Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

I think I'm ready to go back to work. The summer has been great. I've had a lot of relaxing time. In July alone I read eight books, and I started a CrossFit regimen that has not only brought my weight down by about ten pounds, but also added some muscle and is changing the composition of my body. I managed to wean myself from full-out sugar addict to someone who is very happy with just an Andes mint or small piece of chocolate after dinner.

I'm a little bit worried about fitting the CrossFit classes in once school starts. I suppose the best strategy will be to get ready for work as if I'm going to go, and if I don't get a call by 8:30, to go workout at 9am. Work days will be a little harder, but I can always go at 5pm, with the rest of the world. The intense nature of the workouts makes me wonder if I can get through them after a full day of classroom's another challenge.

The other thing that concerns me is the ready supply of sweets once you pass through the doors of any Elementary school. From treats in the lounge, to birthday treats, to my habit of always taking chocolate with me for that afternoon burst of energy. I know I can control it, but we all know how addicting these tasty morsels can be. Once you eat a little bit, you want more, and then it turns into an every day thing.

All that aside, I'm looking forward to the fun stuff. I love the adorable perfect little faces, reading stories to the Kindergarteners, listening to the various facts and bits of knowledge that kids of all age can't wait to share with an adult, the light-bulb of "I get it!," seeing them run around like wild creatures at recess, and checking out their brand new school clothes and supplies. I'm definitely looking forward to recieving a paycheck again!

School here doesn't start until September 8th, so I still have a couple of weeks to go. I'm hoping the work comes in early. Last year I had an office job that lasted until late September, so I didn't start subbing until October. I'm not really sure what to expect straight off during the first month of school. I'll find out soon enough!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some Things Never Change....Part 2

Remember the girl I wrote about in my last post? The one who I had the hard time with in Las Vegas?

Well, after a week of her snark-bombing me on other people's Facebook statuses without speaking to me directly, I sent her a FB message and told her if she is angry at me to either call me or message me about it.

After telling me she was on her way to Disneyland and had no time to respond to me, she let loose with a litany of complaints about my behavior on the Vegas weekend. It was crazy stuff, most of it misinterpretations of my actions and some of it was entirely fictional. By misinterpretations, I mean things like accusing me of insulting our whole group by stepping out of a club for 5 minutes for some air. Mind you, I told everyone exactly what I was doing, so it wasn't like I disappeared. She was also upset that I went inside after an hour out by the pool. Keep in mind that I burn like a lobster in about 20 minutes. She's taken trips with me before, so she knows my pool-endurance is short. And there was something about me only ordering one drink when everyone else had two. By fiction, I mean her issue with a "miserable look" on my face, when in fact I was people-watching at a bar and not thinking about my facial expression at all. And apparently the worst infraction was walking into a room and asking if they were talking about me. I don't remember this, but whatever. Many similar sins followed.

So, because this was all via messages, I tried to take her issues one by one and explain that what she thought she saw wasn't what happened at all, and that I meant no offense at any time. I told her to call me to discuss, and wished her a good time at Disneyland. Two minutes later, I had another message from her elaborating on how I'd ruined her weekend and everyone else's and that I should stop blaming her. What?

I tried again to calm her down and apologized. My theory is that in such emotional situations, someone has to take one for the team. I have no problem with apologizing to keep the peace. I know the truth. She came back with a message that it wasn't about apologies and that I should stop blaming her. Again...what?

So, I asked what the solution was. She said the solution was to end it. End what? The discussion? The friendship? I let it go and figured she needed time to cool down from whatever frenzy she'd whipped herself into.

The next day, I got a message from one of the other girls who was there over the weekend. Basically, it was a re-run of Disney Girl's complaints. I tried again to say it was all fabricated and that none of it actually happened the way it was being portrayed, but apparently my friends share a brain...actually, not "apparently." I've known this for a long time. Disney girl whispers in Other Girl's ear and her words come out Other Girl's mouth. I never saw it as a problem before, just a funny quirk. After a few more futile messages, I asked what their motivation was for such detailed examination of everything I said and did all weekend. Other Girl said I needed to stop creating drama because she didn't need it. My response was that I hadn't created the drama, but I was ending it.

Oh, and I got one more nasty-gram from Disney Girl today. Something about how she had been rational and I was insane. She made a few taunts and said she was cutting me off.

I may be starting the school year two friends short. Honestly, at this point, I don't care. I am an extremely loyal and good friend, but when someone attacks me about things that are in her own head, there's just no response. I have to say, though, I'm absolutely fascinated by this girl right now. She's like a textbook "mean girl" all grown up. I also sickly wonder if her fights with her husband are similar and how he deals with it. She seems to create a world of drama for her own entertainment and then blame others for doing it. I don't get it, but I really have no doubt she'll be making nice with me within a few months. We're scheduled to run a half-marathon together in October. Unless she talks someone else into doing it with her, I'll probably be getting a very sweet phone call in about six weeks. It really wouldn't surprise me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some things never change

I've been reading about all of the beginning-of-the year activities on the teacher blogs that I frequent. People are getting ready for the new year, setting up classrooms and meeting new crops of students. Everyone seems ready to start a whole new adventure. Its scary and exciting, for teachers as well as for students. Nobody knows what the future holds. Will the class be a difficult one or a hard one? Will they be a challenge to control? Will they shine academically? How much parental support can I count on?

For the kids, it's about getting along with the teacher. Will he/she be nice or mean? Will I make new friends? Will I fit in? I'd guess these are the same questions being asked by teachers going in to new schools. We don't change very much as we age.

I was reminded again this weekend of how far some of us haven't come. I went on a weekend trip with some girlfriends. One of the girls decided she was going to harass me all weekend. She often targets me in front of others, but is the nicest, friendliest person when we are alone together. When she starts in, my tactic has always been to play along. However, when I throw back the "jokes," she claims I'm picking on her and our other friends tell us to stop fighting.

So, this time, I tried a different approach. I let her go on and on and said nothing when she called me "Grandma" for wearing flats instead of heels and brought up stuff that happened months ago. For instance, I missed her birthday in February because I had concert tickets for the same date. One of the girls we were with is getting married next year. She commented that I probably wouldn't go to the wedding because I'd be at a concert featuring this band. Crazy stuff, right? Out of nowhere! And it went on for three days.

By the end of the third day, I told her to knock it off. She laughed, said she didn't know what I was talking about, then has been making comments on Facebook about the drama I caused.

Textbook adolescent relational aggression, right? The type of behavior that peaks when girls are in junior high school. Sadly, we are all approaching the same side of the street as 40, not 14.

Once again I was reminded of why I prefer to be surrounded by people under the age of 10. They may drive each other nuts and tattle, but at least they can be shamed out of it for a while.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Looking Ahead

It's been a relaxing summer so far. I've been doing a lot of reading and sleeping. The most stress I've been under has been pushing myself to get through workouts each day. That, and not spending money. I'm not doing so well with the second. I've been spending here and there, but it's adding up, and I'm going to Las Vegas for an upcoming weekend, so that will be even more spending. I have money in the bank, but I always hem and haw at paying off my bills in full, which lowers the balance in my savings account, versus paying part of it, which gives me the temporary feeling that I actually have money, but ends up costing in interest fees.

I've applied at several schools for full-time positions. Got two rejections based just on my application (not really a surprise, given that it's a employer's market and I have no experience outside of subbing) and one phone interview. I wasn't jumping for joy after the phone interview. Their first question was to describe my classroom set-up. I babbled on and made it up as I went along. Afterward, I thought I should have just described a room that I'd spent time in. Walking through my mind to describe a room that actually existed would probably have sounded a lot better than creating one on the fly. I think I did reasonably well on the rest of the questions.

So....I'm resigned to subbing another year and hoping that I do better than last year. I kind of bumped along last year. It was my first, so I was a little more focused on just getting by than doing all of the politicking that they tell you to do. I'll work on that this year. I was looking at the calendars for my school districts. Last year, all four districts had spring break the same week. This year, they're spread out over three different weeks. Bad because I can't just take a week off and blame it on the schedule. Good because maybe I'll make some money that month.

I've got about a month left of vacation. No clue when the sub jobs will start coming in. I'm hoping it's not too far into the fall!