Saturday, February 28, 2009

Electricity From A Goat

All week we presented Science Projects. One by one, two by two, students stood in front of the class with their magnificent creations, spouting scientifica to Mrs. HM's content. Friday, the unflappable Mrs. HM flapped. A never-before heard sentence was uttered.

"I took a piece of waxed paper outside and rubbed it on my goat."

Mind you, this was an experiment about capturing electricity in a jar. These kids had a great diagram, and explained everything well. When I asked how they got the static electricity that they eventually captured in a jar, that was the answer I got. "I took a piece of waxed paper outside and rubbed it on my goat."

I thought it was a joke. "No. Really. How did you get the static?"

I'm telling the truth. I rubbed waxed paper on my goat.
What kind of goat do you have?
I have a white goat and a black goat.
Which one did you rub the waxed paper on?
The white goat.
Why did you pick the white goat. Was it because the other one was BLACK?
I picked the white goat because the black goat isn't right. He jumps all around.
How many legs does your goat have?
My goat has all four legs.
(A kid in that class told a substitute one time that he had a pet goat, and that it stepped in a hole and had to have a leg amputated. Then later that summer, his dad ran over another leg with the lawnmower because the three-legged goat couldn't get out of the way in time. Next thing you know, a dog attacked the goat and ripped off one of the two remaining legs. Now he has a goat that has to reach out with its one leg and drag itself forward. He never really had a goat, but the story took all hour, and the sub believed him.)
How long did you rub the waxed paper on the goat?
Thirty seconds.
Did he mind?
In your procedure, does it say to rub waxed paper on a goat?
No. It says to rub an acrylic sheet with wool, but we didn't have an acrylic sheet or wool, so we used the closest things we had, which was waxed paper and a goat. It worked.

Like HM always says...nobody can make the environment work for him like a Hillbilly.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Clicker Ticks Me Off

People piss me off. Royally.

In the hall between 1st and 2nd hour, a kid who is four days late in presenting his project said that he only had to 'type up two more parts of it and it would be ready'. First of all, we spent FIVE freakin' days in the computer lab so students could type up their project info. FIVE freakin' days in which I asked for a specific step each day to be typed and presented to me for a grade. FIVE freakin' days during which I asked numerous people numerous times, "Do you have your project finished, because you haven't turned in (insert specific part here) yet? And they would turn from the online games on their screens and assure me that yes, it was done, but at home. Uh huh.

So anyway, this kid asked to use my computer, the one that I let kids use, to print his info before his presentation. Seeing as how I had to stand in the hall until the bell, I told him, "Yes. It is on. Just turn on the monitor and log on. It is slow." That's my standard instruction for this computer. Overnight, the school automatically shuts down ALL computers, and when I get to school, I hit the power button on both of mine. If the students don't need it, I don't mess with this one until The Pony gets there after school, and I log it on for him to play games. I logged him off yesterday around 4:00, and didn't give it a second thought.

Halfway through class, I hear a strange clicking noise coming from the back of the room. I go back there, and it is that kid, left-clicking that mouse about 300 times per minute. "WHAT are you doing?" He looked confused, like he didn't speak English. "It won't come on. It's just a black screen." It was all I could do to keep from ripping that mouse out of his hand. "So you think clicking the mouse is going to speed it up?" He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know." I looked at the screen and it was in that start-up mode saying that it had failed to start, and I could start it normally or I could start it at the last successful configuration or I could start it in safe mode or two other options concerning safe mode that escape me at the moment. I tried three different options, but it still kept up the loop of looking like it was going to start, then going back to that screen. The kid swore that he had not hit the power button or done anything funky, though his clicking habits give me pause.

I called my #1 son who happened to be in his computer class at Basementia, and he didn't know how to fix it. His teacher joined in and offered me a replacement laptop, which I declined, because this is a computer that I bought out of fundraising money, and I want it to work again. I called LunchBuddy down in her computer lab, and she suggested the same things as they did, which did not work. She offered to put in a work order, which I accepted, even though I could have done it myself on my school computer, because when SHE types, people listen. I could not even print, because my printer is hooked up to that computer, and my other one is set to share the printer.

Fifteen minutes before school was out, the Computer Guy walked in and poked around on it. As he walked out, I asked if he needed the bells and whistles that came with it. He said to set them out, so I dug out the carefully marked box and propped it up by my dear, departed one. The kids in classes all day tried to help, the most poignant suggestion being: "Have you tried turning on the monitor?" After school, my boy at least set up my printer for the good computer.

I am not sure what caused my computer crisis. Since I am not privy to the inner workings of technological systems, I have no idea if that kid had anything to do with it. Some catastrophe could have occurred overnight, perhaps, totally unrelated to his clicking. Like the early people who saw the sun slide into the sea, sure each night would be their death, I judge The Clicker to be guilty, based solely on circumstantial evidence. He was the last one to touch it before I found out it was dead. Therefore, he must be the murderer.

The Computer Guy said he was coming back. I set out the accoutrements for his browsing pleasure. Time will tell.

I am not optimistic. It seems like performing CPR on a dinosaur.

And in other People-Pissing-Me-Off News...a half mile up our private gravel road this evening, we discovered a lovely water heater and washing machine that some thoughtful soul had deposited near the creek. Because we country people don't have enough of our own worn-out appliances. The rich are so nice to drop these nonworking worksavers off to us poor people, what with the economy in such a condition. I'm sure they will sleep better for their efforts.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Boulevard Of Stifled Screams

I walk this empty street, on the Boulevard of Stifled Screams.

It's that time of year. No matter how much a teacher loves the job, the middle of 3rd Quarter will grab him and yank knot in his tail. In the public schools, no one can hear you scream.

Things you should not hear in a classroom:

Can I make that cow noise again?

You took his seat. Get up and move to another desk.
(Umm...maybe because you took his seat?)

Why did you move across the room to hear the presentation when it was right in front of you?
I don't know.
Why are you hassling them about moving?
Well, Miss Take Bob's Notebook And Run Across The Room And Hold It Out The Window While I Was In The Hall, what business is it of yours? Because I certainly wouldn't want to draw attention to myself if I were you.
I didn't run.

Sneaky is drinking water!
Why did you tell? I'm going to bust your head for that.
The better question is 'Why can't you take responsibility for your own actions?' You know that is against the rules. If you hadn't done it, he wouldn't be telling.
I am sick.
Oh, that makes it all right? Everybody bring a beverage. Better yet, everybody bring a steak dinner. It's only school. Why should you be inconvenienced?

I know somebody who texts in your class.
I don't really care. I would like to think that I have better things to do than patrol the classroom every hour to monitor something that the school should outlaw anyway.
What do you mean?
You don't need a cell phone in the classroom. My generation survived without them. I can't have mine during class.
That's stupid. We need them. We're not bothering anybody.

You need to lay off about the texting. I got caught ONE TIME, and you won't let it go.
That's because you were caught by the principal when he entered my class while you were sitting in the front row right by the door. I'm surprised you don't just stand in front of the office and hold it up to the camera while you text. You do the crime, be prepared to hear about it for the next four years. YOU gave me the opportunity.

I think it's really unfair that some people had to give their presentation on the first day, and others don't have to do it until Friday.
I drew numbers at random. You and three other people came up on Monday. And if you remember right, I moved it back until Tuesday to begin the presentations.
Well, I think that sucks, because its not fair that some people have until Friday.
Would that be because yours is two days late?
That's not MY fault. I told you my printer broke. I can't print out the information. You can talk to my dad about how poor we are.
That won't be necessary. I see that your hand is not broke. Did you ever think of writing out your information and putting it on your board? (Never mind the five days we spent in the computer lab so you could print).
How do I know what it is? It's on my computer.
Oh, is your computer broken as well as your printer?
No, but it's at home.
Surely the information you typed into your computer came out of your head. How about putting it in writing out of your head?
We can DO that?

Please make it stop. Soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feed Me Thrice, Shame On Me

I can't stop talking about it. I am obsessed. I have lunch duty this week, so I don't have time to heat up any food from home, and I am at the mercy of the lunch ladies. They haven't had much mercy on me.

Monday, the menu was 'hamburgers, fries, pudding'. I thought maybe we were having the special BBQ hamburger, which is fluffier than the regular everyday burger (that is offered, um, every day), probably due to some type of filler. But no. It was just regular hamburgers, which is like a cruel trick, since what it really meant was we are not having lunch today, just the usual choices of hamburger, pizza, salad, or NOTHING. So I took the rectangular pizza because I have an aversion to the regular hamburgers ever since that year the long-gone coach got one that had mold on the meat part of the burger, and the cooks offered him another one, saying, "I thought we took out all the moldy ones in that bag." I used to partake of the salad, but after the last two incidents in which the salad tried to fight its way out of my small intestine within an hour of eating, I figured that maybe they weren't rinsing their greens and perhaps another E. coli event was in the works.

Tuesday, we were promised 'chicken nuggets, pork and beans, jello'. It was the ol' bait & switch again. What we really had were chicken rings, which are not so delicious as the nuggets, due to a funky aftertaste. To make matters worse, as I went through the line, there was a tray laid up on top of the foil covering a big vat of green beans. I asked innocently enough, "Is that my tray?" Because they put more on a teacher's tray, which is why we pay more than the kids. Those kids that pay, I mean. The first lunch lady who usually announces "TEACHER" when she passes it over said, "No." The second lunch lady said, "Oh...The Vegetator has your tray. Vegetator! That is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's tray. Give that one to her." OK. Um, I really did not want the tray that the Vegetator just had in his hands, but what else could I do besides go hungry. The Vegetator looked at it, looked at the one they wanted to give him, and said, "I really don't see a difference." Neither did I. We both had told them to hold the beans. There were the same amounts of chicken rings and green beans on the tray. Like, about a 1/4 inch deep section of green beans, which had not been on the menu, but which are pretty good. The Vegetator took his carton of milk off the tray and handed it to me. The tray, not the milk, since I don't get the milk ever since we had some soured milk that was still a day before the expiration. I proceeded to snare myself a clear plastic sour-cream-in-a-restaurant-container sized portion of Jello. They were only half-full. Did I mention that this week? I think I did. This was the first time all year we've had pork and beans, but just like when they used to serve it years ago, Mr. S declared, "You'd think they could warm the beans." Because they are served right out of the can, just like the chocolate pudding that we had two spoonfuls of on Monday. They also threw in two tater tris, though Mr. S had three, what with getting a real teacher's tray, piled high with green beany goodness, not just a recycled Vegetator tray.

Today, I'd like to inform the parents that the vegetable served to your children was CORN CHIPS. That's the section they were place in, and that was all we got, except for the 14 mini corn dogs and the square of chocolate cake. I needed 14 mini corn dogs like a hole in the head. They were not the bite-sized round mini corn dogs, but the toddler big-toe-sized mini corn dogs. They were as soggy as the chicken rings, and did not go well with mustard OR ketchup. Oh. Maybe that was the vegetable: ketchup. The cake was passable, if you could mush the icing into the cake crumbs to get them to your mouth. I left 9 corn dogs to chase each other around the trash can.

Two more days. Tomorrow is supposed to be vegetable soup and grilled cheese. I hope the sandwiches are rock-hard and so greasy that they slip out of my hand like money in HH's palm. That's when they taste best.

I don't even want to know what this fare is doing to my arteries. I picture my left ventricle squeezing out a single drop of blood akin to the garbage Indian tear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ode To Common Sense

Call the Common Sense Police. Call them now, and demand that they come and take away students who can not see the forest for the trees. NOW!

Two students who presented their science project today compared a Big Mac to a Subway sandwich. They had the right idea. Their hypothesis was that the Big Mac had more calories than the Subway sandwich. Quite plausible. Then they went about researching and proving their hypothesis. After checking the McDonald's nutritional website, they reported that a Big Mac contains 590 calories. Seems reasonable. Then they reported that a Subway sandwich has 250 calories. Which would be believable, except that they had a picture and a label on the side of their display touting the bread of a six-inch sub as having 220 calories. So I asked them what kind of sandwich this was, at Subway, that had 250 calories. What kind of rip-off is Subway trying to pull, what with only 30 calories of meat on a sandwich. They thought for a minute. They stammered. They declared it was, you know, a sandwich--a bread sandwich!

At the academic team contest this afternoon, a math question reared its ugly head. Sam bought a meal for $8.60 (obviously not a BREAD SANDWICH). The tax on Sam's meal was 5 percent. How much tax did Sam have to pay? One young lad rang in and answered, "$13.20." No. Just NO! Why would tax be more than the meal, son? THINK! Ten percent of $8.60 is $.86, and half of that is $.43. How hard was that? Not very. It's common sense.

Whatever happened to common sense, people? Please tell me. Not everybody knows higher math. My own son, for one, who buzzed in on: What is y to the fourth power, squared? Did my boy think, hmm...that's y to the fourth times y to the fourth...add the exponents when you multiply...that would mean..."Y to the eighth power." NOPE! My boy decided that the answer was y to the seventh power. Don't ask me how he reached this illogical decision. It's a mystery to me.

Oh, and on a side note, my ArchNemesis was reading the questions this evening. Here is a gem that I can't wait to repeat at Newmentia tomorrow. "What creature is known for having 8 long and two short testicles?" Oh, yeah! We had conniptions over that one. Both teams had 4 boys sitting at their tables during this round. They blushed. They sniggered. We heehawed! ArchNemesis said, "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, this will not enter the other building." Uh huh. Then she told the teams, "Sorry. My braces get in the way sometimes."


Monday, February 23, 2009

If You Need Some Old-Fashioned Fun

Mrs. HM is a bit under the weather today. Headache and nausea are competing to be her new best friend. Sorry, Mabel. They didn't know that HM already has a best friend. It probably wouldn't have mattered if they knew. They maliciously prevented HM from enjoying her school lunch of soggy crinkle fries, a rectangular pizza, and a thimbleful of canned chocolate pudding.

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day is the thought that the students are NOT my children. You may think I'd wish they were, what with being able to discipline my own children as I see fit. They've turned out fairly well, in my opinion. But no. I could not deal with some of these students at home. At most, I have some of them for two 50-minute sessions per day. The thought of living with the knowledge that they are mine until the end of time is quite unsettling. How many times must one woman hear a fake Mexican accent from an albino boy?

In the good news, bad news department, I received a call from the doctor this evening informing me that I must return for further tests. That's the BAD news. The GOOD news is that the office kindly scheduled my test for me, and it so happens that it is at 8:30 a.m. next Wednesday, and HELLO my duty day is Wednesdays. Let's just hope results show that surgery is not on the table, since last time HM was on the table, she WOKE UP in the middle of the procedure. Even 10 fake vicodin are not enough good news to go through that again.

I have been checking daily for a former student's science project. Here's my horoscope from last Friday, the day I went for the test that is going to be repeated:

A sudden burst of common sense will provide the clarity you need: a tricky choice or decision can be simplified, if you look at it from an objective point of view. Be wise to people overreacting; they might make the situation appear far more dismal than it really is!

Of course, I haven't noticed this site to be overly accurate. The TV Guide has a weekly horoscope that has seemed to apply more to my situations, and also those of family members. Not that I believe in horoscopes. They are at best good bathroom reading. And I haven't read the TV Guide horoscope in about a month. Which is not to say that I haven't been to the bathroom in a month.

For the record, today's told me:

You’ll feel as though you need some good old-fashioned TLC today. It could be that you’re feeling neglected or overlooked, and you might believe that some attention and being noticed will solve your problems, but you’ll be barking up the wrong tree! What you need is some good old-fashioned fun instead!

Since I need old-fashioned fun, let me share with you HH's latest pronouncement:

Can hair not be trained?

He was quite forceful in his oratory. Almost Shakespearean. He was in an argument with the #1 son about how if he combed his hair every day, it would eventually lie in the proper configuration and not demand such high maintenance. I disagreed. HH demanded, "Then how come your hair stays parted in the same place every day?" And I calmly explained, as if HH was simple, "Because I part it with a comb every day." DUH!

The conflict arose because the #1 son wants me to comb his hair for him. Not that he has an elaborate bouffant that requires hours of teasing with a silver rat-tailed comb or anything. He just wants the sticking-up parts to be slicked down with water. That's because he showers at night, goes to bed with damp hair, and it is unruly in the morning. HH argued that when HE was #1's age, he didn't have his mom or dad comb HIS hair for him. Which is a moot point, because his mother was sick and in the hospital a lot, and his father was blind. Anyhoo...I agree that the boy should certainly comb his own hair, since he washes his face, puts on medicine, brushes his teeth, shaves his chin whiskers, and puts on his Axe every morning. But HH needs to stop the theatrics.

HH was a bit miffed at me just before the hair-training incident, because I poked fun at him for asking if there was a movie playing that he wanted to see: Meduna Goes To Prison. I said I was not familiar with it. HH said, "A big black gal gets put in prison and a white girl says 'What you gonna do about it?' and she picks her up by the collar." Oh. I think he meant Madea Goes To Jail. But it wasn't on, so HH and #1 went to see Paul Blart, Mall Cop.

HH told me: "You can make a sane man crazy!" I told him I didn't know about that, but one thing was for sure: "I can make the SAME man crazy."


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jeepers Creepers, 'Tis The Season Of PEEPers

It's PEEP season! Fresh PEEPS, straight from the factory. PEEPS so soft and tender that they melt in your mouth. Pink, yellow, purple, blue, green, and orange PEEPS are stacked on end displays at The Devil's Playground. It's rainin' PEEPS! You gotta getcha some!

I, myself, prefer the bunny PEEPS. Those sugary, squooshy little bunnies are hillbilly caviar. My boys won't eat them, though. Do I care? Nope! More PEEPS for me! That ol' Easter Bunny can haul a wheelbarrow full of PEEPS to the Mansion, and I won't complain. Bring 'em on!

What's the matter with my boys? They will eat Betty Crocker frosting right out of the tub, suck down those Cadbury runny eggs like they're goin' out of style, pick the Magic Marshmallows right out of the Lucky Charms--but you can't get a PEEP into them. Oh, well. That's their loss--and my gain.

The good thing about the bunnies is that they're not deviant social miscreants like their distant cousins, the snowmen. Remember this?

Yeah. That was just OH SO WRONG. Shame, shame, Snowmen. Nobody wants to see your business all pokin' out like that. Let's hope that the PEEP indoctrination camp cures you by next Christmas. Or should I say, 'by the day after next Thanksgiving,' because that's when you will likely make your debut.

That, or the day after Halloween.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Only In Missouri

Only in Missouri, people. Only in Missouri.

A woman was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for animal abuse. A Missouri state representative may be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison for a hit-and-run accident where the injured man had to be airlifted to the hospital.

This wasn't a normal hit-and-run. The congressman, soon to be a convict, so we'll call him Con, was driving home New Year's Eve in his tricked out pick-up, hauling his wife, two couples, and a dude. That's seven people in a truck, people. What's up with that?

Con hit something, declared, "I think I hit that guy," and kept driving. Not far. He pulled into the parking lot of a nearby high school, switched seats with his wife, drove home, called the county sheriff, and asked him what to do. Oh, but it gets better.

Con's wife drove back to the accident scene, but not in the truck, which was missing its passenger mirror, said mirror having broken off when colliding with the flesh and bone of the road-walker. Who, by the way, was walking home because he was too drunk to drive.

At some point, a passerby female had called 911 upon seeing the hittee lying in the roadway. Con did not bother to call 911, only the sheriff. The passerby did not stop her own self, because she was afraid the man might be merely drunk, and go all belligerent on her a$$, what with it being after 1:00 a.m. on New Year's Eve, and her being alone in her car.

When the ambulance arrived, it found two women working on the hittee. One was Con's wife, who is a registered nurse, and the other was one of her passengers. Both women told police that they found him on the side of the road, but did not know what happened. There was no sign of a vehicle at the scene. That's because her cowardly husband, Con, sat in it on a different parking lot on the other side of the accident scene, THEY say. From there, Con says he called the sheriff and told him his truck had been involved in an accident. The sheriff got another call on his way there from one of Con's passengers, asking Sheriff to meet them at Con's house.

Wouldn't you just know it? The school has security cameras! Guess what that camera recorded? You got it. The Chinese fire drill after the accident. Con called the couples and the dude to his house a few days after the 'accident'. He told them: "The only way this will work is if we stick to this story. My wife was driving when we hit the guy. She stopped and switched places with me. When we got to the school, we switched back." Con insisted in court that he never left the scene, as he was right there on that other parking lot when he called the sheriff. Except...I saw that school surveillance video online, and Con's truck pulled out of that lot headed toward his house, not toward where the hittee was lying in the road, the direction from which they came.

Funny thing, Con, at his house, gave the sheriff a cell phone that supposedly belonged to the victim, though Con said he didn't know whose it was, but that he found it at the scene. I would like to know more about this cell phone. Makes you wonder if Con's wife swiped it when she went to tend to the hittee, and simply 'forgot' to give it to the EMTs or police. Wouldn't you think that a phone on the road might belong to the victim? And perhaps have phone numbers to notify next of kin? Maybe those women were really just looking for evidence, or a pulse, and heard the sirens and started working on the victim so they wouldn't be caught in their shenanigans.

The passenger witnesses all recanted their original written statements to the police in exchange for not being prosecuted. They sang the song of Con, how he had told them it was an election year, and better if his wife was the one driving. The wife pled guilty to a false police report and was sentenced in October to two years of probation and 60 hours of community service.

Now Con can get up to 4 years in prison. Sentencing is March 26. He should thank the Gummi Mary that he didn't leave any animals without food and water. The penalty for that is 3 times as severe.

Here are some good links about the incident:

Trial 2-18-09
Trial 2-19-08
Trial general info
Surveillance video go to this page and click on link in upper right "Surveillance video shows driver switching places." It is chilling if you know what happened. The lights of cars passing are on a highway just past the outer road where the school is located and where the guy was run over.

As for the animal abuser...

Friday, February 20, 2009


I'm a freakin' magician! Today I made 15 students disappear! Hire me for your next professional development day. The Great Hillmommy will make your students disappear, too. For the right price.

Today was reading day, which so happens to be every Friday, when we set aside 30 minutes out of our day to read a book or magazine or paper of our choice. It is not time to be frittered away talking or doing homework or sleeping. I am blessed with my class of techies, my class of 28, my class of kids who do not like to read. Words are not their friend. They brag, "The last book I read was in second grade." And they're proud of it. Not the whole class. Just about 10 of them. If I'm lucky, two will go by the library and pick up The Guinness Book of World Records. Then they will look at the pictures. If I'm unlucky, two will try to sleep, four will try to copy homework, three will try to text, and two will read the same book that they have had since the first week of school, possibly holding it upside down. I have reached the point that if my room is absolutely quiet, I look the other way. By 'other way', I mean that I read my own book as I am supposed to do. The person who decreed that teachers read their own book on reading day has not spent much time in a classroom lately. Students do not sit quietly and read for 30 minutes while the teacher's nose is in a book. It takes months of indoctrination before that can happen.

So, today I took roll during reading, because that's how it goes, and after 30 minutes, we start 5th hour with the same class. I'm so very lucky. My class has thankfully dwindled to only 24 students, what with two moving away and two entering an alternative program to earn credits quicker and graduate on time. When I took roll, for my class of 24, there were 6 students absent. The technical school was out today, so I suppose they figured they could be absent for three class periods. Lucky for me, 1 student was asked to give a tour at the tech school. Then I dispersed of the remaining students in the following manner:

1 to type his project, since he had been sent to Detentia on the day we did it
2 to print out their info that they had saved
2 to correct their data tables
3 to find paper in the supply room on Mabel's end of the hall

YES! That left me with 9 students in the classroom! They were as tame as 2-week-old kittens. Not that I wanted to put them in a gunny sack and take a walk down by the pond or anything.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random Thought Thursday 2-19-09

Add another page to the Encyclopedia of Common Knowledge:
You can tell the ones who smoke pot because they have really skinny arms right here (forearm), and they are covered with dark black hair.

I picked up that little gem this afternoon, after students from a class not my own came around passing out surveys for their science project. As you might guess, the survey was all about weed. I would not have approved it, just because the ones who like to do this sort of survey are in fact glorifying the usage of the substance. Kids who don't do it don't think of a project about it. They did, however, get it approved through the office to pass out such a survey. That's a step in the right direction, but don't tell me the drug dog won't be barking at their lockers first.


After the kerfluffle over the science project board that two kids bought and wrote their names on and then took a brand-spankin'-new one and glued their stuff on...I have a leftover board with two names on the back. The original buyers ain't complainin', because they didn't buy. I don't hold it against them. They don't even know it has two names on it. Times are tough. Not every kid and his partner can chip in $2.50 apiece for a science board. They brought in a cardboard box today that they had already spray-painted.

I have another group who has worked really, really, hard on their project. It could hold its own at the local junior college science fair. They are planning on entering. They also brought in a cardboard box. It is a sad sight. Some boxes look OK. This one is too small, and raggedy, and floppy. They won't have room on it to glue all their data tables and graphs and whatnot. I have that extra board that I am going to give them, because their project is too good to go to college in a raggedy box. I can eat $5. That's how I roll.


Neither of my boys qualified for the conference spelling bee this year. They were disappointed, what with both of them qualifying last year. The #1 son spelled 'belligerent' with one L. The Pony added and extra N to 'general'. I'm sure his was a nervous tic. He has a bit of a stammer. I can't say that I am disappointed. They both are doing well in the grade department according to their progress reports. I signed The Pony's and sent it back, but he has something like 4 A and 3 A-. The #1 son's came in the mail today. He had 7 A and 1 A-. DARN THAT LANGUAGE ARTS TEACHER! Just kidding. Good to see that he got an A in homeroom.


Here's another one from the "It's Free, So Take It" Files: Today I caught a kid drawing on a Puffs with Lotion tissue that I provide for my classroom, out of my own deep pockets. I don't mind a kid blowing his nose. I don't mind a kid asking to take a few tissues with him because his next class doesn't have any. I hate seeing kids grab a roll of school-issue toilet paper off a teacher's desk to rip some off and blow his nose. That's subhuman. That stuff doesn't even have sections, for cryin' out loud. But I'll be darned if I will let a student take my tissue to use for drawing. That's where I draw the line. It came to my attention because another dear one said, "Hey, where'd you get the napkin?" That is kid-talk for, "Hey, there's some free stuff here and I'm gonna get my share!" You have to be careful, because before you know it, those kids will be swiping tissues willy-nilly and making crowns and such out of them.

I know I sound like a crotchety old hag, but I buy about 12 boxes of tissues a year. Plus the colored paper and the odd consumables for my lab activities and ink cartridges for my HP Deskjet 940C and treats for my advisory students every two weeks with more stuff for holidays, and, well, that stuff adds up to more than that teacher tax deduction of $250 per year that we probably don't even have on this year's tax forms. I wouldn't know, because I haven't looked at them yet. But I don't like people wasting my stuff!


Now I've gone and made myself too cranky to continue.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Third Quarter Doldrums

We are deep in the 3rd Quarter Doldrums, with no end in sight. Minor irritations become hot, swollen, festering pustules during the 3QD.

Tuesday, the Academic Team won by a score of 97 to 26. The #1 son scored 53 points. Today, a teammate told him he was a buzzer-hogging guesser who got over half of his answers wrong. Stomping these sour grapes, one of the coaches said, "Well, that's kind of the object of the game, to buzz in first, and give an answer." The #1 son said, "So you're telling me I answered over 106 questions?" Not bloody likely.

This morning I arrived on parking lot duty a whole 3 minutes early, and was greeted with the sight of a little red car parked on the sidewalk by the locker room doors, and a van parked lengthwise in the middle row, taking up 6 parking spaces. I called for backup. My sources told me who the red car belonged to, and that the perpetrator had Cadet Teaching first hour. That does not excuse a sidewalk-parker in my book. Nobody knew the vanner until the principal came out and asked some upperclassmen who sang like canaries. Vanner took his own sweet time in responding, and gave the excuse, "Well, people park in my space." That didn't fly. Neither did the Cadet, in an attempt to drive away to another building. He was flagged down and given an earful.

1st Hour gave me two gum-wrapper throwers who refused to pick up their projectiles until I promised to write up a discipline referral.

2nd Hour gave me a backwards pencil-piece thrower who refused to turn around in his seat after three requests until I promised him a trip to the office.

3rd Hour gave me a tardy loud-mouthed card player who, upon correcting, answered back, "Yes, Dad." Also, 3 students making crowns out of the colored paper provided from the bank account of one Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, to the tune of 6 packs of paper at over $5 each. They declared it was 'scraps' left over from their projects, but I think a scrap that is big enough to make a crown is big enough to put back for someone else to use.

4th Hour gave me a boy and girl who have been told previously that they may not sit next to each other, as they were pushing the lovebird limit. When told to move apart, the girl demanded to know WHY they were being separated, since they are no longer an item, because they found out they are cousins.

5th Hour gave me 3 immature punks who mouth each other constantly, one of whom took offense to being told to sit in his proper seat, and another who did not like being commanded to stop asking the first one about whether he liked 'cucumbers'. Even his buddy tried to shut him up, but the only thing that worked was the sight of the discipline referral I pulled out of the drawer, only two weeks after his visit to Detentia from my last write-up. The comment, "You don't want to do that" followed by his whispered "or "I'll chop your face off" did not help his case. Nor did his correction that what he really said was, "I'll chop your fingers off."

6th Hour gave me 50 minutes of solitude, unless you count the custodian's 10 minute conversation or the students who asked if I wanted to order lunch from The Lunch Lady, or the two students who came back from surveying various teachers for their project, or the trip to turn in an important paper to Mrs. I'mNotACook.

7th Hour gave me two boys working away on their project until I found their display board in the pile with NOTHING on it but their names in black marker. When I asked whose board they were using, the one who had glued 5 things on it during 3rd hour declared that I must have switched the boards. Yes. I found time to pry their stuff off their own board, and took another student's blank board and glued their stuff on it. I then brought this incident to their attention to allow them to make false accusations against me.

Don't hate me because I have summers off...hate me because I have the patience of Mother Teresa. And look what it got her!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Deep in the jungle of Scientopia, the natives are hard at work hunting the elusive Project. Some prepare elaborate domiciles to house their special Project, once they capture one. These domiciles are rainbowily beautiful, built with neon swaths of pigment provided by the exalted leader, Hillmomus. A plethora of neon trees was sacrificed from Scientopia to allow for this mass construction. Listen. You can hear the drumming of the natives, the drumming that the Great Hillmomus refers to as 'that infernal desk-thumping'.

Several times per hour, the excitement of the natives builds to a fever pitch, their voices raising the very canopy of Scientopia. This tribe, named Anoystudenini by the first explorers of Scientopia, the Academicans, traverse the jungle on foot along an open swath called Hall's Path. The Anoystudenini dart jumpily along Hall's Path, watchful for Academicans who would trap them with the potent Discipline Referral and ship them across the continent to Suspensia. The Anoystudenini are not safe even in their isolated fern gullies. Members of their own tribe may shoot them with a poison wad of salivated pulp without notice. Natives can be so heartless.

The Anoystudenini travel in packs for protection. Their sharp tongues keep enemies at bay. A daily ritual of gathering nourishment occurs at 10:53 Scientopia mean time. The Anoystudenini grunt, belch, eat, crap, fling things, and disperse. The Academicans keep their distance, mindful of an uprising.

More Project hunting occurs after the feeding ritual. As with any tribe, some natives are excellent hunters, others struggle, and some some hunt so poorly that they will soon perish. A great festival is planned in six moons. A festival where the Anoystudenini who are skillful enough to bag a Project will share their Projects with the tribe. The have-nots will sit in sullen envy, sulking about their impending exile to Suspensia.

All Anoystudenini yearn to trap a Project in time for the festival.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Moved My Cheese

I certainly hope some of you are watching the new season of The Amazing Race. It is absolutely amazing. The Pony and I laughed our eyes out last night on the season premiere. We haven't laughed that long and hard since the unfortunate ox-cart incident several seasons ago.

This year, the teams seem to be a reasonable mix. The ones I can remember are:

Little People Stuntman Brothers
Guy Who Fights With Girlfriend
Mother/Deaf Son
Redheaded Ex-Pro Football Cheerleaders
Blond Flight Attendants
Hillbilly Meth Head and Older Wife
Nondescript Older Couple
Gay Dad/Gay Son Writer
Black Athlete Sisters
Asian Brother/Sister Lawyers

There were 11 teams, so I am missing a probably nondescript young dating couple. Anyhoo, the first show wasn't all about the teams. It was about the challenges. The first one was OK, something that I would never do, that had me screaming and covering my eyes, which was to bungee off of a giant dam in Switzerland. Of course the partners all whined, "This is the thing I am most afraid of--heights." Maybe if these fools would stop filling out their CBS application listing 'heights' under their biggest fear, they wouldn't have to do this kind of challenge. How about saying, "I am deathly afraid of winning $1 million." Or maybe, "I am scared to death of sleeping 12 hours in a row after eating a gourmet meal." Yeah. Maybe that would give them some tamer challenges. Which brings us to the funniest one I've seen in a couple of years: The Great Cheese Race.

Teams had to climb a Swiss Alp, which was really just a kind of steep, grassy hill, but to hear them complain, you would think they were stabbing their crampons into a glacier at 29,000 feet. Each couple had to climb the grassy knoll and carry down 200 pounds of cheese. This wasn't a Swiss cheese challenge. That cheese was in 50 lb. rolls. Four cheeses, two people. They each had a wooden frame cheese harness thingy that supposedly the Swiss use to carry their cheese down the side of a grassy mountain. Thing was, these cheese harnesses must have been made of balsa wood, because several teams broke theirs carrying them on the way up the mountain.

Getting there was not half the fun. The Gay Dad complained that every time he opened his legs, his groin pull pained him. Several complained that the mud was sometimes animal poo. They would be hiking along at a reasonable snail pace, and then WHOOPSIE! The grass went out from under their feet and they were spinning their soles in brown goo.

Once they reached the top, they carefully strapped on a cheese and started down. Few made it more than a few steps before their cheese frame harness thingy crumbled. That's when the fun began. "MY CHEESE!" was a common lament. Oh, the CHEESE! The cheeses rolled willy-nilly, bouncing to and fro, down that grassy Alp. One crashed into a building, one tore through a fence, one rammed a tree trunk, and many others landed out of camera range. One of the stewardesses dipped her cheese in doodoo. A group of Swiss rowdies swilling ale at the bottom of the Alp took great delight in this spectacle. As did The Pony and I.

The Gay Dad sat down on the grass with his cheese in his lap, and inched down on his buttocks. Behind him, cheeses bent on his annihilation bounded unfettered down the mountainside. Gay Dad closed his eyes. "Please, PLEASE don't let a cheese hit me!" Other teams ran/slid/stumbled down the steep slope, shouting, "My cheese! My cheese! Where's my cheese?"

The Hillbillies arrived around this time, and had to climb up the mountain amidst the flying cheeses. The wife could not make it up the hill, so Meth Man took his cheese harnesses to the top, them came back and got behind her and pushed her up with his hands on her butt. Once at the peak, Meth Man cracked those cheese racks apart, loaded THREE cheeses on his unpatented cheese sleigh, lashed them tight, tied the fourth cheese to Wife's new cheese sled, told her to sit down and pull it along behind her, and started down the mountain. They made it with nary a loss of cheese. Which just goes to show you, I told The Pony, that Hillbillies know how to make junk work for them.

Unfortunately, Hillbillies are also dumber than rocks, because four teams passed them up at the end when all they had to do was take a taxi to a town and listen for the yodelers and find Phil. Which I might add seemed a bit unfair to the Mom/Deaf Son pair, but they won this leg, so no harm no foul. Those pitiful Hillbillies eventually found Phil by accident. Phil took a bit of an attitude with them, giving them that 'Tsk, tsk ,what's up with that, Hillbillies?' look. The meth must have been working its magic, because they didn't even care that they ended up fools. They were still proud of becoming masters of their domain: junk.

I can't wait until next Sunday!

Oh, and those stewardesses are dumb as rocks on the ground. They couldn't even find a taxi. They're a lot smaller than airplanes, I guess.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Day In The Life Of Hillbilly Mom

I awoke bright and early, not by choice, when HH poked me at 5:30 a.m. After calmly explaining to him that I did not appreciate being awoken at 5:30 a.m. on a day when I could sleep until 7:30, I resumed my slumber eventually, and arose at 7:00.

After popping a thyroid pill, I proceeded to hack up some Oreos, mix them in the batter of a Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake, wash some dishes (I might have mentioned at one time that I don't have a dishwasher), woke the #1 son for church, had a brief skirmish with HH because I asked who was in the recliner making that noise that means it is rocking too much and moving the chair backwards. Normally, a simple question which ends the rocking, except that HH was the one who set the recliner to rocking instead of the #1 son, and he accused ME of accusing HIM of rocking the chair, which took a lot of NERVE, what with him being the master of the house and deserving to rock the recliner whenever he was so inclined. It was just a simple question, really, and HH jumped to conclusions and declared war on me.

With the cake baking, I took a quick shower. Then I removed the cake from the oven and set it to cool over the dish drainer while I dried dishes by hand and put them away. (I might have let it slip that I don't have a dishwasher). Next on the agenda was laying out clothes for The Pony and whisking him off to town so we could shop at the Devil. Ninety minutes later, we were back home putting away the spoils. I cooled my heels at my New Delly for about an hour, composing an important email regarding a situation that is both family and school-related. Then I called the #1 son at the end of church to ask him to pick up the ink-jet paper I had forgotten, since he was planning to shop at the Devil himself.

Then I went upstairs to gather The Pony's birthday gifts into their gift bag, since we were opening his presents when my mom arrived at the Mansion with the #1 son. After the gift extravaganza, I discovered when my mom let the cat out of the bag that #1 had forgotten to pick up my ink jet paper, yet had bought himself a new charging cable for his Lappy. I don't ask for much, do I? But it's still too much for my men to remember, what with all those busy thoughts rushing through their heads, thoughts like 'breathe in, breathe out, chew first, then swallow, stop breathing to swallow, etc.'

Next we all piled into T-Hoe for a birthday excursion to the city. Before we were even out of our gravel road compound, HH pointed out a plot and a manufactured home across from the boys' land up on the hill. We discussed the relative merits of buying it and selling off 3 acres with the manufactured home, which butts up against our other land down by the creek. Or we could rent the home to pay the payment. Or we could continue to throw our money away into a savings account that earns next to nothing until all the banks fail and we have nothing. Land is the only thing that continually increases in value. We paid $1000/acre for a 10-acre plot on the first land we bought out here, and now it is going for $3000/acre for the same amount of land 10 years later. I'd say that's a pretty good return on your money. Land. They're not making any more of it.

From there it was off to Chuck E. Cheese, a place where a Pony can be a Pony. But not today! There was line way out the front door, so I decreed that we were not going there, in spite of the bountiful coupons my mom had cut out for us. The #1 son recommended The Incredible Pizza Company, where he had gone on a school incentive trip. It was a rousing success, what with a food bar for $5 a person, and more games than Chuck E. We played air hockey and mini-bowling and miniature golf and arcade games. The boys didn't even want to ride the go-karts, which was kind of incredible in itself.

Now we are back home, ready to watch the first episode of The Amazing Race. I think The Pony had a good birthday, even though he said he didn't realize it was going to take all day. He's a homebody like his mama.

My baby is 11 now. I knew I should have taken him for a kid-priced haircut at Great Clips yesterday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gotta Get Me Some Of Those

I want to have two teleprompters present whenever I speak. I can set them up in my classroom, by my desk. The students won't know what they are. Some will think they are mirrors so I can admire myself. Some will think they are a kind of bulletproof shield to protect me. Some will think they are to keep my spit from flying onto students sitting in the front row. Some will think they block the wind from hitting my microphone which I will not need in my classroom. Very few of them will know that I want my teleprompters because I am an imbecile and I do not know what to say.

My lessons will be written by a paraprofessional, perhaps, or a student-teacher. I won't have to do any of the work. All I have to do is read from my trusty teleprompters. The kids won't know I'm reading someone else's words. They will think I am looking right at them, because they, the students, are the most important thing to a teacher.

My teleprompters will allow me to spout facts like a Jeopardy champ. They will allow me never to be speechless. They will tell me how to answer tough questions, thanks to my Great and Powerful Oz in the next room, valiantly typing my thoughts for me.

I will take my teleprompters to the lunchroom. They can act as shields for any food that The Vegetator decides to fling in the direction of the teacher's table. I can make witty conversation through the fingertips of my Great and Powerful Oz who will be hiding in a giant trashcan.

No need to worry about putting my foot in my mouth during parent conferences. The Great and Powerful Oz will type up politically correct words of wisdom that the parental units want to hear. They will worship me, those parents. Some may even faint.

At the end of the day, I will have two students carry my precious teleprompters to the closet next door. I will be careful not to speak until the last student leaves the room. Then I can return to being a babbling idiot, and say what I really feel.

Ain't technology grand?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Do You Believe In Omens?

Today was Friday the 13th. Don't worry. HM has no issues with triscadecaphobia. Nor does she believe in omens. Much.

First black cat out of the bag, just past the lake, in a somewhat richie neighborhood on the back way to school, we saw him. Santa face down in a pile of garbage! (That was going to be my title, but it seemed a bit harsh). He was about the size of a 2-year-old, only not so pink and plump and lively. Santa was a thin version, made of some felt-ish material, all bright red and white. There he lay, floppily, face down, over three black garbage bags. Hefty, perhaps. It was a somewhat richie neighborhood. Oh, the horror. SANTA, face down, in a pile of garbage. There's a special place at the South Pole for the mangy scoundrel who bent Santa over the black garbage bags of despair.

We chuckled nervously at Santa's fate, and sped on. School waits for no Hillbilly. Cruising past Newmentia, after dumping the #1 son off at Basementia like an unwanted Santa, I heard The Pony speak up. "There's that giant rat again." That jolted me out of Bob Seger land on the XM. "What? What rat?" I looked back at Newmentia, and caught it out of the corner of my eye. It was Rudy Giuliani, the inflatable rat version! Remember, the one that showed up at the new bowling alley construction?

Rudy cooled his paws on the back parking lot for a while. I don't know if he was removed. I'm hoping he was, because a student parking lot is no place for a union. That's just wrong. I do know the proper parties were notified, but I have enough work controlling the rats on the INSIDE of the building to worry about what Rudy is up to outside.

Completing the Bad Omen Trilogy was this little jewel on the front porch when we arrived home.

No need to squint. It's just a head. A severed squirrel head. Nothing out of the ordinary for the Hillbilly Mansion porch.

Don't hate me because I lead such a doomed life. Hate me because I know why the trashed Santa sighs.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Random Thought Thursday 2/12/09

People piss me off!

Drivers who drive 10 miles under the 30 mph speed limit should be rammed.

The last kid out of the classroom every hour will be the kid who is the most annoying.

What kind of nerve does it take to insist, "There is really no kind of background information for my project," after you have told him three different things to look up, on three different days, and even the kids doing a project on how names affect perception of beauty and intelligence found background information?

Why do people give you things and then get upset if you sell them ten years later?

I do not want my tax dollars going towards the $30 million that will preserve the salt marsh field mouse found in Nancy Pelosi's district.

Why is it that people who slurp off the teat of society don't realize that the money they get comes from people who work and pay taxes? Unemployment money comes from the EMPLOYER, not the worker or the government. The only case where this happens is like now, when unemployment gets to a certain level, the federal government grants an extension for an additional 13 weeks that applies if a person has not found work after drawing out a full 26 weeks of regular unemployment. Oh, yeah...a condition of drawing unemployment is that you keep a record of actively seeking work, three to four contacts per week, for those 26 weeks.

For some reason, I no longer like Angelina Jolie.

Man vs. Food quit eating a 12-egg omelet with only two bites left. Two freakin' bites! Why would you eat all the other 11 and a half eggs and leave two bites? Two bites was all it took to win the Eat A Giant 12-Egg Omelet Competition. He's MAN vs. FOOD, for cryin' out loud. How about renaming his show: Man Who Will Try To Beat Food, If It Is Convenient For Him And Does Not Make Him The Least Bit Uncomfortable, Because If It Does, Man Will Allow Food To Kick His A$$?

Nancy Grace has a new missing tot to slobber over.

Did the U.S. and Russian space satellites really just accidentally collide?

How did the baby elephant at the St. Louis Zoo get herpes? You may ask, upon doing a little research, "Why do only baby elephants get herpes?" Duh. Have you seen how tall those adult elephants are?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life Is Kind Of OK

Today is my birthday. As usual, the students tried to trick me into giving up my age. Not gonna happen. One of them guessed, "36?" So, ever the outsmarter, I said, "That's it. You got it." And she said, puzzled, "Oh. I guess that's not it."

On the home front, my gaggle of gifts was much better this year, what with last year's bounty consisting of a pack of SnoCaps and a $3.00 pink change purse. This time, I raked in a set of Dry Erase markers, four rolling writer pens, six ink pens, a notebook, a mini notebook, an ergonomic wrist thingy mouse pad, two lottery tickets, and a giant mug. Yeah. My guys really shouldn't get me such personal items, huh? Oh, and I bought myself a cake at The Devil's Playground, because I had a feeling that such a thought would never occur to them. I was right.

My best buddy Mabel gifted me with something I have been searching for over a long time now. It will make an appearance when I get a picture that I can post. I'm not giving it away, but believe me, it's quite appropriate. I'll just say it's something I have been looking for since November 5th. Mabel ROCKS!

HEY! Today is also Sarah Palin's birthday. That chick will do anything to steal the spotlight!

The students had an early out today. I, on the other hand, lost my plan time and had to sit on a hard chair in the cafeteria through an insurance meeting where we were told to use the $4 Wal*Mart generic prescriptions so that the insurance we pay for won't be charged anything, a rousing presentation on suicide, a side note that the Feds are trying to steal us blind by demanding Social Security withholding from some school employees at the ruination of the Missouri Teachers' Retirement Fund, and a little dessert cup of career ladder changes. Viva la developmente professionale. (Mrs. HM does not speak Spanish. Perhaps that is obvious).

Last night, on the way back from an Academic Team meet at a school about 50 miles away, the #1 son's bus broke down about halfway back. HH was already at school waiting on him. #1 said it would take about an hour for a new bus to get there, so HH decided to drive to the bus and pick him up. According to the #1 son, the bus had no headlights. He said the bus was not all the way off the road, though they were on a side road to a state park, and not on the main road that is curvy 2-lane blacktop with no shoulder. He said that the driver had on all the inside lights, and the strobe, so cars could see not to run into them. Today, the parent of the Left-Hand Man said the the problem with the bus was that the headlights went off when switched on bright. Hmm...

This is the never-ending school year. I understand why prisoners carve the days into the wall of the cell.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life Is Good

The Shootist who threatened to fill HH's backside with buckshot bladed our driveway today. Not our road. Our driveway. Which to me is a bit invasive, but HH ate it up like like a deep-fried Milky Way. In case you're a city-slicker, blading is when you take a tractor with a blade and scrape the gravel from the sides back into the middle of the driveway, leveling the driving area instead of having mudholes and ruts.

I didn't accidentally give birth to octuplets after in vitro fertilization paid for by my food stamp money for my six kids under seven, and the disability money for three of those kids, and my own disability money because I hurt my back in a riot at a mental hospital and the pain was so severe that I could not work, but I could bear children conceived and implanted through in vitro fertilization, and I could have collagen injections in my lips and a nose job to give me an Angelina Jolie nose.

Even though I have been homeless for the last year, living in a truck with my 37-year-old son who left his job as a computer programmer and hasn't been able to find work, I managed to find out about the President's town hall meeting and get a ticket and get to the front and ask Mr. President if he could help me get my own kitchen and bathroom because even though I couldn't vote since I didn't have an address, I prayed for him to win, and now the wife of a Republican state representative is giving me a house to live in, so I am sure everything will be OK now and I won't have to get a job, because nobody wants to hire me when they find out I am 61 and getting disability for cancer.

I didn't whack my big ol' empty head on the door of Marine One.

Nobody tried to put lipstick on me.

My job building RVs at the factory in Elkhart, Indiana will soon be calling me back, because this stimulus package in going to make people buy RVs again, even though the big auto makers are supposed to start making electric cars because of that so-called energy crisis we had back in the summer of 2008.

Nobody found out that I used steroids in 2003 when I played baseball in Texas, and nobody published a photo of me taking a bong hit in 2008 right after I won a few gold medals at the Olympics.

Never have I forgotten to pay my taxes even though the IRS sent me letters notifying me that I was delinquent.

I did not lapse into a coma watching the infomercial campaign special that passed as a news conference last night.

I am not dead with pieces of myself flung into the ocean, I do not live on $12 per year in a shack, and I am most certainly not an illegal alien living in public housing and drawing a welfare check with a fancy schmancy lawyer fighting my deportation who escorted me to the Inauguration.

I dodged the Grim Reaper by refusing to eat any peanut products today.

People do not call me 'Chimpy' and blame their unhappiness on me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

How. Dare. They.

The #1 son had an away meet with Academic Team tonight. With the score 42-5 at half time, my boy was benched! As benched as he could be in a cafeteria. The team finished with a score of 65-18 sans my boy. Can you imagine taking out the star of the team? Well, I never!

Yeah. How would that sound if I called up the Academic Coach in Basementia tomorrow? Or what if I had been there at the meet, and yelled it during the second half? What if I had been yelling at my boy how to answer the questions during the competition? What if?

That's how the sports team parents act. Not so much at our school, though a few of them try it. It was worse in years past. Don't the parents see what idiots they are making of themselves? The principal had to threaten one guy the other night who was not even a parent of anyone playing. He said, "I paid my money to get in. That gives me the right to criticize the ref."

Thank the Gummi Mary, there are no ref for Academic Team. One of the coaches last week got a bit snotty about, "Well, we always count the answer as written." That's because to accept another term for the answer would have cost her team a point. That's OK. It came back and bit her in the butt during the next quarter. Oh, how I love to see an academic coach get butt-bitten!

My boy said of the other team tonight, "I almost felt sorry for their sponsor. She was a really nice lady. They only had four people on the team. (Our team has seven.) During the time I was sitting out, My Old Science Fair Partner whispered 'They are even poorer than us.' " Which is the gosh-darn truth. And it takes some doin' to be poorer than our district. Not poor in brains--poor in money.

In brains, we ain't a-lackin'. Send your child to our school. You get more bang for your buck, by cracky!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

The Seinfeld trip was a success. Our seats were in the middle balcony, which I had not been in since years ago when HH's first boys were young 'uns. At that time, the height did not bother me. We were really, really high up. I think the elevator mistress said '5th floor'. We could have taken two sets of stairs from the back of the main level, but why hike up the mountain if the the elevator will bring the mountaintop to you?

Last year at this time, when we went to see Kathy Griffin, the temperature was in the teens. Last night, it was 65 degrees. What a difference a year makes. Must be the global warming, huh? HH was upset that the wait at the bar upstairs was 20 minutes. He gave up after 10. He could have taken the elevator down and gotten one in the main lobby in that time.

My sister and the mayor came in about 10 minutes before the show. They had left at 3:00 and stopped for food, oh, and gone mall shopping. They came in at the top like us, and one of the Methuselas told them to ask the Methusela at the bottom of their section, who told them their seats were back up where they came from, about midway up that section. So they got to climb the mountain anyway.

Here are some snippets from Mr. Seinfeld:

E-mail is the worst conceivable way to communicate with anyone. It is for people who like to hear themselves talk. The only more backward way than e-mail might be smoke signal, message in a bottle, or a pigeon who knows where he's going.

I can cure the sexual disfunction problem of that couple with the two bathtubs. First of all, how about getting in the same g*ddam hot tub? Why drag two 5000 lb. cast-iron tubs up a hill to sit and look at the sunset, while holding hands outside the tub? No wonder you have no energy for sex! Who has two clawfoot bathtubs, anyway? And you don't have to warn me to see a doctor if my erection lasts four hours. I would be calling him on hour three. But first of all, I want to know what he plans on doing about it before I don my poncho and waddle down there.

Big weddings are a mistake. Nobody wants to go to your wedding. Think of the best party you ever went to. Nobody invited all the oldest people they know. The bride decides that she needs 20 extra feet of material on her dress to drag behind her. You don't hear the groom asking for 20 extra feet of pants on his tux. My single friends tell me about their girlfriend problems. That's whiffleball, my friend. You are sitting on a park bench blowing on a pinwheel, and I am driving a truckload of nitro down a dirt road.

Dads are really not needed around the house. A dad is like a day-old helium balloon. What is this thing? Why is it here? Should we pop it or play with it?

Every year, I face the Birthday Party Infinity Wheel of Hell. And every January, it starts all over again. Is it just me, or do other people's kids just not look quite right? Have you seen this inflatable bouncing thing? It's like a portable insane asylum for kids. You put them through a slot, and then they show you their true nature. When they're done, you take them to the Mini Van Paddy Wagon and strap them in. Go ahead, scream all you want. You're not gettin' out.

At the movies, they tell you to pick up the trash as you leave. They are forgetting the understanding. Theaters charge us an outrageous price for snacks, and in return, whenever I am done with something, I open my hand. I don't care where it rolls. I'm not picking up three Milk Duds stuck in some Pepsi since The Shawshank Redemption. Wait a minute, I'll run home for my orange jumpsuit and my stick with a nail in it.

The restrooms have toilets now that can anticipate your needs. When you stand up, they flush. The sinks are not so intuitive. You have to do a David Copperfield routine to make it work. Hey, Toilet! Vouch for me to the sink. You would think they could make those dividers longer in the bathroom stalls. Next thing, they will be like real stalls. While you're sitting on the toilet, your head will be hanging over the door like a horse. Yeah, Bob, it's me. This is why I had to leave the meeting in the middle. It's not like it would be expensive to make those walls go all the way to the floor so you don't have to see those sad shoe-tips poking out from the pile of collapsed pants. You occasionally see a panicked eye staring back at you from the gap.

For an encore, Jerry took questions from the crowd.

What's the deal? The deal, apparently, is what you say when you talk about me on the Howard Stern show.

Do you want to sign Superman? (A lady walked up to the edge of the stage.)
Sure, but I can't now. I'm kind of busy.

Here's a pen. (She threw a stuffed Superman and a pen at Jerry's feet.)
Or I could do it now. I'll look for this later tonight on eBay. Do you realize there are 4000 other people here?

What are your favorite episodes? Well, I tend to like all of them that I am in. But specifically, I like the ones where things happen to the characters. I like The Marine Biologist, where Kramer hits the golf ball into the whale's blowhole, and the one where George poisons Susan with the envelopes, and the one where I get to chase the old lady with the Marble Rye.

Do you still have the Puffy Shirt? No. The Puffy Shirt is hanging in The Smithsonian Institution. That's what America has become. The Gettysburg Address and the Puffy Shirt are housed in the same building.

How do you like the Raspberry Patch? Oh, you know the location of my home in Denver. That doesn't make me at all uncomfortable. I'll be sending you the location of my kids shortly.

The great Jerry Seinfeld. His performance wasn't all that great, but it wasn't for lack of trying. He seemed to have a cold, though hopefully it wasn't that little problem his accountant had on one of the early episodes. The guy who opened for him, whose name escapes me, but has supposedly been on The New Adventures of Old Christine, which I don't watch, was just as funny as Jerry. But like Jerry said, "I've got a lot of money, and I'm content."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Fox And The Squirrel

I must be brief, because we are leaving in about an hour to go see Jerry Seinfeld at the Fabulous Fox. My sister and her husband the mayor are going with us in separate cars. That's because they are unencumbered by leeching children who demand feeding and supervision every minute of every day. They plan to make a day of it, dine in an actual restaurant, and make a leisurely trip to the Fox. We are waiting for St. Grandma to arrive to tend out spawn into the late hours of the night.

HH just brought those children home from bowling. I have been relaxing at home by doing laundry and ignoring the dishes piled next to the sink. Have I ever mentioned that we don't have a dishwasher? I bet even George Obama, on his $12 per year income and 6' x 9' shack, has a dishwasher. And he can afford weed, too.

The dogs have been barking their fool heads off at people walking up the road. Never mind that when someone comes up the driveway, they are mute. Perhaps they are nervous that someone is going to take that huge dead gray squirrel that they have on the front porch. I suppose it's better than the two chickens they had in the front yard.

Maybe I'll have a tale to tell about Jerry tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Off To The Baloney Tent Prison

I have a trilogy for you tonight, people. A trilogy of true crime that occurred right before my very eyes today. A trilogy of true crime for which the penalty should be incarceration in the baloney tent prison in Maricopa County, Arizona, until a lesson is learned. It shouldn't take long.

Case One: Sale of Illegal Substance at School
No, not that kind of illegal substance. Just something that can not be sold by a student at school. We're not in the business of turning out entrepreneurs or price-gougers. We're in the business of educatin' the young 'uns.

BusinessBoy has been bringing gum and candy to school. Kids know this. One such kid shouted across the room as I was taking roll, "Hey, give me a piece of gum! I'll pay you a dollar." I told BusinessBoy, "You know, students are not allowed to sell things at school. It's in the school policy." I warned him, because he used to go to school elsewhere until this year. I wanted to make sure he knew not to do that. But BusinessBoy has a backtalking streak. "It's just CANDY. And besides, I wasn't selling it. I GIVE it to people, and they pay me later." Something tells me that he should not plan to represent himself in court.

What with the attitude displayed by BusinessBoy, I made it my business to inform the Principal at lunch what was going down on a daily basis. Yep. I'm a big ol' narc. If I hear it, I will tell. At the beginning of the school year, I emphasize that to every class. Guess some of them don't listen very closely. Anyhoo, by telling the Principal, it made us both happy. Me and the Principal, not me and the BusinessBoy. I made my point, and the kid got a talking-to, and the Principal did not have another incident to add to his discipline report at the monthly board meeting.

BusinessBoy had the nerve to pass me in the hall and say, "You HAD to turn me in, huh? For fake-selling candy." I told him loudly for all to hear, "You are the one who told me you 'give' them candy and they 'pay' you later. That is your own quote. That is what I told the Principal. Anything that I hear, I WILL TELL. I let you know that at the beginning of the year." BusinessBoy lost a little wind out of his 'sale'. He slunk off with his candy bag rustling in his backpack.

Case Two: Stalker at the Window
For the past several weeks, my 4th hour kids look up at the door. Sometimes they huff, sometimes they giggle, sometimes they say, "There's that kid." I am usually too busy to notice. My class gets right back to work. They never have mentioned his name, even when I ask. They don't know or don't remember. I figured it was one of my Techy kids hanging around on their way to lunch.

Today, while the kids were working on the laptops, they told me again. One mentioned Stalker by name. I looked over at the small rectangular window in my classroom door. He had a goofy look. He would not let one of my students back into the room after a trip to the computer lab. He stuck his goofy face against my window and rubbed it around. I pointed with my thumb and told him to take a hike. He should his head, and pointed the other direction. I told him, "Leave now." The returning student maneuvered his way around, much like getting position for a rebound. Stalker left with a smirk.

In the hall before 6th hour, Stalker came a-traipsin'. He was almost tardy for his class. Few students remained. I shouted as he neared me, "Do not come to my classroom during lunch when I am having class. That is a disruption of my class time. I do not want your face grease all over my window. This is your warning. I will write you up the next time you come back. I hope everyone in the hall hears this, so you can't say you weren't warned. Do you understand?" Stalker nodded. Again, problem solved. He has a second chance, so it's all on him if he returns.

Case Three: The Curious Case of the Laptop Plug-Ins
This case remains unsolved. When we took out the laptops 5th hour, one of them was broken. The students trying to use it told me so after about 15 minutes. "We have a black screen. It won't come on." I questioned them until I found out that upon pressing 'Power', the thing started in black screen and said it was starting. Then it got to a point where it just kept blinking a box that said it was repairing the start-up problem. I put it on my desk. After another 5 minutes, it said that it was unable to repair. It also said, 'If you have inserted a music device or camera, unplug it now.' I checked, but all of Acer's holes were free. I called LunchBuddy, who knows her way around a computer. She said to turn off the power, let it rest three minutes, and try it again. She would send someone up to get it.

I turned it off. I turned it on. Aha! It started. Bwah ha ha! It gave me the name of the last person to log on! I set it for a new user, and gave it back to the students. I asked them what they did before it went wonky. Nothing. Did they plug in an MP3 or a camera or a phone? No.

On my plan time, I checked to see where the logger and partner were 7th hour. I called their teachers to send the suspects to me as soon as they arrived. The Logger was visibly nervous. But she's that type. I said, "Did anything unusual happen with your laptop today when you started it or shut down?" She said no. Nothing. It worked fine. Did she plug in anything? Perhaps a camera, phone, or music. No. I tossed this little fish back into the pond that was her math class.

Partner came from a different math class. "Did anything unusual happen with your laptop today when you started it or shut down?" "No. Don't you remember, I asked to go to the bathroom? It was restarting that whole time I was gone. Madame X had it before us, and she locked it. So we had to restart, and it took a long time." Did she plug in anything? Perhaps a camera, phone, or music? "No. I didn't even touch it today. Logger did all that. And while I'm here, can you check my grade for me, because I think I'm failing."

So...some new evidence to investigate. Madame X, the LOCKER. She has already been warned once for locking. Partner seemed the most believable, though I have had to warn her before about getting out a camera in the classroom. Logger seemed shifty, but has never given me a moment of trouble. We may have to send this one to Unsolved Mysteries.


There you have it, the True Crime Trilogy. Two crimes solved, and unsolved one with suspects who know they are being watched.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Ever vigilant.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

High-Tech HM

Kids. Can't have nice things with 'em...can't eat without 'em.

We spent the day researching science project ideas in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's room, courtesy of the new laptop cart. We're moving right into the next century at the speed of the Pony Express. I'm sure some ritzy enclaves of learning have some high-dollar electronic equipment for their scholars. But here in Hillmomba, we do the best we can with the pittance we receive from the government. Where is OUR handout? Huh?

Perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps we don't have as much money as the Richy Rich schools because we rely on the tax money squeezed out of the residents of our district. That could explain why it has only been several years since we upgraded from Windows 3.1. Seriously. I had a computer in my classroom that ran Windows 3.1. I finagled the husband of my Arch Nemesis into upgrading it to Windows 95 with his recovery disc. Actually, there was no finagling. He pleasantly offered this service free of any strings. And before you go thinking this was in the distance past...wrap your head around this: it was after the millennium. Sad, huh, to think that was the state of our electronics. Forget about the internet. We did not have the capabilities.

Anyhoo...we have some folks who threw together some grant proposals, and voila! We now have two computer labs in each building, and the computers run Windows XP. I know. We're still a bit behind. Enter the new laptop cart. It has 10 Acer laptops that run Vista Office. We have an older laptop cart that I have not been able to use, as it is always booked.

The sun, moon, and stars lined up on Tuesday when I sent a note asking to reserve the laptop cart, and one hour later checked my email to see an announcement that we now had a NEW laptop cart. I got in before the rush, by cracky.

Yesterday, the librarian came up and together we got the new cart hooked up, with a bit of help from two students. Youth is OH SO WASTED on the young. Then the librarian locked up the cart, per school policy.

This morning, she was AWOL. First hour, I had a class and a lesson, but no laptops. Lib had apparently gone to Basementia, but no one could find her. It was not for lack of calling. The principal eventually found the laptop cart key, and sent it to me. We took out the laptops per instructions, from bottom shelf to to top shelf. We returned them per instructions, from top shelf to bottom shelf. All day long we did this.

At the end of the day, the two bottom shelves would not push in far enough to close the door. I was sure something had slipped behind them. But I needed the key to open the back door. After sending an urchin to search and fetch, I opened that sucker one minute before the final bell to find that ALL of the chargers had fallen off the back of the shelves, and all 10 of them were in a jumble at the bottom. So I did what I knew I must, and followed the charging cords to the chargers, and wove them out the tangled mass and put them on their proper shelves. Then all I had was a jumble of thicker wires that belonged in a side slot. It was like trying to close a suitcase that is too full.

Enter Lib, looking for her key so she could bolt out the door at the stroke of 3:10. She came in whilst I was trying to close the back door. "Oh. Most people never open the back door. It's too hard to get it closed again. Did you feel some need to open the back door?" I felt some need right then concerning a back door, but I held it in. "Yes. The front door won't close if you can't push in the shelves, and the only thing to do is to open the back door and clear out the mess that is blocking it." She muttered a bit, and went out in the hall to talk to my Arch Nemesis. The Pony and I rigged up a yardstick to hold in the wires until the door was mostly closed, then pulled it out the top. It worked. We locked both cart doors. Lib came back for her key, and assured me that she would be there tomorrow morning.

Here's the thing. All that cart needs it a little lip at the back of each tray so those power supply charger thingies can't slide off. How hard is that? I'm sure a simple strip of wood or plastic could be put on with three screws. I really shouldn't blame the kids. While they did other annoying things such as locking their laptop instead of logging off, and a couple put them up in the wrong order...they did not cause that crap to fall off the shelves. I watched them like a hawk while the were taking out and putting up. I'm not so sure those charger things weren't already down the back when we got the new cart for the first time. When the kids pulled out the shelves, they made sure the charger cord was laying right there so they could hook it back up later. I'm thinking that once the bottom shelves were pulled out, all that stuff settled.

As HH would say, "An engineer must have designed it."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's Wrong With America

Lunch started out with a certain someone asking where my lunch came from. Like I didn't see that one coming. I told her it was left-over Casey's Pizza, and that, in fact, I would be having more of the same on Thursday. Then I corrected myself. Thursday is soup and grilled cheese day. My favorite school lunch. I told her, "I hope those grilled cheese sandwiches are as hard as the tater tots we get every day. I hope I can crack the table with them, and I hope they are so greasy you can squeeze them and extract a gallon." She didn't have much to say to that.

The principal said that he didn't know if we could ever have peanut butter sandwiches again. The Lunch Inquisitor said that Elementia has outlawed peanut butter all year. They have a student who is severely allergic to peanuts. The principal concurred. He said that even an airborne particle could set off a reaction. I told them that The Pony said he won't take peanut butter and jelly because he sometimes has to sit too close to the non-peanut table, and people there can't have peanut butter. "This calls for The Bubble," I said. Of course I was not serious. Everyone knows that a Bubble Boy could be in dire straits if George Costanza were to wander in and argue over a game of Trivial Pursuit. Especially if 'Moors' is spelled as 'Moops' on the answer card.

The Lunch Inquisitor said, "How about they just put the No-Peanut Person in a separate room for lunch. Then they can serve peanut butter sandwiches and kids can bring it." Which made a whole lot of sense to me. A young sub spoke up. "But that wouldn't be fair to the No-Peanut Person, to be excluded from lunch." I had to voice my opinion, since we can't have subs thinking they can make the rules. "Oh, so the rest of the students should be punished with no peanut butter so one person can fit in at lunch?" He said, "Well, I feel sorry for the No-Peanut Person." Excuse me. I did not say that I don't have sympathy for the No-Peanut Person. Just that it seems we bend over backwards to accommodate one, when in fact we are disadvantaging 500.

If The Pony was No-Peanut, you can bet that I would beg that school to put him away for safe-keeping at lunch. I would ask if he could sit in the vault in the office until the lunch shifts were over and kids had cleaned up and washed hands. Then he could rejoin the fray. He could have a guest or two join him for his vault lunch, as long as they agreed to no peanuts.

Here is what is wrong with America. We are catering to the lone wolf. The rest of society adapts to the individual. Gone are the good ol' days of survival of the fittest. You fit in, or you perish. America was stronger then. The people were of hardier stock. Now, we are watering down our populace. We mainstream kids who are serious disruptions so as to 'socialize' one kid at the expense of the education of the other 25 kids in the classroom. And believe me, I've served some time in the classroom. The idea behind 'least restrictive environment' is the word LEAST. It is not 'NON-restrictive environment'. Call me a bitter old beast, but I just can not see sacrificing the needs of the many for the needs of one.

We cater to the lowest common denominator. Johnny can't read? Let's set the pace so Johnny can keep up. Let's put Johnny in some Title I programs, start a two-hour afterschool tutoring program, and adjust the grading scale so that 68% is a C- . Never mind about Janey. She can learn on her own. She can do other homework, or read a library book if she gets done early because the work is too easy for her. We want all kids to have success. We're not leaving anybody behind.

My kid is a Janey. A Janey who scored 47 of his Academic Team's points in their 61-37 victory yesterday. Nobody is pushing him. Nobody is setting the bar higher. He must coast along with the crowd. No enrichment. No gifted program. They are trying to make him average. Next year, he will be in my class, and I will be the one trying to make him average. I could give him special work, but that would be favoritism. I could set higher standards for him, but that would not be fair. Same as it is this year. I can't challenge the Janeys because they will complain, "Why do WE have to do extra? Why do THEY get something easier?" They are conditioned to think that way. Everybody must be equal. Same size slice of the educational pie for all, never considering that some people may be diabetic, some may have a high metabolism, some may be training for a life as a marathoner, some may be in a coma and fed intravenously, and some may be taking their pie home to share with the other 13 kids in the family. The only thing for certain is that we can't serve up peanut butter pie.

THAT, my friends, is what's wrong with America.

I need my LunchBuddy back. Her sub set me off. I looked around the table, and mentally started planning a GreenPeace Expedition for this group of namby-pamby, don't-eat-the-sea-kittens, tree-hugging, everyone-gets-a-trophy, save-the-world, Do-Gooders.

Who do you want building our nuclear reactors, the Johnnies or the Janeys?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ask Jeeves

This afternoon was the #1 son's first Academic Team competition. They hosted a much bigger school, the school that my sons would attend if I didn't haul them into my teaching district with me. This school has about three times the enrollment of my school.

I have been telling the #1 son that his team would be hurtin' for certain, what with the girl who used to answer the majority of their questions now cooling her heels in 9th grade. Even though my boy was the #2 go-to guy on the team last year as a 7th grader, he was no match for that girlie. They would compete to see who scored the most points, and if he ever beat her, it was only in one match. It doesn't matter who knows the right answers--it matters who knows the right answers and buzzes in first. She outgunned him on a regular basis. You snooze, you lose, in the high-powered world of Middle School Academia.

The #1 son and his left-hand man had only been to two team practices because basketball consumed their every waking moment. The Academic coaches didn't care. They wanted those boys. They bent over backwards to accommodate the athletes. Unfortunately, the #1 son's right-hand man decided to quit the Academic Team last week. I asked why, and the #1 son replied, "He's a loser." Which was kind of funny, the way these kids insult each other. Maybe he was tired of practices, maybe he didn't want to go from being a big fish in the little pond of basketball to being a little fish in the big pond of Academia. We'll never know. He played last year, and was quite handy in the math category. At least we still had left-hand history man left.

The opponents were a bit late to arrive because their bus driver said, "You mean the NEW school?" and the coach said, "Sure." She explained that she thought, 'Well, they could have built a new middle school since I was there last.' So much for thinking. As Basementia Buddy told her after an outburst of guffaws, "That'll be the day, when BASEMENTIA gets a new building. If I'm lucky, my grandchildren might one day see it." Nobody minded that the other team was 15 minutes late, since last year they were an hour late. I don't know the excuse for that one.

The competition commenced, and the audience learned that today's youth does not know that Quito is in Ecuador, that problems with equilibrium, and eventually liver disease, results from the abuse of alcohol (not marijuana or cigarettes), that the now-extinct bird that once was so plentiful it darkened the sky was the passenger pigeon, not the dodo, and that the brain is made up mostly of the compound water, not air.

There were four quarters of 15 minutes each. All seven members of our team got to play at least a quarter. Basementia Buddy, the official question-reader, only embarrassed herself once. That was when she told the opponents that their answer was wrong, and then gave the correct answer. Without giving our team their chance to answer. We forgave her.

The final score was 61-37.

We opened up a royal can of WhoopButt on them. 1-0, baby! We are undefeated!

The #1 son was the star of the game. Not that I'm bragging or anything. He scored over half our points. Mabel knows what I'm talkin' about. He you say...gifted in the field of Academia. These are his glory days.

And he hasn't picked the final splinters out of his butt from the basketball bench yet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Medicate The Flying Monkeys

In case you didn't get the memo, I am not the most patient woman in the world. I think it could safely be said that I am not even in the top ten, although Mabel's mother did once compare me to Mother Teresa.

The #1 son had Academic Team practice after school until 5:00 today. There was a whole passel of cars waiting outside Basementia, so I parked in the faculty lot. A few kids trickled out around 4:50, and two cars pulled away, leaving a space right in front of the main entrance. I moved up to that spot. My regret set in immediately.

While I do not technically dislike kids who are not mine, and who I am not responsible for in any way, I DO find them to be incredibly annoying. The minute I pulled up in front of the building, a pack of creatures the rivals of the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz spilled out of the door, off the sidewalk, out of the fence, and into my daytime nightmare. Some boys slid along on frozen chunks of sleet in the schoolyard with the grace of Frankenstein at a cotillion. An odd duck of a kid who looked like that alien dude in Meatballs 2 peered into my passenger window, caught my eye, and nodded like we were equals. Three girls climbed over the fence, gaped into my car, and started chattering like that chipmunk I once saved and inadvertently fed to my cats. The people in charge stood with the doors to the institution propped open, happily oblivious to the carnage they had just released.

It took a few minutes to figure out what group this could be. Not basketball players, not cheerleaders, not academic teammies, not yearbookies. They were small, so I judged it was some type of 6th grade shenanigans set loose upon an unsuspecting world. For a moment, I deemed it to be the kids from the afterschool program, the ones who must go to tutuoring for their two-week grade faux pas. Then I decided it couldn't be them. There were usually just one or two kids waiting to be picked up from that, because the moment they were released, they got into cars and were whisked away. This mob was something new. No loving parents awaited to snatch them home at a moment's notice.

When the #1 son finally made his exit, he confirmed that they were indeed the afterschool tutoring group. Those poor parents must still be recovering from the four snow days last week.

What kids these days need is more medication.