Sunday, August 30, 2009

School Supplies

My children do not start school for two full weeks after their mother but I bought their school supplies already. $80.00 for two kids. WTF!? That is incredibly expensive. I can get everything I require my students to have for $10.00. My teaching partner and I bought (with our OWN money) rulers, compasses, scissors, binders, and protractors because these are things we can lend the kids and collect at the end of the year for the next group coming in. I don't think my children's teachers ever thought of that. Ethan needs six boxes of markers, eight glue sticks, three boxes of crayons, twenty-four pencils, two binders and four notebooks plus a lot of other things I think the school should provide since my school across the border does. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? My third graders don't need four notebooks!! I have a very sneaking suspicion that I just bought school supplies not only for my child, but for two of Ethan's classmates who's parents didn't buy them any. Three boxes of crayons?? I don't think Ethan has gone through three boxes of crayons in his life, let alone in nine months- especially when kids in Moorhead are never in school!!! Spending $80.00 on school supplies is a huge kick in the a$$, but we also have to pay a $15.00 "activity fee". The "activity fee" pays for field trips. I paid the activity fee last year for both boys- NEITHER boy ever went on a field trip! So, I thought to myself, "self, I am not paying that 30.00 activity fee this year." Ahhh- yes I am. Why, you ask? Well, last year hardly any parents paid the activity fee, so this year, the $15.00 comes out of their lunch account. Therefore, unless I am going to send a bag lunch with both kids every day of the school year, I have to pay the damn fee. This really bugs me! Ten years ago, I wanted to order "weekly reader" for my students. Weekly reader is a weekly newspaper for kids. It teaches them about kids who are heroes in other communities, and events that are going on in our country. The cost is $3.50 per kid. The PTA would pay for $1.00 per kid, I thought I would pay $1.00 per kid, and ask parents for the remaining $1.50. I got in HUGE trouble because that is illegal. Students, under the law "Public School 158.993 (OK I made up the number) are entitled to a free and appropriate education in the United States." So, how is it I can't ask for a dollar fifty, but they can not only ask, but take out of an account that is for lunch, 15.00?? You probably think I am a freak and are saying, "pay the damn 15.00 and shut up." However, if their school supplies weren't so outrageously demanding I'd be happy to. I remember when I went to school , we needed five pencils, and eraser, two pens, a wooden ruler (which Troy Such hit me in the head with in the 11th grade when he was pretending to sword fight the air), and a box of crayons- you got the crayons with the built in sharpener if your parents were rich, and a few folders which were optional because the teachers knew we would never be able to stay organized anyway- even thought the folders were a good "Tool" to write your Spanish words on for your ITV Spanish class, especially when Senorita Olson was at one of the other schools. Anyway- that along with new tennis shoes for gym was a total of $20.00. I haven't bought shoes or backpacks yet. Ethan got a new backpack last year in February when his broke, which happened to be on the 100th day of school, so he thought day 101 was going to be the beginning of first grade. I also still need to buy Noah a "school planner"- from the school, which my school provides and a "school calculator" which actually comes with the math program (we have the same one as Moorhead). It all makes me so crabby. If it wouldn't be so tough to smuggle them across the border daily, I'd bring them to Fargo. Actually, I have tinted windows, so it wouldn't be that hard, but their friends all go to Moorhead, so I better have them stay here.
Thoughts that I think: I have been thinking all week, "I have to be back at work, so summer is over. I don't care if it's not hot out anymore." Then I stop and think of all the poor schmucks who have to work in the summer. Do they not have a summer?? Thank God I chose to be a teacher.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Every time I take Noah to football I look at him and wonder where my baby went. Try to remember how your first baby smelled and felt as a newborn. You were so excited, you found your purpose in life, and fell absolutely in love. Fast forward nine years and he is a football player who has practice three times a week, more bruises I can count, keeps secrets from me and has a busier social life than I do. Where did my 7 pound 4 ounce baby go?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day of School!!!

Two days down and 171 to go, but who is counting?? I can already tell I am going to have a better year than last year. Last year's students mostly dismissed everything I said. This year's students don't dismiss everything I say. Many of you, my faithful readers, know the story of my little student who thought his last name was Panda. Well, he is in my classroom again. I am so glad because I absolutely love him. My school is the typical early 1900's three story school. You walk in and there are two sets of stairs. Take the wrong one and you end up on the opposite end of the hall of where you expected to be when you reach the second floor. This is what happened to "Johnny Panda" this morning. He walked to the teacher's room on the opposite end of the hallway. He tried to get past her to go into her room. She asked, "what are you doing? who's your teacher?" Johnny replied, "Short. white hair. ummm" (Please note- THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR HE HAS BEEN IN MY CLASS. You'd think he'd know my name by now). She replied, "Is it Mrs. Fairfield?" Johnny is amazed she knew, "How do you know my teacher??" (Can't be because there are exactly eight teachers on our staff). She tells him my room is down the hall. Johnny looks around and says, "Wow. She must have worked really hard yesterday after school to move her room." He is so funny. I love him. He gets lost so easily (like me), he is so innocent, and has such a kind, simple heart. He got lost once again after school and had to go to the office to be re-united with the bus- the ONLY bus on the block. He must have went down the wrong steps again. Another student told me today that his grandpa "lives in the forest". I really wanted to ask, "Is it in a tree house? Does he have children named Hansel and Gretel? When he walks around do the animals 'talk' to him? Has he met the big bad wolf or granny? How about the three bears?" All in all it was a good two days. I think it's a beginning of a good year!!
Thoughts I think- It is NOT fair that I have to go back to school two full weeks before my own children. But in May I will be done and they will be in school!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Survey Says...

A friend posted this on her blog and asked the readers to do the same...

When you were 18....
1) What was your dream job? being a mom and teacher

2) Car? A reliable one

3) Vacation? I had taken my second vacation to Arizona with my family to see my brother.

4) Husband? was NOT thinking like that at 18, but when I was 18 I thought I'd marry a guy named Mike when I was 24.

5) How many children were you going to have? 2-3

6) What was your favorite food? drink? Pizza Hut and Diet Mt. Dew

7) Where did you work at? Eagles Cafe

8) What did you do for fun? Hung out with Friends

9) Favorite movie? Dances with Wolves

10) Favorite color? Pink

11) Were you college bound or college broke? College bound & loved it.

12) Hair color? blond

13) Favorite store? Back then? I will guess Express.

14) Best memory? Back then? Probably living in the Dorms at MSU

15) Current job? Teacher and mother

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to School

I've spent the last three days getting my room ready for my eager new third graders!! I am excited for school to start, yet I feel a tiny bit like, "my nap, books I like to read, soap opera and beer are at home..." Oh well. This summer was short, but I am ready to get back. I have 21 kids so far. That means I will have at least 23 because there are those who don't realize you can't just show up on the first day of school and walk into the first room you see. Or better yet, wait until after Labor Day because they didn't see the big yellow school buses driving around town for the past two weeks. I got the names on the desks and contemplated the never ending, "I hate my desk arrangement in my odd shaped classroom" dilemma. Last year I tried at least twenty different arrangements and I never liked one. I thought at the time it was because I had 24 kids, but 21 desks to be arranged isn't any easier. I know half of my students already, so that's good. I have a student who has the EXACT same name as one of the "regulars" on Little House on the Prairie. I know I won't be able to say his name without thinking of Laura saying it, thus making me laugh. I wonder if Ms. Beadle knows he transferred??
I was invited to a wine tasting party tonight. I can't decide if I want to go. I am not a big wine drinker, and don't like to be a taster because at the last one I was at with colleagues and principal from my last school I ended up saying an enthusiastic, "I LIKE this one! It smells like High School!!" But hey, we got to drink a 125.00 bottle of wine! I am more like a beer/martini/Chuck Norris drinker. I don't really like frozen alcoholic drinks or wine because they both give me instant headaches. Wine also gives me a hangover whether I have half a glass or half the bottle. Both Stacy and I are invited, so I guess we have two hours to decide. I certainly don't want to be hungover tomorrow because MY BABY is playing his FIRST ever TACKLE FOOTBALL game.
The Blue Angels are in town doing a show this weekend. They have been practicing for the past two days. They practice practically on top of my school. Thank God we don't have four levels, because I think one would be gone by now if we did. I don't really understand the purpose. I know the Blue Angels have something to do with the Air Force and doing good, but I don't understand the necessity for the shows. Do they need to synchronize flying when they are doing the Air Force stuff? Do they need to do loop the loop tricks to trick the enemy? If yes, then they should not show the public their tricks! I just think it's; 1) a huge waste of fuel for entertainment 2) a huge risk the pilots are taking for entertainment value and 3) a HUGE disturbance of my peace!! I swear! It is so flippin loud! Even at my house which is across town from where they practice is loud. None of my dogs appreciate the noise either- it makes them all crazy!!
Thoughts that I think: One of my student's mom's occupation is a psychic. That means whatever I need to say conferences will not be a surprise to her. I think I hear two words to spend that time, "FREE READING!!!" Just sayin'....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Look Mom, No Cast!!

Ethan got his cast off on Monday. Hopefully we can beat the record of 14 days free of a cast for him. Getting the pins out was defiantly traumatic for Ethan. They did not "put him to sleep" like I thought they would. The doctor just grabbed a pliers and yanked them out while Ethan screamed bloody murder. He asked me later why the doctor didn't sedate him. I told him, "well, it's hard on your body to be sedated" (so says the woman who needs Ambian to sleep). Ethan said, "You should have told him I needed to be asleep. I could have growed ya know!" Telling the kids they grow when they sleep is my way to get them to go to bed without whining. To celebrate his free arm, I told Ethan I would buy him some new Pixos. Pixos are little tiny bee-bees that you put together in a pattern, spray with water and you have the object. I thought it would encourage him to use both arms, lessening the chance he'd need physical therapy. Ethan was so excited we were going to Target and realized he had money burning a hole in his piggy bank, he wanted to take all of his money with. We counted his money. He had $31.76. He brought $31.76 with him to the store. Noah has had Target gift cards since his birthday in April. He brought those and $15.00. Noah, unlike Ethan, probably has the very first $5.00 bill he was given. What started out to be a trip to buy Ethan Pixos ($8.00), ended up with me spending lots more than eight dollars and nothing was for me! Somehow, Noah picked out two games and a Webkinz, but even with two math genius kids and a mom with her master's, we could not add well enough to realize he was $15.00 short. Ethan picked out two packs of Pokie Mon cards and two webkinz. He ended up with a dollar 57 as change, then he offered to spend that 1.57 on gum for Noah "cuz he ranned out of all his money" and of course it would bug Ethan to no end having a dollar 57 just sitting there in his piggy bank. Noah brought up the fact that I bought something for Ethan when I told him he had to pay back the $15.00, so we compromised on him paying back $10.00. Apparently at the time I forgot about the hundreds of dollars we lay down for his sports, gear, etc...
Ethan's doctor told him "No flag football." Poor kid. He didn't want to play tee-ball and I made him. All he wanted to do this summer was Ty Kwon Doe, and he couldn't. He was really looking forward to flag football, but now he has to wait until next year. The doctor says his arm won't be completely healed for another three months at least. So I am thinking by Christmas he can be rough and tumble again. Noah started football. He looks so big in his actual equipment. He practices three times a week and has games on Saturdays. He ends his practices with a shower and the nightly ritual of counting his new bruises. Last night his legs ached and Ethan's elbow hurt and I happened to be on the phone with my friend Stacy. She has a hot tub, so she invited us out to her house today for the boys to "swim" in it.
Last Saturday I went to use my phone and the hinge broke so it was in two pieces. I went to Verizon to see if I was due for an upgrade, and thankfully I was. However, an upgrade costs at least sixty bucks. I told him I wanted the same phone, just traded in. Nope, that was 65.00. So I ended up with a really crappy phone that was 19.00. It is a huge downgrade. It does nothing. I like to have songs for each person's ringtone. Not anymore. I have exactly three ringtones to pick from and can not get songs on it, not even the ones I downloaded on my old phone. My old phone had a few games on it. This one has nothing. In fact, when someone (on my contact list) calls, their number and where they are calling from comes up, but not there name. The worst thing about this phone is everyone breaks up on it. Listening to people is like listening to the TV when someone is pushing the mute button really fast repeatedly. I am torn between taking it back and backing down from my belief that I am not paying 60.00 for a "free upgrade", and sucking it up, paying the 65.00 and getting the same phone I had. To upgrade to the one I really want, with the slider key pad, I'd have to shell out an extra 100.00. I think the "free upgrade" is false advertising.
Thoughts that I think: I LOVE hot weather. Where is the global warming?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Walnut Grove

Two blogs in one day? I know- unheard of. I have been working on the boys' scrapbooks and have gotten to the Iowa trip two summers ago. On our way back home from Iowa, I saw on the map that we could easily go through Walnut Grove, so I shouted an enthusiastic, "WE ARE SO GOING THERE!!" Two hours, lots of "minimum maintenance" roads, dead ends, and Lots of corn fields later, we went through a very little town. This town was so little it had five houses, one gas station that doubled as a restaurant/bar, and one yield sign. The gas station was full service. I bet there are not a lot of places with a gas/liquor/food license. As we went by the full service station I saw a man pumping gas for someone. We were looking for a way back to a main road. All of a sudden the man who worked at the gas station was pulling us over in his unmarked, strobing light on the hood car. As he came up to the car, I am thinking, who does that gas station attendant think he is?! He was in his gas station uniform, but claimed to be the police as well. He DID have the strobing light... He asked to see Scott's license but that's all he did with it. He didn't take it to his car or anything. He asked why he pulled us over. I wanted to say, "Strumming up gas business?" We did not know. Apparently Scott drove through the yield sign without yielding. It was true, so he fessed up. The "police man" told him to pay attention, strangers come though that town all of the time blowing off traffic signs, bla, bla, blaa. I told him we were distracted because we are looking for the road to Walnut Grove. He pointed us back through town and told us to go back about three miles. So, Scott (GET THIS) does a U-Turn right in front of him to go back through town. Funny thing, he never came after us. Huhhh. The kids still refer to it as the "Remember when Dad almost got arrested incident."
Thought That I Think: Jesus will always love you. It's everyone else that thinks you're an ass.