Monday, January 29, 2007

What do you want first? The good or the bad?

First, the funny part:

Today at school the kids had some free time and so a group of them were engaging in a rousing game of Outburst Junior. The category for this particular round was "Body Parts You Can't See" and the kids were throwing out answers left and right. As the time for the round grew close to running out, the moderator began to give hints by sounding out the beginning of the words/phrases, such as s....sk...skel....skeleton. When she began to give the hint n....ner... one of the kids jumped in and yelled "Nerple!"

And now the shitty part:

Sam now has his 7th ear infection since September. We took him to an ENT on Thursday who informed us that he will need to have tubes put in his ears. That isn't so bad because we were kind of expecting to be told that. I had them twice when I was a kid for the same reason. However, they called today to let us know that they had checked with his insurance carrier for coverage and they are considered "out of plan." So....we will have to pay a $1,000 deductible AND a portion of the total for the procedure AND the fee for the doctor for the procedure which has to be done as an outpatient procedure at the hospital because Sam is an infant and will have to be anesthetized. And...have I failed to mention that we're on one income until May?

Yes...we sent paperwork to DHS today to see if he will qualify for MI Child. Otherwise we will have to reschedule his procedure.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

two things...

Two little tidbits for today:

1. Due to my frenetic schedule, I have lost 6 pounds this week. I am so busy that I don't have much time to eat and am too busy to realize that I'm hungry. The upside of this is that I don't have time for Tae Bo and, apparently, don't need it. I suggested to Owen that we celebrate with cake. He thought an "I-just-lost six-pounds-and-need-to-gain-it-back-pronto-cake" was not such a great idea. I suggested cupcakes instead.

2. Humorous third grader comment of the day: "Excuse me, pardon me! Adult coming through! I shave EVERY DAY!!!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Update...

I must apologize for my recent lack of blogging. As it happens, I have been quite busy leaving my job to be an unemployed student, something I have not had the privilege of enjoying since 2001.

My days last week were filled by listening to voice mails of last-minute requests from my boss and then performing whatever task that she didn’t want to have to do herself or that she wanted to put off at least another month. Not that I can blame her. If it was so great, I never would have left.

On Monday I began my first week of student teaching. The kids are fantastic – caring, nurturing and very well-mannered. They also represent a huge diversity in ability levels. There is one little boy, cute as can be, who is testing at high-school level with logic problems. There are also 10 children who receive Title 1 services, 2 who receive special education services, 1 who gets speech therapy, 2 who have mentors and 2 who have high school “buddies” to help them. Of course there is some crossover among these kids, but not nearly as much as anybody would love to see. All in all, it is a very diverse group.

Here are some of the things I have been told so far this week:

“Older people make me nervous.” (“Am I an older person?”) “Um…yeah…I think you’re about…39.”

“You smell nice…(child leans uncomfortably close to me, her face right into my neck)…I think it’s your hair.”

“It’s okay Ms. H…I drop things all the time too.”

“My sister has a boyfriend. My mom says that she better quit seeing him or she’s going to go to prison.”

So far, I have been to a staff meeting and teacher mentoring meeting and tomorrow I will attend a Title 1 meeting with my CT (Cooperating Teacher), the principal and the Title 1 teacher. When I asked my CT where the meeting would be, she told me it would be in the P’s office. This made me instantly nervous because I have only ever been to the P’s office twice before: once in HS because he wanted to know how to say my last name at graduation, and once in 4th grade because I had the audacity to laugh during silent lunch hour in the cafeteria.

This was by Mrs. Stratton, of whom I distinctly remember my mom saying, when learning that she had been a kindergarten teacher, that she must have taught kindergarten at a military academy. She was ornery as hell and used to make us eat lunch silently in the gym. I actually ran into her last week at the salon after treating myself to a facial. She looked the same, almost 20 years later, which gives you some indication of how frumpy she was back then (think: the grandmother from Flowers in the Attic).

The next 14 weeks promise to be filled with memorable moments (i.e. our upcoming field trip to the nursing home) and I will share when I can. At the moment, I am becoming very, very busy with school, but I love every minute of it. I hope my feelings won’t fade as my workload becomes greater. For now, I am struck by the poignancy of a quote a I heard a long time ago. I have no idea to whom it should be attributed: “Do what you love, and never work another day in your life.”

Also, my apologies for missing Blog for Choice Day. I didn't have time to put together anything as well thought-out as last year's piece. Some of y0u may remember last year's piece, and my 15 minutes of fame when it got picked up by a few national blogs and bigger city newspapers. I suppose I had nowhere to go but down, and so I didn't even try this year, given my tight schedule. Maybe next year...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dream a little dream of being in a different movie theatre...

This past weekend my mom and my sister and I went to see Dremagirls because it finally opened here. Let me begin by saying that I LOVE musicals and that I have a discerning enough sensibility to understand the difference between a musical and a rock opera (or, in this case, a Motown opera). I was extremely disappointed in the movie.

The plot was ludicrously predictable, the music was over the top, the “musical” moments were ridiculously sentimental and the movie’s story progressed in irritating fits and starts – some scenes took eons to end and then transition-free jumps ten years forward without many visual cues. I think the writers and directors would have been better off committing to doing an actual Supremes biopic (with real Supremes music!) instead of pussyfooting around with this bastardization.

I understand that this is actually a screen adaptation of a Broadway musical; however, it did not translate well to film. Its momentary forays into the genre of rock opera were tentative and sporadic – not enough to be committed to the style, but enough to make you sit there thinking “What the hell?” as you check your watch every 30 seconds to see how much longer ‘til the movie is over. This film lacked the commitment to the genre to make us believe it as a musical and, as a result, became more soap opera than rock opera, with random and seemingly haphazard outbursts of singing.

Beyonce’s performance was lamely milquetoast - I can’t stand to see a character so sickly sweet and without any realistic grit, someone with whom the audience could possibly identify. Give us a character we can root for or against, but don’t shine the spotlight on such a lame wallflower.

As I see it, there were only two good things about this movie but, from where I stand, they were good enough to earn some award-season recognition but not enough to make it worth watching the movie. First is Jennifer Hudson’s performance. Though I’m not a fan of raving vocals that climb up and down three sets of scales at a riff (or whatever the hell you call it), her vocals were soulful and her performance was excellent. I love her, and I hope we see more of her. The second great thing was the makeup and costuming, which was absolutely fantastic. It was, perhaps, the most enjoyable aspect of the movie, flashy and dazzling at every turn. I even loved the wigs and jewelry, and when do I ever notice that stuff?

All in all, it gets two big thumbs down from me. If you want to see Jennifer Hudson, try YouTube or something. And if you want to see shots of the costumes, try IMDB or Google. Don’t waste your time going to the theatre only to spend the evening waiting for the movie to just be over. Save your money.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Everything you need to know about the world:

If the Earth’s population was shrunk into a village of 100 people - with all existing human ratios remaining the same - the village would look like this:

52 Female
48 Male

30 White
70 Non-White

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 North and South Americans
8 Africans

70 Non-Christian
30 Christian

89 Heterosexual
11 Homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of all the wealth.
All 6 of them would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
50 would suffer from malnutrition.
1 would be near death.
1 would be near birth.
1 would have a college education.
1 would own a computer.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Random thoughts of the day...

Why is it that every time I shop for a condolence card, I cry? Even if I’ve never event met the person... Sometimes I wonder if I need stronger meds.

Sam can’t take swimming lessons this month as I had planned because he has to see the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor on the 19th about the possibility of having tubes put in his ears. I’m so bummed. Not that I was really enjoying the idea of parading around in my swimsuit once a week, but still…

It’s pretty much time to start taking my personal things home from work so that I don’t have to bring in a U-Haul on my last day. I can hardly believe that my last day is just a little more than a week away. I’ve been waiting for this for so long, but I’m still a little sad.

You should have to have a license to use commas.

I don’t think it’s possible to have too much lotion or too many different kinds of it. I also think that there’s no such thing as too much nail polish.

Sam will be 9 months old tomorrow. I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by. I suggested to Owen that we should have some cake to celebrate Sam’s 9 month birthday. He suggested I should stop looking for excuses to have cake.

In related news, Tae Bo Fat Blasting Cardio completely and totally kicks my ass. And I don’t mean it as though the DVD kicks ass. I mean that I am so bad at it that I don’t want anybody, even Sam, to watch while I pathetically attempt to keep up with it. Incidentally, Sam thinks aerobics videos are hilarious and was having quite a good time watching and laughing last night. I am POSITIVE he wasn’t laughing at me…

Pursuit of Happyness was a fantastic movie. It was so touching that it made me cry several times and I think just about everybody should watch it. Will Smith is an amazing actor and his son was also very good. I can’t ever imagine sleeping in a subway bathroom with my child…that was one of the instances that made me cry.

I would really like to watch Dreamgirls, as well, but the stupid cinema here seems to be disinterested in showing it. Leave it to our lame-ass theatre to skip out on the movie that has inspired so much Oscar buzz.

Friday, January 05, 2007

And the cherry on top...

As if today hasn't been bad enough...the office financial software crashed at 4:30. This is the second time it's done this at 4:30 on a Friday in the last month. That's 50/50. And no, it isn't my attempt to cover my own tracks as an embezzler.

The bad day...

Let me begin this story by saying that for a couple of months, now, I have been extremely stressed. The prospect of quitting my good-paying job to chase after what has eventually seemed to become some sort of a pipe dream in my imagination (student teaching, or, just teaching), has left me laying awake for hours on end at night. Like most young people, we are not without our share of debt, mostly college loans. Most of the time, and barring any unforeseen incidents, we are able to make ends meet…just barely. The idea of quitting my job, even with the prospect of a better future, is none the less nerve-wracking.

And it is mainly for this reason that, just before Christmas, my doctor gave me a prescription to help me sleep at night. It also happens that another doctor gave me a prescription for Amoxicillin that caused one of the worse allergic reactions I’ve ever had to deal with. For two weeks my hands and feet were both swollen with a phenomenally itchy rash and the only way I could sleep at night, despite the sleep aid given me by my regular doctor, has been to take Benadryl. Without taking both of them, sleep was impossible.

So you may imagine that I have been sleeping REALLY HARD at night, which is true. I have also been waking and moving through the days like a zombie. Owen, angel that he is, has taken care of Sam most nights so that I can sleep. But I still wake up as though I’ve been on a 3-day bender – absolutely exhausted.

This is all led up to the fact that I became an unwitting embezzler this week. On Monday night I chose not to take either pill in an effort to try to begin to pull my weight at night with Sam again and, as a result, I got less than 4 hours of sleep. Tuesday afternoon, in a fog of exhaustion, I put the wrong number on the office bank deposit of approximately $3,000. Of course, I didn’t find that out until today, when the bank finally posted the scan of the deposit slip to MY online banking site.

The money had mysteriously appeared in our account a couple of days ago. But until the deposit clears, all it says is “Pending” and you can’t get any more information about it. We called the bank, insisting that it was a mistake as there was no way we could imagine that we should be getting that much money in our account. They told us to wait and see what came through in the scan. Imagine my horror when I opened the link only to discover my office savings deposit slip.

It bears mentioning that just last week an employee was fired for allegedly stealing money out of purses and petty cash. Though no hard evidence was found to my knowledge, and she was my friend who I thought very highly of, she was fired on suspicion alone as “We can do whatever we want – we’re an at-will employer.” Additionally, when my boss was in an irritable mood yesterday and claimed, “I’m in the mood to fire somebody,” she wasn’t joking. I was informed that I would be firing the cleaning lady today with no notice as well, because our contract with her stipulates that we may do so at our discretion.

And so that is the second part of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I was made to fire a woman who cleans for $65 per week, and who needs the money so badly that she comes in to the office in a panic on Monday if her check doesn’t get there by Saturday. She cried in my office and I blankly apologized for firing her. She asked me why and I scrambled for answers. “They’re just not satisfied.” I felt terrible. I felt like I let her down. And yet, I was told, “If she needed the money so badly, she should have done a better job cleaning.”

If it weren’t for the fact that I have to meet and do paperwork with the new cleaning lady this afternoon, I think I might go home sick for the rest of the day. My head is pounding and my anxiety has blossomed into a vague, bland numbness. All that remains is my exhaustion and the desire to spend the rest of the day in bed reading or watching TV.

Incidentally, I called the VP of the bank as soon as I discovered what had happened with the deposit and had him transfer the money back to the agency account right away. In a move that made me feel filthy and criminal, he called the office to be sure the accountant knew what had happened. She already knew because, as my friend, I had told her in a panic the moment I realized it had happened. She told me I still had to tell my boss about it. Fortunately, by the time my boss got in, the error had been fixed.

There is a part of me who wishes she had fired me so I could go home too. And a slightly bigger part of me who wishes she had at least yelled at me so that I might lose my temper and yell back at her in my own defense, and in defense of my friend who I feel was very unfairly fired.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kinda funny...

Where I work, I often am told things over the phone that make my blood run cold. Sometimes I hear about things that I used to think only happened in the movies or in big cities. But on rare occasion, I hear something that kind of makes me chuckle. Here is just such an instance from one of today’s telephone calls:

Me: “Okay…so now I need to you to give me a little information about why you need counseling. It helps our clinical staff determine who would be best suited to treat you.”

Anonymous: “Okay. Well…um…the court says I have to get counseling because...um...my husband? Well...he’s an alcoholic and…um…he fell off the wagon…and he got a D.U.I. And...um...when the police came to arrest him? They found some marijuana in the house. And he told them it was mine…because it was.”

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sam's new bed canopy

Sam got it from Aunt Rachel and Uncle Jeff for Christmas. Cute, eh?


And, yeah, he has a Sneech (on the shelf).