Archive for January, 2013

One More Week

*sigh* I was accused of being a racist today. I did not previously know that a sign of being a racist is to insist that, in a reading class, people actually read. How culturally insensitive of me.

I asked SwampMan this evening whether he thought I would suffer from paroxysms of guilt over the children when I left.

“Yeah, you will!” he said. “For about 20 minutes on the way home next Friday. Then you’ll say ‘Naaaah, they’ll live!’ and be fine.”

Update: Ooops. Perhaps people that are guzzling three different cold and allergy medicines should NOT be blogging when they can barely keep their eyes open at night. Sorry for the quotation marks that were out of place.

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I Think I Need Some Down Time

I had no sick time to use, but stayed home today anyway. Temperature of 101.3 (normal for me is 97.6), laryngitis, and severe coughing spells is not something that I want to pass around at school. Or maybe it is, if I could just pick out specific kids to send it to. With my luck, the nice children that want to learn would get it, and the little hellions would be immune since they likely gave it to me to begin with.

Three people have called me today to tell me various good news items in their lives. Somehow, it’s ALL been prefaced with “Wow. I know you said you were sick, but you sound waaaaaay worse in person than on your blog!” Thank you for that, y’all. I’m going to sit around now and contemplate my mortality which sounds as though it is rapidly coming to an end. Maybe I’ll pick out a crematorium and urn while I’m at it. How cool would that be? Then SwampDaughter could say “Boys, if you do not stop fighting RIGHT THIS INSTANT, I’m going to put MeeMaw’s urn into YOUR CLOSET and take the lid off so that her ghost can come out while you’re asleep.” Bwahahahahaha!

I know what the problem is. I’ve always required alone time to regroup and relax. The day is a confusing kaleidoscope of activity. FCAT is coming. This is also my busiest time of year (lambing and soon shearing) with the livestock. And all house maintenance/field maintenance needs to be done during the dry and cool season. I’m running from place to place and not doing a particularly good job at ANY of them which makes me crazy. And stressed out. And ill. My house is a wreck. And the in laws are coming for a visit in a couple weeks.

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Up On Da Roof Days 4 and 5

I woke Saturday morning with a sore throat and a pounding headache. Yuck. There’s nothing like working at a school to get the latest incarnation of a virus that happens to be going around! Lil’ brother is on antibiotics. If I have strep throat, I hope his antibiotic regimen will keep it away from him. If it is just a common garden-variety chest cold, well, I hope it doesn’t get him, either.

I drove the hour up to get lil’ bro on Saturday morning. Lil’ bro was anxious to get started. He’d been up since four a.m. just in case I wanted to get started before dawn. No, no, I did NOT want to get started before dawn. It took major willpower and an entire pot of coffee to get me started before noon.

I am an owl in a family of happy mockingbird early risers. “Good morning!” they say, all cheerful and happy and ready to go Face the World. “Fuck off!” I would mutter.

“Did you say something, dear?”

“I would sell my soul to Satan for a caffeinated beverage.”

“Coke, sweet tea, or coffee?”

I knew it. My family is composed of demons.

We eventually made it up on the roof but something was wrong. We could hear each other talking.

“We need some music. Real roofers always have a radio blasting. You got an old boombox laying around?”

Oddly enough, I did, although it took a little time to unearth it from its storage place.

“So, what do real roofers listen to?”

“Pick something lively.”

(Rolling out felt.) Doot doot doot doot doot doot doot doot “Sittin’ on a barstool talkin’ like a damn fool got the 12:00 news blues….” (staple staple staple) “Is it any wonder I’m not insaaaaaaaaaane?” (staple staple staple, start throwing down shingles). “Too much time on my hands!” (hammer hammer hammer) “Is it any wooonder I’m not the President?”

“Ummmm, Swampie?”


“I think I could use a cold beer now. A really big one.”

Maybe Styx and a hoarse laryngitis voice really don’t go together too well. Or maybe Real Roofers can keep the beat better with their hammers.

Lil’ brother got upset, too, about the way some shingles were working out. “So what?” I say.

“It doesn’t look right. I was wondering why they had those two weird rows with the old shingles. Now I know.” He’s busily tearing off shingles that just got put down.

“It’s the freaking roof! Who’s gonna know? NASA?”

*sigh* His way ended up looking way better than what the Real Roofers had done, by the way.

Saturday night, lil’ bro went to bed fairly early, as did SwampMan. I could not sleep. I watched Weird Al cover Lady Gaga songs like “Polka Face” and “Baby, I Perform This Way” for a few hours before I went to bed and couldn’t sleep there, either. Damn cough. Damn school kids! I gave up at 6:30 a.m., made coffee, and back to the roof.

At the close of daylight today, we were just shy of the ridge. We have to put in four new vents, so getting them exactly spaced and getting the holes cut will take a little time next weekend. I felt pretty dang miserable, so I said something about not going to work tomorrow.

“Great!” said lil’ brother. “We can get the new vents in!” *poof* went my idea of having my neck massaged while somebody repeatedly uttered “Poor Baby!” Lil’ brother, after all, has just had major surgery. I just have a cold.

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P90X Workout

I went by the gym today looking for a student. The kids were doing the P90X ab workout. The coaches saw me.

“Miz Swampie, come on in! Try it! You’ll get ripped abs!”

Ripped abs does not sound all that inviting to me. “Yes, I’m sure that I WOULD get ripped abs. Then I’d have to go through all that surgery to reattach them…”

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Don’t You Just Love…

Don’t you just love the age right around two when children learn to lie? It’s just so darned amusing!

Lil’ Zoe was here tonight when I noticed a certain aroma emanating from her vicinity.

“Zoe! Did you go poopoo in your diaper?”


Upon checking and confirming that there was, in fact, poopoo in her diaper, I got together the changing paraphenalia and took her into the living room.

“Zoe, you DID go poopoo in your diaper.”

“NO! Mommy did it.”


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Why I’m Not Thin #7,000

I’ve stopped having anything for breakfast except coffee. I have a lunch of lettuce leaves and cottage cheese. Dinner is usually a piece of meat and veggies, although last night it was late so it was just steak and hashbrowns.

Today is going to be a Very Bad Day at school, so to fortify myself, I put 1/3 to 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a 4-cup microwavable measuring cup, a cup of coffee, a cup of milk, nuke it for about 3 minutes, pour in a large mug and top it off with whipped cream.

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What Day Is It Again?

Coyotes were fighting with Puppy through the fence last night several times, so I was awakened by barking/snarling/howling at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 4:30 a.m….. Each time, I grabbed the flashlight and a shotgun but of course as soon as the door opened, they were gone. I’m especially concerned with lambing going on.

The alarm went off for about half an hour before it woke me this morning. I jumped up in alarm, and exclaimed “Oh NO! I’ve overslept and I have to go get my brother and get on the roof!” SwampMan opened one blearly eye. “It’s THURSDAY!” he huffed, and went back to sleep. Oh. Right. I knew it wasn’t Saturday. Sure.

I got home this evening and started with the feeding. I got about halfway done with the chickens, looked at the watch, and decided I better make a run to the feed store since I was going to run out of feed tomorrow, and I had plans to meet some friends after work to celebrate Swampie Libre.

Once finished at the feed store, I realized I had no cat food, so off to the grocery store I went with SwampMan’s checkbook, because mine was empty. How empty? Well, if you listen closely, you could hear echoes in my bank account.

Have you ever gone into a grocery store and gotten everything except what you had gone inside for? Yep. I picked up cheese sticks, potato chips, pistachio nuts, a gallon of milk, a bag of onions, several cloves of garlic, Some steak and hashbrowns, and three cans of dog food.

When I got home, the cats followed me around meowing piteously. Dang. I felt really bad. I only had a little bit of dried dog food left, so they got it.

Another ewe was calling an invisible lamb tonight. Oh, goodie! I’m tired and grumpy. I don’t think I can wake up every two hours to check.

Daughter called, and asked if we’d keep the grandkids tomorrow night after work. Dang. We hadn’t seen the grandkids since I started working on the roof. “Sure! I, um, am planning on going out and meeting friends after work. When will you be arriving?”

“About six, but I could make it seven.”

“That’ll work!”

How exciting. We get to see the grandkids, it is now Friday, I get to climb up and down the ladder to work on the roof again tomorrow, I get to meet friends after work and there will be tequila. What could go wrong?

Oh, yeah. I need to feed the SwampMan and the livestock sometime in that time frame.

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“Block” Classes

Block classes are long classes for kids that scored a “1” (the lowest score) in reading/language arts on the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test).

There are various reasons for a kid to have a low score on the FCAT. One example is not being able to read or reading very poorly below grade level. Having a learning disability such as dyslexia is another. Not being able to understand subjective questions is a big one. Being lazy and not wanting to be bothered with reading the questions, well, we have that, too. We have students with terrible family problems in there because with what is going on in their lives, the FCAT is a trivial concern. They’re worried about next week, not far into the future. We have off-the-wall ADHD kids that are constantly moving, drumming, jumping, and doing everything except sitting down and doing any kind of study. We have kids with emotional problems. We have kids that move from school to school as the rent comes due. We have special education kids that are supposed to pass the same tests as the other children because if we teach them hard enough, they’ll become normal.

In other words, there are 25 kids with 25 different reasons for scoring a one on the FCAT, and they are all supposed to have individualized education. Unfortunately, there is only one teacher, with one curriculum. And the kids are behavioral problems, too.

It is frustrating. Depressing, too, to know that there is no way in hell those children are going to be able to move out of the block class since their individual issues are not going to go away. The ESE kids will not magically have a normal IQ and the direct instruction reading curriculum, which would be quite effective with this population, well, we aren’t using. The kids that have family problems (and are in and out of foster care) will continue to have family problems. The kids that can ace any tests with objective answers but do not understand things like subjective answers. I don’t understand why the test makers choose some of the responses they do myself.

FCAT is in April. We have two months to bring these kids up to a 6th grade reading level. Some read at first or second grade level. All read below grade level.

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Up on Da Roof Day Three

My butt is kicked tonight. Lil’ bro’ and I have been up on the roof all day. I did the unskilled stuff like rolling out felt and laying out shingles and fetchin’ and steppin’. Lil’ bro’ did the stuff in which you actually needed to know what you were doing. I did the jobs relegated to the dumbass. If the boot fits, right?

When we got down from the roof as the sun was going down, I ran around and did all the feeding and putting in of the animals for the evening. One ewe had separated herself from the others and did not wish to go in for the night. She was ultimately enticed in for the evening by shaking the grain bucket at her. Awwwww, dang. I had hoped that lambing would hold off for another month until I had actual time to deal with it, but noooooooo. I lifted her tail and checked her vulva. Hot pink. Her udder was full and swollen. CRAP. And there’s NEVER just one ewe about to lamb. Nope. I checked a few other ewes that were nearly as ready to lamb as she was.

I drove lil’ bro’ the hour up to Mom’s and drove the hour back by myself. The hour up we were so busy talking that I forgot to stop at two gas stations we passed along the way. It was a few miles from Mom’s house in the middle of No and Where that I noted that my gas gauge was ominously near the red mark. And my cell phone doesn’t work there. I dropped off lil’ bro’ and told him if he didn’t hear from me in 25 minutes (which is about how far I have to drive from Mom’s house for me to have cell phone service), then I’m probably outta gas beside the road. Surprisingly, I made it to the nearest gas station.

The music of Joan Jett was rattling the truck windows on the way back. Singing loudly off key and playing air guitar while driving the F150 kept me awake enough to survive the return trip. No wonder I’m so tired. I’ve been driving four hours today!

Now that I’m home, I’m downing the second cup of coffee since I got here so that I can stay awake long enough to cook some dinner and periodically check the ewe through the night. I ran out to check the ewe as soon as I got home. She looked at me as though she hadn’t picked out a spot in the stable that she didn’t want to leave early this evening. Unh huh.

SwampMan had an ethernet cable stretched out to his barn earlier today so that he could watch tutorials about his particular CNC machine while he adjusted it. Our WiFi router AND booster doesn’t go quite far enough. No problem. SwampMan had cables. SwampMan PROMISED me that he’d stretch that longass cable out across the driveway and the pasture to the barn, and then he’d pick it up after he was done for the day. I tripped over it after he was done for the day. I could not help but notice that if I tripped over it, it must still be there. Puppy tripped and fell over it. I went and had a lil’ talk with SwampMan about him picking up his damn cable.

The moon was fairly bright when I got home and ran out to check the ewe, so I didn’t bother waiting to find a flashlight. Apparently the moon was not bright enough to illuminate the gray cable hanging down from above the gate where it had been tossed. I hurried through the gate, got wrapped in the cable, and said a few naughty words as I punched the air in a futile effort to free myself from whatever had grabbed me.

When I finished my sheep count and verified that nobody was in the process of lambing at that precise minute, I went back into the house. “HONEY!” I said. “Throwing that cable across the top of the gate wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I got all tangled up and nearly faceplanted on the concrete!”

SwampMan grinned wickledly. “BabyDoll! Maybe it’s time you learned to stop and look where you goin’ before you take off like a bat outta hell. Better be more careful tonight.”

It is going to be a very long night.

Update: It’s a ram! I, uh, actually slept through his birth. I ran outside when I realized that my internal clock had NOT awakened me on schedule. I didn’t put on socks or protective legwear. I ran through a patch of stinging nettles. That was a nice waker upper in the chill morning air, as if the chill morning air weren’t enough!

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Nekkid Phone Pictures

Some of the kids were having trouble with an English assignment in a workbook. “Write two examples of things that are different between your parents’ generation and your generation.”

“What’s my generation?”

“All the people that were born about the same time as you and are about your age.”

“Oh. So what’s my parents’ generation?”

“Uh, all the people that were born about the same time as your parents and are about your parents’ ages.”

“My parents are REALLY old. They were born in like the 1970s.”

“My goodness. Did they even have electricity back then?”

“I think so. We don’t really talk, though.”


“Okay, here’s an example. Do you have a cell phone?”

(Eyeroll at stupid adult question.) “Yeaaaaaaah.” The “duh” was left unspoken. This time.

“Did your PARENTS have cell phones when they were your age?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Well, there’s a difference between generations, then!”

And here’s something different between generations, too. Pubescent and prepubescent girls (and some boys) were not taking nekkid and frankly pornographic pictures of themselves and sending it on their phones to their boyfriends/girlfriends who they are going to luv 4-EVER (or at least for this week). Then they break up. Boy or girl, angry, shows all the nekkid pictures to his/her friends. They may even post it online. If you knew how often this happens, you probably wouldn’t let your kids have phones. If you know how often this results in suicide attempts, you would not let your kids have phones. *sigh* But this never crosses the minds of parents and grandparents because this is something that didn’t happen in their generation because the technology was not there.

“So, Swampie”, you may ask, “What interest could you possibly have in this matter because your kids are all safely grown up?”

Well, guess what? If a kid shows off his/her nasty pictures on his/her phone at school, even before or after school, guess who is to blame? People that work at the school who have no idea what is going on or who the kids are, that’s who. You probably thought it was the kid or the parent that failed to provide proper phone and camera etiquette, such as no taking/forwarding pictures of naughty bits.

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