Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Stress Ball

I am proud of my freshmen. They showed remarkable restraint during our DVD lesson today.

We began with a discussion of the differences among mass, weight, and volume, complete with my visual aid of an Office Max fake apple. The kids are fascinated by this apple. Several years ago, our superintendent gave each of the faculty such an apple. I don't want you thinkin' I'm anything special. Surely the apple was a promotional freebie from Office Max. Why not pass them out in mass quantity? Don't cost nothin'! The students think the apple is a stress ball. Why they believe their teachers need a stress ball is beeeeeyond me! The apple really grabs their attention. I squeezed my cushy red foam apple, to show that while mass and weight remain constant, volume can change . "Ooohhhhh," they aaahhhhhed.

But that's not the awesome part about the students' behavior. We went on to compare weight on the moon to weight on Earth, and noted how mass still stays the same. After a short session of guided practice, I whipped out the 23-minute DVD. It was about the formation of the galaxy, composition of the planets, and how specific conditions must be present for life as we know it to exist. We have been studying the universe and galaxies since school started. Part of the earth science concepts which make up 50% of the learning requirements for freshman physics.

"Uranus is a gaseous planet."

That's it. The most giggle-baiting quote ever. And my freshmen did not erupt into guttural hoots and hollers. They maintained. A couple looked sideways at each other, and raised their eyebrows. One lad looked back at me, the corners of his lips twitching, just before catching his friend's eye. Their shoulders shook momentarily. But they pulled it together.

We are nearing the end of 1st Quarter. They still fear me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Asking Too Much

Sigh. Five bad apples spoiled my bunch today.

Is it too much to ask that students turn in their tests? Seriously. I gave them a test and an answer sheet. A favor, really. Wasting all that paper so they could each have their very own test to mark on as they pleased. All I requested in return was that they turn in BOTH the test and the answer sheet. The answer sheet, obviously, to grade. Funny thing, all turned that one in. The other test I needed back so I could make sure who had what test. Not too much of a problem, because they sit alphabetically, and I hand them out by rows, so I pretty much knew which answer sheet to use. But most importantly, it was so that no test left the classroom.

I saw one young man turn in his answer sheet. Then he carried his question test back to his seat. I stood up to gather some answer sheets to grade. I announced to the class, "Remember to turn in BOTH the test and the answer sheet, with your name on both." The young man remained seated. Upon grading all tests, and putting them in alphabetical order, I saw that he never turned in his questions. It was not such a big deal today, because I gave an open-book test. But you can bet that on the next test, that young man is getting a one-of-a-kind test. One with all the answers opposite to the regular test, not just questions in different orders. For example, his test might have 9 true and 1 false, whereas the other kids would get 1 true and 9 false. I'll sniff out a cheater if that's his purpose.

The other 4 bad apples left their tests in the room, but without their names. And it was the last class, the class I lectured on being sure to NOT make the mistakes of the other classes.

I think somebody has ODD. That's oppositional defiant disorder, to you laypeople.

Or just some ornery little sh*ts, as teachers used to call them back in my day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shut The Barn Door

I was in a bit of a quandary this morning, sitting on my rolly chair, ensconced behind my teacher desk of smooth, light wood, inherited from a teacher who had two, by cracky, two teacher desks at the time she retired.

My students had gotten to the part of the lesson where I give them work, guided practice, as the methods books call it, worksheets to you and me. Even though I allow this work on class time in case they have questions, most do not utilize my brain. Until today.

A young man around 14 years of age approached me with a question. He stood opposite me, on the other side of the blond desk, pointing at the paper in his hand as he queried. The question concerned the concept of quasars and the red shift of their spectra. Do you ever have the feeling that something is amiss? Nothing specific you can put your finger on, but an inkling that something is different than it should be? Like when a billboard you pass every day without notice gets a new tenant, and it catches your eye? My eye was caught this morning. By an open zipper on this young man's pants.

What to do? I felt like I should tell him, but I could not bring myself to do it. It might have caused embarrassment. The rest of the class would have heard me. They would likely have teased him unmercifully, causing him to withdraw into a shell of his former self, and abandon Newmentia for homeschooling, and become depressed, and while away his adolescence in a juvenile care facility. Or not.

Perhaps he would think me a pervert, as in, "What are you doing looking there, anyway, huh? Is that how teachers are supposed to look at students? I think not, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! I am going to the office to tell them what a giant perv you are, and that kids are not safe around you, and that you should not be in a classroom with us with the door shut."

After a split second of careful analysis, during which I weighed my options, I did nothing. And he returned twice more! Was this my second chance to be a Good Samaritan? My third? Still, I did nothing. Except avert my eyes from the barn interior. Like a male teacher or principal waiting for a female teacher to tell certain young lasses to cover up breastage. Or to put the girls away, as one lunch crony commands. We must be careful in this day and age, careful of perceived improprieties.

I convinced myself that the lad would suffer less trauma if a male student told him to zip up, even if such an interaction included public ridicule. At least that ridicule would come from peers. That's how kids grow up, right? How they learn to hold their own, give and take, interact on different levels. I thought of how my #1 son would have reacted if a teacher told him of a barn door faux pas in front of the class. The word mortified kept popping into my mind. Like when Beaver Cleaver gave Miss Landers a slip for Christmas, because the department store messed up June's order of handkerchiefs and lingerie. So I did nothing.

Nobody else noticed. That I could tell. So I kept it my little secret. I did not even look his way at lunch to see if the problem had been solved.

It never happened. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Just Not That Into You

Well, here I sit, dillying and dallying, as if I don't have a blog to write this evening. I can't exactly account for all of the time I've been not-writing. I read some blogs, refrained from commenting, read about the Segway dude's untimely death by Segway, experimented with attachments of the email kind, and dashed out some tips for an article a teaching buddy is writing for School & Community.

School & Community is a teacher mag. It only costs $199 for nine issues per year. We ain't none too bright, us teacher folk. Actually, it's the official magazine of our teacher organization, MSTA. Which is NOT a union, even though they like to think they are, what with their lobbying and providing us lawyers and such when we're in hot water. But you won't find us picketing or striking. MSTA is the weak, waterlogged kitten of teacher representation. Which explains why Missouri is not at the top of the heap in teacher salaries.

I'm just not into this blog tonight. I'm going to prop my feet up in my recliner, and let visions of last night's embarrassing watermelon-to-the-face faux pas on Amazing Race play on a loop in my overtaxed brain. It was almost as entertaining as the great cheese wheel fiasco a couple of years ago.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Morning Of My Discontent

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has issues. Make that one great big honkin' issue.

Every day, I stop by Sonic for my current addiction, Diet Coke with Lime. During the week, I have a large. On Friday evenings, and the weekend, I indulge in a Route 44. Every now and then, an attention-deficit waif attempts to take my drive-thru order. She repeats it twice. Wrong. "A Route 44 Diet Coke, no ice?" So I have to correct her. Twice. "No, a Route 44 Diet Coke WITH LIIIIIME!!!" It finally sinks in. Usually. Except for that day when she gave me real Coke, no lime, gave The Pony a medium water and called it Sprite, and cheated the #1 son out of a corn dog.

But that's neither here nor there, because she wasn't working this morning. There was a new dude, who looked like the wheelchair guy on Glee. He repeated the order back to me. Twice. Correctly. "Route 44 Diet Coke with Lime? Will that be all?" Yes. That would be plenty. It was not half price time. I did not bring my coupon for a free Route 44. I paid big bucks for my soda. $2.05.

As always, I had correct change. I forked it over, and he handed me my Route 44. I stowed it in T-Hoe's cup holder as usual. I don't drink it until we get home, because I squeeze the life out of those lime wedges, and discard them so they don't clog up the straw. And I have also been known to add a smidgen of sugar. In case you are wondering, I knew the day that chick gave me real Coke, because it is foamy and Diet Coke isn't. So I made #1 try it, and it was real.

Back at the Mansion, groceries carried in and stashed away, my attention turned to my magnificent Route 44 Diet Coke with Lime. I had a glint in my eye like those Intervention junkies. I popped off the lid...and recoiled in HORROR!

Floating on top of my Route 44 Diet Coke with Lime were FOUR LEMON WEDGES!!!

That Gleeky little doofus did not know the difference between a lime and a lemon! I pulled them out, and the level of my soda dropped about one-third. They are thick-skinned, those lemons. And have seeds. I grabbed a spoon and scooped out the seeds. Then proceeded to Frig for a lime. They're 50 cents apiece, you know.

Is there such a thing as yellow/green color blindness? They need to get that kid off the front lines. What if he's just plain stupid? He might give out mustard instead of ketchup. Quarters instead of pennies. Tens instead of ones.

Some days, I just can't catch a break.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Emily Post Posts On Manners

I was in a hurry this morning, trying to rush The Pony to his band-sponsored car show. Farmer H, newly crowned band booster president, was already there, grilling to feed the band. Actually, grilling to sell concessions to clothe the band is more accurate. It was a HUGE car show. I think 39 trophies were awarded. The Pony was supposed to work in some manner, which neither of us have yet figured out.

Since we were running late, due to the #1 son hitching a ride to grandma's house, I stopped at Casey's for some convenience store donuts. The boys would rather have had the salt and fat from McDonalds, but being a regular health food maven, I decreed that they should have sugar and fat instead. Mainly because McDonald's takes too long.

#1 was sent on the mission. The Pony and I waited in T-Hoe. And waited. And waited. And waited. All of the cars that had been parked in front of Casey's had left. The gas-pumpers had not gone inside. I couldn't figure out what was taking 15 minutes to buy donuts in a convenience store.

A man walked out, dragging a girl toddler, who was sucking on some kind of juice/bottle/convenience store thingy. He reached back in and drug out a slightly larger boy clutching a 99-cent bag of Doritos. Nacho cheese. The boy started kicking the other door. The little girl had a meltdown, stomping and whining and yanking at the door handle. Then she sat down right in front of it. A customer and two workers back from their smoke break in plain sight could not get in. The man just watched. Then the door opened from the inside, and that little girl scrambled to her feet. It was her momma. They went traipsing across the lot.

#1 finally emerged. He rolled his eyes. "I would have been here sooner, except for that crazy family in front of me. That little girl kept throwing a fit, and the boy had to be stopped from stealing things three times, and the woman tried 4 different credit cards that were declined, and then she wrote a check. Which I'm sure is no good."

OK. If you have maxed out four credit cards, maybe you shouldn't be shopping at a convenience store. Maybe you should look into Aldi's or Save-A-Lot, and buy a bag of staples like beans and noodles and peanut butter and bread and milk and some canned vegetables, instead of Doritos and fruity single-serving drinks. Oh. But those stores don't take credit cards. Or checks.

You can be poor, and you can be darn poor...but it doesn't cost anything to teach your children manners.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How I Spent My Friday From 8:00-3:00

What I learned at my Professional Development Day:

City kids, the kind in New York, have some unique insult vocabulary. Thank the Gummi Mary, I have never been called a gonorrhea syphilis-dripping b*tch. Yet. But if I am, I know how to respond. I should step to the offender, lean into his face, and with just enough crazy, whisper, "Maybe I am, and that's why I'm acting like this right now."

If you check your cell phone to see how much longer it will be until you can pry yourself out of that seat of torture, you will find that only 5 minutes have elapsed. Each time.

When the verbal and hard-copy rules concerning Professional Development Day were made known to all faculty, those rules specified that jeans were permitted, but no tennis shoes. That faculty would sign in at both morning and afternoon sessions. As the session began, all in attendance were ordered to silence their cell phones. So of course one person bounded down the stairs, showing off his tennis shoes, an hour into the presentation, answering the ring of his cell phone, later returning until an hour before the session ended, upon which he and his wife gave each other the high sign across the little theater, and headed out separate exits.

The proper answer to a student who says "Your mother is a dirty hoor," (they're New York kids, with different accents than Missouri kids) is to chide the insulter with, "At least MY mother is working."

In a bit of reverse psychology, you can trick an oppositional student into turning in work by taking away his power. "This assignment is for all the other students, Johnny--not for you. I want you to NOT do the assignment. Of course, you will still get your zero as usual. Just be sure you don't do that work. It's for the others." Johnny will want to defy you, so after a few times of being told NOT to do the work, he will do it. Because you told him not to. YEAH, RIGHT! What's really going to happen is that Johnny will continue to NOT do his work, and his parents will storm the principal's office demanding to know why Johnny is being denied his free, compulsory education.

We were not a good audience, us Newmentians. Nor were the Basementians. Basementia Buddy took special exception to the notion that a student who improves to do 4 of 7 math problems correctly could conceivably get a better grade than one who only gets 25 out of 30 right. A Newmentian asked, "What's the valedictorian speech going to be, 'Me smart?' " I might be paraphrasing there, but the gist is the same.

Your heart will skip a beat when you check your phone clock, and see that only 3 minutes have gone by since the last time you looked.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Frankenstein Lives!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is OH SO PROUD of herself. Perhaps she has mentioned that she is technology-challenged. So when the stroke of 8:00 a.m. rolled around, she was wishing she had the #1 son as a captive copy-clerk intern. Then she could tell him he would have 10 free minutes of his very own time before the bell, if he would only unhook her DVD player and hook up her VCR. Not to a TV, you silly geese! The appliances that are tethered to a sound booster dealy-bobber and spliced into the dock thingamajig that flashes the contents of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's school district laptop via a projector mounted on the ceiling onto the giant movie screen over the whiteboard for all to admire.

But the boy was not a captive. He only makes an appearance when he wants money, or when a last-minute permission slip must be signed. Mrs. HM took a deep breath. She peered at the backsides of various black, beknobbed, sliding-orificed contraptions resting in a nest of coiled wires on the table beside her desk. She observed yellow and white and red connections. But the VCR only had yellow and white posty-looking doomaflojets. Two of each. Much like MacGyver defusing a bomb, or a septuagenarian trying to trounce her great-great-grandchildren in a game of Operation, Mrs. HM removed a yellow and a white whatchamacallit and gingerly poked them into the north end of the south-facing VCR. She turned on the projector, the sound box, the VCR, and pressed a VIDEO button on the projector remote. Holding her deep breath, she pressed the PLAY button on the VCR.

VOILA! A shaft of light surely shone down from above, illuminating the VCR in a golden glow. On the giant classroom movie screen appeared colorful vertical bars. A screeching squeal pierced Mrs. HM's eardrums. Music to her ears, it was...that diabolical test pattern.

All the planets had aligned, the biorhythms had peaked, and had she attempted it, Mrs. HM could no doubt have stood an egg on end. She had cracked the technology code, by cracky! Frankenstein lives!

The true test remains. For one day, in the hopefully distant future, Mrs. HM will have to reconnect the DVD player.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken-Hearted Child's Play

My custodian buddy who chats with me daily during my plan time tells me that chickens can have heart attacks. That the companies who raise fryers give their chickens aspirin. Who knew? And CB elaborated that a chicken that has died from a heart attack will be found with a foot up in the air. I'm wondering if he was just pulling my leg. I don't think so.

In any case, I fear stepping out onto the porch of my Mansion, lest I behold a sea of chicken legs waving in the breeze. They are tormented regularly by the #1 son. He despises clucking chickens. Not as bad as Renee Zellweger's Ruby Thewes, whose solution to a floggin' rooster was to put him in a pot. The #1 son's solution to a floggin' rooster is to kick him so that he sails in a perfect parabola. Our checkered banty can attest to that.

No, the #1 son has a little game he plays with Farmer H's chickens. It's more of a game for #1 than it is for the chickens. When they hear the door open, or T-Hoe roll up the driveway, the chickens flock to the front yard. They are used to me or The Pony tossing them random snacks of bread, cereal, strawberry tops, corn cobs, or just about any leftover besides chicken. That's because The Pony says it will make them cannibals. #1 is having none of the chicken love. He likes to walk into their midst, letting them strut toward him, their beaks eagerly awaiting some tasty tossed crumb. Then #1 raises his arms over his head, yells, "YAHHH," and runs at them. They scurry and scatter to the woods, or under the camper.

I don't think that's good for their hearts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Careful, I Will Hear You

As I stand in the hall between class periods, I overhear snippets of conversation. Some are downright puzzling. Some are worth reporting to powers above. And others are just sort of amusing.

I misunderstood what she was saying. She said something about "going to Haiti," but I thought she said, "going to Hade." Like Hades. Which is H*ll. And I wondered why we were discussing going to H*ll in that class.

Monday, September 20, 2010

HM Proposes Some Composing

How ya doin' out there? Did ya ever seem to have one of those days where it just seems like everybody's gettin' on your case, from your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend?

Oops! That's Brownsville Station. And I AM the teacher. And if I was of the smoking persuasion, I would surely do it in the faculty women's bathroom like all the rest of them (allegedly), and not in the boys' room. There's not even a door on that sucker! Just a concrete-block rat maze.

But I've had one of those days. The #1 son made us late this morning, which of course meant that we would find ourselves behind a school bus and 10 cars.

Upon nearing Newmentia, a line of dump trucks would overflow their entrance road because their gate was chained shut, meaning that a dump truck would park IN THE ROAD, as we say around these parts, and we would have to hitch our hopes to a different school bus and tailgate it around that dump truck through oncoming traffic.

In the teacher workroom, I would be quizzed as to whether I jammed the copier, even though I was just standing there waiting for the bathroom (not to smoke).

Upon exiting the workroom, a pair of make-up cakers would shoot out of the concrete-block rat-maze of the girls' room like a rodeo bronc with a burr under his saddle, necessitating a quick application of my Fred Flintstone brakes, causing a grinding pain in my knee that made me nauseous for the next three hours until I popped an ibuprofen at lunch.

When quietly relating the passing of my grandma last week to my teaching buddy, Mabel, during the last few minutes of 2nd hour...a student would stand behind my desk (!) (NEVER EVER ALERT!) and state that he didn't really need anything, he just thought he would listen in on our conversation.

In a last-minute dash to run TWO copies to send additional work to ISS, the ParkingSpaceStealer would inform me that the copier would only run if you hit the button that said you were adding toner with each copy. She was running a whole stack.

At lunch, Stuart would cut me from the herd and insinuate that he wanted to sit in MY seat to do his duty, even though the one right beside me, with the same view of Lunchmentia, was empty.

After lunch, a romantic breakup would lead to a teary student leaving my class to go home. A seat scavenger would commit a NEVER EVER moving from the assigned seating chart.

At the bank after school, two trucks would barrel into the exit and park along the sidewalk, blocking me from backing out until cars beside me left.

The #1 son would lose his glasses inside T-Hoe when they fell off his face as his head dropped over in an impromptu nap.

At the Mansion, The Pony would clog the toilet in the boys' bathroom while the #1 son was telling him to hurry up and get out of there.

And...the piece de restistance: the air conditioning unit would flood the basement floor when its dehumidifying hose doomaflotchet chose today to clog up.

I need to compose a song for my garage band, Mommy's Got A Headache.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gar Shooting 101

I have a new vice. WordFeud. It's Scrabble for the phone. Problem is, I get all wrapped up in playing it like it IS a game of Scrabble. Which means that I want to play just as soon as my opponent makes a play. That's not necessary in WordFeud. You can go 48 hours between plays.

Your phone will notify you after your opponent makes a word. That means I get right to spellin'. And then my opponent waits another 48 hours to play. I would resign from the game, but that would make me look like a loser.

I'm very good at WordFeud. I honed my skills playing computer Scrabble, against a ginormous cheater built into the computer game. For example, Computer Cheater would tell me that my word was not really a word, even when it was in the dictionary, and then VOILA! Computer Cheater would put a word right smack dab in the very locale where he had cleared my legal word. I call shenanigans!

The #1 son challenged me to a game of WordFeud on Saturday morning. It took me two hours, but I whomped him good by a margin of 235 points. Take THAT, sonny. Now tell me that your IQ is higher than mine. I taunted him throughout the match.

"This is like taking candy from my baby."
(Upon playing a word for 85 points).

"Like shooting fish in a barrel."
(This, after he played GAR for three points, and announced pointedly, like I was a foreign exchange student from Finland, or not the valedictorian of my high school class, "It's a fish.")

"You, Mr. Gar, are shooting yourself in a barrel."
(After he passed a turn to exchange three tiles).

I begged him to withdraw from the game, to put himself out of my misery. He refused. "I'm not a quitter." After hammering the final 20 points in his coffin, when I played my last i between a w and a t to make wit, which I found quite a satisfying way to end it all, #1 threatened me. "I'm going to set you up in a game with somebody who beat me really bad!"

To which I replied, "Someone like...oh...I don't know...ME?"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reports Of My Murder Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

I went to town at 7:30 this evening to pick up The Pony, who enjoyed a blissful day with his grandma. It was getting dark by the time we returned. Imagine my surprise when I saw the headlight of a vehicle down by the Mansion garage when we turned in to our driveway. I was not expecting anybody. Especially not anybody driving an old white Jeep Cherokee with one headlight. My first thought was: someone is casing the Mansion for a future robbery. Because that's how my mind works. Always suspect criminal activity. That's because I'm a teacher, I suppose.

The Jeep pulled off into the yard to let me pass. A woman shielded her eyes from the blinding rays of T-Hoe's brights. I stopped and rolled down the window, and the woman did the same. She peered out and explained.

I'm sorry, but my daughter was out running. She has to run two miles a day for cross-country. I told her it was getting too dark tonight, so she only got in about a mile and a half. I dropped her off down by the county road bridge and followed her really slow in the car. When she ran by your house, she heard a woman scream like she was being murdered. Twice. We came up in here to check it out, but the kids saw your dogs and were afraid. I saw that you have goats, and I told her it must have been a goat.

I explained that our dogs don't bite, don't even bark at people, only small furry varmints like rabbits and baby moles. And that while we do have goats, they don't sound like murder victims. I offered up Farmer H's two guineas, who make a gosh-awful noise, almost as irritating as peacocks. I mentioned that something has eaten a bunch of our chickens this week, and we don't find the carcasses like when our own dogs kill them. Also, I told her that a couple of years ago, I heard the screaming woman sound down across the creek. I, too, would have sworn that a murder was in progress. I'm thinking that maybe it was a panther. That's what we call a mountain lion here in the non-mountains.

Lady Visitor said that she tried to keep chickens, and that something got into the coop and ate them. And that she had seen a large fox. BINGO! That's what's killing our chickens, I'm sure. But as for the screaming, I don't know. The runner girl rolled down her Jeepy window and explained what she heard. The woman apologized again.

They were either Academy Award-winning actresses, or their story was true. I thanked them for caring enough to save me from my imminent death.

It takes a village to protect Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Chronicles Of Karma

Here's a little tale out of Newmentia, hot off the tongues of the students. I can not vouch for the authenticity of the particulars, since I am out of the loop. So far out of the loop, in fact, that I am not near the far side of Pluto, not at the tippy-end of a major spiral of the Milky Way, not on the opposite edge of Alpha Centauri, but so far out that a deep space salvage crew would never ever run across me and haul me in with a hope of something more valuable than Ripley and Jonesy in the Nostromo's escape pod. Narcissus. Not me. The escape pod. That was its name: Narcissus.

Getting back to our little story... The dude who wanted to be called Diary Ahh was up to some shenanigans this week. Allegedly. Newmentia had a new substitute, a fresh young thing, not one of our jaded, iron-fisted subs, so beloved by the faculty. Sub inquired as to the whereabouts of a certain absent student, and Diary Ahh, ever the helpful Eddie Haskell, responded. "We traded him for some beer money." A dialogue ensued between the two. Diary Ahh then commenced a retortfest with a female student, who gave as good as she got. Diary Ahh told the Sub he had a medical issue, and needed to visit the office.

Here, the accounts diverge. Some say that Diary Ahh walked out of the classroom (which he had done in another classroom over his right to get a drink when he was thirsty. Which he wouldn't have been, had he eaten those 30 grapes he brought to lunch every day for a week, rather than chucking them around the cafeteria). Others say that he was sent to the office by Sub. In any case, the story resumed when Diary Ahh was thrashing on the floor of the office with a seizure. Or WAS he? The call went out from the ceilings of the classrooms to keep students in the rooms. Sirens were heard. First responders responded to Newmentia. They lifted Diary Ahh onto a stretcher. They greased up the paddles of the defibrillator...and Diary Ahh jumped off the gurney and shouted, "I'm OK now!"

After some TLC in the back of the ambulance, Diary Ahh was released, and proceeded to walk home. But it gets better. Allegedly.

The next morning, Diary Ahh returned to the scene of the seizure. He was greeted by a staff member. who inquired, "Hey, Pisa! What you got in that box?" (You're right. This staff member was not in the English department). Diary Ahh replied to the inquisition, "A bomb."


Diary Ahh received an offer he couldn't refuse. His presence was requested immediately in the inner sanctum of Newmentia. Shortly thereafter, he was escorted to his locker, which was scraped clean, and sent on his way on foot toward town. But it gets better. Allegedly.

Diary Ahh visited the administration building, where he was summarily give the heave-ho by the grand poobah. Who in fact notified local law enforcement that Diary Ahh had made a threat against the triumvirate of Newmentia, Basementia, and Elementia, and should not be allowed to step foot onto such hallowed soil. But it gets better. Allegedly.

Diary Ahh, before receiving the boot, had demanded an audience with the school board that evening at their monthly meeting. A meeting which requires speakers to be placed on the agenda at least a week in advance, though any patrons may attend the proceedings as spectators. Sunshine law and all. Not having been placed on the agenda, Diary Ahh was denied his audience with the board. But it gets better. Allegedly.

Local law enforcement picked up Diary Ahh and placed him on a 24-hour hold. He was in the lock-up during the board meeting.

Karma is most certainly a b*tch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Thought Thursday 9-16-10

Random Thought Thursdays are BAAAACK!

*How unloved does a kid feel when he has to stay home alone because he's sick...and his mom brings him a school cafeteria lunch?

*Do not assume that just because power is out in your neighborhood, and power is out at Elementia, that our district will not be having school. Especially if you are a cook.

*Oppositional Defiant Disorder is the real deal, even though back in my day, we used to call it "being an a$$hole."

*Sick people need to stay away from me and not breathe. On me.

*Students calling a teacher by his/her first name at school with the permission of that teacher is just downright creepy. I pretend I don't know who they are talking about, until they refer to that teacher as Ms. or Mr. Surname.

*When the ParkingSpaceStealer from the end of my hall tells her class they can head to lunch before the bell, as long as they don't go past Mrs. Hillbilly has a tendency to rankle Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She is a human being, by cracky! Not a mile marker or a lawn jockey or a placeholder. So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom sidles down the hall until she is standing near the AD office, which allows the students to cross the cafeteria and enter the lunch line, all while being not past Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Paybacks are a b*tch, even five years after the purloined parking place incident.

*Much like youth is wasted on the young, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's pithy comments sail over the heads of her charges. "You children can be so...childish!" should elicit a few smiles or smirks. Instead, the statement is met with: "That's because we ARE children." Duh.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slackadaisical HM

I am ready for four hours of TV viewing tonight. Never mind that I have four hours of grading to do as well. Sometimes, kids just need to learn that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, robot grader (as a student referred to me this morning), has to stop and recharger her battery. So a grade may not be available within 12 hours of turning in the assignment. Boo freakin' hoo! I could have had it all done if not for looking up missing work to send kids scheduled for ISS, and grading work returned from kids sent to ISS, and looking up, parceling out, and grading work from students previously known as absent. Anybody with a bone to pick over Mrs. HM's slackadaisical Wednesday evening schedule might as well chastise the peers who violated the rules and earned a trip to ISS, or those who lounged about at home while WE toiled in the salt mines day after day. Is all I'm sayin' borrow a term from Grammatically Incorrect H.

The season premiere of Survivor, the season finale of Big Brother, and a routinely shocking episode of The Real World-New Orleans await me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There Comes A Time To Put Away Babyish Things

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has an issue with students who walk the hallowed halls of Newmentia while draped in the folds of flowing bed-coverings. This is simply not proper attire in the land of Hillmomba.

Wear a jacket, wear a hoodie, wear a sweater, wear a flannel shirt, grow the hair on your arms really long...but do not wear a 5' x 5' swatch of cloth, no matter how snuggley and soft it may be. I do not drape myself in velour and traipse about spouting knowledge. I can not have in sight in your presence a cell phone, a beverage, a Final Four broadcast, or a social networking site. Since I am not permitted to enjoy items that are prohibited for you, then likewise, I feel that your bed-linen cape should be off limits during school hours. For sure, it is not allowed within the walls of my classroom.

The fact that I did not specifically list this accessory during my Never Ever List expository speech on the first day does not imply that it is permitted. When I tell you in the hall that it is not to be worn inside my classroom, and you argue that it is, and I tell you that you can go get a note from someone superior to me, that is the time to do it. NOT after you flounce into the classroom, interrupt me as I am starting class, and try to hijack the proceedings with an audience. And just so you know, since I allowed you to go seek that note after the bell, you are being charged a tardy, same as any other student leaving the room.

In regards to the writer of the note you brought back, which stated that you could wear your precious shoulder-crutch, only for today, a personal note of explanation is necessary. I truly did not expect such permission to be granted. I would never knowingly send a student on a quest for validation in a game of Good Cop, Bad Cop. Because I was thinking more along a game of Bad Cop, Worse Cop. You see, I have no qualms about my unpopularity due to rule enforcement. I do not care to be buddies with the students. It is my job to prepare them for life. I seriously doubt that the assistant manager would allow this attire on the french fry line.

Students draped in folds of cloth are not in a learning mindset. How can they write, while clinging to the cloth with both hands? What if they are attempting to hide another student's paper that they are copying under cover? Let's not even think about the illicit texting, music-listening, fondling, or exposure that could rear its ugly head. Students have been caught doing the last two right out in the open, for cryin' out loud! Though not in my classroom, thank the Gummi Mary! And I plan to keep it that way.

If this happens again, I'm going to crank that thermostat up to 85, by cracky! IF I can manage to unlock it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Sense Less Free Time In My Future

Meeting today after school.

Meeting tomorrow after school.

11 days until we have a day off school to go to a meeting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Molested By The Devil's Handmaiden

The day has been totally unremarkable, excepting the mauling of my breasts by The Devil's Handmaiden. Granted, she was wearing those see-through plastic gloves, but the experience rubbed Mrs. Hillbilly Mom the wrong way.

Oh. I don't mean my actual breasts. That would be just downright creepy. As creepy as the time that woman followed me through Save-A-Lot on New Year's Day, where I had gone to purchase some black-eyed peas to serve up for good luck throughout the year (the luck part, not the black-eyed peas, which were to be served for one meal only), and stroked my arm while telling me I was SO PRETTY. But I digress.

Perhaps I have deliberately misled you in order to snag your interest in my blog post. Guilty as charged! OH SO SORRY. But now that I have your attention, I will proceed with my unsettling shopping-trip tale.

The Pony and I had already made our rounds of The Devil's Playground, and were in our fourth and final corner, the deli. I asked for some chicken tenders, which are breaded and fried hunks of chicken breast. (I felt it necessary to explain that bit, in case some of you are those health-food freaks who avoid fried foods like the plague, or those animal-loving PETA-heads who call fish sea kittens).

The Devil's Handmaiden reached into the metal bin behind the glass counter, and began squeezing my breasts. She really went at it, that little gal. No sooner would she caress and discard one breast than she would latch onto the next. It went on for several minutes. She must have noticed my horrified expression, because she felt the need to explain, "They're not very big." OUCH! She further added, "I'm trying to make sure they're not hard." Thanks for the exam, honey, but I go to my gyno for that. He's way more entertaining than you, and if I can get him to keep his hands off my thyroid for five minutes, he performs a fair annual exam. Now that my thyroid is all but absent, I think he will be able to concentrate more on the matter at hand.

Perhaps this falls under the category of Too Much Information.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Future Enterprisers

The Pony is selling 50-50 tickets for band. All of us Hillbilly Mansion dwellers plan to buy some. They're $1 each, and you don't have to be present at the annual band car show to win. As The Pony tells it, last year's winner was at the dentist when he got the call that he had just won $700 on the single ticket that he bought. Works for me. Except the dentist part.

Yes, the school district that won't allow Halloween parties or costumes, instead opting for Fall Festival celebrations, is promoting gambling with the 50-50 lottery. Go figure. Gambling must be a lesser evil than Satan worship.

Another group was selling coupon books for $15 a pop. And the coupons were for businesses in St. Louis. Too bad that nobody consulted Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, who could have saved the sponsor the headache of calling the coupon book company to arrange to send back those unsellable coupon books. Who has the money to fritter away on food and entertainment IN ST. LOUIS? Not our patrons, who probably don't have the gas money to fritter away on a 120-mile jaunt just to spend more money to save money on the $15 they spent on a coupon book. Now that group is selling Krispy Kreme donuts. Six dollars is more plausible than fifteen. And you don't have to drive anywhere but school. Plus, some students buy the $6 dozen of donuts, and sell them to students who didn't have $6 for a dollar apiece. Everybody's happy. The group gets their fundraiser money, the re-seller doubles his investment, and the donut-eater gets a tasty snack for only the dollar that he would have spent on soda at lunch.

I need to develop a product or service and cash in. But I draw the line at making soap out of goat milk, like I saw on Dirty Jobs.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've Created A Monster

Breaking news from the salt mines:

Student Strives to Make Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Never Ever List

A student was seen and heard flipping his folder over and over and over on his desk yesterday. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was preoccupied with taking attendance, which is actually what she is paid to do, since federal funding is linked to student enrollment. Flipper inquired, "How many times can a folder be flipped?" Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ignored the question, assuming it was rhetorical, and hit submit. As she walked to the front of the room to begin class, she heard Student mutter, "I bet that's something you should never, ever do--flip your folder."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Earwig Alert

I have an earwig.

No, it's not some infestation that our freeloading chickens didn't eat out of the front yard of the Mansion. It's a song. A song stuck in my head, ever since Wednesday morning, when it was the last song to play on T-Hoe's radio before I had to get out and enter Newmentia. No other song or fragment cut in to cleanse my aural palate.

It's stuck there. Snippets keep repeating throughout the day. The students are OH SO LUCKY that I did not burst into song. What is it? Shaggy. Angel.

Shorty, you're my angel, you're my darling angel.
Closer than my peeps you are to me.

She was there through my incarceration
I wanna show the nation my appreciation.

Those are the two main offenders, those snippets. I suppose I'm lucky that it wasn't Shaggy's bathroom floor song.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tragedy Unaverted

Sad news to report from the Mansion today. One of the twin baby goats has died.

We arrived home from school, and The Pony dashed outside to check on the goats and his favorite rooster, Survivor. Only yesterday, The Pony found Survivor in the chicken coop with all his tail feathers gone, and a chunk bitten out of his chicken butt. Farmer H put Survivor in the old rabbit hutch to heal. He tried putting a banty hen in there with him to keep him company, but Survivor was having none of that.

The Pony was pleased to find Survivor still kickin', but saddened to find the black baby goat laying beside a tree trunk and unable to get up. Nellie, the mama, had her head stuck in the fence again. Farmer H arrived home and freed Nellie. Who knows how long she'd been there. It could have been since last night. Farmer H doesn't check on his goat children before leaving for work anymore.

Einstein H let Nellie out of the fence before trying to feed the dying baby. He sent The Pony back to the Mansion for an old bottle and some warm water and milk. I asked The Pony why we were giving the baby goat cow's milk when he had perfectly good goat's milk inside his mama. The Pony replied, "Dad can't catch Nellie." Duh.

After a 15-minute struggle to slip some milk down that baby goat's throat, the poor kid expired. I blame Farmer H and his inattention to the fence/goat horn situation, which has been going on all summer. Now it has returned to bite Farmer H on the butt.

At the expense of a baby goat. Which might have survived if it had a mama to take care of it and nurse it over the past 24 hours. Farmer H denies any wrongdoing, stating that Nellie had a bag full of milk, so it wasn't due to her inability to feed her kids from being starved and dehydrated with her head in the fence. But it kind of proves my point that the baby hadn't been nursing that bag full of milk. Maybe he needed a good lickin' or other encouragement.

The Pony is devastated. But the baby white goat is kicking up its heels.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Misunderstood Song Lyrics

The #1 son has an obsession with 70s culture. Not people age seventy. That would just be wrong. The 1970s, the decade. Ever since I let him watch Dazed and Confused, he spouts out trivia that he thinks is enlightening, which only serves to make him look OH SO SHELTERED. He'll say things like, "Were you cool, Mom? You know what I mean: cool. All of you were high in the seventies, and you know it." I think he got that term from the movie, when creepy Matthew McConaughey asks that long-haired kid Mitch Kramer if he's cool. By which McConaughey means, does he partake of the reefer.

First of all, I don't know why he's placing me in the seventies, as some bell-bottomed, hair-parted-in-the-middle, peace-medallion-dangling, Earth-shoe-wearing, tie-dye clad, sandalwood-incense-burning, doobie-tokin' hippy. The boy does not seem to believe that sometimes, cool just means cool.

On the way home from school today, he heard a song on T-Hoe's radio. "There's a song for you, Mom. Everything in the seventies was about drugs." Except that the song he was listening to was Dude Looks Like a Lady, from 1987, and the refrain, 'Do me, do me, do me.'

I was kind enough to point out these facts to naive #1. He said, "Oh. I thought they were singing, 'Doobie, doobie, doobie.' "

Funny how he heard One Toke Over the Line two days ago, and didn't even mention it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just For The Record

Just for the record...

*Great Clips is closed on Labor Day

*It is OH SO EASY to get caught up in traffic after the Labor Day Parade if you are taking The Pony to Grandma's house after the haircut he didn't get.

*The #1 son will ride to town for a haircut if he thinks it will get him a fast-food lunch, and not seem at all upset due to the Great Clips embargo.

*Farmer H will panic like a postpartum prima gravida mom when he can't find a newborn kid.

*Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can talk Farmer H down from the precipice if she uses a soothing tone and reminds him that he and five family members lost a four-day-old goat inside the pen for 30 minutes earlier this summer, and that the missing kid will turn up.

*The missing baby goat will be found next to a tree trunk, and will turn out to be the TWINS we've been waiting for since Farmer H started unofficially breeding goats.

*Goat twins can be fraternal, a boy and a girl, a black and a white, a short-hair and a long-hair, that look neither like the long-haired tan mama nor the short-haired white papa.

*Five minutes after polishing off a Sonic toaster meal in T-Hoe, the #1 son will lament that The Devil's deli chicken tenders on the bottom shelf of Frig would be mighty tasty.

*If Mrs. Hillbilly Mom tells her mouthy #1 son that she is going to write a book and name it One Great Big Not-Listening Party, he will snort and say, "More like One Great Big Not-Reading Party."

Just for the record.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Steven Includes The Family

It's time for another chapter of The Stevening of Hillbilly Mom. Even Steven is playing fast and loose with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's life. Now he pulls Farmer H into the mix.

Thursday, the boys and I left school on a mission. A mission to grab some weekly cash from the automated teller, and pick up some boys' supper. Thursday is their fast food night, what with Pro Bowler H taking his 140 lifetime average to bowling league night. For those of you who don't bowl, a perfect game is 300. So you can see that Bowler H is a tad below average for life.

Normally, that bank machine spits out twenties like there's no tomorrow. I have our weekly cash allowance faster than you can say, "Thank the Gummi Mary, Farmer H did not duct-tape a board to the goat's head." But on this day, the Thursday before Labor Day, when a goodly number of folks were likely stocking up on cash for the holiday weekend, the money-shooter whirred like a blender full of strawberry daiquiris. Or so I've heard. Then it commenced to spit out TENS. The Hillbilly weekly cash budget requires a lot of tens. I was a bit miffed at the audacity of that machine to make my currency choice for me.

But that was not to be the extent of my minus column in the big tally sheet of Even Steven. The Sonic drive-thru window girl proudly handed me a Diet Coke, No Ice, after I had clearly enunciated a Diet Coke With Lime, and the order-taker dude had repeated back a Diet Coke With Lime. The window gal seemed perturbed when I handed it right back to her, snapping in my best the-customer-is-always-right voice, "I said, Diet Coke WITH LIME." Rather than simply pouring out a bit of soda, and adding ice and lime, she dumped the whole beverage, peered into the cup, and then discarded it. I shudder to think what she saw, and what had nearly been served to me. Good thing we could watch her make the new one through the window.

The Pony took a swig of his Sprite, and choked. "That is WATER!!!" Oh, the horror. I took a swig, the #1 son took a swig, and three Hillbillies agreed: water. When the window gal handed me my new Diet Coke With Lime, I handed back the 'Sprite.' "It's water. Taste it." She looked at me like I was the crazy one. "Eww! I'm not tasting it." She set it aside, and drew a Sprite from the fountain. I can only hope that she did not serve that water to the car behind us. She should have dumped it right there.

Smarting from the Stevening times three, I pointed T-Hoe towards home. Farmer H called as I crossed the rickety, rusty bridge to Hillmomba. "I won three filets! I'm bringing them home now. I'll grill them this weekend."

It didn't enter my mind to ask how and where Farmer H had won three filet mignons. I knew it was an act of Steven.

Friday, September 3, 2010

More Lunch Tales

The discussion over our 10:38 a.m. lunch today turned to a new student who has been ordering the faculty to call him a name. It's not his legal name. It's not on any school records. It's the equivalent of a dude named Charles Smith asking to be called Diary Ahh. Of course that is not the true name he's requesting. That would be revealing too much personal information. This example is meant to illustrate the mindset of the dude making the request.

An infrequent guest to our lunch table, though one who certainly belongs there every sixth week, got wind of the tale. "What's he look like? Oh. I know that kid. Next time I see him, I'm going to say, 'Hi, Pisa.' I'll let him figure out for himself what I'm really calling him. Piece of ----."

You can't best us, kids. Give it up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaving No Good Deed Unpunished

No good deed goes unpunished.

The students have been hacking and snorting with some new virus. Nine days into the school year, and my box of tissues was nearly empty. The #1 son conveniently 'forgot' his duty of hauling in my supplies as instructed. Oh, he can wolf down those Sonic tots and chug a Sonic soda after school. But when it comes to paying for his bounty with the physical chores that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom abhors, he runs a tab.

After school on Tuesday, I told him that he would need to carry in water and tissues Wednesday morning. He agreed, because if he didn't, I was not going to buy him Sonic snacks. He agreed in the heat of the moment, tater tot vapors tickling his nostrils. Now it will be some cockamamie conspiracy I cooked up if I mention the agreement. Wednesday morning dawned all gray and raindroppy. I forced #1 out of T-Hoe at the back door of Newmentia, and instructed him to come let me in at the end door by my parking place. I had earlier forced The Pony to bag up five bottles of water, and browbeat #1 into carrying them into the building.

No mention was made of the tissues. There were only about 10 left in the box. I do not wish for my snotty students to have to resort to a roll of school toilet paper for honking their schnozzes. That stuff isn't even perforated, by cracky! That is low class. Only the best for my kids. Puffs With Aloe, baby! Between classes, I asked #1 to run out and grab a box of tissues. I could keep him from getting a tardy, you know. I am all powerful. #1 refused. Go figure. A deal is not a deal with that boy. His philosophy is 'I take and you give.'

During my plan time, I dashed out the end doors to T-Hoe, being careful to take my second-best doorstop with me so I could get back in that door. Rain had been sluicing down intermittently all day. Feast or famine. Flood or drought. Skies were clear when I started the 50-foot walk to my car. You know where this is going, right? I took a few steps, and thought that I felt a sprinkle or two. No matter. I was just grabbing those tissues and heading right back in. Then I heard a roaring from the direction of the technology building. Oh, yes. It was a sudden deluge hammering the metal roof. A sudden deluge that nigh to drowned me before I even reached into T-Hoe's rear end. I rushed back to the building, clicking my clicker behind me, not even checking to see if T-Hoe locked himself.

I have been drier upon exiting the shower. My lovely lady-mullet was plastered to my skull like Bob's Big Boy hair. Like the painted, plastic-molded hair of Johnny, Jane, Jay, Josie, Jamie, and Janice West. I had a regular West family action-figure coif.

It was not flattering.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Word. Just Word.

We are having a bit of a kerfluffle around the Mansion concerning Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's use of the word redonkulous. The #1 son has decreed that I am never allowed to utter that word again. Which means that I try to sneak it into every conversation. I don't say it in front of normal people. Just in front of #1. If The Pony or Farmer H happen to overhear, so be it. They don't take issue.

To set up #1 for a little redonkulousfest, I went a couple of days without using the banned word. OK. So maybe it was more like five or six hours without using it. I was waiting for him to have a meltdown over some trivial incident. Then I was going to let it fly. It went a little something like this:

"You, sir, are careening toward the precipice that overlooks the abyss of redonkulousness!"

#1 picked up his new glasses on Saturday morning. He was carrying on about some issue when he climbed back into T-Hoe. It was not really the right time to spring my trap, but I have trouble keeping my own secrets. Alas, I let it slip that I was planning such an event, and he huffed and whined until I told him what it was. He looked straight ahead, and deadpanned, "You are not funny."

But the corners of his mouth were twitching.