hard.  The poor girl continued to puke and puke, and the bus driver was dodging bolts of lightning as quickly as he could.

We arrived back, the young lady went to the doctor, and we found out that when we were fleeing, there was an actual tornado on the ground.

Straight Jacket, Anyone?

Today I went on a field trip.  The weather was gloomy, but we left anyway.  We had a day of hiking planned.  One of my darling angels came on the field trip with some difficulties that I cannot blog about. Just understand that something very, very wrong was happening to the child.  The child was very angry. He kept hitting others, throwing things, and yelling at me.  At one point, I turned and saw the child sitting on top of another child, punching the other child.  Obviously, this was not going to work.

I told the child that he must stay with me for the duration of the trip, and he flipped out.  He totally lost it.  He flung himself on the ground and refused to move.  I had 60 children watching us.  We were, again, in the middle of nowhere on a trail that I was unfamiliar with.  I had to make a decision.  I had to force the child to go.  I can't leave him behind, and I need to be there for the other children and teacher.  So I called my principal.  Normally, she would have taken care of this situation.  But she had left the field trip, dealing with an emergency.  We had no chaperones.  We had no one.  My only choice was to give him the option to walk.

I abandoned the other teacher I was hiking with, and 60 children, and had to forcibly carry this child off of the trail.  I am not comfortable doing this, but had no choice.  He fought and screamed the entire way. I returned back to the beginning of the trail and waited for another teacher to come sit with the child while I caught up to the other 60 children.  I returned to the trail and enjoyed walking by myself.  I was walking rapidly, trying to find the kids, but couldn't find them.  Finally, I located them.  They all began cheering "Run, Ms. Non-Mommy!  Go Ms. Non-Mommy!"  But I was too pooped to run.

Then we were eating lunch and again, the skies opened up and we were rained upon.  A whole, whole lot.  I then had to drag my wet, defiant student onto the bus.  I placed him on a seat by himself.  He curled up into a ball and fell asleep.

The return bus ride was very curvy.  The bus was very steamy from the rain.  The defiant child slept the entire time.  Suddenly a cry from the back indicated that something had happened.  A barfy girl came up to the front of the bus, puking.  She puked into the trash can at the front of the bus, held by another teacher so that she wouldn't fall over when the bus navigated the turns.  She then turned her head and puked all over the bus steps and glass door.

We arrived back at the classroom.  I was exhausted and fed up.  The defiant child climbed up onto a table in my room and fell instantly asleep.  He slept for two hours, on a table.  Did I wake him up?  Heck no.  He didn't even wake up when the bell rang.

There is a reason that I always buy myself a bottle of wine for field trip days.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Letter to Important People

We interrupt this blog break (my drunk grandmother is here and keeps me from blogging) to present an important letter to the important people in our country.

Dear President Obama, CNN, and all the other fine folks with important news last night,

Wow.  What a night last night!  You really caught us off guard.  While I hate to celebrate the death of any human, it is a relief to know that this evil man can no longer hurt anyone else.  I appreciate that you kept your word about finding him, and that you also managed to keep such a huge secret.

May I politely make a small point?  When you suddenly announce that you are going to be making a speech at 10:30 at night and give absolutely no indication as to why you plan to address the nation, people will naturally wonder what is going on.  It is rather odd that you would address us unexpectedly, at such a late hour.  Then, when you (AND YOU, CNN!) announce that it relates to a security issue, people naturally begin to think of the reasons you could be addressing us late on a Sunday night.

CNN and all of your minions, when you report that they continue to delay the speech, it makes people think that the president is receiving more and more information, people begin to worry.  It begins to sound more and more serious.  Then, when you say that the president is busy calling all the people involved, people worry even more.  What does this mean?  Is the president calling Congress into emergency session?  Is he calling brilliant scientists?  Is he calling the local duct tape factory?

Before we knew what was happening, I admit that I got scared.  I began to think of all the scenarios that could be happening.

It could be war, but that was knocked out of the running by the security issue.

It could be a terrorist attack.

It could be that the scientists were wrong, and radiation has arrived here and is killing us all and we are to duct tape ourselves in our homes.  (But I'm out of duct tape!)

It could be that an asteroid is about to hit.

It could be that aliens are coming for us at this very moment.

It could be that you, Mr. President, are announcing your sudden resignation, a la President Nixon.

It could be that you are alarmed at the rate in which people sneak food into movie theaters, and you felt it important enough to address us late at night.

So you see, Mr. President and news stations everywhere, those few moments induced quite a bit of panic.  Next time do you think you could personally call me first and let me know what is up?  I promise to keep it quiet.  It's just good for my state of mind.

Despite this little snafu, I do want to commend you on a job extremely well done, and also tell Donald Trump to shove it.  You really did have more important things to do than provide him with your birth certificate.  And also, you have nicer hair.



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