Monday, April 29, 2013

They Just Cheat


That was the list. I knew anemometer, descant, succinct, and...yeah...those for sure. Meaning, I could give you an exact definition right now verbatim. There are a few I knew I could figure out if I had definitions. All the "meter" words measure things, etc. So, when I handed the list out to a colleague's class for them to match with definitions I thought it would take longer than .08 seconds for them to turn it in. These are all kids from a school that we've been struggling to push over the hump achievement test-wise.

They forgot to turn it in in staggered intervals, though, so I gave them another exercise involving a scale and figuring out which combinations of different shaped blocks always balance a scale. They practically raced to turn it in as a unit. Identically answered. Puh.

And this is what they did. They stacked up all the papers and gave them to a couple kids. Just perfunctorily handed them over like it was SOP. The kid worked the first one then started copying the answer to the other sheets like a human Xerox. Kid passes them back out. Everyone puts their names at the top and lines up to turn them back in. Thus endeth the day and age of Ms. Scat's exercises that summarily end with A, B, C, D, or E. Writing from here on out.

So cheating is ok? It's alright? We're fine with that?

Apparently so. They expect it. I moved them around from their usual cheating groups and you'd have thought I was removing organs without anesthesia. "Why you got to mess with me like this?" "This sucks!" "Damn, _____!" Oh, yes. Everything including one student apparently sprouted a hand ailment that necessitated his current seating arrangement next to a particular girl. That was almost funny enough to make me crack a smile.

I could send them to ISS or the office, but why? Nothing is enforced. They get away with this everywhere. I don't suppose anyone wonders why they have so much difficulty with larger infractions, but guys. It starts here. And elsewhere. Last week they did this while taking a test. It was next to impossible to keep their eyes on their same table much less their same paper. Then there was the use of devices to search for answers, etc.

So, note to self. Keep a nice, juicy writing assignment ready for fourth period law since it most likely will come around again and I really want to see the group paragraph that is produced.

Disenchanted with current generation and their custodians.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'll Say It Again...

I just don't get it. Or maybe I've got it and I need to pass it around.

I live in Radiator Springs. We've discussed this. It's not the poorest town/county in Texas. I checked. Still. The line for free fresh produce at Care Share is seriously long. I wait in that line. It's no big deal we just do everything we can to live, basically.

One of those things I've been doing is substituting in the local school district. The technology, the verbiage, and the attitude have changed. However, most things have not. Kids don't like to work. The do like to complain. They don't like to read (Mostly...there are a fair few, though. I weep, I tell you. I weep.). They like sports. They love games. They love music. And on those last points I agree. I especially love music. They've played me music I still have in my iPod and music I won't allow past the bounds of our property. Yes, I will too know when it happens. The iTunes password will be pried from my cold, dead fingers. If you possess a device in my house, then I have the right to listen to your music and check your pictures know. "Stuff." That's how one student put it and I'll drop it right there.

Off topic as usual. Topics are for English majors.

**door slams**

I had been noticing the headphones all the kids are walking around wearing. They have little "b" logo's on the ears and thick, audiophile cords (something about the thickness of cord/cable implies robustness to...ppl...somewhere). So I asked to try them and plugged into my iPhone and picked something from the Black Eyed Peas and then Deadmau5. I wanted to really tickle the insides of my eardrums. Not the surface exposed to the elements. I want good, solid acoustic impact here. I'm certain there is something on the market just as good, but I darn near stuffed the kid in my desk drawer and walked away with his "beatsbydre" headphones. I've been searching for certain wavelengths in headphones and I found them. Oh my goodness yes.

I drove home thinking I wanted to get my hands on a pair of those. I sat in my tub listening to my VM PC speakers (they're not "by" anyone so no need to run off and Google) and thinking how much so so so so much better those headphones were than, well, anything I had. But just like every other night I had enough energy to feed a bunch of chickens, fix an iPod or two, and collapse. So I did.

I saw some other girls in the library today wearing a decidedly tricked out pair (This is my lingo. Love me or leave me.) and asked her about hers. It went like this:

The Scat: So you have those beats by dre headphones, too.

Girl: Yes ma'am.

The Scat: I tried a pair yesterday. They sound wonderful! About how much are they?

Girl: Depends. These were about three.


Holy cats! I had to Google them just to prove that it was actually three hundred dollars of headphones I had my hands on yesterday. It was! I should really take my own advice and stuff kids in desk drawers more often. I can't even sell a car to buy those crazy things. I had to breathe for a second when I looked at them on the head of a teenager writhing through the halls. Don't they keep that shizmet locked up? And before you slap me with the hypocrite did not buy my much-touted iDevices for retail prices. I have friends who sell them to me for $50 when they upgrade or stuff like that. Good, good friends. Pretty sure headphones don't fall in this category.

The thing I've got is this...why, oh why, are kids walking around using headphones and devices that cost more than my car when some of them don't eat over the weekend?

**mind blown**

Monday, April 22, 2013


"Schring? Schrain? Schring? Schring...."

Totally non-verbal until he's got something to say and then he says it until you get it.

"Schraing! Schring! Schring?"

I stare into his face and every time he says the word I try to guess what it is.

"String? Train? Plane?"



Aaaaaaaaaand silence. Beanstalk's primary lesson on how to get what you want.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Growing Up Can Hurt

We were playing outside yesterday as we often do. Dad, Squib, me, and Beanstalk. Since we last frequented the park, they had blocked off half of it, dug up the piping and taken all the climbing toys and slides. They left the courts and swings and a sidewalk to nowhere.

My main concern was that Beanstalk would aim straight for the construction area with the intent to explore it and have his way with anything left behind. Obviously we would have to move him. He would fuss (meaning have a meltdown) and Dad and I would use every muscle we had til they failed trying to calm his fly mass of arms and legs.

We ticked off a list of items we brought to build and play with outside. We started with a balsa-wood plane Dad found. It was just like the ones he used to buy us as kids. But--nope. Soccer ball--nope. Frisbees-nope. Did everything we brought fly into construction areas? Yep.

My secondary concern was still the fact that I've reached my limit as far as carrying Beanstalk. The "no-can-do" limit. Two previous bathroom trips had ended in wall-eyed fits and creative, acoustical uses of the word "no" because I didn't carry him back to our room. That used to be his reward. Since I'm his mommy and I like carrying my babies, I just kept up with the tradition. Until he was ten. Ten and three-quarters. So, he has a bit of a right to scream since I gave no fair warning of sorts. The hall from the bathroom to our room has since become really, really, really long.

When we went out to the playground, he made no move toward the construction fence (which was the plastic, floppy sort...I gave it two seconds). Dad, in his ever-blinking wisdom, put two chairs up right next to the fence and then spread out a blanket. "Please come screw with the fence!!!!" Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but long, hard stares can contain millions.

I thought I'd take charge by taking Beanstalk to swing. He liked the idea a lot.

Swinging is another difficult thing. Beanstalk doesn't hold on. At all. So, if you are "swinging" with him, you must hold him and hold on at the same time. Additionally, the swings, when still are right at a height where I barely touch. Beanstalk's legs are that length, too. So, I wrap one arm around his waist and lock it around the seat. We swing until the arm fails. I switch arms. We swing until the other arm fails. By then I usually can't use the legs much, either. We don't always make it this fair. In fact, usually he says "done!" well before the breaking point.

This day, though, he got off the swings the first time and headed off to see Dad and Squib. Then he wanted to swing again within five minutes. So, we got in line and almost immediately got a swing. He was watching some little girls play hide-and-seek in a stand of trees, so he was laughing and flapping his arms. I tired faster. So, I started trying to ask if he was done and got no answer.

Needless to say, I eventually had to get off. He wasn't happy. I took a few minutes to rest and we played with Dad until I thought I could get back on the swing with him. I was still having to control the weight of someone I could not carry. Nevertheless, I got on one last time until I literally could not make the swing "go."

That's when the meltdown started. Every time he said "no" it was like a different word. I explained the whole time that Mommy couldn't swing forever. That he was getting big and Mommy wasn't getting any bigger at all. That Mommy loves him. I hold his head so it doesn't hit anything when he tosses it back. I have to tell him no when he tries to hit people who get close to him. His "no's" start to sound different and we try to get up and make it to our blanket where he falls apart crying and I try to fold up his long body in my lap to hold him.

I think he was crying because he was tired. He had said "me tired" when we first went out. He also wanted to swing. I think he was also finally getting it. As a parent here, that's all you can do. Think. Be a good guesser. Think about what kind of "no" that was. Does he understand it isn't his fault? I don't know. Does he know he's growing up?

Will he ever be able to "schring" by himself?

I don't know now. I may never know then.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Can You Come Here?

Really, it will only take a minute (or two...hours). I just have to have an extra pair of hands out here. Mom? Can you print out some more animals? Not dinosaurs. Real ones. I need those hands again. Mom, my tummy hurts. Can we lay down and watch a movie together? Your clothes are in the dryer. Can I just put them on grandma's bed and use the washer? Do you have other clothes to clean? It's time for dinner. We're having it over here to be all together. Mom, come see this thing I found on pebblego (A great website for kids!! Scat, have you gotten the finance stuff from DB? You need to do that. (Oh really???)

This  has been going on constantly for weeks as I try to assemble tax returns for Baba, my parents (for two years...oops...not my oops, so it's taking longer to fix it), our company (for possibly two years), the not for profit, and now extensions for all of the above in addition to those returns. Strangling information out of people has been like standing with two feet on their chests and taking their tongues and pulling with all my might. It's awkward, you land on your ass, and it's too wet and squishy.

So I've been digging around the houses in what I considered the usual places and then in what I considered the unusual places and managed to find all this crap. When I have it all organized around me on the bed (no table/desk big enough) it looks horrendous. Instead, right now it just looks like an episode of hoarders.
Internal Revenue Detritus
I do not like detritus. Ignore the blanket. The current minor tenant of my bed got too hot last night when he does that he starts kicking hard enough to power a boat you could ski behind. The bags also stay prepacked for school, music, etc. But, yeah, a small forest fire would take it all  I wanted all of that gone by tonight. Bwahahahahaha! Also, I wanted to be done before starting a new work week. Also also, I wanted to have next weekend free and clear to really hang out with the kidlets instead of writhing in the pain of financial analysis.

Fortunately, I think everyone would ALSO like to know how much they've spent recently. I've been kept busy enough that I've not kept the books as regularly as usual. Apparently that worries them more than anything. So! I'll start there and then with the overall books and the reports and extensions and a partridge in a pear tree...

I have yet to find a way to bribe myself for all of this.




A peaceful sleep knowing I've done my civic duty? Bahahahahahaha! Yeah. Taxes as civic duty. Just, no. As this last calendar tax year I'll be claimed as someone else's dependent (we think) that's just not gonna cut it either. Something more on the order of a digging-under-the-wire escape to see The Host would do. I loved that book. The idea mostly, but the book also, so the movie intrigues me. If someone can be bribed to drive us (assuming a "we" is going) to our fave pre-movie strawberry margarita joint, then all the better. They have food there, too, but why?

Whatever the heck the bribery is, it will not suffice if it entails being shacked up here with this computer. (Sorry, Emma. I've never had a laptop that's lasted as my primary laptop for four years. Ever. But still. We need a break, no?)

P.S. This does make me feel slightly better, so I've decided to take it over as mine M-F. Buddy bought it for hiking, but it sits idle otherwise. My big backpack is too big to carry around and the water option is nice. Really nice:
Mine! Alllll mine!!!!! Bwahahahhaa. Muahaahahaha. Blehehehhehehe!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Patch Tuesday

Dearest Microsoft (you mother dusters),

I cannot tell you how lovely it is to wake up each time there is a new "important" batch of updates to find my laptop laying there like a dead thing. Cold. Unblinking. Not performing it's nightly tasks (for duck's sake). Not backing anything up. And, after downloading all your importance (infer what you will here), it restarts. That is to say, it shuts down. Forever. Never to do anything important ever ever ever ever ever on Tuesday night (mostly).

Dare we admit Patch Tuesday also shows up on Patch Wednesday and Patch Thursday, etc. so that no planning could ever truly work around this? Well there you have it. I just did. Should we also attempt to define "restart" versus "shut down?" You go to great lengths to use them separately and even to craft them into your GUI separately, so...

Basically, you can, will, and do take over all machines running your OS. Oh, yes, you ask if it's a good time to "restart" (read Shut Down). But I'd wager you ask when everyone except people in Japan is asleep. Goodness knows that's what I'm trying to do at two to three in the a.m.

So, bless your pea picking heart for taking the wellness and robust nature of my machines to heart. But please, for once, could you hold onto the updates until I click a button that says: "Yes, finally, I'm not downloading, plotting, calculating, etc. so now is a great time versus that time you wasted about six hours of work."


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Cone of Shame

I was getting a little tired of Squib tattling on his stuffed animals. They are Just. Stuffed. Animals. People. So, I told him that since they were all his that he should think of an appropriate way to discipline them on his own. I have such little time with him and I didn't want to spend it getting onto nine stuffed animals about their behaviour. SRSLY! Erf.

 About an hour later, I walked by his table where he was constructing a Lego eagle (It's a spider, mom!) and had to stop to do a double take of the stuffed animals. Every single one had one of those cones around their neck that you use to keep animals from chewing a wound or something. They were sitting there like a forlorn group of rag tag has beens now.

I asked Michael (after controlling myself because I wanted to lay down and laugh until I cried) why they were all wearing cones and he replied with no emotion whatsoever, "If you disobey, you get the cone of shame."

Boy, do I ever like this kid.