Saturday, November 30, 2013

Middle Aged

In the last month a student slipped and called me "grandma". At least twice a month someone slips and says, "mom..." as they come up to talk to me, but never grandma.  On the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death, our principal told the school that he "was in 2nd grade when that happened." Keep in mind that makes him 57-years-old. One of my other students asked, "How old were you? Were you like in college or something?" "Do I look older than Mr. Principal?" I asked. His reply was to stare at me and tilt his head a little, reminding me of my dog, Max, when faced with a difficult choice. It made me wonder, am I really middle aged, or am I just boring? I don't think I'm middle aged. I don't think I've reached half my lifespan. I don't think when I am twice my age now, I'll up and die. Both sides of the family tend to live well into their elderly years. Friends from college will tell me about things I've said or done, but I don't have the foggiest idea what they are talking about. It sounds like something I'd do, but I sure wish I could remember it. Noah has an ap on his phone that plays high pitch noises, to check if you are deaf. Even my half deaf spouse can hear the tones before I can. I constantly squint because I can't see. Last night Ethan asked me why I was so mad at the TV being I was glaring at it. Yet, if I wear my glasses, I can't read. I went to do a load of laundry the other day and there was a load in there. I don't remember putting a load of laundry in the washer. So there it is. I'm losing my hearing, my eyesight, and my mind. I also tire easily. I think about when Ethan was born and wonder how could I have a baby, a toddler, be a full-time kindergarten teacher, and not drop from exhaustion. These days, all it takes is a particularly long math lesson and I am all in. I look at pictures of myself when the kids were small and wish I could go back and tell myself so many things. I've realized now that I'm no longer in my late 20's the emotional drama of growing up is behind me; the physical perils of aging are still to come.In the past few years it is easier to be grateful… and fearful. I am an expert on more things than I care to be, and I realize that most of my life has been of my own making. Yes, I've been dealt cards that are both good and bad, but ultimately, I was and am the one who plays them. With that realization comes a feeling of late great responsibility. I'm coming to terms with how many moments, days, and months have been squandered. Each day I promise to do better, but I know that I probably won't. I'm not a risk taker, and I like my warm house, pajamas and bed too much.
Maybe I am middle aged. In the past year, I left the house without make-up three times. That is one and a half more times than I had all together ever before.The number of people I need to look presentable for has declined. As has the term "presentable". I'm not talking Walmart Presentable, but normal matching, hair combed, etc... My favorite outfit is a pair of flannel pajamas and the best part of each day is when I can climb into bed.
In the past few years, my tolerance for mean people has hit rock bottom. Life is too short to spend any energy on bullies. I wish I cared that I'm not "in" with the "cool" 5-grade-basketball player moms. But I don't care. I find it more ironic that the "cool moms" have bratty kids, and I don't. Mean people are easier to eliminate from your life, while also easier to understand now that I'm middle aged. My life is full of fleeting moments of bliss and despair, mostly despair, as I watch my children grow up into independent teenagers. Thanking the universe that I raised them well in one breath, and wondering what will become of them in the other. Despite hard evidence that they are actually going to turn out okay, I remain fearful that the really deep-seeded neuroses won’t manifest itself for a few more years. Hey- they inherited a big dose of crazy from both sides. In the past few years I find myself constantly counting my blessings while at the same time trying to calculate when my luck will run out. It's at those times I remind myself, it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


I am home with Sam because he ate an entire chicken leg and bone in two bites. He was acting funny so I thought I'd better take him to the vet.  I should be using my time wisely, but I have to blame the school librarian for getting me off track. That's funny since I just filled out the portion on my students' report cards that states "I take responsibility for my actions", and now I'm not, "it's Mrs. Kemple's fault. I swear, she made me..."  Anyway, back to the librarian. She sent us an e-mail telling us way more about "November is national month for" than anyone can ever hope to know. I am going to re-make the list:
November 2013 is...
Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month-  Why? Why would I want an old pet? If I wanted a pet that died within a few days, I'd get a goldfish.
American Diabetes Month- Perfect. Except the national holiday in November is one where we all eat ourselves silly.  American Diabetes Month should be in August.
Aviation History Month- Makes perfect sense. Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday. 
Banana Pudding Lovers Month- It goes great with Pumpkin and Apple Pie.
Child Safety Protection Month- Every month should be child safety. I guess all the other months parents can be willy nilly about protecting their child's saftey. 
Diabetic Eye Disease Month- Again... Thanksgiving
Gluten Free Diet Awareness Month- Again... Thanksgiving and the delicious crescent rolls. 
Kids Goal Setting Month- I guess this is better than May.  "My goal is to not pick up a pencil or a book all summer".
National Adoption Month- I want to adopt a Chinese baby. I love those Asians. 
National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month- This would be better in December. That way the person with Alzheimer's can get away without buying Christmas gifts. 
National American Indian Heritage Month- Makes sense. Without them, the pilgrims would have died. 
National Inspirational Role Models Month- At least this isn't in October when we have Columbus day. Columbus was a terrible man. He didn't discover America, and he was actually lost. For as much as I get lost, I should have at least 3 days with my name on them. 
National Marrow Awareness Month- Never been aware of my marrow.  Now I will be. All month. 
National Novel Writing Month- I have a novel in my head. Oh no, it's not a novel. It's the voices. 
National Scholarship Month- Because a lot of kids start college in November. 
Peanut Butter Lovers' Month- It's great for the gluten allergies and diabetics. 
PPSI AIDS Awareness Month- I don't even know what that is.
PTA Lifestyles Month- The PTA is a Pain To my Ass.  All they do is dream up more work for me that I don't want to do.
Vegan Month- Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like a starving vegan. 
Flower: Chrysanthemum
Birthstone: Topaz
Moon Phases: New (11/3); First Quarter (11/20); Full (11/17); Last Quarter
All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) (11/1)

Give Wildlife a Break Week (11/3-11/9)- Also known as "Hunting Season"

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (11/3-11/9)- Go get your old dog. 

Use Your Common Sense Day (11/4)- Shouldn't you do this all of the time. It's like National breathing day.
General Election Day (11/5)- OH now I see why you should use your common sense the DAY BEFORE elections. Then it's all used up in time to vote.
National Parents as Teachers Day (11/8)- OMG! I HAVE MY OWN DAY! Does that mean parents are teachers. Or does it mean parents should come in and teach? Either way I'm game! My new favorite day is Nov. 8.  Unless it is "the teachers are parenting their students" In that case, that is every day.
National Farm-City Week (11/10-11/16)- What? Farm? City? I'd say that's national opposites day. 
American Education Week (11/17-11/23)- We celebrate by putting in three 12 hour days for conferences that week. 
 Better Conversation Week (11/24-11/30)- Just in time for Thanksgiving.
Church/State Separation Week (11/24-11/30)- Is this to remind difficult parents and students that there is not Christmas in school?
Thanksgiving Day (11/28)
Electronic Greeting Day (11/29)- For those of you who forgot to call the folks on Thanksgiving.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

That Time of Year

It's that dreaded time of the year again. School starting. Every year I say I dread it, but when it comes down to it, I am excited to start with a new group of kids. A fresh start, with new school supplies. You have to be a teacher to appreciate a brand new sharpened pencil the way I do.  I'm even known to be all "fakey" happy, something I loathe, during the first two weeks of workshops and school. I used to think if I faked being happy about being treated like a pile of poo, I'll really be happy. Then realityalways sinks in and I realize, the last three years have sucked, and each year was worse than the previous one. You can only be beaten down each and every day for so long before you lose your passion, self-confidence, and excitement. For the past two weeks I've woken up thinking, "I don't want to go to school. They bully me, call me names, put me down, and no one will sit with me at lunch. Then I meet my students and go into the classroom and they throw stuff and spit on me." However, after getting new bitch-be-gone pills, I am going to be neutral. My new motto is: "I used to worry/fret/be sad/get excited/be happy about/etc... but now I take medication for that." I did try to work in my room the other day. I sat at my desk, stared at my bent, previously organized, books on the shelf that got ruined during summer school. I looked up at the falling number line and borders. Then I looked in my desk drawers that were cleaned last spring, but now held balled up papers, confiscated toys, a jar of Slimfast, and a bag of moldy bread (all left by the summer the school teacher), got overwhelmed and went home. It took all morning to get nothing done. It's OK. I'm neutral now. Last year I would be all, "I gotta figure out who was in my room and ask her to not leave 'science experiments' in my desk and to bring her own books for the kids to wreck". But the new me says, "Well, she DID have my old students for summer school. They wrecked the books- they should have known better. A few do always have toys that need to be confiscated, the balls of paper were probably proof of what they throw at her, she had the Slimfast because she needs to lose weight being the kids are driving her to drink which causes weight gain, and the bread? I'm not sure about the bread."
 All of my friends have moved on to bigger and better things. We've lost about half the staff. Apparently no one took the whole, "Tell the new school you'll only come if Sara Fairfield can come with" seriously... Oh well. I'm starting the year neutral.  I have 20 students, 10 boys and 10 girls with a WIDE range of abilities. I don't have any that are notoriously out of control that I know of yet. I have 3 students that are siblings of previous students, and only one kid dropped (or moved away) after finding out I am his teacher. See there is my neutral.
Along with my new happy pills, my psychiatrist gave me good advice. This is kind-of a big deal, because usually she just looks at me and blinks her big eyes. She said, "Your dad is just not the father you need him to be. He isn't going to say the words you need to hear. He isn't going to do the things you need him to do. You need to re-create...(I kinda stopped listening here because I was thinking of the things I need him to say- she may have said "relationship" or what I'm going with- "father") and you will be able to come to terms with it." So, I'm not sure if she thinks I need a new imaginary friend and call him "dad", or come to terms that my dad likes other people's children and grandchildren better than his own. I going go with the imaginary dad thing for awhile just so my kids have something interesting to write about on that first day of school "Write about your summer vacation" writing assignment.  I'm going to set an extra plate at supper for invisible dad, carry on one, and two-sided conversations with imaginary dad, such as, "Well, if it's not my beautiful daughter Sara!" "Hi invisible dad". "I just can't get over how proud I am of the person you've become!"  "Gee, thanks imaginary dad". "And those boys, they are the most handsome, best behaved, smartest boys who will succeed at anything they set out to do. And it's all because you are such an outstanding mother." "Thanks invisible dad. I sure hope they have something good to write about on the first day of school." "Well, they could certainly write about how you gladly sacrifice for their happiness every day"... I'll also move the furniture around when they aren't looking and blame it on invisible grandpa. And when Sam barks for no reason, I'll tell him to stop barking at grandpa. I think it's a great plan, and a nice way to wrap up our last few weeks together. Who knows, they might even get an award for their creative writing about their summer vacation. It's a whole lot better than, "I went to camp all summer." or "I played baseball every damn day  until the day football started."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Home-Ecky Becky

We are throwing a barbecue on Sunday for Ethan's basketball team and their families. So this week, I did not go in the pool...

I painted and redecorated the bathroom...

Stained the deck... And even used a ladder- on rocks! Yes, I do take my life in my own hands sometimes. 

And broke out the sewing machine and sewed some curtains for the kitchen!

I also cleaned out the drawers and closets, and the whole house is shiny and sparkly. This whole "summers off" is a lot of work!! I have a sneaking suspicion Scott arranged this party just to keep me busy and to get the house cleaned. Oh well, at least it's summer. After July 4th I feel like there is a giant clock above my head ticking "School's Starting. School's Starting, School's Starting". I don't want school to start. I don't want to be bullied by the 8-year-olds and a couple adults. I put in for a transfer and each day that goes by proves a smaller chance of moving. I think my dread is ruining my good summer mood. I feel like a dud. I lost my sense of humor and social skills. At baseball games I know I should wander around, mingle and visit with the other parents, but I'd rather keep track of the innings with my array of sunflower seeds spread out on the bench in front of me. It's strange how I wish my life away during the school year, "I wish it was Friday, I wish we were done with conferences, I wish it were spring, I wish it was the last day of school", but now I want time to stand still. I wish it was July 1st for the next 5 days, then it can be July 2nd for for five days...Today I have to grocery shopping for the par-tay, paint one wall in my living room, make a Target run and put fresh chemicals in the pool. Next week my oldest baby will be at camp, so I better find a long project to keep me busy.  Maybe I should make a deck around the pool?...
Thoughts I think: Obviously I didn't get enough sleep last night, because my bitchy britches are fitting mighty fine today...

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Hidden Talent

I've been spackling the walls in the bathroom because the paint is pealing off and I need to repaint.  I've been scraping, and spackling for the past three days. Yesterday I listened to the 80's and 90's channel on Pandora, and I played a little game called, "Name the date and artist for this song" with myself. Yes, I do realize I must have too much time on my hands, or spackling is as boring as baseball.  Anyway, I am AWESOME at Name That Date, it is my hidden talent. I not so good at Name That Artist. I think the combination of listening to the 80's and 90's music and my 12  1/2 hour slumber last night led me to dream I was back in the fall of my freshman year of college. I kept thinking, "Yay! A do-over! This is freaking FANTASTIC!!" It turns out I still became a third grade teacher, but I was teaching in Barnesvile. Everything about the elementary school was the same as when I went there, including the vain of my existence- a certain 4th-grade-teacher's aide. That is another story I will save for my Bitter Memoirs, I swear that book will write itself one day. Anyway, she was still my nemesis, and I was still trying unsuccessfully to win her approval. Apparently even in do-overs things never change. Noah and Ethan were still my children, and I had to go to parent teacher conferences with my old teachers, because they now taught my kids. In my dream, Mr. Kragness told me Noah had illegible handwriting, which is absolutely true, and Mrs. Meisneer told me Ethan is lazy when it comes to math, which is absolutely NOT true. Then I was awoken from my dream by the dentist calling to see why I wasn't at the office waiting to get my new tooth. Ooops. I totally forgot about my appointment. I hope that doesn't mean he'll skip the Novocaine on Thursday.
Last night I told Ethan he was brave because he told me his friends were all doing something not very smart, and he told them he wouldn't do it. He told me I was brave too. But then I thought, no I'm not. I'm scared of so many things. Like something terrible happening to my children, feeling physical or emotional pain, my children feeling physical or emotional pain. I'm scared of Snakes, spiders, frogs, mice, rats, moles, toads, lizards, salamanders, birds pooping on me, skunks, mountain lions, wolves, German shepherds, hairless cats, alligators, losing my memory, losing my knowledge, losing my mind, losing my job, losing my house, being homeless, being a victim of identity theft, being a kidnap victim, my kids being kidnapped, falling in the shower, falling in a crowd, driving on the ice, walking on the ice, driving on the ice and a semi jack-knifing and coming at me head on (this has never happened, but who's to say it won't), my pets dying, someone I love dying, someone I like dying, meeting new people, meeting people I know, sometimes old people, social situations, new situations, my car breaking down, having to change a tire on the highway, getting lost, something going terribly wrong with the plumbing/electrical in my house, box elder bugs, clowns, mimes, mascots, the Easter Bunny, people being mean to me at work, sometimes 9-year-olds, and did I already mention snakes? Good grief, no wonder I take medication. And drink. And don't like to leave my house very much. And panic a little when people come over. And don't have a lot of people visiting. And have very few friends. Huh, well at least I still have "Name The Date And Artist For This Song"...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Glad to Meet You, Now Go Home

Noah has had a friend over for the past 31.75 hours. Yesterday was the first time I met this friend. In fact his friend has an odd name that I can't keep straight, so I usually call him Captain Crunch when talking to Noah about him. Cappy's parents have never met us. These are the only things I know about him.
1. He was in Noah's science class last year.
2. He doesn't like sports, but does like to golf.
3. He hates dogs (more on that later).
4. He is sullen and quiet.
5. My child becomes sullen and quiet when he is around Captain Crunch.
6. He won't go home.
These are the things I can not do because he won't go home.
1. Go in my pool,
2. Drink a beer in my pool.
3. Take a nap.
4. Watch TV downstairs.
This morning I said, "I bet your parents are missing you. We should get you home." He said, "My parents are at their lake cabin until Monday." Huh... Who drops their kid off at a strangers house and goes out of town? What if there is an emergency? What if that emergency is me wanting my living room back? Actually it's not such a bad thing, because I'm getting a lot done being I can't be parked in front of the TV watching Lifetime Movies, but enough already. I like Noah's friends. I really do, but I'm not so sure about this one. Maybe my friends' parents felt the same about me. "She doesn't talk, she won't go home..." Captain doesn't like the dogs and pushes them off the furniture. I kinda want to say, "hey, they live here, you don't. Go home." But I know Noah wouldn't like that very much. I don't remember having friends over everyday growing up. It's as if the boys can't be with their friends for one day, they are going to go batshit crazy. I don't remember going through that stage, but living out in the middle of no where didn't do wonders for my social life- which I still have issues with today, however I'll save that for my bitter memoirs. One good thing is Ethan is forced to be wherever I am, so that's nice. I also thought I'd try to bake. That turned out to be a burned, smoke alarm going off, disaster. Guess I'll just stick to my original plan of  re-painting the bathroom today. Unless Captain Crunch goes home, then I'm going to drink beer in my pool until I take a nap.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back At It

I'm not really sure why I'm returning to blogging because I already tell both people who read my posts about my every thought, but I have no energy to tackle my to-do list, I got my eyes dilated at the eye doctor this morning so I can barely see let alone read, and I need to distract myself from wishing for a rain storm that will cancel Ethan's baseball game- preferably one with lightning, so they call it a day and send everyone home. That leaves blogging with probably a lit of typos.  I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I feel very boring. I think I maybe go through this every June when school gets out and my stress level is 5/6 lower, therefore I have nothing to say, or maybe I really just have nothing interesting, or worthy to say. So I made a list. I've made lots of lists lately.  A "to-do list", a "books I want to read list", and "things I have to say that may be worthy". I have small little bursts of of being anal- I wonder if I was supposed to be anal,  but I'm just to lazy to carry through. Maybe it's my bitch-be-gone pills. They are supposed to make me not worry about insignificant things, and while doing that, maybe it took away my analness. Anyway, my list of things I have to say that may/may not be interesting:
1) WHY am I SOOO tired?
2) Why can't I buy Sam and Abby bark collars? Why is it so cruel? Isn't it cruel that I'm on my very last nerve and they bark shattering it?
3) Why does the weather man lie, making me look forward to the baseball game being canceled, and planning my eye dilation for a non-sunny day? It's a sunny, non-rainy baseball day!!
4) Why is baseball so damn boring!!!?
5) Why is my house where all the kids want to hang out? I know I should be glad, I can supervise, know they are safe, but really? I deal with other people's children for 9 1/2 months of the year. I need summers off so the next group of children survive the next 9 1/2 months. It's kinda the same principle as "You must be wonderful with children and want to volunteer running our children's ministry program because of your talent." Yes, I do like children, but I'm sure your dentist likes teeth, would you show up at his house on weekends and make him babysit your teeth for hours on end?
6) Why does 97% of everything in my life revolve around sports, cooking or cleaning?

So both of you people who read this should vote on my things that are worth talking about and I will.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Most Obnoxious Pet Owner Ever

The following is what my pets would say if they could talk. I knowwhat they are saying because I am their pet psychic and they talk through me...
You are bringing home ANOTHER dog?
Abby won't share her smokes with us...
I'll show you MY version of "smell my feel"
I can't junp off this bed, you idiot!
Wasn't I enough?...
Oh mama, don't take my picture, I'm having a bad hair day...
I guess he's OK. But he is NOT my brother!!
Why do you have your coat on? You are going to work? That's like 56 hours for us!
I like your shiny floor mama. Not I can pee on it again.
Hi mama, I had a bad dream. I sleep with you?
This not your bed. This my bed.
It's been a lonng week. I gotta get my drink on.
You love me most, right? Right?
Who is this kid, and how dare he sit on my bed?
You DO know he's gonna grow, don't you?
Sometimes I sleep in the food dish.
Abby coming home from dog jail. "Don't say it... I'm embarrased enough. But they said they had kibble. KIBBLE!"
I'm dreaming of my next escape...
I'll never run away mama...
I had a ruff night.
When will you learn? All the purple bows in the world won't make me a girly girl.
Fine. I'll just be over here. Staring at the wall. Minding my own business.
I'll be your baby mama.
I'm NOT a football...
I sleep here. On your face.
This my poker face...
I hate the cone of shame...

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I am: desperately in love with all baby things. Baby cats, dogs, humans... Not reptiles though- baby reptiles are gross...
I think: I wish away my life too much. "I wish it was Friday. I wish it were June 1st. I wish I were drinking a beer." 
I know: I was meant to be a mom.
I want: It to be June 1st!! And a full to the brim bank account.
I have: a nail biting problem.
I dislike: Most shows on the Disney channel and Nickelodeon. And baseball. I would rather watch paint dry. It is a mind numbing sport that lasts WAYYYY too long.
I miss: My mom. Every day, very much.
I fear: Losing everything. Not like my keys, my pop, my glasses, my mind.. But things that matter. 
I feel: The pins in my elbow and they hurt. 
I hear: Noah chewing, Abby snoring, Sam barking, and CSI NY
I smell: nothing because the sounds are drowning out all my other senses, and I have a stuffy nose.
I crave: The feeling of belonging and to be understood. 
I search: for my sanity. Where the hell did it go? 
I wonder: Why are my children growing up in fast forward, but no one else's children are?
I regret: Not having another child.
I love: Sleep.
I care: More than I may show it a lot of times.
I am always: Thinking about my children.
I worry: all.the.time. It's a gift, I could teach a class on it. I would call it "Why Worry? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD! Anything. I mean ANYTHING can and will go wrong. That's Why!!"
I remember: Thinking  30 was old.
I sing: To my students. I used to do it a lot more until one student told me I was really out of tune and should sit in on music class.
I argue: Not well, I think of what I should have said after the fact, but then it's too late.
I write: In a combination of cursive and print, just like a third grade teacher should... 
I lose: everything because I'm not organized enough
I wish: I had a closer knit extended family. All I have is my brother and sister and they live 2,000 miles away. 
I listen: to a song and am instantly transported back in time. Normally I correctly guess the year too, because that is my hidden talent. I can even tell you what I was doing in the said year while listening to it..
I don't understand: How electricity works. I teach it, but I literally read verbatim from the book, and pray every year the kids don't ask any questions. If they do I tell them to look it up and tell me in the morning.  
I can usually be found: At home, at school or at a basketball game. That is really the only places I go.
I am scared: of snakes, being seriously sick, being vulnerable and having to depend on someone else, my children being hurt sick or not safe, AND my students plotting my death...  
I need: more shoes, a new wardrobe, a maid, and a chef. And my own bathroom that can only be used by me.  
I forget: to do things like return phone calls, make appointments, mail things, where I left my sanity.... 
I am happy: Most of the time, because I have good bitch-be-gone pills!!