I'm not what you'd call 100% rule bound. I like to go my own way. I daresay I even flaunt convention every now and again. Admittedly my flaunting is a good deal less flaunt-y as I approach the half century mark. I am more on the "look I wore a quirky pair of striped socks today, ain't I just the bee's knees?" end of the scale. But sometimes I wear them on days when more somber attire is required so I count it.
Still...I believe that some rules should be followed merely out of simple respect. You offer your seat to an older lady on the bus. You don't slam the car door when you get home after 9:00 because others are trying to watch prime time television. Even if you really want that last slice of pizza, you should never, ever try to stab your dinner companion with a fork to avoid the competition. That's just plain old good manners, for crying out loud.
We have laws for a reason. Rules are there for the good of all. And where's the fun in flaunting them if you don't follow them most of the time anyway?
Wednesday is the night for bullet posting and I'm going to follow that rule this week. I sort of blew it off last time and it's in the consistency that one finds joy in the lack thereof.
There should probably also be a rule about convoluted logic and sentences that attempt to follow them, but I'm too tired to go back and edit the thought. Just go with it while we explore this week's twists, turns and rules gone wrong.
*I firmly believe that once I have to go back to school, there should be no more summer. It should immediately revert to autumn. Or it can snow. I don't care.
*However, as my reasoning for that is more selfish than anything else since I resent anyone enjoying the summer I no longer have, I don't think that should be a rule.
*It's more the kind of thing I think about a lot and try to not say aloud.
*However, I believe it most certainly should be a rule that October behave itself in a sensible manner.
*There is no earthy reason for it to be over 80 degrees on the second of October. None whatsoever.
*In my corner of the hemisphere, October has been issued a mandate. Crisp, cool days and pumpkins awaiting kids to smash them on every doorstep. And crunchy colored leaves. And apple crisp. Warm apple crisp.
*It should not be a day when you have to dig around at dawn's early light for a sleeveless top and sandals so you can survive the coming work day in your third floor classroom with limited window access.
*One of my first clear thoughts this morning was, "Oh no. I am going to have to spend an entire day in an overheated room full of overheated students, most of whom have difficulty with understanding why things aren't the way they are supposed to be."
*Even worse, I knew I was going to have to give up at least one full teaching block to state mandated achievement testing. That, in case you didn't know, represents a schedule change.
*Schedule changes do not go over well in my world. Schedule changes cause trauma to minds that thrive on the expected.
*Also, I was going to have to explain why it was hot.
*And I am not a meteorologist. Nor do I control the weather.
*Although it seemed highly likely that I was going to be blamed for it.
*Thankfully, it was the second day of testing so most of the kids were feeling a little more comfortable with the whole thing. Sort of...
*And the humidity stayed reasonable so it didn't seem quite as hot as it really was.
*Which is good because the heat caused the wasps that live in the surrounding trees and apparently the ceiling, to think that summer was back.
*Wasps follow the rules even when the weather doesn't.
*I sent an email to Mr. Principal apologizing for what I expect will be dismal test scores this year.
*It is a little hard to focus when you have to duck, dodge and flee the scary wasps that bumble around the ceiling in search of sky.
*The periodic shrieks of terror probably didn't help much either.
*And, in case you were wondering, explaining that a wasp is more likely to notice the kid running around the room, flapping his arms wildly and screaming, "BUG! BUG!!!" is an exercise in futility.
*He who is terrified by wasps is going to run, flap and scream no matter what you say.
*I checked the hole in the plywood covering the window that was broken five years ago to make sure our paper towel stuffing was still in place.
*It is. No wasps sneaking in that way.
*They are coming from my office ceiling. Which is where the only windows are located in that area of the classroom.
*So I had to keep the door closed.
*And it was 80 degrees.
*Hot or wasp attacks. Pick your poison, people. I can't grant you amnesty from both.
*And yes. You still have to take your state mandated achievement test.
*Did you also know that there is no limit to how many times you can tell kids what page they need to start their test on? You can say it and say it and say it. It's free and, since it's a standardized test, it is also a rule.
*You can check each student's page before the test begins to ensure that all have fully understood the direction.
*Heck, you can do a little interpretive dance just to make sure they're paying attention. No rules around that.
*And it doesn't really matter anyway. You'll still have one that somehow ends up taking the wrong test.
*We have a staff meeting the first Wednesday of every month. We didn't used to have them on Wednesday.
*At least I don't think we did. I remember having them on Wednesday last year, but it never really stuck in my mind. I'm still on the Tuesday meeting schedule mentally.
*Which is why I planned to run a few errands after school today so I wouldn't have to do it on Thursday when I have scheduled the late meeting.
*I will be running my errands tomorrow after my late meeting.
*By the time I get around to remembering that I have a required staff meeting on the first Wednesday of every month, I will either be retired or they will have changed it to Thursdays...
*I am never retiring. Not at this rate. They keep changing the rules around when teachers can retire. And I will probably still be paying my car off anyway.
*I'm fairly certain that, by the time I might be able to consider retiring, they will have invented a way to make me a cyborg so I can teach and teach forever.
*I'll still be at the top of the state's longevity scale and without hope of ever seeing a big pay bump but I guess it won't matter then.
*Cyborgs just need routine maintenance and probably don't eat much. I'll just need a bit of walking around money and something to cover rustproofing.
*In spite of the glitches and drawbacks, I'm still setting up the surveillance camera before leaving each day.
*It seems prudent.
*Today's Cat Related Classroom Conversation:
Boy Child #1: Ms. Sheep, did you just say you have cats? I didn't know that. That's nice for you.
Boy Child #2: Yeah. She sets up a camera so she can watch them all day.
Ms. Sheep: Yes. I do that. Wait...did you just roll your eyes? I think I saw you roll your eyes. You know what, Buster? You just try living a day in my life and see if you don't start recording stuff that goes on in your home when you're not there. You see what it's like living with creatures who don't care one little bit that you are the Mommy and set the standards for appropriate conduct. You try existing in a world where the chicken you left on a plate last night for JUST ONE LITTLE SECOND suddenly DISAPPEARS and you find it BEING DRAGGED ACROSS THE NICE NEW KITCHEN RUG! YEAH...THAT'S RIGHT! JUST TRY IT. DON'T JUDGE ME!!!!!
*It is entirely possible I have some difficulty separating my issues from the workplace.
*But I have more issues with Da Boyz so I think I am justified in being a little sensitive over the whole matter.
*My I-Don't-Play-Tennis elbow is still wreaking havoc at the worst possible moments.
*I may soon have to bow to the doctor's strong suggestion and start considering seeing the OT.
*I don't want to see the OT just now. I don't want another afternoon appointment. Nor do I want to pay what the insurance won't cover.
*Nor do I really know for certain exactly how well the negotiations worked out on our latest teacher's contract. The law of averages would seem to indicate that I shouldn't expect much.
*For all I know the 85% coverage I had last year is now gone and the only thing my provider will cover for occupational therapy is leeches and happy thoughts.
*Or maybe one of those rack thingies. The kind that stretch you out until you don't care so much about the pain in your elbow.
*The one that doesn't swing a tennis racket.
*This time last week, I was in the throes of what looked to be a rather ugly oncoming workplace dispute.
*It was going to require some confrontation. I am not good with confrontation.
*As a rule, I avoid it.
*Couldn't avoid it this time. If the situation was what I thought it was, I needed to go in hard.
*And I did. My stomach hurt and I didn't sleep the entire previous night. But I took a stand, fighting against every natural urge I have to scamper away and promote my agenda from the sensible safety zone found under my bed.
*The situation was not as bad as I thought it was, although rules were broken in small ways. However, the clearing of the air was a healthy thing in the end. Seriously cathartic. My adversary and I parted on friendlier terms than most people in the school building can say.
*But I made someone cry and I don't feel good about that even if I couldn't help it. Someone had to ask the hard questions and it was apparent that no one was going to do it for me.
*So I had M&Ms for dinner along with a vanilla Coke that didn't have the word "diet" inscribed anywhere on the label.
*I don't know if that is a law, the consumption of sugar after a stressful experience where you have to take a stand even if you don't want to and you realize that you and the other party have both been put in horribly awkward positions by others who got to just kick back and watch from the sidelines.
*But it should be.
*However, I have noticed a tendency since then to find justification in bad eating habits a little more easily.
*And I'm not really sure if it is appropriate to reward one's self with candy because of a glitch in the weather that turns October into July...
So there you go. That's this week. And a smidgen of last week. Although I hope it isn't a glimpse into next week because I cannot imagine further summery weather infringing upon what I consider to be the rules of the fall season. Things need to cool down and we need to get back to the business of wearing shoes that cover our entire feet.
Although I'm not sure what the wasps will do. I don't think they wear full shoes...
Friday letters 6.
11 hours ago