Monday, August 10, 2015

BacK To SKooL ChEckliSt

That's right, it is BACK TO SCHOOL for the kiddos today! What people don't realize is that we who work in the school, have a list too. It might not include pencils and notebooks but we must be sure we are ready for when those doors open! Here's my list:

5.  Swimsuit ready. No I don't need to look good in a swimsuit but it must be clean, laid out and ready for me to put it on immediately when school gets out. The thought of jumping in the water after a long hard day of being Wonder Woman will soothe any first day of school!

4.  Complete preserving. The garden, the vines, the fruit trees were quite plentiful this season. All weekend I have jarred and preserved countless cans of jellies and jams. I put up corn, jarred the last of the tomatoes and we're in good shape for the school year on these items! Nothing like getting home and opening a can of "fresh" garden veggies or "fresh" fruit and being able to feed your family with all its goodness. You know exactly what's in it, and you know where it came from.

3.  Treadmill time. I don't walk mile after mile every week for any other reason than to be able to get where I'm going should I ever be confined to my feet. If my car breaks down three miles from home, I should be able to walk home if needed, and I'm confident I could do that. If 430+ kids, 50 faculty members AND one Principal give chase, I should be able to run away from them. I am confident I can run (a short distance) or at least walk swiftly to the main highway where I would call a friend to pick me up. (Hey, it's hot in Alabama right now, I do need air conditioner)

2.  Bug-out bag. My bug-out bag is in the trunk where it will remain at all times. In the bag is a change of clothes, first aid kit, water/food, and tons of other emergency supplies should the weather change quickly one day, and I get trapped at school with children. Our weather here is such a drama queen. It can be semi-warm, sun shining one day and thirty minutes later people are abandoning cars on the side of the road because an mini ice-age has frozen everything, including our mountain roads.

1.  Coffee & hymns. I love coffee and coffee mugs. I have a stockpile so that I will NOT run out and can travel with my addiction anywhere I need to go. It is imperative that consume as much of this liquid gold each and every morning before I step foot outside. I also love church hymns. I turn the satellite radio on every morning and hear all the goodness as I prepare for my day. I will refer back to the hymns throughout my day when the phone is ringing off the hook, a child is in my office crying, or a parent is in my office crying, or a teacher is in my office crying....Unclouded Day or Farther Along can get me back to where I need to be!

Okay, I think I'm ready. When you actually work in a school, every single day can be different. There are some things you can't actually prepare for and I know this but I have my top 5 down. I'm ready for backpacks, school buses, fresh haircuts and smiling faces!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Parents Do When Left Unattended

It is Summer, thank you Lord! It is actually HOT Summer. Which means about mid-day, the teenage boy can be found looking up guitar videos and playing extremely loud electric guitar jumping from one song to the next and we have encouraged his talent. The tween girl can be found lying on her bed playing games on her phone and mom...well, mom just realized I could disappear and nobody would even know it...so I did.

You see, when parents are left unattended, they can sometimes be found in the opposite direction of their kids. I've hid in the bathroom before, I've hid in my room...but today, no today, I hid in the swimming pool.

I quietly tiptoed through the house with my cover-up on hiding the swimsuit so nobody would know that the beach towel in my hand was leading me out the door and eventually to MY chair, my lay-out in the sun lounge chair! I was careful not to creak the door when I slipped unnoticed outside. With only my weight and age slowing me down I sprinted as fast as I could to the backyard water resort discarding the cover-up and towel as I climbed the ladder. I smiled as I jumped in creating refreshing waves which felt cool on my bare back. I looked back at the door and realized, I had done it. Nobody even knew I had left the house.

I cleaned the pool for 20 minutes getting my arm exercises in for the day. Still no one had reported me missing and I wasn't sure if I should be happy or sad about that....so I chose happy! I plopped myself up on pink pool float and grabbed up a noodle and some various pool toys, and I tossed them around, dove under to retrieve them, splashed my feet, dodged the darting June bugs and still, I was alone. I laid my head back, pulled my shades down and just floated. I must have been out there a good 45 minutes by now and still, nobody even cared.

As I lied with my eyes shut for a while drifting in and out a dream-like state, I saw a large shadow float over my closed lids. I opened my eyes, tried to focus with the noon sun blaring down on me, and there were four huge buzzards flying high over me. I realized I must have looked like a white floating corpse so I moved around, dove under the water, and just swam around in the water for a while, in the quiet country breeze.

After I had swam for well over an hour, my fingertips were wrinkled and I decided to dry out in my chair. Feeling very accomplished for my actions I picked up my phone, took a selfie to say "yep, I did that!" I was eventually found when the children needed something (didn't need me, just something). Not bad for somebody who found herself being left unattended! They should leave me alone more often!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Chart of Emotions

You learn a lot when cleaning out your son's room. It's like sitting in a dark smelly room of history. One of the first things I found was a half coke bottle in a bag full of empty knife boxes where we had been to the Smokey Mtns 6 weeks ago!! HISTORY. I waited until he left before I attempted the overwhelming task of ridding the room of pure garbage. You see, he's almost a full-blown hoarder. He finds purpose in keeping trash....he might need the used bottle of water. I mean what if the room caught on fire and he needed to put it out quickly right?


As I walk around with my garbage sack, filling it full of unmentionables, untouchables, etc., I see something under his chest of drawers that catches my eye. It was a laminated school project I had never seen before...apparently from 7th grade (he's in 8th). At first, I smile at his chart of ...whatever. Apparently his math teacher made them draw out, and graph things in their past, both good and bad. If you look at the scoring system, the positives are in the first quadrant where the numbers are also positives. The lower end show things he didn't like...

As you may or not be able to tell, getting his Xbox, a phone, etc, ranked waaay up there while a first grade paddling, dead dog, etc, was way at the bottom. Understandable. But take a closer look...
If you look just above the neighbor dying and just below Grounded Forever....you'll see that I made his chart...terribly singing Mama???? How did that happen? And did I mention......THIS IS LAMINATED!!! Thanks guy, I appreciate it. The only thing worse than my singing is death and he'd rather be grounded forever than listen to me sing.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Imma Belieber

We climbed stairs to reach the Upper Level of the huge Arena. This is what we have been waiting for. She asked to see my tickets and when I showed them to her, she pointed to the ceiling and said, "just keep goin' up." The seat in front of me had an A on it and with a quick glance at my ticket, I knew we were in trouble. Yellow crime tape that said Do Not Cross ran beside the small partial railing all four of us were white knuckling and the four of us kept saying, "Don't look down. DO NOT TOUCH ME!! Why are these steps so small?" We finally made it to the ceiling back and only one row sat higher than we did. We took our seats carefully and stared at each other knowing we would sit there for hours, without movement or breathing, and I was okay with that. We had to keep STILL. We put the kids on a no-liquid diet so their bladders would hold up all night because every time I looked around, I got dizzy...we were that high!

It took the full 45 minutes to catch my breath, but when the lights finally dimmed and the music came on...I still knew I was technically a hundred feet in the air and if everyone didn't stop yelling and jumping around this concrete slab would collapse and we would all die in a mass grave of dust, heavy pillars and blue plastic seats...

But they started the timer.....I looked up and it was counting down 7 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes 4...until Justin Beiber will walk in the door!!! Girls were screaming non-words anytime someone moved behind the stage because they thought it was him, or someone that knew him, or someone that has seen him with their own eyeballs. I yawned and updated my Facebook status and wondered why I could still smell the Circus...they hadn't been here since last year...

When they finally reached the last few seconds...people went nuts! My child was screaming and looking around because she was about to be in the same room with him...but he didn't walk in...

...he flew in on huge silver wings made of guitars and other musical instruments, and they all screamed LOUDER. It was the craziest thing I've ever heard. He sang, he danced, he performed and everyone just screamed. A chair arose from the middle of the stage we all knew he was about to pick One Girl. He asked, "Who is gonna be my baby?" The arena exploded with crying girls wanting that prized position and as we sat near the ceiling my child started yelling, "Justin!!! Justin!!" But he didn't see her...

It was an amazing show and I honestly can say I'd love to go see him again sometime when I get three more jobs to pay for the tickets. I am likely the meanest mama in the world because after arriving back home just before 1 a.m., I woke her up at 7 a.m. for school...and this is all she had left to give...


We have finally recovered from our Bieber hangovers. This will be a night she will NEVER FORGET, EVER EVER EVER...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just Kill Me!!

"Oh, let's go ride that," someone said as we walked up to the very first ride at an amusement park we drove to ANOTHER STATE for...

It looked quite harmless, some frowning green fish were slowly dragging to a complete stop where happy riders were exiting swiftly to move on to their next adventure. We chatted with interest as we eagerly boarded two by two per fish. My sister and her child were just fins away and my mother had my daughter safely strapped in while my son sat next to me. Impatience set in as other riders couldn't make up their minds which fish to board. Soon everyone was buckled and we watched the ride attendant pull the lever to start the ride.

With a loud hiss of warning shooting through our ears, wind began to part my hair as we slowly began to move. I looked around and tried to smile at my other family but concern constricted my face as the speed of this ride increased rather quickly. Within seconds, my grip got so tight on the bar in front of me I could have snapped a finger off at the knuckle and never known because all of the blood was being sent straight to my heart, to keep it pumping even at the rapid and dangerous level this ride had increased its rate to. As we closed in on the first twenty-five seconds of the ride, my eyes closed tightly as my spit glands began to fill in preparation to spill anything left in my stomach. I could hear someone yelling, "KILL ME!!!! JUST KILL ME NOW!! SHUT THIS DOWN!!!" I realized it was my own child and though I couldn't open my eyes that were buried at least two inches into my skull at this point, I reach over and feel his hand that was on the bar. "MAMA, WE ARE UP HIGH, WE ARE UP IN THE AIR. KILL ME!!"

I tried to rub my little boy's hand the best I could but there was no way I could let go of the grip I had on this bar, "Just close your eyes son. Just close your eyes. The Lord is gonna get us through this. He will, just close your eyes." My face has contorted at this point as I feel like I've fallen twelve stories and then jerked sideways and back up again. I hear other people screaming and I squeeze my eyes tighter to keep them from popping out of my head. I hear a loud familiar voice as we seem to be moving faster and faster, "Jesus help us please! Help us Jesus please!" It was my voice and I know that I had to be screaming very loud and I don't have a clue how many people are being entertained by my twisted face and the Worship Service I'm trying to have because again, my jaws are holding back the saliva that is triggered when you feel like vomit is not far behind. My body feels sideways and every single muscle I own is constricted to keep me from flying out into the parking lot.

After about three minutes of this horror, I hear the sound of the motor start to quieten a little and I knew it wouldn't be long before this machine started to slow down. I could feel my body moving around in circles and lowering down at the same time. When my son could speak in his normal voice, I knew it was safe to open my eyes. We were almost at a complete stop by then and I started "the laugh". I looked around at my family and we all began to laugh with that crazed hysteria that I found comfort in, knowing they too had just survived the same terror I had.

We all unbuckled and quickly walked away from the ride and stood under a tree. There, we wiped tears from our eyes with shaky hands as we quickly made an adult pact to NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS EVER EVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN. The kids were horrified but in hilarity rather than horror....and that was just the beginning of our amusement park fun for this weekend...

But on a lighter note, we got in a great workout. My arms, my buttocks and stomach are all so sore! I mean I was clamped up in that seat so tight, the only thing moving was my voice in a panic scream.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Break In

It's just after 4 a.m. I heard some ladies talking in kitchen but it was hard to hear over my sleep machine which was pouring nothing but waterfalls throughout my bedroom. It must be a break-in. I saw blue tinted beams coming from flashlights. I hopped to my feet and opened my bedroom door a little wider...I had not an ounce of fear.

I saw what appeared to be a small monkey drop down from the cabinets and I realize it wasn't ladies at all but the eleven year old boys that had been camping in my yard. They were starving, and they had found food. I say, "Hey! It's four in the morning. What are y'all doing?" Together they replied in voices too loud for this hour, "We were hungry, we had to get something to eat." One said, "Hey Mama, ......" I quickly shushed the child and assure him I have no desire to get into a long drawn out story until the coffee has brewed but I made sure they had eaten enough.

Soon, one kid was scarfing down a set of Pop Tarts and didn't look near as crazy as my little guy who was drinking a bowl of cereal (who knows?). I go get dressed for the day, get my glasses so I can see and get the coffee going before I even sit down to talk to them, because I have my priorities.

When I sat down in the living room only lit by the History Channel's glow from the television screen, I asked how they slept. "We've been up for 24 hrs straight nearly!!!" Then the Pop Tart kid says to me, "I napped some when he was talking, he never knew I fell asleep." But apparently my child did NOT sleep at all and he looks at me through the tiny slits of his eyes which appear to be held open only by toothpicks, "I didn't. But I'm WIDE awake."

I told the insomniacs that they needed to lie back in those recliners, and take a little nap, even if it was for only an hour or so and believe it or not, that is what they are doing. My child's toothpicks fell out and his eyes are shut and the other one may soon drift off for a while too. I told them I'd cook a big breakfast around 7 or 8 if they took a good nap. But I have to say, they sure have had fun. They've sat by the campfire, they've talked and scared each other in the tent, and sat by the fire some more until they finally came in to watch TV. Fun times. Good thing I actually like to wake at 4 in the morning! lol

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sitting with the devil

I'm not sure why I showed up for the Kindergarten Orientation yesterday...but something told me I needed to wear a bra and make-up. Thankfully, I did both because just moments before it started, I was told I needed to stand and speak. You gotta love those friends that throw you out in front of moving train but I couldn't say no to their adorable faces...no wait, I did say no, and they shoved me anyway...I might put them on my watch list!!

Anyway, I was gone for most of the day, I bought groceries, ran errands but everything seemed okay when I returned home. The husband left for work and we got ready for church.

I didn't have a clue the kids were intoxicated with sugar and caffeine until we sat down on the quiet pew. Giggles erupted from them both for no apparent reason other than they have completely went nuts and laughter soon went viral. I knew I had to keep the kids quiet so I looked around at my prey options.

There he sat, alone. It was the Devil. Well, he played the Devil in our Christmas play and I knew he would be perfect! I took child number one by the hand and told him he was to sit by the Devil man until service was over. The child lucked up because a cute little girl sat next to him from his Sunday School class so he HAD to be on his best behavior! Looking forward to being with the children all day so I can control what goes in their bodies! I can guarantee it won't be chocolate and caffeine!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Need a Sub Syndrome

Dear Teachers,

I am currently open for booking substitute teaching jobs for August 21...the second day of school. I know you all show up with so much enthusiasm the first day, which is August 20...a few days away...but it doesn't take long before reality sets in...you are responsible for putting ALL THAT INFORMATION into their heads in just a few months.

Usually the first symptom of I Need a Sub Syndrome is diarrhea. This can usually start the morning of the first day but over that course of a 24 hr period, nausea sets in followed by the sweaty shakes, shallow breathing and finally tears. Some teachers develop hives and thoughts of I wanna go back to the beach overtake their daily activities. Both children and teachers cry for their mommies but somehow they all push through to make it until the end of the day.

Exhausted, both teachers and students pass out at eight o'clock that first night. Teachers however, being much older, often wake with that first day of school hangover unlike the children. The amount of caffeine they've poured into their bodies to get them through the first day would kill a horse. The kids wake fully refreshed, ready to go back and see their friends and teachers they already love. The poor teachers wake only when the alarm clock forces them to and they angrily slam their hand down to turn it off, or break it, which ever comes first. Heads hurt and bodies ache. Their furrowed brows lead them to the coffee pot and the sweet sound of percolating joe gives them enough energy to turn on the shower. They hop in, they hop out, the coffee is ready, and they are happy. This begins their long dependency on those dark grounded beans but this makes them happy, pretty and nice.

Some teachers never make it to the coffee pot. This is where I come in. So book me now teachers. If you feel like I Need a Sub Syndrome will not fade after that first day, give me a call. I go to bed at eight anyway, and my brows always lead me to the coffee pot each morning. Coffee makes me pretty, happy and nice, too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

One Brick Shy

It only took like eight hours...but One Brick Shy the book is now available. Stories like The Waterslide, Journey to The Gym and lots of quotes from the children are all in one eBook. It's only $2.29 and it may not be absolutely perfect, but it was great practice. I have a much larger one coming out really soon, and I wanted to practice with the formatting and all to see how difficult it would be. It's all on The Country Sky blog right now...
or click the button below to visit my bookstore.
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Tattoo

Yes, I got a tattoo...but more on that later!

Today, we went to a local water park with our church and had a ball. I'm currently in my PJs drinking chocolate milk and waiting until at least sunset before I collapse for the night...if I actually get to sleep. You see, there's this thing...with my back. Oh, I'm not injured...how do I put it?

I guess I should have known something was wrong when every time I walked toward someone their lower jaw fell downward pulling their upper and lower eyelids as far apart as they could go. Some were compassionate enough to say, "Oh, you are red!!" But they were wrong. I'm not so much red...I'd say I'm half past magenta or a deep, dark firebrick...which is at least three stages past red. Oh yea! And I was wearing 50 SPF. Apparently it wasn't the best at being waterproof...now ya tell me, as I sit shivering in my recliner trying to keep my skin from actually boiling. It hurts.

And that's not the best part! I told you how people reacted as I walked toward them, now let me tell you what happened as I walked past people. I knew I was burned, I felt it. Strangers tried to look away but after I would pass, chuckles were emitting from all directions. Wow, they sure are having a good time, I thought. But as the day went on, I noticed it was every time I walked past someone. Finally, someone from my group pulled me aside and said, "Um, well, you have a hand print on your back,"(after they had laughed hysterically). That's right, the little girl who will remain nameless, that nearly gagged when I asked to rub lotion on my back, didn't do so hot (where is all the good free help these days)!! Apparently, I have a new tattoo!

But the way I look at it, surely it embarrassed her enough to be seen with the lady with hand tattoo on her back, that she'll do better next time. Let's hope so. Hopefully, I'll be able to wear a bra in a few days (yikes) and my second degree burns will heal quickly.