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.