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Rats! June 28, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Home Front.
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4 comments

Okay, while rats is the operative word, it’s a metaphor for so much more… Rats leaving a sinking ship, as in eleven, count’em, Thank You cards lined up to sign for colleagues who received a RIF notice.  Rats! Some of the best teachers ever are being put out to sea, while the sinking ship that is education takes on more water (aka students).

To add insult to injury, as the teachers struggled to pack up last Friday, the fire alarms went off at one-minute intervals – for five hours (okay, they took a break for lunch).  My son, who was helping me pack up my room, looked stricken.  I said, “Can you see how this could drive you crazy?” as we wandered in circles looking for the one roll of masking tape we needed to cover all the bookshelves with paper.  Especially, if you’re already crazy to begin with,” he shot back, but I’m immune to his caustic comments. I don’t know why the military engages in waterboarding, when the most effective form of torture I can think of is having you pack up a filthy classroom with fire alarms blaring.  Think about it.

I checked out of the school by 1 p.m.  My husband was late joining us for lunch.  He’d been at home waiting for “Johnny Rat,” the pest control specialist, to check out our growing rat problem.  (Yes, that’s how his name is printed on the card.) Think tiny claws in the walls at night and palm fronds that suddenly collapse with tell-tale nibble marks.  We’ve been in denial about “the rat problem” for years.

When I wrote I Smell a Rat, we were talking about ONE rat.  Now we’re talking about legions.  Think of the movie 300 only with rats in the starring roles.

So Mr. Rat and his sidekick, Nelson, from the Rat Patrol took a look see, and the news wasn’t good.  I think the only reason we don’t have a termite problem is because the rats have crowded them out.  So my first day of summer vacation was spent listening to the ills that could befall of us if we don’t take care of “the rat problem.”

I now know way more than I ever wanted to know about personal lives of these wily rodents (or vermin, depending on your POV).  We were informed that once the rats had all been trapped and new screening installed so they can’t jump from the trees onto the roof and move back into the attic, that a new problem of biblical proportions will emerge.  Rat mites!  Without a delicious rats to feast on, the starving mites will come looking for fresh flesh and blood…us!  Through the walls…through the ceilings. We couldn’t write the check fast enough. This will be an ongoing battle and from an evolutionary standpoint, the rats have an advantage.  We’ve trimmed all of the bushes and trees four feet back from the house. Johhny Rat and Nelson are all that stands between us and these flesh eating mites.

Mr. Rat winced when we introduced him to our son’s two pet rats, Peanut and Brittle.  My husband informed him that rats are smart and make great pets.  Johnny agreed that they are smart as he’s been trying to outsmart them for years.  But the look on his face said it all.  Pet rats!  I think he thought we were crazy.  But then he met the pig and now he knows for sure. Rats!

Que Hora Es? June 20, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Entertainment.
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3 comments

My friend Cathy sent a link to this hilarious clip on YouTube – a soap opera for people who only had three weeks of Spanish in the Fourth Grade.  I’ve written about my attempts to learn Spanish in My Spanish es Muy Malo. I tried watching Spanish soaps (telenovelas), hoping to learn a thing or dos, but the actors were obviously from the school of eyebrow acting.  But this one I can follow.  Enjoy!

 

Glad to Grad June 14, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Personal.
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7 comments

What a long strange trip its been since we started our masters in Educational Administration just a year ago. That was before I even knew what a cohort was. I liked to joke that, “We put the whore in cohort.”

Fourteen Powerpoint presentations is as close to Hell as you can get. Last Thursday was the final night of our final class. Tada! After Powerpoint presentation #6, my FSB (Favorite Study Buddy) Teresa whispered, “I think I’m going to throw up. I mean it.” I told her, first of all, to move away from me, and second, to step outside the room for some fresh air. She did and returned a paler shade of green. “So this is how the world ends,” I thought, “not with a bang, but a whimper.” I think someone else said that, but we all agreed that we’ve become much stupider since entering this program. “I don’t want to sound intelligent or anything” has become our mantra.

If Starbucks stock plummets, it’s because Thelma and Louise (AKA Teresa and Jan) are no longer refueling our engines every Wednesday and Thursday night. Even after a year, I still couldn’t remember the difference between a “large” and a “grande.” And Teresa complained her “CRS” was getting worse. “CRS?” I asked. “Can’t Remember Shit,” she replied. Yes, we teach small children. You should be scared.

I woke up on Saturday and for the first time in a year reveled in not having to write a reflection for a class like “The Machine as a Metaphor the Organization.” It was bad enough that we had to write our Action Research paper using APA format. I can hardly wait to delete Son of Citation Master from my bookmarks. Let’s face it, the person I’m most fond of quoting is myself. And when in doubt, go to Wikipedia.

We still have five weeks to assemble our digital portfolio, but the grunt work is done. My poor husband has been looking at the back of my head for a year as I sat at the computer cranking out paper after paper. “You know, if this was a two-year program, I’d be divorcing you,” he said matter-of-factly. Can you blame him? Not to mention how this program got in the way of my blogging. But “at the end of the day” (accompanied by air quotes), I’m back. I look forward to posting more frequently.

Brain in a Jar clipart is from Discovery School.com

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