Confession Time

While griping about my neighbor’s insistence on playing the same songs over and over again ad nauseum, I have to confess, I have been known to do the same thing. Not quite as much these days as I did in my youth, but still, I hit replay on the stereo my fair share of the time.

I was a sophomore in high school when Jimmy Buffet’s, Come Monday, first came out. My friend and I each bought 45s. We then went to her house — where no one was home — and slapped the record on the stereo. We left the changing arm up, which was the signal to the record player to play the song repeatedly.

The two of us then went into the kitchen in search of food. There was no soda in the fridge, so my friend went out to the garage fridge to bring some in. She returned with a Pepsi for each of us, and said, “That’s weird. My mom’s car’s in the garage. I wonder how she got to work?” (Neither of us took that thought any further.)

Sandwiches made, sodas in hand, we sat down and the dining room table and proceeeded to play Yahtzee. The song on the stereo was probably on it’s third go ’round. My friend’s mother staggered into the room. She was wearing her robe, her hair was a mess and she rather looked like death walking. She had an Ibuprofen bottle clutched in one hand and was holding her head with the other.

“Turn that off,” she rasped at us.

“Turn what off?” Neither of us had a clue. Mrs. Friend shook her pill bottle at the stereo and said, “That! That racket!” She then took my friend’s unopened Pepsi and shuffled back down the hall.

My friend went to the stereo and turned it down about three decibels. I said, “Your mother said, off.”

My friend shrugged. “It’s okay, she won’t be able to hear it from her room, and that’s as good as off.” We resumed our Yahtzee game.

About fifteen minutes and five repetitions of the song later, Mrs. Friend appeared again. She never said a word. She shuffled to the stereo, took the record and went back to her room. My friend said, “Oh, I guess she could still hear it.”

We tried to play Yahtzee in silence for awhile, but that is a very difficult thing for teenagers to do. After about ten minutes, Friend got my 45, and put it on the stereo. She turned the volume down another notch. I asked if she was sure that was a good idea. She assured me that her mother wouldn’t be able to hear the music.

Not five minutes later Mrs. Friend shuffled into the room again. She bent down, unplugged the stereo, and cut the end off the cord with her scissors. She pocketed the plug and shuffled back down the hall.

Friend and I stared at each other in shock. Finally, Friend said, “Is your grandmother home?”

I shrugged. “Probably.”

“Huh. So, how’s she feel about Jimmy Buffet?”

“I don’t know.” I answered while lifting my 45 from the stereo. “Let’s go find out.”

Friend grabbed her car keys ….

* * *

Speaking of Mondays, this is one and OC is flying into town today. He will only be here for a few hours (2:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.), so don’t send out the National Guard if you don’t hear from us.

Through My Window III

My elderly neighbor had her great granddaughters over today. They kept playing Britney Spears’, Oops! I Did It Again. About the second dozen times I listened to it, I wondered if the grownups in the house had gone deaf, and almost immediately I heard the little old lady query, “Honey, doesn’t that record have other songs on it?”

A girl’s voice responded, “It’s a CD, Granny.”

“Whatever,” the woman said irritably. “Does it have other songs?”

Girl: “Of course.”

Granny: “Well, then why don’t you play them?”

Murmurs of dismay came from several girls, while one voice clearly responded, “Because this is the one we like.”

Granny: “Oh joy.”

Shiny, Bright Red

Now appearing at, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead:  Shiny, Bright Red, part two in the saga of Quilly and Rumble,  cousins with cause to kill.

Every evening before dinner, Rumble would stretch out on the living-room floor and take a nap. Often, to use as little floor space as possible, he put his feet next to me on my chair. A couple of nights after the peanut butter and jelly incident, Rumble stretched out on his back, put his feet near my thigh, and went out like a light.

I finished painting my fingernails a lovely pearl pink, then I capped the polish bottle and put it away. As soon as my nails were dry I reached back into my cosmetic case, and took out a bottle of fire engine red fingernail polish.

Click here for part one: The P.B. & J. Sandwich


January’s Test:

Today we received our scores from the 5th grade writing profeciency exam we took in January, and 76 of the 118 fifth graders who took the test passed. We needed 53% to meet federal mandates, and we achieved 67%. That is pretty dang good for a school whose population is abput 85% second language learners.

Update:  I have just reviewed the data.  In my classroom, 11 out of 22 students passed,  50%.  Out of the 11 that did not pass, one speaks limited English and two are classified Special Ed.  One of the two raised his score 5 points this year, but it still wasn’t enough to pass.  The very worst score in my classroom came from a student who should have passed, but is just too lazy to bother with pushing his pencil across the paper.

+ + +

Today’s Test:

This afternoon, Ben worked diligently on the constructed response question on the State Criterion Referenced Test. He drew a food chain. He labeled it. He explained it. It was beautiful. Then he double checked his work, reading the directions again. “F–k!” He muttered. “I need an eraser.”

I turned, extending the eraser. “Excuse me?

He looked right at me as he took the eraser and repeated, “F–k!”

My eyebrows rose. “I beg your pardon?

With one hand, he pointed at the test-booklet right below the directions telling him what page to write his answers on. With his other hand, he pointed at the page number he did write his answer on. They didn’t match. “What would you say?” He demanded.

I shrugged one shoulder apologetically and nodded my head. The kid had a point.

If Found, Promptly Return To Owner

I am tired. I am sick. I am cranky. And I am an idiot.

I am also near-sighted. In fact, I am so near-sighted that if I take off my glasses I cannot find them again without putting them on to look for them. That is why I always have an extra pair. This morning that extra pair saved my day.

I woke, reached for my glasses — and they weren’t where I always leave them. I leaned over the bed and squinted at the floor. Too dark. I grabbed the flashlight and shone it along side the bed and the bookcase. No glasses.

I leaned over farther still, and shone the flashlight under the bed. Big deal. I couldn’t see more then six inches in front of my face. I went and retrieved my other pair of classes from the drawer below the computer monitor, then I returned and looked under my bed. That’s where that roll of packing tape went! No glasses.

I sat and thought. When did I have my glasses last? I got in bed and read for an hour. I don’t remember turning off the light. Could I have gone to sleep without taking my glasses off? I took the blankets off the bed and shook them, one at a time. I took the top sheet off the bed. Then the bottom sheet. Then the pillows. I took the mattress off the bed. Then I took the bed off the bed. Damn. Somebody should vacuum under here — but no glasses.

A glance at the clock told me I was pushing my time limits. I headed for the shower — pausing to give all the flat surfaces in my bathroom a good look. No glasses. I wore my old pair all day. The prescription is off, and they don’t have bifocals, but they’re still better than no glasses.

Tonight I came home and searched my bedroom again — inch by inch. No glasses. I don’t get it. Glasses don’t just leave. And I can’t go far without them, so where were they?

I gave up, made my dinner, then sat down to my comp and had a lovely chat with OC. After the chat I decided to go to the store and get some Musinex. Except, as I was leaving the house I thought about that dinner I’d eaten. The salad had onions. I went in the bathroom and brushed my teeth.

While brushing my teeth I spotted the hairspray bottle and remembered it was almost empty. I needed more … or did I? I opened the medicine cabinet to look for an extra bottle — and there were my glasses. I have no recollection of putting them there. None. Zip. Nada.

I don’t remember turning out the light last night. I don’t remember going to sleep. I remember making a cup of hot tea, carrying it and my book into my bedroom, curling up to read, and waking up this morning.

At least I’ve found my glasses, but if any of you find where I left my brain, would you send it on home?