Thursday, April 7, 2011

School Daze

If you work or spend a lot of time in an elementary school (or if you can remember back that far), you'll probably agree that a grade school is a pretty unique microcosm of society, with it's own culture, rules, traditions, and so forth.  I've recently come to the conclusion that if the country (world?) were run like an elementary school, I think it might be a better place, or at the very least, a more polite one.

In elementary schools across the country, you will find exuberant young children running in the hallways.  For every running child, there is a teacher making the runner walk back to wherever they started their hoofing, and return, at a walking pace.  Children will get around this by walking as fast as they possibly can-little arms stiffly chopping the air at their sides, as they briskly make their way down the corridor.  This is generally tolerated, because after all, they are walking!

Now think back to the last time you were driving down the interstate, perhaps doing about 10 over the speed limit (you know, to keep up with the flow), when some douchebag in a Lexus starts tailgating you.  If you're like me, you'll slow down at that point to annoy the crap outta the guy until he passes you in a blurr of honking and angry gestures as you smile and wave.  (Just me?)  Anyhow, doesn't it feel great when a couple of miles down the road, you see that this guy has been pulled over for speeding?  Well, imagine if our laws were like those of an elementary school! Mr. Attitude has to drive all the freakin' way back home-at speed limit-and return before he can go on to his destination! Awesome, right?  Please notice that a speed walk-or, a cushion of about 10mph over limit-is tolerated.  I'll bet that SirCompensatingforSomething wouldn't be speeding anymore! 

Oh, and the tailgating? Well, when school kids are pushing each other in line, the rude little culprit often has to go to the end of the line.  Tailgaters would have to go to the end of the visible line of traffic. Heh. 

Oh, and wouldn't it be cool to be the "Line Leader" of traffic for the day? Much like being selected for jury duty, only much more fun (minus the free state paid for food), random, well behaved citizens would be selected to be line leader for the day, and would receive a special light to place on their car.  As long as that light is there, no one can pass the leader of the day. Cool right? You could totally pretend you were the pace car driver of the Indy 500!

At the school I work at, students who are observed showing some type of respectful or caring behavior, or displaying self control or responsibility, can earn a "Caught Doing My Part" card from any adult in the building.  These students get to proudly take their cards to the office, where the secretaries are sure to gush over their wonderful behavior, and drop their card in a box.  Cards are pulled randomly by the principal, and the lucky winners get a school T-shirt to sport proudly (eventually everyone gets a shirt).  All cards are posted on a bulletin board.

So, imagine-you receive a phone call from a police officer, or a senator or somebody, who tells you how fabulous it is that you have been obeying all the laws, paying your taxes on time, donating money to charity/doing volunteer work, and basically, being a responsible member of society.  Your name will be read on the evening news, and you will be receiving a check for $5,000 soon-just for doing what you are expected to do anyway.   Who wouldn't like that?

I could go on forever-special treatment on your birthday, regularly scheduled, frequent restroom breaks during the workday, people made to politely take turns, lunch for everyone, whether you can afford it or not, etc.  Any other ideas?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Woohoo! It's imaginary party time again! It was so exciting last year, that I just had to do it again.  Of course, I'm fashionably late once more to the pretend party scene-after all, now it's a tradition!  In case you aren't familiar, 5 Minutes for Mom hosts an annual link party-it's lots of fun, and a great way to find new blogs to read.  Check it out!

Imaginary parties are so much easier and less stressful to host, don't you think? After all, I don't have to spend the whole day before cleaning and scrubbing while complaining loudly and often about what slobs we must be whistling and singing happily.  At an imaginary party, I can have fabulous, elaborate decorations, fancy, ultra trendy cupcakes with unusual flavors, and a huge spread of mouthwatering, sophisticated h'ordourves.  Unlike what I do in real life, which besides the cleaning the day before, means heading to Super Target for the finest in microwaveable, premade finger foods (Taquitos and Rotel dip, anyone?), and grocery store bakery cake.  I'm SO not Martha Stewart.  Also, at a virtual party, I don't have to pretend to be nice when my clumsy uncle spills his soda on the freshly shampooed carpet.  Again.

So, anyhow, thanks for stopping by my blog, Stories of an Imperfect Mom.  My name is Bethany, and I am a mom to 2 kids-my daughter Little Bit, who is 10, and my son Tot, who is 8.  Hubby and I have been married for 14 years, and we live with our kids, 2 cats, 1 dog, and a few fish and several cobwebs and dustbunnies in suburban Indiana. I work as a Title 1 teacher during the week, and on the weekends I generally freak out about how I'm going to get the cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry done while taking my kids to their various softball, baseball, basketball and scouting activities.  As a result, I've sort of become a bit of a blogging slacker recently, but I'm trying to get my blog mojo back.

When I do actually write (gee, this isn't sounding too promising, is it?), I write about my life, my kids, memories, gripes, or whatever pops into my head-along with a healthy dose of sarcasm and goofiness.  Please check out my side bar for some "samples" of Imperfect Mom, or check out last year's Party post (when I wasn't too lazy to include actual links to my good stuff like I am now).  Thanks for visiting, and I'd like to say that my posts aren't usually this lame, but I'd be lying.  Please leave a comment with your blog, and I'll come visit! Have fun!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Complaint Department

I know I should be more postive, I really should.  I have so much to be thankful for, and all that jazz.  But, the complaints pour forth from my mouth like that fizzy Coke Zero I spilled all over the end table and carpet last week. As soon as I make up my mind to be positive, something annoying happens. Like, I'm trying to get to work early, and I get stopped by a train that is just sitting on the tracks.  (Hello? Train people? It's this thing called "rush hour" and people are trying to get to work! Can you move your big, dumb, slow train out of the road until you are actually ready to go?) Or, I spill my Coke all over the carpet.  Or, my kids who are supposed to be doing their homework are wrestling on the floor after the fifteen hundreth time I've yelled at them to quit.  They giggle and laugh until someone actually gets hurt, and then there is yelling, and stomping, and arguing. (It's always fun and games until someone gets hurt, you know...) Or, the kitchen trash is overflowing AGAIN, and dangit! Why can't anyone but me ever take it out, and pleasestoppilingstuffontopofthefullcanforPete'sfreakin'sake!! Whew! See, I'm getting myself all worked up again.

It just happens like that, though.  My good intentions are always thwarted by annoying crap.  Oh, sometimes I'm good.  I'll try to think how grateful I am that I left for work early.  I'll grit my teeth and swiftly wipe up the mess.  I'll quietly count to three and then calmly give each little offender a strike on their behavior chart.  I'll keep my mouth shut and take out the trash, while trying to think of the things that other people do around the house.  But inside? I'm seething.  I hold it in for a while, until the next minor annoyance occurs, and then, BAM! The pent up griping explodes like a Coke that has been shaken up.  What good is outward nicety when the inside is bubbling away with aggravation and ugliness?

I heard an idea on the radio the other day about keeping a Complaint Jar in the house.  Everytime someone complains, they have to put some money in the jar.  My ears perked up briefly, thinking what a good object lesson it would be for my kids, but I quickly changed my mind after a (disturbingly satisfying) image of myself popped up.  I'd be standing there, with a fistfull of dimes poised over the jar, as Clink! WHY DOES EVERYONE yada yada yada...and Ka-chink! HOW COME YOU ALWAYS blah blah blah...and Ka-ching! AND ANOTHER THING! Yeah, maybe that's not such a great object lesson for the kiddos afterall.....

Yes, I know-I need to work on my attitude more.  I need to pray about it, and repeat all the Bible verses about thankfulness and such that I can think of.  I need to remember those starving kids in....well, lots of places.  I need to think warm, fuzzy happy thoughts about how much I love my family, and how grateful I am to have a job, and a home, and...and... you know. 

But, in the mean time, maybe I'll just start taking a different route to work.

Photo from:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bringin' Back the Mojo

Oh, yeah! I have a blog, don't I? Maybe I ought to post something more than once a month or so, huh?  The thing is, I'm just not feeling the blog writing mojo this year-hopefully I can get back into it.

I decided to participate in My Little Life's Five Question Friday to help get the mojo flowing again.  (Does "mojo" flow, or does it just exist in a solid form? Gaseous vapor, perhaps? Hmmmm....)  Anywho, here goes:

1. Have you ever forgotten your child in a store or at school?

You know, I honestly don't think I have.  I'm not sure why that surprises me so much, either.  There was once, though, when my daughter was about 3 and was throwing a screaming fit through Marshall's that I would have liked to forget her, LOL! I had recently had a baby, and I remember crying all the way home thinking, "Why, God? Why can't I ever have any time for just me?" Ah.....the good old days.....

2. Where did you go on your very first date? (Like...first first, not first with your spouse or current significant other!)

My first date was a double date at age 15.  We went to the mall, walked around the food court, and then saw Pretty Woman.  I was rocking some acid washed jeans, rolled up at the cuffs to show off my neon green scrunch socks.  I topped my stylish ensemble with a fluorescent pink, long sleeved shirt.  I was rocking a spiral perm, complete with curled bangs, and "wings" at the sides.  Seriously-I used to hold my long hair straight out at the sides, douse it with some Lady Breck or Aussie Sprunch hairspray, and then shoot it with the blow dryer so that I got a good 4-5 inches of it to stick straight out.  Lovely.  Combined with the braces, I was one hot mama.  I suppose it's a sign that I remember more about what I wore and how I looked than I remember about the actual date...

3. What's your "silly" fear? (We're not talking water and heights.)

I'm freaked out by images of those green aliens with the big, almond shaped eyes.  Other than that, and sometimes being a little afraid to walk into a dark room, my other fears are less silly-to some people anyway.
4. Confrontation: do you cause it, deal with is as it comes, or run far far away?

I not only run away from confrontation, but I take a cab to the airport and fly away from it.  Just the mere thought of any type of confrontation makes me nervous.  However, if something needs to be said or done, I will do it-if no one else will.  I'm more of a diplomat than a peacemaker at all costs. When I was a kindergarten teacher, I was often the one "chosen" to speak up about some injustice or problem, because I can generally handle situations tactfully without losing my cool.  Although, the older I get, the more outspoken I become...  Then there's that whole "when I get mad I cry" problem, which embarrasses me, so I get madder, and cry harder.  I prefer to take the head in the sand approach as long as possible.

5. Wood floors or carpet?

Wood floors look nice, but I also like the softness and comfort of carpet.   Right now, they both need to be cleaned, so I'm not happy with any of it.  I've always thought that a concrete floor with a drain in the middle would be kind of awesome from a practicality standpoint-hose it down once a week, and we're good to go!

Ok, there we go.  I'm not going to link up at My Little Life this time, but I encourage you to go over there and check out the other posts!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Stylish Centennial!

Friends, not only is this my 100th post, but I also have an award to accept!  Melissa of Nouns and Violets, awarded me the Stylish Blogger award! Me, stylish? With my hair that is a month past due on cut and color? I'm on snow day 3, so I haven't even put on makeup in a while (except for under eye concealerr, so I don't frighten my children), although I did put on matching, clean socks today!  That's semi-stylish, right?  Well, I do like clothes, makeup, magazines and style blogs (speaking of style blogs-know any good ones?), so I guess I can be virtually stylish.  Anyhow, thank you for the award, Melissa! Check out her blog, I think you'll like it!  To accept the award, I need to list 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to others, so I'll get to that in a bit.

This is my 100th post! How should I celebrate? I used to teach Kindergarten, and we'd celebrate the 100th day of school by making paper crowns with "100" on them.   (Much like the one in the picture that my daughter is wearing from her 100th day of Kindy-now she's a "big" 4th grader!) While that sort of kooky thing is right up my alley, I'd have lots of 'splaining to do if I sported one of those bad boys around the house today.  Although a diamond tiara with "100" on it would go along with the whole "stylish" thing! In Kindy, we'd also paste 100 random objects to posterboard, but that sounds sort of boring.  We'd also graph 100 M&M's, but I sort of already ate them all, once I rediscovered my secret stash. I could post 100 random facts about me, or 100 of my favorite websites, but frankly, I don't have that kind of an attention span.  I'm also not going to post a bunch of links to some of my best (least worst?) posts-I've done that before, and I'm too lazy to do it again.

So, I'm going to need your help in celebrating!  Put on your diamond 100 tiaras, and your rhinestone studded go-go boots (what? It's my party!), and help me out by listing 10 of your favorite things! They can be favorite websites, blogs, foods, movies, random things, or whatever.  If ten people list ten things, then guess what? We'll have 100, kids!

My 10 Favorites (at the moment)
1. Coke Zero
2. Giant Chewy Sweet Tarts
3. Chipotle Chips and salsa
 (no, my favorites aren't all food related, just most of them!)
4. sleeping late
5. soft, fuzzy blankets
6. warm, sunny summer days
7. beaches
8. flip flops
9. shopping with no children along
10. wacky reality tv shows on TLC

Ok, so now that I've told you some facts about me, I get to pass along the Stylish Blogger Award on to some other stylish ladies and great bloggers!  Ladies, if you wish to accept, share at least 7 facts about yourselves, and pass the award on. Check out their blogs, they rock!

Organized Chaos
The Adventures of JAMC She just celebrated her 500th post!
Working Mom Back to School

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Things I Wonder About

Ok, this one really bothers me, even though it shouldn't.  Why is Buffalo Wild Wings referred to as BW3's? I've devoted far more mental power to this question than I am comfortable admitting.  Where does the 3 come from? There are only 2 W's in the name, and there are obviously way more than 3 locations of this restaurant.  They have more than 3 sauces to choose from, and more than 3 types of things to order, so WHAT IS THE DEAL? If you can shed any light on this subject for me, I'd appreciate it.  Also, if you'd like to send some of BW3's boneless wildwings with Asian Zing sauce directly to my house, that'd be great, too.

Also, have you seen the Cialas commercial with the people sitting in the bathtubs? Separate, old fashioned bathtubs? On the beach, and then under some water fall type thing? What?! If a person, or a person's spouse had trouble with...well....that....and a drug fixed the problem, then why would they be sitting in separate bathtubs in public places?  And why are the bathtubs there in the first place? Who would drag old fashioned claw foot tubs onto the beach, anyhow? Wouldn't that be against zoning laws in most places?  I know, I know.  I'm taking this far too seriously.  It's just a commercial.  But the stupidity of it annoys me.  Can you imagine being in the room when the advertising agents pitched the idea to the Cialas people?
"So, we've got this couple, right?  They've had some issues, but now that they've taken the drug, everything is great! So, they are sitting in these bathtubs...." 
"No sir, there's no water in the tubs, and don't worry, they are fully clothed and in separate tubs, so the censors won't get upset." 
"Yes ma'am! We thought it was a brilliant idea, too!"

We've had an ice storm, and school has been closed for 2 days, so as you can tell, I've had plenty of time to think about these things....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bethany's Law

I'm sure we've all heard of Murphy's Law; if anything CAN go wrong, it WILL, and at the WORST possible time.  Well, I'm going to write about Bethany's Law, which means.....well,, it means the same darn thing, I just wanted to personalize it more.  Without further rambling ado (?) adeiu (?) adoo (?) (what the heck? Why don't I know how to spell that word?!) delay, here we go!

Just when you have almost successfully completed day 2 of solo lunch duty, and you've managed to get 125+ kindergarten and first graders (mostly) quiet while they put their trays up, someone will puke.

After it's snowed hard all day, you've spent 10 minutes chipping the ice of your car after work and are worried you won't be home when your kids get off the bus, your car battery will turn out to be dead.

After you've managed to make good eating choices for a few days, and have started to feel good about the way your pants are feeling looser, the above will happen, and you will stress eat 10 vanilla sugar wafers, some grasshopper cookies, leftover taco salad, a roll of Smarties and a bowl of hot and sour soup in the space of 90 minutes.

When you receive a set of gloves, hat and scarf for Christmas that do not match your coat at all, and decide that you now have a good excuse to buy a new winter coat to match, the gloves will develop big holes in them the second time you wear them.

Just when you get all the laundry done, your husband will clean out his closet, and unearth 2-3 loads of forgotten about towels, shirts, and other stuff.  You will leave these "discoveries" for him to wash, which means that they are still sitting in a pile outside his closet door 3 weeks later.

Ok-that's all I've got for now, but I'm sure there will be more.  What can you add?

Oh, guess what? Even though I've been such a slacker blogger now, I won an award! Awesome! I'll post about it soon, and let you know who gave it to me, and all the details before I pass it along.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tales of a Title 1 Teacher

Ok, so I just finished my first full week at the new job. I'm settling in-I can actually go through my day now without carrying my trusty schedule with it's 50 different places I need to be every 10-30 minutes on it. I do like the fact that my day is so fast paced-there's no time to get bored, and just when I've reached my annoyance limit with a particularly challenging...ummmmm...little "personality", I get to give them back to their teacher!  Here are some little highlights from my week, and things I've learned.

-Boisterous second grade boys who are hyped up from being with a male teacher who sings Sponge Bob songs with them, will walk very quietly in the hallway and exhibit stellar behavior for 30 minutes with me just for the bribe promise of getting to eat a single Smartie candy.  Not a ROLL, mind you, because have you seen what they are paying me? But a single, solitary Smartie.  And Canadians, our Smarties aren't even chocolate covered like yours are.

-I'm SO old.  Yes, I re-learned that this week, when reading a book about hurricanes with a group of 4th graders who have absolutely no memory of Hurricane Katrina.  What?! Wasn't that pretty recent? 

-First grade boys graciously extend invitations to their birthday parties to every human being they come into contact with.  I've been invited to two birthday parties this week alone.  I've always wanted to be popular!

-If you are ever feeling down about yourself, or are having a bad hair day, visit a first grade classroom for a few minutes. They are very generous with the heartfelt compliments.  I've had positive remarks on my hair, my nails, my ID badge, my clothing, etc., etc.  It's been quite lovely for my self esteem.

-Kindergarteners and first graders are cute and adorable so that we won't kill them when they are repeatedly screeching across the cafeteria in their high pitched little voices, or arguing over where to sit, or over who took who's blue crayon, or doing the chain reaction thing when one person asks to go to the bathroom, and suddenly everyone is asking, just for kicks.

-Fourth graders seem so big and so old at school, but when I get home, my own fourth grader seems so little and young.  (She's average sized and mature, but it's a context thing.)

-Teachers rock.  I do not want my own classroom again anytime soon.  Getting 27 little people of varying levels and stages of maturity to actually listen and do what they are supposed to do all day every day is a very hard job!  Especially when 5 of those people always need to use the restroom, another 5 of them always need to go sharpen a pencil, 5 more of them can't keep their hands to themselves, and 2-3 of them don't speak much English.

-This job is costing me money.  Besides the books, office supplies, bribes behavior incentives and other materials that I've spent money on, I've felt compelled to chip in for a baby shower gift for a teacher I haven't even met yet.  Plus, a coworker is really trying to get me to sign up for the Zumba class she teaches.  I owe my soul to the company store.

-It's possible for a 5 year old to "accidentally" end up with his fingernails all colored with purple marker like nail polish.  Really, it just happens, somehow, or at least that's what they tell me.  You know, you're just going along, working in the old writing center, happily singing a little song about pee that you made up to annoy your sister, when suddenly you look down at your nails, and whoa! What's this? My fingernails are purple!

-It's hard to turn off the "teacher" when I get home.  I've found myself using the words "inside voices" and "walking feet" after school hours.  I also found myself asking my husband to please stop distracting Tot while he does his homework.  In another couple of weeks, I'm sure I'll be expecting him to raise his hand before he can speak to me.

So, there you have it.  I may not make a lot of money, but there's always something interesting happening!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm Soooo Tired!

I'm exhausted.  I started a new job on Thursday at a local elementary school.  I'm a Title 1 Assistant, which means that I'm actually a Title 1 Teacher, but the district is too cheap unable/unwilling to pay teacher salary for this job, so they are calling it an assistant position in order to get away with paying the instuctional assistant, 29.5 hour a weeek, hourly wage instead.  Yeah....I sort of found that out the hard way.  I don't mind the job when I'm there-in fact, I think it will be kind of nice once someone has time to train me I figure out all by myself what's expected of me.  I'm working with groups of kids K-4, basically moving from place to place every 15-30 minutes, back and forth throughout the building.  Maybe I'll lose weight!  All of that is good, I certainly don't have time to get bored, and I enjoy working with the kids, but oh my.....the planning.  The.  Planning.  I've spent at least 4-5 hours yesterday and today working on lesson plans for next week.  Unpaid hours, of course.    Yes, if I were a salaried teacher, the hours of lesson planning and materials gathering is just an understood part of the job, but I'm not.  So, I'm whining about it.  But only at home, on Facebook, and here.  Keeping the smiley, perky, "just happy to be part of the team" on at work.  Anyhow, enough negativity.  I'll just stop and not mention the fact that I've already spent nearly $80 on supplies.  I had to buy my own stinkin' paperclips!

So, it's Saturday evening.  My son had an 8 am basketball game this morning, so no sleeping in for us, I'm up to eyeballs in laundry, I've grocery shopped and done my lesson planning.  I'm trying to get all of this done now, because, did I mention? I still have to work at my old job (the tutoring company) for the next two weeks on Monday and Wednesday evenings, too.  I'm stressing out, and exhausted, and my husband's frustrated advice of "Just quit, then!" isn't helping.

Enter some comedic relief.  My son, who had been peeling and eating a clementine at the kitchen table, comes over and grabs a freshly washed and folded washcloth off the coffee table (I tend to spread my folded laundry all over the table as I sit on the couch).  After he wipes his sticky face with it, he takes it to the table to clean up his mess.  He brings it back, clementine pieces hanging on to it and all, folds it neatly ( I had no idea he even COULD fold that neatly!), and sets it carefully back on the pile of clean washcloths.  This is the boy who never remembers on his own to put anything away.  I had to laugh-he was trying so hard to be helpful, since he could tell I was tired and stresed.  I guess I could put him to work folding the clean clothes...
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