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a day in the (dull) life...

Monday, January 31, 2011
Worked at Publix today. I thought I would be putting out freight in the floral dept., but spent the day making salads in Produce prep. area.

It was really a pleasant experience, as opposed to being closed up in a classroom with 23 six-year olds, all of whom appeard to be spring-loaded on both ends: with no control over their mouths, and completely incapable of remaining seated for any length of time.

Pleasantly repetitively dull.

T.G.I.F.

Friday, January 28, 2011
...even unfunny-er than yesterday is the fact that I knew what I was getting into when I went back for more of the same today.

I'd been sitting around in my pajamas on Thursday morning, after deciding I could keep myself plenty busy without having a sub. teaching job to jeep myself entertained. When the phone rang about 8:30... "strange" I thought to myself, and answered it get an offer for a job working in the first grade.

It was a really stressful day, and not at all fun, even though I generally think kids that age are really amusing. I don't know if it was just the idea of the teacher being out, or what made it such a difficult class to manage, but I was very happy when that day was over.

So I was sitting in the same place this morning about 8:15 when the phone rang again, and I though to myself: "that's strange" because the home number nearly never rings, with everyone so addicted to cell phones. But I answered it to hear a voice saying: "Ms. Fluker, are you coming back?" I was completely baffled, until I realized it was that same school, and I was expected to re-appear for a re-match. They had apparently put me into the computer system for the second day without actually letting me know about the request for a substitute for Friday. I had to think/consider, but decided anyone else who went in there would have the same experience I did on Thursday, and I could just bite the bullet and make the best of it, having a slight edge over anyone who would go in for the first time. I did have the foresight to put the tylenol in my lunch box so I could take it at lunch time, but did not have the wisdom to take headache relief prior to the actual need, before I even left home, which would have been a smart move.

I am very thankful it is Friday, and there is not another school day this week. And that we are not Japan where the schools run six days. I don't think I have it in me to do that again for a while. And suspect that a few days of working at Publix in the next couple of weeks will be a pleasant interlude from short people.

unfunny in a funny way, or maybe not...

Thursday, January 27, 2011
I had three days of sub. teaching last week, that I should be ashamed of taking the school district's money for 'working'. But I was there, and I will happily take the funds: even though it takes nearly two months after the work has been done for the process to wend it's way from the work site through the payroll dept. and land in my checking account.

The jobs I have been on this week, that I was really anxious about and kept thinking to myself that I should just call the computer back and 'return' the days to the system and let someone else pick them up - they were surprisingly easy. At one of the magnet elementary schools in classrooms of teachers who are so experienced with classes so well trained there were no problems. I told the staff person who took me to the classroom that I was really concerned about whether I could handle the class: she was very reassuring, but I was not reassured. One of the days was with third grade, the other with fourth graders, and they were both remarkably easy. So much that I told the fourth grade kids that was likely the best day I had ever had working as a substitute.

The same cannot be said for the first grade job I accidently had today. I did not have an assignment when I went to bed, but knew I would wake up at 5:00 am, so decided I would get up at call at 5:30 before the computer started trying to find teachers for the day. I didn't find anything at all, so was lazing around in my pj's at 8:30, when a school called saying a first grade teacher was out sick. So I thought: "Well, yeah... go in at 9:15, enjoy the day while the person in the classroom who knows the schedule, knows the kids, knows the way the classroom is set up, and how they act handle them...let the aide manage the show, and I will be there to 'assist',out of there at 2:30. That's easy enough!"

I got there about 9:30, and tried to create order from chaos. It was not a successful venture. When I finally got them all squared away, on the bus, in line for day care or parental pick-up, I left and came straight home to take three extra strength Tylenol. And told the people here that "if I were I drinking man, I would be having something cold and tall". I'd assumed that since it was a first grade that there would be a para-pro. in the room. Wrong. Just thinking about what a chaotic day it was makes my head ache again.

And I have already turned down two jobs for Friday. I think I need a Mental Health Day, or maybe a Mental Health week/month?

So... how was that little jobette?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I did my first of three days as a sub. teacher for Kindergarten class today. I expected that it would be a fairly laid back event, since the para-pro. who knows the kids, their quirks and class schedule would be there to maintain order and consistency. Then when I got there, discovered that in addition to the Aide who has obviously been doing this work for a very long time, there was also a student teacher from CSU education program in the classroom. So yes, it was a very agreeable day. And since I have two more days of it for this week, will look forward to the entertainment. And hope that the two days I already have lined up at a different school for next week will not be so bad that I will think I need to retire from my piece-meal, part-time day-labor work.

I like little people: they are fun and funny. It made me wonder for a few minutes (very few) why I did not persue the occupation. But I quickly recovered my sanity. Though I am thankful for the work and pay that I will eventually receive (payroll lags about eight weeks behind the actual work), I am very thankful that I do not need employment.

I stopped by Publix yesterday to check on that (lack of) work, and as I expected, found myself on the schedule there for several days in the next couple of weeks. The closer it gets to Feb. 14, the more likely it is that I will suddenly find myself 'in demand'...and then likely fall completely out of favor soon after when my popularity plumets...

Heart day: a month a way...

Friday, January 14, 2011
When I was a Publix yesterday (the first day I was on the work schedule since 12-26) I told MF that Valentines day was only a month away, and he'd better get crackin' on getting all the red and white frou-frou out of the closet and fluffed up to re-arrange in an artful manner that would cause it to Not look recycled...

I had a substitute teaching job today, that I found as a result of waking up at 5:00, getting up at 5:30 and calling the SubFinder (that never sleeps), looking for a job. I went back down to the school where I was a sub. for the teacher's aide on the last day before Christmas break: discovered I was in the same classroom with that funny teacher who had her flannel pajamas on right before they got out for the holidays (wear-your-pj's-to-school-day, unbeknowst to me). So when I walked in the room and we finished laughing at each other, I asked what kind of craft project she had planned for today.

Having finally recovered from her last 'project' of smearing cake icing on 1/2 pint milk cartons and 'gluing' on graham crackers to make Gingerbread houses, I figured I could handle most anything she could dream up and dish out. So today we mixed Elmer's glue and shaving cream from an aerosol can to make 'snow' that they ladled generously on posterboard cut-outs for snowmen. Actuallly looked pretty good, after adding black punched-out construction paper dots for eyes, mouths and buttons, plus the scarves, mittens and hats I cut out from colored paper. I told before I left that I was pretty sure her para-pro. knew what she had planned, and that explained why she called herself in sick today.

It was funny, messy, and we had a good laugh over the fact that I told her back in December that I thought she was completely Fearless to attempt those 'gingerbread houses' with that crowd that was already hyper due to anticipation of Santa, so if she was 'game', I reckoned I was too.

I already have three sub. teaching days lined up for next week, and two more before the end of the month. If Publix don't want me, I'll just find someone who does!

happy 362 more days...

Monday, January 3, 2011
Planning the first out-of-town trip for the brand, spanking new year. Going to Decatur tomorrow, with the usual 1/2 way there before the sun shows up. I hate, despise that traffic, and in an effort to avoid whizzing commuters, usually try to be on the road north by 5:00 a.m., putting me in Decatur, knocking on the door by 7:00, when everyone one else who stayed in bed fifteen extra minutes is tearing across town to get to work on time.

Someone cleverly ordered 100 spring-blooming bulbs, but has yet to get them in the ground. How will they know to wake up when the sun starts back north again if they haven't even been put to bed yet? I guess there is something about them that knows when the days are getting longer, to cause them to want to begin to show their smiling faces and gorgeous blooms as the seasons merge, but if they don't get planted, they can't put on the show!

I suspect it may be too late for the tulip bulbs to really perform, because they should have been put in the ground back in the fall, needing 'way more hours of cold weather than they will get with January planting, but hope that the assorted daffodils, hyacinths and others will come up with vigor once they get established. We shall see.... provided we can remember where what was planted when they start showing themselves above ground!

Happy new opportunities to do better...

Saturday, January 1, 2011
I've been reading lately during the season of beneficience and generosity about lots of places one could make a meaningful contribution, sending donations to make a difference, providing cash infusions to change the world one person at a time.

I am very thankful for the gifts I received that are not actually something I will use: donations to the Heifer project of funds to help folks in developing nations become self-sufficient, while providing food, and support to the families who will receive livestock. And those sweet Florida friends, who give donations toward 'nothing but nets' to provide a safe sleeping environment in places that are otherwise havens for malaria-infested mosquitos.

We've all got more than enough 'stuff'. It is so gratifying to have an opportunity, even in a vicarious fashion, to be part of lifiting up those who are struggling in other parts of the planet, while we enjoy all the advantages, benefits and consumer-products available for consumption here in our glutton-ous country. (did I just make up a new word?!)

The latest 'opportunity' I read about: was in the Valdosta State University Alum newsletter, a multi-page, glossy publication that promotes the school in various ways, provides info. for vastly scattered grads, and, as usual, offers multiple opportunities to support foundations, alumni programs and scholarship giving. The most interesting was a non-profit a graduate started that helps to provide potable water to impoverished communities. If you don't have water to drink, cook, wash your children, I can readily see that nothing else matters. I have not done any research, but think it sounds like an interesting project. Check if out: defythirst.org

My people in Chattanooga and Decatur make micro-loans through: kiva.org. And will eventually get that investment back, so if you want to make the gift, with 'strings attached' (or more accurately a bungee cord) that is an option...

I'm counting my blessings. This is not necessairily a 'resolution' but something that I want to make a consistent effort to be more aware of... since we all have so, so, so many reasons to be thankful.