A Short Post about Weather

Last week, the sky looked like this:



And the street looked like this:

2013-04-19 23.14.41

Like, legitimate snow fall

  The date?  April 19.  And although I did use some fancy instagram filters, the snow in the photos is real.  Snow in April is not something this Southern gal can easily wrap her mind around.  Flabbergasted!

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel (literally):

Yes, I'm pointing to the sun in this picture.  Yes, there were people on the street when I took this picture.

Yes, I’m pointing to the sun in this picture. Yes, there were people on the street when I took this picture.

The date?  April 26 and the sun is back!  And she brought with her temperatures in the 60s.  (It might have actually only been 60 degrees, but I don’t care.)  Spring is here.  I used the air conditioner in my car for the first time in months yesterday.  I rolled the windows down to celebrate my springtime joy.  Then, I took this awkward photo with the sun shining over my head to commemorate this special occasion.


Teaching Kindergarten 47 minutes at a time

As I have mentioned before, I teach in order to make real money (you know, that stuff you need to pay rent and student loans).  Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I teach drama at an elementary school.  From 2:35 to 3:22, I teach Kindergarten.  This is also known as the toughest 47 minutes you have ever known.  (Yes, 47 minutes.  Who would want to do anything for 47 minutes with 5-6 year olds.)  The reason this is so difficult is there is a comment for EVERYTHING.  The class is constantly being derailed by one thing or another. 

A typical class might sound something like this*:

1.  Are we learning boxing today in class?

2.  My tooth hurts.

3. Chris spit on me.

4.  Can you tie my shoe?

5.  I’m sleepy.

6.  I’m cold.

7. When we were in the classroom, Susan pushed me.

8.  I don’t want to sit on the carpet.

9.  Timmy isn’t sitting on the carpet!

10.  What’s your name again?

11.  Can you be quiet please?  The teacher is waiting.

12.  I have that book at home!

13.  I hate this book!

14.  Can I go to the bathroom?

15.  My tooth still hurts.

16.  I went to the aquarium with my mom.

17.  Chris was poking my shoe and I asked him to stop.  Then he poked my shoe again.

18.  No I didn’t.

19.  I want to sit next to Owen!

20.  Ruthie keeps following me.

21.  My feet are sweaty.  Can I take my shoes off?

22.  Can I go to the bathroom?

23.  Can I go to the bathroom when he gets back?

Arnold was the ultimate kindergarten teacher.

24.  Alex stuck his tongue out at me.

25.  Am I being good today?

26.  I never get to go first!

27.  I’m hot.

28.  Can we play Wax Museum?

29.  Sarah is hiding behind the curtains.

30.  Can you untie my shoes?                                                                                                   Me: Who tied your shoelaces together?
      I did.

31.  I’m hungry.

32.  I don’t want to play that game.

33.  Ms. Jones said no one can go to bathroom during drama!

34.  It’s an emergency!!!       

35.  Sarah told me I was a vampire.

36.  (crying)  Becca said she’s not my friend anymore.

37.  I just told her that I like Sarah better.

38.  Tommy stepped on my hand.

39.  It was an accident.

40.  My tooth is still hurting.

41.  Did you know I’m getting a puppy?

42.  Will you tell Owen to stop kissing me?

43.  Ow!

44.  Is it time to go home yet?

45.  I hate drama.

46.  I didn’t get a turn!

47.  Tommy peed on my finger in the bathroom.  Me: Did you wash your hands?
      Yes, but he didn’t say he was sorry.


*All of these statements are true, although names have been changed because all kindergarteners look the same.

Won’t you be my neighbor? (part 2)

So, my first introduction to my neighbors wasn’t ideal.  But since moving into this building, I’ve seen a few more new faces.  Here are all the neighbors I’ve met so far. (I don’t know any of their names, so I have bestowed upon them whatever name I feel they should have.)

1.  Chatty Kathy: Her name isn’t actually Kathy, but she was very friendly in the laundry room.  I really liked this girl, and we found out she lives on my floor.  She is also a teacher, so we had lots to chat about.  The best thing about her is she was normal.  Of course, she also warned me about a homeless man who may or may not be sleeping in our stairway!  Her only proof is the horrible smell and someone burning incense in the stairwell a few mornings….but the thought was a little scary.  EEk.  Thanks girlfriend.  (I refused to take the stairs for three days after our conversation.)  When I ran into Kathy a second time in the laundry room, I actually introduced myself this time.  She said she had told her girlfriend all about the nice girl from the laundry room.  (Manners, people!  They work.)

2. Keisha Key – Two times now the lady who lives two doors down has had to tell me I left my keys in the door.  The second time she was very concerned, “Girl, you gotta stop doing that!”  I’ve run into her on the stairs a few times.  Every time she asks me if I have my keys with me.  I no longer find this cute.

3. Kelly Key – Not only do I leave keys in doors, but I also get them stuck.  I recently had my key stuck in the back door.  I tried for a couple of minutes trying to pull the key out.  I was really panicked for a moment because I had no idea what the key stuck in the door protocol would be.  Luckily, a woman walked by, and instead of pretending like she didn’t notice the difficulty I was having (which if I am being honest, is probably how I would have reacted to someone else with the same problem), she came over to help.  She rescued my key and informed me that the back door is often a problem.

4. Marshall Artist: When I first saw Marshall, he was getting off the elevator and taking out his trash.  He was kind of good looking so I was taking an extended glance when I noticed the nunchucks hanging from his belt.  (or Nunchaku)  Here’s the question I want to know: Was he taking the nunchucks to the dumpster for protection or are they always just hanging out on his belt?  Or is there a third possibility I haven’t even thought of??

5. Ryan: This weekend I finally took my ancient and tiny television to the dumpster.  (I got a new t.v. for Christmas so the old one has been sitting in the floor for close to four months now.)  When the elevator opened, there were already four people in the small space.  This is very odd since the residents of my building are like cockroaches – you only see one at a time, but you know that there are more around.  I didn’t concern myself with most of them because Ryan (I am naming him after Ryan Gosling) was on the elevator.  Ryan has the ‘typical Chicago guy’ look: beard, plaid flannel shirt, a one-strap backpack, and very good-looking.  He had a bag of trash in his hand which meant we were both walking to the dumpster.  I asked him to open the door for me since I was carrying a television from 1992 and my hands were full, and unfortunately that is where our love connection ended.  I’m still brainstorming ways I can ‘accidentally’ run into him again.

This is not actually my t.v., but the exact same model.  I’m sure I looked super hot while toting this technological miracle around.

6.  Gilbert aka Spiderman – I can’t write about my neighbors without mentioning Gilbert.  I have seen Gilbert twice since the incident.  The first time, he thanked me yet again for ‘helping him out that one time’.  I couldn’t get my door open fast enough.

Wham! Bam! and Thank you, Ma’am.

When I started teaching school five years ago, I saw teachers correcting students all the time.  Pull up those pants, spit out that gum, and it’s “yes, ma’am”.  I thought I would never become one of those teachers.    I was young and hip and worried about too many other things (like how to teach) to worry about these minor details.  But I’ll have you know, it took me all of one month before I was nagging the students with the best of them.  One time, I almost told a stranger to spit out their gum in Wal-Mart because I was so used to doing that in my classroom.

One thing that I rarely harped on was yes ma’am. I was brought up to say ma’am and sir – that’s how good Southern boys and girls address adults. It wasn’t that I was against this practice as a teacher – I just never insisted on the title.  Many of my students would say it without the reminder.  Their parents were clearly very dedicated to developing this habit.  But honestly, I didn’t really notice when it was missing.

Now, things are different. I’m teaching in a different part of the country, and I really miss it.  Kids don’t say it here.  It’s a little sad.  I guess it’s true that you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone.


I was reminded of all this while reading a post by Kristen Hansen Brakeman.  Like many other women, hearing this word makes her feel that she is being called old.   In her own words “You belong with the old and the barren now.”  But I want to tell Kristen that it doesn’t have to be all about age!  It is not a title only reserved for those with hip replacements and an AARP membership.  Here’s an example:

One summer I worked at a golf course.  Most of my customers were men in their 60s, and many of them called me ma’am.  It was strange – I was only 19 – but also sweet.   Clearly these men did not see me as someone who was their elder or superior.  I was just a teenager who worked in the pro shop.  I think the reason they said it was to be kind.   The term showed respect, consideration, and  just good manners – and is really no different from saying please and thank you.  I have often used this terms with cashiers in a store or someone at the bank or anybody else I might encounter on a typical day.  When I say ma’am in these situations (regardless of age), I am not saying ‘you belong in a nursing home’.  I like to think the message is more like ‘you matter and therefore I will address with respect’.

I think it’s pronounced Gay-la

Definitely not just any fundraiser.  This is fundraising on a different level.  You can’t even call it a fundraiser – it’s a gala!  (My office mates and I had multiple discussions on the proper pronunciation of this word.)  It’s gala season, and last weekend it was my company’s turn.

I felt out of place, but luckily I didn’t notice because I was too busy working.  Here’s how the evening went down (including a few pieces of photo evidence).

2 p.m. – Arrive at the theater and load up.  I have a car so I have agreed to lug lots of office supplies and such to the event.  This means I had to drive downtown (eek!) which could have been a little nerve-wracking.  But since I had passengers in the car with me, I put on my brave face.

3:30 p.m. – Arrive at the swanky hotel.  I park the car which means I get out of unloading responsibilities.  Yay!  Downside: I have to find parking.

3:50 p.m. – Labels.  I get to label all of the paddles for the live auction.  200 guests are registered and each paddle needs a label on the front AND back.  That’s 400 labels.  This is very exciting work.

5:00 p.m. – Time to change clothes.  The hotel has given us a key to a room for us to get into our ‘cocktail’ attire.  The bathroom is giant.  And there is a Murphy bed.  (A co-worker told me this term.  Before Friday I just called it a ‘bed in a wall’ or ‘the bed from Roger Rabbit’.)

This is wear the Murphy bed is hiding.

This is wear the Murphy bed is hiding.

Sometimes, I clean up nice.

Sometimes, I clean up nice.

6:00 p.m. – Guests are arriving.  My job is to stand by a bunch of files and pass them to those ‘checking in’ the guests when they call their name.  (Heels might have been a bad idea.)  It kind of reminded me of that party scene from The Devil Wears Prada when Anne Hathaway whispers the names of all the important people to Meryl Streep because she can’t be bothered to know everyone’s name.  I felt lots of pride when I overheard the name of the person standing at the table and had the file ready before anyone asked for it!

7:15 p.m. – My dinner break.  The hotel has provided a holding area for everyone working the event.  I call this room ‘where the little people eat’.

7:45 p.m. – The silent auction closes while a member of the hotel staff wanders through the room with a tiny xylophone.  This is how dinner is announced.  I wish all major announcements in my life were announced with tiny percussion instruments.

8:15 p.m. – I read over the winners of the silent auction while a co-worker inputs the information into one of the most complicated spreadsheets ever.  Excel does some amazing things!  Meanwhile a live auction is going on in the ballroom after dinner.  They are auctioning off an African safari tour and tickets to the American Music Awards.  No biggie.

8:45 p.m. – Last chance for the guests to donate, and last chance for us to input all the information into our magical spreadsheet.

The land of the magical spreadsheet, where I spent most of the evening.

The land of the magical spreadsheet, where I spent most of the evening.

9:00 p.m. – Guests begin to check out.  We tally any wins from the silent or live auction, raffle tickets, and donations.  I run people’s credit card for literally thousands of dollars.  I act like I see these dollar amounts all the time when in reality most of the guests have spent 4 times my monthly paycheck in one evening.

9:30 – I’m still running credit cards for ridiculous amounts, but that’s ok because now I’m sitting down and I’ve changed into flats.  The bad news is that my Spanx are starting to roll down my mid-section.  Must all Spanx stay up only for the first three hours of the evening?  Why?  WHY?!?

10:30 p.m. – When will this night end?  Luckily miniature cupcakes are being served.  Someone brings me one.  Since one will most definitely not be enough, I make a few more trips to the cupcake display.  I eat at least 9 before the night is over.  At this point, all shoes are off.

I don't have any pictures of the cupcakes.  Instead, this is James babysitting a bunch of wine from the silent auction.

I don’t have any pictures of the cupcakes. Instead, this is James babysitting a bunch of wine from the silent auction.

11:30 p.m. – Pack up the car and back to the theatre!

12:30 p.m. – Night over.  I cannot fathom the amount of money that was raised in one evening.  The theatre raised lots of money, and (bonus) it was pay day.  Darn, if I had known I would have bid on the African safari.  I’ll just buy the Lion King soundtrack and pay my bills – it’s practically the same.