Monday, February 23, 2009

Kindergarten Baby

I am soooo not cut out to be a kindergarten teacher. Between job offers I tend to forget what a horrible, terrifying, painful experience subbing in a kindergarten classroom is. Or perhaps my desire for a paycheck helps me repress the memories.

The thought is always there (don't do it), just below the surface (please, don't do it!) when the school calls (anything, anything but kindergarten) and asks if I'm free to substitute (for the love of God, don't do it). It's like the spooky music playing during a scary movie: Don't answer that phone! Can't you hear the violin crescendo?

I remember the first time I subbed in a kindergarten room. They trickled in by ones and twos, quiet little cherubs full eager for learning. But soon I was caught in the swirling eddies of an ankle biter flash flood. I had stepped into a tranquil stream in the Amazon, only to see it become a churning cauldron of destruction as the piranha began to feed.

It's not that they wanted to take advantage of the substitute (that doesn't seem to happen until about third grade, a trust me). They were really trying to be helpful, the little dears.Each one knew what the schedule was. But each one's schedule was different. And each was absolutely certain they were correct. Kind of like politicians.

One on one, kindergartners are a manageable commodity. Oh sure, we've all seen the screaming toddler at the store. Always someone else's kid, right? An aberration, the exception to the rule. But as they are brought together, their energy level increases exponentially. A release of energy to rival the splitting of an atom.

Remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Kindergarten Cop? He is completely overrun by the students, until they settle down, exhausted, for rest time. The director had it all wrong. The kids weren't nearly wild enough. And they don't settle down, exhausted, for rest time. The teacher might cower, quietly sobbing, in the corner, however.

Happily my day ended without bloodshed or wet pants. After about four or five (maybe it was eight or ten) tequila shooters (they're just like the kids: small, fast acting and they pack a punch) I mellowed enough to realize most of the students were good kids. In fact, I spent most of the day trying to corral just four kids: Beelzebub, Satan, Lucifer and Damien.

My favorite true story: I had just sent the students to their desks after group time on the rug. One little boy, whose assigned spot on the carpet was right up near the teacher (should be a hint), said his shoe was stuck to the table. I figured maybe his shoe lace had been tangled around the table leg. Oh, no. The shoe dangled from the support just under the table top, where it was bound by a knot any boyscout would be proud of.

How did this happen? I asked.
"I don't know!" he exclaimed, eyes wide with astonishment.
Was the shoe on your foot the whole time?
"Yes," he answered solemnly.
Was your foot on your leg the whole time?

Sarcasm is wasted on kindergartners. Another reason why I'm not a good match for them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blue Jean Bawling

Bought myself a pair of new jeans the other day. I figure when the inseam on old ones start getting that white, frayed, poofy look, holes are not far behind. There's distressed, and then there's falling apart at inopportune moments.

The reason the old jeans were so tattered looking is because I hate shopping for jeans for myself almost as much as I hate shopping for jeans for the Little Princess. I can avoid the Hoochie-Mama low risers so prevalent among the pop-tart set, but there's no escaping the spandex-infused, "instantly slims you" fabric.

Ick. If I wanted to wear tights, I'd wear tights. I want good, old fashioned, 100% cotton, heavy-duty dungarees. Preferably dark enough to look like they're new. Hellooo. I have a shelf full of faded out, see-through thin jeans with that "worn look." I'm replacing them. I want to be able to tell the difference.

I resigned myself to the "instantly slims you" type, because I had no choice. Found a couple pair that had a "natural rise" waist, not the "don't forget to shave your pubie" rise. And they were dark blue. More or less.

The fit wasn't too bad. I was pleasantly surprised. Even in the store's evil, pound adding, sideshow mirror with shadow casting florescent lighting, these jeans looked good. Not too tight in the seat, not too loose in the thigh (Bwaa haa haa haaa. Like that's been a problem since... ever.), just a little gap around the waist band. Yeah, I don't understand that one either. It's like my body is taking that "hour glass shape" thing just a little too seriously. Maybe if I stand on my head everything will migrate back up to where it belongs. Including my boobs.

I even tried them on a second time at home before laundering them. Oh yeah, I launder all clothes before wearing. I've seen enough investigative reports to know that wearing unlaundered clothes is just asking for some deadly skin disease that only the CDC has ever heard of and won't be able to identify until after your autopsy.

Life would have been good if I had stopped there. But no. I did actually wash and dry them.

Enough said.

Now my thighs look, and feel, like overstuffed sausages. The only reason I don't have camel toe is because the jeans are too tight across my thighs to actually get up into my crotch. My tummy is so squished I have a constant urge to pee.

Yet despite this vise-like squeeze, the "natural rise waist" continues to move south. I feel like those kids I've seen over in Iowa City with their waist bands down around the bottom of their butt cheeks. Except that their jeans were all baggy and kind of puddled down around their knees. Mine fit like when I accidentally squeezed my tall, pregnant body into petite-size pantyhose. Don't ask.

But, you know, they don't look half bad. My butt is actually up where it belongs. The lower, looser waist eliminates "muffin top." Sure they're squeezing the heck out of my thighs and I'll be running to the bathroom every five minutes. It's a small price to pay for fashion.

Between the hitchin' and the runnin', I'll be moving so much no one will have time for a close look, so they just might work!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lotta Latte

I stopped in this morning for a latte (with Brown Sugar syrup, in case you're taking orders for delivery) at Local Grounds, the coffee shop in West Liberty. That's my little treat for being good. It's a little pick-me-up after visiting the Queen Mother at the nursing home, because those visits can be... well, stressful. The coffee is great, and the atmosphere is soothing and friendly. Just the thing to snap me out of my funk.

I think coffee, and food in general, is better when someone else makes it. Must be something about the lack of effort. Laziness just makes everything taste better.

I'm usually pretty picky about my coffee, because I like it weak. The weaker the better. So weak it needs a wheelchair, heh heh. It's 98-pound weakling-weak. Hot chocolate beats it up for lunch money. Weak-edy, weak, weak. Tea without the funny accent. Mom used to say I didn't make coffee, I just stored the coffee grounds somewhere near the hot water.

At home I make half-caff. Too much caff and I get jittery; too bitter and my tummy gets upset; No caff and my head gets upset. There's a fine line there. Honestly, I'm not sure caffeine causes the jitters I think it's just morning. Morning and a lack of sweets. A cinnamon roll and another cup and I'm good to go, in fact my productivity level goes way through the roof. Zoom! Like Hammie in the movie "Over the Hedge," the world just seems to slow down while I just keep on keepin' on, it's a beautiful thing. Drink just enough coffee (or booze) and suddenly EVERYTHING BECOMES CLEAR! Give me a couple lattes and a red phone and I could solve the world's problems. Or bomb the hell out of a couple countries. Maybe it's the same thing.

Of course I don't really believe red dye or sugar makes kids anymore hyper and obnoxious than they already are, it just makes the adults more aware of how hyper and obnoxious they are but if those parents had a little coffee and relaxed I'm sure everything would be just fine.

I do remember back in junior high one of my friends and I used to go downtown to the drug store to get a Coke after school -- it was always Dr. Pepper, but we called it a "Coke" because we thought that was the clever thing to do, I mean, we were in junior high, what do you expect? But anyway, we always got Dr. Pepper because we thought that made us silly, more silly than, say an actual Coke, but I'm sure if we thought Cokes made us silly they would have, too. I'm pretty sure Dr. Pepper has both red dye and sugar, in addition to caffeine, so it would be like hitting the trifecta, I think, but I don't really know what that is. It's a cool word though. Kind of like latte -- lah tehy -- latte, latte, latte. Hee hee hee hee.

So anyway, I was saying I liked Local Grounds because it's so laid back, I mean I've been to a couple coffee shops in Iowa City and everyone is all looking at you like you're an idiot if you don't know the difference between one crazy coffee name and another and if you didn't bring in your Save The Earth Refillable Mug, you're afraid they're going to spit in your coffee, and wouldn't that just serve you right, you beast, for destroying Mother Earth and for God's sake don't forget to ask for the Free-Range Free-Trade but certainly not Free-Cost special beans that were hand picked under a full moon at the peak of ripeness by virgins wearing 100% dye and perfume free cotton gowns and were individually individually cushion wrapped (the beans not the virgins) to avoid bruising during the flight to America on a soy diesel-powered airplane. Once in the States they (the beans not the virgins) are gently roasted (and I mean, really, how can you gently roast something?) in pure copper kettles by Monks who are first cousins to the virgin bean pickers and who personally watch via remote camera to make sure you enjoy your coffee because if you don't they will all (Monks, virgins and offending beans) throw themselves into a volcano to appease the Coffee Bean Gods -- who are no doubt named something like Grande Macchiato Frappa-hoochie.

But the girls who work at Local Grounds are really helpful and describe the drinks so you can understand and even offer suggestions and well, I suppose they're not really girls girls, I mean I'm sure there's a word to describe women of our age (sorta) other than that outdated "30-something", and yes I use the term "30" loosely because I think of myself as still 30-ish emphasis on "ish", but there was never a "40-something" and "30-something" just seems so 80s, although I remember when that TV show was on and I thought 30-something was just a hairs-breadth away from being ancient, and now here I am at that age where you start calling grown women "girls," and my gosh I sound like I'm ready for my wheelchair but only if it is custom designed to include a cup holder for my latte.

And maybe extra suspension because right now it seems the world has developed a little bit of a bounce. And maybe a seat belt because I seem to be having trouble holding still. And for sure extra wide tires because I'm gonna be burnin' me some rubber as I race down the road because I'm out of latte and I.
A Refill.