Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sour Grape?

Let's get this pity party rolling. Why do I complain all the time? It's my nature. I cannot change my spots, as the leopard said while devouring the rabbit that he so tenderly carried across the river in his mouth.

How dare we teachers complain about our jobs! We knew what we were getting into when we got into it. NO. An old dog such as myself never knew how quickly the handbasket days would overtake us. When I started, we did not serve breakfast and dinner to the kids. That was a little joke my cronies and I had: "Heh, heh. Before you know it, they'll expect us to feed them breakfast!" Yeah. What a difference a few years makes.

What makes teaching stressful? Take a gander at these. I'll try to link a couple of specific stories.

We don't dare have a beverage in the classroom, though we are talking every hour, and unable to stroll down the hall to the drinking fountain. If a beverage is in the classroom, it is fair game for a prank, or revenge.

We don't know if to follow the rules as instructed, or break them as need be. If a student asks to use the bathroom, do you grant permission? Every time? Pick and choose who gets the privilege? Oh, oh. FAVORITISM! What if the student really has to go, and you say 'No' ? Perhaps that student is bluffing, and will hold it until the bell. Perhaps that student is ornery, and takes out a soda bottle and urinates in your classroom. And THEN tells the administration that you TOLD him to do it. What then? Oh, and WE can't leave the classroom to go to the bathroom. Even between classes, because we must stand in the hall for supervision. Better learn to hold it until your plan time or your lunch time, whichever comes first. And don't count on waiting until after school, because you never know when something will come up, and you will be needed to supervise students.

We don't dare leave on our cell phones. In fact, we're not even supposed to use our cell phones at school, even though we are adults. And we don't dare leave them in plain sight. They are fair game, you know. The students may have at it. There's no such thing as personal property in a classroom, silly! If it's in sight, the student may grab it. Heaven forbid you've stashed some topless photos on your phone. That's fair game, too. The students can put those photos into cyberspace, by cracky! It's the American way.

Imagine doing your job with 30 people watching your every move. Underwear up your butt? You'd better get used to it. Even if you step out into the hall to rassle it out of your buttcrack, you'll be on camera for all those in the office to see.

You must not question a student's answer. They might say you are ridiculing them. If Johnny says the sky is green, you dare not respond with, "Class...does anyone else think the sky is green?" Because Johnny might jump up and yell, "Are you calling me stupid? My dad will be up here and he'll get you fired!"

You cannot touch the students. Not even an itty-bitty kindergartener with a hand on his shoulder if he's crying. You most certainly cannot hug him. Nor can you tap a high-schooler on the shoulder to get his attention. Hands off, in case something is misunderstood.

You must prepare your lessons a week ahead, but be ready to change them if a sudden assembly is called.

A student may swear at you, or write X-rated notes, or scribble profanity on the desk or bathroom wall, but you must not ever, ever show a reward movie at the end of the year that is rated anything more than PG.

If students are fighting each other, you are expected to physically restrain them. Touching is allowed for putting yourself between two or more brawny lads slugging it out. But if a student strikes you, you must not defend yourself or show anger.

Parents and students are entitled to call you at home. You must be careful in telling them that they may schedule an appointment with you during your plan time at school, because they might accuse you of being rude and refusing to talk to them.

You are a small-town celebrity. If students or parents see you in a store or restaurant, they will come up to you to chat or complain. You are not really allowed to have a personal life. You must be on your pedestal at all times. It is not fitting for you to relax in a local bar. Even though you are 21, and on your own time. That's a bad example for the kids. And don't dare to buy alcohol in a convenience store or The Devil's Playground, either, because that means you are an alcoholic.

There is a network of spies that will get on the phone tree and tell others what you bought at the store, the fast-food restaurant, what movies you rented, why you were at the doctor's office, what type of prescriptions you picked up, how many beers you drank at the county fair, and how many cigarettes you smoke in your car.

Teaching is not a cloak that you shed at 3:00 p.m. and don the next morning at 8:00 a.m. That cloak is stitched to your skin. It can not be removed, except for bathing in a windowless room. Sometimes, the cloak twists and twists until it chokes.

You can be fired for no reason at all if you are not tenured. Which usually means 5 years of teaching in that district. Say a new coach is hired, and his wife just happens to teach what you teach. Better say, "Buh bye" and get your royal wave ready. I've seen that happen twice in other districts where I've taught.

Oh, and let's not forget that sometimes, your job hinges on what adolescents write down on a test given over three days in the springtime. Tests that must not be counted as a grade for the students. Yeah. Those motivated little boogers are sure to do their very best, don't you think?

Now I have typed my fingers to the bone. I'm not really finished, but I will end it on that note. The sour note of standardized, ungraded tests telling how well I do my job.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not ANOTHER Child Left Behind!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a bee in her bonnet. Her bowels are in an uproar. Her panties are in a wad. She's having a cow. She has a bug up her butt. Her cage has been rattled.

Today was duty day. Which child left behind. Oh, and those of you who think we have it so easy, what with our cushy hours, and our summer vacations...when was the last time YOU had to stay at work after closing time, for free, not knowing when you would get to leave? When I used to coach, I had to wait from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. one night for a kid to get a ride. That means the kid called home, talked to the parent, and the parent must have finished watching a TV show or something, because he didn't show up for another hour. Teachers are not allowed to abandon kids. Only the parents can do that.

People, take care of your own darn kids! The public schools are the cheapest daycare around. Imagine if you had to pay $5 per minute for being late to pick up your little darling. Hey! It happens. At another school, some teachers got up and walked out of faculty meetings at the stroke of 5:00, because they could not afford the late fee at the town's only daycare center. I'm not griping about them. It is a bit much to have meetings that last past 5:00 p.m. And they did not leave their kids with people who wondered if anybody would EVER pick them up.

But let's get back to that bee. We have duty teams. No one on the team is allowed to leave until the last student is gone. So we had 3 teachers waiting with one student. The student claimed that she was supposed to be picked up. The buses were long gone. We had no administrator, no counselor. Just us and the secretary. The kid called home. The kid called the cell phone. The kid called Grandma. The kid stated that younger siblings were picked up at another building, but that she was left. Upon further questioning, such as, "Do you know their work number?", the kid huffed, "They don't work!" Then she went on to say, "The last time this happened, they called the police. They didn't even check with the school to see where I was." Oh, and when asked where she lived, she named a neighboring town, which, DUH, is not our district. Another colleague hung around with us, and offered to drive the kid home. can't do that without permission. One of the duty team called around. The secretary called around. We clarified the policy. You can't take a student home and leave the student if nobody else is home. Even if they ride the bus home and stay alone every day. Or ride the bus to the end of the route and then walk home to the empty house.

Something is fishy here. We were not mad at the kid. The kid can't drive. The kid does what the parents say. Sometimes, you question whether a kid this age has just decided not to ride the bus that day. But how can parents pick up some of the kids, and leave another? We only had to wait for an hour today. Other years, I've had to wait from 2:56 to 5:10. Alone. That was a kid who got kicked off the bus, and his parents worked. So I got punished. After the fact, I was told, "In a case like that, bring the kid down to the office, and an administrator will wait." That's a good plan. Unless the administrator is absent that day.

So...after more questioning about who might be able to pick up the kid, and where they might be besides home, and calling information for a phone number of a business in still another town...a relative came and picked up the kid. And started yelling out the window that they did NOT say they were picking the kid up.

No wonder kids get snatched off the street every day. The thing that irks me is: "The last time this happened..." It was not a simple miscommunication. It is a recurring problem. Some people need a good hotlining. But I'm not opening that can of worms.

I really shouldn't complain. This is part of my job. This, and other duties as needed. I should be glad I am there to keep your children safe. Because it's my job. My neverending job.

The school year is almost over, you know.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Even Karma Steven

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's reign as Even Steven continues. This morning, I received 6 chairs from the colleague who wanted me to deliver a chair to Basementia. She also included 6 desks. I'm rakin' it in, now that I'm going to be a real teacher again. At Basementia this afternoon, I gave away all my Communication Arts posters and reproducible books. I receiveth, and I giveth away, by cracky!

I need half a tank of gas. That is 20 gallons for my behemoth. I notice that gas prices have gone up again. I know, who woulda thunk that would happen, huh? On the way home, I told the #1 son, my permanent shotgun rider, "I need some gas before the tank gets too low, but I hate to pay $3.00 a gallon. I swear it went up since we passed this morning." When the boy picked up the mail at the end of the gravel road, he read the envelopes, "...Your Doctor's Office..." Hmm...they never send me anything. My mom called them today to schedule a blood-drawing in anticipation of my appointment next Monday. I wondered if that had anything to do with it. Which was stupid, of course, because everyone knows a doctor's office doesn't do anything that quickly. After I pulled into the garage, and while #1 was taunting the dogs, and #2 was unlocking the Mansion, I opened it, still sitting in the car. Sweet Gummi Mary!!! It was a refund check for $60 !!! I suppose I will stop for gas tomorrow.

The next instance is not so much an illustration of Even-Steven-ness, as it is of Karma Lite. Last week, the entire faculty was supposed to talk to this guy about something. OK, maybe I can be a little more specific. The guy was a rep who had something to do with that ducky AFLAC thingy. I know this, because there was an announcement later that day that included the secretary squawking the AFLAC acronym accidentally, which caused my class to quack with glee. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Which is quite easy, actually, seeing as how I'm so slow.

I knew we were all supposed to sign away our right to duckfeed, or some such thing. Every year, we have to sign a form, even if we don't partake of the ducky goodness. I've tried before to do it at the first building, when I had time to burn over there. And the reps there would look down their noses at me, shuffle some papers, and declare, "You are supposed to do it at the OTHER building." Well, excuuuse me. So sorry to take time away from your eating of the donuts and reading of the Wall Street Journal. This time, I knew I would have to do this at Basementia, and that the email memo had told us to 'make sure you see the AFLAC rep sometime this afternoon'. I had it covered. I hiked up from Lower Basementia on the last 15 minutes of my plan time, around 12:50. There sat Mr. Ducky, with a colleague across from him, writing on a form. There were two other types of colleagues sitting at a table that made an 'L' with the Duckmeister. I did not know if they sat here every day at this time, or if there were waiting in line. I walked over by Mr. Ducky, and asked, "What do I need to do?" By which I meant, did I need to sit down after the other two, and wait my turn, or would he slide my form over for me to review, thus killing two ducks with one stone. Because that's how they usually do it, people. All the other times before. There is no privacy among teaching comrades. We are all up in each other's business day after tedious day.

Nobody said a word. I can't blame the one reviewing her form. I wasn't exactly addressing her. But the Duckmeister or the Sitters could have spoken up. Even a "Wait your turn, b*tch, we were first!" would have sufficed. But noooo! I was a nonentity. So I took myself back to Lower Basementia, figuring I would go 7th hour, during my small class, and I would just take them along with me on an impromptu field trip, to get a drink and wait in the hall for me. It's not like we're talking a platoon here. I have two students left in that class. That way, nobody would be inconvenienced by having to watch my class while I AFLACed. I also knew that Mr. Ducky was supposed to be there until 3:00, and by cracky, to 3:00 he would be! I had tried to do him a favor. But he wasn't accepting favors, apparently. At 1:15, there came an announcement. "Any teacher who has not met with the AFLAC rep should do so now." I called the office on the panic button intercom thingy. "I've just started class. Is it OK if I go during 7th hour? I can take my class along, and nobody will have to cover for me." Which was just the kind of thing they like to hear, so big brownie point for me!

Heh, heh. I went upstairs around 2:20. The Duckmeister said, "Oh, you're my last one." Heh, heh. I'm sure he recognized me from 12:50. To add insult to injury, I didn't want anything he was selling. He had ruded himself into an hour wait, what with ignoring me earlier.

Ain't that gal Karma a b*tch?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Impending Vacation

Eight days left. I told you the school year was almost over...way back in September. I have a knack for these things. I am somewhat psychic, you know.

Now I have to plan a vacation. A real vacation, not an overnight trip to the casino, which we WILL be taking, by cracky, because it's my Mother's Day present, and because I have two free nights there. We're only going for one night, as far as I know, unless my aunt can swing an overnight trip with me during the summer. For the REAL vacation, we're leaning toward the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Heh, heh. And you thought it wasn't possible for me to become hillbillier.

Yep, a diggin' we will go in a 37-acre field of diamond-bearing soil, plowed periodically when weather allows. OK. I got that off their official website. But that gives you an idea of the fun we'll be having. Dirt-diggin', by cracky! Can't beat that with a stick, so don't even try. Get that stick away from me, you psycho!

I imagine we will also stop in Branson. It is on the way, you know. I don't really want to go to Silver Dollar City, what with only one of us enjoying the rides, and it costing several pretty pennies. But the go-kart tracks are like crack for hillbillies, and the little guy likes miniature golf, and I enjoy the Dixie we'll see what develops. Thank the Gummi Mary, I have been saving money out of the new, despised cash budget each week to provide for such a moneysucker. I'm ready to get this vacation over with, so I can get down to the real business of the summer: doing absolutely nothing.

Yes, I have such lofty dreams. I have put in an Amazon order that is due to ship May 21. We get out of school on the 23rd, but I will still have to attend graduation on the 25th. My books and movies should make a timely arrival for the Summer of DoNothing. I shall set the Poolio hours, the housekeeping hours, the meal hours...and the rest will be MY TIME. I haven't broken the news to the boys yet. They are not so fond of schedules. They plan to shoot off rockets, and teach themselves guitar.

HH will be working. And bitter.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Poolio Dog Gift Manure

The boys just went swimming in the buttwater soup. Poolio is open for business! They declared it cold, and hard to see through, but that is the nature of buttwater soup.

Two of the dogs went to the vet today. Tank got his booster shot, and Grizzly had a yeast infection of his right ear, which had caused it to swell up into a big lumpy thingy, which was probably due to the medicine they gave him a couple weeks ago for the worms he didn't have, but that the third dog, Ann, had. Oh, and this visit was $277.09. Better to be a vet than a doctor, methinks. Not many people sue the vet for malpractice. They offered to surgically remedy Grizzly's ear problem, for $230. No, I think HH would rather lop it off with a hatchet and cauterize the stump with a hot glue gun. It's not that we don't like our pets. We have them sterilized, you know, and get them shots, and treat them for infections...but ain't nobody doin' cosmetic surgery on 'em. There's plenty more dogs at the pound.

I will not be getting any cards or gifts for Mother's Day. I have requested a gambling trip, so that will happen when it happens. It is what it is. I don't need any figurines to sit around gathering dust. I don't need any cards with hastily-scribbled names. I figure my boys love me. They haven't tried to kill me in my sleep.

HH volunteered to send #1 son down to the neighbor's house with a pitchfork. I was not sure where this little scheme was headed, since HH spouts out some fairly outlandish plots without blinking an eye. Like the time he was going to mine copper in our back yard. Or sell the rocks and soil off our third 10 acres. This time, he said it was to gather some horse manure. First of all, I don't think we own a pitchfork, unless it is one of HH's Devil accessories. Secondly, I'm not sure the neighbors would just give away horse manure, once they found out we wanted some, because then they could get the idea to sell it instead of give it away. You know, like "Nobody will buy the horse if they can get the poop for free" or something. Thirdly, I don't remember ever, ever asking for horse manure. Then HH said that we could till it into the ground and plant a garden. Yeah. That would last about 5 minutes, with the deer and rabbits and birds eating their fill, and the dogs digging it up, and the cats taking a crap there whenever they pleased. I don't think so.

I did get a Mother's Day dinner of all-you-can-eat catfish tonight, and a trip to The Devil's Playground. I hope that catfish wasn't fed the poison Chinese pet food. The Devil's Playground excursion was really so HH could buy two bags of dogfood, a bag of catfood, and a 4-wheeler battery. That's because he didn't spend enough money at the vet, and on Poolio chemicals.

It's kind of expensive to live this high on the hog.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Gone Packin'

And...we're back. Oh, I wasn't gone. New Blogger was gone. Magnificent New Blogger, which everybody was strong-armed into switching to, and promised that New Blogger would not be unavailable. I wish New Alex was gone. You know, that creepy Son of Sam on ER. Oh, that's right. New Alex IS gone. Sam banished him to a residential home for burning up the old man upstairs after dropping a match into a glass of spilled wine. Darn those young'uns, always spilling the wine! And burning up old men. I wish Sam had sent him to treatment at a facility for Kids With A Stick Up The A$$ Who Can't Act Themselves Out Of A Wet Paper Bag. That Sam! She could have just sent him to live with his dad, except that Dad was in prison quite a while, and though the other inmates might have welcomed Wooden New Alex with OH SO OPEN arms, the Department of Corrections probably frowns on that sort of thing, what with the place already being overcrowded, although I'm sure somebody would have offered to share a bunk with young Wooden New Alex. Oh, and even after Dad got out of jail, that little plan would not have worked because, well, Sam SHOT her Wooden Boy Daddy, and killed him dead, dead, dead. And I watched.

I will soon be gone. Gone from Basementia. Next year I have a new assignment, which is really my old assignment, from when I first started working at this place. But that is neither here nor there tonight, because it is only used as emphasis for what I am going to complain about next. Thank the Gummi Mary that people piss me off. I never run out of material.

Yesterday, I was a bit peeved. Seems two people asked me to cart some stuff over to Basementia. I have always been used as a mule between buildings. That doesn't mean I like it. I do it because it is the polite thing to do when people shove paperwork in your face and 'ask', "Canyoutakethistotheotherbuildingformethanks" and run out the door faster than doorstops disappear in not-Basementia. It wasn't such a problem when it was only paper, and I had my plan time to travel. The worst part of it was remembering to take it out of my bag and deliver it to the right person. Sometimes I had to take lunch money, before we went to the card system. Hey! I know these teacher kids. I would not want my own child to go without lunch, so I took them the money.

Every now and then, someone would try to take advantage. "Take this work to ISS. I didn't have time to get it in yesterday. And take this book, he doesn't have a book, he will need a book." That's where I had to draw the line. I would take a book ONE time. That was it. I have my own stuff to carry. I am not the one being punished. Take a zero, kid, or write reports out of the encyclopedia. I am not here to make your days in ISS easier. Why must teachers bend over backwards to get all the supplies to kids who broke the rules?

Earlier this week, someone sent down a bag of books. I didn't know it was books, but it was heavy enough to be books or a laptop. It had a note saying, 'My Supervisor wants you to take this bag to Teacher 2 at the other building.' Hmm...I sent my son to ask Supervisor if that was true. Yes. So I did it. As a favor to Supervisor. Yesterday, Teacher 2 waltzed past me while I was doing duty in the hallway, deposited the black bag in my room, and said, "You'resupposedtotakethisbacknow." Knowing how hefty it was, and still with all my own stuff to carry, and only 4 minutes to get from this doorway, drive across town, find a parking spot, and get to my classroom in Lower Basementia, I sent a note to Teacher 2 after the dust had cleared from the speedy exit. 'Are the books needed right now? We have that district-wide meeting here after school, and they can be picked up then.' Nope, I was told. "Supervisor needs those books today to score a test." So I carted them over. But I was running late, surprise, surprise, and left them in the car until I could send my personal pack mule, #1 son, to bring them in. Ahem. After some questioning, I discovered that Supervisor was not even at school, but at a meeting from 8:00 to 4:00. Teacher 2 had better not pee on my leg again any time soon.

Oh, and the second thing I was supposed to deliver at the same time was a set of completed tests. I can't blame the receiver on this one, and they were not heavy, but it was just something extra to deal with in the midst of driving, parking, remembering which lesson I would be teaching for this class, the fourth of my six preps, and getting the tests sent upstairs. The little messenger came back and said, "Well, I left them with the sub." DUH! I rushed those things over for a teacher who was not even there. Though it was not her fault that her presence was requested elsewhere at the last minute. That's just the way things go in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's life. Try to do people favors, and it bites her in her ample butt. So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom declared, "I am DONE with it! I am not hauling anything else back and forth for these people. Seven years of it is more than enough. I have 9 days left of this job, and I am not carting things across town any more!"

I told a couple of cronies, and figured that word would get around. This morning, a not-Basementia teacher stopped by my room between classes. She said, "Can you take a chair to the other building for me?" I laughed out loud. Now that was a good one! A chair! Bwahaha! She must have heard of my chagrin at the Pony Express sign that had apparently been taped to my back for the last seven years. What a good joke. "Of course I'll take a chair to the other building for you! Ha, ha! I'll strap it on my back!"

She looked at me with her head tilted, like Tank the Beagle looks at #1 son when he farts. And then I understood. SHE ACTUALLY EXPECTED ME TO CARRY A FREAKIN' CHAIR TO THE OTHER BUILDING!!! And I had said that I would do it! How do I get myself into these situations? It was such a perfect Karma Moment that I was more amused than pissed off. So I took the chair to Basementia. But I made some adjustments to my technique. I did not carry the chair. One of her students carried it to my LSUV. It was for her son for field day. When #1 son went out with the keys to bring in Dead Lappy for the tech guy to take a look at (he ROCKS!), I sent Sonny with him to carry in his own chair.

It was the least I could do.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Unusual Suspects

When we last left Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, she was trying to adjust to her recent adoptees, Pete and Repete. Those guys held the door quite nicely for Mrs. HM, even though it took both of them to do the job of one. Mrs. HM was mulling over the evidence, on her eternal quest for justice. The very next morning, there was a break in the case.

First cat out of the bag, Mabel sang a tune of discovery. That cat ran up and down the hall, to the tune of multiple missing doorstops warbling, "Take, take me home...cause I don't remember..." Seems there had been a big shindig, and doors needed to be propped open. A mass abduction ensued. After serving so valiantly, our doorstop brethren were forgotten. Perhaps many more doorstops than Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's were stranded and abandoned. But Mrs. HM's was not missing from that date, only recently. That clue was a dead end. Thanks for the big, steaming bowl o' nuthin', Mabel.

Next, who should appear but the student-accused entity, and her sidekick. Not thinking exactly what I was saying, I greeted them with, "I'm so mad! My doorstop disappeared when That Inconsiderate Group used my classroom." And the sidekick replied, "I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!" So forceful was her exclamation that I did not know if she was funnin' with me, or really, truly incensed. She went on to elaborate that since she was near the main area of the building, people always took her doorstop first. I almost sympathized with her...I really did...until...she said, "So you know what I do? I just go take one to replace it." OH, OH OH! Mr. Kottaiirrr! Pick me! Pick me! I think I know who did it!

Not really. It was just a theory. A conspiracy theory. I do not really think they took my Stoppie. But it is certainly some compelling circumstantial evidence, methinks.

Oh, but the saga of Stoppie continues. I told my mom about Doorstopgate this morning on the phone. She jumped to the same conclusion. Little did I know she would arrive at school a few hours later and meet Pete and Repete in person. Seems the #2 son couldn't hold his cookies. He tossed them at school. Three times. So trusty Gammy rescued #2, and stopped by my building so I would know she had him. It's a long story. They usually call me to see what to do with my kids, but we've had a changeover, and, umm, they said they tried to call me but I wasn't home. DUH! I'm at work! HELLO!

Anyhoo, she brought in the boy, with a white plastic bowl under his chin in case he tossed a few more, and asked for my keys to get the beloved DS out of the LSUV. She saw Pete and Repete and said, "Oh. That IS sad." I hope she did not injure their fragile self-esteem. It ain't easy bein' a brokeback doorstop. Or so they tell me. When Mom came back with the keys, she popped around the corner, waving something in the air. "Look what I found," she whisper-yelled to me. It was a loooong wooden doorstop. I grabbed it and held it down by my side. "Don't you know we're on camera? Where did you get that?" I quizzed her. "Oh, I found it lying outside," she said, cool as a cucumber.

Heh, heh. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, they say. And 'they' are always right. So I took that monster and wrote 'Mrs. Hillbilly Mom' on every facet in black permanent marker. Then I stashed him in my cabinet for the day when Pete and Repete of the broken back club are on their last legs. Hey! If I didn't get him, somebody would have. I shall call him D-Stop. He's a strapping, magnificent specimen of the doorstop species. I look forward to growing old with him.

And if anyone asks where I got my big, strong D-Stop, I can honestly tell them:
"My mother gave it to me."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Another Conspiracy

There is a conspiracy afoot. I can feel it in my bones. Yesterday, I showed up to work bright and early, at the stroke of 7:35 a.m., much like every other day in The Conspiracy-Riddled World of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. I was greeted with a giant black trash bag full of trash. (Duh! Why do you think they call it a trash bag?) I had feared something like this might occur, since there came a hurried, jumbled announcement just as I was dashing out the door for Basementia. I did not hear the mention of my room number, but I nearly tripped over a giant 4-pack of paper towels, and a large black duffel bag. They were piled right outside my door. I knew that the Paper Towel/Duffel Bag Fairy is really just your parents pretending to leave you paper towels and duffel bags, so I didn't think they were a gift for me.

In the trash bag was a bunch of pizza boxes and plates and napkins. The trash bag was taller than my desk. I did not feel like sitting there inhaling the aroma of Yesterday's Garbage, so I drug the enormous bag into the hall. And there I left it, because HEY, it wasn't my trash, and I am not a custodian, no matter how many evil eyes I may get from some who would like me to be. I then busied myself baby-wiping the desks, because there were a myriad of crumbs. I collected my pencils that were strewn willy-nilly about the room. I gathered the used napkins from within the desk compartments. I straighted the desks back into rows, which earned me a sliming of the first order. It was some gooey white stuff under the edge of a desk. I'm thinking along the lines of frosting for Cinnasticks, though one of my classes though it was something more sinister, which they stopped just short of naming, but the gagging sounds were enough to give me the drift. That little bit of business required the Fantastik. That stuff is fantastic, you know.

So I was not in a very pleasant mood, what with that start to my day, taking valuable time away from taunting the World Map which had remained clinging to the wall overnight. Oh, but there's more. I went to prop open my door, and THE DOORSTOP WAS GONE! Doorstops for teachers in that building are like crack for crackheads. They are a necessity. We obsess over them. We write our names on them with Wite-Out. We lock them inside our rooms overnight. We have to buy them, you see. (Unless we have a special friend like Mabel, who deals in contraband such as doorstops, attendance-slip clips, ceiling hanger-thingies, and VCR cables.) There is not a doorstop fund. And those doors will not stay open without a doorstop. The door will hit your a$$ on the way in if you let it. I am on my 4th doorstop since moving in to that building. Or I WAS on my 4th one.

I interrogated one of my students, who was at the grand pizza extravaganza. He sang like a canary. I found out who gave out the pencils, who left the crusts, who sat at the sticky desk...but not what happened to my doorstop. I told him, "Well, I'm thinking that maybe one of the kids kicked it as he left, and then it got kicked down the hall and is long gone." But no. Tweety sang this song, "No. I was the last student out. It was still there when I left. And the lady in charge was still here. But there WAS another lady messing with the doorstop. She works here, but I don't know who she is." He described her. It was not as bad as the time a student described a svelte, tanned teacher as 'the black stick', but it did not give me a lot to go on. The kids guessed, too.

Was it the secretary?
Which end of the building is she in?
I don't know.
Was it the counselor?
No. I know the counselor.
Was it that lady just down the hall?
I don't think so.
The librarian?
No. I just can't think of where I've seen her.
Is it the social worker?
The speech lady?
No. I remember...the one that's always in (edited so as not to incriminate the guilty).

OK. Now I had a suspect. But I would worry about that later. The first order of business was to get my hands on a doorstop. Mabel had offered me a used one upon hearing my sob story. I turned it down. I thought I knew where I could get my hands on another one. I dashed off a note to send down the hall. But not to the suspect.

Dear Ms. Doodah,

Please take time to read my tale of woe. My doorstop, "Stoppie", has disappeared. The kids have been telling me all year that you have a doorstop with my name on it. I did not really care. In fact, I grew tired of hearing about it. But now that my beloved "Stoppie" has gone missing, I need his older brother, "Stopper", to come home.

Could you please return "Stopper" to me? I know you do not want to be responsible for breaking up a family. To fill the hole in your heart, perhaps you could adopt a new doorstop from Mabel. She has one that is physically challenged, but in need of a home.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom*

Ms. Doodah denied any contact with "Stopper". She said that she had not seen him, but that I was welcome to any doorstop that she had. That's the catch. According to the message-bearer, much like Old Mother Hubbard's dog, she had NONE. So I sent the note to Mabel, with a simple question: "Can you hook me up?"

Always the Go-To Gal, Mabel sent me TWO doorstops. OK, so they're kind of like Brokeback Doorstops. They are spineless. They are differently-abled. It takes two of them to tango, if you get my drift. One has to ride on top of the other to keep my door open. They are a good team. They work like a charm, together. Alone, neither can cut the mustard. I'm not sure what to name them. I'm thinking 'Pete' and 'Repete'. There was a real kid on that MTV show Two-A-Days named Repete. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's little helpers.

Just when you think this tale of woe is over...the plot thickens. I uncovered some new information today.

But you'll have to come back tomorrow to find out. You too, Mabel. All fingers point to...

Hey! I said TOMORROW!

*The information in the note is approximate. Mabel kept the actual note, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's memory is not what it used to be. Some days, she can hardly remember where she parked her Rascal.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

At Long Last, The Volcano

Sing praises to the Gummi Mary! My #2 son's Nintendo DS replacement game arrived yesterday from Scholastic. He has been thinking about it day and night since he got the broken one. It has been about two weeks, I think. Every night, he says, "Maybe my DS game will come in tomorrow!" And every afternoon, he gets off the bus, hangs his head, and greets me with, "It didn't come." Hallelujah! Those days are done. I had a meeting in Basementia yesterday, and when it was over, I walked across the hall (yes, indeed, Basementia's meetings are held in Lower Basementia) and found him happily pecking away at the controls. He'd told me to take his DS in when I got to Basementia, no doubt because the little eternal optimist thought his game would come in. And it did! He said, "Mom, it wasn't there by lunch time. Then after lunch, Mrs. My Teacher said, '#2 Hillbilly, there is a new box in the teacher workroom, and I think it's your game.'" That made his day. I'm surprised we didn't have to go to the ER to have the smile removed from his face.

The #1 son wants to build a volcano. Never mind that he made one back in 2nd or 3rd grade. He says he can get bonus points in class. That boy needs bonus points like a bicycle needs a fish. Oh, and he wants to work on it with a partner. Perhaps you recall my reluctance to let him make his Science Fair project with a partner. You know, the project that won 1st Place in his division, and earned him a $50 prize? Oh, excuse me...he only got $25 because his partner got the other half. Not to mention, I spent $40 on supplies and a display board for that project, and #1 spent many a night working on it, and, oh...the partner worked on it during class time at school.

I am not fond of partner projects. One always ends up doing most of the work. When I was in school, that one was me. I hated partner and group projects. OK, so maybe it's just because I'm so hard-headed and overbearing, but I do not like the partner thingy. Why does he need a crutch? He is perfectly capable of making his own childish volcano display. Every partner project has a pooper, and that pooper is me. I that so wrong? Would you want your child making a volcano with a partner? Would you want to drive him to town, or drive in and fetch the partner and then take him home? If you lived 15 miles from the partner? And drove a Large SUV? And the price of gas at your last fill-up was $2.79?

Well, you say, how about building that project at the partner's house? Let him take charge of it and buy the stuff and design it and haul it to school. Oh, don't understand my child. He would never take a back seat to a partner. He wants to run the show. Yet have a partner. I don't get it. It's not like he's friendless. He has a regular group of cronies. Is he afraid of failure? Does he want a scapegoatish partner? I can't figure that boy out. It's that darn Sagittariusness in him, I suppose. Always wants to be around people. Bah! Humbug! Hillbilly Mom does not like people. They piss her off. And take away valuable time that she could be spending with her favorite person...herself.

Why can't he just put an egg in a bottle? Alone.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Campbell's Mmm Mmm Good It Ain't

HH is getting the pool ready for the summer. That means he is sucking the water off the top of the silver cover. Well, HH is not actually slurping at it himself. He is using a little pump of some kind that he set down in the deepest puddle on top of the cover, and he's raising the other edges until the water runs down to that sucker. That cover looks like one of those silver pouches that you put a hot-pocket or something in for microwaving.

Here's what I don't understand. HH does not plan to drain the pool. He says the water in it will be just fine. He will take a sample to the pool place and see what dose of chemicals Poolio needs to be healthy. This seems OH SO WRONG to me. What would it hurt to drain Poolio? We fill him from our well. It's not like it will cost a buttload of water to fill him again. The water needs to warm up for a couple weeks anyway. Would you fill your bathtub, bathe in it all summer, and then let the water languish in the tub over the winter, throw in some chemicals, and bathe again the next summer? Methinks not.

It's not like we have an Olympic-sized in-ground pool. It's above-ground. A little hose to siphon with, and Poolio would take care of business while we're at work. How much sunscreen is floating around in there? How much snot? How much toejam? I look at poor Poolio, and I see an icy cauldron of buttwater soup. What would it hurt to drain Poolio? Is there some aquatic custom of which I am happily ignorant?

I think this is a conspiracy by the pool-selling pirates. "Keep the water in your pool. Then all you have to do in the Spring is bring us a sample, and we can tell you what chemicals it needs. We can sell you those chemicals while you're here, by cracky!" Chemicals. They are but seasonings for the buttwater soup.

Hey! You're all invited to a pool party! It's a BYOA party.

Bring your own antibiotic.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I am suffering from Summeritis. The symptoms include excessive sleepiness, malaise, chore-avoidance, and general slackishness. It doesn't help that HH goes to bed at 8:30, and after a full 10 hours of sleep, expects us to hop up and serve him in preparing his kingdom for the next foreigner's visit. Hillbilly Mom is a night-owl. She has been since her formative years, and isn't about to learn new tricks at this late date.

Speaking of fowl...after my rude awakening at 6:15, I went out to sit on the porch of the Mansion to survey HH's kingdom. The cats mistakenly thought I was there to feed them. Think again, pussies. That is not one of my myriad of chores. They followed me, perched atop the porch rail and watched me, jumped up and down several times to wind around my legs, and even tolerated the dogs chewing on them. The dogs viewed me as a long-lost litter-mate, as if I'd fallen down a well, and had been rubbing lotion on my skin to avoid the hose again for about 10 years. Amidst this commotion, the birds started mouthing off. I didn't recognize any of their calls, but I'm sure my blog buddy, 'Chickadee', would. I did see a redheaded woodpecker fly toward the back porch, squawking about the absence of the dogfood he steals from the pan. He made a brief foray into the woods, then came back to sit on the side of the electric pole that holds the dusk-to-dawn light. When I looked that direction, I saw the tiny hummingbird in some type of weedish growth next to my dead rose bush. He was no bigger than a medium-sized moth, with a red throat, and a white necklace below his throat. Or maybe he was a she, what with the accessories, but in the fowl family, it seems that the males are more flamboyant.

After lazing around the porch a while with the wildlife, I was tired, so I went to lie in the recliner for a while. The boys foraged for their own breakfast. I made a trip to Save-A-Lot, where nothing interesting happened. I sometimes long for the days when that lady followed me around declaring that I was SO PRETTY. Upon my return from town, the boys were in deep hiding. But sure enough, five minutes after I'd carried everything in, they drove up on their off-roadsy wheels. It's like an internal clock HH has...showing up after everything is done.

Then I got caught up in a show on the DOC channel about Aardvark and 12 Weeks With Geeks. They were writing computer code for a remote-access computer help program called 'Co-Pilot'. It would not have interested me, except that I am growing a little geek, and he has been writing computer code since last year. I guess it keeps him off the street.

Before I knew it, my hard day of doing nothing was coming to an end. I tossed only the third load of laundry in to wash, and started some spaghetti for supper. I used my new non-stick pan and spatula that I got for Christmas. OK, so we're slow in progressing from one holiday to the next here at the Mansion. That spatula took some getting used to. It was kind of long, and awkward. I felt like Ripley in Aliens, moving stuff around with that loader thingy. Except she was good at it.

And now, I have to get busy not doing stuff for school tomorrow. Hey! The school year is almost over, you know. The world is not going to end if I don't lecture on the space-time continuum tomorrow.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

You Can Confide In Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

I must be a good confidante. People want to tell me things. I know this, because when I check my statcounter, there are all kinds of information that people have used in a search to find me. ME! It really IS all about me! Here are a few things they want me to know. Sometimes, I'm like that Johnny guy in the Stephen King book. The guy who knows what people are thinking when he touches them. I didn't like that book much. That's what he gets for touching people. Keep your doggone hands to yourself, Johnny. That's what I always say. But then, I have that teacher thing goin' on.

texas fines for teepeeing houses. Hmm...what are you saying? I don't teepee. Just because other people have come to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's advice column asking 'how to teepee', that doesn't exactly make me a criminal. And I've never even been to Texas. I certainly don't plan to go now. What kind of a racket is that, fining people for teepeeing. It must be like a speed trap. Texas has a teepee trap, Texas has a teepee trap. Sounds like a good way to taunt those lone stars. Chant that in a sing-songy voice. Or make it into a tongue-twister and say it 10 times, fast. And what's this about the 'houses'? Does Texas not fine for teepeeing mobile homes, or trees, or cows after you tip them, or that pesky mother-in-law? Sounds like the ACLU oughta come down on Texas.

elbow wenus high in nutrients. Good to know. But a 'wenus' does not sound very appetizing. And not just any wenus, mind you, but the elusive elbow wenus. It reminds me of a snipe, of hunting fame.

all you gotta do is cry. OK. But all I wanna do is graduate from high school, move to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. Oops! That's not what I want. It's what Kristy Swanson wanted, when she was the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in the campy movie that was a hoot, not the series that took itself OH SO SERIOUSLY, (back in the day, before she had that little b*st*rd with Lloyd-the-skating-guy, when they hooked up for Skating With The Stars), right before she punched Donald Sutherland in the nose.

theres a little change in my pocket going jing aling aling. You don't have to brag. If you do a cartwheel, you're gonna lose that change, buddy. You need an old-lady coin purse. My mom has one, with pink and white beads embroidered on it. My son cried for it, but I wouldn't let him have it. Hey! He had a blue leather purse. It was not a good accessory.

the window was left open to let the fart out. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And then what happened? Did somebody come in the window and rob you? Did it rain and ruin your carpeting? Did your parakeet fly away? Did Tom peep? Did the cat get out and you blamed George Costanza?

beauty is in the eye of he beholder. Well, this one of those trick thingies, like 'put the the cat out' or something, where you have to find the error? Because if it isn't, it seems a bit sexist. HE beholder, indeed! It's a man's world, huh? Is that the message you're trying to get across? Don't make me call those ACLU people on their way to Texas.

stop whacking in my camper beavis and butthead. Excuse me. I am not Beavis, nor am I Butthead. And I certainly wouldn't be whacking in YOUR camper, when I have my own camper right in the front yard.

trace adkins lost part of his left pinky finger in an industrial accident. I suppose that's better than having your FAT RED PINKY FINGER amputated 4 days after you are given that diagnosis and told to render your decision by Friday, but worse than seeing a specialist and having the bone scraped and having a pin in it for 6 weeks. And who are you, the Trace Adkins pity party organizer?

but she grew up tall and she. WHAT? Grew up mean? Did her daddy name her Sue? Did she become a model? Did people ask her 'How's the weather up there?' or if she played basketball? Did customers in The Devil's Playground ask her to get things off the top shelf? Did she whack her head on the ceiling of the camper when Beavis and Butthead invited her over? WHAT? Don't leave me hangin'!

iam checking the flights , put labels , sealing and sing. Aren't you a busy little beaver? Stop whacking...Sorry. Beaver. Not Beavis. Perhaps you should pencil in some time for some tense grammar, and present-participle yourself to sleep.

That's all you need to know. I don't want to let too many cats out of the bag. Then I would be a mediocre confidante. Or a world-champion cat-setter-free-er.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Up Your Street With A Rubber Hose

The school year is almost over, you know. Next week, I have a faculty meeting Monday, the #1 son's Top Ten Percent academic banquet on Tuesday, and an insurance meeting on Thursday. Time flies when you're almost out.

Tomorrow, we have a school carnival. It raises money for the kids to take a senior trip. NOT to Amsterdam. The last few years, the trip has been to Hawaii or Mexico. The kids vote, depending on how much money the class has raised over 6 years, and where the majority agrees to go. The Veteran is going to be one of the Grand Marshals of the parade. The theme this year is 'Superheroes.'

I don't know if it's for the parade tomorrow, or what the deal is, but the town has been washing the streets with a giant firehose. (No, to those of you who plan to ask, giant firehose is not a euphemism for anything. Sometimes, a giant firehose is just a giant firehose.) I can't explain it. Especially since it has rained for the last 4 days. Washing the streets seem a bit redundant. Perhaps they are washing the mud that has washed down by the sewer grates. But I have only seen that in one place. The rest of the road looks clean to me. Today, it was pouring down rain when I went to Basementia. The giant firehose was stretched down the middle of the street, and all the early birds had moved their cars around back to the gravel lot. Welcome to MY world, early birds! I don't quite understand the hosing of the streets in a downpour. The workers weren't complaining. I could tell from their gray pants and white T-shirts that they were on loan from one of the local prisons. Not jail. PRISON. I guess the city wanted to get its money's worth out of the laborers.

Since we got out at 12:45, and HH had taken off the entire day, he called to see if we wanted to meet him for lupper. That is the meal between lunch and supper. Theoretically, lupper is when you haven't had lunch and are not going to have supper. I wish HH had told us this before we ate lunch, but whatever, I was game. We agreed to meet him in another town, on past the school town. I had to stop by the bank to deposit my hefty paycheck. Right, Mabel? That was kind of a problem, what with sitting in line at the drive-thru for 20 MINUTES waiting on the 4 cars ahead of me. I think the window girl was printing her own money today, and had to hang it up with clothespins to dry. Anyhoo, the front lot was full, and since last time I went in, I waited in line for 5 minutes behind a guy who finally turned to look at me like I had two heads, (which I don't, but I'll claim to be as smart as a woman with two brains, not to be confused with the Steve Martin movie The Man With Two Brains, which was really quite funny, in an early Kathleen Turner kind of way, and by the way, you did know that Kathleen is from Missouri, didn't you, and went to the same university as I did, but was years ahead of me, though I suspect she fudges on her age a little bit), and then stepped away from the counter and the girl pointed to her wooden sign thingy, which clearly said, 'Next window', I chose to remain in the drive-thru. HH blew on past us down the highway, and was waiting at the BBQ restaurant before we even left the bank. Stupid bank. I would keep the money in a sock in the backyard if I didn't think that chewin' dog would dig it up like a Case collector knife.

After a hearty lupper, we climbed back in the Large SUV for the ride home. I say 'we', not because I had a mouse in my pocket, but because neither of the spawn would ride with HH. Go figure! It might have something to do with the way he doesn't bother to look at the road while driving. We called him twice to remind him not to drive through the creek if it was flooded, because sometimes he just doesn't use good judgment. Then we called to ask if he'd picked up the mail, and he said, "No, the mailboxes were underwater." Which was not a very nice thing to say, because that would mean the bridges were also underwater. I'll have to keep my eye on HH, getting all clever and sh*t, and actually making a joke.

I dropped #1 son off at the front of The Devil's Playground for 4 AAA batteries, what with my beloved remote not asking how high when I say jump. Oh, and it has the words, "Low Battery" at the top of the screen every time I change channels. That was my first clue. Because I just thought I had a crappy remote, like my crappy receiver, which even though you pay the regular amount, they send a 'reconditioned' receiver to everybody and hope it freakin' works, which of course it did NOT when we first got it, and had to send it back, and then the next one did not work, and we had to send IT back, and the third try was the charm. Thievin' Dish Network! But they are not as bad as the Cable Pirates I had to pay protection money to when I lived in town. Their freakin' service could be down for days at a time, with NO refund or discount. Meanwhile, back at The Devil's Playground, I circled the lot until sonny appeared again, and swooped in to pick him up. He loves using the self-check thingy, the one that robs old people and teenagers of their minimum-wage jobs with no benefits. It's like an arcade game for him.

After all that excitement, we forgot to pick up medicine, which, contrary to popular opinion, is NOT for my Alzheimer's. But we DID NOT forget my Sonic Cherry Diet Coke, which the girl overfilled, and said, "Wait a minute," as she handed it out the window, and tipped it sideways so about a cup of liquid spilled through the X on the top, and then handed it to me, already seeping again, and I gave it to the shotgun-riding #1 son, and told him, "Slurp that up before it gets in the car," so he did, noisily, with his head bent over, leading to another lecture about children and front-seat riding, and my assurances that his death from an airbag inflation would be quick and painless, so he sat up a bit, and put in the straw, and put his lips on it to slurp some more, which made me scream, "I didn't mean through the straw! I don't want your salarva all down in my soda!" Which is a new word my students taught me this year, and it kind of has a ring to it, salarva, say it to yourself, salarva, see, don't you like it, you may to use it all you want. You're welcome.

And now I've retired to my dark basement lair, made my internet rounds, and am planning to go try out my brand spankin' new AAA batteries to see if my Intervention is on tonight.

Good day to you!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bitter Pajama Amsterdam

Tomorrow, we have a half-day of school. In truth, it's a four-and-a-half-sevenths day of school. Really. I calculated it. Of course, HH got wind of it, so he has taken the WHOLE day off from his work. I hate it when that happens. It's not even like a holiday when he horns in on it. Color me bitter. It's just more work around the Mansion for me. And now, I've made more work for you by commanding you to color me bitter. And stay within the lines, too, or I'll have you screened for fine motor skill deficiency. By cracky. Because I hold all the power here at my Mansion, just like I do at school. Not that it's gone to my head or anything. I try to be reasonable. When a student suggested making a card for a girl who was injured in a four-wheeler accident, I agreed. I let them draw a big blackboard on the card, because she looooves the blackboard. You might say she is obsessed with it, but that wouldn't be nice, and I'm trying to be reasonable, so let's just say that she really, really, likes the blackboard. And on the blackboard drawing, a kid wrote, "you + we = miss", which I thought was kind of clever. And then we wrote "1 + 1 = 2 and 2 + 2 = 4", because, hey, we're her math class, and we don't want her to forget how to do math while she's gone. I refrained from writing "206 - 2 = 204" in honor of the two bones she allegedly broke, because, well, that would not have been very nice, even though it would have been funny, but I doubt that she would get it, because I don't think she knows there are 206 bones in the human body, which probably y'all don't know, either, and are scratching your heads and saying, "What's so funny about that?", except for the couple of you who might be saying, "Is that a tick?"

The #2 son had pajama day at school. He doesn't know why, only that it's for the whole third grade. He didn't want to participate, until he dug to the bottom of the shoe box and found some slippers. The way it works around the Mansion is that he slept in his green pajamas with the army truck thingies on them, and woke up, and dressed in his blue pajamas with the grizzly bears on them. I asked if he was sure he wanted to wear the shirt. They are winter pajamas, after all, and it was supposed to be 65 today, with rain. He assured me that he wanted the real deal. I had offered him a plain white T-shirt. I wouldn't let him go topless. That is frowned upon, even on pajama day. He declined. When I dropped him off, he climbed out of the Large SUV right in front of the duty teacher, the one whose name escapes me, but who never smiles, or acknowledges him, or even looks at him when he gets dropped off. Most of them at least smile. This one is a tough nut to crack. He hopped out, said, "Good day to you!" (like his older brother says when he thinks he's funny and dismissing somebody whose ideas don't mesh with his), and stopped right in front of that duty teacher, pointed his finger at her, and said, "Don't even say anything!" and ran into the building. I thought I saw a corner of her mouth crinkle slightly, but I can't be sure. After school, I asked if everybody participated in pajama day. He said, "Most of the class. A lot of them just had pajama pants. They said I was lucky to have a shirt."

Great Googley Moogley! My son's class has been assigned reports on various countries. One of the young 'uns asked for 'Amsterdam'. They sure are startin' young, eh? After being informed that Amsterdam is not a country, the child settled on The Netherlands. Thank the Gummi Mary this was my 12-year-old's class, not the 9-year-old. Still, it was bad enough when the 10th grader wanted a senior trip to Amsterdam. Now, the tweeners want to go, too. Does anyone else think this is OH SO WRONG, talking about the Amsterdamish goings-on in front of the children? Perhaps these people are world travelers, obsessed with the architecture, or the fabulous food, or the rich history of the city. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions.
Nawww. I don't think so.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

If you can read this post, hug a teacher. Then check your pockets. seems that some of us are giving teachers a bad name. Oh, not ME. I am a poster child for what a teacher should be. If, by 'poster child', you mean someone who's Social Security Number is '1'. I found out totally by accident that some of us are using our power for evil instead of good.

There I was, conscientiously looking up internet info the the great Moon Landing Hoax when a got an urge to Google. Hey! It was not during class time. It was my plan time. And after I finished planning my writing/propaganda lesson, I Googled. I will link the articles, lest you accuse Mrs. Hillbilly Mom of embellishing a story. Like that could ever happen! The headlines are mine. Here is what I found...

Where in the H*LL is our President?
During a lesson on collages for a class of 5th graders, an art teacher used the President's head as an example. Seems he had cut out George Bush's head, and slapped it up on his board. He then proceeded to draw horns on the Commander-in-Chief, and gave him a flaming background. Above his shoulder was a demonic figure, saying, "Well done, my son." The teacher told the students, "Don't go home and tell your parents about this." Which, of course, some little tattletale DID, and brought the mamawrath upon the common-sensically-challenged art teacher.

The Tattler whipped up an artist's rendering of the offending visual aid. It looks pretty good to me. Guess she should thank an art teacher. Whoops! She's trying to get him fired. Isn't THAT ironic! Anyhoo, Mama marched right up to that school building and gave the principal what for. She told the reporter, "I think he should be fired. I would feel sorry for him if he lost his job, but it's his own fault. I don't think that will happen, though. The principal seems to think that being yelled at by an angry parent is punishment enough. I think she is upset that I contacted the media."

OK, so maybe that's not it word-for-word. It's been about 8 hours since I read it. But that's the gist of it. You can check it out here.

And now, on to our next Bad Teacher.

Crime Doesn't Pay As Well As You Anticipate
A little girl lost her coat at school. Her mother turned to eBay in search of another one. And she found one! Exactly like her daughter's coat. Wait a minute! It WAS her daughter's coat. Mother saw that the seller was from the same town where she and her daughter lived. A Good Samaritan type, Mother notified the other bidder that she might be attempting to buy stolen property. Whoop-ti-doo! Did THAT ever open up a can of buying-back-my-own-coat-on-eBay worms! Other Bidder notified Seller. Seems that Seller had rigged the auction so that Other Bidder would drive up the price of the coat. That is a no-no on eBay. Seller had to remove the item. Then the coat mysteriously turned up on the school playground, with dog bites on it. And eBay coughed up the personal information on the Seller. Guess what? Seller was the daughter's teacher! Go figure! That's why teachers put up with so much...the fringe benefits are terrific.

I might have been confused on some of the pertinent facts. I would not make a good reporter. So don't offer me any reporting jobs. Hear that, school newspaper sponsor? The 6th grade kids can do better than I can. But I digress with my modesty. You can read the story for yourself here.

And that is all I have to say for tonight. Shame, shame. Everybody is quick to point the finger of blame. But sometimes it is justified. They are guilty, I proclaim. No need for alleging.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Nickel For Your Thoughts

Hey! Guess what? Betty thinks I'm a thinker! THINKER. I know someone's out there mouthing, "Ya got that right! You truly are a stinker!" Stop being so mean. I am about to bestow the honor of Thinking Blogger upon five of you. I hate to limit it to five. That just doesn't seem fair. I like all of my linkies equally. You all have your strengths. Ahhh...I have to limit it to five. And it has to be five that update on a fairly frequent basis, because when I'm jonesin' for a blog read, I cannot be denied. I'm only listing five. I will not be responsible for any more of that namby-pamby I'm-alright-you're-alright touchy-feely raising-self-esteem crap that is ruining our youth. I'm pickin' five. Like it or lump it. (And if you choose to lump it, please tell me what that entails, because I've never actually seen anybody lump it, and I might need the reference sometime in one of my long-winded rages against The Devil's Playground.

1) Redneck Diva. OK, I'm sure you're tired of my touting of the Diva every day. But she demands attention. She's a diva, y'know. She's rambler, she's an ambler, she's a midnight gambler. She has snakes in her window, and yellow-jackets in her furnace, and a ghost who messes with her alphabetized canned goods. Diva's latest venture is scholarly. She's a college student, by cracky! And she still takes care of her passel o' young'uns, squeezes in some RLKOOTHS with her mister, avoids being hacked up and barreled by 'Fitty', the 55-Gallon Barrel Killer, and hosts a writing contest. I don't know about you folks, but around here we say, "You can't beat that with a stick!"

2) Mean Teacher. Meanie and I go way back. I can't tell you any more, or I will be kicked out of the Blogger Protection Program. Let it suffice to say that much of Meanie's prolific early work has been basemented. Meanie is starting a new journey, and I am along for the ride. And it's really NOT a cat blog.

3) LanternLight. Lantern always makes me see a bigger picture than normally inhabits my small mind. He's downright polite, a true gentleman, and I think he is just IT. This guy would give you the blood out of his veins (and not in a creepy vampirish kind of way). For someone from across the pond, he knows quite a bit about the Hillbilly culture. He has a Mabel theory, but I think he needs to redefine the parameters.

4) Cazzie. She don't do mornings, this feisty little whippersnapper, but she's good for what ails me. In fact, I seek her out for online medical advice. If you've got a fat red pinky finger, she's your gal. She, too, is from that funny side of the world where the weather is all cattywompus. I learn many new expressions and even get geographically educated when I drop in on Cazzie. She gets around more than that Waldo guy, and leaves cheery comments throughout the blogosphere.

5. Brian. He's got much more than an audience of one. If education's your bag, you'll know exactly where he's coming from, and you'll get to see school operations through an administrator's eyes. Brian also gives us insights into the growing-up processes of his own kids, and writes a killer Weekend Roundup.

There you have them. The magic five. They may not be your cup of tea, but methinks everyone can find something enjoyable on their blogrolls. So get readin', you slackers.

Here are the rules, in case you want to give this award to your favorites.

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to five blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).