Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Land of Misfits

Ok, so I know I told you all about the "promotion" I just got last month. More money is good. The actual position: not so great. First, I have a crappy staff that no one had the cajones to get rid of in prior years. When I say crappy, what I mean is fucking shitty. These morons would make you question how the hell any one of them could have gotten out of kindergarten much less a 4-yr plus degree program! There are a few bright spots in this vast wasteland, however. *Here's the rundown:

Pops: 65 year old guy who has done everything from coaching to being an interim superintendent for a podunk district.  He's one of the two-man team of certified teachers on my staff. The most capable of the group, but it seems obvious to me that he doesn't really like kids. Particularly the kinds of kids he'll be working with for 7 hrs a day. He's very polite, but he strikes me as the kind of guy who will "Yes, ma'am" me and then rip me to shreds behind my back. He has already tagged me as "too soft on the dredge that will darken our doors this year".  That dredge he's talking about? Kids. Granted, they are the more difficult kind, but I wouldn't ever characterize them as "dredge".  Fucker! I hate people who lack compassion because they have no real understanding of adolescents. I seriously want to kick him in the face every time I speak with him. Asswipe.

Pathetic Pickled Pete: The second of the stellar certificated staff. He's a burned out alcoholic with maybe one brain cell left. The man can't put a coherent sentence together. I'm not exaggerating for comic effect here either. He's famous in the district. He evidently finally kicked his alcohol and drug habit about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, that was far too late. He's not as anti-kid as Pops, but I think that's because he's very possible the only walking vegetable I have ever known. He reminds me of this guy from high school who used to huff paint and freon. He told me this bizarre tale about his mother's garden that was completely out there. He's 45 but looks 20 yrs older. Oh, and he lives in his mother's basement. No people, I couldn't make this shit up! He has to be told specifically what to do like a 4 yr old child. And then still, I don't think he gets it. I live with the desperate hope that he at least remembers some of what he learned before the drugs and booze. The man has a masters degree for the love of Mike! (Oh, and his name is not Pete..even I'm not so cruel as to out him on the internets!). He has an extensive "growth plan" with all kinds of things he has to do by a certain deadline, which he isn't even close to completing. But because this is education, I probably still won't be able to get rid of him at semester. It's fucking ridiculous! Public education, my friends, public education.

The Bossy Hypochondriac: This woman is a teacher's aide. The PC term is "Paraprofessional", but I'm not particularly PC. First, she does have some serious health issues. However, she invents 3 times as many more so that she can bore me senseless with her descriptions of it. That's time I'll never get back, people.  NEVER. To say she is bossy may be an understatement. In the week I've worked with her thus far, she's pissed off 18 different people who have called me infuriated. Did I mention these people range from the Director of Curriculum and Instruction (a bit like an asst. superintendent) to the district textbook coordinator? I've had 25 different conversations with her about her authority (or lack thereof) and professional behavior. She just fucking doesn't get it. I feel like stabbing myself repeatedly in the eye with a sharpened pencil every time I have any lengthy exchange with her. I'm certain to continue to piss her off because I can't imagine she'll make it through the year without me having to write her sorry ass up! She's also told me all about the "bad kids" that are coming and how she'll be laying down the law with them. Talk about someone who really has a distorted view of her own position! Holy Jesus! Pray for me, people! I don't know that I will make it 6 weeks before I kick her in the gut and beat her senseless with an Algebra 2 textbook. I've asked her very nicely on repeated occasions to stop saying, "But that's how we've always done it!" Stupid bitch...I want to shank her with a filed down toothbrush. I'll get to work on that shank the first day of school. 

The Gentle Hindu: Now this guy just makes me sad. He's a 70 yr old Indian man who was once a college professor in his home country. The man is brilliant and working in a job that is not only entirely beneath his qualifications, but he's so unfailingly kind and unassuming that you rarely notice he's in the room. Not a great match for a disciplinary alternative school. He has a beautiful accent and impeccable manners...all of which render him useless with difficult adolescents. They just won't respect him. I'll be fighting a battle with the kids all year about being respectful to this man who really deserves so much respect that I'm awed by it. He's the other teacher's aide. Yes, that's right. He's a teacher's AIDE. So this brilliant man will be mostly responsible for grading completed work and filing. He's very slow and shows no initiative. He's just a meek guy. For some reason, I feel guilty and ashamed when I have to ask him to do anything. The man is really too old to be working in this setting. He should be enjoying his grandchildren! 

Teacher of the Decade: I love this woman! She's in her 50s and has been in the district for 20 yrs.  She's also a legend in the district. She was a master teacher and could write her own ticket in just about any other district she would even think of choosing, but she stays in Mayberry. She runs the credit recovery program as well as several other programs for home bound students. She's smart and seasoned, but she has a love for kids that rivals my own...if not surpasses it. The credit recovery program, however, is bleeding money. When I got the financials two weeks ago, I went into shock. She seems more than willing to work with me on the changes I have outlined to make the program better. She and I worked together the past couple of years on some other projects, so I feel I have an ally in all of this. We'll probably do happy hours together too. Did I mention I most likely will become a lush this year. The worst part? She mostly works out of an office in a completely different building. Yes, my shit luck just gets better, doesn't it?

The Organization Queen: I love this woman too. She's real. She's the "paraprofessional" that does the day-to-day running of the credit recovery lab. She's been moved out of her little domain into mine and is not so happy about it. Mostly for the same reasons I'm not happy: those top three from above. She has lost her own room and is now relegated to a corner in the main disciplinary program classroom. While she's not happy with that, she's at least happy about having me as her new boss. Thank God for small miracles! She's very outspoken, a bit rigid, but she's willing to see things in a different way. She's quite possibly the most organized person I've ever met, next to my BFF ATown.  I do feel, however, that I'll be breaking up smackdowns between her and the Bossy Hypo. She's in the happy hour crowd with me as well. 

So there you are. Quite a year coming up for ole Sassy in Mayberry. My office is an odd rectangular shape that feels cramped with my stuff in it. I still have no phone or computer. The bitches at the high school will prove to be difficult because they are not at all concerned about the kids they send over. But hey, I wanted high school experience, right? At least they moved in our furniture last week. Finally. Only less than a week before school starts. Yeah.

I'm thinking now that I most definitely should have asked for more money. 

*No names, of course. I have to invent little nicknames that are neither clever nor funny, but they are exactly fitting. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Under the Bridge

As you may or may not know, I moved recently. And as always when I decide to travel in any way, the dark cloud of travel once again followed me. Let's set the scene:

It's August...otherwise known as the 7th level of Hell. To say that it's fucking hot here...well, that's just not enough! It's hotter than two rats fucking in a wool sock, that's what it is! 107 degrees? WTF? This isn't Phoenix, people! 

Anywho, Derk and my BIL along with close friends of the family were kind enough to show up to throw their backs out for me. I had rented a 24' UHaul  monster truck that my BIL was kind enough to offer to drive even though the man has screws in his leg from a recent house painting injury (yes, we're a graceful lot, my family). Now I'll skip the 4 hours of loading all my shit and get to the real issues of the move. Derk, my niece  and FoF are in my car, and my BIL, his nephew,  and Dewey are in the monster truck. About 12 miles from my house, Dewey (strapping young friend of the family) calls me on my cell to tell me that the truck is running hot, and we need to take the next exit off the freeway. So we exit, and as I take the turn to the gas station, we look back and see that there is smoke and steam rising from the monster truck and there is a big bailout by the boys driving. I mean, who knew a guy with a broken leg could move his ass so fast? Yes, the UHaul blew up, which caused my niece to have a panic attack and me very nearly a heart attack! So, we ended up having to park my car under the underpass and wait 2.5 fucking hours for the mechanic from the roadside assistance to show up because you know I couldn't just leave that bitch there. But hey, we had beer and a sense of humor. Of course, we weren't in the best part of town, but several Mexicans waved at us as they drove by, and a Dallas County sheriff asked us if we needed any help. Did I mention it was 2,000 degrees out that day? So, what should have been a 6-8 hour smooth operation turned into a 14-hour nightmare. Yes, the mechanic showed up and fixed the truck. Yes, I called the UHaul place and ripped them a new asshole. Yes, my move was free save for the $37 in gas I put into that piece of shit. Yes, I can hardly move as a result of moving my shit. I hate moving. It sucks big, hairy, dirty balls. Next time, I'm selling everything and starting out fresh!

But look what I got in the mail as a housewarming gift (minus the puny, girlyman arm):

Dyckie, in the future, I should let you know that I prefer diamonds...
And I'm too tired to make this funny...

*Seriously people, I don't really talk like this in "real life"...I'm not nearly as profane. But it's really fucking hot here!