Friday, September 30, 2011

Good old high school drama

It never ends, does it?  <sigh>  And I can't even vent about it!  <double sigh>  My poor husband, stuck hearing about it all by himself.  I should find a less stressful job, like an ER nurse or a bomb squad member or... <sigh>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It is never easy being the teacher's kid

My poor N does not like homework. LOVES school, hates homework.  Since he was in 4 year-old Kindergarten and was supposed to learn how to write, he has seen homework as beneath him.  "Mom, when I am a world famous paleontologist, my assistant will write everything for me."  I kid you not, out of the mouth of babes.  Not good when for the boy when your parents are teachers AND  your Daddy teaches in your school.  Fast forward seven years and he's a 6th grader in my building now, we are the Upper Campus (6-12).  He will be here, with me for another SEVEN years!  Email in my school email from a school teacher in my building yesterday evening...
N has some late math assignments.  They are: 
P. 145 - due today but he did not follow the directions and got them all wrong, so he decided not to hand it in and re-do it.
P. 136p. 101p. 68football line plots.  
If you could reinforce my message to get the late work in before Friday so I do not have to report on late assignments at conferences, I would appreciate it.
Sigh.  And since J has so much homework himself in PM classes, that leaves me to be the hammer. Double sigh.  In between brainstorming ideas for post-prom, grading papers, soothing my crying 3 year-old who hates school, making dinner because I forgot to put stuff for the crock-pot together, ugh.  Sigh again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It was a cold rainy Saturday night...

and my FF and I headed out of the house.  Heels and a dress, pearls.  J's sister watching the kids until bedtime when our oldest feels confident to take over.  Where are we off to?  Dinner, dancing, the theatre?  Nope, a Homecoming dance.  My kids BEGGED and BEGGED me to chaperone and I gave in.  J usually joins me and tonight was no different.  We make our way to the school and into the gym.  The Senior Class president yells from the balcony, "Hey, H______!!!  How do you like my sad little balloon arches!"  and laughs.  They would not stay up.  We admired the pictures from the last 50+ years that the kids had blown up and put all over.  Laughed at the gaggle o' nuns from the 50s, fully habited in the stands for a basketball game.  Chatted with the other staff members.  It started out very well.

The kids came in, stopped at the photo booths for goofy pictures, came screeching to show me they dresses, the guys game to strut.  So funny.  About 8:30pm, I looked at my husband and fussed about how slow the night was going.  Oh my goodness, I know better than to say that.  I am a FF Wife for crying out loud.  I chided my hubby the night before when told how slow it had been all day.  Sure enough, as soon as he hung with me it was run after run after run.  Why would I actually say something like that out loud?? Me and my big mouth!

Fifteen minutes later, one of my kids pulled me aside.  "H, you need to do something about Suzy, she is REALLY drunk!" And so it began.  Now, mind you, I was not in charge. Our admin left, the student council advisers were at a loss as to what to do. I am junior class adviser, I am in charge of prom, not homecoming. <sigh>  This always happens.  One of the deputies that I was working with looked at me and said, "You may not want to be in charge, but I think you are anyway."  Yes, yes I was. <sigh> I ended up pulling out 18 kids.  I tested every kids whose name was brought to me.  There were no favorites.  8 blew positive. It changed the whole mood of the dance.  We lost our star QB a week ago for something similar, now my kids were upset that two more of our boys were gone.  There were tears and pleads.  Phone calls were made.  Let me tell you, 11 o'clock came really fast after that!  May I just say that the off-duty sheriff deputies that acted as our security were WONDERFUL!  They came with me when I spoke to parents.  I am used to the "Not my baby" reaction and was a bit nervous since I had not come to the dance with the mindset of being and admin.

I found Sunday that I missed one.  And it was obvious, I should have thought to test the one I missed, a date should have popped into my head to check.  I am a bit disappointed that I did not think of it.  I know I think fast on my feet, but that was an obvious blunder.  A phone call was made home and at least she got home.

I did not sleep well Saturday night because all I could think about was who I missed.  It was dark, it was rainy.  What if that text came in that they HAD to check and when the looked up, there was that car, that pole, that tree?  What if?  Sunday morning, there was a news report of a teen involved in a high speed chase not far from us.  My heart stopped, my stomach sank and the what ifs came back.  Later in the morning, more details came out, it was a stolen car from another area.  But the "what ifs" still hovered.

Yesterday was an interesting day, full of private conversations in my classroom, tears, rumors and some guilt. Surprisingly, no backlash or blame.  I was fully prepared for that. I was fully prepared for anger, how could yous, you ruined my life.  Mind you, my kids are not back from their suspensions.  I would SO much rather have them be pissed off at me as opposed to helping plan for grief counseling and a memorial service at the school.   I am so okay with them being angry at me. There are now plans for a mock accident, they want to make it real.  Many of my kids have ties with the FD down here, I think we can get some cars donated, that already wrecked.  The kids are taking the lead.  They see a need and they are working to fill it.  How great is that.

Parents, please remind your teens not to drink and drive.  The weather and roads were horrible, I can only imagine what might have been.  Have the conversations, no matter how awkward.  It is our job as parents.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sorry to be grumpy

I really dislike Homecoming.  We never had it in high school.  We didn't have a football team.  When I went back to my high school they created a "Spirit Week" to fill the void, but so not the same.  When I came to teach at a high school with a football team and with a homecoming week, I was almost giddy.  Last year I was deprived of the pleasure. I had to help the 6-8 (we are a PreK-12 school) with their middle school olympics.  I was grumpy.  I wanted to participate.  I wanted to play tug-o-war and be at the powderpuff game.  I sulked.  But, I will admit I had SO much fun with the olympics, especially since my team of 8th graders were as cut-throat competitive and WE WON.  That breakfast was delicious! Mmm Mmm good!

This year, I am with the high school kids and I am MISERABLE!  Even though I taught HS last year, this year I feel as though I am really pulling teeth.  The activities have been a zoo.  My juniors have a quiz today and they BEGGGGGGGGEDDD me to let them come in early and take it.  They wandered in anywhere from 10-30 minutes after we agreed on a time.  (which is really frustrating since it is a BLUE shift and I have to get everyone up, moving and out the door by myself.)  Unfortunately, I have to get my kids to the lower campus.  Sorry.  Now you'll have to make it up on your time.  Hate to be that teacher, I can't always be the one everyone loves.  Ah well.  Somehow I will find a way to go on.

So, now the principal is babysitting my study hall so I can fly home over study hall and my lunch hour and let the pups out.  6am-10pm is absolutely inhumane.  Thank the Lord, I have a wonderful administrator.  I have to pick up the 2 little muppets from their picnic at 1:30pm, meet the girl whose dad is storing the float.  Have her follow me to drop off my car at the football field.  Go pick up the juniors' float that I am somehow driving.  Get it ready for the parade with my muppets in the car with me.  Do the parade, do the tailgate, do the game, get home, let the pups out again, put my exhausted muppets to bed and somehow find a way to unwind.  Just in time to get ready to do it over again tomorrow.  I mean what is homecoming without a dance?  And what is a dance without everyone's favorite chaperone?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Wife on a Mission

I was sent on a mission.  We live in a city famous for its kringle.  My FF's last shift for a few months is tomorrow.  After that, we are on a 9-5 schedule, which my fire wife friends have told me I will hate after the first week.  Aside from that I was sent for treats for the firehouse simple mission - Kringle for the AM and pies for after dinner.  How hard can it be?  I got pies in no time flat.  Kringle was another story.  Every one I picked up was a NUT Kringle  - Almond, Walnut, Pecan.  No fruit, no chocolate.  I was afraid I was going to come home a failure.  It has been a crazy week  - teaching through an afro and beard, tug-o-wars, powder puff football, boys who have no idea how to play volleyball, float building - just a LOONEY week.  I couldn't come home a failure.  I found some strip kringles, never knew they existed, in other flavors and snatched them up.  I grabbed the few other things I went for and headed home.

I got home, my FF hubby shook his head and said, "Ehh, I didn't care what kind you got."  Why was I worried again?

So, tomorrow, King and Queen are announced.  Papa takes the toddler.  The other 3 muppets and drive the Juniors "Peace, Love and Rock n Roll" float.  A tailgate party, a football game and a dance the next night.  Sunday to rest?  HA - not even close.

Happy Homecoming!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

UGH, I hate Mondays.

Cloudy, dreary, hungry - even though I wolfed down a bowl of cereal, Moodle won't play nice.  I want my jammies, my pups, my bed and the remote.  Think that can happen????  Nope.  And on top of just being a Monday, it is Homecoming. I am participating in spirit day, even though my spirits seem to be limited at the moment.  Today is tacky day and I am dressed like Penelope Garcia, for you Criminal Minds aficionados - Green and Grey striped tights, braided pigtails, green - very green - eye shadow and I am even wearing my glasses.  I love Garcia!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Two months ago we lost our Curly Q.  It broke my heart, but it does every time we say goodbye to one of our pack.  I think it hit Bear the hardest.  Curly was the one to show Bear the ropes, Curly was the one to play and wrestle with Bear, up until the very end.

Bear has bounced back and was feeling a little frisky.  Two weeks ago, we were outside.  Out of no where, he came running at me and swatted me in the back of the head.  As I turned around, Bear immediately dropped into  play bow.  He was ready to play!  J and I talked that night, it is time for another k9.  Willow is just too old and cranky for Bear.  Her hips hurt and she doesn't want to play anymore.  Bear needs someone.  So we called the rescue.

Carole and everyone at the Great Pyrenees Rescue of WI are just amazing.  She is so patient with these gentle giants.  We originally looked at a 9 month old female.  After some thought, we decided she might have too much baggage. With other dogs and kids, there were just too many risks involved.  So we looked at a pair of 8 month old brothers.  Unfortunately, they were as dopey as they were beautiful.  Bear told them "enough" and they just didn't get it. So, Carole suggested J look at Giovanni.

Giovanni is a 3 year-old.  He was part of a pack of 25 (can you imagine) in California.  He definitely had a guardian angel.  He got hit by a car, the same day that a group of traveling vets was coming to the annual check ups on the pack.  His rear right leg was dangling by just a tendon.  It was not good.  Giovanni allowed them to pick him up, no growling no snapping.  He was brought back to Madison by on of the vets.  She has rehabbed him personally since May.  Unfortunately, her apartment was just not big enough for this gentle giant and she turned him over to GPRW.  She is definitely one of the angels among us. She has given this beautiful boy his life and his confidence back.  His leg does not slow him down.

Here is the amazing part.  The other two pups, have accepted him like he has always been here.  All three are sleeping at my feet as we speak.  Bear is not feeling threatened.  Giovanni is feeling like he has a need to challenge.  Let's hope this continues.  This is exactly how things went when we brought Curly into our pack.  Maybe Curly sent us Giovanni.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Love My Birthday

I have no issues getting old.  That does not bother me.  I simply say thank you for every day and every year I am still here.  The old jokes, ehh I laugh at first, by the end of the day I have tuned them out.  I will never lie about my age.  36 is officially the prime of life.

In recent years, my hubby has made my b-day awesome.  Nothing too spectacular.  No amazing presents.  Just dinner of my choice and a birthday cake.  The cake is my favorite part.  Again, nothing spectacular.  I love the "Happy Birthday, Mommy!" in frosting.  It is the best time of the year.  The cake, the kids' laughter, the family time.  That is the best gift I could ever ask for.

This year was no different.  My birthday falls on a Blue Shift - shocking, I know.  My lovely hubby remedied that by taking his PO on my bday.  Sweet and smart, all at the same time.  Hearing the muppets sing happy birthday off-key with MONSTER smiles on their faces, makes my heart just melt. Balloons and brownies from my "other" kids, combined 200+ Facebook messages make for an amazingly humbling experience. Dinner, no cooking, no dishes - ahhhhhh, the angels sing. It must be heaven.  Dessert sundae from the restaurant - I think it might have been yummy, but I couldn't tell from the one bite I got. A T Plush tee from my hubby and a playmate for Bear on Sunday are the perfect gifts.  I really could not ask for anything more.

So, love and thanks to my FF.  You make my birthday something to look forward to all year long.  That is awesome!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sometimes you have to take your own advice

And I am not always very good about that.

I use my blog as a venting source.  I can't continually fuss at my FF about how the housework always falls on me, how the parenting seems to fall on my lap, how, how, how...So, I use my blog.  Sometimes it gets read, sometimes people are only searching for pictures of muppets - true fact by the way.  Today, I shake my head at myself and sigh.

I am constantly on my hubby's case about how it is okay to just say NO sometimes.  He can't.  It is just part of his nice guy nature.  Leopards don't change their spots, he will never change.  BUT, now I have to hush up.  I am a sucker for two things - big brown eyes with a waggidy tail and teenagers who actually want to do some good with the world.

So, in addition to claiming stakes to the following titles - fire wife, mom to 4, teacher, department chair, K9 lead staff member, professional shopper, chef, vet tech, laundry maiden - you can now add junior class adviser and Key Club adviser.  My FF fully expected junior class adviser to come - I am one of the only teachers to have ALL the juniors, after prom last year - the kids flocked to me.  He saw this coming.  But, I got a stern lecture regarding Key Club.  Maybe it was a throwback to my college days in Circle K, maybe I just love that kids want to make a difference in the world around them.  I don't know.  See me in May, when I no longer have to worry about getting my hair thinned enough - I will have most certainly pulled it all out.  But for now, I am excited.

First job - wearing Junior Class Adviser - get the homecoming float built.  Somehow I have to get N dropped off in Illinois where they are building the middle school float and then come back up here to get the Junior Class float taken care of.  I am hoping to talk the parent in charge of the MS float into keeping N until I am done with the juniors.  BTW - I will have the other three stooges with me for the junior float building, because it is after all, a BLUE shift.  I just have to giggle and shake my head. So is the bonfire, the football game...Gotta love the blue shift.

Now, which hat am I supposed to have on right now...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Could Never Be a FF

I know that for certain.  Not because of the physical aspects - I could train for that.  Not because of my fear of dying - I have overcome that before.  Not because of the heartbreaking scenes you see on every shift - I taught in inner-city public schools for 13 years, I have seen more than I can ever share.  I know I could not be a firefighter simply because I don't do politics well.  My mouth is too big, my temper to short.  I am the stereotypical hot headed redhead.  I would live a miserable life in a firehouse, possessing a quick-witted, but sharp tongue.  Combine that with my fiery disposition and you have an explosion waiting to happen!

I have tamed my temper as the years have gone by.  I have learned that I can't always speak my opinion.  I can't always fix what angers me with the world.  But some of the stories I have heard and the scenes I have witnessed, truly make my blood boil.  I can't believe some days, that these are grown men.  I feel as though I am dealing with the 8th grade, maybe the freshmen boys at work.  "Sorry, you can't eat at our with us today.  You switched your schedule and took that other class."   Even at the 9/11 memorial, which was so beautiful, this was evident.  I just can't stand it.  I demand more from my kids at work and here I find adults behaving so poorly, my kids would be offended.  I just don't have the patience for it.

This is not place to discuss specifics and I have been taught not to complain without a solution.  So, here is my solution - GROW UP!  Not everyone looks at the world with the same eyes you do.  Not everyone comes from the same places you do.  Focus on building everyone's skills and teamwork, just in case, God forbid, it should ever truly be tested.  That is so much more efficient that breaking it down.  I wouldn't want to go into a burning building with some of these comments going through my head.

That being said, my husband feels more fulfilled, even with some of these instances, than he ever did with 12 years in a classroom.  He feels he is making a world of a difference, one patient, one home at a time.  And that is why he does bite his tongue and work his arse off.  And for that, I respect him more than he will ever know.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Never Forget

The Milwaukee Fire Department honored the 343 firefighters that lost their lives trying to save those who were trapped after the hijacked planes hit the twin towers.  They held a silent memorial, had turnout gear with the names of every one of the 343 lined up on the apron of Engine 2 for 343 minutes.  The honor guards from MFD and North Shore FD were there.  It was a very moving sight.  I really have no words.

But, what struck me the most was when I found my husband's gear.  At first, I snickered at the fact that his 'Probationary' shield was on his helmet.  (They just recently decided all cubs had to use that shield in lieu of their regular one, so close to the end of their cub year.) Then the reality of it struck me.  That was my husband's gear, in the fallen firefighter formation.  I am not supposed to see his gear like that - ever.  And yet, here it was. With the name of Firefighter Paul Gill, from Engine 54 on his helmet.

Firefighter Paul Gill was 34 when he made the ultimate sacrifice.  He was 34 and became a firefighter later in life, like my husband. FF Gill was an artist, a carpenter, a son, a father who  left behind two boys and a Hero.

FF Paul Gill
April 11, 1967 - September 11, 2001

You have NOT been forgotten!
We will NEVER forget!

A Memory Frozen in My Mind

We all remember where we were, what we were doing, how our breath was taken away.  That moment is forever frozen in our minds.

Please, take a moment from your busy lives to remember

Those who lost their lives.

Those who gave their lives. 

Those whose lives will never be the same.

We remember.
We will NEVER forget!

Your sacrifices will never be forgotten. 
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