A Tale of a Tail…

Standard

I knew this day was coming. It was inevitable….

All the signs were there. Fall. Crisp, chilly mornings. Fields surrounding the school…

It happened one Monday morning…one that began the same as every other morning. Rushing around to get out the door, crawling through the never ending highway traffic, before finally walking through the door of classroom.

After quickly surveying the damage (I had been out for a PD meeting the Friday before), I quickly set my bag down on the ground near my desk and continued about prepping for my day.

Students came in a bit later…attendance was taken…the lesson started. When I realized that I needed something from my bag. Currently located near my desk…on the floor.

I reached down to grab a mentor text from my bag when I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye…just the tiniest little tip…

Of a tail.

A tail.

In my classroom.

A tail attached to a mouse….

In my classroom.

Now, not wanting to startle my classroom or get them off track, I had to swallow my screams and shrieks of disdain…

Instead…

I proceeded to hop up and down, flapping my hands and arms as if I was a bird about to take flight (duh…must less distracting), rushing towards the call button to page the office immediately.

“Yes,” spoke the voice over the intercom. “Um…I need a custodian…immediately!” I spluttered tripping over my words in excitement (and not the good kind). “What do you need a custodian for?” “Umm…we have a bit of a…ummm…a vermin situation over here in Room 59…”

I stepped into the hallway continuing to hop up and down, from foot to foot while my students tried to make sense of my comments (and obvious lack of good dance moves). “Vermin problem? What does that mean?” a few students asked. I declined to comment, encouraging students to remain in their seats.

Minutes later, our trusty custodian bravely entered the room, mouse-catching contraption in hand. I ushered students into the classroom next door, begging the custodian not to hurt him…to give him a change to survive in the field beside the school. He promised and closed the door.

Too quickly he reopened the door, grim faced and I knew.

The poor mouse never made it outside into the crisp, fall morning air or the fields of freedom lying just outside of my classroom… Sadly, it was too late for him. He had died.

In my classroom.

Advertisements

Dear Upstairs Neighbors…

Standard

Dear upstairs neighbors,

Hi! My name is Samantha and I am your downstairs neighbor. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to introduce myself because, you see, I have learned SO much about you guys already. It’s only fair.

You must have forgotten that you live in a condo building. And that your floor, just happens to be MY ceiling! I know, I know…it is pretty crazy.

You may have not realized this, but our condo’s are NOT sound proof. Already, I know that you love Ed Sherian…more specifically his “Perfect” duet that he sings with Beyonce. It is pretty great, but do we need to listen to it 10x in a row? I saw “we” because you play it so loudly the whole building can’t help but to share in the musical experience with you. My favorite part? The bass being so elevated that my ceiling shakes thus creating a fun experience of my lighting flickering on and off. On and off.

You may also not have realized, but I work. Yep…I have a job. Actually, two jobs. And I know it is super cool to have your friends over on Sunday nights until 4 or 5 AM, blasting Polish Polka music (I’m Polish myself, but polka? Really?!),  bouncing balls on the floor (also known as my ceiling), or standing on your balcony smoking and yelling, but you’re cutting into my beauty sleep. And I DESPERATELY need my sleep. I teach 7th and 8th graders…I need to make sure I’m on my A- Game at work. Always.

And, also, while we are at it. The middle of the night is NOT an acceptable time to be rearranging your furniture or vacuuming. Again, I need my sleep and unfortunately, the squealing of furniture being dragged across your bare wooden floors just does not lull me into a sweet slumber.

And finally, there is this really cool contraption for your kitchen that has been around for ages! It comes in a variety of colors, stands about 3-4 ft tall and has a lid. You can put a bag inside and…wait for it…fill it with your garbage! This way, you can avoid throwing your trash off YOUR patio and onto MINE! I would love just one weekend, where I’m not cleaning up your cigarette butts and whatever other garbage you’ve managed to spew off the side.

Looking forward to hearing less from you,
Your quiet and considerate downstairs neighbor,
Samantha

 

 

To Flag or Not To Flag…

Standard

A picture can say a thousand
words…

This one alone represents a much
needed girl’s afternoon…

One filled with laughter and chit chat, exploring
new places, pilfering through
antique shops and country
stores…

When we happened upon this
walkway in downtown
Oswego. It was a little bit different
than ones we are used to.

Normally, when you wait to
cross the street, you might
push the button on the
light pole indicating that there is
someone waiting to cross. You would wait for the light to change and the crosswalk to turn white indicating that it was then safe to cross. Of course, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you could always try to cross just by looking both ways for cars….

Downtown Oswego, though, does things a little differently. When people arrive at a cross walk, you are expected to take a flag and CROSS THE STREET WAVING IT AS YOU GO! And, once you have reached the other side of the street, you are expected to thank the driver for waiting. Seriously. There is a list of rules for crossing the street. The flag is a must. Waving it. As you cross.

This would not fly in Chicago…where streets tend to be a bit more threatening and crosswalks more like a game of “Risk.”

I desperately wanted to keep a flag as a souvenir of this interesting discovery… I tried to convince my friend Jessica that this flag was a necessity for us to bring back… That we should give in to the rebellious streak inside of us. But, alas, she refused to participate and I sit here typing this…flagless.

That Kid’s Workshop Saturday Morning Life…

Standard

Saturday mornings for most are a slower pace…more relaxed.

Leisurely waking up as the sunlight begins to creep in through the window curtains. The trickle of simmering water filtering through the coffee pot. Rich aromas begin to pervade the house.

Most roll out of bed… stretch and head to the kitchen to fill their cups with rich coffee. Begin preparing a relaxing breakfast- pancakes and sausage or maybe omelettes. Its Saturday…no need to rush.

Lounging around…playing with pets neglected during the week’s activities. Light cleaning or laying on the couch- Netflix shows to catch up on.  Sweet relief.

Saturday mornings for most are slower paced…

However…

My Saturday mornings tend to be quite a bit more fast paced…

Jolting out of bed as my alarm blares through my room, rushing out the door to make it on time to my second job…hair, make up, a protein bar for the car…no time to sit and eat!

Rushing through the swishing doors, punching in, and hurrying from one end of the store to the other…inhaling the tart scents of fertilizer and lumber as I direct high school volunteers on how to get things set up in time.

The pitter-patter of little feet running, thump-thumping on the concrete floors…armed with orange aprons splattered with paint stains, mom’s and dad’s, smiling faces with eyes bright with excitement. “We’re here for kid’s workshop! What are we making today?” I hear over and over again…little voices shrieking in joy.

There is no time for lounging around. There is paint to fill and kits to distribute. Certificates to sign and finished projects to bag. Three year olds to talk to…my favorite part.

Instead of cleaning to my favorite music or lounging around watching Netflix, I am listening to the sweet sounds of kids giggling with their parents…hammers pounding into the wood by kiddos rocking safety glasses (this may be just the cutest thing you EVER did see), running around trying to make sure everything is running smoothly.

My Saturday morning might be a bit more fast faced…but it is one I can’t help but enjoy.

 

I Never Got To Say Goodbye…

Standard

I never got to say goodbye…

To see her smile once more.
A smile that reached her eyes,
made them twinkle and shine.

I never got to say goodbye…

To hear her melodic voice
fill my ears once more,
brighten my day, even if her’s
was not going so great.

I never got to say goodbye…

To a soul that cared so much
for others, snuggled under 
blankets, sporting her CP Bulldogs
shirt with pride.

I never got to say goodbye…

To a fighter,
a girl who carried so much

strength within her, whose
optimism never faltered.

I never got to say goodbye…

To my daily Snapchat buddy,
quick snippets of her day to share,

makeovers with her best friend, 
cakes she baked filled with love,
eating- her favorite hobby,
selfies in the car with her mom 
heading home from trips to the hospital.
Always a smile pervading her face. 

Always.

I never got to say goodbye…

Before she slipped away.
To tell her how much I loved her,
to tell her what a hero she was to me.

I never got to say…goodbye. 

 

March is HERE!!!

Standard

I feel each year, March arrives with a BANG! It sneaks up…January seems to go on and on and on and on while February passes by in the blink of an eye.

It’s almost here…

The whispers in the school hallways are a sign…”Are you going to do it?” “Eh, maybe…” “Why? Are you going to try it this year?” can be heard.

It’s almost here…

The inevitable email is sent announcing what we already know. Follow ups asking for additional information or scheduling early morning meetings- bribing us teachers with carbs to show up to learn more.

It’s almost here…

Assistant Superintendents begin to corner teachers… hallways and meetings are no longer safe…

It’s almost here…

Every excuse comes to mind:
-I’m too busy, I have papers to grade and engaging lessons to design…friends who expect me to come and play trivia on Wednesday nights, my nieces who I just cannot seem to get enough of.
-My sweet fur baby, Frankie the cat, needs my attention each night when I finally arrive home. I would just hate for her to feel ignored as I click clack away on my computer.
– I should probably spend my free time at the gym…spring is almost here
– Writing can be hard

And then suddenly, without warning…

Its here…

And I find myself faithfully signed up for my 5th year of the March Slice of Life Challenge. Maybe this will be the year I can proudly say I sliced each and every day!

 

 

 

 

30? Nope, 29 Again!

Standard

I am approaching…thirty.

Gah.

It hurts to think it, let alone write that number down. In just a few months, I will be in an entire new decade of my life and I am not handling it well … At least, based on the mini anxiety attacks I feel swelling in my chest anytime I think of the impending date…

When I turn thirty…

I will no longer be able to say that I’m in my mid- twenties… okay, more like late twenties but it makes me feel good to fudge a bit…

I will no longer be considered “the youngest” teacher in my school…Newer, fresher, younger teachers have taken over the role that I once coveted proudly for several years…

I will no longer be able to blame my lack of common sense as a youthful discretion because, hey, when you’re still in your twenties you’re not really a grown up just yet. I’m pretty sure brains don’t stop developing until around the age of twenty-six- ya know, your late twenties…

Sigh.

When I enter my thirties…

I hope it means that I will still get carded… just enough to still make feel young and that I look young…

I hope it means a family of my own… my own children to spoil and love on as much as I do my nieces now…

I hope it means a house that I have purchased as a result of teaching full time, teaching summer school, and working a part time job…

I hope it means adventures and travel…exploring places in the world that I have yet to wonder through.

I hope it means that someone still asks me what college I’m attending when I mention that I am on spring break (this happened to me last night and boy oh boy did it make my week…nope, more like my month! This individual would not believe that I was almost thirty and man, I sure did love him for that!)…

I hope turning thirty means that I never truly lose my kid self, because she’s pretty fun and my students seem to like her a whole lot…

But mostly, I hope turning thirty really just means turning twenty-nine for a second, or third or fourth, time…

 

 

 

What The Fork?!

Standard

I love to drive…I love the feel of the rich leather steering wheel underneath my grasping hands…

The quiet thumping of the tires hitting the gravel…

The music blaring through my speakers, thump- thumping my way down the highway…

My foot on the gas pedal… heavily pressing down…

My car racing forwarding, zooming along the wide open spaces…

The speed gauge climbing up, up (I swear I was a race car driver in a former life)…

When…

The swirl of red and blue flashing lights quickly brought me back to reality as I glanced in my rear view mirror to see that ever dreaded police car…pulling me over….

Quickly moving to the shoulder of the road, I pulled out my license and insurance card, rolled my window down, and hung head my head in shame to greet the police man…

Who wasted no time in issuing me a ticket with a mandatory desk appearance to court. Sigh…

A few weeks later, I made my way to appear for my ticket- dressed to the nines… Dress clothes, heels, and my teacher bag that contained basically my life ( ya know…everything and anything a teacher could need in the world)… Placed my bag on the conveyor belt to be shuffled through the x-ray machine, to be examined on it’s own as I stepped through the security gates.

“Ma’am,” I remember hearing, “What is this in your bag?” “Ummm…” I really had to think- there were really so many possibilities to that question. Upon closer inspection, my mom and I broke up laughing…” Is that a fork in your bag?”

Needless to say, that fork did not make it into the courthouse… But I did get out of my ticket (with a little supervision though of course)…

Write. Share. Give.

Spring Break Dreams…

Standard

In a perfect world, my spring break might consist of a bright, sunny sky hanging high in a clear sky as blue as the ocean…

Lounging in a beach chair facing the ocean, listening to the gentle waves lapping on the shore, an ice cold strawberry margarita in hand…

A book open on my lap, my always too pale skin tanning perfectly (haha, fat chance…I usually go from translucent to a ripe cherry tomato- no in between)…

The gentle ocean breeze cooling the hot, beating sun while carrying the ripe scents of blooming flowers cascading through the air…

OR…

My spring break might consist of exploring new places… visiting friends who have moved around the country, like to New York. Exploring Central Park, visiting Times Square with every other tourist in the world…

Getting all dolled up to dine at the nicest restaurants in Manhattan, wine tasting on hotel rooftops, meeting new friends…

Exploring Ellis Island- visiting the hub of immigration in the 1800’s, climbing the stairs of The Statue of Liberty, or paying somber tribute at the 9/11 Memorial…

BUT…

My spring break reality is cleaning my house… Going through each and every closet, shifting through belongings, out with the old so there is room for the new…

Scrubbing the floors and moving furniture to deep clean, essential oils diffusing in the background to purify the ear, my patio doors opened slightly to allow the chilly, slightly spring weather to flow into the room…

Running errands, meeting friends for breakfast and early movie showings, forcing myself to kickboxing class and out to run as I restart my Couch to 5k app…

My spring break is catching up on life…spending time with my nieces, shopping for spring clothes, reading from my ever growing pile of books I need  to read while sipping wine, lounging on my couch, no early bedtime needed for a week, alarm clock free wake-ups (so, so sweet)…

While a spring break spent laying on a beach or touring New York might be nice, catching up on everyday life isn’t quite so bad… and I’ll have a nice clean house to relax in as a result.

Write. Share. Give.

 

Wanderlust…

Standard

Growing up, I hid myself in books…

Piles of books full of characters I could embody- to take on adventures and to travel to far off lands…

And, for as long as I can remember, all I’ve ever wanted to do was travel the world… See history come alive…

  • To walk the halls where Marie Antoinette once said, “Let them eat cake!” To stand in awe at the paintings hanging from the wall of the Louvre… To picnic in front of the Eiffle Tower…
  • To stroll through Kensington Gardens… to stand at Buckingham Palace to observe the change of the guards, to visit the crown jewels at the Tower of London…
  • To ride bikes along Amsterdam’s city canals…climb the stairs to Anne Frank’s hideway, to visit her home for so many years during WWII…
  • To meet and visit my family in Poland, to travel to Auschwitz Concentration Camp… to silently honor those who perished so many years before…
  • To visit the Colosseum in Rome…make a wish at the Trevi Fountain…
  • To see the Parthenon of Athens…see the Acropolis and visit the Theater of Dionysos…

 

My wanderlust is strong…so very, very strong… Maybe one of these days visiting these places will become a reality…

Write. Share. Give.