Tag Archives: sarcasm

I said it…

I’ve joked about getting old. To be honest, once I was old enough to comprehend life expectancy I knew that thirty-something was far from old. I always thought it silly when someone clearly NOT old said “I’m getting old.”

I sort of get it now. I even said it the other day. Yes, it was mostly in jest, but I have to admit that if I were a car, the manufacturer’s warranty would be gone. On the bright side, it seems most of my family keeps going for a really long time, like Hondas or Toyotas. Maybe our chassis develop a rattle, or the engine idles rougher, but that sucker still runs.

I generally don’t complain, but at the back of my mind I’m well aware that I now have a laundry list of physical annoyances that I battle to keep in check. Most days that battle is simple and maybe takes no effort. Other days the annoyance in question gets the upper hand and I feel like crap no matter what I do.

A month ago I strained my arm by hyper-extending whilst holding a rather heavy load. It is still pissy. So while I’m chatting on the phone with my mom, and I’m thinking I’m totally getting older now. After all, I will have TWO kids in middle school next year, she mentions something that resets that mindset a bit.

I strained my arm way back in high school– same arm, same sort of injury. I didn’t remember it until she mentioned it.

So, it turns out that even though thirty-five is just around the corner, I’m not old. I simply need to write a strongly worded letter to the manufacturer informing them that greater attention to detail during assembly would be appreciated.

Here a line, there a line…

When I was a kid, your parents registered you at the neighborhood school and that was that. Only once did my parents ask for a change in school, and that was so my siblings and I would I ride the same bus. Otherwise, the whole thing was pretty simple. A perk to knowing where you were going, and the district also knowing, was they had a whole summer to sort out schedules. Sure, there were always a few problems, but by the end of the first week most kids had things sorted out. Mr. Smarty-Pants wasn’t in the correct classes for over three weeks.

Kids that got expelled, in trouble with the law, etc, were transferred to “alternative schools”. So, as it should be, the problem kids got punished rather than everyone else.

Memphis, in all it’s infinite lack of wisdom has it all backward. Sure, kids can get expelled, but they just end up somewhere else causing problems. Since there is no real punishment for being little turds at school, a lot of the good teachers give up and leave. They make more rules, which of course, the less experienced teachers have trouble enforcing, especially with the kids who think nothing of flouting the rules to begin with.

Less than stellar teachers result and/or environments that make it hard to learn, especially for kids coming from low socioeconomic groups that may not have the resources other kids have, culminating in failing schools. It’s become epidemic.

So what’s Memphis’ solution? Assign certain schools as “optional”, i.e. they get the option of picking and choosing who gets to walk through their doors. The number of schools which are passing after the elementary level is abysmal, which means oodles of parents jump through the school board’s hoops to get their kids into a good school, and I use “good” in the most vague sense of the word, because none of the schools in this city measure up to the ones I attended. I’m only thirty-four. What the hell happened?

The optional process is convoluted and a pain in the ass. For example, on Monday they will hand out bar-coded applications. You pick one up, fill out a small form, and then fill out the application online, assuming your child isn’t an incoming kindergartner, from out of state, or previously attended private school and so is not in the system. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, one would think so. Due to the insane demand there are parents that begin lining up FIVE DAYS before. Seriously? WTF?! Don’t you have jobs? Who is taking care of your kids?

I despise the optional process because it artificially inflates the reputation of schools. My kids have attended optional schools since Mr. Smarty-Pants entered first grade. He’ll be in eighth next year.

A brief list of grievances:

  1. My kids watch videos for P.E.
  2. They can’t play tag, or any sport in elementary school….they might hurt themselves or *gasp* wear out the equipment.
  3. A teacher made my kid eat a snack he wasn’t supposed to eat.
  4. A principal was clueless there was a highly infection stomach flu going around and allowed a kid who puked on the sidewalk, right outside of the parent’s car, to attend school. We missed at least a week of school that year from that virus.
  5. I’ve lost track of the incorrect science my kids have been taught, of which the infamous 50 Shades of Math topped it all.
  6. Their idea of tutoring is parking a kid in front of a computer.
  7. I once argued with an elementary history teacher over the importance of spelling. I was the one insisting kids needed to spell properly.
  8. The schools complain about lack of parental involvement, but staff was rude and condescending. I wonder why the parents don’t want to work with you?
  9. They enrolled Mr. Smarty-Pants and then, suspiciously, after I had complained about the 50 Shades of Math debacle, they called and told me my son needed to be picked up immediately. He did not belong in that school. Long story short, he was on their list, they couldn’t read their own lists, and they had already called the school board office and knew what the problem was. See #8.
  10. Mr. Smarty-Pants got into an optional program and no one bothered to tell me. No letter arrived. Nada. Thus, the problem in #9 in entering him into the school’s system.

I could probably go on, but I’ll stop now before my head explodes from frustration.

In regards to the optional school process, the parents, I believe, add to the problem. Instead of showing up the morning of, like a sane person, they’ve decided it’s like an iPhone release or something and camp out. I noticed that those people tend to be more affluent, with jobs that allow them to take vacation days and they can afford sitters or whatever to take care of their kids. Yay for them. So, thanks to these over-achieving “must make a line” parents, the school district reverted back to their “parent organized line” system. The bar-codes were supposed to get rid of that extra step. Want to know how well that worked?

So, I saw a FB post remarking on the fact that people had started to line up on Wednesday, and because of the freezing temperatures, the school board was issuing placeholder cards. I utilized my cursing vocabulary, left work at the end of the day, picked up the girls and headed to acquire my magic card.

I signed in on a clipboard, got a number, and got to wait in line (at least there were chairs), for close to two hours. Then, when we were called we moved to another room where once again we got to wait in a line and sign yet another clipboard.

Finally after about two and half hours we got to form yet another line to pick up the magic card.

What does this card do? It holds my place in Monday’s line, provided I show up prior to 5:30am.

So let’s summarize. I waited in line, to wait in line, to get in another line, which gave me a card for yet another line.

Is it just me, or are they feeding us a line of B.S.?

The Age of WTF

There’s a computer game called “Age of Empires.” Well, technically there’s the original and eleven sequels and/or spin-offs. It’s a real-time strategy game, and it sucked me in. I could play that thing for hours, over and over. The premise is that you are the leader of a civilization, and you must advance your people out of the stone age through various eras, such as the bronze age, Medieval, etc.

In real life, we are supposedly in the technological age. I propose we redefine our current era as the “Age of WTF?!”

Why? So glad you asked. You didn’t? Eh, well, I’ll tell you anyway.

Ignoring the inanity of our obsession with movie stars and sports players, and the overall lack of common sense (as noted by the number of videos out there depicting people of all ages doing dumbass stuff), let’s take a look at education.

  • In my own little corner of the world less than half of the schools met standards, so they made their own standards, referred to as “adequate yearly progress”.

Translation: We suck, but so that you don’t feel bad about it, we’ll instead show you that we suck a little less than we sucked last year.

  • If not for a computer screw-up and Memphis City schools giving up and dumping all of it’s schools in the lap of the county school board, there would be no grades.
  • On the radio this morning I heard that a school in Canada was ending the honor roll program. I searched for the news story and found this. The author says just about everything I could, but without the sarcasm I would drip into every word. I’m a parent of three kids, and they are not carbon copies of each other. One is uber smart, but inconsistent. So, sometimes he makes honor roll, and sometimes not. Another has yet to pull all A’s, but she generally succeeds in earning all As and B’s. She’s proud of that, as she deserves to be. Little Miss Drama is a bundle of energy and brains, wrapped in hilarity, and boxed in randomizer….if randomizers existed outside of the internet. She’s smart, but getting all of those neurons to focus on such mundane stuff as spelling can be a task.

Is she or Mr. Smarty-Pants any less of person for NOT making the Honor Roll? Of course not! I very rarely made the A honor roll. I managed now and again, but I was more like Miss Diva. Still, having something to work toward gives them a goal with a tangible reward.

Instead of teaching kids to learn what they are capable of doing, to learn that they can’t be best at everything, so find what they are good at, and rewarding them, no let’s just make them toil for 13 years with no reward. Yep, that will definitely be good for their self-esteem.

  • Schools have sucked most of the fun stuff out. No tag, or running, and PE is a joke. Don’t climb on the monkey bars, you might fall and break something. Half the goofing around and antics my friends and I did in school, and note, we were the “good” kids, would now get us suspended or expelled.

Two of my friends favorite way to mess with me was to sneak up behind me and goose me. It didn’t matter how often they did it, my reaction was always a high-pitched screech. Yes, I still have that reaction, much to my son’s amusement. He claims I sound like a pterodactyl.

In today’s school: “ZOMG, he TOUCHED her! File a sexual harassment lawsuit! Put that kid in jail!”

  • Teachers get in trouble for the idiocy of other people.

Just yesterday, Mr. Smarty Pants shared with me that his science teacher felt the need to close the door, lest someone hear him teaching science and be offended. It seems in a prior year, when covering “touchy” subjects like evolution, a student berated the teacher for insinuating his ancestors came from Africa. That wasn’t the first time someone had taken exception to his teaching of science, which happened to disagree with their worldview. The poor man has to tip-toe around science. Really?

I’m sure I could go on ad nauseam.

I won’t even touch the insanity of politics.

I think I’ve presented enough evidence to support my theory. What say ye? Shall we henceforth refer to our era as the “Age of WTF”?

 

Just in Case

Miss Diva, despite only being 10.5 has entered that phase where I frequently wish to duct tape her mouth shut and toss her in a closet. One minute she’s sweet and funny and the next she’s moody and argumentative. To think, I’ve only eight more years until I can ship her off to college! 

I have two more years before Miss Drama becomes Miss Melodrama. Somehow, I suspect that won’t be quite as bad. Maybe I’m just being stupidly optimistic, but my logic is that Miss Drama already tests my patience regularly, so I’ve developed a sort of tolerance. Miss Diva, on the other hand, pulled a bait and switch. She’s been fairly well-behaved and even tempered for much of her life, with little bouts of misbehavior, which is to be expected. Now I have to deal with her evil twin that thinks I’m a goody-goody and that life is miserable, and that being an adult is SOOOO much better. Goodness, even her lunches are not to her liking. I’m also not quite buying that she preceded me in the house by under a minute and locked the back door on accident. I pretended not to notice, as she unlocked it without fuss. I think it was some subtle, passive aggressive, “how far can I push before Mom blows her fuse?”

Then, when I didn’t get pissy, Miss Normal Diva returned.

So, when I pulled my glossy, shiny copies of Conjurings out of the UPS box and she asked if I was going to be famous, I said, “I don’t know. It might be nice, and then again, maybe not.”

Just in case though, let’s not tell Miss Diva about my little duct tape fantasy. It’ll be our little secret.

 

Rise and… zzzzzzzzzzz

Once upon a time it was summer. I slept in until the lovely time of 7:30am without the hustle and bustle of herding children out the door. Then the fairy tale ended and the evil torture that is the school year began.

Four days into the new year and I overslept. Oops. I’m still adjusting to the earlier school hours and unlike when I was a spry fifteen, I can’t get by with four hours of sleep. In fact, anything less than seven and you might have to hire a building crane to remove me from bed.

The minion horde appears to share that trait. Even Marble cracked open one eye and glared at me the other day for waking her before the sun was up. When your dog says you’re up too damn early, it’s hard to disagree.

I haven’t worked out once since school began, as I’ve been too tired. I feel that this is solid evidence that waking before dawn is bad for your health.

I read a post on Facebook that claimed a week of camping would reset one’s circadian rhythm, which gets out of sync from the use of artificial lights. I woke just after sunrise this morning, so clearly I’m in sync just fine. I think we should send the people who decide school times on a camping trip, don’t you? Maybe all of corporate America should get shipped to islands in the middle of nowhere for a week, or at least to Mexico long enough to adopt siestas. 

If you’re going to make me get up before the sun, at least schedule a nap.

 

From the Gulf Stream Waters…

My boss started to sing “This Land is Your Land” the other day as he talked about how much he enjoyed the July 4th holiday. I managed not to wince. At least it wasn’t as bad as when he played the recorder at Christmas. (Yes, that really annoying instrument that kids learn to play in elementary school….and he played worse than the average elementary school student.) The patriotic song brought back memories of my elementary school music classes and was rather apropos, seeing as how I embarked on a last minute road trip the  following  day.

My sister, Ms. Music, celebrated the start of graduate school in Michigan with an unscheduled trip to the E.R., followed by five different doctors arguing over what to do with her. Four days later, after they finally arrived at a consensus, she got released, minus her gallbladder and a piece of liver. I arrived in time to ferry her to the place she’s renting and act as cook and errand girl for a day or two.

I got mono the first semester of college and a semester into my grad school I had stomach flu for a week, which triggered the onset switch from occasional intestinal issues to a chronic condition.

We girls know how to party! In fact we’re in full party mode right now.

How so? I woke up today with a splitting sinus headache. Two doses of ibuprofen later, a dose of phenyephrine, and two mugs of coffee, I’m almost back to normal, and by normal I mean stuffy and sneezy. In the spirit of American equality, I can proudly say I’m just as allergic to the north as I am the south.

My sis is having quality time in comatose land. It used to be that like me she could sleep through anything. Even doped up, she sleeps rather lightly now. I startled her out of sleep on accident last night merely by opening the door. The lamp from the other room was enough to wake her. Me? Unless you pry open my eyelids and blind me with the light, I’m out cold.

Our July 4th will be a rollicking good time, what with her being doped up and me feeling like the fireworks are going off in my head and both of us trying to catch up on graduate study stuff.

So Happy Independence Day everyone, but I don’t suggest sinus headaches or surgery as ideal celebratory activities!

 

Untitled

I openly admit that I hate titling my writing. I can write a hundred thousand words, but titles are downright evil. They might say not to judge a book by its cover, but there’s no similar absolution for titles. A bad title can kill a novel, or so they say.

Yesterday I watched the “Picking a Best Selling Novel Title” portion of my online course.  Here are some tidbits of wisdom I learned:

  • Carry a notebook EVERYWHERE so if you happen upon a good title you can write it down.

Clearly the title faeries have noted my lack of notebook and deigned not to visit.

  •  Brainstorm ideas for a while and ask your friends for ideas if you can’t think of anything.

I should  be more  obsessive and obviously I should harass my friends more.

  • Look at the top best-selling books on Amazon. There’s a science to titles. Don’t use the same titles, but try to see what makes a good one.

Uhm, aren’t you supposed to be telling me how to do that? It appears that if there’s a science, you don’t know it, so that makes two of us.

  • Check out Lulu Title Scorer. Note that most of the best-selling books rank high on this app.

Okay, I’ll play:

I went to Amazon and searched the “best books of the month”. I skipped Steven King and Niel Gaiman as their sales likely derive from name power as from their titles. I hadn’t heard of the third, so I put it in.

Only 10.2%? I wonder if the app designer has a day job as a meteorologist.

Only 10.2%? I wonder if the app designer has a day job as a meteorologist.

Then I put in the working titles of two of my novels:

Nice. So slightly better odds than flipping a coin!

69.0% Nice. So slightly better odds than flipping a coin!

Eh, I don't really like that title anyway.

26.3% Eh, I don’t really like that title anyway.

I guess the take home message is that the minds of the masses are beyond mere apps, or me, and quite possibly the dude teaching the course.