Thursday, February 26, 2009

Puke and Stuff

After my fabulous week off (spent in sunny fabulous places- I love you frequent flier miles!), I came back to work ready to be more patient and amazing than ever. My friends and I have had a great week. We jumped right back in and have gotten so much accomplished, our days have been easy and uneventful. No one is funky or grouchy. It is lovely. Reminiscent of my Dream Year last year. Even Big Boy and I have seemed to come to an understanding. He did actual work today...I almost cried.

Speaking of bodily fluids...

As you have heard me say before, "I work in an incubator of germ and snot." My daily work life, and that of elementary teachers everywhere, is filled with a wide variety of bodily fluids. Pee, puke, poop, snot, drool, spit, and the occasionally, blood. That's a pretty thorough list in my opinion...I mean, there are very few other liquids that actually can come out of a person.

I have had children pee on chairs, floors and rugs. They have peed by accident and, on a few occassions, on purpose. Just to get back at me for asking them to sit out of an art project.

I have pulled apart pages glued together by snot. Wiped drool off arms of sleeping children and water fountains. Shaken my finger at friends who spit on other friends.

Friends have puked in garbage cans, on desks, on chairs, on each other! But today...

a friend puked on me.

Eight years of teaching and I have never been puked on. Ever. But today, I lost my vomit virginity* and am now a card carrying member of the Puke Party.

We were lined up and on our way out of the classroom. I was leading my friends down the hall (so my back was to them), when one very sick little girl must have gotten out of line and walked quickly to the front to tell me she was sick. Or maybe she got out of line to run to the bathroom. Maybe she was aiming for me. Who knows? It doesn't really matter because all of a sudden a warm, wet, something felt like it was being thrown at the back of my legs.

And that warm, wet something was a stomach full of boot.

My friend then proceeded to hurl all over the hallway and herself. At least she's thorough. Once empty, she promptly burst into tears and said, "I'm sorry Mrs. Mimi!" I quickly pulled myself together (Don't worry...she didn't get my shoes, so my moment of panic was very short lived), told her it was OK, took her pukey hand (Hey, why stop at just pukey legs?), and walked her down to the nurse with my whole class in tow.

And this time, the nurse didn't have the balls to refuse me.

* Special thanks to debbie, a wonderful reader who suggested some brilliant alliteration!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Somehow, It Doesn't Feel Like A Choice...

Last May, my printer started defiantly flashing those two dreaded words: "Low Toner". Rather listen to the desperate pleas of my printer, I kept printing away. Because I could.

Well, friends, I have pushed the envelope too far, and I am officially not low on toner, I'm OUT of toner. Two weeks ago, sensing the end of an era (I have had this toner cartridge for at least three years...sigh, the good old days...), I sent a preemptive email to our tech guy.

No answer.

A few days later, I tried again.

Still no answer.

Last week, I sent out another cry for help.


I started to consider sitting on the side of the road with a cardboard sign "Will Work For Toner". But then I thought to myself, "Self, don't be silly. When the time REALLY comes for toner, there will be toner. If you need it, it will come."

Well, I need it. And nothing has come. Not even a response to my five subsequent (and increasingly desperate) emails.
Not willing to take no for an answer, I went to our tech guy and made my case in person. I mean, how obvious is it that I need a computer? Ka-jillions of grant dollars have been spent putting in fancy pants computers in all of our classrooms. Important people in overly tailored suits have been paraded around to view our babies actually using the technology so generously given to us. Little do they know, it is all a big facade. BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ANY FREAKING TONER!!

(Wait, I already told you guys that we didn't get any paper this year either, right? It just occurred to me right now that perhaps these two problems go hand in hand. No paper...why give us toner?)

Me: Hey, did you get my emails about toner?
Him: Yea, about that...
Me: Can I have some?
Him: I talked to The Visionary about it, he said you should buy your own.
Me: Um, what? But MY OWN toner for a SCHOOL computer?
Him: Sorry. Yea.
Me: Wait. Let me get this straight. Didn't I see you wheeling, like, thirty boxes filled with toner cartridges down the hall a few weeks ago?
Him: I'm supposed to save those for the office.
Me: So, that's just it? Buy it myself?
Him: (uncomfortable smiling)

So that's that. No paper, no toner, no answers.

No freaking way.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's Picture Day - And That's Nothing To Smile About

It never ceases to amaze me how Picture Day becomes one of the most negative and stressful days of the entire school year. Filled with dramatic twists and turns, it is a wonder how any of us survive.

Really, this should be the day for our Parent Coordinator to shine... this is her big event, her piece de resistance, her organizational coup. (Because really, besides creating type-o filled memos to send home, what else does she have to do? She certainly isn't planning anything informational for parents or spreading cheer around the building, that's for darn sure.)

In true form, our original Picture Day schedule informed us that we were to pose for our photos during lunch. And again, in true form, when I informed the Parent Coordinator of this slight problem, she responded by saying, "well, we're just all going to have to be flexible, aren't we?"

Um, hi, sister friend? Pretty sure we need to feed the kids...yea, don't think we can bend the rules and be flexible with that one. And while I acknowledge that having five months to create a schedule must be difficult, and I realize that this difficulty is only compounded by the fact that you must consider the two lunch waves that have occurred at the same time for seven years, it must also be said that you are truly a moron.

After many frantic emails, grunted hallway conversations and a whole shit-load of eye rolling, our scheduled time was changed. Sadly, we were now set for our close ups AFTER lunch. On pizza day.

Cue my pep talk on the beauty of smocks. Not wanting to endure the wrath of parents who are rightfully fuming over their child's tomato sauce themed photo, I forced each and every child in my class to wear a smock to lunch. Punctuated by fear and guilt, this speech was a thing of beauty and, pat myself on the back, all my friends came back with clean shirts.

We were moments from lining up at the door when, RING!

Freaking phone!

Me: "Hello?"
Angry Voice: "Where are you?? You need to be down here for pictures! NOW!"
Me: "I'm doing well, thanks for asking. And how are you?"
Angry Voice: "NOW."
Me: "We were scheduled for 1:00. It's five of one right now. We're..."
Angry Voice: "Well, we're ready NOW, so you should be down here!"

My ESP must be on the fritz, because I did not sense that we should be early. Stupid clairvoyance. (Hey new teachers!! Don't forget...practice that mind reading before you get your own classroom! It sure comes in handy!)

We troop downstairs, smiles plastered on our faces. We enter the auditorium and I am immediately smacked in the face by the stench of our photographer. Now, in reality, I am an adult, and can grin and bear the stench of another person who clearly suffers from body odor/inadequate bathing routines. However, my twenty little friends, fueled by pizza and giddy with their upcoming moment in the sun, cannot. Noses are held, looks are exchanged and I desperately try to send them that "Do NOT laugh" glare that I usually reserve for errant farts on the carpet.

A moment later, I am left wondering why I stuck up for this smelly jerk in the first place as he proceeds to bark orders at me and then man-handle my babies. (And you know I go all Mama-Bear on people who touch my babies!) My friends are lined up in size order, and Smelly VonStinksALot grabs my little Muppet by his skinny little wrist and drags him on stage.

Me: "Um, sir? Can you please not touch my children?"
Smelly VonStinksALot: "They need to be on ze stage."
Me: (Is he really French? Or is that a terrible attempt at an artsy accent?) "Well, they can get up there without you grabbing at them. We keep our hands to ourselves at this school."
Smelly: "Whatever."
Me: "Thanks for you professionalism."

We are finally all in order on stage. I am posed next to the flag, standing next to Big Boy (of all people!) My hair is freshly tossed, lip gloss applied (Hey...who wants to look back at their youth and think, "My teacher was a dumpsite" ? The answer is nobody.) and a smile plastered on my face. My friends look super cute in their little uniforms. We are like a little family...

And then...

Smelly: "Hey you! Kid! Take off zose glazzes!"

"But Mrs. Mimi, I really like my glasses. My mom said to leave them on."

Me: "Sweetheart, then leave them on. They make you look super handsome."

Smelly: "He looks ridiculous. It eez better without ze glazzes. Take zem off!!"

Me: "He will do no such thing. His mother wants them on."

Smelly: "He is ruining ze picture."

At this point, my little friend looks devastated. Seriously, is this Smelly Smelly little man going to start with me?

Me: "Do we have a problem here?"

Smelly: "Whatever."

And finally, Smelly VonStinksALot snaps the picture. Who knows if anyone was smiling anymore...

Who's Peeking?