Saturday, September 29, 2012

Survey Says...


Seriously, I cannot go to a store without being handed a receipt and a plea to "take the survey and give [them] all 10's, because anything less than 10 is failure," or the piles of emails I get asking me to take "five minutes" of MY time to fill out THEIR survey. And they all want 10's.


 Don't ask me to give you a 10 and tell me anything less is failure. That's total bullshit.


You know the old adage, "No one's perfect," right? Well, neither is any shopping experience I've ever had. Sometimes the music is too loud, or there are children running amok. Sometimes it's hard to find what I want, and harder still to find someone to help me. That doesn't mean my shopping experience was horrible, it just wasn't "perfect."

Perhaps my definition of "perfect" is different than theirs, because I've always thought "perfect" meant "without flaws." The friendly cashier may have been a pleasure to deal with in the checkout line, but that does not make a "perfect" shopping experience if I've had to shout over the in-store music or hunt through aisle after aisle because they've rearranged the damn store AGAIN and I can't find shit. That makes me cranky, and cranky means NOT PERFECT!

So, no, you will not get a 10. Sorry. If you have to beg for a "perfect" score, then you're already not doing something right.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The New Job

So… yeah… the new job. Wow.

Having worked in middle school Special Education for three years, I kind of figured I’d seen a good portion of what happens in the “Adaptive” education classes. Screaming fits, thrown objects, outbursts of eyebrow singeing proportions, and simply genuine out-of-control behavior. These were special needs kids who didn’t have a better way to communicate. I get that, I’ve had days when I envied their ability to just let it all hang out.

I changed diapers, hand fed breakfast and lunch, and attempted to coax some kind of academics out of my students. I liked it, but after too many lifts from a wheelchair, my shoulder had had enough and I had to shuffle off to a different program. HR said, “we have something at an elementary school, are you interested?” Sounded good to me. Smaller kids, no lifting 120 lbs from wheelchair to changing table.
“I’m in,” I said.
“Ok, your new assignment is in the AB room.”
“Wait, not special ed?”
“No, this is a new program.” She told me the name of the teacher I’d be working with and I jumped at it.
“Awesome! I’ve worked with him briefly before and he’s wonderful. Thanks.”

AB stands for Adaptive Behavior. That’s not what I call it, but we’ll go with the official title, m’kay?

Three days of school. That’s all we’ve had so far, three days. In that time I’ve had a student accuse me of being a female canine of low intelligence, remind me that my derriere is on the large side, insinuate that I perform incestuous acts with my maternal parent, and my favorite, informing me and the rest of the people in the room (including my new principal) that my female genitalia move rapidly in a strong breeze. Either that or when I walk, I’m not sure. It was hard to listen after the first part because laughing is not an appropriate response to such behavior from a student. All I could say was, “Ok, but you still have to do your math.”

But damn, it was funny. So, it either flaps in the wind or when I walk. I never realized it, but then my hearing is so damaged from the previous assignment that I probably just never noticed it.

Well, if the first three days are any indication of what I’m in for, it’s going to be an interesting year. I have a feeling that by the end of my time at this job, on my last day, if any student calls me “bitch,” I’ll probably just look at them and say, “That’s Ms. Bitch to you, kiddo.”

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saying Good-Bye to Summer

Damn. We’ve hit the last weekend of summer break and the new school year looms. Looms, I tell ya, looms. Looms like a big…looming thing. Looming… llloooommming.


Ever feel like you’ve been sidelined by the Universe, only to discover that things have been busy lining up for something unexpected and rather awesome? It’s kind of been like that round here. Let me ‘splain, m’kay?

As the new school year loomed, things started going a little sideways. I got a letter assigning me to a new school and I was delighted. To say I was ready to move on would be an understatement. Between the scars on my arms and the ones on my psyche, the thought of staying there one more year was more than I could handle.

Then I got the call saying there had been a change and I was going to go back to that classroom. I was devastated. After mulling it over, I decided the best thing for me to do was plead my case to HR and hope for the best.

Before I continue with my story, I’m going to tell you Tam’s story. Don’t worry, it will all come together, I promise.

Tam has been working for the district for as long as I have (maybe even longer, I don’t remember). Anyway, she’s frequently passed over for promotion because the woman who is in charge of her department does not like her. She makes no bones about it, ridiculing and harassing my partner on a fairly regular basis.

Last year, when Tam’s kitchen manager returned after a nearly year-long medical leave, Tam was forced from the kitchen she loved and shuffled off to a place managed by an idiot. An idiot who is a pet of the mean woman who doesn’t like Tam, an idiot who seems to enjoy getting people into trouble by talking behind their backs, even when what she’s saying isn’t true. Saying it was a rough year on my sweetie would be an understatement. It was a toxic environment.

Recently there was an opening for kitchen manager and Tam applied, feeling fairly optimistic about getting the promotion. After all, she had the seniority and the proven skills to do the job.

Not to sound like sour grapes, but she is pretty sure there was some cheating going on during the test. One of the applicants came in to the test ten minutes late, finished fifteen minutes later and left. The test was very hard and the other two in there took the entire hour with neither of them finishing. Both were familiar with the duties of kitchen manager, both had successfully managed kitchens in the regular managers absence, yet neither got the job. It went to the one who came in late, sat behind the proctor and away from the others, and finished early.

I don’t have to work in a kitchen to know that something smells fishy here.

Next on the list of things that are happening… we’re moving forward on the purchase of the shop. Our plan had been that we would get our loan and she would leave that horrible kitchen and go work the shop while I stayed back and continued to work at a steady job until the debts were paid down as much as possible. Two years is what we’d been thinking. I’d drive to the coast every other weekend to help out and see Tam during the school year, then spend more time there during the summer. It wouldn’t be easy, but it would be worth it.

On another note, my youngest still doesn’t have a job. He’s recently applied to be a housecleaner for a large franchise of maid service providers. Forgive me when I say, “NOOOOO!” He’s so desperate he’s willing to do this. I admire his desire to get a job, but, no… I’ve done that job before, I know what it’s like and I hated every damn minute of it.

I got a call telling me that I’m going back to the school where I started, a school where, despite some of the people there, was my favorite school. Elementary age kids. Of course, I’ll be in the “BD” classroom. BD stands for Behavior Disorder (although they’re calling it something else now, I just can’t remember what it is). It will be an interesting year. Fortunately, the teacher has been doing this type of class for years and I’m really looking forward to working with him. I think I can handle a couple years working there. It will be a nice change from working in a room where the teacher is still so new, she’s not sure how she wants to run the room.

Tam learned that a position for which she can transfer laterally opened up at HER old school, the one she loved best. She’s going to talk to someone about that on Tuesday when the district opens after the holiday. After we talked about it, she said she could certainly handle working another couple years there, no problem.

Which leaves us with who’s going to run the shop?

It looks like my son will have a job for a couple years.

Thank you, Universe. It’s been a long and very interesting climb up this hill.

Good-bye, summer. Hello future.