May 24, 2008

Skippin Skool....

I was wandering through one of my favorite blogs, Candid Carrie, and she was writing a segment about the guilt from skipping school. Well, that made me think of a doosey of a day back when I was in high school....

Let me start with this... I am a good person who has made questionable choices throughout my life. When I was a freshman, I fell in with (as my parents called it) 'the bad crowd'. I called these people my friends and still consider them to be friends to this day. Anyway, Spring was coming and the midwest weather was improving. I was itching to be outside soaking up the sun. It started out simple enough, I had to go to North Campus after 3rd period to take Science (my school was big enough to have 2 campuses). I'll just miss the bus, head downtown and stop at Hungry Hobo for lunch with some friends. And I did just that. One period, one 45 minute period of freedom in the middle of the day and I was hooked. I wanted out. And that is exactly what I did. I got out as often as possible. I learned to lie in the face of the adminstrators. "No, I was in 4th period. I came in late, the teacher must have missed me." And someone always backed up my story until......

I was at the Hungry Hobo for lunch and the Dean of Students, a close personal friend of my parents, stopped in for lunch. Long story short, he took me back to school, called my parents and I spent the next week in the solitary confinement of the dreaded In School Suspension room. After that little stint in the hole, I was scared straight, I never did it again..... Until Senior Skip Day...

The Monday after Prom was our Senior Skip day. I told my parents, "Don't worry about me, I am going to go to school. Plus I have a BioTech test I have to take." I didn't lie. I went to first period (one of three who showed up by the way, which inspired my walk out after class). Took my test, smoozed with the teacher (The man who actually inspired me to become a teacher, Thank you Stiney!) and snuck down the choir hallway after class. Those of us choir/drama nerds new that there was a stage door leading out that was never monitored, so off I went on a new adventure. What could go wrong this time?

I met my then boyfriend, my best friend Becca and some other kids, I don't remember who.... (come on, its been 15 years!) We hung out, listened to music, chatted, and did what normal 17 year olds do on a day of freedom. After lunch we decided to get a killer Volleyball game going on. I am a descent volleyball player, but nothing spectacular.  I must also tell you, I am short. 5'2 is pushing it. My boyfriend and his friends averaged 6'4ish. The height difference was quite noticed when: In the heat of the game my boyfriend at the time went up to spike the ball. So naturally, I have to try to block that spike and keep our team in the lead.  Who cares about relationship loyalty.  This is a game and I wand to WIN!  

He goes to spike.
I jump up on my short little legs to stop the ball.
I am still in mid-jump, when he starts falling back to the ground with his knee still up.
I am still jumping, my finger tips touch the ball..... I am going to block his shot and never let him live it down.....

Then it happens.

Sharp shooting pain sears down my leg radiating from the spot his knee has hit my thigh.  I a word OOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never felt pain like this in my life.  I immediately fall to the ground clutching my leg in pain.  (even writing about it now sends phantom pain!)  My friends rush to my aid.  I don't think I was able to even make a sound I was hurt so bad.  I couldn't put weight on my leg at all, I had to be carried pretty much for the rest of the afternoon.  

Great, now what.  I can't tell my parents it happened at school, the school has to call.  And I literally can't put any pressure on my leg.  I had someone drive me home, called my dad at work (man was he pissed!), and told him I think I need to go to the hospital.  I started off my conversation with, "You know how I told you I was going to go to school today......" then relay the whole situation to him.  He didn't believe me at first, but came home anyway and took me to the nearby emergency room.  

I had x-rays, a painful exam, was put through tests to see the range of motion I was able to go through.  What I found out was I had a severe hematoma throughout my ENTIRE thigh muscle.  I was put on some mind altering pain medicine, muscle relaxers, and was forced to use crutches until I was able to walk without shooting pain.  That weekend, I even took my ACT exam on the pain killers/muscle relaxer cocktail.  I scored a whopping 17, which I consider a pretty good score given the fact that the bubbles on the sheet kept moving on me!

The boyfriend at the time felt guilty, but not guilty enough in my mind and our relationship ended a couple months later.... Just in time to meet my charming, witty husband. 

May 20, 2008

Ranch Pants!!!

So, I am sure you are wondering about this one!  

I teach at a middle school, and used to be the self-contained Learning Disabilities teacher.  I had a good rapport with my students and we were pretty comfortable with one another.  I know way more about their personal lives to this day than I care to ever remember.  Anyway, I had a student, we'll call him 'Joe', and he wasn't feeling well.  It was about the end of lunch time, and he had been in the nurses office all morning due to an upset stomach.  

Being the caring person I am, I went in to check on him and see if he wanted anything to eat.  He wanted a banana.  I said, "sure, that is easy, I can go get you one".  Oh, if only that were true!  I get his lunch number, head downstairs to the cafeteria for his lunch.  The cafeteria is almost empty, classes are leaving, lunch is about over.  I grab a banana, take it to the cashier, plug in the number and wait for it...... Get yelled at!  

Why you ask....  well, in our building, most of our students are on free and reduced lunch.  Students who receive this, HAVE to get an entire meal even if they aren't going to eat it!  Sounds assanine right? 

Anyway, I say 'Joe is sick, he just wants a banana'.  
Response: 'He has to get a whole lunch, I can't give you just a banana' (By the way, the rest of the meal options are put away, and the staff are running frantic doing the lunch clean up.  Getting a meal isn't even an option because there is nothing there!) Don't get me started on how long this conversation went on!  
Next, I say, 'well, how about this, I will buy the banana for myself and we won't worry about Joe'.
Respose:  'I can't let you do that, I know it is going to a student and this cannot happen'. 

By now, I am out of wits.  I don't know how to reason with this person and feel the urge to take the banana and run!  This whole time the cafeteria staff are scurrying around trying to clean up for the day.  I open my mouth to make my last ditch effort to get this God D**N banana when I hear this from behind:  "OH, SHIT!!!"

Then I feel it.....  The backs of my legs feel like someone drove through a mud puddle and it splashed up all over the back of me... My pants, shirt, hair covered in this heavy substance  that is starting to drip. What was it you ask?  An industrial sized (GALLON) jug of RANCH DRESSING!!!  It slipped out of someone's hands because as she put it "it was slippery and I lost my grip"  (That's what she said)

So, now what do I do?!?  I stand stunned, speechless, unmoving for what felt like five minutes while my brain tries to processes what has just happened.  I turned around, walked directly to the woman's bathroom to see the damage, and yes I took the banana with me!!!  I lock myself in, face my back toward the mirror, turn to look over my shoulder and see the effects of that much ranch on my BRAND NEW PANTS & SHOES!!!  In a word my pants were completely covered in dressing, my shirt and hair were lightly splattered.  Ranch had dripped into my shoes. 

Now, here's where my judgement comes into play.  Do I go home and change my clothes and come back?  Do I rinse my clothes out and stay for the rest of the day in soiled and oily clothes?  Either way, I have to get the bulk of the ranch off.  I strip down to my skivvies and start rinsing off my pants because there is no way that paper towels were going to work on this mess.  I rinse them out, wring them as dry as much as I possibly can and put them back on!  It was gross, I repeat GROSS!  My shirt I was able to spot clean with the paper towels as with my hair.  The shoes I just rinsed and dried with a towel.

From here, I march to the nurses office, banana in hand and give it to 'Joe', who responds with the statement:  "What is that smell?"  Great, I smell now too!!!!!  I march over to the associates office and say:  "I need to go home and change my clothes"
"Why, is everything o.k.?"
"No, its not!"  And I proceed to explain the ranch explosion all over my clothes.  I can tell she was trying not to laugh at the incident, but she was able to maintain composure.  

I get the approval, tell my para educator to conduct the lessons until I return, go out and get into my car.  I am ready to leave.  I drive down the block when it dawns on me... I live over a half hour away.  I have to go home, wash up, change clothes, drive back and teach for the rest of the day.  That would put me back to work with less than a half an hour left in the day.  I turn the car around, drive back to school, explain the situation to the associate and went to my classroom to teach for the rest of the day.

I sat in my chair behind my desk as much as possible.  My para knowing the situation was quite kind in taking over the group work and I called individual students back to my desk.  Each one of them commenting on the unusual smell.  By the way, my classroom has no windows or good ventilation so the smell wasn't going anywhere.  I decided to tell the students what happened, they smiled, but none laughed.  Our room was about mutual respect and they were very understanding about the whole situation and didn't laugh.  (although, much laughing took place later in the year!)  I was o.k.  I made it through the school day with one period to go.....

Two student (who I only saw at that time of the day and didn't know the situation) walked in the room....  "Wow, it is pungent in here.  It smells like rotting food, like ranch dressing"  That was it, I lost composure.  I started to cry!  Not a little sniffle, I CRIED!  The kids came over to me.... 
"Miss H, are you o.k.?"  They sounded so genuinely concerned.
At this point, I was done.   I couldn't stop crying, no mater how hard I tried.
"Oh, my god Matt, you broke the teacher" was the comment one made to the other.

The students who had been in the room explained what happened to me, and they all seemed to understand and sympathize.  I taught the lesson, they actually paid more attention than usual. The bell rang for the end of the day, students dismissed, I sneak out of the building as quietly as possible.  The day is over, I can go home and shower, get the stink off, and relax.  Pants and shoes are ruined and get thrown away, shirt was salvageable.  

Next morning, I woke up ready to face the day (barely).  Drive to work.  Only a few people know what happened to me, I don't have to worry about being embarrassed.  No one knows, right?!?  I get to my mailbox.   There's something inside.  A bag of carrots with a note that read:  Can I dip these on your pants?  I look towards the associates office to see her smiling at me, and give me a head nod.  I can laugh about it now and not focus on the negativity of the incident.  That helped me get passed it and share it with the staff at one of the next meetings.  The best thing that came out of that: veggie snacks hidden in my mailbox every once in a while through the end of the school year.

I was never questioned about a banana again!

May 19, 2008

Adult Book Store Antics!

Well, that's a good hook, huh!

About ten years ago I was banned from an adult bookstore with one of my friends for three months. They even photocopied our driver's licenses and posted them BY THE DOOR saying "These two are banned from the premises until October 16, 1997" Here's the deal:

My friend, we'll call him B, had just been dumped by his girlfriend. So, what is more therapeutic than getting drunk and going to the local adult book store. It was our best idea, so we broke out the Rumplemintz and shot glasses and went to work! Half a bottle later, four of us were headed out the door to the 'local' ABS

I hate to admit how we got to the bookstore, but I was the only one who knew how to get there. (Yes, I had been there before, but can honestly say I have never been back!) Against better judgement, I drove. I had taken ONLY three shots. I say that lightly. You have a different frame of mind when you are 22 and no matter what you do, you are invincible.

We get there, giggle, walk in, giggle, and B sees it. GIGGLE!!! A giant 6 foot inflatable penis! Well, what do you do with a giant 6 foot inflatable penis? Well, you punch it like one of those punching clowns, DUH!

B thrusts his fist toward the giant penis, he plunges back. Giggle! He is so drunk that his reaction time is severely delayed and he keeps his fist out. Penis springs back. Fist still out, B still drunk. Penis hits outstretched fist. (Still drunk, I see a theme) No one realized how much was imbibed until this moment. Penis goes past fist, hits him in the head, knocks him over.

Now picture this like a slow motion movie segment.... B falling backwards... Penis bobbing back and forth... Discount bin of 'toys' behind him... Penis bobbing, B falling. Discount bin knocked over, toys fly up in air, B falling back, penis bobbing back and forth. Ben hits the floor, adult 'toys' fly up, then back down around him, penis still bobbing back and forth.

Ben find this hilarious, grabs my leg and pulls me to the ground with him. I knock over a rack of cards, only a few fly out, and land on the floor laughing my ass off!

Enter clerk into the situation. I am sure he has seen worse by the way! Can I see your ID's please? "Why" I want to make sure you are old enough to be in here. "sure, here you go". and he walks off. A few minutes later, we got our ID's back and were told "You need to leave the premises. You are banned for three months after which time you may return. You have two minutes before I call the police. Have a nice day"

The other two who came with us stayed and did a little shopping. On the way home, B vommmmmited out the car window, which turned into another sticky situation. But we will leave it at that. I am sure I have embarrassed him enough for one day.

*Disclaimer: Being a wee bit intoxicated during the ordeal gave me a different perspective. For those involved they may remember it differently. I prefer my way. Much more humorous!

May 7, 2008

The Dreaded Pot

I figured that would get your attention.... I am actually speaking of the dreaded Neti Pot!  (seen below)
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have weird issues.  One such issue it the fact that I DO NOT PUT THINGS UP MY NOSE!!!  Example:  I went to a doctor last fall due to allergy issues.  I had to see someone else in the group because my doctor was out.  His grand solution.... Nasal spray will do the trick.  He's the conversation as I recall it:

Doctor "Here, you can use this spray three times a day in each nostril"
"I can't do that, I don't put things up my nose, sorry"
Doctor "Well, I can do that for you"
"No thanks, what else can we try"
Doctor "This is the best option, here, let me do it for you and show you what its like"
By now, I am getting a little pissed... He's not listening, so I go for the extreme....  "If you want me to have a reflex and kick you, go right ahead, because I DO NOT PUT THINGS IN MY NOSE, AND NOONE ELSE DOES EITHER"!!!
"O.K., I am getting that you don't like to use nasal sprays.  Why don't I give you a sample and you can try it if you feel like you need to."
"No thank you, save your sample for someone who will use it"  and I left with no help, a $15.00 Co-pay and continued allergies issues.

Flash forward to last Friday:  I am stuck at an inservice, with a box of Kleenex in front of me, my head filled with so much fluid that no one will sit by me and I feel quarantined with Emily who is in the same situation.  One of the brave souls willing to sit by me suggested the Neti Pot.  I can't use one, I'm too congested for it to work....  Man, I am miserable

Flash forward to today, 5 days later:  My nose is finally open enough to use The Pot.  I stop at one of the hundreds of local Walgreens in the area and picked up the Neti Pot and toilet paper. (two essential supplies) and headed home.  I read the directions 4 times before I committed to just 'doing it'.

I filled up the Pot, added the medication, shook it up....  I looked at it for several minutes, trying to figure out the correct head angle, how the 'plunger' works, and how to mentally prepare to put something up my nose....

Attempt #1 - Pot up to nose, light squeeze, about 6 drops go it...  I back up, freak out, then remember that you are supposed have your mouth open and continue breathing.  I need a break.

Attempt #2 - 5 minutes later....  Pot up to nose, a little harder squeeze, water goes it, starts to come out the other side.  I back up, freak out, and walk away to pace the apartment and mentally prepare for the final commitment of going 'all the way' the next time.

Attempt #3 - 5 minutes later..... again....  Pot up to nose, I commit to the full squeeze, I am breathing like a woman in hard labor because GOD KNOWS I don't want that nastyness to drip down the back of my throat....  End of squeeze,  the directions didn't say what to do now, I release the bottle (early)  back up, freak out as the liquid came out both sides and drips down back of throat.   GROSS, almost vomited.  I need to look up what I am doing wrong.

Attempt #4 - 5 minutes later..... have done the research, now I know what to do...  Pot up to nose, full squeeze, breathing like I'm in hard labor, get to the end of squeeze and follow the directions from the Internet..  

I made it....  I did it...  I am a real adult now...  Wait, why is the bottle still half full.  Shit, I have to do the other side too.  Back to the mental preparations for this side.  

Side 2 - I tried to get through with it as quickly as I could taking myself to my mental happy place.  I am sitting on the beach in Hawaii, tropical fruity drink in my hand, watching the sun set.  

Now, I just need to commit to doing that 2 times a day to help keep my allergies under control.  I hope I can do, I guess I will find out tomorrow!

May 3, 2008

Grad Class Final Project!

Thank God it is the end of the semester.  Thank God our presentation is done and we are fourth in line and can look over notes.  Wait a second, where is our second presenter.  Class started thirty minutes ago and he's not here.  How do we present?  Do we skip his part?  OMG how are we going to fill the whole time????  Thoughts are racing through my head.  

Luckily, he shows up.  He was stuck in detours around the flooding Mississippi River, then behind the mother of all car accidents when he got towards campus.  O.K.  Nothing else can happen right?!?

Our time to present.  Fourth group, same topics as the other groups.  Nobody will be listening to us, right?  They are probably bored to tears by now and are texting their friends/ spouses or playing solitare on their Palm Pilot like I do at some in services.  (sorry, I just can't sit and listen, I have to be doing something).  The first part goes off without a hitch.  She did an awesome job, timely, things are going great.  Person two (I'm the last out of five by the way) gets up and starts withe his first slide.  Looking good.  I am focused on the computer screen and not the projector and look up to see some confused faces.  Am I on the wrong slide?  Did I skip ahead and go on?  What's happening.  I look at the screen, no presentation, something is wrong with the projector!?!?!?!?!

The professor gets up, tells us to keep going (our time still running out by the way) and goes in front of me and tries to fix the projector while our presentation is going.  He hits a few buttons, nothing is happening and we know he isn't listening to the presentation any more.  How are we going to get our grade.  I pride myself on having A's in all of the grad classes I have taken so far.  The professor then says, "Keep going, I will go get someone to help".  WHAT!  Your leaving and we are supposed to keep going!!!  My grade, what about my grade!!!  Just as he leaves the projector comes back on and we are set to go.  

The second presenter read every slide, painstakingly slow.  I look at my watch, over half of our time is gone!!!  He's still talking, shit I am not going to be able to do my part!!!  O.K. the professor is asking him to wrap it up.  25/64 slides done.  We can do this, right?!?

Presenter 3 & 4 go.  Nice job, short and sweet, going over the basics.  We're about done.  My part is coming up.  Let's get this done and over.  Presenter 4 wraps up, my turn.  Just as I move to the next slide.  "Your time is up, wrap it up in about 2 minutes."  

2 MINUTES for 7 minutes worth of information!!!  What do I do, what do I do???  The only thing possible.  I start going over my information at lightning speed.  I think at one point I broke the sound barrier I was going over my information so fast.  I got done (in 2 minutes mind you) to the professor asking "Are you o.k.?"  Why, what's going on, of course I am o.k.  I go back to my seat, sit down and the woman next to me asked the same thing.  "Yeah, I'm fine, why?"

Apparently while I was up there, talking at lightning speed, My chest and face became very red (probably due to the lack of oxygen I was able to intake by talking that quickly)  and she thought I was about to pass out!  

After class was over, I talked to the professor.  I told him "You know it had to be my group that has the technological errors and lack of time to present"  His response:  "I know, you are accident prone!"  He knows me so well!

Does this look dangerous to you?

It shouldn't. It looks like a nice little fern garden just coming up for the spring, right. Well, if you look in the background of the picture you will see a big ol pile a leaves, then a drop off where the hill gets steeper. Well, three weeks ago, I was out there, bustin my butt, raking those horrible leaves. At that time, the leaves were about 6-9 inches deep where the ferns are. We've been raking into that corner for the last 3 years, forgetting about the ferns underneath. Anyway, I was raking away with my big green plastic rake at the tree line, had some momentum going and attempted to rake the huge pile into the woods.
Problem 1. The rake broke in two.
Problem 2. I had momentum going down toward the steep hill.
Problem 3. I'm knee deep in wet dead leaves, which leads to
Problem 4. Me keeping going with said momentum into the woods, twisting my ankle and falling part way down the hill into said wet, dead leaves!

About this time I look up to the house next to ours and see the neighbor on the back deck trying VERY hard not to laugh while asking me if I'm o.k. I lie "Oh, I'm fine. Its too wet to rake out here today, I think I'll go in"

Flash forward three hours. Ankle swollen to the size of a small melon, wrapped in an ACE bandage I luckily found in the closet and a bag of frozen corn placed on top to hopefully reduce the swelling.

Flash forward to the next morning, explaining to my students why I am wearing and ankle wrap, why I can't walk right and how I got that nasty looking scratch on my arm. (It wasn't big, but it was red and gross for a few days). Then listening the them laugh as I told them, well, Mrs. Gray fell down a hill while raking yesterday. It can only happen to me.

My Background

I have been a special education teacher for 11 years.  The past 6 have been in the middle school level.  For those who aren't aware of the middle school concept, I work in a 6-8th grade building.  I am one of the most accident prone person (according to some fellow teachers).  For example some of the things I have had happen in the past 6 years:
  • I fell down a hill while raking
  • Lost my voice and sounded like Minnie Mouse during a professional meeting
  • The "Ranch Pants" incident
  • Witnessed a student doing something EXTREMELY inappropriate at school
  • Been stepped on and ended up wearing a brace for a month
  • Suffered every side effect from Prozac, including sweating through my clothes at work
Those are just some examples of my bad luck.  I may also address some of funniest things that happened to me prior to working as an educator. (Like being banned from an "adult book store" and my YMCA near arrest antics.  

I have always joked around with my students that I will someday write a book, Aren't you glad your not me.  Instead, I'll start with a blog and see where it goes from here.  I hope you enjoy.  It is always funny when it happens to someone else.