Random Saturdays – Kitten Worries

I have plenty of Pinterest projects lined up to keep me out of trouble, but I decided to take in a near-death kitten instead.  I just love stressing myself out over an animal I barely know and spending hundreds of dollars that I can’t really afford so that I can clean up animal messes and destruction.  That’s not really how I see it, but that’s how I feel when I look at myself from the outside.

I’ve written on Facebook about how we found the perfect kitten on my in-laws’ farm.  Some jerks dropped off this wonderful cat who is too gentle and loving to be a farm cat.  Something happened to the cat the day before we got back to the farm – the ear was bloody and his tongue was poking out of his mouth, also bloody.  I stressed all weekend about this poor kitten.  We did our best to care for him and clean his wounds, but he needed a trip to the vet.  The employees at the vet’s were amazingly wonderful people who cared about little Pad Kee Meow.  I kept asking for an outright prognosis on his condition.  They would give me the diagnosis, but wouldn’t tell me the words I wanted to hear – “He should be just fine.”  So, my worrying continued late into the night.

After two days of meds, food, water, and care, I took Pad Kee back to see the vet.  The vet was amazed at the progress that Pad Kee had made and gave me a much better prognosis this time.  The lovely vet tech cleaned out Pad Kee’s ear again and gave him a dewormer, something they were afraid to do initially since he was so dehydrated and malnourished.  Lil Pad Kee continued to improve.  He ate dry food with his tiny kitten teeth and his healed mouth, which helped his rank breath improve.  His ears still had some scabs, but looked more like he may have scratched a bit too vigorously at them rather than that he must have narrowly escaped some fierce creature that mauled his ear.

The little fighter was still sweet as can be.  All he wanted was food and attention, preferably at the same time.  Taking care of him was alot of work, but it also made me think back to when I adopted Elska.  She was a skinny little rat, with a sore on her ear and fleas.  She was 99% scared and 1% loving.  If you stuck your hand out, she would pet herself on it and purr like a motorcycle.  Then, she would seemingly remember that she was nervous and jump away from your hand to run and hide under furniture.  Anyone who has been around Elska knows that she’s still very nervous and scared, but she has improved a great deal.  She’s an old lady cat now, as opposed to an old cat lady, which is what I am.  She’s about 60% scared and 40% loving.  She’s even started to be brave enough to go out into the backyard at night.  Ben doesn’t think we should let Pad Kee into the backyard because he will gladly go home with anyone that walks by, unlike Elska, who runs back into the house if she hears anyone walk by on the sidewalk at the bottom of the hill that’s beside our brick neighborhood wall. (After I typed that, I moved my leg and she jumped into the air and off the couch where she was napping.)

So, I’m pretty confident that Pad Kee will make a full recovery and be a part of our family for years to come.  I keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time, just like a recovering addict or Valerie Bertinelli.  On the plus side, I have learned quite a bit about various cat breeds and feline herpes.  I could definitely ace those two categories in a game of Jeopardy!  I also got sick a week after we got Pad Kee, which forced me to take one day at a time because I had a hard time keeping track of day and night.  Also, I wished that we hadn’t gone to streaming only because I would’ve liked to had the ability to watch some Jeopardy!

Random Saturdays – Winter Cleaning

Part of my workout routine has been to clean the house.  I live in a house that is way to big for me.  It’s way to big for my cat and me.  It’s even way to big for my husband, my cat, and me.  We have the kids 8 – 12 days out of the month, and that is the only time that the house seems like the right size.  When we have people over for birthday parties or holiday meals, the house feels like a good size.  Most of the time, though, it’s too big.

Most of the time, it’s just Ben and me cleaning, too.

We don’t make the cat clean because she’s spoiled.  The last time we had the kids, we made them clean upstairs (their area) on Saturday so that we could spend the rest of the weekend having fun.  We also told them that if they cleaned, we could try to go to the farm the next weekend that we had them.  So, they worked hard, we worked hard, they argued, they whined, they cried, and they finally got the upstairs clean.

Other than times like that, Ben and I don’t really spend large chunks of time cleaning because we don’t have large chunks of time to spend on cleaning.  Mostly, I keep the dishes and clothes washed, clean the kitchen counters, and try to keep things fairly organized so that anyone in the house can find anything he or she may need at any given time.  Before company comes over, we try to clean the toilets, swiffer the first floor, and clear space on the tables and counters.  Then, I greet everyone at the door with excuses and apologies for how dirty the house is.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I am trying to develop healthy habits, including not being sedentary for too long.  So, I try to get up every hour or so and run in place.  Then, it occurred to me that I could also do spot cleaning in order to be active while also being productive.  The first spot cleaning is heavy duty, but spot cleaning afterwards is much easier.  As it turns out, cleaning burns alot of calories and works alot of muscles that I don’t use when I’m sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen.  Weird, huh?

I don’t think this house will ever be clean from top to bottom until the day we sell it and move.  The spot cleaning makes such a difference, at least as far as my emotional well-being.  I think it also helps my allergies.  It definitely adds to steps on my Fitbit.  I might buy some stock in Swiffer soon.  Those little cloths come in handy in so many ways.

 

Random Saturdays – Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of the Year of the Fire Rooster.  This is especially exciting to me because I am a Rooster.  Ba-kawk!  It also gives me another opportunity for a New Year’s post.  I haven’t posted anything since before Christmas because I was on vacation, and then got sick, and then became very busy trying to get back into the swing of things.

January hasn’t ended yet, and it seems like my calendar is already packed to the gills – places to go, things to do, people to see, bills to pay.  Recently, Minecraft told me about how this school year seems to be flying by faster than any other school year.  He couldn’t believe that it was already Christmas and his birthday is just around the corner now.  I told him that the first time I had that feeling was in the 4th grade.  Every year since then has seemed to go by faster than the year before.

I haven’t made any real resolutions this year because I am constantly battling with my health and constantly trying to figure out how to put more than 24 hours into the day.  I did sign up for the Run The Year 2017 challenge with Cathy.  I’m trying to be more active for the sake of my health.  I’m sick so much of the time, but I don’t want to sit around when I’m not too sick to be active.  I’m hoping that will help me feel better more often so that I can enjoy more time with friends and family.  I also learned over the holidays that I tend to be GO-GO-GO!!! one day and then need to rest the next day (or two) to recover.  If I do that, I don’t seem to get sick quite as easily.  If I’m not sick as often, then I’ll have more time to enjoy with my friends and family.  It’s the closest solution I’ve found to putting more hours into the day.

I wish that I were healthy, that I could just wake up, work out, go to work, eat healthy, take some vitamins, and call it a day.  I’m tired of beating myself up over the fact that I’m not like that, though.  I recently signed up for some newsletters and videos from Dr. Christiane Northrup where she talks about accepting your limitations and the signals your body gives you.  If your body tells you something, then you should listen.  It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or flawed, and acting on those signals will make you healthier and happier in the long run.  I felt like that was The Universe telling me that I’m getting on the right track with self-care (finally).

Since I am a Rooster, this year is supposed to be unlucky for me.  I’m just going to ignore that and try to wear red socks when I work out and red PJs when I’m recovering.  If anyone has any better ideas, please let me know, especially if they involve getting more sleep or eating more cookies.

新年快樂!

Random Saturdays -Christmas Decorating

Oh man.  I have been such a procrastinating fool about decorating.  To be honest, since we moved into this house, it’s been a struggle to finish unpacking while keeping the house clean.  Decorating has been on the backest of the back burners for awhile.  Since we didn’t have the kids for Thanksgiving, though, I wanted to get Christmas decorations up for when we first got them in December.

At first, three plastic bins and a few smaller boxes seemed like alot of decorations.  I guess I was still thinking of my single days of living in small apartments with the cat because the more decorations I put up, the less decorations it looks like I have up.  How is that possible?  Is this house growing as quickly as the kids grow?  Did I move into the Tardis of Tardises?

Decorating for Christmas this year also reminded me, yet again, that I’m old.  I never used to understand how people could spend so much time looking over fake plants or getting excited over plastic flowers.  I’ve already bought 3 different kinds of fake greenery to go with the box of fake greenery that I already had.  What in the world is that?  I really don’t even understand why that makes me happy or how that makes it feel like Christmas, but it does.  I’ve used the real stuff and I actually do not prefer it because that crap has to be watered, sheds on the floor, makes me sneeze, and then I have to throw it all out anyway.  The fake stuff seems less wasteful.  It blends in well with the bonsais and bamboo that we keep the rest of the year too.

Some of the decorations in the collection were made with the help of the chillrens over the past few years.  Other parts were just Ben and me going, I’m an adult with a job, so I can finally go into debt buying the crap I wanted as a kid!”

Decorations I’ve bought:
Ceramic Tree – I couldn’t find it online, but we bought it at Cracker Barrel.  Ben and I both got stupid excited over this tree.  It had a train that drove through it, played different Christmas songs, and had changing lights.  Oh yeah, the kids love it too.  It looks kinda like this one, but was not nearly as expensive.
Fake Berries – I don’t know why I think this stuff is so pretty, but I do.  It’s honestly hard for me not to eat these.  They just look so pretty and delicious.  I wish I had enough to fill the whole house with them, like some kinda Christmas candy forest!

Decorations I’ve made:
Ho Ho Ho banner – This was pretty quick, but not quite as easy as I thought.  I decided to write the letters myself instead of printing them out, which is why my banner isn’t as pretty as the one I pinned.  I still think it’s cute, just not cute enough to put up on Pinterest.
Snow Man Door – Lego helped me make ours a few years ago.  He also named it, “Shuger”.  He’s a better speller now, mostly.  This was another one that looked quick and easy, but was not quick and was only mostly easy.  That’s Pinterest for ya.

Decorations I’d like to buy or make:
Snowflake Table Runner – I remember learning to make paper snowflakes in the 1st grade.  I got very sick the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, but I spent alot of time in December and January making paper snowflakes, wetting them, and sticking them to the windows.  This seems like a version of my snowflaked youth.
Elaborate Wreath – Of course, it would only be complete with an elaborate porch.  See how the red reindeer looks upon the grand wreaths with awe!  Gaze upon the door that is too pretty for a mortal hand to knock!  Be gone with ye, but return when you are bearing gifts of cookies!

I buy most of my holiday stuff after each holiday, when it’s all on clearance (at least 50% off, but preferable >75% off).  I’m still discovering the sale goodies that I found last year.  Hopefully, we’ll be done decorating the house by the end of this weekend and I can go back to focusing on keeping the floors, countertops, and dishes clean.

 

 

Random Saturdays – Thanksgiving Guide for Aliens

We do not have the kids this Thanksgiving (and I’m writing this post before Thanksgiving).  It took longer than normal to figure out what we’d do for Thanksgiving this year because we didn’t have to figure out when we’d pick up the kids, what activities they had, what activities our friends and families had, and how to be as efficient with our time as possible so that everyone got to see the kids and nobody’s friends or families were forgotten.  When we realized that we wouldn’t have the kids this year and that nobody had offered any solid plans for us to add to the calendar, we had no idea what to do with our time.

I had been talking to some friends about their different plans for the holiday and I read many articles in magazines and online about how to plan a stress-free Thanksgiving or how to deal with the stress of Thanksgiving.  There are also plenty of articles on how to decorate, clean, and cook for Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving!  I love that we, as a country, set aside a time to be grateful for anything and everything.  If an alien visited the U.S. during Thanksgiving, though, how would we explain Thanksgiving?  I mean, there’s history with Pilgrims and Native Americans and whatnot, but that would mean nothing to an alien.  How do we explain how we celebrate Thanksgiving now?  The obvious answer is that we’d compile a list of Must Dos and post it on the internet for all the aliens to read.

Thanksgiving Guide for Aliens

  1. Figure out when the most people are the most available.  Is everyone off on Thanksgiving?  Would meeting the weekend after work better?  Does anyone have child custody, probation, or Mogwai time restrictions that must be followed?
  2. Find a location big (or small) enough to hold the available people.  This could be someone’s house, a restaurant, or the neighbor’s backyard since they have a better landscaper than you and are out of town this week.
  3. Make a menu.  This is really important because the timing of everything else depends on when the food will be ready to eat.  My family always had Thanksgiving dinner.  Ben’s family always had Thanksgiving lunch.  I’ve even heard of Thanksgiving brunch.  It really doesn’t matter as long as the person cooking and the person arranging the location for eating are on the same timetable.  Everyone else can do whatever they want as long as they don’t make the person cooking wait to eat.  It’s even better if everyone makes a little something so that no one person has to do all the work.  I say this (a) having made entire Thanksgiving meals from scratch by myself because my perfectionist attitude and my tastebuds told me to and (b) my antidepressants now make me really unmotivated to do much of anything 90% of the time, despite my tastebuds.
  4. Cook, travel, gather, and eat.  Don’t argue (or fight) over something dumb.  This is a time to enjoy family, friends, and food.  As long as you have a sliver of one of those, then you’re doing well.  Don’t instigate arguments.  Don’t be snarky.  If someone says something snarky to you, ignore it.  I always feel sorry for those people because they are bursting with so much negativity that it just spews from their mouths like stinky farts.  Also, if you’re with your loved ones, then it’s safe to assume that they did not mean what they said in a way that would hurt you.  They either have diarrhea of the mouth or it sounded better in their heads.  Even if you know this person just likes to complain and pick arguments, consider it a mouth fart and be glad that you don’t mouth fart.
  5. Sleep.  Watch the parade.  Watch football.  Play games.  Eat way too much.  Read.  Go for a walk.  Enjoy this time because it will be a memory in the past before you know it.

That’s my guide to Thanksgiving for aliens.  There’s no need to thank me.  I just like to volunteer out of the kindness of my heart to check things off the Alien Invasion Preparedness List.

H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G !

Or Happy Random Thursday if you are not in the U.S.!

Random Saturdays – Welcome Holidays!

The holiday season is here!  If you’re old like me, you find yourself saying, once again, “I can’t believe it’s already November.  Where did the year go?”  If you love the holiday season like me, you are also excited that the holiday season is here.  Canada has already celebrated Thanksgiving, and Halloween and Election Day have just passed in the U.S.  The next big U.S. holiday is, of course, Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is also the birthday season in my world.  From October – March it’s a non-stop birthday celebration.  I used to be one of the few summer birthday people that I knew.  Now that I’m married, half of the family have birthdays during birthday season, and the other half of the family has birthdays in the summer.  I’ve always felt sorry for people who had birthdays around the holidays because their birthdays are overshadowed by the big holidays, especially if you’re born around Christmastime.  That’s why I try to make a point of giving separate Christmas and birthday presents to Christmas babies.  Plus, there are so many great sales during the holiday season that it should be easier to shop for holiday season babies.

Oh and shopping.  There’s the neverending fight between shopping vs. meaningful holidays.  I really don’t think that they are mutually exclusive.  I believe you just have to be aware of the meaning in holidays and you have to try to share that meaning with others when you are giving gifts.  This is especially tricky with kids because they are naturally inclined to just want stuff, lots and lots of stuff.  If we don’t teach them to be grateful for what they have and to think about what they can give and do for others, then they turn into ungrateful adults who have the nerve to think they can actually criticize gifts given to them and favors done for them.  That is the type of attitude that kills the holiday spirit and turns everything into a debate about the “true” meaning of any given holiday in a bad way.

This was our first holiday season together. The kids are about twice the size as they were then. My stomach is about twice the size s it was then. (From left to right: Dora, Lego, Ben, Minecraft)


I am American and I celebrate Thanksgiving.  I love the food.  I love time off from work.  I love spending time with my family and friends. When I plan Thanksgiving at my house, I always try to do it as low key as possible, but then find myself stressing myself out by trying to cook everything perfectly and make the house look immaculate.  I do it to myself.  Not once has anyone ever criticized me for not having enough food, the right food, a dirty home, ugly decorations, etc.  It’s all in my head.  With the kids, I’m trying to be more aware of that and remember that if I stress myself out over this crap that doesn’t matter, then they will learn to stress themselves out over crap that doesn’t matter as well.  Just as bad, they may start stressing others out about crap that doesn’t matter and think they are entitled to criticize the cooking and entertaining abilities of others.  So, I’m trying not to pass stress and judgement on to my kids.

Then there’s Christmas.  Let me say now that I am not Crhstian but I do celebrate Christmas.  I grew up Christian, spent many years in a crisis of faith, and have finally found myself in a good spiritual place, the details of which I am not going to delve into during this post.  I celebrate Christmas because it’s what I grew up with and it represents a time of giving and spending time with loved ones for me.  When I had the Great Santa Claus Crisis around the age of 10, my mother told me that she believed in Santa Claus because he was the spirit of giving.  So, no matter how old you were, you should always believe in Santa Claus.  No matter how much or how little you got in your stocking, you should always believe in Santa Claus.  I decided to adopt that belief as my own.

We just had the kids write their letters to Santa because we won’t see them much in November and we wanted to make sure that Santa had plenty of time to get their letters.  They asked for some surprising gifts, but also had interesting conversations with Santa.  Dora was concerned that Santa might not like the milk and cookies she wants to leave for him.  Minecraft told Santa that if he were lucky, he would get cookies and milk.  Lego just wanted to know if Santa and Mrs. Claus were doing okay up in the North Pole.  They all decorated their letters with colorful pictures and included phrases like, “Santa’s #1!”  Three years ago, their letters to Santa just told Santa what they wanted.  It might not seem like much, but to see their thought processes go from “Here’s what I want,” to “How are you. Here’s what I might do for you.  I think you’re great!” is pretty cool.  They also helped each other write their letters, with no help from Ben or me.  We did have to get onto them once for arguing over marker colors, but they worked together well otherwise.  Now, I can add cooperation, mental growth, and emotional growth to the great things that Santa represents for me.

As I typed this, it was about 6:30 AM and I had been awake for three hours with a terrible headache.  The kids were just picked up for school by their bio-mom and Ben had just left for work.  The cat was running circles around the house, chasing invisible toys.  The Excedrin has moved from making my head a bit numb to making me rather dizzy and the cat has begun her grooming routine, signaling that she is ready to curl up with me for her morning nap.  I’m going to take the cat’s advice to end this post and get some rest.  I hope that you are as excited about the holiday season as I am and that it holds as much meaningful promise for you as it does for me.  Happy Holidays!

Random Saturdays – Lake Trip

Every year, Ben goes with his frat brothers to the crappiest lake around here.  They find the crappiest cabin at that lake, pile in the cabin, and pretend to be in college again, without the school stuff.  As my dear husband puts it, “We chose the location for its crappiness because we’re less likely to be around other people, which means we’re less likely to bother other people, which means we don’t have to deal with complaints from other people.”  Lest you think I’m exaggerating, Ben was one of two guys to take a shower at the cabins last year, and he ended up soaked in stagnant dead fish water…straight from the lake.  He is going to skip the shower this year, not willing to risk staph or e.coli this time.

The wives, girlfriends, and girl friends of the guys are mostly friends with each other.  We had mentioned doing our own version of the lake trip before, but things happened.  This year, we finally got around to planning our Ladies Lake Trip.  Well, a few of us did anyway.  It’s funny;  no matter how inclusive you think you’re being, there are always people that you always realize at the last minute that you never invited people that you probably should have invited.  At any rate, five of us are headed to a Groupon Retreat a few hours away for the weekend.  Our place is a little nicer than the guys’ place.  Ours has a full kitchen, wi-fi, and clean water.  We can go swimming, play volleyball, go hiking, feed deer, do a wine tasting, go shopping, dine at fancy restaurants, dine at comfy restaurants, and take showers without getting MRSA.

Normally, I’m all about planning this stuff out waaaaay in advance and making a detailed itinerary.  I don’t necessary have to follow the plan, but I do have to have the plan so that I don’t feel like the world will fall apart.  This time, I was working at night, subbing in the day, sending out my resume, going on interviews, going to football games in the Sahara Desert, sick, jacked up from steroids from being sick, planning birthday parties, planning family holidays, having long conversations with my doctor and the insurance company, and trying not to fall asleep on the toilet.  So, it wasn’t until three days before the trip that I was able to really look into any substantial plans at all.  Up to that point, I mostly just threw my credit card at people and told my Ladies that we would math it out later.

There’s still SO MUCH stuff that I need to do around the house.  I haven’t even put up a single Halloween decoration yet and Halloween is my mo fo favorite holiday of all the holidays in all the world.  Maybe that’s why I’ve spent so much time staring at the same Halloween decorations when I pick up various meds at the pharmacy.  Either way, my brain has shut off already.  My planning, analytical, and guilt-ridden brain has placed an Out To Lunch sign on my cumbersome To Do List.  Everytime I think of all of my responsibilities, my brain just blithers out and dies.  Doing work is hard because I get frustrated and then the four brain cells that were left behind in case of emergencies just yell things like, “This is the type of junk that forced me on a Groupon Retreat!” or “No, no, no, pbblt!”

A single day of no obligations, no responsibilities, and Girl Time.  This is what I need.  I don’t even want to go because I’m so exhausted.  When I think about it, I just want to pass out when I log off work and then sleep until I have to log back into work again.  However, my brain and soul are talking and conspiring for more quality healing time than just a marathon sleeping session.  When I think about packing and driving and walking and talking, I get tired.  Thankfully, that part of my brain is mostly too tired to think about how tired it is.  That’s what allowed those other four brain cells to take care of everything without worrying about math or exhaustion or responsibilities so that I might actually enjoy myself with my girls.  I’m grateful that when my brain shuts down, it’s sometimes for my own frippin’ benefit.  The fact that my friends are super cool really awesomer than everyone else ain’t too shabby either.

 

Random Saturdays – No! Sleep! ‘Til…uh…hmm…

The Beastie Boys have written part of the soundtrack to my life, which is why it’s so great that the new Star Trek movies have incorporated my favorite Beastie Boys song into their DNA.  The only problem is that I am no longer young enough to keep going on the rockin’ musics and adrenaline alone.  I require that oh so in demand necessity that I once thought was for babies and old people – SLEEP.

When I lived alone and my job was different, I did not get enough sleep.  I found myself napping on the weekends with a kitten curled beside me and PBS making some nice quiet noise in the background.  I’d feel lazy and useless, but well-rested by the time I got back to work on Mondays.  Then, things at work changed.  I began getting to work early, working through lunch, staying late, and then working all night as I got calls.  I still didn’t mind much, though.  I mean, it’s not like I was missing time with my husband or kids.  It was just me and the cat and the cat was fine as long as she could curl up beside me on the couch while I worked.

Eventually, a family did calculate into my life and I struggled to figure out how to keep all my priorities, well, priorities.  I kinda sorta found a semblance of what I could pretend was balance, except that my health evaporated.  I had no time for sleep, so I hate high energy foods and drank high calorie beverages.  That might not have been so bad if I had been expending high amounts of physical energy rather than high amounts of emotional and mental energy.  Even worse, my diet and lack of energy meant that if I sat still, my eyes would close and I would fall asleep.  So, even when I was at work or with my family & friends, I was not really with them because I was either willing my eyes to stay open or falling asleep.

I’m trying to eat better now (the whole, smaller, but more regular meals thing), which is working well.  I don’t eat seconds.  I even skip desserts.  Sometimes.  I’m trying to stay active, at least doing more around the house and making sure I get some yoga stretches in daily.  Yet, I still cannot get enough sleep.  Even when I lay down and have time for sleep, I cannot sleep.  My body is exhausted.  I cannot keep my eyes open.  I cannot sleep.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been battling some kind of sinus thing that turned into a head cold.  Before it turned into bronchitis or anything truly fun, I got on the Z-pak and steroid regiment for a few days.  Today was the last day.  It helped me limp through the weekend of outdoor football with the kiddos, but I didn’t really feel any better until I finally got some sleep on Saturday night.  I knew that I would have my first subbing job on Monday, followed by a full evening of my regular job.  So, I was in bed by 10 PM and I did not get out of bed until 5:15 AM.  I didn’t sleep much, but I did rest.  The steroids make sleep difficult.

At school, I ran mostly on adrenaline and steroids.  It was exhilarating and new!  I loved it!  As I told Ben, “I only repeated myself once or twice to even the most confused or worst behaved kids and it was so much better than repeating myself 15 times to someone who gets paid three times more than me to be five times dumber than me.”  I came home and took a nap until Ben was ready to grab a quick dinner.  I also requested a stop by Starbucks for a coffee.

Guess who called on the way out – the teacher for whom I subbed today!  I was baffled, sure that she had called to personally chew me out for doing such a terrible job today.  It turns out, her flight was late and she was wondering if I’d be able to cover for her tomorrow morning.  My first thought was, “No.  It cannot be done.”  Then, I thought, “Well, I probably won’t be able to sleep until tomorrow afternoon when the last of the steroids wear off anyway.  I get off work at 5 AM, which is exactly enough time to have breakfast, have some coffee, take a shower, and get ready to go to the school.”  Plus, wow, this teacher still trusts me enough with her kids that she wants me to sub again?

I felt like this is one of those teensy tiny opportunities that can so easily be thrown away.  Later on down the road, when I have my certificate and am trying to get a job at the school, these teachers might say, “Oh, she’s subbed for me before, and I guess she was okay.  I dunno.”  Or, they might say, “Wasn’t that the weirdo who agreed to sub that one time for a few hours when we really needed her?”  Plus, alot of the teachers are out right now because of colds & flus and I’m just getting over mine.  So, I can feel for them and I might as well try to help where I can.

By the time this blog is published, I may have slept.  Maybe I’ll be in Brooklyn.  Most likely, I will be at the kids’ football games in Nowheresville, TX, trying not to fall asleep.

Random Saturdays – Fall Time, Busy Time

Man, it has been a really long time since my last post.  I think of new blog posts daily, usually when I’m in the bathroom, driving in the car, or falling asleep.  By the time I sit down in front of a computer with internet access, I’m either working, looking for a teaching job, or working on the budget and blog posts are the furthest thing from my mind.

I do not like my job anymore.  I am not proud of the company for which I work.  I absolutely adore the people on my team, though.  There are some other friends that I’ve made at work that completely make it worth having gotten that job at all.  I appreciate my team and my boss being so supportive of me trying to switch careers and allowing me to adjust my work schedule.  There is just not a better group of people with which I could hope to work.  Even so, I feel like all of our hard work is for naught and that we’re all just biding our time until we are let go.  I feel like the only reason to stay in a situation like that is if you really believe in your work and what it contributes to the company as a whole.  I do not feel this way at all.

That’s why I decided to switch gears and get into teaching.  I see all of these ads encouraging people to become teachers.  I read article after article of how in demand good teachers are in Texas.  I have known people who are in teaching for all the wrong reasons and cannot understood how they were ever hired in the first place.  I figured that if I was going to have to deal with the difficulties that come with any job, I would also like to have the feeling, at least once a year, that I may have actually made a difference to at least one person – one child.

Becoming a teacher, especially if you are switching careers and cannot afford to work for free for a year is extremely difficult.  I’ve learned that I just have to to bide my time, and wait to jump on every tiny little crack in the door that I find.  I have never pursued a career so aggressively in my life.  I am SPAMming people with my applications.  I am updating my online applications weekly.  I am reading articles and literature, trying to find advice for teachers, for their struggles, for their successes, for teaching methods, for all things education (especially in Texas).

I did get accepting as a substitute into a local school district.  It’s actually a really top notch school district and I consider myself lucky that my first foray into teaching will be in such a great school district with wonderful support staff and eager students.  Because of my primary job, my family obligations, and my health, I will only be able to sub on Mondays and maybe the occasional Friday.  I wish I could sub more, get to know the schools, employees, teachers, and students in the district more, but I’m lucky that I get to have a full-time job and still sub.  Tonight, I signed up for my first job subbing at an elementary school!

I.  AM.  SO.  EXCITED!!!

I’m sick, feel like crud, running on fumes, and filled with cold meds, asthma meds, allergy meds, and steroids.  It’s going to be a struggle to get through this week, and I’m not completely sure how I’m going to get through Monday.  It’s important that I kick this teaching dream into gear, though.  Part of the reason I’m on all of these meds is because we have our kids this weekend and have to spend all of Saturday in Nowheresville, TX for the boys’ football games.  (I’m not going to rant about that right now.)  Why am I spending Saturday in towns that I hate watching the only sport that I hate?  Because I love my kids to the moon and back.

I almost didn’t accept the subbing gig on Monday because I thought maybe I’ll still be sick, maybe I should use that time to rest, maybe I should wait until a better time, blah, blah, blah.  Then, I slapped myself, realizing that if I want to teach, then I need to teach.  I’m lucky that my first exposure to this is as a sub because I have minimal responsibility and can follow in the express guidance of an experienced teacher.  I can get the feel of teaching, get the feel of this school district, and get the feel of this school without putting my entire career on the line.  That’s purty danged cool.  Plus,  Monday is the last day that I’ll have the steroids and antibiotics.  So, if my health doesn’t improve after I’m done with this round of meds, then I’m going to be sick awhile and will need to go back to the doctor, which will delay teaching even more.  Instead of looking for reasons to delay my dreams of teaching, I have to find ways to make it frippin’ happy.

This weekends plans:  Work.  Cook a buncha pancakes for brunch on Saturday.  Spend the rest of Saturday in Nowheresville, TX and Other Nowheresville, TX for small town elementary school football games.  Go to church.  Work on the budget.  Get family photos done.  Laundry.  Clean.   Prepare to teach.  Get healthy.

That’s not so bad, right?

 

Random Saturdays -School

I recently heard a coworker talking about his plans for getting his kids through college.  He was banking on mostly scholarships, even though neither of his kids are even average in school.  He did all this math to figure out the grades needed in classes to get a certain GPA that would get scholarships.

I have never in my life done math to figure out the least I could do to make the highest GPA.

I think I did school wrong.

In fact, I know I did because that sentence I just wrote bugs me (i.e. poor grammar).

Right now, we have three kids in elementary school and I’m frightened of what will happen when they reach college age.  There are plenty of non-school reasons for this, but I primarily wonder (1) What if they don’t go to college and (2) What if they all go to college?  If none of them go to college, we have failed as parents.  They probably won’t get good jobs.  They might not be upstanding members of society.  They will probably blame it all on us.  If they all go to college, how are we supposed to afford it?  Are we going to have to do a bunch of math to figure out what grades each child will need to get in order to get enough scholarships and grants to pay for school?  What if they all three want to go to very expensive schools with very crappy scholarship programs?  Or worse, what if they all want to go to very expensive schools with very incompetent student aid departments who leave applicants’ financial aid documentation sitting in the bottom of a pile of papers on the desk of someone who is on vacation for the summer?  (Uh, yeah, that really happened to me.)  How much will college even cost when they’re old enough to go?  It’s almost doubled since I graduated from high school 15-some years ago.

Then, I think about how I spent the first half of my life measuring my self-worth entirely by numbers – my grades, my weight, my income (or lack thereof).  I think about how depressed I was about being dumb, fat, and poor.  I think about how much time and effort I wasted on being anxious about how I would explain a B in statistics to any of my future employers.

Still, I turned out just fine.  I don’t have a big-paying job, but I do have a job that pays my bills.  I started saving for retirement.  I have affordable health insurance.  My husband is great.  My step-kids are loving.  My family is supportive.  My friends are like family.  I never got into drugs.  I don’t have a drinking problem.  I’ve never been to jail.  I have excellent credit.  I’m really good at finding discounts and rarely purchase anything full price.  I recycle.  I Pinterest. I get my 10,000 steps in a few times a week.

In short, life is good and so am I.  Life and I are both also short, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, when I sit back and really think about it, I realize that I don’t actually have to stress out about the kids’ educational futures.  We’ll just keep working with them, helping them in any way that we can, and will hope for the best.  It’s hard to plan for something so far away with so many unknown factors over which you have no control.  Hopefully, they will all want to go to college for the sake of learning, bettering themselves, making lifelong connections, increasing their chances for getting good jobs, etc.  Hopefully, they’ll also learn that having a degree is not a requirement of having good life and being a good person, that those things depend on your actions way before you get into college.  I hope that my kids are able to understand the importance of arithmetic without torturing themselves with numbers.