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Friday, September 30, 2011

Lessons from the lunchlady: don't ask one more question!

Once a month we are allowed to have a nervous breakdown and this week I had mine. Here are just a few reasons why.

TOO MANY QUESTIONS: My coworker asked just one too many questions on Thursday. Usually I can block this out but for some reason the fact that she asked 52 questions about sausage before 10 am set me off.

SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE THIS. What is it? That be the rotten orange at the bottom of the box.

IT AIN'T ROCKET SCIENCE: I will be the first to admit that the cafeteria doesn't attract the most intelligent employees but do they really need to be this specific on the pizza box? Really?

YOU CAN HEAT THE BISCUTS BUT... you can't make them eat em. After being told repeatedly that heating the rolls would be a HUGE pain, this week we heated biscuts to serve with popcorn chicken. In case you didn't know biscuts and rolls are clearly not the same. Kids throw them away just the same

iROAR BUBBLES BLOW. I helped at an iRoar assembly this week and got stuck at the bubble station. 200 kids and soapy water. What could go wrong?? Even though it was messy, I must admit it was tons of fun!

In conclusion, knock off the questions, keep your hands off the moldy oranges, follow the instructions percisely, warm biscuts are way better than cold rolls and, while messy, bubbles can always make you smile.

What did you learn this week?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Three types of parents...which one are you?

My co-worker and I were able to come up with three types of parents.  Sure, there are mostly like thousands of subgroups, but in general, they all fall under one of these three groups.

Like me, my kid isn't perfect and will make mistakes.  This group is the most reasonable.  This is the group you want to be in.  This is the group that realizes that at some point their child is gonna disappoint them.  This group takes into account that we have all had EPIC fails and it is safe to bet our children will too.  What we hope is that, like us, our children learn from them.

Not my child.  This group is raising kids who do nothing wrong.  Kids who are wrongly punished.  Kids who would never step out of line, unless of course, provoked.  Once provoked, retaliation is not only warranted but completely encouraged.  This "it was not my fault" mentality follows them into adulthood.  It stands to reason that, like their parents, they will always be the victim of circumstances.

I have kids?  This group is mocked for their incompetency.  They have little interest in the small people referring to them as "mom" or "dad" and can't be bothered with simple things like providing appropriate attire.

Your thoughts?
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What is the opposite of poverty?

A recent discussion prompted me to ponder "how much is enough?"

It is human nature to want more. It is human nature to want what others have.

But lets be serious. Having what you want and what you need are different. Most of us have MORE than what we need but not all we want.

Why is this so hard to comprehend?

Why is it so hard To teach our kids?

So tell me, my friends, what is the opposite of poverty? The answer is having enough.

Do you have enough?

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's true...I am guilty of sterotyping and I admit it

This weekend I had to visit the Apple store as my iPhone decided to stop picking up wifi. It would find a weak signal at home, but it couldn't find anything else. Nothing. Nada.

I realized that I was in for a long wait when I got there at 11:20 and the first available appointment was 12:40. When I returned and was still sitting there at 1 p.m, I started to get a little frustrated.

All around me were people with various problems. Their home button wouldn't work, their microphone wouldn't work, their screens were broke, their phones got wet. I sat patiently watching as 20 something year old techs helped person after person.

I couldn't wait for one of these young tech savy boys to fix my phone.

But they didn't. Flo did.

When my name was called by a much older woman, I caught myself thinking "What can she possibly know about my phone?"

Great. This is gonna be a waste of time.

Flo took the sterotype I didn't even realize I had and shattered it. After some quick diagnostics remenicent of Star Trek she came to the conclusion that the wifi wire was likely loose.

She took the phone, operated on it and brought it back to me like new.

In short, I love Flo...who says great techs can't have gray hair?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lessons from the lunchlady: pass the speckled grapes

photos credit Terry Border
 It's time again to review what we learned in the school cafeteria this week.

Paper Trays can be confusing.  We were down an employee as my boss took a couple personal days.  Because it was just the two of us we served on paper trays.  It makes me smile when I see the kindergartners lining up at the dish window to drop their plastic spoon and paper tray.  They look so confused when I tell them they can throw those away too.

Are you her other grandma?  A second grader asked my co-worker if she was another students grandmother.  I nearly died of laughter as my co-worker is only in her early 40s.  Ouch...grandma should be a four letter word.

Bye Bye Milk.  We now have to provide water in a fancy-dancy jug for all the kids to play with use.  Unfortunately, because it is such a novelty, those little buggers have taken to tossing out their milk.  We probably had at least 60 unopened milks tossed each day this week.

Kiwi and Pizza.  Our fresh fruit today was sliced kiwi.  I was convinced that few would take it but much to my surprise we ran out before the end of lunch.  I heard a few kindergartners talking about the weird "grapes" and how good they were. least they tried it.

In this corner...strawberry milk.  We've been in school for one whole month.  In a never before seen event, strawberry milk is kicking chocolate milk's butt.  Nearly the entire incoming kindergarten class is drinking pink milk.  They've told me that "it's willy good."  I'm not so sure.

In conclusion, we learned that when in doubt take it to the dish room, pink milk is better than chocolate milk but water wins hands down when it comes out of a cute little dispenser, kiwi can be confused with a grape and you are never to young to look like someones grandma.

That last one still makes me shudder.

What did you learn this week?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cedric the lunchlady

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RemembeRed: sisterly love

The gravel crackled beneath my sneakers.

The crisp fall wind tousled my hair and felt cool in my lungs.

I was running away.

I felt like I could run forever.  I would never let her catch up.  I would run until I ran around the world before I would ever let her catch up.  I was gonna be first!

"Stop!"  she hollered.

"Wait for me!" 

Her six year old legs couldn't compete with my 10 year old legs.

My arms were swinging.  The wind was making my eyes water.  That crackling gravel got louder. The laces in my sneakers worked their way undone.  In seconds I was falling, sliding towards the sewer grate.

It was broken.  Unsafe. A part of it was missing.  My leg went down through the grate and I couldn't pull it back out.

Blood was seeping from both my legs, my elbows and my chin.

She could of kept running.  She could have caught the ice cream truck, but she didn't.

She stopped.  She was crying too.  The ice cream was long forgotten.

She tried to pull me free but she could not.  Her little six year old legs ran all the way home to get dad.  He yanked me free, pulling most of the skin off of my right shin.

Bandaged in many spots but feeling the love of family.

Monday, September 19, 2011

An Open Letter to Time

Dear time,

What is up with you?  You seem a little speedy lately.  You seem a little impatient.

I'm only one person and quite frankly I feel a little spread thin.

Between lunchlady land and reporting, I haven't been able to scrapbook a single page.

You flew by me this weekend. 

Granted we traveled for a wedding and that was tons of fun but I thought we agreed that you would stop a little after I got home so I could catch up on my laundry and other household chores.

For crying outloud have you seen the toilets? 

Can you give me a freakin moment to clean the toilets.  You have me running from work to PTO, to school board meeting, to soccer and back.  Tomorrow let's sprinkle in a little middle school band uniform fittings.  Um...I don't know how to fit a band uniform.

When am I suppose to visit my bloggy friends?  When am I supposed to update my facebook?  I feel like you are being unreasonable.

For goodness sake slow down a little.  It just dawned on my that Little G's birthday is a month from today and quite frankly I'm not ready for that.

Irritated with you,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady: What about Bob?

PHOTO CREDIT:  Terry Border
It's Friday.

Time to recap what learned over the last five days in the school cafeteria.

Five days of this stuff is tiring after a week with just one and 1/2 work days.

Here's what I learned.

Line up right.  She means it.  My boss can't stand it when the kids aren't lined up right.  They are supposed to come in PB&J first, than alternate lunch and then regular lunch.  First grade was having a heck of time with this for some reason and my boss, who is convinced that these 6 year olds are switching lunches, says "I'm gonna check with your teacher to make sure this is what you all ordered."  One little girl with her hands on her hips say, "Oh and she means it!"

Cheese food.  Let's be serious.  Nachos are something you get at the fair.  In my opinion, they really aren't a lunch.  Maybe a snack at a football game, but lunch seems like it's asking a lot.  And goodness gracious that cheese frightens me.  It doesn't even come off of things that are rinse in 180 degrees.

Fly away Frisbees.  If you are gonna retaliate by throwing a foam Frisbee back at the janitor who just tossed it at you, it is best to know how to throw one.  Odds are if you don't, then said Frisbee will careen out into the hallway and smack a kid.

Neatly stacked trays.  If you are staff and you need a tray, removing any old tray from neatly stacked, organized and counted trays prior to lunch will not win you points in the lunch room.  Get a tray from the tray rack...I'm using these ones.

Use your manners.  If someone asks, "Would you like rice with that?"  The proper response is "Yes, please."  or "No Thank You."  This week we heard the following... "eww, gross"  "unah"  "Nope"  "Yep" "Sure" but the best one of all...."Oh my yes!  I love rice.  That would be fantastic.  Thanks so much.  I can't wait to eat this!"

Which, of course, made me think of this movie clip.

In conclusion, line up right, stay away from the cheese food, keep your hands off the trays, watch where you are throwing the frisbees and say please and thank you.

What did you learn this week?
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writer's workshop: Advice to new parents

This week, mama kat challenged me to give some advice to new parents. Never wanting to pass up an opportunity to make a list, here is my advice.

Relax. This isn't gonna be easy. You will be sleep deprived. Your MIL will be telling you one thing and your mother will be telling you something else.

Babies cry. Some more than others. There isn't anything you can do about it. If you need to take five, you should,

Babies sleep. Some more than others. There is nothing you can do about it. Adding cereal to their diet..won't help. In fact, it might make it worse.

Do your best. What worked for your mom might not work for you. What worked for you might not work for me. All we can do is our best.

Enjoy it. Friends will promise you it will get easier, but I am here with the truth. Each age has different challenges but it also has really cool rewards. It is exhausting when the kids are newborns, but as they grow they reveal their unique personalities.

Oh don't get me wrong they will still exhaust you, but it will all be worth it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An apathy towards fundraising

I don't like fundraising.

Just like all parents I feel a little overwhelmed by the constant barrage of fliers and requests. It is only the 15th day of school and I have recieved the following:

PTO membership requests from Middle and Little Gs school.

A request for my Giant bonuscard number that will allow the schools to earn 1 percent. It can be split between two schools. My kids are in three different schools.

A request to purchase a mandatory gym uniform.

A kids stuff coupon book fundraiser.

A candy sale fundraiser.

A request for names of people who might want to sponsor my child in a walk-a-thon.

FBLA clothing sale and a tshirt sale at little Gs school.

Buy a book from the visiting author.

This doesnt include any sports related fundraising.

Umm...I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Granted not all of these are fundraisers. Often times it is hard to decipher which ones are and which ones aren't.

I can see why some parents just elect to wash their hands of it all. After all what do their taxes pay for.

Of course, since becoming more active in multiple PTOs I can tell you what your taxes don't pay for. They dont pay for field trips. They dont pay for fun fest or the yearbook or any classroom parties.

And what do you remember most about grade school? I'm guessing it's not social studies. But it might be that trip you took to D.C.

I feel a little torn by all the requests but I am trying to help as much as I can. I sold some kid stuff books, I bought a mandatory gym uniform, I joined and volunteer with two of the three PTOs (one of which I am the president), I said I'd chaperone a middle school dance which still makes me shutter, I provided middle Gs school with some potential sponsors and I will likely buy some district clothing (but honestly most of my wardrobe is black and orange).

But we wont be selling candy and we likely will not be getting a book from the visiting author.

Here's hoping that even in their apathy others will do the same because the $12,000 the PTO needs for field trips alone right now is looking like an unattainable possibility.

How do you feel about fundraising? What was the best one you ever participated in?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Five Reasons Walmart scares me

I'm guessing that if you google Reasons to Avoid Walmart you will have a plethora of hits.  Having just been to Walmart over the weekend I thought I would enlighten you as to what scares me the most.
  • The Bathroom.  I am convinced that people actually go to Walmart just to use the bathroom.  What they do in there, I can't even guess.  I try to make sure that I do not have to go.  I try to make sure that I haven't eaten or consumed any liquid before I go.  What you can be sure of is that one of the bathrooms will be closed for cleaning and the other will have a line.  There will be at least one broken toilet and one stall without a door.  Um...really.
  • Random Breast sightings.  How long does it take to put on a bra.  I mean if we timed this activity how long could it possibly take?  Yet many Walmart shoppers find this extra step too time consuming.  Here's a little bit of advise...take it or leave it.  If you are an exceptionally large breasted person and you have decided that putting a bra on is too much trouble, please refrain from wearing white.
  • Frequent child beat-downs.  Did you ever notice that kids are always screaming at the Walmart and parents are always yelling at the Walmart? Of course, if you weren't shopping with your kid at 2 a.m., your child may not be melting down.  Of course, I've been there at 2 p.m. and people of all ages were melting down so maybe it's just something in the air.
  • Return policy.  Have you ever waited for customer service at Walmart?  They will let you return anything hamburger, underwear, swimsuits, frozen pizza.  Um...I am terrified just thinking about where all this stuff goes.
  • Illogical locations.  Why are the tampons near the milk?  Who decided that the dog food should be near the laundry detergent?  In what world is a it a good idea to put the shampoo in the middle of the pharmacy?  Do a lot of people buy socks and pocketbooks at the same time? 
In closing I'm leaving you with this...warning:  if you watch it, you may never go to Walmart again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Update: Ruckin' Fain

This weekend was LONG. I am blaming it on the fact that after fleeing from flood waters at early dismissal on Wednesday we did not return to school until today. Holy Ruckin Fain!

After being trapped here for days I began to appreciate Noah as I was beginning to consider eating my young.

That being said, the waters are receeding and life is beginning to take on a little bit of normalcy for those of us that weren't effected by the flooding.

My good friend isn't one of those lucky uneffected people. Her finished basement literally collapsed! No shit! That's a little scary!

Spent part of the day yesterday helping her and felt so blessed that she and her family are okay. It's good to be reminded about what can't be replaced and what can be.
I heard some excellent advise today and I will close with it.

In panic situations, it is important to stop and think even more so. Because it is in those situations, when we just want to get there or we just want to get done, that we are most likely to make the biggest mistake.

Breathe deeply, my friends, and remember what really matters.
Friday, September 9, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady: oh my

This week was overwhelming.

I don't think I have completely recovered from it.

As you know we had Monday off for Labor Day and the week started with a bang on Tuesday.

Here's what I learned.

Lock down freaks me out. Tuesday brought a lock down to our elementary, as well as all the neighboring schools, due to a bank robbery in the area. The armed robber got away on foot and as of today I believe he is still on the loose. Only idiots rob banks, especially armed.

Even computers need holidays. Tuesday started out with all computers taking an extra day off. It is difficult to ring up lunch when the computers are down. Thankful we only had to wing it at breakfast.

Row, row, row your boat. Wednesday brought on an early dismissal for flooding. The rain was overwhelming roads, bridges and homes. It was frightening. Lunch was move up to 10:30 and we needed to hustle. I have never seen this kind of flooding and we are still waiting for the river to crest.

When things are crazy...expect the unexpected. As we were rushing to prepare lunch for early release, the state inspector showed up. Seriously? I am proud to say that we received our third straight perfect inspection.

Short weeks can get shorter. It turns out that school can be cancelled after only 1 1/2 short days this week. Due to all the flooding, we did not have school Thursday or Friday. Here's hoping the snow takes it easy on us. We only have one more weather related emergency day and we've only been in school 10 days. Not a good sign.

In conclusion, I learned that bank robbers are not the smartest members of society, that just when you thought you couldn't serve lunch any sooner you can, that the state inspector loves to come during chaos, and that I'd rather be in school than trapped at home with my children for extended periods of time.

Stay safe out there. Life can change rather quickly.

Creek at the bottom of my development about to spill trash everywhere! Yuck.
Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Open Letter to my son at the start of second grade

Dear Little G.,

At the start of second grade, I wanted to write down some of my hopes and expectations for you.

Your age sneaks up on me.  I think it is because you are the youngest.  In my head you're my baby, but in reality you aren't a baby at all.

You are almost 8. 

You are one of the oldest (and smallest) kids in your class.

I hope that second grade provides you with a better reading foundation.  You still hate to read, which as a writer, breaks my heart.

You struggle with it and because of that you really don't like it. 

I hope that second grade builds up your confidence and that you aren't so worried about what other people think.  It's important to remember that it doesn't matter who finishes first or who has more written in their journal.

I hope that second grade shows you that it is okay to ask for help when you are struggling.  I hope that you learn to ask more questions and to seek more answers.

I hope that second grade brings you more friends, more laughs and more adventures. 

I hope that second grade is even better than 1st.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: flooding

earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. Oh my!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Tribute: 911-Where were you?

The afternoon newspaper   I write for is doing a series on 911 to commemorate the 10th anniversary. 

As part of the series, the paper is asking citizens to recall where they were when they heard of the events.  What they remembered feeling...what they remember thinking.

911 doesn't feel like ten years ago to me but I know it to be true because my daughter is ten years old and she was 2 months old when the towers fell.  In fact, she was exactly two months old. 

Middle G. was born June 11th.  Before that September date.  Before that time.

We were at the zoo.

The girls and I were meeting some friends at the zoo.  We planned to spend the day there.  To have lunch there.

I was listening to kid music in the car.  We were singing along.  We were, like so many others, just going about our day.

My husband was not traveling, but my friend's husband was.

When I got to the zoo, I remember wondering why so many people were still sitting in their cars.  I soon came to realize that they were listening to the news.  Listening live to the gasps of the reporters as the second plane flew into the towers.

We didn't know how serious it was.  We thought it was an accident.  We didn't know it was intentional.  We didn't know that much hatred existed.  We didn't know it could touch us.

The zoo announced it was closing at 10:30 "to honor our friends and family in New York."  I still didn't understand.

Even as I was leaving the parking lot and heading home, I didn't understand.  When I pulled safely into the driveway with my toddler and my infant and found my husband home from work, I didn't understand.

As I watched live the events unfolding in a field not far from where I grew up, I didn't understand. 

Ten years later and I still don't understand.

Where were you when the towers fell and so much changed forever?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Made by me Monday: some scrapbook pages

These pictures are all from 2008. I think little G ate more blueberries than he picked.

These lemons were cut using the simple sweet cricut cartridge. I think the boys made about $3.00 that day and they thought they were rich.

Joe Cool. Love these pics of little G.

These last ones are from the first swim in our backyard pool before we joined a much larger one. I may have posted some of these already but I felt like putting a handful of them together for Made By Me Monday.

Thanks for stopping by to visit. For more awesome crafts click on the link below.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady: do we pee on the floor?

This was the first full week of school and it really felt like it. I am beginning to feel the effects of cholorine withdrawl and I am longing for a pool day.

Here's what I learned.

Do we pee on the floor? No that's just gross. This was the title of the speech given over a megaphone by our principal to the 2nd and 3rd graders. I guess you can't be reminded often enough that peeing on the floor is frowned upon.

Would you like hashbrowns or baby carrots with your pancakes? Really? Is this even a choice? Of course, my son got the carrots and another 2nd grader learned what baby carrots are.

Please don't tramp on the syrup. The bad thing about having pancakes for lunch is all the sticky mess you gotta clean up. Kids love syrup. They will lick it off the table, off each other and even off the bottom of their shoe. That one is still grossing me out.

Yeah! Good job eating your peas. Much to our surprise when given the choice as to whether or not to have peas many kindergartners were up to the challenge. One proclaimed her love of all vegetables and ate all of her peas before taking a bite of her pizza. We cheered for her and not wanting to disappoint, another kindergartner scooped up a spoonful and while putting it in his mouth promptly scooped up the rest into his other hand and dropped them onto the floor. Tray clean with one bite.

You are the best _________ I know! Whether you fill in the blank with lunchlady, principal, teacher or aide, when it's said by a 1st grader who hasn't really much life experience it loses something in translation. However it's still better than being the worst.

In conclusion, we learned not to pee on the floor and to keep our peas off the floor. We learned what baby carrots are and that some kids will lick syrup off of just about anything.

What did you learn this week?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pardon me but there is a chipmunk attached to your hand

Just like every other summer day, I decided to skip one house up the street to see what my cousins were up to.

The answer. Picking blackberries.


We spent the next half hour gathering up the supplies we would need. We borrowed some Tupperware without asking, we packed some water in case we got thirsty and we threw in a compass just in case we got lost.

The four of us, my sister and two cousins, headed into the woods just behind our houses. The shade from the mature trees was cooling. We knew our short cool walk would be rewarded with delicious, juicy blackberries.

Sure enough the bushes were overflowing. We started picking and eating and picking some more. Much to our delight a chipmunk ran across the path. It stole a berry we had dropped and scurried up a tree.

Out of nowhere a crow swooped down and peck at the chipmunk, knocking it off the tree and causing it to land in an awkward lump on the path in front of us.

We all just stared. Did that really just happen? What should we do?

Like any quick thinking 10 year old, I decided to pick up the chipmunk.

Not a good idea.

It latched on to the skin between my thumb and pointer finger and would not let go. i screamed. My sister screamed. My cousins screamed. i shook my hand. I pulled at that stupid rodent.

Nothing. It was stuck.

We had no choice but to seek help.


She'll know what to do.

We ran the entire way home, leaving our prize berries and our backpack of supplies behind. When we reached the yard, mom was outside hanging laundry on the line.

My sister said, "Don't be mad" which usually just made my mom mad. I was still crying when I lifted my hand to reveal the now near death chipmunk attached to it. It is the first memory I have of my mother swearing.

My dad had to come home from work. My mom wouldn't touch it. My dad discussed options with my mom in a hushed voice that involved words like drowning, pliers, hammers and rabies.

I was terrified but I was also starting to like the little guy whose teeth were buried into my flesh.

My dad put on gardening gloves and pried his mouth open enough to released my bruised and a little bloody hand. I wouldn't let him kill the chipmunk, which in hindsight only prolonged his suffering.

He lived, paralysed, for a week in a tiny shoebox.

The only thing he would eat were blackberries.

Inspired by Mama Kat's genius
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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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