Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Keep The Riff-Raff Out!

It is impossibly cold outside. This winter has been horrible. We've had a range of 20 degrees to -60  since the day after Thanksgiving. On the rare days we have 20 degree weather, we have a 80 mile per hour wind with a -700 wind chill, so why bother having 20 degrees ABOVE? The big saying around here, mostly made by people who don't need to leave their houses on a daily basis is, "It's good. It keeps the riff-raff out." What is riff-raff you ask? Well, it's "ghetto folk", hobos, meth heads, and such. But the thing is, it doesn't get rid of the riff-raf. It just drives them indoors where everyone else is. I know this because I experienced it first hand during my last trip to Walmart. It all began on Sunday morning. I woke up with a pain in my stomach on the right, and it seemed right under my ribs. So, I did what every red-blooded American who understands technology does. I looked my malfunction on-line, where you should go for all medical advice. I self-diagnosed myself with gall stones. The remedy for gall stones is drink six ounces of apple juice for five days, because the apple juice makes the stones soft. On the sixth day, drink the apple juice, and don't eat after 6:00 pm. At 8:00 drink four ounces of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of Epson Salt, and repeat at 10:00. At 10:30 drink 4 ounces of olive oil mixed with two ounces of lemon juice. The Epson salt acts as a laxative and the olive oil makes it more slippery I guess. I think the Epson salt must give the concotion the explosive effect to help rid your body of the gall stones. I had everything except the Epson salt, which I didn't need until the following Saturday anyway. Yesterday it was only -16 degrees with a -25 wind chill and it was supposed to be the warmest day of the week, so I declared it my "Walmart/Target/Grocery" day. I typically don't go to Walmart, but the one by my school is a little classier Walmart. Even that sentence makes me giggle. Classy Walmart is an oxymoron, like non-dairy cream. Anyway, I needed more "Walmart" specific stuff than Target or Grocery store, so when it is this cold I only pick one store, and Walmart won. I parked my car at Walmart, making certain to look at which lane I parked in, because when the wind chill is -25, you don't have time to gallivant around the parking lot looking for your car. I walked into Walmart and immediately felt like I was in the ghetto. Yes. The ghetto of Fargo. I saw a 24-year-old mom with at least five kids I think. It was hard to count because they were all running so fast, but I know the two IN the cart were trying to get OUT, and at least three others were fighting to get in, and there were a few more climbing the shelves as she looked at Monistat. I wanted to grab a package of condoms off the shelf and throw them in her cart while she wasn't looking, but I knew one of the kids would tell on me and cause a bigger scene. I also wanted to assist the kids trying to get out of the cart before they fell, but then I thought 'oh well. Everyone needs a childhood scar story to tell. It would be unfair to rob these children of that.' I knew this woman was ghetto before she opened her mouth. Just because it's the frozen tundra of the north and she was wearing her WARM pajama bottoms and slippers doesn't make it any less of the fact that she is shopping while wearing pajamas. It could have been that, or her many screaming children, or the fact that she had dread locks, and the children looked like they haven't bathed in 2014, but it was probably the tank top that was too small and rode up, so it showed both her tramp stamp on the back, and her rolls on top of her rolls in the front. I wondered, 'where is her coat? It's fricken -25 out!' then I found it. Her five-year-old was wearing the hood of the mom's coat over her face and spinning around with her arms straight out. Hey- at least she was smart enough to try to keep her balance while knocking things out of the way with her arms instead of her head. Maybe she got the smarts in the family. After my entertainment went around the corner to terrorize an elderly couple in the next aisle, I went to work looking for Epson salt. I found it. It's also called bath salts. I read the package and in big letters it says DO NOT INJEST. How am I suppose to mix it with water so I can drink it up? I asked the pharmasist if they had Epson salt that can be injested. She looked at me funny and said, "No. They are BATH salts. Not salt, salt". Now I felt like the ghetto mom who had kids running around with my coat covering their face. I instantly remembered the situation in New York when the guy who injested bath salts ate off the hobo's face in the subway. Great. Now she thinks I'm that person. So I left Walmart thinking sure, leave it to Walmart to have the non-edible Epson salts. Target would have the right kind. Not regular Target, but Super Target would because if you want to injest bath salts and eat off someone's face, you wouldn't be shopping at Target. You'd go to Walmart. I paid for my extreamly cheep cleaning products and left to wander the parking lot looking for my car.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Love My Class

I have the best class this year! They are so good. None of my students have any behavior problems. On the first day of school I kept pausing while I was talking. I was getting more and more frustrated with myself. I was wondering, "Did I lose the teaching touch? What is with the pausing? Did I forget how to talk to a group of people?" Nope. It was because no one was interrupting me by shouting obscenities or swear words, no one was throwing any furniture or books, no one was threatening to kill me, no one was throwing a tantrum because I was giving someone else individual attention, and no one was spitting on their neighbor. I didn't know what to do. The past two years I wasn't able to finish a complete thought, let alone a sentence without a swear word, book, spit, punch or death threat being thrown my way. This year is a dream! I tell the kids all of the time they are the best class I've ever had. I actually get a little sad saying goodbye to them on Fridays because I know I won't see them until Monday. This class really couldn't get any better. They try hard, they pay attention, they do what I tell them to do, they don't even get crazy before a storm or during a full moon, and best of all they are excited about any new material I have to teach them. I swear, I could say tomorrow morning, "We are going to learn about watching grass grow," and they'd cheer. Their behavior is the best. I rarely have to tell them individually or collectively to "settle down", "listen" or "get to work".  Reverse psychology and positive reinforcement works wonders with them. I'll say, "I LOVE how Johnny is working so hard", then they all work hard. Or "you can do this, you are smart", then they go try their hardest. In the past if I said, "I LOVE how hard Johnny is working", kids would think, and often say, "Well, Johnny is a big nerd." In the past if I told them, "You can do this, you're smart", they'd tell me "No I can't and you are dumb if you think I can do it." Or they'd throw something and storm out of the room and run away.
Today marked the half way point of the school year. Last night I went to bed thinking "I have the best class. They are so excited to learn about everything. I am so lucky." Then it turned to "I am halfway done with this class. I will never have a class this good again. It took 14 years to get kids this good, I'll never strike gold twice." And worse, "Even if I do have a good class, I'll compare them to this class and they will never measure up. This class has blessed, and ruined me at the same time." Then I got a little teary and fell asleep. This morning I was still all nostalgic thinking, "I am so lucky. I love getting out of bed and going to work."  However, once I got to school it was a different story. The day started out with a girl announcing, "This is my last day. We are moving to (a southern state) tomorrow because my mom is sick of winter." I should tell you that the temperature (considering wind chill) has only been ABOVE -15 at noon for exactly 7 days since November 3. I hate winter too, but I've decided long ago that I'm stuck here because this is where I live. Considering up and moving because of the weather isn't something most people do, I didn't believe her. Sure enough, I got an e-mail at 9:00 from her mom telling me the movers came during Christmas break, took their stuff, and they are all hopping on a plane tomorrow morning and saying "Adios" to Fargo forever. This girl gave me a picture she drew(of the Eiffel tower) on the back of her homework that said, "Pairs. The Citee of Love. to mrs, farFled". All I thought was, "Well, now the pressure of teaching you how to spell is no longer mine." I only have seven girls in my class, so they are all pretty close friends. The girls who is moving is definitely a leader. The rest are very sweet, but not the "take charge" type. We went through her tearful passing out of her "good-bye cookies" then they pretty much pulled themselves together. I was sad and worried about how the remaining six girls will cope and wondered who will end up taking the leadership role.
My sad attitude continued well into the afternoon. I got an e-mail from our school secretary saying "This is an invite for you to join us in The Biggest Loser here at school" Right away I chuckled thinking "Ha ha! She's calling me a big loser, ha ha." Then I found out it was about losing weight. I was no longer thinking "ha ha" but, "What?! How many other people think I'm fat? Why would she send this to me? Does this shirt make me look fat, or is the pants? Is it the whole outfit? I am so embarrassed..." Then I looked at the "to" list and realized she sent it to everyone.  Even the teachers who weigh less than 100 pounds. Why am I so paraniod? It's not PMS. It could be lack of sleep, since during Christmas break and on weekends I sleep 12 hours a day, and this whole 9 hours a night just doesn't cut it. However, I have my happy light box now so I shouldn't need to sleep. Maybe I am sick of winter and should be hopping on a plane to live down south. Or maybe I need to move to Pairs, the citee of love.