Friday, August 27, 2010

Happily Ever After

It was last spring when my principal broke the news. Due to the shifting student population, my school would be losing one of our three Pre-K classes. Due to lousy decision making skills resulting in a complete inability to pick a career until my thirties, I had least seniority. I was being transferred, like it or not. As an elderly person, I did not embrace this sudden and involuntary change. Given the choice, I would have stayed put, surrounded by the comforting known.

Sometimes, it's a really good thing I don't always get what I want.

I've been at the new school seven days now, and even with my trusty Merriam-Webster Online just a click away, I couldn't possibly find the words to say how happy I am. Over the moon happy. Clicking my heels happy. It's 2:35 already? happy.

Strange things happen at this new school that I hope I never get used to. Things like the principal going out of her way to make sure I have what I need to be happy, even on a Saturday. And a teacher wishing me a "winning" year, and handing me a lottery ticket. Or an aide showing up out of the blue, wondering if I needed anything done. Then there's the (handsome!) counselor stopping by just to read to the kids.

The Lunch Lady isn't even mean.

Weird, right?

And then there's Sarah, my aide, who is sweet and smart and hard-working and reliable and agreeable and cooperative and very possibly perfect. If I had to, I would pay her myself just to have her with me every day.

But I haven't even told you the best part yet. Every once in a while, just for a second, I see him.

And, well, I just don't have the words.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Look Moms, No Hands!

When a Pre-K teacher meets her new parents at the beginning of a school year, there are certain questions she can expect: What time should I pick him up at the end of the day? Can she have a teddy bear for nap time? That sort of thing.

But this year I got a question I wasn't expecting: Can you touch the children?

The first person to come up with a sadder or more disturbing question than that wins the deed to my house! Hell, I'll even toss in the dog, because I know nobody's coming up with anything to top that.

Can you touch the children. In Pre-K.

sigh . . . .

Unfortunately, she didn't just pull the question out of thin air. She asked because her sister's kids go to a popular new school in our area that has a strict no-touching policy. Because I'm sure if some creepy pedophile does happen to get a job there, he wouldn't think of breaking policy. Well, I was going to defile that kid over there, but damn the luck! There's a policy!

There are bad people in the world, it's true. And there's nothing that should be more jealously guarded than our children's safety. But denying a child a comforting hug, a deserved pat on the back, or a reassuring hand to hold, in my opinion, has the potential to cause more harm than it prevents.

As for my Pre-K kids, I started the year by giving them each a beautiful little welcome gift ~


Sidewalk Chalk

Rainbow Marshmallow Twist

And a big hug.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hot Dog!

No matter how sweltering the weather, it rarely bothers me as much as it does most people. My husband will be sopping wet with sweat while I'm tucking an afghan around my knees. Somehow, my body just seems to stay cooler than normal humans. I may well be slowly dying from poor circulation. But I'm okay with that, because even in Arkansas, there's rarely a day hot enough for me to resort to air conditioning in my car.

Today was one of those days. August is not pussyfooting around, y'all.

When I ran out to do a few errands today, the temperature was every bit of 100° with a heat index of 368°. By the time I walked from the house to the car, I looked like a Salvador Dali painting. There was no way in hell I was sitting in that car without cranking the AC as high as it would go. And why not? No one in their right mind would be caught dead in an un-air conditioned car on a day like today.

At least no one who could help it.

When I opened my car door at the Office Depot, the first thing I noticed was the oppressive slap of hot air across my face. The next thing I noticed was the barking. It was coming from a sleek, sexy silver sports car. Or more specifically, from the frantic bite-sized Yorkie trapped inside it.

Sadly, I am not making this up.

Despite the rotisserie-like temperature, goose bumps immediately crowded my flesh. I began muttering cuss words under my breath, more or less. I don't think I could have been more livid if it had been a child. And I'm not even an animal person. God help the poor son of a bitch who does this in my sister's neck of the woods.

I huffed to the front door and waited a long minute or two, deciding what to do. Minding my own business was the first option ruled out. Soon enough, a beautiful young couple strode out of the store, hipsters with too much disposable income and not enough sense. I glared at them as they sauntered toward the car, debating whether I should deliver a searing lecture or stay more true to character and just talk smack about them behind their backs for the next few weeks. It was the woman who made her way to the driver's door. "Awww . . . look at this poor doggie," she sighed. And they went to their real car and drove away.

Once inside the store, I all but accosted the first uniform-clad body I saw. In the most controlled voice I could dredge up, I spat, "Somebody has their fucking dog locked in a car out there. Will you please make an announcement and tell them that I'm waiting five more minutes and CALLING THE POLICE!" I'm nothing if not classy.

I heard a small voice say, "It's my dog." I turned to see an attractive blonde woman at the check out. She was wearing strappy high heel sandals and a slinky white dress that gave her a Greek goddess quality. I wondered if I could kill her with an EXPO marker.

Although I hardly even yell at my own husband, I definitely heard myself say, "SISTER!? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HOT IT IS OUT THERE?!"

"I only had to run in for a minute," Venus explained.


Surprisingly, she didn't answer. But I'm sure I'll see her again. She's probably my new principal.