Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the story of thanksgiving: take two

many of you may remember the utter horror of last year's retelling of the story of thanksgiving. this year i gave the kids a variety of puzzles and lessons on thanksgiving, hoping that the basic concept (pilgrims came to america from england, then had big dinner with native americans) would sink in. we did crossword puzzles. we did fill in the blanks sheets. we watched a very very boring and stupid video. we played hangman. i thought i had done a decent job.

so today as we made these super cute construction paper turkeys (pictures to be posted later), i asked the dreaded question ... "so why do we celebrate thanksgiving?"

out of 9 kids (grades 4-5), only one raised her hand. i call on her and she says, "we celebrate thanksgiving because sometimes someone has a birthday near thanksgiving and we celebrate it."
yup, that girl is in 5th grade.

then kid who hates hoboes piped up and said, "we celebrate thanksgiving because the pilgrims came to america and had a feast with the native americans."

"yes!" i screamed, "that's right!"

then kid who hates hoboes went on to say that the pilgrims came from england on the mayflower. england? mayflower? where did he learn these crazy words? is it possible, dear dear blog readers, that kid who hates hoboes learned these words from me? no. he immediately told me that he learned this stuff last night after watching the charlie brown thanksgiving special on tv.


note to self: purchase charlie brown thanksgiving dvd for library.

p.s. happy thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

a tale of questionable morality

i was in the keyfood buying groceries. i am trying to cook more in these tough economic times. i was on line, and the woman in front of me was still loading up her groceries. she stepped down towards the end of the aisle so that she could start bagging her items and i noticed a neatly folded $20 bill on the ground. at first i thought she must have dropped it. and although i contemplated telling her that she dropped it, i decided to wait. why should i tell her there's $20 on the floor? these are trying times dear blog readers and miss dewey d could use the cash. i contemplated rolling my cart over the bill so no one would see it but i thought that was unfair. if this woman would notice before she left, then the $20 was hers. sounds fair, no?

around this time a man who looked like a floor manager type seemed to be eyeing me. did he know? was he on to me? was this some sort of perverse sociological experiement to see what lengths people would go to for a small amount of extra cash. (i did this once in college, it involved gluing several quarters to my dorm carpet) but i digress.

then i saw the woman take out her wallet. a clue! if she hadn't taken her wallet out yet, how could the $20 be hers? and she was paying with a debit card! more likely, the $20 was dropped a while ago and no one spotted it yet. this could be anyone's $20. and if it could be anyone's, why can't it be mine? convenient rationalization or crtitical thinking? who's to say.

she left and when i took my spot by the cashier i stepped on the $20, covering it from view. then i bent down all sly like i was going to tie my shoe, and i picked that baby up and pocketed it. the perfect crime.

so i paid for my groceries, which were surprisingly expensive, and i made my way towards the door. then the manager gave me a knowing look and told me to "have a nice evening." what did he mean by that?!

but i think i got away with it. unless there is footage of me on some survellience camera, cleverly scheming away while pretending to peruse in touch magazine.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

revenge and daily facial peel never tasted so sweet

bam, son! that's right, that's my package!

thursday i got a call back from customer service telling me that mr. postmaster had located my package. i was even told that mr. postmaster would deliver it to my house then and there. of course i wasn't at the paradise, i was at work. it seems that the post office has yet to figure out that 95% of people are not in their homes during typical postal delivery hours. anyway. i was then told that if i had any problems picking up my package the following day i should ask for mr. postmaster and he would solve all of my package pick-up needs (my main need being for someone to give me my package).

so friday i walk into the post office feeling triumphant. my package will be kept from me NO MORE! there was no line, and of course there was no one at the package pick-up window. i waited for about 5 minutes and finally Evil Pick-Up Window Woman appeared. she did not greet me with her typical salutation of, "why are you here? i've already told you i don't have your package." instead, she allowed me to speak.

"i received a call yesterday saying that a mr. postmaster had located my package and i could pick it up today." and lo and behond instead of giving me an attitude or denying the existence of my package, Evil Pick-Up Window Woman actually went and got my package! and then she did something completely unprecedented ... she handed my package to me!

(you thought i was going to say she apologized? hell no she did not apologize. but she had this tail-between-her-legs look like she was hoping and praying i wouldn't call her out on the fact that she is not only a complete bitch but also totally incompetant)

dear blog readers, i took the high road. i did not say a word. i just took my package and strode proudly out of the post office, hopefully never to return again.

the end.

p.s. my daily facial peel is fab! i expect to see massive results within a few days! yay!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

post office blues

i have never been one of those people to hate the post office. on the contrary, the people in the greenpoint post office have been nothing short of lovely. they are SO nice there. but not the williamsburg post office, which is now my official post office. the people in the williamsburg post office are downright mean. mean isn't even strong enough of a word. they are cruel and heartless there. not to mention highly incompetent. i could stand the meanness if they were at least efficient.

so there is this super expensive daily face peel that i LOVE. it's SO good. the bolshevik has been stealing it for me from his roommate on the sly. but his roommate will soon be moving out (this is a very good thing), so i will no longer have access to the face peel. anyway, i found it on ebay and was able to get a good deal on a 60-day supply. so i order it. and i have it sent to my house. sounds simple, no?

i had the package sent to my house, big mistake. i notice after about a week and a half that i haven't received the face peel. so i contact the seller on ebay and she tells me that she had sent it out immediately and that she got a confirmation that the post office had attempted to deliver it to me weeks ago, but i wasn't home. so i check the usps website and see that in fact they had tried to deliver my package on 11/3 and that they were now keeping it at the post office. but they didn't leave any sort of notification slip AND they never tried to redeliver it in the weeks since then.

so i go to the post office on saturday 11/15 and i wait in line. i notice that the woman behind the counter is rather rude. she keeps rolling her eyes every time someone asks her to look for something. mind you, she is working the pick-up window so looking for packages is her sole job. when i get there i hand her my tracking number and tell her that i am looking for my package and that i never got a notification and this is my tracking number. she picks up the piece of paper, rolls her eyes and says "what is this?" i repeat to her that it is my tracking number. she tells me i need to stand aside and write down my name and address for her.

a minute later i return to the line with paper in hand showing my name and address. i give it to her and she disappears for 15 minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES! trust me, i timed it. at one point i saw her talking on the phone standing conspicuously close to a container of chinese take-out. i then rapped on the glass and said, "could you please stop talking on your cell phone and please start looking for my package?" it's polite to say "please."

when she returns she tells me that she heard me tapping on the window and that she wasn't talking on a cell phone. it was a regular phone. then she tells me that she cannot find my package and that the manager is working with the money and cannot look it up on the computer. i don't know what that means. but she says she will take my number and call me when she finds my package. i ask her if she could look for it again and she refuses.

at this point i am so pissed off i decide to call the customer service number which they have conveniently posted on the wall. the people at the customer service number tell me that my package is in fact there and that there is no reason that anyone needs to look up anything on a computer, and that they just need to look for my package.

i return to the window and tell her to please look for my package again, and try to plea with her a little telling her i came all the way here and i don't want to have to come back. she looks at me and says, with heavy attitude, "i've already explained this to you and i'm not going to say it again." then she looks at the person behind me and screams, "next!"

i leave. furious. and without my magic facial peel.

monday i receive a call from costumer service telling me that they still can't find my package, but they are on it! and they will call me when they locate it. they are unimpressed with the detailed account of the postal worker's meanness.

then i get a call wednesday saying that my package was re-delivered and i wasn't home! how dare i not be home! i then explain that i work during the week, hence why i went to the post office on saturday.

she says i can come pick up the package at the post office. i tell her i already tried to pick up the package at the post office and the woman refused to look for it. i beg her to have the package re-routed to the library, but she says they cannot do that. i concede and tell her i will pick up the package thursday on my way to work.

so this morning i wake up bright and bushy-tailed and get to the post office at 9 am. turns out the post office doesn't open until 9:30 even though the customer service woman told me 9:00. so i wait, knowing i will most likely be late to work because of this. a charming crazy woman keeps me company, spewing psycho about how her mailman doesn't give her her mail. he only delivers junkmail. "he must be chinese," she says. "or spanish." i take out my phone and pretend to call someone.

then it is finally my turn at the window and my rude friend is there. i say to her, "i am here to pick up a package. i never got the notification slip."

"i remember you," she says. "i already explained this to you. i'll call you when i find your package."

"i got a call yesterday saying my package would be here. and they said i could pick it up today."

she looks for the package again, and comes back empty-handed. we fight back and forth and she tells me she has no idea what i'm talking about and that no one has called me. and then, dear blog readers, i start to get pissed. and i start to yell. and i say things like "just give me my god damned package. it's here and i want it NOW."

then she tells me not to get rude. so i guess instead of finding people's packages she has taken up giving lessons in manners as a new career path.

then i ask her what to do since my package is obviously lost. she says it is not lost and she will call me when she finds it. then she mutters that i am "wasting her time." she screams "next!" and i storm off into the sunset.

after several more phone calls to customer service, i am told that of course my package is at the post office. then they give me a name of a manager and tell me that the manager is expecting me tomorrow morning and this manager will give me my package.

tomorrow happens to be my day off, so after going to the gym and before meeting my mom for a shopping trip, i will go to the post office for the third time this week. i am bracing myself for the upcoming fight with rude postal working. bring it on!

to be continued ...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

geography challenged: part deux

i've decided it will be my life's work to impart a modicum of geographic knowledge onto the kids. the ironic thing is that i myself am not very good at geography. i mean, i know the basics, but when i'm faced with a blank map of the US i certainly have my troubles with all those square states in the middle.

the other day we had geography challenge part 2 in which we went over everything we had already discussed. it went much better and i realize that if i just drill these ideas into the kids heads over and over and over again some of them may acutally retain some of it. so i think if we just do this a few more times the kids might eventually remember where iraq is and start to understand that the states that are in the united states are not foreign countries.

geography challenged

after noticing the kids had a lot of trouble with the difference between cities, states, countries, and continents, i decided to do a program called geography challenge. i didn't know exactly what geography challenge would entail, but i figured it would start with the very basics.

i painstakingly drew a map of the world on the white board and asked the kids, "what's this?" the specific answer i was looking for was "the world," but i would have accepted "the 7 continents." they said stuff like: land, a map, countries, cities. they pretty much just yelled stuff out until they yelled the right thing. eventually we got "world."

then i asked "and what are these big land masses here?" they knew that one. it was the continents. and then we went through the continents and the kids came up and pointed to where each one was. so far, so good.

but then i took it too far when i suggested that the kids should name some countries and we'd figure out what continent said countries are on. no response. "name a country," i continued, "any country in the world ... there's several hundred to choose from. just name one." nothing. oh, why must my educated soul be crushed like this?

the kid who hates hoboes said "alaska," which although is incorrect i can at least see why someone might think it was a foreign country. sarah palin certainly seems like an alien to me. then someone said hawaii and i informed them that hawaii was also a state.

then this one girl said "new jersey" and i had a minor breakdown. "new jersey?" i asked, "where is new jersey?" no one knew. i then explained that you could pretty much take a subway train to new jersey from manhattan.

then i asked what country are we at war with. silence. "what country are we at war with? right now? thousands of our troops are over there?" no answer. and i'd like to add that one kid present had a sibling in the army who was about to be sent to iraq. but there was no response. finally i just told them iraq. when asked where iraq was i got answers ranging from canada to europe. and it turns out the phrase "middle east" is completely unknown to them as well.

then i took a deep breath and prayed for patience.

i turned to a girl from africa and said, "Girl from Africa, name a country. any country in the world." she just shrugged. "what country are you from?" i asked her. "africa!" she said proudly. "yes," i said, "you are from the continent of africa, but what country are you from?" then i swear to god she just went blank. and then finally some other kid chimed in and said, "aren't you from zambia?" which she is.

i think you can tell where this is going ... it was all pretty much a huge downward spiral from there. urgh.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

it's hard work being so awesome

poor bolshevik wanted to surprise me so badly, but it really is stressful planning an entire trip without any help. so last night over dinner i was handed an envelope signed and sealed (quite literally) which would reveal the destination of our secret trip. i could've held onto it and never opened it, but really who has that kind of self-control. lo and behold we are going to costa rica! yay! i want to see volcanoes and rain forests and play with monkeys and go on a zip line through the jungle and go sailing and see butterflies and eat ceviche and stay in a treehouse and smell tropical flowers and ....

Friday, November 7, 2008

what have i learned?

1. i have learned never to trust 4th grade teachers. i've been stood up twice now. TWICE! and i easily pulled a couple hundred non-fiction books which i will most likely have to put away myself *gasp* because we no longer have a page.

2. i have learned that we are not going anywhere with large touristy resorts. what constitutes a large touristy resort you ask? i'll tell you:
a. the presence of a waterslide and/or water rides
b. faux regional cuisine intended to give you the illusion you are in a foreign place
c. oversized alcoholic beverages with silly names
d. obnoxious american tourists complaining when something isn't exactly like it is "back home" (then why did you leave your precious home to go on vacation!)

3. i have learned that the capital city in our destination country has a population of less than 6 million. what does that mean? that means we are either going to costa rica, el salvador or guatamala. all places i would be thrilled to go to. yay!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

i hope i didn't ruin the game

i couldn't help it ... i had to ask a more hard-hitting question, even though part of me doesn't want to know the destination of the secret trip. today i learned that the trip will not be to a country which resides in the eastern standard time zone. which means that the only canidates left are mexico, guatemala, el salvador, costa rica, argentina, and possibly the eastern half of venezuela.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

places i am not going

i found out this morning that we will not be in danger of being kidnapped. so rule out colombia. which leaves:
el salvador
costa rica
and maybe bolivia, but i don't think so.

rule out paraguay

it is not mountainous. and although the bolshevik and i disagree on what is a place that will make people go "ooooh, i've always wanted to go there," i think we can safely rule out nicaragua. i'm keeping panama in the running because of their canal.

go vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

halloween update

this halloween was more more successful than last halloween. i had two parties instead of one, so this time i had about 25 kids at a time instead on one party of 60 something kids. at no point did i scream out that i was going to drive to another library and give other kids all their candy. and no one cried. yay! halloween!