Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pass the Salsa Please

Mr. Pete: Do you want to feel better about yourself?

Me: Of course.

Indicating the Family-sized bag of tortilla chips on the counter

Mr. Pete: I have not eaten one chip from that bag.

Me: It's a family-sized bag, of course you have. I haven't eaten these all by myself.

Mr. Pete: taking a chip from the bag This is my first chip.

Me: Man. That's a lot of chips in one week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Running Late

I was running late for a 10 AM meeting this morning. I realize that I have the luxury of actually sleeping in on a Monday morning to be actually able to run late to a 10 AM meeting. I knew I was going to be late once I stepped out the door...the looming traffic of I-75 and the snarling orange cones and temporary barriers on 275 would be a treacherous drive in to the meeting. I started thinking about how I could excuse my tardiness. Any excuse I came up with (traffic, directions, oversleeping) sounded really lame and irresponsible. While I wouldn't use an excuse on my friend and colleague waiting for me at Panera, I considered what people would actually think is an acceptable excuse. I'm a stickler for being on time, so I realize that my own standard of excuses is actually pretty high. I live by the motto, "prior planning prevents future failure." In essence, you shouldn't really need to worry when you hit traffic because you've already planned for this disaster by leaving a good 20 minutes early.

To me, the only real excuse you can give might be car trouble (ie. flat tire, stalled engine, etc.) The only other socially acceptable excuse is family. I've heard this plenty of times. "I'm sure you understand, it's difficult to get an X year old out of the house." "Sorry I'm running late, but so and so didn't want to eat his/her lunch." It's funny, but I totally accept these excuses. And I think we should. I can't imagine what it's like to get another person dressed, groomed, fed, and out the door. I have a hard time finding both of MY own shoes in the morning--I can't imagine searching for FOUR shoes. The thing that I realized in my own little psychological experiment, is that I would seriously judge someone who was late because she a) had to grab a bite to eat b) was looking for a shoe c)throwing a tantrum because she didn't want to go or d) stayed in bed a few extra minutes because those wood floors really are cold in the morning.

I have hit the age in life where people are constantly "educating" me on how life changes when you have a child. So much so, that I've grown a little bitter. As I got ready this morning, I considered the acceptable reasons for being late and found myself upset that since I didn't have a family, I wouldn't really have a good excuse for being late.

There seems to be a set of unspoken rules in the world that are reserved for people who have children. There have been several situations where people assume I should "step up and get involved" because I have "so much time on my hands." Just last week, a meeting ran over at work and people were packing up to go home to relieve the babysitters. I had plans to meet girlfriends for dinner out, but I wouldn't dare excuse myself from the meeting with that reason.

I want to be sure to point out that I see the work of a parent as some of the most important life work one can be committed to. I think that the efforts (or lack of effort) that parents make might be one of the single most influential factors in the ever changing world around us.

The results of this reflection are twofold for me. I'm realizing that life happens to people and that I need to give people a little less of hard time when they are running late. I wish I could help to foster a culture where it would be acceptable to say, "Sorry I'm running late. I got a new bathrobe for Christmas and I just couldn't bring myself to get ready this morning" or "I'm just going through a stage right now where I am being impossible. I throw a tantrum every time I have to get into the car. It's possible I'm overstimulated, over committed, and over caffeinated. Hopefully I'll grow out of it."

I'm also realizing that the rules change as we grow up. People have different expectations for us at different points of our lives. I'll probably look back at this entry and laugh at how foolish I am some time in the future. Until then, I'll continue to remind myself of the importance of stable families in today's society and the need for flexability in all of our lives.

Monday, February 9, 2009



Thursday, February 5, 2009

School kids

Sometimes I think the kids are more interested in my outfit than in poetry. Could that be? Today I wore a chunky belt over my sweater and my students felt the need to comment on it all day. Some were brutally honest about what I could and couldn't wear as a "forty year old woman." It's almost like they thought my writing prompt was "tell me what you think of my outfit" instead of "tell me what you think of this poem." I'm thinking about creating a line of clothing with the necessary Ohio Graduation Test material printed on it. Just think sweaters with poetic devices, belts with the writing conventions rubric, oh the possibilities are endless. Endless I tell you.

In other news, I had three kids stay for detention today. One student asked me, "If I just want to sit in my desk and do nothing, why are you going to give me a DT?" Do you really need to ask? I just don't have it in my DNA to allow someone to forsake an education.

Today, after school, the woman who cleans my room (we'll call her Glenna) and I struck up a conversation. She said she used to want to be a preschool teacher or a veternarian (very similar careers). Her father didn't have the money to send her to school and in her words "that dream just went right down the drain." It's hard to show kids that they are really lucky to have this opportunity. I just hope that if Gov. Strickland really does start tossing money at public schools that students are held accountable too.