Where I am:
Today I was at school from about 10 until about 5 (I think? Maybe it was more like 5:30). I would have been there earlier this morning, but Zeke and I are having a problem with ants that has not been curtailed by multiple little Club Meds of Death I have carefully placed right in the middle of the ANT SUPERHIGHWAY that runs straight from a crack in my window frame to the end of my plant counter. When I got home from work yesterday, I went to get Zeke's food and the bag was totally covered with these little ants so naturally I freaked out and banged the bag on the counter several times to throw all the ants off it at which point they all started crawling up my arms and then for the rest of the night I couldn't shake the sensation of little ants on my skin (which, as I used to remind Ali, is a sure sign of psychosis). Plus, Zeke was hungry, and I was all anxious about feeding him, because what if ANTS get in his DOG DISH? But after stressing about this for several minutes, I remembered that he's been known to eat poop and dead rats, so surely some tiny ants in his dish will pose no real problem for him at all, right? Right?
So I fed him, I fed myself, I fielded several phone calls, checked my email, brushed more ants off my arms, refilled my water bottle, herded Zeke into the truck... all in the space of about 20 minutes. When I showed up at meditation class, I was harried, stressed, brushing ants off my face and arms, and trying to keep track of Zeke, who ran happily into the building, down the hallway, and instead of following me into Jennie's office, trotted calmly out the back door and into the little meadow. (Later, when I was Deeply Meditating, in a place of PEACE and LIGHT, Zeke came over to where I was sitting and went CHOMP on a flower I was using in my meditation, which made me giggle, and then I felt guilty for disrupting the meditation, but then it was like giggling in church, and I couldn't stop thinking about how Zeke just went CHOMP right over the pretty orange flower I was meditating with, and how non-Zen that was, only maybe it was totally zen, how should I know, and though I managed to stop giggling, I never quite got back to the hippie batik of golden peace I'd been in before Zeke CHOMPed my flower.)
But I was talking about school. And ants. When Zeke and I got home after class, laden with cheese and poison, most of the ants had disappeared, and cheerfully -- naiively -- I thought, oh they just went away! That was easy! Nevertheless, I dutifully put out the little poison hotels and went to bed.
This morning I woke up to Rushhour on the Ant Superhighway, including more ants on Zeke's food, even though I'd moved it -- the ants just moved with the food! What's up with that! -- and proceeded to scream in frustration, murder a LOT of ants, scream, and start all over with the ants-on-my-neck thing, all of which conspired to make me a half-hour later to school than I'd intended.
Clearly, the ant problem needs to be solved before school starts for real next week.
My day was busy and yet felt rather unproductive, mainly because I was more curriculum oriented than classroom-setting-up oriented, meaning that I downloaded and printed and hole-punched and binder-organized and labeled and sorted and organized and prioritized and reviewed, but at the end of the day the desks in my room were all still piled in a huge mountain in the far corner of the room, blocking my big supply cabinet which holds untold wonders (or at least, whatever I shoved in there before checking out last spring). My walls are still bare (except the postcard map, which I bullied my way into not taking down in May), my ugly silver pipe thing still exposed, my room still utterly unorganized and my entire life still in total and complete chaos. So... I'll be back tomorrow.
The drive home was just gorgeous. The sky was dark, dark blue to the east, all storm clouds and sweeping rain. The mountains were draped with varying degrees of cloud, but the little patch of sun above my truck illuminated the tawny corn and wheat fields, the bright yellow sunflowers, and the soft adobe houses against the deep blue of the sky and rich dark green of the mountains, and I was reminded of driving outside of Bratislava, with the same dark skies and bright sunflowers.
Today at school, I started panicking about remembering the names of the kids I had in my classes last year, 70 (ish) of whom I'll have again this year. I have the WORST memory for names, mainly because I psych myself out and question and second-guess and go through entire dramas in my head whenever I say someone's name. Much of this anxiety can be traced back to high school, when I called this girl Adelaid for like TWO YEARS before she snapped, "That's not my name! Stop calling me that!" (Senior year, mind you.) "WHAT?" I was truly horrified. "What's your name, then?" "Natalie!" the girl screamed, "it's NATALIE!!"
I'd been calling this girl by the wrong name since SOPHOMORE YEAR and she'd never said a word.
Do you see how a person could be permanently scarred from an experience like this?
So, Back-To-School Note To Self Number One: call everyone "hon" until early September, at least.
Also, today one of my former students (child of another teacher, doomed to hang out at school on days like this with nothing to do but hang around in Ms. Backes' room and randomly pick things up and touch them) came into my room. "Did you hear that Betty's* gone?"
[Backstory: Betty was the janitor who cleaned my classroom, and I honestly was a little scared of her. She reminded me of the house-elf in the House of Black who skivvered around and muttered to himself. "Oh, the pencil sharpener's broken? I'll make a note of it," she'd say to me, and then spend the rest of my prep period dragging around my classroom muttering, "..murblerm mellueish, show them all... askushl have the right mutterm murble." Creepy! Also I think she didn't like me, because she never washed my chalkboards. When I met the new janitor today, Kay said, "He'll wash your boards once a week!" and I got SO excited.]
"Yes, I just met the new janitor," I said. "How exciting!"
Former Student seemed shocked. "But Betty was so good!"
"Oh.... well, that's true....... but it's always exciting to have new faces around, right?"
Back-To-School Note To Self Number Two: no more expressions of your true feelings about anyone, until you're at least 20 miles out of town and/or on Christmas break.
I also learned today that I'm no longer responsible for writing IEPs. Hooray! AND the principal told me that I'm eligible to jump up to the 2nd tier of licensure after this year (not next, as we'd thought), which means that if I stay here for the 2006-2007 school year, I'll see a $10 K raise -- a year earlier than I'd thought!
Back-To-School Note To Self Number Three: Reconsider that plan to move back to the midwest just yet....
Of course, Camille and I agreed that since I come from a poverty culture, that 10K will disappear in a matter of days. "Right up your nose," Camille says, and I have to agree.
Back-To-School Note To Self Number Four: Stop joking about all the drugs you do........
*name changed to protect the weird and creepy