* Looking down

Bad Things have been happening outside.  I am losing the battle.

First, the deer continue to use our yard as a feeding and parking station.  They leave raisins to mark their path up the driveway.

deer poop

You might wonder why the driveway looks so, um, marbled.  (Trust me, this is relevant.)  It’s because my dearest widower asked the pressure washer guys to remove the mulch stains.  Remember I tossed hundreds of pounds of mulch into our “natural area?”  Well, it might have improved the appearance of that natural area for a day or so, but it also triggered a vole invasion.  What’s not to love in soft, moist mulch?

mulch

So, the voles.  They have ruined one-third of our front yard, as of today.  Tomorrow- one half?  Everyday, there are new raised tunnels and piles of soil.  I bought these pellets that supposedly irritate their sinuses, but I feel too discouraged to use the stuff.  Plus, I have an aversion to watering (see below), which is necessary to activate the pellets.  Voles are quite admirable diggers, I have to admit.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of soil they’ve rumbled through.

As if voles weren’t bad enough, AT&T has been supposedly laying a new cable in the back yard.  All I can see is spray paint, wires, and more tunnels.  Perhaps AT&T hires voles.  I have a work crew ready and willing in the front yard, if need be.

The beautiful meadow sage, which is deer resistant, has not withstood the heat and relative drought.  Yes, I should have watered them, but the bloody mosquitoes attack me through my shirt and hair as soon as I step outside.

Vance, the Venus Flytrap, has given up the ghost.  I did accidentally spray him with insect repellent as I was venturing out, so that didn’t help.  The bug spray didn’t help me either, for that matter.

Overall, I’d say I’m a bit discouraged in my attempts to fashion a lawn.  No one else on our street has voles (I’ve looked).  Other folks sit outside in chairs without mosquito netting and clouds of repellent.  At least the deer are equal opportunity invaders.  Go deer!  Please.

* The Bitter Parent Back-to-School Guide

You never thought the summer could be soooo long; by all rights, it shouldn’t be!  Why do teachers complain about long hours and little pay when they have three months of summer vacation?  And it won’t be long before they are taking off for workdays and so-called professional development.  Plus your kids will have forgotten all the little they learned last year and they’ll probably get that crabby teacher who never retires.  Here are some back-to-school tips just for you.

  1.  Let your kids stay up as late as they like, especially for that first week back at school.  It’s about time that teachers get to see what you have to put up with.
  2.  Send high-sugar-and-carb snacks that will fill your kids’ bellies and don’t fret about wonky blood sugar levels.  These snacks are much more appealing and will boost your child’s social credit.
  3.  Arrive late to school at least a couple of times in the first week.  Nothing much happens before 9 or 10, so at least your child won’t be as bored as usual.
  4.  Send your child in flip flops on PE days.  PE teachers have enough time in their schedules to sort that out.  After all, they play games all day!
  5.  Remind your kiddos that if someone hits them, they are to hit back three times as hard.  Better yet, encourage them to be proactive, not reactive.  That will take care of all those bullies at school.
  6.  Give your child a break from that ADHD medication.  See #1 for the rationale.
  7.  If your child is attending a new school and has an IEP, keep it a secret as long as possible.  Why prejudice the teacher’s opinion of your child?
  8.  Don’t bother with that heavy packet of forms from the school.  If it’s important, they’ll send it again.
  9.  Put the first PTA meeting on your calendar.  You will want to suggest that schools skip summer vacations all together.  How are kids supposed to learn anything in just 180 days?annoyed woman.png

* The Bitter Teacher Back-to-School Guide

You never thought the summer could be soooo short; between a second job and staff development, you had one week off!  Why do parents complain about taking care of their children for a few weeks?  And it won’t be long before they are griping about workdays.  Plus the kids will have forgotten all they learned last year and you’ll probably get that crabby administrator who is shuffled from school to school.  Here are some back-to-school tips just for you.

  1.  Enjoy your last night before school starts, staying up as late as you can.  You shouldn’t smile at kids before January anyway.
  2.  Resurrect those old boxes of crackers for the classroom snack.  They don’t have peanut butter and you can’t even read the expiration date.
  3.  Lock your classroom door and keep the lights off so any late kids and their parents are forced to return to the main office.  After all, what is the intercom for?
  4.  Double-check with the principal to ensure that subs are available when the specials teachers are absent.  That’s your planning time and the PE teacher doesn’t need any time just to organize a game.
  5.  Take tranquilizers before the Back to School event.  Watching the way kids run around like crazy while their parents ignore all misbehavior is a sure indicator of a long year ahead.  Identify bullying parents and see if their child can be reassigned to a beginning teacher.
  6.  Contact the school nurse well before the first day of school to see who takes meds for ADHD.  Have the school social worker on call to summon parents if ANY kids seem unmedicated.
  7.  Assume that all new kids are behavior problems and figure out how to have them placed elsewhere or medicated.
  8. Print up your stacks of reminders to parents about clothing for specials, rules for the playground, field trip chaperones, lunch money, snacks for the classroom, requests for supplies, room parents, PTA meetings, book fairs, and Teacher Appreciation Week.  Have your assistant use a different color of paper for each set of reminders.  Make sure the request for classroom supplies is stapled on top.
  9.   Figure out how to skip the boring PTA meeting, especially the first one where all the troublemakers start agitating the group.bitter teacher.png

* Amusing thoughts from Dahlia!

I hope you enjoy these Monday morning laughs from Dahlia.  Check out her post!

Hello friends! How was your day? I spent an exhausting weekend catching up on my allergies. Now myriad muscles are crying out in protest against the unwarranted exercise due to excessive sneezing. And it hurts the most when I laugh. Ah well enough of my woes – time to laugh a bit. I just returned […]

via Just 4 Fun # 33 — Stories and more

* Blogging A-Z: Bugs at school

Ew!  There’s probably no teacher who hasn’t encountered all kinds of creepy crawlies at school.  If you’ve taught at a newly-built school, you won’t be surprised to learn that these adaptable critters have set up home in their new environment.  Many teachers gently transport 6- and 8-legged creatures outdoors, which I can support for about 3 months.  After that….  I am less than excited about catching wolf spiders, which could qualify in Olympic high jump meets.  If these arachnids ever get their hands on a javelin, we’re in trouble.

wolf-spider.jpg

Then there are lice.  Why is it that my head itches as soon as I read that word?  When we got a notice that lice were in the school, the poor nurse had a dozen itchy teachers asking for a quick scalp check.  I still remember a kiddo with lice who rested his head against mine!  How could that happen??  I am not a touchy-feely teacher, nor do I encourage kids to get in my personal bubble.  And yes, my own kids had lice, so I understand how ubiquitous they can be.  Contrary to some backward thinking, lice are equal opportunity invaders.

Lastly, roaches are soooo happy in paper-laden storerooms, file cabinets, and stacks of old books.  They truly love cardboard boxes, which serve as homes and food.  And what teacher doesn’t have some cardboard boxes?  Crud.

Speaking of homes, I’ve made hundreds of home visits over the years but only once did I encounter roaches.  I was talking to a mom when a roach crawled freely around her collar and shirt.  I think I should have told her, but my foot went through the floor of her mobile home and got wedged there, so I was further distracted.

* Color your world denim

I have this tune running through my head: “Dem deer, dem deer, dem demin deer.”  Don’t know it?  Think of “dem dry bones.”

denim deer 4.jpg

Mama, when do I get denim?  When you can carry a tune, dear.  

Thanks, Jennifer Nichole Wells, for your Color Your World challenge, which has officially joined The Twilight Zone.

 

* Dear talk

Dear Deer talk?

deer talk.JPG

I AM SURE THIS IS TRUE.  THEY LOOK INNOCENT BUT I KNOW BETTER.

Wassup?  Nuthin.  Where is she?  On the couch, STILL in her pajamas.  What are we gonna do?  Nuthin.  I mean it.  It’s no fun unless she’s chasin’ us, barking like a fool dog.  Or tossing ice cubes all over the place.  What about those day lilies?  They look mighty tasty.  Jus’ wait.  No fun eating them if she can’t chase us away.  It gives me indigestion to eat and run.  Aw, wimp.  Hang on.  It’ll be worth it.  Don’t you already have enough photos of her running up the hill, tripping on branches?  I’m hoping for fame, dude.  Something that can go viral.  I hate that word.  Huh?  Viral.  My aunt got the viral and she went all Terminator.  Dude, the only zombie deer is in that crazy movie, Train to Busan.  Maybe it’s real.  Naw, your aunt ate too many of those day lilies, is all.  I think she’s watching us.  You’re paranoid, little brother.  She’s got a gimp leg and acts all stupid.  What do you mean?  You saw her putting a Venus fly trap on the porch, right?  Who does that?  All I’m sayin’ is this is a waste of time.  Eat a few periwinkles, then.  Maybe it’ll perk her up.  I thought you said she wasn’t watchin’ us.  [Sigh}

* Cats in literature

You must check out the Bluebird‘s post for the cleverest connections of cat photos to literature.  My faves are “Macbeth” and “Little Women.”  Teachers could use this idea to spark interest, compare-and-contrast, and book conversations!  The one below is “Bambi,” of course.

via Happy Caturday — literary edition — bluebird of bitterness