Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hot hot hot!

Things overheard in my bedroom last weekend:

“You have to line the holes up or it won't fit straight.”
“What do you think, upper holes or lower holes?”
“I'm not ready! Don't push yet!”
“You want me to pound that in for you?”
“Maybe don't screw that in all the way yet.”
“Ha, I finished before you AGAIN!”
“Okay, let's do this again.  WAIT Wrong hole! Wrong hole! Back up!”
“Oh, I don't know, I think this is going to be TOO HOT.”
“This is IMPOSSIBLE to get in.”
“Just fold it over your thumb and shove it in.”

All this because I went to IKEA and got a brand new bed!  Ta da!

I wasn't going to buy anything but then I saw the duvet cover and I LOVED it.  But I didn't have a duvet, so I had to get a duvet.  Then since I knew I had to go through the cash registers anyway, I went a little nuts.  I got a bunch of other stuff and then I thought to myself, "Self, why not get a bed frame as long as you're going to pack your car up to the gills anyway," so I got the bedframe too.  Then I came home and Mitch and I assembled our bed and stuffed the new duvet into the duvet cover, hence the dialog at the top.  The duvet is nuclear hot but I'm so determined to use it that we sleep with the window open.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curse my dainty ear canals!

The vertigo I had all last week is somewhat over.  Aren't you glad?  And when I say "somewhat" I mean that I'm still kind of dizzy, but not in a grab-a-chair-because-the-world-is-spinning-out-of-control-and-I-can't-get-my-eyes-to-stop-jumping-and-OMG-get-me-a-bucket-cuz-I'm-gonna-puke! kind of dizzy, but the regular, "boy, I feel kind of spacey and shitty" kind of dizzy. I blame the icky way I feel on the medicine.

The medicine I take for it is Scopolamine.  When the first wave of vomiting hits, the drug seems like a miracle, but after a couple of days on it, the novelty of not constantly throwing-up wears off and I start to get concerned about my blurry vision and constant headache, and I start to wonder about the drug that is coursing through my body.  Apparently it is used in Colombia as a date-rape drug.  It's street name is "Devil's Breath" and there is a video on YouTube called "The World's Scariest Drug."  Great.  The real problem is that in high enough quantities, it inhibits your ability to make memories. So you can be on the drug, seem totally normal and coherent and then the next day you don't remember anything at all.  Which I guess might explain why I woke up in a bathtub full of ice with a ten inch incision in my side and a note that said, "Thanks for the kidney.  You better get to the hospital."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vertigo is worse than most things

I've had vomit-inducing vertigo for almost a week.  I had to take a day off of work to let my sea-sickness medicine kick in.  The medicine mercifully eliminates the nausea and vomiting but otherwise is almost as bad as the vertigo itself.  Here are some of the side effects:  temporary vision loss, headache, drowsiness and vertigo. Which led me to think of things I'd rather have than this horrible affliction and its horrible treatment.

Things I'd rather do than have vertigo. Again.

grocery shop in the nude
let my carcass-eating dog lick me on the mouth
watch professional wrestling
vote republican
eat sauerkraut
lose a toe
get bad haircuts for the rest of my life
go to the dentist
get a root canal
get sprayed by a skunk
gain weight
go on a date with Mario Lopez
get a home perm
get syphilis

Thursday, October 18, 2012

As Promised...

I got my school pictures back.  Remember when  I told you that I forgot it was picture day and then I found out that not only do all the kids have their pictures taken, but the teachers do too?  I am notoriously unphotogenic and this was emphasized by the laughing and re-taking of my picture three times by the photographer who saw the pictures on a monitor.  She eventually put me in the most unnatural position ever, had me crane my upper body one way, tilt my head down, and then look up off to the side.  It felt so weird.  It was so weird.

It doesn't look like a totally unnatural position when you look at it here, but my legs were pointing out behind me. I especially like the way my chin bunched up because she had me look down, and the way my eyes are pointing different directions because I was confused about which direction I was supposed to be looking.  I have chameleon eyes, did you know?  Mitch insists that I give him one of the wallet-sized ones and write something meaningful on the back.  "Hey Mitch!  You're AWESOME!  We should totally get together and party this summer!  BFFs 4EVA!  Love, Your wife!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beauty is in the eye tooth of the beholder

Mitch and the kids and I went to see that movie Here Comes the Boom with Kevin James as a teacher who goes on the ultimate fighting circuit to raise money for his school.  It wasn't a good movie, but the kids liked it.  Salma Hayek was in it and was gorgeous as usual.  I said something about how pretty she is on the way home, thinking Mitch would be all over that and he said, "Her teeth are weird.  It's like her molars are only about a millimeter long."

He sees a picture like the one above and now I know that he's not looking at anything but her back teeth and judging her negatively on their shortness.  Luckily for Mitch and I, my back teeth are looooooong..... ooo baby.....

Monday, October 15, 2012


Remember last year when I described teaching kindergarten like having to manage a room full of cats?  They all had their own agenda and didn't give half a crap what my agenda was.  Just like cats.  Well, after a few weeks of teaching sixth grade I can honestly say that unlike a room full of cats, they are like a room full of puppies.  They are all eager and frantic and playful and have whippy tails and sharp little teeth, and their play looks a lot like fighting.  Just kidding. (They don't have tails.)

We had a teacher workshop the other day about "Learner Engagement."  There are five levels. Level one is "authentic engagement."  The student is truly interested in the topic at hand, wants to participate, and wants to learn.  I can't remember what the fifth level was called, but basically the student is not at all engaged in the topic being taught, and is causing problems and distracting other students.  Levels two, three, and four were something between the two, but I didn't really pay attention to those because I have found that my students are either at level one or at level five.  There is no in-between.

The funniest thing about them is that in my class, I seem to have a gravitational pull.  This is what my class setup looks like every morning:

The kids all have their own desks and I have a kidney shaped table at the front (I don't know how to make a kidney shape on Microsoft Paint) and a side table where I keep my lesson stuff.  Our room is nice and big so we have lots of room to spread out and I have a microphone and stereo system so everyone can hear me.  The kids actually only spend about 30 minutes at their desks, and the rest of the time we are all moving around.  I started the year mostly teaching from the front but I found that by the end of the day, this is what my room looks like:

The kids have all moved closer to the kidney table, in fact some kids who were in the back are now sitting at the front tables, and the side table is pushing into my side because it has been moved so close to me.  The kids still sitting in desks are complaining that they don't have any room to push their chairs back and the kids left in the back are complaining because they don't want to be "waaaay back here!" when in reality they are about eight feet away from where I am sitting.  I have tried to watch this happen, but it must be like watching a plant grow; you know it's happening, but you can't ever see it in action.  I have started teaching the first half hour of class - when everyone is in their desks - while walking around the room to see if this has any effect on the migration of desks.  It doesn't.  I end up moving every desk back about two feet every day after school.

They are just as fun as a room full of puppies, but they are also as exhausting as a room full of puppies.  One day when we were discussing whether the word "consistently" is an adjective or an adverb one girl raised her hand and told us, "I have ADHD."  Then about five other kids said they did too and before I knew it the conversation was no longer about vocabulary, it was about who does and who does not have ADHD.  I wrangled them back in and taught them the word "analogy." I told them that our class is like a train, I'm the conductor, and everytime someone blurts something out, or says something totally off-topic, it's like they just jumped off the train, and then I have to stop the train, back up, and pick them up.  They are so funny because now whenever someone says something off topic, the rest of them say, "GET BACK ON THE TRAIN!"  It's the ADHD Express and it's a pretty wild ride.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hey Sarah, what stinks?

It's me.  I'm the one who stinks.  I don't think we realize how important smells are until our lives are ruined by a bad one.  A few years ago sewer gas seeped into our house for a few days and I can't even tell you how many hundreds of times I considered burning the whole place down.  And now I can honestly say that since my dog got sprayed THREE times in a ROW in the FACE by a skunk last week, I love her less.

I love her less because I can barely tolerate the stench I think will probably follow her (and me) around for the rest of her life.  I love her less because she was stupid enough to get sprayed three times, not that it would make that much of a difference smell-wise if she only got sprayed once, but how dumb was that?  If a skunk sprayed you in the face, would you keep chasing it?  I thought border collies were supposed to be smart.  Not this one.  I love her less because she didn't have the decency to wait until the skunk left the deck before she harassed it, so the first time it sprayed her it also sprayed the house, the deck furniture, and the door.  I don't think she thought the whole thing out very well.   SO inconsiderate.

If it was summer I would shave her bald to get rid of the offending fur that is carrying the stench, but no, it's fall so I suppose it would be considered animal cruelty to shave her naked right before winter.  Also, one time I cut her hair short and she looked ridiculous and slinked around in utter embarrassment for about six months while it grew out.  She's very vain so I bet this whole debacle is pretty bad for her too.  I cut off the worst of the hair, around her mane, and she looks pretty silly.

Since I had the scissors out there cutting grossness off of her, I also cut her butt hair because in another example of how stupid the theory of intelligent design is, the hair right around her anus grows longer than any hair on her whole body.  I don't think I have to tell you why that is gross.  Now she looks like she has a radical bob haircut on her butt.  I kind of like the way it looks, but judging by the way she tucks her tail between her legs everywhere she goes, she does not like it.  She would NOT let me take a picture of her back end.  Every time I got her to stand and then pointed the camera at her she would sit.  See?  She seems pretty smart!  But she's not.

Just so she wouldn't feel so alone I also got a bad haircut.  My sister sent me a great picture of my dad yesterday and my hair looks just like his in that picture.

Of course, he is in his sixties and is working outside in the rain so the style is understandable on him.  On me it just looks weird.  So now both Maisy and I smell bad and look weird.  For a while.  Someday the stench will fade, and the hair will grow out, and we will be back to our old sweet-smelling, gorgeous selves.  But probably not for about a year.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Yesterday morning while I was still in bed Sam let our dog, Maisy, outside for the day.  Almost immediately I heard her barking like a crazy person and then shortly after that the entire house was enveloped in a never-ending cloud of skunk spray.  Sam said he saw the whole thing unfold.  Maisy went outside, around the house, and saw a skunk eating out of her dish.  She ran to defend her territory and the skunk ran away from the dish.  Maisy wouldn't let up and chased it.  That's when the skunk did a handstand and sprayed Maisy in the face.  Right next to the back door.  ON the deck.  Maisy got pissed and continued chasing the skunk into the yard.  The skunk sprayed her again.  In the face.  Did she learn her lesson?  No.  She continued to chase the skunk and got sprayed one more time.

I had to go to work so I couldn't do anything about it yesterday morning.  When I got done with work I went to Petco and Shopko and got Skunk-Off, Dawn dishsoap, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a big plastic tub.  I found a solution on the internet that combines the dishsoap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide that  is supposed to work at cleaning off the stench.  It didn't seem to work.  I washed her with the solution and rinsed her off.  She still stunk.  I cut off the hair that got the worst of the spray and then washed her again in Dawn dishsoap.  She still stunk.  I covered her with the Skunk-Off and let it soak in twice as long as recommended before rinsing it off.  She still stunk.  I washed her with shampoo.  She still stunk.  By that time she was shivering and I was thinking that maybe I needed to abandon this futile project and just get a new dog.  I let her free to shake and seethe and then later I let her in the house to warm up.  God, my house stinks.

Both the kids said that shortly after they got on the bus yesterday people would sniff around and say, "Pew, something smells like skunk."  They said they got a blast of skunk every time they opened their lockers all day.  I opened my desk drawer where I keep my purse and was blasted in the face by skunk stench.  Is this ever going to go away?  My hands have an awful smell and it's not exactly skunky, but it's so horrible that it gives me a headache.  I need a do-over.

I think that poor Mitch is having a harder time with this than me or Maisy because he has been telling me for years and years not to leave dog food out next to the house.  Naturally, I have ignored him.  That food feeds chipmunks, squirrels, bluejays, other dogs, bears, gigantic chickadees, the occasional rat, mice and apparently skunks.  Mitch is dying to gloat, but he hasn't.  I think I have finally learned my lesson.  Go ahead and gloat, Mitch.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

I went to a party this weekend for my sister who is leaving for Afghanistan in the next week or so for a nine month deployment.  Many of the people there were people we've known since we were in high school so some hilarious stories were told.  One time Amy had a friend sleeping over and they snuck out and went to a party.  When they got home the door was locked.  Crap.  So they went to my sister Beth's basement bedroom window and knocked.  

Beth said as soon as she heard the tapping on the window she was immediately paralyzed with fear.  She was laying in her bed, scared to death and couldn't even move so, of course, she didn't let them in.  Amy and Christie then had the brilliant idea of taking off their pants, knocking on the back door, and then when my parents answered, telling them that they were getting the dog (who always slept in my parent's bedroom) and the door swung shut and locked them out.  

Why did they take off their pants, you ask?  Well, I asked the same thing.  They said that their story would be more believable if they did it without pants because then my parents would think that they had been in bed and got up to get the dog.  SO smart.  They got in and I'm still not clear how.  Did my parents let them in?  Did they sneak in a different way?  I don't know.  But anyway, after they got in they confronted Beth about not letting them in her window.  She told them she was petrified and didn't know it was them.  She said, "Next time knock a song so I know it's you.  Knock 'Hot Cross Buns'."

Beth said that when she snuck out, she always left a bathrobe in the garage to put on in case she had to knock on the door so she could be spared the indignity being pantsless when she had to beg to be let in the house.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012


One of the dozens of techniques my students use to get me off topic is to tell me crazy stories.  They can tell I love their crazy stories so there is an absolute fight every day during small group for them to tell me something outrageous.  I have tried to parlay this into a writing assignment by telling them that if it is so vital to have their story told, they need to write it down and then they can read it to me.  It's funny how they can pare down a twenty minute blabathon into one hilarious sentence.  One boy had what I could tell was going to be a long story about how he is afraid of spiders and how he thinks they might kill him blah blah blah blah... and I said, "WRITE IT DOWN!" so he sighed a sigh of resignation and started to write.  When it was his turn to share he had reduced his long-winded story to this:  "I am afraid of spiders and death."  Another boy said he had a hilarious story about what happened to him last weekend.  I told him to write it down.  So he did.  He said he was on a city bus with his brother and there was an old lady sitting across the aisle and one seat ahead of them (at this point in his reading I interrupted and said, "Nice details!  I am getting a good image!  Go on..." Then he said, "and she farted and dust came out."  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nighty Night

Mitch's parents and my brother-in-law, Mat were over today; and while we were chatting he was perusing my bookshelf.  He picked up my copy of Bear Attacks and asked if I had read it.

I told him I used to read it to the kids before bed.  I never thought that was strange but by the looks I got from Mat and his parents, it was akin to child abuse.  "They liked it!"  I had to say in my defense a hundred times.  Mat paged through and found a story about a man and woman who were stalked and eventually eaten by a grizzly and read it aloud for all of us.  It was graphic.  Lots of blood and ripped-off scalps.  "How old were the kids when you read this to them???" my mother-in-law asked in shock and horror.  "I don't know, I suppose Kira was about seven, and Sam about ten.  Old enough," I replied.

"What else did you read them?" Mat asked in a judgemental tone.  I said, "Well, let's see... Johnny Tremain, Harry Potter, Death in Yellowstone..."

"Death in Yellowstone???" they all said in unison.  I got the book out of the shelf and showed them.

It is a book that lists in order all the deaths that have happened in Yellowstone National Park since its inception, and the stories about how they happened.  Fascinating.  It was one of our favorites.  We especially liked the story about the guy who jumped in a boiling mud pit to save his stupid dog and he was so badly burned that his skin peeled off in sheets and then he died.  At this point I think my mother-in-law was considering taking the kids home with her for good.  I was about to change the subject when bigmouth Kira said, "What about that book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place about the guy who cut his own arm off with a dull pocketknife?  That was good."

Apparently I have to teach Kira that the throat-slitting gesture means to SHUT THE HELL UP.