From Preschool to Kindergarten Cop: What I Got Out of Subbing

funny teacher gift

I don’t get gifts because I’m the sub.  Yet there are days when I would have said this. (Though I DO think a monogram out of crayons would be cool.)

I’m winding down my sub job this week-two more days and I’m a free woman again.  It’s been good for me, but I must admit I’m ready for some time back home.  You know, being a horrible manager of my time, bored and broke again…

This whole job thing was much more challenging than I thought it would have been.  This didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the job itself.  This is because some other things happened.  First of all, about a month in, Evil Genius embarked upon a project at work that will probably last at least 4 more weeks and makes him work 500 hour weeks.  I know there aren’t 500 hours in a week, but to him (and me) it really feels like it.  He leaves long before most humans even think about getting up to go pee, and returns home at night with enough time to eat supper and go to bed. Naturally, my reaction to all of this is to tell him I’ll write a song about it, make him coffee when I remember, and kill him with kindness when he is in SUCH a good mood (I love you honey…)

Then the poor girl I was working with had a family tragedy and had to take some much needed time off.  With both of the regular classroom teachers having to be gone, I had to step up quickly and do stuff that I’m well capable of but just wasn’t expecting to have to do.  It made things very interesting, to say the least!  On the other hand, I think it worked out pretty well that I had been the one that was there instead of several people trying to fill in the hours.

Other things happened too, I’ll get to those in a minute…

Anyway, as I was working these last two months I definitely had some moments and I learned some things too:

Anyone who says that they are going to quit drinking diet pop upon returning to work are setting themselves up for epic failure.

Never hesitate to ask for help from your fellow bloggers.  They will RUN to your aid!

Don’t ask your husband to do anything non work related because you can’t.  He won’t remember.

Having your own child in your classroom means you are basically working two full-time jobs, teacher AND Mommy.

Oh she's cute, but it was a challenge having her in the same classroom sometimes!

Oh she’s cute, but it was a challenge having her in the same classroom sometimes!

Upon deciding to work a job in another town, you are guaranteeing there will be at least one winter storm per week, and one to two snow days per pay period.

Anyone who says they are going to quit eating sugar when they go back to work are setting themselves up for epic failure.  Especially when Valentines and Easter are in that time frame.

Guest bloggers are the way to go when you need to be busy doing something, or are tired, or just don’t want to blog.  I just wish I had done that sooner!

When things change, your ADD son will miss getting off the bus at the right place at least once.

No matter how good your dog seems, when he’s left to his own devices for days on end, he will poop on your floor.  AND tear stuff up.  AND be a general pain in your rear.  It’s a good thing he’s cute.

This didn't happen-but other messes were made.

This didn’t actually happen-but other messes were made.

Anyone who says they are going to quit taking Ambien to help them sleep when they go back to work are setting themselves up for epic failure.

Apple Jacks are never a good idea for breakfast when you have to last from 5:30 am until lunch.

If glasses are to be broken with no hope of repair, it will be the expensive ones, not the free ones.

No matter how nice the weather is, if you choose to leave your dog outside all day (because he poops on the floor and tears stuff up) the temperature will drop to negative numbers and there will be a blizzard.

Never in my life have I wanted to quote Kindergarten Cop so much.  You don’t know how many times I wanted to yell “There is no BATHROOM!”  I can even think of a couple of Arnold moments that I had.  But what happens in preschool stays in preschool.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Certain little girls who hold in their poop will find new ways to keep it in.  No matter how much fiber you give her.  Add to the fact that you don’t really know when the last time she actually went was, it’s kind of a “poop roulette”.

It’s nice to have an excuse to be on Pinterest-I have to find art ideas for work!

Never ever make plans when you are a substitute teacher.

Things usually work out-you just have to give them time.  This has nothing to do with the noncompliant pooper, it has everything to do with life in general.

Sleep.  I knew it well once.  And I’m an insomniac-that’s not saying much.

I’ll be back with actual posts hopefully later this week.  In the meantime… tomorrow:  toodle on over to Go Cheap or Go Home to visit me.  I’m posting an oldie but a goodie-the poor girl wanted some time off! 

I really won't be a pah-ty poop-ah.  I will be baaaack!

I really won’t be a pah-ty poop-ah. I will be baaaack!

A Blog Identity Crisis: Why DO I Do This?

Who knew that a quote from a movie about a kid skipping school would turn out to be something we all need to live by?

Who knew that a quote from a movie about a kid skipping school would turn out to be something we all need to live by?

Things do happen, sometimes in a hurry.  I feel like I need to look around a little bit.  This past month has been a blur.   I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  One thing that I wonder is how people who work full-time all the time manage to have blogs.  It is work.  Not just some work, a LOT of work to maintain a blog.  Especially one like mine where I post most days of the week and insist on putting images with my stories.

I really thought that getting out of the house would breathe new life into my writing.  I figured that I would be a fountain of ideas, and that I would have more than enough material.  It has actually been quite the contrary.  Truth be told I’ve been having a hard time coming up with ideas.  I’ve also struggled to maintain the quality of the work I had been doing pre-temporary employment.  That is, if you consider quality work to feature stories about peeing your pants…

I’ve shared with several fellow bloggers the fact that I am drained.  I feel like someone has sucked the creativity out of my body.  It’s not just working 40 hours a week, commuting an hour a day, and spending every rest of your waking moments with kids and a messy house.  Things have happened that I can’t really talk about that have made the whole experience that much more challenging mentally.  I’m not complaining by any means. It has been nice to have the extra income for awhile and being able to pay off some of our outstanding debt has been wonderful.  I was looking for employment when this came up and will continue to look for something after this is done, though most likely part-time, since my son will be out of school soon.

I’ve also found that if you don’t linger around and do things like read and comment on other blogs regularly, use social media to post updates several times daily, and just BE THERE it will really cause your blog views to sink like the Titanic.  This was not from lack of trying.  I found that you can’t cut and paste your stuff into an android phone like I do on my computer.  Where I am working, well, there are RULES.  You can’t be on Facebook and Twitter on your laptop computer or phone, unless of course you’re on your break.  When you work in a childcare center with no lounge, you want to go as far away as possible when you’re not working.  This is because they can still see you.  They all go down to the bathroom and they are waving at you and yelling hi-unless I go crawl under the tables I can’t really get away.  Especially since my daughter is one of them-she still doesn’t understand why she can’t go with me on my breaks!  I’ve been going to the gym on my break time, which has been lovely.

Imagine a whole class of them...

Imagine a whole group of them…

So I figured out some stuff here.  I write the post the night before.  I get up very early in the morning and publish it.  I share it to Facebook, Google Plus, StumbleUpon, etc (Twitter is the only automatic format that actually gets my stuff seen.)  I check on a few things from the night before, then it’s time to shower, get the kids up, etc.  On my break I check my phone, write down the url of my blog post and post updates and sometimes respond to comments.  Then I go to the gym.  After work I rush to pick up my son before it’s too late, fix dinner, do dishes, laundry…  By the time I can sit down, it’s almost time for bed.  And I wonder why I am not coming up with much these days.

The irony of all this is while my views plummeted, I have had a big increase in people who are fans.  More followers, more likes.  More than ever before.  Then this past week I was feeling accomplished because I had finally got my blog views back up to where they were before I started the job.  I was back over 100 views a day.  Yet I have over 800 people who follow my blog in some way.  I may not be a math genius, and I realize that some of these people are actually the same people following me (like my fellow blogging buddies “like” my page on Facebook but also follow me on Twitter so they actually know when I do something) but that makes me think that while these people may be following me, they aren’t reading my posts.

So I have a few hypotheses:  a) There’s something I’m missing here about how they count page views.  b)  All of these people like me, they just aren’t reading me.  c)  There has been some big mistake, and no one really likes me?

I won't bore you with stats.  This is more fun.

I won’t bore you with a pie chart of stats. This is more fun.

It’s discouraging when you feel like your hard work isn’t getting the attention you want it to.  Today I lost two followers on Facebook.  I’m used to it on Twitter, on Facebook not so much.  I’m sure it was one of those “Hey I liked you, now come like me” people who then got what they wanted as soon as I liked them back.  Kind of like a girl who puts out and then the guy dumps her. Ok, not really like THAT.  You get the idea, though.

I know it shouldn’t be all about page views.  Or how many fans you have.  This did start off as nothing more than a personal thing where I vented and told some stories.  Yet that day I signed up for the social media junk was when I maybe started caring more than I should.  I realize that I’m probably over thinking all of this.  In just a couple of weeks I’ll be back to doing what I was doing, and pursuing the hope that someday I might just be paid to do this.

Tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday. Then it’s Theme Thursday-I have finally picked a controversial topic to write about and hope that I don’t offend anyone with it.

Then I’m taking a break.

No I’m not quitting.  I’m not going to stop writing.  I’m just going to take the rest of the time I’m doing this job to rest my brain.  I put out a call for help this past week, and eight epic bloggers have stepped up to each do a guest post on my blog for the next week while I air out my shriveled up brain.  Please come back to read their stuff, and go show them a little love on their own blogs.

Menopausal Mother leads the pack out of the gate on Friday.
Following close behind is Ranting Seriously on Saturday.
The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps is not having a day of rest on Sunday.
Mom’s World shows us something positive about Monday!
Something Clever 2.0 comes over with her own unique view on Tuesday.
Go Cheap or Go Home saves us big with her post on Wednesday.
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion is the woman of the day on Thursday.
Friday is the oops day.  I realized after I put out this call for help that it’s Fly on the Wall. Technically this doesn’t count in the whole week of Guest Bloggers.
Saturday PenPaperPad helps us cross the finish line!

I’ll have two days left of work after that, then kindergarten roundup, and a flying trip to swap my broken glasses frames that will have been waiting for me for a whole six weeks.  Then I start fresh… and I’m hoping to make some changes, or not.  I’ve been debating things like whether or not to purchase my domain.  I can’t decide if I have the skills or the patience for such a thing.  I am debating whether to only post certain days of the week.  I am trying to decide which ways I can best promote my writing without drowning in all of the social media outlets that are available and perhaps focus on those.  I am also trying to change the look of my blog itself, but trying to find something that has everything I need is a process…

Fellow bloggers, have you ever gone through an identity crisis?  How did you handle it?  Do you let your page views or number of followers or things of that nature bother you?  I’d be happy to hear from you and how you handled it.

I often feel like I'm saying nothing...

I often feel like I’m saying nothing…

Pajamas and Somewhat Unrelated News

Trying to exercise in her pjs.

Trying to exercise in her pjs.

We are finally having a real Iowa winter this year.  We haven’t had a winter that has been typical in years.  We had several years where we were buried under snow all winter long with many no school days.  Someday I will share my story of Evil Genius and the blizzard.  Last year it was warm with only one snowfall.  I enjoyed the warmer weather but it was weird.  This year has had cold and snow, but not too much of each.

This week we had a Winter storm Tuesday night into Wednesday.  It came up rather suddenly-the winter storm watch popped up in the morning (which I didn’t know until afternoon) and then it turned into a warning by afternoon.  The snow was bad enough that school was first delayed and then cancelled.  Yet Evil Genius made it to work, and was the first one there, beating people that live right there in town.  We live an hour south of where he works.  Impressive, very impressive.

Both kids slept in quite late that morning.  I was not looking forward to another day stuck in the house.  We had to do something different.  As they got up, I had a bright idea.  I informed them “We’re going to have pajama day.”

The Professor yelled “THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!”

These are the pjs The Professor wore.  None of the pics I took today turned out.

These are the pjs The Professor wore. None of the pics I took today turned out.

The Princess scrambled to find different pajamas.

It was all good.  After breakfast we brought blankets into the living room, laid on the floor, and watched “The Greatest American Hero”.

Yes we have episodes of The Greatest American Hero on DVD.  Guess who wanted to watch it?

Yes we have episodes of The Greatest American Hero on DVD. Guess who wanted to watch it?

Late in the morning I remembered that Evil Genius had given Princess Difficult instructions to clear a path through her room the night before.  You couldn’t even walk through it.  She threw a fit.  “This is supposed to be a FUN day.  This is NOT fun!”  When she realized that her video game privileges would be revoked, she complied.

We had breakfast for lunch-pancakes, eggs, and bananas.  The pancakes were good, even though I had to scramble after I started the first batch-I realized I had forgotten the egg.  My house still smells like syrup.  The magic sort of faded after lunch, since they got their video game time.  A couple of weeks ago they pooled their Christmas money to buy Skylanders for the Xbox.  They enjoy it, and it’s incentive for good behavior.

More TV, and eating popcorn and drinking juice on the floor during snack time while watching PBS Kids.  The Professor said “This day just keeps getting better and better!”

And then it was over.  Dad was coming home, and everything was picked up and put away.  The Professor decided to put on regular clothes, for some reason he thought his dad wouldn’t like him wearing pjs.  Princess Difficult was the only hold out.  She changed, into yet a different set of pajamas.

Even the dog got into it.  Look how relaxed he is.

Even the dog got into it. Look how relaxed he is.

These days are coming to an end, at least for awhile.  That pajama day morning I received a message from a friend, and upon answering it have opened up a whole new can of worms in my life.  I have taken a substitute position at the preschool I used to work for, starting Monday. I’m stepping in for a friend who has to have surgery.  Good pay, and childcare taken directly out of my check.

So I have a job for awhile, 6-8 weeks.  Remember that I have severe anxiety.  Even though I have been looking for a job for quite some time, I am freaking out.  On one hand, Princess Difficult will get to be with me.  She needs to be around other children, and be on a schedule.  This is very good for her.  On the other, I worry myself sick.  Will The Professor be ok going someplace else before and after school?  Will the kids be able to get up and get ready early?  Will I have enough energy to make supper and do laundry, because working with kids can be very exhausting.  Will we have enough money for gas so I can get there every day?  Will we be able to pay the sitter?  Will I be able to be on my feet for that much time without my back killing me?

Maybe I'm just overthinking this...

Maybe I’m just overthinking this…

Last night I told them all about what was probably going to happen.  At first The Princess, who is dead set against me working, was upset.  “But Mommy, I will miss you!”  When I told her she was going to come with me, she started to warm to the idea.

“Do they have a playground there?” she asked.
“Yes.”  I replied.
“Do they have ponies there?”  she queried.
“I don’t really remember, but I think so.”  I answered.

That was it, she was sold.  Now both kids were very excited.  Not me, I was sick with anxiety.  I was almost crying.

Evil Genius was no help. “Do you want the job or not?”
My answer “We need the money.”
His response “That’s not very convincing.”

He wants me to believe in myself.  love him for seeing me as someone who still has potential and is worth something, even though he isn’t always so tactful about telling me so.  My former coworkers seem very excited that I am coming back, if even for a few weeks.  So much has gone wrong for so long, it’s hard for me to believe that something good is happening.  What a gift this is-to be able to try this and see if I can really do it.  Last night after he went to bed I called my Mom in a panic. She calmed me down, reminding me that it will all work out.  I also talked to a very good friend, who was so supportive and understanding of why I feel like this!

Today everything fell into place as far as The Professor’s before and after school care.  I went in to fill out paperwork, Princess Difficult saw the classroom and the kids she would be with, and it all seemed right.  I’m now looking at it as all a great experiment.  By the time I am done it will be Spring.  The weather will get nicer, and we can get out and enjoy it again.  Right now this may be just what we need to get through the doldrums of winter.

Today I filled out a zillion forms.  Tomorrow I go get fingerprinted.  More on that soon to follow…

So followers, don’t worry-I’ll still be blogging, I just may not post every day.  This is still my dream-the writing.  I am to the point where I need new inspiration, and need to not be on the computer all the time.  I won’t let people down.  I bet I will have lots of wonderful stories to share too!  Preschoolers are wonderful in that respect-they are never boring!

Never boring...

Never boring…

And of course, don’t forget to vote!  Circle of Moms Top 25 Funny Moms Contest.  I’m hanging out in the top 120.  It’s all right.  It’s comfortable there.