Friday, October 31, 2008

My thoughts on our F.I.N.E. public school system

How can I put this most delicately? Sorely disappointing? Almost but doesn't quite hit the mark. Aggravating, oh most definitely in my opinion. Enough to make a Mom want to shake the hell out of them and bitch slap them? YES that's it! That's how I feel about it!

I have been disgruntled with the public school system since my son started school. I had told his deadbeat, lazy sperm donor to leave and not ever return the previous February, and both of my kids were/are really attached to him. Not a big surprise since he's about as mature as they are (and at this point, they are far more mature than he is but I will relent on that point...for now). There were some major issues that arose surrounding visitation and such and for a 5 and 3 yr old they were big deals. So when my son started school, I went in to talk to his kindergarten teacher (which I knew and was NOT impressed with from our previous run ins), and told her about what was going on. What kind of answer did I get? "Eh kids are tougher than you think, he'll be fine. We have kids all the time that their parents are getting divorced." WTF kind of answer is that to give to a 23 yr old Mom that her first child is starting school in the midst of his parent's getting divorced? Needless to say, I was NOT pleased. I bit my tongue as I thought maybe I was being a bit overprotective, and stepped to the sidelines. Then my middle daughter started school, and we had moved and she was not handling it very well. I went in and talked to her teacher and I basically got the same kind of response. NOT what I'm after here people! While I didn't expect the teacher to dote over either of my children, it would have been quite pleasant if they would have said "Ok we understand your concerns, and will keep an eye open for any potential problems we see.". I would have been content with that. Was that REALLY too much to ask? I don't think so. With the 2nd child and the same "UGH ANOTHER overprotective Mommy I have to deal with" attitude I got, I was severely pissed and I went to the principal and superintendent of the school and raised cane. Didn't get very far other than they assured me they would talk to their staff about being more sensitive to what us "parents felt was important" when it came to our kids. Probably didn't help that really TICKED me off and I went off on them for being so damned patronizing in order to get me outta their offices.

Time went on and we got into a school routine which included me being happy to be kidless in the daytime so I could pursue interests I'd had to put on the back burner when the kids were home all the time with me. Then homework 1st grade. Another "WTF" for me, since homework seemed to eat up 2 hrs a night. Wasn't teaching my kids how to properly write their letters, sounds of the letters, numerals and such what I sent my kids to school for? Patience may be a virtue, but it's not a virtue I come by naturally. Hence I am NOT a school teacher for that very reason (plus I'm positive duct taping children's mouths that get out of hand is against the law, and assaulting the parents when they come in to crab about me treating their children like that when it's THEIR fault for letting their kids be mouthy little heathens). I held my tongue again for awhile but when I started hearing BOTH of my kids say "But Mommy, we don't understand HOW to do this, they didn't explain it very well" to me every stinking evening, I got miffed again. Yet again I went up to the school and got some garbage about how they had sooooo much they had to cover in the course of a school year, how parents that are involved had more successful students/kids, and a whole hockey pot of excuses. Then it got kicked up a notch...they informed me they thought that my son had ADD or ADHD. Ok fine I went and got him tested. Yes he had ADD/ADHD. We put him on meds and after some research I figured out that I didn't like the possible side effects they knew about (and when I asked about long term side effects, they couldn't tell me, they didn't know) I pulled him off of them. O.M.G. You'd have thought I walked into the school with an Uzi for the reaction I got when I did that. They raised all kinds of hell with me. I didn't care, I didn't like the zombie my child had become, and the possibilities of what long term side effects the meds could have I didn't like either. They could shove it up their nose for all I cared, I have to take care of these kids as I see fit, not as it makes their lives easier. Yes it put additional strain on me as well, but that was far better than what *could* happen. If you learn what it takes to deal with the child, it's not that bad in reality. The key is just finding that magic combo that works with that child. Well had a repeat of it with Destiny and caught hell for not medicating her as well.

Now that's some (but not all) of my negative experiences/battles with the public school system. Here is the latest one...

Evie (our youngest child, 5 yrs old) started school this year. She's very bright, very active, very opinionated, and VERY tenacious to say the least. Keep in mind this last year has barraged us with bad luck. My uncle died a year ago in September, my beloved Gramma broke her hip, and then passed away in March, our house burnt at the end of March, we've moved 3 times this summer, and Daniel had that ruptured disk in his neck/spine and had his surgery a week and a half ago. To say the least, it's been very stressful on all of us. Now like I said, she started kindergarten and the first couple of days went fine. She loved school and all seemed well. Then all hell broke loose...she didn't want to go to school, I would have to literally drag the child into the building and 2 or 3 teachers would have to drag her to her classroom, daily she was informing everyone how "stupid and boring" school is and how she hates it. Well I just chalked it up to how poorly she sometimes can transition so I kept an eye on it but just let it ride. Then the calls started. Seems our darling youngest child is/was noshing on ANYTHING she can get into her mouth. UUUUGGGGGHHHHHH This is something she's always had a propensity for since she had been able to coordinate her hand to her mouth. I've talked to our Dr about it but it's not that unusual for kids to do that sort of thing, and we ruled out a nutritional deficiency so it came down to us taking extra precautions and keeping an eagle eye on her. In time it seemed to pass, until now. the school nurse called halfway freaking out and I tried explaining to her Evie has always been a chewer, stress seems to make it worse, ect. Apparently since I wasn't freaking out, she kept on her lil soapbox trying to get me to freak out. Didn't work, but I did tell her that I would get ahold of our Dr and speak to him about it. Well a few days later Daniel got a call....Evie couldn't come back to school until she was seen by a Dr about this. WTFH? I was LIVID! He was slated to go into surgery the following Wednesday and I was in the middle of moving. I don't need this shit right now. I was working on Dr's appts and such, and they knew that. Oh I'm still pissed about it in fact. Not to mention that she still hates school saying it's stupid and is it me or is that just a tad weird for kindergarten? She's already bored a quarter of the way through the school year...her FIRST school year?!? Something is not right with this picture, as it's not right them strong arming me to do something faster I was already doing. The excuse I got for them not wanting her in school? "We're scared she's going to choke or eat something that's going to perforate her insides" OH WTF EVER....First of all, working with kids, they ought to know pediatric basic first aid procedures. Second of all, ok the kid has a problem, keep an eye on her and make concessions about it, they can do it for everybody else's kid that smoked/shot up dope and drank like fish while that child was in uetro, why not mine? Third of all, they are a branch of a governmental agency...they of all people should know, things don't get fixed overnight, it takes some time. Fourth of all, kids are kids and some kids just do this kind of stuff for whatever reason. Needless to say, I'm really put out with them and have been for a very long time.

My middle daughter dislikes school as well. She's what I term an "old soul". Her interests don't lie in things that most 13 yr old girls like. She's not into sports, could careless about lots of the trendy clothes and stuff. She's more into practical stuff, she's kind, likes helping out, just an overall good kid. Which means she catches alot of crap at school. I've talked to the school about it and they don't seem to take me very seriously about it. I just try to encourage her to be who she is and convince her that what other's think doesn't matter. Which is a lie in 6th grade, what people think does matter cos if they don't think well of you, your tormented every single day.

All in all I'm sick and tired of the schools bullshit. I realize they have alot of mandates floating over them they have to adhere to, and they have to teach to the test or risk loosing their jobs. They don't have an easy job that's for sure, but on the other hand, my job isn't easy either. I have to deal with crap that they would flee bawling from. I'm a police/fire dispatcher for Pete's sake. Do I go in whining and crying to them how rough my job is? NO. There's no point in it. Sorry if you call and wake me up at 11am to tell me Evie just tried to eat a crayon again and I don't get all fired up about it. I'm frickin exhaused from working 6pm to 6am, and dealing with drunks, dopeheads, idiots in general to ensure you and your families safety. So EXCUSE ME if I'm not overly excited about my child chewing up a purple crayon. They pay their taxes to ensure they have police/fire protection, which in turn provides me with a job and them with peace of mind we have their backs in the event of an emergency. I pay my taxes, I support the school in anyway I can, so ya know what? I expect the same respect. Not the condesending attitude I get for not getting all fired up about what they think I ought to get all hyped up about. It's for that very reason I've pretty well decided to pull my girls out of public school. I'm fed up with the bullshit. I am educated and intelligent and capable of teaching my children. Now I'm catching flack for wanting to pull them out. Not only from the school (which I expected, I pull my kids out, they loose state $$) but from people in general. Everything from them not getting socialized to they won't have a well rounded education. Excuse me, but it's not like they will be living in a bubble, and who says I want them socialized like they are getting? Ya I want my girls to learn it's ok to be mean and catty to people that aren't like them, that it's cool to be irresponsible, backtalking smartass lil punks. Ooooooo ya that's what I want MY girls picking up. NOT! As for a well rounded education hmpfh. These people wouldn't know a linear equation from a compound fraction so they can bite me. I think I'm more than qualified to teach my children what they need to know. I'm more concerned they learn how to learn and research things, and formulate an educated opinion than them memorizing a bunch of dates and useless information to make them "look" smart. I mean c'mon, when was the last time you needed to know what year Columbus landed in North America? On the other hand, when was the last time you needed to know how to look up a zip code, or telephone number? I rest my case and will step of my soapbox for the time being...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blathering on

Shoot I did it again! Almost two weeks has passed and no entry. I give up trying to be better about it. I'll just post as I get the chance.

Fall has finally arrived here in south central Missouri. The night time temperatures are dipping into the 30's ( the high 20's a couple of nights), and the trees are really amping up for a wonderful fall display of color. I'm such a lucky girl to get drive home every day and see just magnificent they are. On my way to and from town, I have to drive through a portion of the Mark Twain National forest. It's also pretty hilly terrain so I get some spectacular views of the tree line in the distance. EVERY DAY I get this treat! While I'm a bit apprehensive about having to drive this stretch this winter (I live on the other side of a hill/hollow called Big Holler Hill, which is somewhat of an understatement in my humble opinion) right now I am enjoying that 5-6 mile drive to town. I've lived in this area the greatest majority of my life, but never on the south side of town. I always lived on the north side and while hilly, not nearly as hilly as the south side of town. Keep in mind when I say north, south, east, and west sides of town, I'm actually talking about the rural area outside of town. It's been years since I actually lived *in* town for very long (outside of the few months while we were deciding on what to do after the fire in March). I hated living in town, made my clausterfobia rage. Think of any woman in your life you know and then think of the one with the worst PMS. Ok now that you have her in mind, imagine that intensified about 20 times over, and that's me living in town. It's not pleasant. I'm not a good town dweller. I admit there are a few perks but not near enough to make me even begin to want to live in town. I'm happy on our small 41 acres 5-6 miles out of town on the other side of the hill that I'm sure I'll be cursing in a couple of months. Only things I can think of right now that would make me happier would be: winning enough in the lottery (or however else) that I could afford to quit work and not worry about it, being able to not have to come to town every day unless I just wanted to, being able to buy out all (or most) of my neighbors properties for the acreage to start a cattle ranch (Hey they could live in their houses, I just want their pastures and woods LOL), and to homeschool my kids. I don't see ANY of that happening for awhile (except for the homeschooling thing, but that's another post/vent all together). Overall though, I'm pretty satisfied with what we have. I have pretty good kids (most of the time), my stock and pets (which are what at the moment, it's kind of hard to draw a line for me), heat, food, and a roof over my head. Oh and my pickup truck. Can't forget my lil S-10 *beaming grin*. Ok so it's pretty worthless for most farm work as it's only a 4 cylinder and has some puny ass springs in the back, but it's gas effiecient, has my Pioneer stereo in it :D, and is small enough that I have a valid excuse NOT to take the kids with me to town if I don't want to. Soon I'll find a bigger truck for hauling more than 300lbs of feed, hay, supplies, whatever I need, and that I can shove all the kids into. Ya go ahead, call me a redneck or hick, I don't care. Actually I'd consider it a complement. Do me a few favors though, do NOT call me a hillbilly (that just pisses me off because of the idea they are ignorant, uneducated, bassackward folks that are perplexed by modern society... plus there are a few people/families in the area that ARE hillbillies and I want NO connection to them), and don't start picturing me with missing teeth (ewww), the frumpy apron/dress wearing work boots(double ewww), the hair in rollers (EWWWWWWWWWWW) or any of that jazz. If you need a graphic of what NOT to picture, here's a good one:

You start comparing me to that, thoughts of mean things to do to you start racing through my mind. Don't make me go there, it's a murky place, and I can come up with some pretty scary stuff (I scare my co-workers if THAT tells you anything. Have I mentioned they are all men and police officers?)

Anyways, things have been busy at home. Got partially moved into the bigger house, Daniel had his surgery, dealing with school issues with the younger girls, and trying to keep up with all the "normal" household stuff...oh and trying to avoid all the election crap that they are spewing at us. Only good thing about the election being days away is the drop in gas prices.

I shall post pictures in another post as this one is getting pretty long. I'll see ya'll in a lil while with pics and a new post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWO WEEKS?!? and much more...

Oh geez, until my last post, it had been two weeks since I last posted! Hate it when I do that. See told you I was random & frazzled LOL.

Actually it's been kinda busy the last two weeks. With what, well I can't totally remember it all, but it's been busy.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I'm just about done getting the big house ready to move into. I have the kid's bathroom (Heaven's help me), the living room (got to defunk it as the boys have been crashing in there since I threatened their existence if they buggered up the carpet in the girls's room), the hallway (easy peasy), and the kitchen (again, Heaven's help me). I could have gotten the kid's bathroom, living room, and hallway done, but I reiterate, the boys have been staying in the big would have been futile. I didn't really want to have to have done it twice and then had to find hiding places for bodies (I'm joking on that btw, don't get yer panties in a bundle). This weekend while I'm off (Thursday thru Monday noonish) I'll finish those rooms and start moving everything in. I CAN NOT WAIT! Since we moved at the end of August I have had to look behind me to make sure no one is there when I go to back up or I risk having them up my backside. Love them all but it's been grinding on that last nerve I have left to put it mildly. I'll still have a houseful, but at least I'll have the younger girls in a bedroom and not camping in my living room floor so at night I can have some "me" time on the computer with my other girls.

My *girls* are my lifeline, friends, confidants, company at work, company while I work at home (drilling), cyber family, oh I can't even begin to list all that they are to me. Where me and my sanity would be without them, I hate to begin to think of the possibilities. We share stories, success's, failures, hopes, dreams, help each other through whatever we all are facing right then. We are each other's safety nets I think. When we don't have anyone else we can turn to, we can turn to each other via our IM's, or text messaging or even a phone call. It's so wonderful the way we all "click" together. So different in so many different ways, but so alike in many other ways. We have so much fun together, it's just wonderful to have a bunch of girlfriends like them. I'm glad they've got my back and proud that they give me the honor of calling them "friends".

Back on topic, I didn't dare clean up those key areas of the house with the boys staying over there. Gary's not so bad, he pretty well tidies up after himself. Ty though, oh my...he must have inherited his Dad's habits. Stuff everywhere, where it lands is where it lays, ya it's bad. I know he's a teenager and all but OY. Without me in there to supervise no way I'm going through the hours of work to have it all spit shine cleaned and go to move in and WHAMMO! Glasses, wrappers, stuff tracked in on the carpet, clothes strewn about, old school papers laying about, no don't think so. Just can't do it, and I won't do it.

My basic plan is to get the little bit of construction debris out of the kid's bathtub (plastic we used to cover things, and various items) and thoroughly scrub it, the sink, cabinet and sink since I'm sure there's a veil of sheet rock dust covering it, and I don't think I cleaned anything but the toilet and sink when I did the initial cleaning. That's my first project tomorrow after I get the kids off to school on Thursday morning (possibly today, depends on how tired I am after I get off work). I figure it'll be a good hard hour of work in there.

Then I'll move on to the hallway which as I mentioned will be easy peasy. There are a few spots on the walls that need to be wiped off, it needs to be swept and the edges vacuumed where there is a crack between the wall and the laminate flooring (don't have the trim up yet...I need to polyurethane it yet) and scrub up where I might have gotten a little paint on the front of the furnace. I figure it'll take about 45 minutes to finish the hallway out.

After that I'll skip the living room for the time being and move on to the kitchen. The counters are littered with various and sundry items and the few things I've picked up for the new house have gotten crammed into cabinets during various stages of renovation (thank you Dear for your cramming tendencies GRRRRR). First thing I'll do is get all the crap off the floor so I'm not ramming my toes into it or stumbling over it. Next I'll set up my folding table in the living room and start clearing out cabinets and clearing off counters wiping things down as needed. I'll quickly rewipe down the inside of the cabinets after that. By the time I'm done wiping inside all of the cabinets, the first ones I did should be dry so I can put paper or shelf liner down. After I do that I'll scan the inside of the fridge/freezer and see if they have gotten gunked up since I first cleaned them and if the shelves need cleaning pull them out and put them in my bathtub to soak clean. I have trim in the living room that I need to remove paint from (ya we're sloppy painters) so as I need a break from the kitchen work I'll do that. I can't work too long with the Goo Gone because the fumes give me killer headaches. Anyways, back to the kitchen work... While the fridge stuff is soaking, I'll sweep the debris off the kitchen floor and vacuum around the edges of the laminate (there again, trim isn't up because I haven't polyurethaned it yet) Next I'll work on sorting the stuff out on my folding table. Cleaning it up as needed, and finding a home for it where it belongs. After I clean up everything off the table, I'll scrub my kitchen sink (ya it's paint spattered to high heaven since that's where I cleaned all my rollers and brushes), and give the counters and appliances one final wiping down. I took the shelves down in the laundry room area so at some point me or the boys will put those back up after I clean them up. If the boys put the shelves up for me, I'll wash the windows and the glass fronts cabinet doors down while they are putting them back up. A quick wipe down of the fridge and cleaning and rinsing of the shelves and VIOLA, kitchen will be move in ready. This is going to be the job that's going to take a half day or better. That's the closest guess I'm going to venture for a time estimate on that one LOL.

Onward to the living room. Actually it's not that bad (unless something happens between last Sunday when I was in there and Friday or Saturday when I get in there). First of all I'll wipe down the ceiling fan again as I'm positive it's covered in sheet rock dust. After that, I'll hit the few paint spatters that remain in the living room, and wash down the walls to remove the last of the sheet rock dust on the wainscoting and trim. After that will come moving the few things out of my way in the floor (the boy's mattresses, tv, vcr, odds & ends) out of the way and I'll vacuum the carpet and around the edges of the walls.

After all that the fun will begin...MOVING! This is the part the kids are going to H.A.T.E. While I'm putting things away, they can packing stuff over from the other house. The wonderful advantages of being the Mom LOL. In all seriousness though, I need more Indians and no co chief's in this show. Just for the mere fact... I'm picky, and it's my house so therefore I have that right.

That's my goals for my days off and to be honest...WHEW, I'm exhausted just by typing it all out. I think I may get a head start and do either the kid's bathroom or the hallway this morning when I get home...or I might just go to bed since this blog has exhausted me. I might just go and measure out how much trim I need for sure and make sure I have enough stained and polyurethaned so the boys can get it put up over the weekend. Nah, think I'll just go to bed, I'm worn out from typing this.
Well this week has been definately random and frazzled. Shoot I'm sitting here trying to remember what I did on my 4 days off and can think of 4 things...I know I did a whole lot more than 4 things LOL. I guess I'll just start with my first day off and go through them other 4 that way as well. It might just jog my memory.

Wednesday: Went home from work, got kids off to school, got stuff out of the freezer for supper, threw a load of laundry in the washer (funny that I remember that huh?), took a nap until about 1:30, called my Mom cos the kids wanted to go see their uncle who just got home (I'll explain that in a lil bit), did some more laundry, messed with my horses, mentally groaned at the state of my house (it was a wreck), talked to Gary, did chores outside, made biscuits to take to Mom's for supper with Destiny's help, went in town to pick up the rest of the kids, and went to my Moms. Made supper over there, cleaned up, Mom drove me nuts, gathered kids and went home, did homework with kids, got them cleaned up and into bed, showered, then collapsed into bed.

Thursday: Butt crack 'o dawn crawled out of bed, restarted laundry, got kids up and around for school, threw them out of house for school, remembered I'd TOTALLY forgotten to send Evie's lunch with her and forgotten to get snacks for her class that day, hung laundry on line, staked horses out in yard to mow for me :D, got dressed and headed to town. Went and got Evie's snacks and dropped off those to the school along with her lunch,stopped my my Moms and she bent my ear some more & and picked up my lil brother to take him to go see his probation/parole officer (part of explaination mentioned above during Wednesday), took him to his probation/parole appt, ran to Wal-Mart while he was busy there, took a short nap in the car waiting for him, took him home, got home about 11:30am and Gary was home and needed to go see his probation officer (yes where I had just came from with my lil brother), cursed him mentally for not answering my earlier text if he needed a ride over and rebooted laundry again, took him over to see his probation officer, took a nap while waiting for him to get done, got home about 1:00, went to the other house to measure out the stripes and painted the first coat of the stripes on the wall that we had to tear out due to the siding leaking, cleaned up some of the paint spatters on the trim in my bedroom, made a list of stuff to do over there, hung out and played with kids after school some, made dinner and chatted with Daniel about stuff we need to do and upcoming improvements on the farm, more laundry, baths, bedtime stuff, collapsed into bed.

Friday: Up at the butt crack o' dawn again, kids ready and off to school, got ready to go to work at DG, worked from 8-12pm, did a few errands in town, went home, started some more laundry and folded a bit of laundry, took some sinus meds and my back meds, played some Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, meds made me sleepy so took a nap till 4pm, picked up some walnuts out of the yard, cleaned up some more trim from the other house, helped Daniel with a few things outside, made supper and ate, hung out with Evie and Daniel, gave Evie her bath, did some general housework, played some more Legend of Zelda while Evie "helped" then she crashed and I went to bed.

Saturday: Slept in till 6:30am WOOT, stripped the kid's beds (they were gone) and washed the sheets, hung up laundry, did 3 more loads of laundry and hung those out, went out and checked on my animals and messed with them about an hour, got Evie dressed and fed for the morning, went outside and picked up walnuts, got stuff out of the freezer for meals for the weekend, loaded walnuts in the pick up to go sell them, sat at the walnut shellers for 5 hrs in line, sold the walnuts, went home and babysat the Grandson until 11pmish, and we all watched movies until Tangie picked up the lil monkey and we all went to bed.

Sunday: Slept in, took bale spike over to one of our friends houses, picked apples out of their orchard, went home, went next door to work and got all the bedrooms cleaned up and ready to move into :D, played outside with Evie a bit and we went and played some video games, then I took my nap for work, got up and got ready for work and came to work.

WHEW, ya that was my weekend off for the most part. I know I did more than that, but I've forgotten it at this point.

Now as for the deal with my lil brother. He has been in prison for ahwhile now (I want to say 2 yrs but won't swear to it at this point) and last Tuesday he got released. My Mom spent 14 hrs on Tuesday to go get him, and get him home. She was udderly exhausted on Wednesday (her day off during the week) and my kids wanted to go visit my brother and Mom. Mom was just way to exhausted and stressed to handle the two oldest ones overnight so I took them over there. I also didn't want to tire her out even more by her feeling like she had to cook supper for everyone, so I made biscuits at my house (Mom doesn't have an oven that works), and took over sausage for gravy. Everyone had a good visit and like always my Mom drove me buggy (it's just her way of showing me love I guess). Like I mentioned she was just exhausted from the long day the day before and not sleeping well so I offered to take my brother to see his probation/parole officer since I had to take Gary anyways. The next morning Mom, worried that my brother was already starting to contact his old buddies, bent my ear in her way venting about it and her worries he's going to go back to the institution because of violating his parole conditions. I tried to help her figure out some ways for her to address some issues with my brother that she's afraid that she's going blow up about and address in a less than productive way. I don't know how this whole thing with him being back is going to work out, but I guess over time I'll see. Lord help us all. I'm sure we'll need it.