Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Report from Tallulah~

This is my second report on Day 2 of my captivity. You will note that one of the ugly animals from my Male Staff Member's former home has breached the security gate. He is even worse than I expected and dared to IGNORE me after glancing at my comely face and beautiful body.

This despicable creature actually JUMPED onto my throne and proceeded to chew on one of MY toys. The woman who wants to be a staff member, actually LAUGHED at this and I shall not forgive her.

Her resume will be placed in my litter box along with my latest aromatic deposit.


Tallulah: Report from Captivity

Notes from the Trenches: Report by Tallulah the Cat.

This is my second full day in this hellhole known as my Male Staff Member's former home. There are big ugly animals everywhere and they keep coming to my gate. Luckily, they are too stupid to climb over so I am safe from their slobbering, ugly, disgusting faces for now.

The woman, who needs to submit a resume in triplicate, keeps coming in the gated room to see me in an attempt to placate and curry favor. It is not working. The ugly animals follow her and she is too nice to them. Her position as a future staff member is very much in question.

I allow petting, but only because I need it at particular times and places.

Send tuna and be quick about it.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Couch Cushions

Today I got off on a cleaning tangent and went after the family room couch cushions. They are dirty and this has been bothering me. The main reason is that my daughter in law is moving in next weekend and I don’t want her to think I put up with dirty couch cushions on a regular basis. I would like her to think that dirty couch cushions are an anomaly in our house.

The dogs like to lick the couch. I am sure this is just a "dog thing," but no amount of harping, yelling, clapping, or "pssting" at them makes the licking stop. They just like to lick. After awhile, the couch cushions have little spots that are probably full of dried dog-spit residue. They also come in from outside and go straight to the couch. This is AFTER rolling in something smelly and dirty. Although they do lick their paws on occasion, it is rarely before jumping onto the couch after digging in the mud.

Cleaning these couch cushions are an effort in physical strength. It takes a lot to get the cushion covers off the bottom cushions so that they can be put in the washing machine. It also takes a lot of strength to put them back on – this is not an easy task.

The most annoying thing about this whole endeavor is that I cannot do the job well. The bottom cushions and the matching pillows have zippers for somewhat-easy removal. But the top cushions are affixed to the couches and big chair. You cannot remove them for proper cleaning.

This makes me wonder what in hell the couch designers were thinking. “Oh yes, let’s make this furniture family-friendly. Let’s put zippers on the cushions so that the covers may be easily removed for cleaning! We will use a microfiber that looks a lot like suede! This couch will look rich and inviting.!” I can almost hear hands clapping together in delight at the prospect.

“Well, uh… what about the top cushions?” asks the smart-aleck young design assistant. “You show these top cushions as being sewn into the back of the couch and chair – how will the owner remove THOSE for easy cleaning?”

The designer probably gave the youngster a withering look and said something about creative license and his or her complete misunderstanding of the whole design concept. "My furniture is ART," the designer undoubtedly cried out. "Don't bother me with insignifant little details!"

The smirky young assitant might have mentioned something about the magnetic attributes of dog hair and the oily residue of human heads that rest after a long and hard day of toil.

The designer then said something about “steam cleaning,” which is what one must do with all the fabric covering the furniture anyway. "So what difference will it make," was the final comment, said through a clenched jaw and a mouth full of pins.

We all know that steam cleaning and other methods of dirt and stain removal on furniture is half-assed at best. Where does all that crud GO once the hot water and cleaning fluid is shot straight into the attached cushions and furniture frame? It simply cannot come out with the poor amount of suction used by whatever piece of equipment is being employed. The dirty liquid and dirty stuff is THERE forever, under where you are sitting, festering and becoming more and more disgusting as time passes. You can vacuum and dab with a wet cloth until the cows come home, but you will never, EVER, get that part of the furniture as clean as the portions you can throw into the washing machine.

Despite the whole couch getting a good vacuuming on a somewhat-regular basis, there is always dirt and cherry pits and dog hair under the cushions. I often ponder how all that stuff gets there in the first place because I don't remember SEEING anybody actually put little rocks and tiny safety pins and coins under the couch cushions. And for what purpose, anyway?

There is little posterity for old couches. They get dumped somewhere or carted away by charities who take them places where they are bought by people who are probably not bothered by the lack of removable top couch cushions. Some people put their old couches on their lawns in an effort to return to white-trash roots. But the last time I tried this, the couch was gone the next day.

My next batch of family room furniture will have 100% removable outer wear. What is left should be able to withstand a good hosing-off. In fact, lawn furniture just may be the way to go.

Leo Drives~

I admire the way Leo drives. He has his eyes on the road and he isn't distracted by the radio or other vehicles. He just pays attention to what he is doing. I think that is commendable. There are so many drivers who could learn from Leo's fine example. He has excellent driving habits.

The best thing about Leo, as a driver, is the absence of a Bluetooth. Leo does not feel the need to be constantly connected to a cellular phone and the incessant demands of human conversation. He chooses not to look silly and ostentatious with an earpiece attached to his head, talking to himself while he drives. In fact, Leo doesn't talk at all while at the wheel.

Leo just......drives.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Clayton on Friday

Yesterday, I opened the classroom door and I saw Clayton across the lawn, standing by the outside cafeteria door. He was supposed to walk to the room, but for some reason he was just standing there. The custodian was telling him, not too kindly, to go to his classroom. Clayton was just standing there.

I propped open the door and looked over at him, then waved. He saw me, bolted across the lawn, and flew into my arms. (Then he asked if he could go play on the trikes.)

Right before we went home, Clayton looked up at me. I was certain he was going to ask about the trikes again. “Teacher,” he said.

“Yes, Clayton,” I responded.

“I love you teacher.”

“I love you too, Clayton. I am happy you are in my class,” I said, as I leaned down to hug him.

“Teacher?” asked Clayton when I stood up.

“Yes, Clayton,” I said, stepping over backpacks to reach the front of the rug area.

“Can I go home now?”

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Long Trike Trail Home

Clayton is truly one of the only students I’ve had that has a slack-jaw. I know this is unkind and that I will be dipping the soles of my feet in hell for this, but the boy is out to lunch and has room to rent upstairs. He processes only key words that mean something to him. These are his favorite:

1. Play
2. Recess
3. Eat
4. Cars
5. Tricycle
6. Home

I tell him where to go sit and his jaw drops. One minute later, as the kids are settled at their tables, he will at my side, demanding to know where to go. I resist temptation and repeat my instructions. He usually tells me that he doesn’t want to go there. I again resist temptation and lead him to where he needs to go. If he goes limp, I threaten the loss of the toy cars. He relents but makes it clear he is NOT happy about this.

He never remembers to hang up his backpack when he comes in. He just plops down and starts playing. If the cars are not out yet, he will wander the room looking for them because he can’t remember where they are stored. If I remind him to hang up his backpack and take care of business, he ignores me, snarls at me, or just says “NO.”

Tuesday, I introduced the trikes to the class and painstakingly went over rules and procedures. In doing this, I created a monster because now, no matter what, Clinton doesn’t wish to do anything that doesn’t pertain to the tricycles.

He began asking about them when he arrived this morning, during group time, during group time again, during rug time, and during story time. He spent all recess on the trikes and then demanded to be let out to play on them again when we came in. He asked about them during lunch and after lunch. During P.E., he refused to step away from the trikes and rode around the track again and again – until somebody else wanted a turn and he impatiently waited to ride again.

After P.E. he demanded that I let him go ride the trike because “I never let him ride the tricycle.”

When I said no, that we have other things to accomplish today, he demanded that I take him home RIGHT NOW. I said no, he would ride the bus home later. He said, “NO, drive me home RIGHT NOW.”

It’s been a long two weeks with Clayton. This is the boy who pushes his work towards me when we work at the tables and says that he “doesn’t want to” do what I am asking him to do. He ONLY wants to ride the trike. This is the boy who snarled at me all day Monday and when I said he was grumpy he snarled at me again that he IS NOT GRUMPY!

“Somebody needs to go to bed early tonight,” I said, feeling every inch of my years and carefully cultivated patience. “NO,” was the immediate response.

“Oh yes,” I said, “I will be calling your daddy when you leave today and I will tell him that Clayton needs to take a NAP!”

“NO!” he says in response. “No nap!”

So, his demand that I take him home “RIGHT NOW” really spoke to me.

Because I am evil and going to hell anyway, I told him that if he really wanted to go home “right now” he could ride the tricycle. He just stared at me. Then I pushed it even further and told him to stay on the sidewalk, be safe, and look both ways when he crosses the street.

Five minutes later I look up and he is standing near the back door with his backpack on, trying to reach the key to the tricycle shed.

I could almost feel the flames licking my feet.

Hey! A Rooster Shaw!

I have this little character in my class named Victoria. She thinks my name is “Hey!” although we are working on this. Victoria loves me dearly but listening to me is a different thing all together. Victoria would rather talk than listen. Victoria is up in everybody’s business. I need to appoint her Prime Minister or something.

I made the mistake of measuring her first on our class growth chart. Every morning, after she yells, "HEY!" at me, she demands that I "see how tall" she is. I keep telling her that her height has not changed since yesterday, but she only processes the part about "growth" and "blah blah blah blah."

She has been singing this little ditty for days now – to the point of distraction on my part. She sings, over and over again, “A rooster shaw, a rooster shaw, a rooster shaw shaw...” She does it during group time. She does it loudly in the bathroom. She sings it before recess. She sings it after recess. She is loud and proud in the cafeteria, “A rooster shaw, a rooster shaw, a rooster shaw shaw!”

I have been going nuts. I could not figure it out. She is an English language learner, so it is even more strange, since I can’t think of anything in Spanish that even closely resembles “a rooster shaw.” She even does this without an accent and during the most inopportune times. It is a brain worm, I thought, at its worst! All day long Victoria sings, “A rooster shaw, a rooster shaw, a rooster shaw shaw!” (And then she yells for me, “HEY!”)

So today, I put on a little movement song by Dr. Jean that gets the kids moving when they need to get the wiggles out. It is perfect for the end of the school day. The song is called “A Tooty Ta.”

We were all singing and swaying, “A tooty, ta, a tooty ta, a tooty ta ta….,” gyrating our hips and pointing our thumbs. And there is Victoria, singing at the top of her lungs, “A ROOSTER SHAW, A ROOSTER SHAW, A ROOSTER SHAW shaw!”

HEY! I am really dense. It takes SO LONG to get it sometimes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Missing Carrot

Today my kinders were sitting at the tables "following directions." They were to color each picture to match the color word that appears on the page. They are making a little book called, "Orange is a Carrot." We do this book one page at a time, with me carefully controlling the crayons.

The kids were supposed to be coloring the carrot orange. I did not give them access to any other colors because my experience has taught me that they don't CARE if the color matches the color word. Purple carrots are just fine in KinderWorld. Normally, I could care less - but THIS project requires adherence to the directions in order to achieve a product that practices emerging skills.

Isaias decides halfway through coloring the carrot that he needs to get up and go to the restroom. His book falls on the floor and when he picks it up, he places it back on the table upside down.

When he returns from the restroom, he opens his book from the back cover and smoothes it down. Then he sees the blank backside of the last page of the book. He begins hollering at me, "Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!"

"What is it, Isaias," I say with kindness and patience. "What is the matter?"

His eyes are wide as saucers as he looks down at his book and then up at me. "MY CARROT IS GONE!"