Thursday, September 25, 2008

High-Tech Gesundheit

Beth has sneezed every morning this week between 6:25 and 6:30. I know - weird, huh? Anyway, I'm in my room getting ready. She's down the (short) hall in her room getting ready. For me to say, "Bless you," loud enough for her to hear me, I'd have to yell. Which, I'd ordinarily do. (It's a thing with me. I'd say 90% of my foster kids came to me without knowing it was the polite thing to say that when someone sneezes. I try to teach that by example.)

However, Elvis is still snoozing in his toddler bed at that time. In order for my morning to go smoothly, I need him to remain snoozing in his toddler bed. If he gets up early, I don't get ready in time. So, I can't yell Gesundheit. So, like a modern mom, I've texted it to her each morning. It's become funny as the week has gone along.

Kids today - you connect with them any way you can, even if you have to text "Gesundheit" to your daughter every morning before 6:31.

In other news, I've had a stressful week at school. One of my students made a dangerous choice this week. I wasn't involved but the parents are (understandably) upset. Our school administrators have been out of pocket at a conference this week, further frustrating the parents. We have a meeting set up for tomorrow after school. It will be me, the parents, and the principal. I'm not overly concerned. This had absolutely nothing to do with me, but I really dislike any confrontation so I'm really dreading this meeting. It's killed me that it happened on Monday and we've had to wait until after school on Friday to talk it all out. If you are so inclined, I'd appreciate any prayers or positive thoughts you could head my way about 3:30 Friday afternoon. I will update and give more details when it's all settled.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Elvis is going to nursing school

Well, actually he's just going to one class and it's today. He's going to be a visual aid. A dear friend is in nursing school and doing a presentation on cerebral palsy. Elvis is going along with her because she doesn't think many students in her class have ever really seen a child with CP. Elvis is more than happy to do this as he loves for people to think he's cool. He's taking his new wheelchair and his new communication board so he can show off for the nice folks. Of course, to do this, he's playing hooky from his own school but we're hoping that a note from the nursing student also signed by her nursing teacher will suffice to excuse his absence.

In other family news, Beth is passing her English class. She's got a 73 (needs a 70 to pass). She has a long history of getting 70s on her report card. In fact this teacher told her yesterday that she was barely scraping the line. Beth laughed and said she wasn't worried because she had 3 points to play with. Sad but true. She's the queen of doing "just enough" and that is the expectation she has for herself. Goodness knows I've tried to adjust that way of thinking. I don't think she's heard any of what I've had to say.

Alli hasn't subbed since last week. I don't know if the school hasn't called her or if she hasn't accepted any days. Boy Wonder has applied for a couple of jobs but hasn't gotten any of them. His unemployment checks are about to stop. That's the only reason he's actually applying for jobs. Gee, maybe doing "just enough" is a family trait?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Got gas?

We survived the week. Elvis stayed with Boy Wonder Wednesday morning and did just fine. They drove to my school and picked up Alli at the half day mark. Thursday, Alli had planned for BW to keep Elvis all day. Elvis had other plans. Just after the mid-day mark, BW began texting and calling. Elvis was screaming and refusing all food and drink. I sent Alli home to them in my van after she promised to come back and get me after school. I think Elvis and BW had both had enough of each other at that point.

After school on Thursday I had what is locally known as "Burger King Night." The owner of our local BK franchises lets schools take turns collecting receipts on assigned nights at an assigned store. A percentage of the total on the collected receipts is donated to the school. This was the night for my classroom. I left school and went straight to BK where I spent 4 hours, leaving at 8:00 PM. Talk about a long day. It wasn't too bad. I'd recruited Beth and her BFF to help collect receipts. Some parents/kids from my classroom helped, too. Another friend came to eat and brought her sons who were quickly forced to collect receipts. The friend then stayed to visit, making the night go much quicker! I always sign up for this fund-raiser. It's not always fun but I usually get $100 to $150 for my 4 hours work. Not bad money!

Friday I had to stay after school for a special ed meeting for one of my students. The meeting ended at 4:00 and as we were walking away from the table, the student's father said, "I hope no one needs gas for the weekend." I replied that my low gas light had come on as I pulled into the parking lot that morning and asked what he was talking about. Evidently ALL gas stations in the town where I teach were OUT of gas. Not just out of cheap gas - out of all gas. Sure enough, as I began my journey home, I noticed empty gas station parking lots and the signs had been stripped of all numbers in the price section. I passed one Texaco that must have had gas. I can only assume that because cars were lined up on the highway trying get into the lot. My best quick-count as I drove by indicated that 41 cars were in/trying to get in to that station. I kept on driving. As I got closer to home I found a few more stations that appeared to have gas. I pulled into a couple of them only to discover they had the super-premium but no other grades. I've been told to only use the 87 grade. I kept driving. I finally came to a station with no lines and they had gas. I filled my tank ($68.50!) for $4.09 a gallon. I don't quite know what's going on with this gas shortage but it kind of spooks me. I'm just glad I'm home with a full tank that should last me at least a week before I have to start hunting it down again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Elvis is HOT...

and not in a good way. Not that a five-year-old can be hot in a good way. He's sick. Really sick. I don't know that his fever has ever been this high. At 5:30 this morning, WITH Motrin in his system, his temp was 103.3! You could honestly feel the heat radiating off his little body.

He'd been fine last night. We ate out with the extended family for my nephew's 8th birthday. Elvis ate just fine. (He loves Chinese food!) We got home and he seemed a little off, but we dismissed it as being tired. He went to sleep and was woken up by our door alarm beeping as his Aunt Beth went outside to do something. He wouldn't go back to sleep. I thought he felt a little warm but still didn't think much about it. Finally, when he was still awake after an hour, I decided he felt really hot. I checked his temp and it was 101.4. I gave him Motrin and we dozed off and on. I put him in his bed about 11:30. He was back up at 1:30 this morning and was blazing hot again. I gave him more Motrin and he stayed in bed with me, snuggled on my arm. We both dozed off and on but didn't really sleep. When I got up at 5:30, he did, too.

Alli was scheduled to sub today but I knew Elvis needed her more. I called our school secretary and told her Alli couldn't make it. They had to get a sub for the sub - LOL! She was very nice about it. When Alli got up, I told her I'd called her in sick. She went ahead and got dressed and got Elvis dressed. They took Beth and me to our schools and stayed at my school until the doctor's office opened. She managed to get an early appointment with the new pediatrician in the office we use. (Elvis' favorite doctor ~ we call her his doctor girlfriend ~ was booked up all morning.) Alli and Elvis left and headed on into the office.

He was diagnosed with a virus, causing fever, a fever blister, and coughing/congestion. He also had a double ear infection. She said to keep an eye on his breathing, as she's afraid the virus will lead to pneumonia since he already has breathing issues. So, we're doing breathing treatments every 4 hours, Tylenol every 4 hours, Motrin every 6 hours, and the antibiotic for the ears twice a day. He's so pitiful. He's not eating or drinking. I keep forcing liquids in him because I do not want to end up in the hospital with a dehydrated little guy.

We're taking a big leap of faith (and, honestly, desperation) and leaving sick Elvis home with Boy Wonder tomorrow. Alli is scheduled to sub but only for the morning. If all goes according to plan, Elvis and Boy Wonder will sleep and maybe play some video games before Alli gets home about noon. We'll do all required medicines/treatments before we leave and she should be home before the next round is horribly overdue. Wish us (and especially Boy Wonder) luck!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rotten mind

If television truly rots your brain, consider mine rotten and moldy. I spent my afternoon aimlessly flipping channels. I'd stop here and there when something caught my eye but I didn't watch much of anything very long. I did watch the whole hour show about Lakshmi Tatma. That was pretty darn amazing. I learned about Goliath Tarantulas. The can be up 12 inches in diameter. I hate regular spiders. I'd probably drop dead if I every ran into one of those! I also learned to fear the Brazilian Wandering Spider. They are oh so very deadly. One of the worst-feared bugs would be Army ants. (Can you tell I spent some time on the National Geographic Channel watching a show on predators of the Amazon?)

So, I'm starting the week with the house a mess, my laundry still dirty, and my bathroom in need of a good scrubbing. However, I know what dangerous creatures to avoid next time I'm wading in or around the Amazon. I also know that if your baby has a parasitic twin, there's a doctor in India that can fix him/her/them right up. Maybe if I keep watching those shows, I'll learn how to perform the surgery myself?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Catalog season has started

About this time every year, my mailbox gets stuffed full of catalogs. I get them from all sorts of companies. They range from Victoria's Secret (go ahead and LOL if you know me in real life) to Disney to some bizarre hunting/fishing equipment store (again, LOL!). Today came one that makes me sad, though. It's the American Girl catalog. I've always been a fan of dolls. I got a doll for Christmas every year until I was way past being too old for them. That was long before the American Girl dolls came into being.

When I was in college, I actually got an American Girl doll. A family I babysat for gave me Samantha. I loved her. I still have her. She' sits on a shelf in my den and has outfits for different seasons. In the summer, she's dressed in a bathing suit from her clothing collection. Now, she's wearing a school dress from the catalog. Before long, she'll change into her Christmas dress.

I passed my love of these dolls onto my early foster daughter. Over the years, I've bought at least two Bitty Babies, a Kaya, a Josephina, and at least 4 of the American Girls Today dolls for various foster daughters. Once, I even bought an Addy and a couple of her outfits for a child on another state's waiting kids website. (She was waiting for a family and said her one wish was for an Addy doll. I emailed her worker and she said I could have the doll shipped to her at her office and she would get it to the child. I can only hope she did and didn't take it home for her own daughter.)

Now, there is no one in my life to share my appreciation of these dolls. In previous years, the arrival of this catalog would have been exciting for me and at least one of my kids. Alli and Beth have never been "doll kids." They couldn't care less. Elvis, obviously, doesn't care. I'll flip through the pages and toss it out with a heavy heart. Another phase in my life is over. I wonder what I'll move on to next?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Found 'em

Elvis has been to the nut doctor. He's actually a urologist with a fancy office in the big city. He immediately found both testicles. They are there but they are up too high. He told us (even before he examined Elvis) that he was sure he knew what the problem was. Elvis' CP makes his leg muscles very tight. He said that same spasticity involved the muscles in his groin and that was pulling his testicles back up. He even played a little tug-o-war with Elvis' nuts, just to prove his point. Poor Elvis!

So, we wait. He wants to see him back in six months and if they are still up, we'll schedule nut-dropping surgery. Doesn't that sound fun? Each side will take two small incisions. They'll pull the testicles down where they belong and stitch them in place. O.U.C.H.

And the gas fun just keeps coming, too. I spoke too soon when I complained about the twenty cent rise this morning. Gas stations that were $3.59 this morning at 7:30 are now between $3.99 and $4.15 at 2:00 PM! YIKES! I went ahead and filled up, just in case they keep rising.

Twenty cents

I'm off work today to go look for Elvis' nuts. However, this was also my day for early morning bus room. I went on to school and did my bus duty. It was easier to just do it that to try to trade someone or find someone to cover it. It's my least favorite of the duties we're required to do but, knowing I could just leave when it was over, it felt pretty good today!

Anyway, while I was doing my 30 minute bus duty, the price of gas rose TWENTY CENTS! I drove past the gas station near my school and it was $3.59. I drove back by on the way home and it was $3.79. There couldn't have been 45 minutes between driving by that station. I'm assuming the price jump is due to Hurricane Ike. I'm hoping it's just a temporary rise and not a trend. I liked it much better when the price was dropping.

We're off to the big city to see the fancy specialist. I'll let you know the status and location of Elvis' nuts tonight. I know you can't wait!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Aw, nuts!

How sad is it that nuts are topical in my life right now?

First, they are a problem at school on a couple of different fronts. Several boys in my class (kindergarten, thankyouverymuch) think it's hilarious to punch each other in the nuts. I don't remember ever having this much trouble getting kids to keep their hands to themselves. They aren't doing it to be aggressive - it's just all big joke. However, some of the parents don't think it's very funny (rightly so, but they are the ones who raised the nut-punchers) The assistant principal is already involved in this with me. I'm guessing the guidance counselor (who is now supposed to be called a school counselor) will be the next person I bring in. It's hard to say, "Don't hit anyone else's nuts" in a kindergarten-appropriate manner! The other nut problem is on the playground. For some reason, some genius in our school's history felt it appropriate to plant a walnut tree on the edge of the playground. They've started falling off the tree and are becoming missiles in the hands of 90+ five-year-olds. It's bad enough to have that many kids being supervised by two teachers. Arm them and the odds of us keeping everyone safe drop to ridiculously low levels. So, inside or out, I'm spending a lot of time supervising the nuts of others.

On the home front, Elvis' nuts are missing. Anyone seen them? He went to his physical to start school and pediatrician said, "I can't find his testicles." He's referred Elvis to a urologist. That appointment is Friday. I've taken the day off from supervising flying nuts and punched nuts to take my grandson to try to find his nuts. For some reason, I'm really not looking forward to this appointment...

Like I said, "Aw, nuts!"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oh, darn!

The Hottie and the Nottie wouldn't play. I'm so distraught. *read with sarcasm, please* I really did try to watch it. I promised Beth I would and I did. It just wouldn't play. About 10 minutes in, it just froze up. When I tried to fast-forward through that one scene, it skipped to the middle of the movie. When I tried to skip back a little (would have been rewind in the old days, but can you rewind a DVD?), it just went back to the scene where the movie froze. So, I did what all good Netflix members do...I went to their website and reported the problem. Just don't tell Beth that when it asked if I wanted them to send another copy of it, I said, um, no thanks. I did watch Nim's Island today. Boy Wonder bought a used copy at the video store. It was good - better than I expected, anyway. I enjoyed it.

I'm looking forward to a boring school week. We don't have anything major going on. Just school and home. This is the first time in a loooong time I haven't been making two or three trips a week to take various foster kids to out of town appointments. I felt like I was never home. This year, it's just school and then home. While I miss some parts of the fostering, that is not something I miss. A tank of gas seems to last forever!

Beth was gone all weekend with friends. I feel like I rarely see her. She did come home this afternoon and clean the den and her bedroom. That was nice. I'd cleaned the kitchen earlier. Our house looks almost fit for human habitation. It won't last long. The cat will hock up a hairball or the dog will have another "episode" and vomit on the couch. Or, if the pets behave, a person will drop a full cup of drink that's guaranteed to stain everything in that room AND the two adjacent rooms. It just happens. No matter how hard I try, it happens. But, for now, I'll enjoy the neat den.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It was a long "short" week

TGIF! Nothing horrible happened this week but it seemed to last forever - despite Monday having been a holiday.

Yesterday was the loooooooongest day. It was an early release day for the kids (meaning they were in school from 8:15 until 12:01). After they left, the teachers had a 30-minute duty-free lunch followed by an afternoon of meetings. This is the first time we've had these days and the scheduling was awkward (my class ate lunch at 10:15) but not too bad. To finish off the day, however, we had parent-teacher conferences from 4:00 until 7:00. Those 3 hours really dragged. I had 12 conferences scheduled and they all went well. It was just a long day. Eleven hours at school is a bit much, even for the most dedicated of teachers.

Today it's rained a lot. I guess we are getting the remnants of some long-gone hurricane? Whatever the reason, we needed the rain. However, rainy days mean no recess. And Fridays are my days at school with no break. So I was up-close and personal with my 22 students all day long. On top of yesterday's long day, this was trying, to put it nicely. We all survived, though. No one was permanently harmed. And, I don't dread going back Monday. All in all, it was an okay week.

I'm just glad to be home. Elvis and I picked up a pizza (and cheese bread, like I needed that) on the way home. When we got here, I had Alli come get him while I retreated to my room to watch a Netflix that's been sitting around the house for over a week. (The movie was Penelope, and I really liked it. It was definitely a "rent-it" and not a "buy-it" but it was a nice way to cap off my week.)

I'm finishing my evening off by goofing off online and planning to snuggle into bed with another Netflix I haven't had time to watch yet. This one was Beth's pick and I may or may not make it through it. I have a very low tolerance for anything involving Paris Hilton. It's called The Hottie and the Nottie. I don't have high hopes so I don't expect to be disappointed. If it's too bad, I'll turn it off an move on to the the Gilmore Girls, which I haven't watched in a whole month now! I'm impressed with my willpower but glad I made it. Now, I can watch them again. All is right with my world...until the next disaster happens, anyway.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fate hath smitten me...

I was standing in the doorway to my classroom this morning, welcoming the kids when what do I spy but the kid with behavior issues who "moved away" on Friday. Turns out they had some problem with the house they were renting/leasing/buying in their new state. He's baaaaack!

All is not lost. He's only here for two more weeks. And, I don't mind him. He's nothing I can't deal with and he can be quite funny at times. I was, however, looking forward to having only 21 kids in my class for a while.

I just wish I hadn't spent all that time this weekend removing this child's name from everything in the classroom. Now the I re-label everything for two weeks or do I just tell him to use the un-labeled everything (seat, cubbie, supplies, etc.)?

In the meantime, Alli subbed today and is scheduled for tomorrow. She's working!!!!!!! It's not a permanent job but she's out of the house and doing something. I'll take that for now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Go to sleep!!!

About 9:20, Boy Wonder brought Elvis to me. He was in pajamas and, I assumed, ready for bed. It was past his bedtime but we were all still running around getting things ready for the week to come. Elvis hung out on my bed, waiting for me to come get him to sleep. I finished up what I had to do tonight and went back to my room.

Elvis started screaming at me. There were no tears. He was just yelling. I asked if he was hungry and got a big smile. (That's Elvis for "yes.") He drank two cans of Pediasure and ate a honey bun and a serving of Sun Chips. Yes, I'd call that hungry. He might have eaten more but I stopped him. It was nearing 10:00 at that point and we were an hour past his bed time.

We snuggled up and did our nightly ritual of "Who loves Elvis?" It's rather like a God Bless so and so that most people would do as a bed time prayer. Instead, we list all the people who love Elvis. It's sounds conceited, I know. However he and I started it a couple of years ago and it stuck. We just have to hope that God understands that we are praying for these people at the same time. Anyway, we finished Who Loves Elvis and snuggled up to go to sleep...and Elvis started laughing. He laughed and laughed. At one point, Beth wandered by on her way to the bathroom. I asked her to tell Elvis that if he didn't go to sleep soon he would be too sleepy in the morning to go to school. This made him start crying...loudly. He wouldn't stop. She finally took him to lie down with her. It's almost 11:00 now - TWO hours past his bedtime (and mine). It could be a long night.

Things I should have done

There were lots of things I had planned to do over the long holiday weekend. I meant to do some/all of them. Really I did. Somehow, it just didn't happen.

1. Sand and prime my bathroom. Remember way back in the spring when I was planning to do this? Guess what? It's still not done!
2. Paint my bathroom (after sanding and priming it, of course).
3. Clean out and paint the empty bedroom that is going to be Elvis' room. It's just sitting there, full of junk, waiting on me to get it ready. He won't sleep in there for a looooong time because if he had a seizure during the night, I'd never know it. I do look forward to having a room to call his own, though, because we can put his stuff in there and he can hang out and watch TV in there without torturing me with repeated watchings of "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody." A girl can dream, can't she? I'm almost 41 years old and have a 5 year old roomie. We both need a little space.
4. Clean out the nasty van. There are still things in the way-back seat from the trip home from the mid-July. It's just been so hot I don't want to get back there and fool with it.
5. Spend a day without talking to anyone. I'm not usually like that but I really wanted some solitude for several consecutive hours. I spend my work days talking constantly to small children. At this point, I still have to explain everything to them and then repeat it many times before most of them can "get it." Sadly, there are some this year that might never "get it."
6. Do some online ordering that I've been putting off. I really need a couple more polo shirts and a pair of khakis for work. I know exactly where to order them from. I just haven't taken the time to go do it. I also need to order the rest of the canopy set-up that goes over my bed. (I ordered the beginnings of what I needed in May to make sure I liked it before I got the rest. I like it. I just haven't finished the order yet.)
7. Bathe my poor old stinky, itchy dog. He deserves better. All night I hear him scratching and licking. Last weekend I put some Frontline on him, hoping that it would help. It didn't. I really meant to give him a good scrub in the tub this weekend. I didn't get there.

What I did do this weekend:
1. A lot of Elvis-watching
2. I watched a movie that I chose - Smart People. It had some big name stars in it: Sarah Jessica Parker, Dennis Quaid, Ellen Page (think Juno). It was a little dull but I enjoyed it least I think I did.
3. I watched a marathon of Beverly Hills, 90210. *hangs head in shame* I did other things while I watched it but I watched several episodes today.
4. I did get a lot accomplished in my classroom this weekend. I was there every day of my long weekend. It's not exactly what I'd planned but I feel good with what I've accomplished. I almost feel caught up on that front.
5. I brought some paperwork home from school to do at home. (As a side note, I didn't actually do the paperwork but by bringing it home I feel I attempted to do it. It's better than what I'd been doing which was ignoring it and hoping it would just go away.)
6. I talked to my mom a lot. A close friend of hers died this weekend and I think she's a little freaked. My mom doesn't freak easily so I'm being as supportive as I can. The friend evidently got food poisoning from a local fast food chain. She got sick Monday night after having dinner there. She was dead by Saturday. I have to admit that freaks me out a lot, too.
7. I've watched a lot of the coverage of Hurricane Gustav. I don't know why. It's kind of like rubber-necking as you pass a car accident. I just felt the need to see it. It was kind of surreal to be having such beautiful weather here while not that far away, they were having a hurricane.