Sunday, April 29, 2007


I went to Graves Mountain Lodge festival today, where I met Ben.

Graves Mountain Lodge is a short 20-minute drive from home, and has been a part of my life for about as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, our church youth group would go to Graves for retreats at least once yearly. I still remember 'old man Graves' standing in the dining hall, wearing his bib-alls. He was usually growling at us to eat all the food on our plates.

Anyway, this weekend Graves was having a festival. It was a beautiful day, so I spent some time there after lunch. For about an hour or so, I wandered among the booths set up, looking over jewelry and other wares. In the background, a bluegrass group picked and grinned. Nice time.

As I was leaving, a van pulls up beside my car. The sliding door opens, and I hear, "Hi, my name is Ben. I'm 3 1/2 years old" I turn to see Ben, strapped in his car seat. "Hi, Ben." I say. "My next birthday, I'm going to be four," says Ben, holding up the appropriate number of fingers. "And I'm going to be four for a long time." "That's wonderful!" I say, "How old will you be after that?" Ben replies quickly, "I think I'll be ten!" Ben's mom, getting out of the front seat, informs me that Ben (for some reason) really wants to be ten.

I think it's important to know exactly what you want. I want to be like Ben.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blessings 4/15-4/21

  1. Great-nephew Charles
  2. new car (finally!)
  3. time off from work
  4. beautiful weather - Spring is here, at last
  5. continued weight loss - I can go shopping in my closet

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Let's not get ridiculous....

That's a quote from the lady at the credit union this morning. I obtained my statement from the post office, and went to the CU before my WeightWatcher's meeting this morning. I gave the woman the PO statement, my health insurance letter, and my teaching certificate letter - all of which have both the POB # and the physical address of the house. As she poured over this material, looking doubtful and saying "Well, I think this should be good enough.", I said, "I also have my POB key, with the number on it, if you'd like to see." Her response? "Let's not get ridiculous."

Oh, I'm sorry - I thought we already had.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I am a terrorist. I have infiltrated the Commonwealth of Virginia under false pretenses, and am attempting to establish residence for nefarious purposes. At least, that's what the local credit union seems to think.

I'm buying a new car. Note: I have not yet bought a new car, because the credit union won't close the loan. Why? Because I don't receive mail at my physical address, but to a post office box. The utilities are not in my name, nor is my name on any of those bills that would link the PO box to the physical street address. So, when we went to the credit union to sign the papers for the loan, they informed us they could not make the loan unless I had mail with the physical address on it. Which is not likely, since we have no mailbox on the street. We get mail at the post office. In the post office box.

I was also chastised for not yet obtaining a VA driver's license, which would have to show the physical address (according to the credit union, although mom's license has the PO box number). BUT.... they don't think I can get a VA license, because I don't have proof of my physical address!

Now, mom had a utility bill with her, with the POB #, stating the bill was for service at the physical address of the house. I had a paycheck, with the POB #. One would think you could connect the dots, but apparently not. Ok, so what do I do? I was told to go to the post office, and get a notarized statement from the postmaster, stating that the POB is linked to that physical address, and that I receive mail at the POB#. OK, I can do that.

No, I can't. When we get home, I call the Post Office, where the gentleman informs me they don't have a notary, and they never notarize anything. What he can give me is a copy of the POB application (which will have mom's name on it), along with a copy of my signature which added me to that POB, and a statement linking the POB# with the physical E-911 address. I agree to come by and get that in the morning.

I start looking through the mail I've received since I've been here, and find a letter from my health insurance company that has the physical address on it! THEN, I find the letter from the Commonwealth of Virginia that came with my VA teaching certificate that has BOTH addresses AND my full name AND my SSN! How's that for proof that I live where I say I live, and that I am who I say I am?

I'm excited now, so I call the credit union, and explain to them what I have. Nope, not good enough. I need the statement from the Post Office. I explain that the Post Office doesn't notarize, never has. The response is - that's ok, it doesn't have to be notarized. Unless I have the statement from the Post Office, they won't close the loan.

So, tomorrow morning I will drive my new car (yes, I have possession - already have a map and an ice-scraper in the glove compartment) to the PO, get the statement from there, and take my happy butt down to the credit union. I will have the other two letters, as well. Hopefully, with all this material, I will have jumped through enough hoops to keep the car.

Here's the funny part (if any of this can be called funny) - in order to get this loan, I had to open an account with the credit union. That's fine - that way they can draft my payment directly from the account. It also enables me to get a really good interest rate (IF they close the loan). So I set up the account, and deposit the minimum amount. So I asked the question: Will my statement be mailed to me? Answer: Yes, quarterly. Next question: What address will be on the statement? Answer: The POB #. Next question: Can you also put the physical address on the statement? Answer: No, only one line is available for the address. (!!!!!) So, the statement from the credit union that has to have proof of my physical address before they can close the loan that will generate quarterly statements, will only have the POB# as my address.

Does this make sense to you?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Car!

2007 Hyundai Accent. Great gas mileage and FRONT WHEEL DRIVE!!!


OK - so each SPED teacher in our school is allowed 2 days each school year to spend working on IEPS (Individual Education Plans). As a newbie, I was not aware of this until after Christmas, so had not taken advantage of the 'perk'. Unfortunately, I was done with all my IEPS fairly soon after Christmas break, without the benefit of taking days to complete the paperwork required.

I have one student who does not take the normal SOL tests, mainly because of her cognitive ability and emotional problems. She is on an alternative assessment, which is due by May 3. Now, I don't teach her - don't even see her in the normal course of the day. I have to rely upon her teachers to provide me with work that proves she has made progress this year. Right.

To begin with - she's pregnant, due in June. She rarely comes to school, and when she does only stays for 3 class periods. The rest of her work is done with a homebound teacher. They are working on parenting and childcare skills (for obvious reasons). As a result, there is very little work that I can use to show progress for her assessment.

Two weeks ago, I put in for this IEP day (we have to put in for them 2 weeks in advance), thinking that surely I would have some work from her teachers so I could put this portfolio together. Not. I even sent work home with her so that her homebound teacher could help her complete some work for the assessment. Haven't gotten any of it back. She's been in school 3 days out of the last 10. So here I am, with a day put aside to work on this assessment portfolio, and no work to put in it. I even worked out with her math teacher that I could pull her during his class to work on a math assessment for me. She didn't come to school today. Grrr...

On the plus side: my desk is cleared off, and all my plans are done for next week. Good thing, because I have a feeling all my 'spare time' will be taken up with trying to complete this assessment portfolio by May 3.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blessings 4/8 - 4/14

  1. TC's computer is under warranty, and can be fixed.
  2. Made my 10% goal at Weight Watchers. (Got a key chain - woo hoo!)
  3. The weather was not as bad today as forecasted.
  4. Test-driving a new car.
  5. Only teaching 3 days in the coming week.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Called a bluff

Tom, my co-worker and weight-watcher buddy, knows everyone and everything. At work, we tend to do a little eye-rolling when he name drops or expounds on a myriad of subjects. I've said I take much of what he says with a grain of salt. Now, he's a smart guy, and I don't doubt he knows a lot of people I don't know, but it's hard to believe everything he says.

A few weeks ago, I happened to mention to the hall-duty group I needed to look into getting a new car - one with front-wheel drive for starters, and one that got better gas mileage. Tom said,"Jim Price is a personal friend of mine, and he can get you into a Hyundai at $100 over cost." Yeah, OK. The next day, Tom brought in some brochures, and said he'd talked with Jim about letting me test drive a car. I said sure - I'd like to test drive a car sometime. That'd be great.

Today, after our weigh-in (down 22 pounds, btw), I followed Tom to the car dealership. Not only do I get to test drive a 2007 Accent, I get to keep it over the weekend! They bolted on a dealer tag, filled up the tank (yeah, that's right - filled up the tank), and said "See ya Monday evening." Ok, so maybe the guy does know the owner of the dealership. So, if Tom was telling the truth about the test drive, maybe I really can get a new car at almost cost. Hmmmm....

BTW - the car is pretty sweet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

So long...

Today was my teaching assistant's last day. Mrs. Ward has been in the school system for a long time, and finally had enough. She told me in January that she was going to start using up her sick and personal days, and when they were gone, so was she. Well, she meant it! We found out about 2 weeks ago that today would be it for her. I have her in class with me 2 periods, and my students wanted to do something for her. She's usually very cranky with them, but they know she cares. So, I had about 30 students and staff in my classroom 8th period today, having a going-away party for Mrs. Ward. The kids made her a card, and we all signed it. We took lots of pictures, and had a good time. I don't know who (if anyone) is going to replace her - I haven't heard a thing from administration about the job. I have heard from 4 other assistants that they put in for the position, so we'll see what happens.

On a sillier, slightly aggravating note - We have 2 new copiers in the building. Wait, amend that - we have 2 copiers in the building that work. Most of the copying has to go through the office staff - you put in your originals at least 24 hours in advance, and the office secretaries copy it for you. Not the best system in the world, especially if you need something copied at the last minute. The other copiers around the building are dinosaurs, and usually don't work. So, a couple months ago, we got 2 new copiers for 'emergencies'. We aren't supposed to use these copiers for big jobs - just the occasional job here and there.

OK, no problem. I have 16 students in my small group classes. I never make tons of copies - don't need to. I have used the new copiers. Everyone has. We have to put in the last 4 digits of our SSN to use the copiers. Today, I was told I was overusing the copiers, having made (ready for this?) 758 copies last month! I haven't made that many copies all year! Now, I'm on the copier police list. Evidently, if you don't log out of the copier when you're done (very possible I've neglected this on more than one occasion) then the next person, if they come in within a few minutes, can merrily copy away on your dime. Not cool.

I'm so glad this school year is almost over. This petty stuff gets old.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Blessings 4/1-4/8

  1. Four days off for Spring Break - not as nice as 6, but whatcha gonna do?
  2. Visits from husband and family.
  3. Telephone call from TC (and he was in a good mood)
  4. Reached the weight-loss goal I set for myself back in January.
  5. Beautiful April snowfall.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cue muzak "I'm Dreaming of a ....

White Easter"????

Woke up this morning to almost 3 inches of snow. It's beautiful, but totally not April. Wow.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Ok I always knew my kids were trendsetters, but this is just silly!

Last weekend, Dave took this picture of TC leaping off a rock and clicking his heels together:

I downloaded the picture (along with others) to my thumb drive, and took them to work. Kelly (math teacher on my hall) decided she really like the whole 'heel-click' thing. Saturday, she and a friend were in DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival and took this picture:
So, today in school, Kelly decided that she wanted everyone to click their heels in joy because Spring Break starts tomorrow!

I even got in on the act. It wasn't pretty, but I was pretty impressed that I could even get off the ground...

I just love silly stuff like this...

Perfect day for a car accident

I just have to report on the car crash demonstration we just had. I fully expect to field questions this afternoon, as to what was going on at the high school this morning.

We all go out to the football field, and sit on the bleachers. In front of us are two cars, supposedly just involved in an accident. Students, in various states of distress (fake blood, etc) are strewn about - both in the cars and on the pavement. In the distance, sirens can be heard. In a few moments, 3 state troopers, 2 unmarked cars, a local sheriff's cruiser, 2 firetrucks, 2 ambulances (ambulanci?), and numerous first responders are on the 'scene.' Next, we hear "thwocka-thwocka-thwocka", and here comes Pegasus, the life-flight helicopter.

For the next 45 minutes, we watch as the various people act out the rescue of those involved in the accident, and the roadside sobriety test of the 'drunk driver' who caused the accident. Jaws of life are employed, and a white Volvo station wagon is soon a convertible. Glass is smashed, doors are ripped off, and the injured are extricated and strapped to body boards. Three are taken to the waiting ambulanci, and one is put in Pegasus and airlifted. The last person taken out of the Volvo is placed in a black body bag. (query: do they reuse body bags? I don't think it matters to most, but this young lady was still breathing.) The point of this? Our principal gets on the public address system and says, "As we get ready for Spring Break, I want to remind all students that this could happen to you or your friends if you drink and drive." Happy *&^!ing Easter!

Several students asked the question "What would happen if a real accident happened right now somewhere out in the county?"

I told my homeroom students to hold on to their raffle tickets, for the "Ride on Pegasus" drawing to take place at the end of the day.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spring Broken

Tomorrow is supposed to be the first day of our Spring Break. Not.

Since we had so many days out for bad weather this winter, we have to go to school tomorrow, as well as Easter Monday. No fair. I asked my 2nd period class on Thursday how many students were planning on being in school on Monday. One girl sort of hesitantly put up her hand. Other classes? Much the same result.

Administration told us we are to 'set the tone' for the day tomorrow. It is to be just like any other school day. Then, they go and schedule a (get this!) "Car Crash Demonstration" (??!!) first thing in the morning. This is in conjunction with a "Fair Weather Evacuation Drill" (??!!). So, the way I see it, right after homeroom, we practice evacuating our students (those who are there, and not at the beach) to the football field where we will be treated to a Greene County version of the Demolition Derby. THEN, we herd everyone back inside, where we are required to teach our classes as if nothing unusual just happened. Should be an interesting day...

Madison Moment:
Last week, I heard this story. I thought it was pretty funny.
A woman who lives on Main Street always flies the American flag from her porch. Evidently, her flag got a little ratty, so she replaced it with a new flag. A passing veteran noticed the new flag, and notified the local police that they needed to check on her. Evidently, she inadvertently hung the flag upside down, which is a distress signal.


  1. Having my sons visit last weekend. I'm so glad they are friends, and seem to enjoy spending time together. It's also nice that they want to spend time with me and their grandmother.
  2. An unexpected day off last week. Mom had appointments scheduled for Friday that were cancelled. I already had approval and a substitute for the day. Sweet.
  3. Pulled out my Spring and Summer clothes. Everything fits, and some things are TOO BIG!
  4. Pig 'n Steak celebrated 20 years in business today. I think we should all be grateful...
  5. My brother survived his bike accident in Oregon - with his memory intact.