Saturday, December 19, 2009

Back online...for now

I arrived safely in Michigan a couple of hours ago. I'm here until the 30th (Lord help us all), although it's really more the 29th since I leave at, oh, 8 am on the 30th. The untrusting bastards in my new apartment building all have their wireless accounts password protected, so I haven't been able to get online from home and all "blogging" sites are blocked on my work computer. Therefore, I'll be able to check in with y'all for the next 10 days or so.

The move went smoothly. It came down to the wire, but everything fell into place the day before the move. I was able to do it without springing for a moving truck--my new place was just a few miles from the old one, and I had friends moving carloads of boxes. Sadly, moving my furniture was only a few trips in the back of a Ford truck (although the guys did fit quite a lot into each of those trips, with their Tetris-like loading skillz). It only took a few hours (with a U-Haul, it would have been like 20 minutes, but whatever).

I really like my new place. I have brand new carpet and of course the walls were freshly painted, so that's cool. My favorite part of the apartment is over by the bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom has two doors--one leading out to the main part of the apartment and then one leading to the bedroom. On the way to the bedroom, though, is a little hallway with 2 huge closets on each side, giving it almost a walk-in-closet feel. It's got lots of storage and closets for a one bedroom, too, which is nice. My dining room area is obviously totally empty except for a bookcase, and my living room consists of my small couch, a tv stand and the TV, but overall it's starting to look like a (sparsely furnished) home. I'm kind of looking forward to slowly adding new pieces of furniture over the next few months. I bet I can make some really good garage sale finds. And it's MINE. No roommate. Oh, the giddiness of it all.

Everything else is fine. The kids were nuts this last week and about killed me, but now I'm freeeee till the 4th. I've been seeing a lot of Chad, of course (since I have my OWN DAMN PLACE and can do whatever I want), but we're still more friends than anything. Sort of. It's quite complicated. We care about each other in a more-than-friends way, but we also don't want to screw up our really close friendship. So we're kind of seeing what happens. I've been having so much fun with him, though. It's like having your best friend sleep over a lot (even on a school night, LOL). And for the record, he sleeps out on the couch when he's there. He says it's more comfortable than my bed. (Sometimes he'll lay in there with me, talking with me till I fall asleep, then he moves out to the living room.)

All in all, life is pretty good. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. They obviously worked. I'm off to get my Facebook fix now (another site that's blocked from work). What's everyone else been up to?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Theoretically, I'm moving in a day and a half. I still don't know what my final deposit is going to be, and once I find out I have to run to the bank to get a cashier's check or money order....oh, and I still have to arrange to have the power turned on (so it better be able to be done same-or next-day)...all of this by Saturday. Yeah. A little stressed.

On the plus side, I'm pretty much packed.

I won't have internet hooked up right away, so worst case scenario, I won't be back online (as in the blog and Facebook; I can still check email from work) till next weekend, when I get to my mom's house. However, there's a good chance that someone in my new building will have wireless that my laptop can piggyback off (for free. Holla!) so you may be seeing me sooner.

Pray for me!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Update on the update

Okay. So I'm good to go in my new apartment; we're still haggling over my down payment/deposit (they don't want to "lose me" and I'm "exploring other options," LOL. Initially, they were anticipating an extra $250 or so for a deposit, but then the lady I talked to today said I may need a month's depsoit (roughly $600), which obviously is a major difference. At this point, my rental and employment history are my two ace in the holes. #1, I've had the same steady job for 4 years and #2, my rental history is great. I have a male friend stepping in for Brad, since his phone is disconnected and I need a reference for the last 2 years. At this point, they acknowledge that my credit sucks ass but that my rental history appears literally flawless, and that's the only thing going for although we can't get a hold of Brad physically, I just have someone to testify on his behalf that Jen paid faithfully and on time every month for two years. Is it shady? Not really. It's not like I was a faulty tenant and I'm having someone lie for me. I'm having someone tell the truth, just in place of the actual "landlord." Hey, screw you all. I have 5 days to find a place to live. ;)

So...I'm good to go, almost definitely. Like I said, all we're debating on is my deposit. I was hoping to get out of here by Wednesday, but it looks like I'll need till Saturday. Maybe it's better. Moving mid-week WOULD be tough. Things here at the homefront are civil, considering. I'm playing nice. Internally, I'm just counting down the days, and when I'm home, I'm staying in my room. The weekend was harder because we were both off of work both days, but I was out with friends of mine, so that helped. And on Sunday, I slept in (ridiculously late) and packed. I'm really doing well on packing; I mostly have left my clothes in the dressers and then some things in the kitchen. I was going to take a day off this week to help with the packing and moving, but now I may not need to, if I can handle it all on Saturday (and I'm sure she'd allow me Sunday to get some more miscellaneous things. Like I said, we're on decent terms as of right now).

I think that's about all for now. I'm hanging in there, considering.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A "slight" update make a very long story short, my roommate and I have had a falling out, and I have 2 weeks to move out (not even. More like 12 days).

Everything was going perfectly, literally perfectly, till very recently. She disapproves of Chad, basically. What I hadn't told you guys yet, because I didn't even know myself what was going to come of this whole thing, is that he got out of jail about 2 months ago for drugs (dealing). He told me everything the night we met, because he said I deserved to know everything about him and his background so I could decide if I even wanted to keep talking to him that night or just walk away. The way I was raised, and the way I am as a person, is that it's not my job to judge others. I've made some mistakes in my past that *I* would not like to be judged by/for/on, and it's not my place to judge him or his "value." If nothing else, he needs a friend right now. Every single action of his so far has shown me that he truly does want to turn his life around--that he made an incredible mistake that almost ruined his life for good, and he intends to do everything he can to take advantage of the opportunity he has now. In fact, he wants to return to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor, so he can use his past experiences to help others (although right now, he's just trying to find a job; as we all know, it's a tough job market out there for anyone at the moment, let alone someone with his past).

And yes, we really are just friends, for the record. We've talked about "us" quite a bit already, and although we've become really close in the last month or so and have spent a LOT of time together, we also know that jumping into a relationship is not great for either of us. He knows I need time to get to know him and see if he is serious about making a change--and on his end, he's trying to pick up the pieces of his life, so adding a relationship to that is obviously the least of his concerns. To paraphrase what he told me, he feels like absolute shit about himself right now and as though he has absolutely nothing to bring to the table right now, in terms of an equal partnership/relationship....kind of the whole "you have to love yourself to truly love someone else" thing. And he said that this could very well be the start of something; but right now, he has to start rebuilding his life. However, he also tells me on a daily basis that he's so grateful he met me, that it means the world to him that I DO listen to him without judgement, and allow him to vent and figure things out, sometimes in his OWN head, and that I believe he can be successful. He also said that my friends and I (he's met many of them at this point) are exactly the kind of people he needs to surround himself with right now as he builds his new life.

Soooo....I made the mistake (in hindsight) of telling April about his past. I honestly thought that she'd keep an open mind as well (even if she wasn't thrilled with his past cuz let's face it, who would be? *I* don't love it myself). However, she told me on Sunday evening that he is not welcome in our apartment at all, for any length of time, period, which led to an argument. I called her judgemental and she called me naive. I said it was people like her who made it impossible for people like him TO change his life around, and that it must be nice to have lived a life that's free of any kind of mistakes and regrets. I pointed out that she'd barely ever spoken a word to him (not just when he was here, which frankly wasn't that often anyway, but when we'd be out with friends or whatever as well) or made any true attempt to get to know him, and she replied that she already knew everything she needed/wanted to know about him.

That was Sunday. I told her I thought she was overreacting by banning him from the apartment completely but if that's what she wanted, so be it, at which point I took off to go talk to him and cool off. (For the record, the argument we had definitely involved raised voices on both sides, but I actually thought I did a pretty damn good job at keeping it adult and civil.) By the time I got back later that night, she was in bed, and then I was in bed by the time she returned last night. We exchanged a couple of texts, primarily about the dog (had she been out recently, etc--I also told her that although I did care about Chad, I also didn't want this to jeopardize either our friendship or our living situation) but that was it.

Then tonight, she came home around 8:00 (with a friend of hers, another teacher at our school by the way). She knocked on my door; I thought she was coming in for a nice little heart to heart and instead she said that she felt it was best that I leave, and that I had 12 days in which to do it (for the record, her name is the only one on the lease because my credit kinda sucks, but we got this place together and it was "ours"). Her reasoning is that her parents are "horrified" that I'm living here, exposing her to "those kinds of people" and "putting her in danger". I pointed out that I'd agreed not to bring him here anymore so the entire point/discussion seemed moot to me, and she said yes, but she knows I'm still hanging out with him, and she doesn't want to live with someone who allow people like that into their life. But mostly it's her parents, it seems. They dont want their daughter living with someone who associates with people like that (aka flawed) and now they "fear for her safety" (although he doesn't have anything violent in his background or on his record, period).

So...there you have it. I have until we leave for Christmas break in 12 days to get packed and moved. To say I'm in shock doesn't even begin to cover how I feel right now. I mean, if he was an actual drug dealer STILL, and I was running around slinging hash with him and joining him in drive-bys when I wasn't busy shooting up, that's one thing. But I certainly don't think that he's a bad person today because of what happened in his past (a red flag? Sure. Something to watch very carefully? Absolutely. But does it mean that he's not worth getting to know or that he CAN'T make something out of his life? Absolutely NOT). And I CERTAINLY certainly don't think that I'M a bad person because of it.

This all just went down tonight and I'm really shell-shocked....but you know, she isn't the kind of person that *I* thought she was and she's not someone I want to live with, let alone be friends with. It sucks that I only have 12 days but frankly, I don't want to be here anymore anyway. Most of the people who HAVE met him actually like him and, again, are keeping an open mind, which is all I ever wanted from her. But if she's this quick to judge people (not just him but, let's face it, she's judging ME as well now, and that I'm no longer worth having as a friend OR a roommate)--well, that's not the kind of person I want in MY life. You know what? I would much rather be TOO trusting and naive and caring than be that judgemental of others, even if it means my getting hurt (which I have in the past and I'm sure I will again) because of that trust.

So....there you go. I really didn't even want to tell you guys about this (his past), if only because I wanted you to know him for who he is today and who he desperately wants to be in the future, rather than who he was. I KNOW there's the chance that he will go back to that lifestyle, and HE knows that that's something I would not be able to stand by or stick around for....and I really think I would know if he did start it up again because quite frankly, he was not selling a little pot on the side before. He had a pretty major business going, and if he gets a job as a server, let's say, he'd have a really hard time hiding or explaining a sudden, dramatic increase in the his income...not to mention the fact that he's been nothing but up front with me so far. Trust me on this, he even tells me when he has the CHANCE to do something but turns it down. Now that he's been out for a while, some of his old contacts are starting to call, asking if he can get this or that, and he keeps saying no. And guys, I would never ever ever justify that kind of behavior but right now, he has NOTHING. And it takes a lot of balls to say no to a single phone call that could bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars when you are so down and out. And he's DOING it. And I actually admire that kind of strength and determination. And as long as he's trying to turn it around, I'm perfectly willing to be a friend to him while he does. And if it becomes more than that, we'll see.

And yes, I KNOW I can get hurt here. But I am who I am, and I'm not sorry for that. I have a big heart (if not a big brain, ha ha), and I care about people, and I can see the good in them. Yes, I DO still believe that most people, at their core, are good, and I will always believe that, even when it does bite me in the ass (and even if others can't or won't see that good in them). I've lived too flawed a life to even think about judging others, and that's one of the things that I think my friends--my TRUE friends--value about me the most...that I will always listen with an open mind and never judge them, their decisions or their actions.

Because that's just how I roll.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How is it Thursday again already?

I'm only posting once a week now? You'd think I went and got myself a life or something!

I had guitar lesson #2 today. LOVE THEM, btw. I practiced my "homework" (2 pages on the notes on the E string--E, F, G) religiously over the last week, so when I walked in today my guy was actually really impressed. Instead of going over the lesson like he usually has to do, he just had me play the "hardest" part of the lesson to see that I had it, and we skipped right to the next string (the 2nd from the bottom, which is actually the top--the B string). Dude, guitar is SO MUCH HARDER when you have 6 notes to read and play instead of 3--and on 2 different strings, no less! I went from the advanced class to the slow, remedial group in about 2 seconds today, LOL. I felt SO bumbling and frustrated. However, he said he's setting the bar pretty high for me since I'm picking it up pretty quickly, so he expects me to come back in 2 weeks (we don't have our lesson next week due to Thanksgiving) and have this next section down. I told him I'd do it, come hell or high water, but right now it seems impossible. (Although by the end of this next section, I'll be able to play Ode to Jode, an actual SONG--and it's like 5 lines!)

Let's see...I hung out with Chad a couple of times this week, although one of our "dates" was helping a friend of mine move (which he VOLUNTEERED to do, btw. Shit, I don't even like helping my own damn friends move, let alone total strangers). We'll probably meet up at some point this weekend--I hope so, anyway. And he's coming with me to Thanksgiving at a friend's, too. (Although when he got out of the car on Tuesday night, he didn't kiss me or anything. Maybe I'm being all over-analyzing-y and stuff, but did I just get put in the Friend Zone? I know he was bone tired, but still.)

That's really all that's new. The other stuff is the same ol', same ol'. My work highlight this week was actually today--after giving a long division quiz on which my kids scored an average of 61 (after working on it for like 2 weeks), I retested them today and now there average was 80. And that's only because one girl was like 12%, which really messed up the overall average. They did SO MUCH BETTER. And one of my ESE (formerly special ed) girls got an A!! I think this was her first A in math in years, seriously. Now on to division with 2-digit divisors! (The divisor is the smaller number you put into the larger number, FYI.)

So...yeah. That's what's up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catching up

I haven't posted in a couple of weeks (how is that possible?). Here's what's been up:

1) I've been sick...a few different times. It's been all go go go with very little sleep, so my immune system has been even weaker than normal (which, let's face it, sucks even on its good days, LOL).

2) Parent-teacher conferences and report cards last week. A few late nights at school and lots of extra work at home.

3) I started guitar lessons today! My teacher is a 25-year-old John Mayer look alike (holla!); he's very cool and I was immediately comfortable with him. I told him that he was going to have his hands full with me because I'm musically UNinclined, blonde and Polish. However, I have to say, my first lesson was a huge success. Maybe I really am a guitar prodigy! Granted, all I did today was learn the E chord, learn the 3 notes in that chord (E, F and G), learn the frets (numbered from the top, starting with 1 and counting down), learn how to "count" the strings (the "top" string, #1, is actually the one on the bottom when you hold the guitar on your knee), learn how to "count" your fingers (your thumb doesn't count; finger #1 is your index finger). Oh, and I reviewed how to read the whole, half and quarter notes, and how to read E, F and G on the staff. And did I mention that that was all in 30 minutes? I have 2 pages in my book to practice before next Thursday (playing music with those 3 notes), and I'm going to have it DOWN before I see him again.

4) I met a guy, I think. I mean, I definitely met one; I just don't know what, if anything, is going to come of it. I just met him on Monday (at my after-work hang out place); we stayed there talking till almost midnight; we've talked every day since (usually several times a day); and we're hanging out again tomorrow night (I think I'm going to cook him lasagne). And I have to say, even though it's only been a few days, I'm already more excited about and "into" him than I ever was about Daniel. Even if nothing happens with New Guy (Chad), it's shown me that this thing with Daniel is definitely DOA. I really wanted to like him, but it's just NOT THERE.

I think that's about all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My birthday week

Somehow, the revelry has expanded this year from a mere day to an entire week-long celebration. It started on Monday, when Mom had flowers delivered to me at work. (Note: they were SUPPOSED to be delivered today; however, the florist made a mistake. It was actually pretty cool, though, because that made them totally unexpected. Plus, I was doing trainings at other schools today, so I wouldn't have been there to get them anyway. See? It all worked out.) Because of that, though, most of the school thought my birthday was Monday, so I received birthday wishes from the staff all day. It was fun. =-)

Tuesday, I went out after school with some friends from work.

Wednesday was the last day of school this week for the kids, so that was my day to celebrate with them. They brought me cards, and I was surprised mid-day with this delivery, courtesy of my class:

The parent who "sponsored" this cake swore up and down that the name on the cake was an innocent error on the bakery's end. I'm not so sure. ;)

Oh yeah, and I went out after work again on Wednesday, too.

And we maybe went out today, as well.

Tomorrow, though, is the highlight of Birthday Week. We have tomorrow off, so we're meeting at the bar. At noon. To do shots.

Because we can.

And then we're going to walk next door to the movie theater to see Paranormal Activity.


Anyway, that's the story of my 33rd.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. And so begins the last year of my "early" 30s....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween 2009

Tonight, we carved our pumpkin AND roasted seeds. We used cayenne pepper and seasoned salt for the seeds and OH. EM. GEE they turned out sooooo good. And our pumpkin? We got fancy and used one of those patterns (rather than just carving the traditional face), and not counting a mishap that required some crazy glue (and the ultimate "blonde moment"--which is funny 'cuz April is a brunette and hell, MY natural color isn't even blonde anymore), we think it turned out pretty damn good. We had to take this photo at a particular angle so the flame inside didn't cause a "flash" in the picture, but you can still get the overall effect.

This close-up allows you to see the intricate detailing of the bottom bat. I know, you're jealous. As well you should be.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Two amazing things happened today. (The day wasn't ALL sunshine and roses, mind you; at one point, I had to yell loud enough in the cafeteria that I actually peed a little. But it was end-capped in different but yet equally spectacular fashions.)

First: this morning, a very cryptic email was waiting for us from our current "principal" (and I use the term loosely), talking about evaluating the situation and adjusting staffing to better meet the current needs. We knew something was afoot, and once the team leads came out of the morning meeting, we had more information: basically, our principal of curriculum, who we love and was Mrs. A's right-hand woman last year, will be taking over of the day-to-day running of our school. Our principal is still technically our principal, but basically in name only. (They didn't come out and say that, but that's what it boils down to.) Frankly, I think this is our company's first step is phasing her out.

HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! After my last post, you may have noticed that I was feeling a bit down about how things were being run under new leadership. Well, for all intents and purposes, she's now gone. It's like a huge weight was lifted; already, you can sense a change in the building. It's FABULOUS.

And then, to cap off this day: I won $100 on a $5 scratch-off lottery ticket!! I can count on both hands the number of times I've bothered to even stop and by those things. Still, April was buying one, so I thought sure, why not. I even went back through the check-out lane to buy a pack of gum so I could get cash back for the tickets. The one I got (I forgot what it was called) has 4 lucky numbers at the top and then 12 squares on the bottom. If a number in one of the squares matches one of your lucky numbers, you win the amount in that square. Well, the first or second box that I scratched off matched, and I won $10. And hell, I was excited enough THEN. I was jumping around and everyone in line was laughing at me. Then I scratched off the next box...and the next box...and the next one. When all was said and done, 10 out of the 12 boxes matched one of my 4 numbers (each at $10 a pop). By the bottom of the card, we were just giddy. It was so funny. After the fifth one, I was like, "I MUST be reading this game wrong. There must be more to it than this" (you know, like maybe a whole row has to be the same number or something). I gave it to the guy (who, of course, had been cheering with us the whole time) and said, "Please just scan this for me. Tell me if I did this right." And he was like, "Yup. You just won $100."

(I split it with April, since we each bought 2 $5 tickets and were kind of doing it together. I know, I'm awesome.)

So yeah...a pretty damn good start AND finish to the day.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I'm here, just crazy busy (thanks for the update, Renee. LOL). Very tired lately. Will be emotionally limping through the next month till Thanksgiving break, and then it will be the final countdown till Christmas break! Yes, I'm already living for Christmas break. Ha ha. I don't know what my deal is, just still don't feel right and am exhausted. May go back to the doctor but frankly, I'm also sleeping like crap and staying up too late so I suspect that's more my problem. I need to get on a much better sleep schedule first and then see how I feel. Everything is fine, just busy.

The leadership thing was cool. In theory, it will open up doors, especially down the road if I do ever decide to leave the classroom. But there are other leadership roles I could take on and still remain a teacher, including going back to team lead; there's another position or two (which would probably require me switching to a different school, but we'll see). Lots of school drama going on, namely due to incredibly poor leadership. I miss Sara a LOT. We're all hoping we outlast our new principal (which, at this rate, is entirely possible. I think she's digging her own grave). It's like Educational Survivor....outlast, outwit, outplay. Or something like that. It's just a huge culture shock going from someone like Mrs A to the new one. Morale is lower than I've ever seen it. That may be contributing to my overall feeling of "tiredness," too--we're working so hard and not only are we NOT being encouraged or supported, but it feels like we're being pushed (kicked) back down every time we turn around.

I just feel...rather disillusioned right now, I guess. Still love my kids and my coworkers (most of them). But it's amazing the impact one person can have on a whole building (and not in a good way).

Weather is changing and I am definitely, DEFINITELY a Florida pu$$y now. It gets worse ever year. The lower 70s IS, in fact, downright chilly. I know, I know. You all hate me right now. But your blood really does change. It's not my fault. =-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This should be good....

There's a new state reading assessment program that all grades must administer to their students....grades 3-12 have it (relatively) easy, as it's a computer-driven test that the students all due online. However, for the younger grades, the teachers must administer it one-on-one to each and every student (and this is NOT a short test). To make a long story short, the deadline in which to finish the testing is fast approaching and some of our 1-2 grade teachers are falling behind. Therefore, they're looking for 3-8 grade teachers to go into those classrooms on their planning (ie free time) and sub for the classroom teachers so they can devote themselves solely to giving this test.

I volunteered to help out; as a result, I will be teaching 2nd grade for about 50 minutes tomorrow.

There's a reason I teach the slightly older grades. Still, for a short period of time, it should be fun. Plus, that's the reading block, and teaching reading is basically the same from grade to grade (as far as reading and comprehension strategies go, anyway). Guess which story the second graders are reading right now? COURDEROY! Yup, the little bear with the missing eye or button or something. And since this will be their 2nd time through the story by the time I get in there tomorrow, I'll be able to use my favorite teaching strategy * on them, so we'll have fun.

*Teaching strategy: play dumb and let them "teach" you. I do it with my kids all the time. Tomorrow, it will go something like this. "Okay, I haven't read this in a while. Who can summarize for me what this story is about?" Or, on a specific page: "Wait a minute, I'm old and confused. What just happened on this page? Who can tell me?" Or, "Hold on. Why did he do THAT?" Then, if I run out of time, I'll have them write a story about what would happen if one of THEIR stuffed animals came to life. Oh yeah. Pulled that one out of my ass on the way home as I was wondering what the heck to do tomorrow, and I'm pretty proud of it, if I do say so myself. PLUS, I'm a teacher for one of the big kids, so I get to go in all mean and scary (unless the sweet and always-patient teachers in the younger grades) so I won't have any discipline issues. (...Having said THAT, they will probably eat me alive, LOL.)

It's only 50 minutes. How bad could it be? **

**This, my friends, is what's known as "famous last words."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sit down. It's finally happened.

An old friend of mine from high school just became a grandmother.

I'll let that sink in for a moment. Continue reading when you're ready....




(Still not ready? Yeah, me neither.)


Granted, it's her step-son's girlfriend...and her husband may be much older for all I know...

BUT WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!??!?!

Usually, I censor the "fuck," but in this case, it simply must stay.

And be repeated.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another dream

This particular dream, although (as always) very vivid and detailed, actually requires a LOT of set-up and backstory; plus, it was also long, so it would take forever to even describe/explain. Instead, I will leave you with the major components of my dream, along with the interpretations (which are, again as always, quite fitting). I should note, though, that a couple other integral parts of the dream, such as "tetanus" and "professional athlete" (not even a real athlete, mind you, although my pro baller WAS a member of the Pistons) were un-look-up-able. It'll be up to you to try to come up with a scenario into which all of these diffferent parts could conceivably fit. ;)

Nails: To see nails in your dream, symbolizes long and hard work for little compensation and pay. To dream that you hurt yourself with a nail, suggests that you need to be careful with what you say.

Jealousy: To dream that you are jealous of another person, signifies that such feelings may be carried over from your waking life This dream may reveal you unconscious feelings of jealousy toward that particular person. Alternatively, it represents your vulnerability and your fear of intimacy. You need to work on self-love and acknowledging your self-worth.

Rabies: To dream that an animal with rabies bites you, indicates that you are harboring extreme inner feelings of anger and unexpressed hostility. Your anger might erupt in violence if not expressed in a controlled manner.

Dog: If the dog is vicious and/or growling, then it signifies some inner conflict within yourself.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Whose Big Gay Line is it Anyway?

Kevin (Renee's cousin) posted this on his Facebook, and it's exactly what I needed after a 13 1/2 hour day at school (Curriculum Night). It's a clip from Whose Line is it Anyway, featuring Richard Simmons and a very traumatized Wayne Brady. (Richard's A-OK sign right around 5:12 just makes the whole scene.)


(If you don't have sound, this is worth going out and buying speakers for.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fertility Dance

You may have seen the commercials for those at-home fertility tests ("Did I wait too long to become pregnant?"). Well, I did, too. The first time, I just heard the commercial from the kitchen and marveled at how far technology has come. That will be a good thing to have, I thought, some day in the future.

The second time, I actually SAW it--and realized that the woman in the commercial WAS MY DAMN AGE.

Mind you, I don't even know if I WANT to have any more of my own kids at this point. But I'm single, not dating anyone seriously and staring down the barrel of my 33rd birthday. So yes, I bought one.

I can hardly be blamed.

Anyway, as of right now, I am pleased to announce that I can still get knocked up. (This test doesn't detect all fetility issues, of course; just egg quality/quantity.) It all has to do with the "test line" that may or may not appear in the little window. This test measures your FSH, or follicle (as in egg) stimulating hormone--and basically, if your body has a lot of this hormone, that's actually bad, because your body needs a lot of extra help to produce the eggs and stuff. In a perfect world, the line won't appear at all, because your egg factory is churnin' along perfectly well, merrily releasing eggs left and right, without needing any extra push. However (and this is the category that I fell into), if the line shows up but it's lighter than the control line, you're still okay....for now. (Cue the ominous background music and flip over the hourglass.) It's only when the test line is as dark as or darker than the control line that they recommend you see a doctor, pronto.

I feel a new birthday tradition coming on... ;)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

2 good things

I found out today that I *am* receiving an extra bonus based on last year's performance. It's known as MAP money (Merit something Pay), and the criteria are your final year-end evaluation from your principal and, of course, those all-important student FCAT test scores. This is actually the first time I've received the money, so I'm pretty excited. I'm not sure exactly how much yet but it'll be around a couple grand. Our new principal came in during math today and handed me the official award letter; after she left, I did a little happy dance. When the kids asked what the letter said, I told them, "Let's just say that Miss K can go get her guitar now!!" and they all cheered (that's all I told them).

Now of course, there are teachers who didn't receive the bonus (including my roommate, which really surprised me), so this is kind of a tense kind of year. The people who do receive it are told to be courteous and aware of those who didn't, of course (basically, keep it on the downlow), but of course word is already getting out and there are some pretty pissed off people out there right now.

I feel for them--but damn am I excited to have finally qualified this year!

Second, I had to give a training to the staff yesterday (it was on that DI stuff from Orlando over the summer). I think my presentation actually went well, too. I had many people come up to me yesterday and say that they actually learned stuff and that it wasn't boring like the regular staff meetings. One teacher actually told me, "I only graded one paper, and then I stopped and actually paid attention." If you know anything about teacher professional development trainings--which are generally 1) bullshit 2) boring and 3) nothing you haven't already heard before, then you know that this is very high praise indeed. A lot of people commented on my sense of humor and the fact that I made them laugh. Anyway, I'm very proud of that, too, because as I said, these things usually suck, and they're genreally total and complete wastes of time, so if even a FEW people learned something new and/or weren't totally bored out of their skulls, then I feel pretty successful. (Plus, our new principal was there, whom I've had very little interaction with, so I'm glad to have had a POSITIVE reason to help her put a face to the name.)

I'm taking a very important test tomorrow, but more on that later....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random scenes from my day

1) Math class: we were working on some tricky problems, and one of the things I threw out was seeing which students were "untrickable." One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I jumped on my computer and designed a superhero-like "U" that I posted on the wall. Now my students love ripping off their imaginary shirts to reveal their superhero "U"s when they get a problem right and prove themselves to be "untrickable." It's a little thing, but they love it. It's funny how you can teach the same grade, and same material, 3 years in a row, and you still come up with random new shit evey day. You never know what's going to hook the kids...but I'll take it.

2) During a bathroom break, a kid fell down. Standing in line. Waiting for the other kids to finish. This is not a show-boating, attention-grabbing student, either. This is not a "goofy" kid. This is one of my straight A, model 5th graders. For whatever reason, she just lost her balance and fell down. I found it hysterical and laughed for like 5 minutes. (Is that bad? Don't judge me. You weren't there. It was funny as hell. I made sure she was all right first, of course.) I mean, I'll watch her for future signs of an inner ear infection or some other medical condition...but assuming it was just a one time act of klutziness, it was entertaining as all get-out.

3) In the morning, during science, one of my kids remarked, "You know, Miss K, you aren't nearly as mean as I thought you were going to be. You looked really scary in the hallway when I was in 4th grade, but you're actually pretty funny. I mean, you know, for an old person."

4) (After hearing my story about my new hobby of guitar-ing:) "That's really cool! I think you'll be good at it. No offense, but you don't sing that great...but I'm sure you can probably still play a guitar." (Pause) "Maybe."

I love my job.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My new "violin"

(The extended story of my FB post)

As you know, I've been talking about taking violin lessons for the last month or so. As I said, I just really feel like a new hobby that will keep me busy and give me something positive to focus on. So today, I finally went to the music store in town to rent my new violin and sign up for lessons.

We (April went with me; she didn't want to miss this) went in and I introduced myself to Dave, the music guru. I told him I was interested in the violin but, as we were talking, I was kind of wandering around the store, looking at everything else. We kind of talked about the pros and cons of everything from violin to drums to the sax.

And THEN we started talking about my personality and personal tastes. He asked if I liked classical music (I listen to it OCCASIONALLY and I play it sometimes while the kids are working, but I don't tune in regularly or anything) or fiddling (um, no, unless it's The Devil Went Down to Georgia). He quizzically asked why, then I wanted to play the violin. "I dunno," I said. "I used to play it in fifth grade...and I want to start music lessons, so that seemed like a good place to start."

"What kind of music DO you listen to?" he asked. "You know, when you're just out driving around."

"80s stuff," I answered immediately. "Rock. Classic rock. Stuff like that. I love me some Bon Jovi."

"...And you don't want to play the guitar WHY?" he answered.

And seriously, that had never occured to me. Never mind the fact that they were hanging ALL OVER THE WALLS and that my dad has played, like, forever.

He took me over to one of the walls and said "Is there one that's catching--"

"That blue one," I told him. (It's SWEET.) I'd already started bouncing around giddily. Seriously, as soon as he mentioned the guitar it just FELT right. My face totally lit up like a little kid on Christmas.

"Well, we have to make sure it fits you," he said, sitting me down. "Don't get your heart set on this particular one yet. It depends on your arm length and--okay yeah, actually, this one is a perfect fit."

My new guitar, as modeled by April. (Now I just need a cool name for it, like BB King and Lucille. Post any suggestions you may have.)

And I knew: not only was the guitar right for me, THIS guitar was right for me. This was MY guitar.

Now the only problem is that--of COURSE--there are no monthly rental plans for guitars; you have to buy those outright. HOWEVER, we have a bonus coming up in October (hopefully, if I qualified for that one) or November (definitely; all returning teachers are receiving this one), and this guitar will only be a small portion of that. So I put it on 60-day layaway (only a $40 deposit, I don't have to make any more payments, and that bitch is now officially MINE). I bought 2 guitar picks and the strap to tide me over.


So...yeah. As par for the course with Jen, I went in for a violin and walked out (metaphorically speaking) with a guitar.

And I couldn't be happier.

Side note: Build a Bear never called me back (WTF? I know they loved me) but I'm putting in an application at Total Wine tomorrow (which, let's face it, is the second most perfect place for me to work, LOL).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Operation: Tripoli

Girls' Weekenders (and Missy) will appreciate this.

On Friday, when my friends were over, I went to pull out The Best Game Ever (aka Tripoli)--and realized I had left it behind at my old place. In the month since I've moved, there have been a few times when I've remembered that I'd forgotten something, but I didn't care enough to make a trip back there and sneak back in for whatever it was. But this...this was different. This was TRIPOLI. So tonight, I staged a daring, middle-of-the-night (okay, it was 9 pm) rescue of my beloved game. I figured it was well worth another journey to the land of no power, lights or air. (While I was there, I found my curling iron, too, which I was ALSO looking for the other night. And I grabbed a pack of light bulbs, as well, just because they were there and so was I.)

From the looks of things, Brad still hasn't been back...I have no idea if he's planning on returning before the foreclosure officially takes place (whenever that may be), but he still has a couple of TVs there, plus a pretty sweet metal-and-class TV stand thing in his room. I'm not taking them yet because they're his and I don't want to burgle the guy (LOL. I said "burgle") but at the same time, if he's planning on just cutting his losses at this point, it'd be silly NOT to take them. So I'll probably go back once a month or so and see if he returns.

But for now, you can all breathe a sigh of relief. Tripoli is safe.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My friends are the shit

They are also booze hounds.

(You can't tell, but there are rows of beer bottles on the counter behind THOSE beer bottles. This will help but it's still missing like a whole nother dimension.)

We went through like 5 bags of chips, a couple of veggie and fruit trays and some cocktail weinies....

A good time was had by all.

(Yes, my man friend was there. Too soon to tell how it went, since all involved were intoxicated. We'll see.)

PS--One (or many) of them thought it was hysterical to turn my cell phone to "French" every time I wasn't looking/paying attention (which, let's face it, was quite a bit). They're assholes but honestly, it was pretty damn funny).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random stuff

I had MY site visit yesterday (when someone from the company, whether it's an admin at another school, a fellow teacher from a sister school, someone from corporate, etc comes in and evaluates me); it went well but at this point, it's mostly because I'm ON the site visit team, so I know what they're looking for and I can deliver. (No, Nee, that doesn't mean BJs. LOL.)

Tomorrow, I'm GOING on a site visit (and it's at Mrs A's new school, so I'm mostly just glad to be able to see her again). I might be a bitch but I love walking into a teacher's classroom all poker-faced and seeing them go all nervous, LOL. If only they knew I was pulling this shit out of my ass myself.... but anyway, it's good face-time with people higher up in the company so whatev.

And then when I'm done, it's OFFICIALLY the start of a 4-day weekend. We have Friday off AND Monday....holla! It sounds as though some people will be hanging out here at random points during the weekend, so I'll be busy. I should, however, be able to schedule some pool time as well. ;)

Good times, my friends. Good times.

Oh--and did I tell you that I'm going to take violin lessons again? I worked out a deal with the music teacher at our school (again, no BJs), so I get to learn at an incredibly cheap rate. Plus, I'm trying to channel some shit I'm working through into a POSITIVE activity. I AM SO EXCITED. I'm getting my violin this weekend. (It's like $15 a month. Totally worth it....but we'll see how long this whole kick lasts, LOL. Either I'll be bored in a week or I'll go on to become a violin prodigy....there's really no halfway point with me).

Monday, September 21, 2009

The age-old question

Okay, maybe it's not THE age-old question--we're not talking the chicken and the egg here--however, it's a question that has been debated through the years and will continue to be argued about for years to come:

If you know someone is cheating on a spouse, do you tell that person? If you are friends with them both, what do you do?

In short, here's the situation: they are both friends of mine, and the husband has told the wife that things are "pretty much" over. However, per the battle of the sexes, the wife was still holding out hope that things could be worked out--whilethe husband, in his own head, thought he had been perfectly CLEAR that he was done.

And I knew for a fact that he had been stepping out with his new "girlfriend" this weekend.

It would devastate his wife, my friend, to know this, but here's the thing: if she didnt find out from me, she WOULD have found out, because let's just say that there were a LOT of our social group out when he decided to do "fraternize" in public with the new girl on Friday, and he was, clearly, cold busted. And frankly, teachers gossip (me included), and she was going to hear about it. So do I tell her, as the person who is closest to her out of the group? Or do I stay quiet and let her hear about it otherwise, and then be there to pick up the pieces?

I chose the first option. I know that there are people out there who may disagree with me but--this girl has been there for me through all of MY drama--which does not even come close to equaling the end of a MARRIAGE and I fucking get that--but trust me, she was going to hear about it, and I decided I wanted her to hear it from me.

And it was ugly, and it sucked, and I can't even talk about it....other than to say that I cant even imagine getting married. EVER. Because if I thought that ending a regular relationship was bad....have you ever been there when someone really, truly realizes that her marriage is over? It's gut wrenching.

My heart is broken right now, and I just pray, literally PRAY, that I did the right thing. She assured me that I did, but....fuck.

I hurt for her. More than I can say. I can only be there for her....and it may not even help that much because, shit, her life is going to suck for a WHILE. But I hope that I can help, even a little. And I hope that I did the right thing. And....fuck. Just say a prayer for my friend, who is hurting. And pray that I am the best friend to her that I can be...whatever that may entail because fuck if *I* know right now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More good news

I've been noticing lately that whenever I start to feel too sorry for myself, some good news also comes my way. The latest is that I've been officially nominated for the leadership program within our company (not our SCHOOL, but the whole company). I know Sara was going to nominate me before she left, and she very well may have put a good word in for me, but the official nominations happened after she left, so I feel kind of good about that.

Anyway, to bitch and moan some more (LOL), this is the kind of thing that I know some ex-friends would have been pretty proud of, but guess what? YOU guys will be proud of me, and YOU ARE ALWAYS THERE FOR ME, NO MATTER WHAT. So you all win. ;) (But seriously, this is the kind of shit I miss telling him about. GOD, it's harder now to be away from him than it was at first, you know? Like with quitting smoking...I can quit the first 4 days, even 7 days, at's the long term that's a bitch.)

So...I have to officially apply, including writing an essay. We'll see what happens. I don't know if it's a super competitive process at this point or if, once you're nominated, you're pretty much in unless you show that you're a total asshole...but we'll see. I'll let you know.

Oh--and one of my friends' marriages is falling apart and I'm friends with them both. Just some added drama for ya. ;)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Behind the scenes

In case you've ever found yourself wondering what goes on at my tri-monthly psychiatric appointments (and really, who among you HASN'T?), I'm going to pull back the curtain a little bit. Why this particular one? Because afterwards, she announced that I was very well-adjusted, all things considered, and was also very "realistic" about my condition. (PS--I often try to get her to crack a smile, since she's always so serious and straight-faced.)

At the beginning of every appointment, I sit down and give her a 2-5 minute recap of the last 3 months--how *I* feel I'm doing, how things have been going, etc. She takes notes not just on what I say but on how I'm acting--she's looking, as I told Mom, for "signs of the crazy."

Here was the summary she received today (and most of it is word for word):

"Overall, I'm okay. I'd say a 7 out of 10. I'm not PERFECT, but you know what, these aren't magic pills. When someone makes me mad, I'm still going to get angry, and if I'm going through, say, relationship issues, I'm still going to be sad. Overall, I feel pretty much in control, which hasn't been easy, that's for damn sure. [Here, I give a quick run-down on the Brad situation. For Shawn, I just say, "...and I still have leftover drama with the ex." I think even SHE must be tired of hearing about it and she gets PAID for it.] So yeah, all things considered, I guess I'm doing okay. I'm feeling a little down and my friends say that I've been a little more withdrawn lately, but I think most of what I'm dealing with isn't the bipolar, it's because men are assholes....and I don't think there's a pill for THAT."

(This last part is where she did her cough-laugh behind her fist and kind of raised my file in front of her face.)

Anyway, she said she's a bit concerned that I'm still reporting feeling "down" because I was back in June, as well, although she acknowledged that I certainly have "extenuating circumstances" that could be causing that. If I'm not feeling a bit more peppy by my next appointment in December, though, she said we may need to stop and reevaluate my meds.

So...yeah. As far as bipolars go, I'm actually pretty normal and stable. And that's something I definitely needed to hear right now.

PS--as I was checking out with her receptionist, a young, just-out-of-college new girl, I had to set up the date for my next appointment. She suggested December 14, and I told her that I was pretty sure I'd still be in town but that I was leaving around that time for Christmas break. As she was typing into the computer, I stood there and, muttering to myself kind of under my breath, tried to calculate exactly when we'd be getting out of school and when I'd be flying out. "Let's see...Christmas is the 25th...that means we're probably getting out the week before that's like, what, the weekend of the 19th or so..." She looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry, did you say something?"

"Nope, just talkin' to myself," I said cheerfully. Hey, she's working for a psychiatrist now. What's she expect? ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This about says it all

"I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here." -Stephen Bishop

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Speechless (but not type-less)

So I received an email from Brad today. At first I thought that he had returned to the old place and discovered that I had "taken" some items, but oh no. He still has no clue. He ALSO clearly has no clue that the power was disconnected due to nonpayment, as he asked when I was sending a check for the dressers and bookcase I was going to buy, plus the last $75 or so for the rest of the utilities for the month.


Talk about crazy. I paced the apartment with my hands clenched at my sides, ready to literally punch someone, for half an hour. I also felt the "crazy eyes" (they're hard to explain, but they get really big and wild and almost glazed) coming on. I was LIVID. It took me almost two hours, with assistance from April and feedback from Mom, but I was finally able to craft a MORE-than-civil email to him.

Here's what it said. Tell me what you think:

"Hello Brad:

I tried to get a hold of you a couple of weeks ago, but as you mentioned, your phone was turned off.

A week before I moved, I came home and discovered that our (my) power had been disconnected. I was obviously surprised, since I had been giving you enough for the utilities and then some. The amount to get the power turned back on was $300--this was not the full amount due, mind you, just the amount to get it reconnected. If that amount wasn't paid within a few days, the TOTAL amount would have to be paid (this full amount was quite a bit, I believe close to $500?)

Anyway, I had to leave to stay with a friend for that last week, and then I had to pack (and move) with no lights and no air conditioning, which as you can imagine, sucked. Since you didn't pay the electric bill with the money I gave you expressly for that purpose, I figured that that was instead meant to go towards the dressers and book case. That accounted for $100 of the past-due $300. I also took the love seat that I had expressed interest in, for which I paid you $200 (to equal the $300 that did not go to the electric company). I feel that this is more than generous, as you/we owed MORE than $300 to FPL alone, per the statement that was tacked onto the front door.

Let me know if you have any questions. Im sorry to end things on rather negative terms, since I really did enjoy living with you the past couple of years. But frankly, I feel a little betrayed that the money I was giving to you specifically for utilities was obviously not being put to that use.

Thank you.


For once, I'm not talking about me ;), but my students. Well, some of them. A group of my current class was in a class last year who lost their teacher about halfway through the year. I didn't realize the effect that had had on them until today.

I'm doing a site visit later this month, so I told my kids that they were going to have a sub in a couple of weeks (I've learned that it's better to prepare them for it, rather than for them to just walk in to a strange face one day, ESPECIALLY the first time of the school year...and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY when I've bonded with the class the way I have this year. Seriously, guys, they are just amazing). I didn't go into a lot of detail, I just told them that I'd be gone doing "teacher stuff," and that I'd be back the next day. Well, this particular group of kids flipped out.

"Are you coming back?!" they asked.

I told them that of course I was, that it was only for a day.

"That's what Mrs. F said!!" they cried. "And then she left for good!"

"Yeah!" one boy (C., who's adorable and the class "heart throb") added. "She said that whether or not she stayed depended on how good we were, and we WERE good, or we thought we were, but she left, so we must have been BAD! And now you're leaving!!"

Seriously, I felt like divorced parents must feel when they're trying to reassure their kids that it has nothing to do with them. And furthermore, what FUCKED UP teacher tells the kids that if they're good, she'll stay as their teacher but if they're bad, she'll leave--and then actually LEAVES?

So all I told them today was, "Look. Those of you who are returning students know that I've been here for many years (if "4" qualifies as "many," LOL), I'm going to STAY here, I'm honestly just leaving for the day, and I promise I'm coming back....okay?"

Everyone said "okay," and went back to work...except for C., who sighed, muttered "Yeah, we've heard that before," and picked up his pencil.

And honestly, you guys, I LOVE this class. Like, I am seriously half in love with them already. And it kills me to see how vulnerable they are. We're going to have a class meeting tomorrow AM where I reassure them again that they're stuck with me for the year...but I can't believe that someone would tell a class of NINE YEAR OLDS that kind of shit.

And even though they really didn't like her that much, I can't believe how affected by it they still are, almost a full year later.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Home f'in SWEET home

I try to balance all of my maudlin Shawn posts with a positive one; so in keeping with that theme...
Eight days post-move, we are ready to reveal the new place. We have a couple of little boxes left to go but we're mostly done. And I'm not kidding, yo, it looks awesome.

My favorite part of the new place by FAR are the high cathedral ceilings in the living room (picture 3). It makes the whole room look SO big. And like I said on FB: come Christmas, we're going to be rocking a Rockefeller-like tree up in her'.

I'm sorry but...

I just have to vent one more time, because I'm feeling pretty down today. Still no word from Shawn, so I can only assume that he's totally gone. (Yes, I sent him an email telling him that at this point, the best thing he could do for me was just to stay gone, rather than continuing to mess with my head, but you also know that that wouldn't stop him if he really gave a shit.)

I think it's just hard for me because of the crazy aspect. He was one of the very few who saw the crazy and still loved me. And now, clearly, he doesn't. So once again, I've lost someone else because I'm all messed up. That means that the only person left who has seen me in an episode and is still around is a friend named Mike, one of the very first people I met down here. That's all. So I am clearly quite unloveable, I guess.

And no, nothing major happened the last time I saw Shawn. I was a bit "off", but it was really more of a bad case of PMS than a bipolar episode; hardly anything at all, especially for me. ;) But I don't know, I guess maybe he was just sick of dealing with someone who could BE more emotional than your average chick. I don't know. It's just hard to realize that, yeah, this disease or condition or whatever you want to call it will make it significantly more difficult for me to find someone who will love me unconditionally, who will see through it for the "real Jen," as opposed to the other Jen who is kind of lurking, waiting for the chance to come out and play. (Why do I suddenly feel like Chucky now? LOL)

I truly don't mean to whine and feel sorry for myself. That's honestly not what this is about. Because really, I had come to almost accept the bipolar and even appreciate that it made me ME; that it brought a lot of unique and funny and interesting aspects to my personality, as well. But now, suddenly, I feel like I have to go back into hiding with it, that I have to keep the veil up, the wall, the curtain, especially around any new people who may come into my life, since there's no way they'd love me (or continue to love me) once they saw the crazy, because let's face it, no one else really has. I thought otherwise for a while, and that made me feel really good, and that's ALSO why I was so loyal to and supportive of him--because he was the same to me, in a way that almost no one else in my life had ever been.

But apparently, the crazy is only cute for, oh, a couple of years.

Duly noted.

Monday, August 31, 2009


I just checked my work email, and I found this:

Dear ------ (it was addressed to 6 of us at the school, that's all):

You have been invited to attend Site Visit Training: When: Wednesday, September 09, 2009 4:00 PM-6:00 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada).

It's at Gateway, one of our schools in the area. (The training is, not the actual site visit. We'll see which one I get assigned to.)

So that's cool. I'm glad that even though I'm not a lead anymore, they're still choosing me for things like this. That means that I must have done well when I did it last year.

I hope it's at a school across the state, so I get a road trip out of it. =-)

Interestingly, J. (one of my friends from my first year here, B.C. (Before Crazy), was one of the 6. I kind of hope we go on a visit together, especially if it's far away. That would give us a chance to hang out, and for her to see that now that I'm medicated, I'm the Jen she USED to know, rather than the one she saw that night.

We'll see how it all shakes out. But even if it's local, I'm still excited...and honored. I kind of feel that Mrs. A had some role in all of this. ;)
I know you don't care but...

Okay this is a venting post; in fact, I'll probably turn comments off cuz I know you guys will have nothing nice to say about it. BUT, I'm a slow learner, so consider this just me continuting on my journey...

Shawn and I, even though I don't talk about him on here that much anymore (since I don't want to be lynched), have carried on our friendship this whole time. We'd hang out once a week, usually drinks or something, and things were cool. Yeah, he still had his girlfriend, and YEAH, technically, I MAY still have had feelings for him, but we were still FRIENDS, you know? And say what you want, but he would still be there for me when I needed him, or when I was a bit on the crazy side, because he was one of the few who saw that and was STILL THERE. And as we know, that's hard to find. (Sure, Dave eventually came back, but by then I couldn't trust HIM because he left when I needed him, unlike Shawn, who, although he couldn't keep it in his pants, was there for me in a lot of other ways. He saw my crazy and handled it and, in his way, kept me sane...when he wasn't driving me crazy.)

But there were times when he WOULDN'T be there, or I'd catch him in a lie, but that's okay, because no one is perfect, and he accepted me the way I was and I accepted him.

...And then suddenly, he stopped calling me back. I haven't talked to him in like 10 days. No big deal, right? But for us, it WAS. We never ever ever go that long. Ten days for us is a sign that something is a'brewin'.

LOL. A'brewin.

So...yeah. It's like suddenly, he dropped out of my life. My BFF is gone. And I have no idea why or what I did. And I'll be damned if I tell him, because I tried to contact him, left him a couple of VMs and a text or two, and that's all I can do; it's obvious he doesn't want to talk to me...but shit. WTF?? He didn't even call to see how my first day of school was. That HURT. For that matter, he didn't even call to see how my first WEEK was. It's like he just doesn't care anymore. And I know some of you are saying "He never cared in the first damn place, ass hat," but he did. In his own way, he did.

Or ...maybe he didn't, and that's what I'm seeing now.

Because even after the relationship, we had a friendship. He knew me. And for him to totally disappear for this long is WEIRD for him. For us. So I guess I did something, and I don't know what. And I won't chase after him, because unlike Ye Old Jen, I actually have pride now. And dignity. And if someone cares about me, they'll be in my life. I won't keep calling and texting him with no response. He's made it clear that he doesn't care about what's happening with me. But it just hurts, I guess. Because I've defended him and defended him, against you guys and everyone here, and, what? Now he proves them right? THAT PISSES ME OFF BECAUSE BY PROVING THEM RIGHT, HE HAS PROVED ME WRONG, AND I HATE TO BE WRONG. LOL.

So...yeah. I miss Shawn. But he obviously doesn't miss me or have a place for me in his life, so...what am I supposed to do? That little fucktard knows I'm always there for him, and all I can do is....hell. Nothing. I can do NOTHING. Is this what it's like to have pride and dignity? Cuz frankly, it kind of sucks. LOL. Even now, I want to call him and try to figure out what's up, because this is NOT like him, but...he won't call or email or text and I must have done something, so...whatever. I have my friends and my work and I'm happy. But I still miss him. Any time he's not in my life, I miss him.

That's all. Thanks for listening, even if you're flipping off your monitors right now. ;)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Moving: the rest of the story

I know most of you got the email about the big move yesterday (it was crazy hot, we were miserable, it rained, we had to bring everything all the way around the side building and then up 17 steps, REALLY LONG AND STEEP STEPS, to get it inside the new place). Here, though, are some extra details, details I didn't necessarily want to share with people like my dad and grandparents.

1) You know what sucks even more than moving? Having the majority of your moving crew show up late because they decided to go out the night before and celebrate the first week of school by getting schnockered on vodka and playing Partini all night (although hell, you all know *I* would have been there if I wasn't the Final Countdown to moving). We had to start loading the truck at 8 am because we needed to be TOTALLY done by 2:30 to return the truck (plus, you know, we needed to make a fast getaway at my old place, but more on that in a minute); unfortunately, even though we've had this lined up for a couple of months now, Andy (Hot Teacher) was the only one who showed up on time (uncoincidentally, he was NOT at last night's gathering); in fact, he even went with us to pick up the truck. Mike showed up about an hour and a half later, just as we were finishing up at my place (we had planned to be out of there much early than that, obviously, but we were down 3 men at the time), and then the other two rolled over just as we were starting to unload at the new place. Normally I would bitch about them getting there for the "easy" part (why DOES unloading always take an eighth of the time?), but in our case unloading was equally a bitch, due in part to THIS:

This picture doesn't do The Stairway to Heaven justice; you can only clearly see like 7 steps before it kind of blurs together at the bottom, but keep in mind that altogether, it has **17**. And it's STEEP. And narrow.

2) Here's a brief overview of my haul from the old place. I took the bookcase and 2 dressers that I was going to pay him an extra $100 for. At April's urging (actually, begging, cuz she loved it), we also took the suede (or suede like) cream loveseat, to which we assigned a rather generous $200 value. I left him a note explaining that this was in place of the $300 he took from me and DIDN'T give to the electric company.

However, that $300 past due balance wasn't even the FULL AMOUNT DUE. Oh no, on closer reading, that was just the amount needed to get the power turned back on. If he didn't pay it by a certain date, than the full amount would be due. With that in mind (and also the fact that this was only ONE utility that we knew about, not to mention the money I was giving him in rent even though he'd stopped paying the mortgage, AND the food I lost in the fridge when the power was turned off), we also took a runner (for you men out there, it's one of those long and thin rugs) for our hallway, this ionic air purifier for me (to help with the dog), a water purifier from the kitchen sink, and this really nice picture for our wall. I had to be careful; my friends wanted me to clean him out, but as I told Nikki, there's a fine line between "taking what I am owed" and "grand larceny." Still, I feel like I was pretty reasonable, although this was NOT a cheap piece of art that we snagged. (It looks awesome in the new place though, snicker snicker).

We are like 80% unpacked and settled already, due to staying up till 4 am last night, so pictures are coming soon. This is BY FAR the nicest, most grown up place I've ever lived--and I actually contributed to quite a few things to the place! I had more than I thought I did. Until then, here's a picture of our entrance (just inside the door is our Stairway to Heaven, which leads straight up to our place--our whole apartment is upstairs, we just have that private entrance and staircase to get there. It's not a 2-level place or anything).

Oh, and PS--Renee, tell John to bite me. You both know why. ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

F--- My Life

Fred turned me on to the BEST website ever. It's (see title of post), where people post funny (to everyone else but them) shit that happens. It's now the new light of my currently uber-stressed life. THIS post, however, was extra hysterical, for reasons that will become abundantly clear:

"Today, I was told I have bipolar disorder. I'm 31. It took so long to diagnose because my mom 'always figured I was just a super bitch half the time'. FML"

No, I didn't write that one....but I could have.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oh hell to the NO

So as most of you have heard, at least in part, Brad is offically a douchebag. No, more than that. He's a motherfucking ass.

I get home last night and I have no power. Now, a big storm had just rolled through, so I wasn't too worried...until I noticed that my neighbors were basking in the glow of their lamps and televisions. And THEN I saw the notice from FPL. The past due amount was $300, which is at LEAST 3 months' worth. This meant that Brad has been taking the money I've been giving him every month for electric, cable, water, etc and, well, NOT paying for electric, cable, water, etc.

I'm still a little shell-shocked, to be honest. I can't believe he would do this. While we were never bff's or anything (we never hung out together outside of the apartment), we got along just fine when we were both home. We've lived together for 2 years. And he's been actively screwing me over for quite a few months now. It was bad enough when I received the foreclosure notice, but at least that was somewhat understandable....he wasn't working, foreclosure rates are so high that everyone knows SOMEONE who's going through the process, and the money I was paying him for rent only covered half. Even with my money, he couldn't cover his half...and although I was pissed when I found out that he had been taking rent money from me and NOT paying the mortgage, it was at least understandable. Plus, technically, it was still his place, and I was living there, so he could kind of do whatever he wanted.

HOWEVER. He now has no charges/costs associated with that place. The only bils he's receiving are, ONCE AGAIN, electric, cable, water, etc--and I have been sending him the money for that, AND THEN SOME. I knew the amount he was asking for was more than the actual cost, but he was at least being nice enough to wait till I was gone before he sold his furniture and stuff, so I didn't want to argue. Again, even though it is being foreclosed on, that process takes a lloooonnngggg time, especially down here, and until that time, the condo belongs to him and I was living there. So I didn't want to argue over an extra $70 a month or whatever (since I obviously wasn't giving him rent money anymore, only for expenses I was actively accruing, like power).

I tried to call him, of course, but his phone has been disconnected. I was going to email him, but honestly, at this point, my plan is much more devious. I don't want him to know yet that *I* know he hasn't been paying any of this. I suspect that he was hoping I'd be out of there before they officially went through with the disconnections, and then I would never have known that he was pocketing my money. He almost made it, too--I was like 4 days away. HOWEVER, I'm going to move out on Saturday, as planned, and I'm going to do it with a smile. Because you know what? I'm sure as hell leaving there with more stuff than I came in with. And once I'm out of there, THEN I shall be contacting him. (I just hope I get my stuff out of there in time; he asked me when I was leaving because he was selling/had sold some of his furniture and wanted to know when it could be picked up. Well, I hope he's not planning to sell some of the new pieces *I* plan on acquiring.) (This isn't theft, right? I mean, I gave him money, and I'm taking a couple bookcases and a dresser and stuff. I paid him for all of this. And if he dares to even contact me about it, I'll tell him, "Actually, I paid you $400 for that stuff. CHECK YOUR FUCKING WALLET. It's the money that was supposed to go towards electric and water." Oooh, that's good.)

Anyway, I'm staying at April's, my future roomie's, for the next few days until we move into our new place. It's just sucky trying to pack in 90 degree heat with NO FUCKING AIR...and no lights, for that matter. We're okay right after school, but it gets dark inside pretty quickly, especially when it's rainy and overcast. So I'm fine, relatively speaking. And at least it was only a few days before my scheduled move. It's just more the feeling of betrayal; the realization that people CAN be that shitty to other people. That people can just be that..that...unremorseful. (Actually, it must be the week for that. I'm dealing with someone else I thought I knew who has suddenly become like a freakin' stranger, literally.)

So that's the deal. Sorry for the book, but I needed to vent. I'm crushed, guys. Why would he DO that?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Report from the trenches


The air was broken for most of our first day, and since it was like 93 degrees, that sucked ass.

Otherwise, all was well. There are a couple of kids whom I will have to "train" (aka lay the smack down), to teach them the difference between 5th and 4th grades (in other words, Miss K won't put up with their shit...I LOVE the first days of school, cuz it allows me to be myself....Bitch on Wheels. ;) )

But overall things were great and we'll have fun stories this year.

(I had 9 kids from last year come back to see me, one begging me to fail him cuz he wasn't ready for MS, of my former kids went to lunch TWICE today cuz he got confused....I told him that was the best story I heard all day and gave him a high 5. Seriously, I laughed so hard. And no, it wasn't "P", LOL)

I wrote on one of the 6th grade teacher's board, "Good luck in middle'll do great! Love Miss Krzys" ...since she's a 6th grade LA teacher, that meant that they'd all see it at one point or another as they passed/rotated through. That teacher told me later that they thought it was awesome that I took the time to do that. They were like, "Is that from OUR Miss K?" They couldn't believe it. But I TOLD them at the end of the year that I would still be watching over them, even from 5th grade. ;) I think it made them feel a little bit less alone and "adrift," so to speak. This whole year is different for them, but some things will never change.

And that's what's funny--as much as they drove me crazy last year, I miss them already. A LOT. I didn't realize how much I'd miss them until today, when I saw them in their middle school uniforms, looking terrified (ha ha). But I MISS THEM, even the ones who damn near turned me into a raging alcoholic...I will NEVER , for example, forget "P", or "A", who broke his hand taking a math test...and neither will most of you, LOL. But this new group....they'll be cool. I can tell. Give me a few days to mold them into shape, and I'll have a fresh round of stories. ;)

...Sometimes, as a teacher, it's hard to say goodbye...even when they keep coming back. And for some reason, last year's class has been especially hard for me to let go. (Thank goodness that their homeroom teacher is one of my BFFs, so I'll still hear all about them at our "meetings," LOL.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First day of school... tomorrow. I'm as ready as I can be. I should probably figure out what I'm going to wear to make my morning a little less hectic, but otherwise, I'm set. I probably won't be able to sleep tonight, though.

Update on Mrs. A: she actually officially offered me a job last week, but it was as a reading specialist. This means I would work with/pull out the "low" kids in 3rd, 4th and 5th but I wouldn't have a classroom of my room (which is why I turned her down). I told her I was flattered that she thought of me but that I needed my own kids and to remember me at the end of the year when they're making offers for 2010-11.

I move this coming Saturday. In addition to setting up my room, writing lesson plans, attending trainings, GIVING trainings, etc, I've also been packing up my condo. I, in true Jen fashion, haven't really gotten that far yet, so it'll be a crazy week. The good news is that it's not like I have to have ALL my shit packed up and officially out of here next weekend; if I had to turn in keys or something, like when you're leaving an apartment, that'd be a different story. But my friends can help me move my furniture and whatever I have packed and ready to go, and then I'll still be able to kind of come and go over the next week or so and pick up any random crap. (Of course, KNOWING I'll be able to do that is, as you might imagine, contributing to my procrastination.)

OH!! And then I had my interview with Build a Bear yesterday. It actually went really, really well. Apparently there will be another round of interviews (I didn't realize that BaB was as competitive as, like, Harvard or something, LOL), but she pretty much told me that I've at least made it through to round 2 (although she still hasn't completed all of her round 1 interviews, so it may be awhile yet). She asked me a few retail-management questions (what would you do, etc), although I don't have any experience in that specific area, I do have retail experience and I've been a supervisor in a few of my past jobs, so I kind of put all of that together and, well, talked out of my ass. ;) I also threw in some key phrases like "encouraging teamwork", "focusing on each individual's strengths," "giving the employees ownership and emotional buy-in," and "making high customer service a non-negotiable." I almost CRIED at the pure poetic beauty of some of my answers. Interesting side note: after that customer-service answer, she told me that this particular store is #3 in customer satisfaction in the WHOLE COMPANY, so of course she LOVED that answer.

Oh yeah--and I've still been able to fit in a few "meetings" with my friends over the last week, as well.

So...that's what I've been up to. How are all of you?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflections from Open House

1) Even though I have the "low group," I have the largest 5th grade class. I'm at 24 right now (after one requested to be switched from another teacher, simply because I'm awesome). That may not seem like a lot, but when you're struggling with the slower students, it sucks. Everything takes us longer, and they need more individual attention. Yeah, so give me the most students, and give the on-grade-level and HIGH kids smaller classes. Awesome.

2) Overall, it's a good group of kids. There are a couple of "talkers"--I can already tell that I'm going to have lay the smack down early on--but for the most part, I'm excited.

3) I have like 17 girls and 7 boys. Again--AWESOME.

4) Almost a quarter of the class are younger siblings from previous that's cool.

5) About a third of the class are new to our school, and most of them are from private Christian schools in the area. I don't know if that's because we're an A school, because families are "downsizing" due to the economy, or a combination of both, but it will be interesting. (Surprisingly, kids from private schools are usually behind those in the public system.)

6) I'm exhausted...and going to bed. Ten pm for me is like 6 pm for other people....but I'm wrecked. My work here is done.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday: Meeting the Kids

Our open house is tomorrow night. OH means a 13+ hour day for me, generally without dinner, but it also gives me that all-important glimpse of what this coming school year will mean for me--in terms of both the students I'll have but also the parents I'll be dealing with. I just spent 6 hours at Shoeless Joe's tonight, but the majority of that time was spent talking to the teacher who had the low 4th grade class last year (i.e., the kids I'll have this year). I got some great insight from her and although this class may be more challenging (ability-wise) than my kids last year, I'm also ready to meet that challenge. Our first day of school is Monday, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the first day of school--I get to come out of the gate strong and scare the shit out of these kids. ;) Unfortunately, my reputation proceeds me with a lot of them (due in large part to older siblings who have already had the Miss K Experience), so they already know that although I can be a bitch on wheels, I'm also a softie at heart who will bend over backwards for them.



PS--one of the skills I've been learning over the last few years of teaching, a skill that I'll be truly implementing for the first time tomorrow, is that open house is a chance to not only set the stage with the students but with the parents as well. Yes, I have to lay the groundwork for an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork with the parents, but I also have to (subtly and diplomatically) let them know that my classroom is MY classroom, and that I'm running the show, not them. It's a delicate tightrope, my friends....I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wicked weather

After my third "hey, didn't you just have a tornado?" email/text/phone call, I figured that I should let you all know that I'm still alive and well. I wasn't going to mention it because it didn't hit my immediate area, but since you all are hearing about it back in MICHIGAN, I guess it's noteworthy after all.
Yes, a tornado came through on Sunday afternoon/early evening. It was in the Ft. Myers "metro" area but in a neighboring city, Cape Coral. As far as tornados gone it was pretty small and, amazingly, no one was injured. Still, it damaged 23 homes and even upended a car. Here are a few pics:

And as if twistas weren't enough to worry about, we suddenly have a flurry of activity in the Atlantic, as well. The most immediate threat is Ana, although "threat" isn't really the right word since, as of Monday night, they expect it to be downgraded soon. The official forecast track has "the center of Ana approaching Southwest Florida by Thursday morning"; however, Ana would be "a weak tropical storm" at most. They advised that we should not "be surprised on Wednesday if Ana makes a last fight to strengthen" while simutaneously stating that "it's important to note that none of the official guidance indicates restrengthening." In other words: they don't have a freakin' clue. We'll know a LOT more in about 48 hours. We're watching it, but no one is boarding up the windows just yet.

Along those same lines, here's what they say about Bill (which is shaping up to be a much more dangerous storm--possibly even a 4, aka a Bad Ass Hurricane): "While every computer forecast model has this turning north with time, some of the morning model guidance pushes the track back farther west (ie, back towards Florida)."

...Thanks for clearing that up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Plot twist!

I was playing around on the Build a Bear website (because what childless 32 year old woman DOESN'T do that from time to time?) and on a lark, I hit the "apply for a position" button and pasted my resume. I actually applied last year, because I'd had such a great time there the few times I took my Little Sister, and I remember thinking, Well, if I have to have a part-time job, then Build a Bear would be a really fun one. I never received a response, though, and didn't expect to hear anything this time, either. After all, aren't we in the middle of a historic economic downturn? Isn't unemployment at an all-time high?

Not at BAB, apparently. I received an email from the Chief Workshop Manager about half an hour later. She "would love to speak to me more." Of course she would; after all, who could resist THIS charming combination of ass-kissery and humor? "I am a 5th grade teacher who is looking for a part-time job. I am available evening and weekends. Obviously, I work well with and relate well to kids. In addition, I have more Build a Bears than any self-respecting adult should. I've had a lot of fun every time I've come into your workshop, and I'd love to help provide that type of experience to others."

What can I say? I was on a roll.

Here's the twist: the job I'm interviewing for is not a regular sales associate position...I'd be a part-time Associate Manager.

Hell, yeah!

I responded and made sure she understood that I'm a full-time teacher and am only available nights and weekends, but if that schedule worked for the position then yes, I would love to talk to her. She wrote back and said that that schedule would absolutely meet their needs, and she's excited to meet with me. I'm going to call her on Monday and set something up.

I don't WANT a part-time job, but I need to, at least to get back on top of my bills and things. Since I'm not team lead this year, I'm going to have a lot more free time. I'll definitely have to manage my time well, and it'll be tough for a while, but having 2 jobs always is--and a lot of people are having to take on 2nd jobs in this economy. And like I said, working at BAB would be FUN; and if it's in management, then that's even better. At least I'd be making a little more money while I was there.

I'll keep you updated.
I don't even know

I had the oddest, most random dream about LCB last night (yes, we still hang out and yes, he's still with the byaaatch). Anyway, in the dream, we were emailing back and forth while he was at work. In one of the emails, he mentioned that he was worried about a friend of his, who had suddenly become pretty sick.

"She's 85 and a tough old bird," he wrote. "I know she's got a lot of spunk and she'll be just fine. Still, I'm thinking about going to visit her."

I replied and told him that I hoped his friend would be okay.

"If you promise to wear something nice and say hi to my mom, you can come with me this afternoon to visit her," he wrote back. "We're going to the Naples Zoo. She's a zebra."


Why did LCB have a "friend" who was a zebra? Why was there apparently a dress code for the zoo? Why was he afraid that I would offend his mother by NOT greeting her? I LOVE his mom! And most importantly, what's with his uber-gay use of the phrase "tough old bird"?

I don't know where any of this came from. So, I went to my trusty online dream dictionary to look up a couple of the key words and symbols to see if they can shed some light on the possible hidden meaning of my dream. What is my subconscious trying to tell me? Let's find out together...

ZEBRA: To see a zebra in your dream, represents perfect balance, unity, harmony, and the attraction of opposites. Alternatively, it signifies that you are spending too much time in trivial and varying matters. You need to establish a mindset and lay your groundwork for some solid stability.
MY ANALYSIS: I'm not sure about this part. I can say that, during the last week, I've been spending a lot of time on the "little details" of my room and none whatsoever (so far) on things like lesson plans. Interesting.

ZOO: To dream that you are at a zoo, symbolizes loss of freedom. Your abilities and talents are going unnoticed. You or an aspect of your life feels caged in. The zoo may also represent chaos and confusion as implied by the common phrase "this place is a zoo!" You may need to tidy up some situation in your life.
MY ANALYSIS: Um, hello? "Loss of freedom" = end of summer and return to school! Not to mention that between unpacking and setting up my classroom AND packing my condo and getting ready to move at the end of the month, I have certainly been surrounded by chaos and confusion.

EMAIL: To dream about email, indicates that you need to reach out to people who may not necessarily always physically be around. It could also very well mean that you have been spending too much time in front of the computer and this has carried over into your dreams.
MY ANALYSIS: Since I've been working so much in my room, I certainly don't think I've been spending too much time online; however, having just returned from Michigan and spending 2 weeks with my family, this may be a subtle reminder to keep in touch with everyone now that I'm back to my regular, day-to-day life--especially my dad, who I don't talk to nearly enough.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a listing for "Shawn's mom". I did look up "mother," but the only choices were your OWN mother or mother-in-law. So I hope the fact that Shawn's mother was going to be at the zoo wasn't a crucial component of the dream, or the key to unlocking my psyche's life-altering message, LOL.

Gives me some food for thought, anyway.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scenes from Miss K's room

Today, I finished setting up my classroom for the coming school year. Yes, there are still a million little things I could do but for the most part, I'm done. We don't even "officially" report back until next week but I wanted to be done with my room before we returned and were promptly buried under things like lesson plans and in-services (the fifth grade team is presenting one of these trainings, because of our all-expenses paid trip to Orlando earlier this summer). I spent a solid 6 hours in my room today (in addition to the 20+ hours I'd already put in throughout the week) and FINALLY, I went from "hot mess" to "yeah, I'm ready."

Here are a few pictures I took today. Mind you, I was still under construction at the time, but the major components were all in place. (I also apologize for the blurriness. Just squint and imagine.)

This is what you see as you face the front of my room. For the first time, I have a "theme" in my room--Under the Sea--and under the white board, I have this whole coral reef/ seaweed thing going on, complete with little fishies and dolphins swimming around. You only see one little section here between the rows of desks (and, if you look very carefully, some leaping dolphins right under the metal bar at the halfway point of the whiteboard), but it continues along the entire length of the board. It actually looks pretty cool. Across the top of the white board are my class rules and the alphabet in cursive (which can still be tricky in 5th grade).

This is one of the boards in the back of my room, near the door. This is where I'm posting student work (our company is very big on posting student work, and it's a key thing they look for during our site visits). In keeping with my theme, it says " 'Sea' our great work" across the top. To the right of it, you see a wall-mounted book shelf; to the left is a self-made "board" for posting information, events, upcoming dates, etc.

Also in the back of my room, on the other side of the book shelf you saw in the previous photo, is this bulletin board. I love this one. You have the octopus, and it says "Vocabulary is in our grasp." (Get it? Eight arms? Under the sea?) This will be my word wall (another thing that corporate is VERY big on--so both of my bulletin boards will be winning me some major points). The wall to the right of this picture are my windows, which look out onto the lake and palm trees (and the parking lot, but I ignore that part).

And this is my teacher area. It looks better in person, but you have my "traditional" teacher desk right in front, and off to the right I have a table on which I'm keeping my computer, printer and stuff like that. That allows me to free up space on my actual desk for working, grading, etc. To the right of my table is an additional library area with crates of books, a rug, etc. To the left are my teacher cabinets and cupboards.
So that's a view of the major areas of my classroom. Again, I'm sure it will change slightly in the next week or so, but my overall setup (and especially my walls and bulletin boards, which take FOR.EV.ER to set up; moving the furniture and desks around is actually the easier part) is done.
I AM READY for my 23 kids. Get ready for a whole new batch of stories, my friends. After talking to their 4th grade teachers, it's certain that I am bound to have a bunch of them.