Friday, May 30, 2008


I cannot believe I have forgotten to post about this since, the week it happened, it was about the funniest thing I'd heard in a month.

One Fish's teacher was talking to us in the teacher workroom (because you know I'm the kind of mom who can commonly be seen in the teacher workroom). Can't really remember what we were talking about, but somehow we got on space bags. You know the ones. They can take your entire seasonal wardrobe (using the term loosely, here) and condense it into a package the size of a waffle? She lost her home in The Storm in 2005 and was just moving back into her home. She said,

"You know what I hate about those bags?"

"What?!!" I say with great curiosity. There's NOTHING I hate about those bags, so she had my attention.

"When you put the clothes in there and leave them there for a long time, like two and a half years, you know what happens? The bags make the clothes shrink."
(Said with straight face and slightly concerned cock of the head)

Riiiiiiiiight. She also had a bulletin board outside her classroom with student renditions of the Mona Lisa on it. The title was "Our Mona Lisa's" In my head I was thinking "Our Mona Lisa's WHAT? Mona Lisa's cleavage all hanging out? Our Mona Lisa's strange little smile? Our Mona Lisa's looking a little crazy because a 7 year old drew her?" I leaned toward vandalism every time I passed it. But is it really vandalism if you're just protecting young minds from poor punctuation?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Aren't we hopeful?

I am pleased to report that I've gotten four Google hits in the past few days. Keywords? Harvard acceptance, Harvard english, Harvard 2008.

Checkin' them off

Italian feast fandango item prepared (read purchased in a plastic container at the grocery and then replated at home)? Check.

House clean? Don't look in my closet or the laundry room. Other than that- check.

20 burgers grilled, buns and cheese separated for supper swap families? Check. (Left that one off yesterday)

Teacher gifts? I have until tomorrow at noon, right?

Anything to do with VBS (other than the requisite bitching, of course)? Not so much.

No more posting until this works itself out a bit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oops I did it again

Overcommited myself. And as usual I am insisting on doing everything over the top instead of just letting Walmart (or one of the fishies) do it. Let's see how I can simplify the next few days:

Commitment 1
Prepare fried ravioli with marinara sauce and some sort of Italian dessert for One Fish's end of the year "Italian Feast." Although we've already established that she must be so very gifted (or at least in the running for one of the coveted gifted spots for next year), she does not have an Italian language class. Just a regular ol' first grade class. Querries about why it must be an Italian feast instead of just an end of the year hoo-ha must wait until another day. I.Will.Go.Off and I just don't have time for it today. Hmmm. Perhaps pick up a cheese cake at the grocery and apologize to the teacher for agreeing to be over the top with the ravioli? Sounds easier than a fry daddy and homemade cream puffs.

Commitment 2
End of the year teacher gifts. This is a yearly obligation that I always have grand plans for and sometimes actually pull off. I won't even tell you what the plan was for this year because in hindsight (ie- now that I am able to see that there is no way in hell that it can happen between now and Friday) it seems absurd even to me. If you didn't laugh, I'd lose respect for you. Perhaps a terra cotta pot from Walmart with herbs in it?

Commitmet 3
VBS. For all you Protestants out there, you know what I'm talking about and what an undertaking it is. Somehow I got roped into coordinating the teachers for this. I'm supposed to have a meeting with them on Sunday. I bet they'd like me to have something prepared to talk about. But I'm just guessing.

Commitment 4
This is where it gets out of control. I failed to mention in #3(because it's almost too terrible to even speak about) that I also agreed to write the curriculum for said VBS. I can hear you gasping and it's not helping my feeling of overwhelmedness AT ALL. Why don't we purchase curriculum, you ask? Because apparently my church and I have a good bit in common and the church cannot just "buy curriculum." We do a big, huge hairy deal called "Marketplace" and "we" write our own curriculum every year so that it can be just exactly what we want. As long as we want shoddy, short, and theologically questionable, it looks like we're in luck for this year. Since the big hoo-ha starts in a week and a half and exactly a day and a half of curriculum is currently written. If I were Baptist, I'd blame the devil for making the "I'll do it!" come out of my mouth at the meeting where all this was decided. But I'm not, so I'll just have to chalk it up to (very) poor decision making. Most of my friends are Baptist (and good ones at that if you can ignore the wine consumed at my house) and I'd appreciate no comments about how awesome Baptists are. I already know.

Commitment #5
The Scientist is off at one of his "work" events again. He is teaching a class at a nearby college that is not nearby enough for him to commute every day. I actually felt sympathy for him until I discovered that he and his scientist cronies were being put up notsomuch in the dorms I had described to everyone. Nope. They are "roughing it" in a 4 bedroom cottage with amenities. He's driving a car that is not his own which comes with a gas card. His every meal is prepared in the "cafeteria" which is, as it turns out, very different from the college cafeteria I remember from Clemson. This one sounds flat out gourmet. It is a statement about my life that I would really love to spend a weekend in a cottage and eating out of a cafeteria. It sounds like vacation. I'd even dissect a shark if they wanted me to. I wouldn't go "gill netting" though. That involves a boat, which means that for me it involves hours of nausea. I've digressed ...He's coming home tomorrow and I bet he'd really appreciate it if the house is not still in the condition it is in currently. If Clemsongirl lived here she'd come over after the kids were in bed and help me clean if I provided the wine. I do not have a suggestion for how I can alleviate this commitment. No snarky comments about how you'd just let him do it when he got home, please. That is not how this Fish Tank rolls. Besides, I'll think so much better if I can just get things under control a little bit.

I do have more commitments I could list. But they are somewhat petty and all of them- every single solitary one- is on my list because I put it there. Which makes them harder to swallow, don'tcha know? More later. I'm off to find things to do other than write curriculum.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm expecting the Harvard acceptance letter in the mail any day now...

I realize that I have already posted for the day (week), but some things warrant another. Like the elementary school gifted program in our district. Seriously. Ridiculous. My apologies to any readers who invented the program or who gleefully noted in their Christmas letter last year that their child "tested in." All first graders get tested at the end of the year before they enter second grade. So, One Fish had the test last week. For TWO DAYS. "Whew!" The Scientist and I are thinking, "This must be one heck of a gifted program, huh?" Her teacher reported to me on Friday when I went to pick her up that she "passed" the "first portion." Huh? FIRST portion?! There is more than one portion? Oh yes, indeed. I got a call today from the teacher who heads the gifted program. I needed to come up to the school to sign some papers agreeing to more testing. Upon getting up there and signing the paperwork, here is the schedule as it was explained to me:

1) First graders are tested in a paper and pencil test for, yes, TWO DAYS.

2) All students who "pass" (which means missing 10 or less total over two days) are evaluated by their classroom teacher and given scores in areas such as Work Ethic (seriously- first graders?!?), Leadership, Creativity, etc.

3) All students who receive a 90 or better in at least one of the catagories evaluated by their teacher, proceed to the parent conference stage.

4) After their parents agree to testing, the children who have passed to this point are given aptitude tests in math and then, if necessary, reading. You see, they have to "pass" one or the other in order to advance to the next level. If she passes the math portion I'll eat this computer. If she doesn't pass the reading portion I'll know that someone with the reading ability of Red Fish must have given her the test. She reads on a 4th and 5 grade level but still uses her fingers to add one and two. Go figure.

5) Parent conference level numero dos. We sign reams of more papers, agreeing to turn over our child to the state for the good of the state (think Soviet Bloc) if they turn out to be incredibly gifted. Or maybe she said we were just agreeing to more testing. It sounded very serious and now I can't quite remember.

6) Students who "advance" beyond the aptitude tests are given the summer off (presumably to study abroad or spend the summer in Guatamala doing mission work and teaching English) and then return to one more test in the fall. The school's psychometrist (look it up- I'm not even sure if I spelled it right. Nor do I care) gives them an IQ test. Of course it has a fancy name, but really and truly at it's heart it is an IQ test. An intelligence test.

Students who advance to the final level (this is no longer sounds like public education, but a video game), get to be in the gifted program forever and ever. Once in, you can never be kicked out. Sort of like being a Supreme Court Justice, except much, much harder and infinitely more complicated than just getting approval from Congress.

No more posting for now. One Fish just hurt her leg by doing a cartwheel right into the wall. She's obviously gifted.

A few issues and a lot of poop

We have already established that I have issues with overwhelmedness (still a word). Lately, however, I am also having issues with inspiration. Perhaps it is the fact that Two Fish only has a week left of school and I'm sliding into summer mode. Perhaps it is the graduation committee that I'm on for his preschool. This committee involves kumquat trees and lots of meetings and will be addressed later. It could also be that I'm may or may not have offended One Fish's teacher last week in my attempt to offer suggestions that could jostle her class out of mediocrity in a last end of the year push. It could also be that Red Fish has had ear infections which have led to skin outbreaks (I don't understand it either...) and I don't know a mother who could resist obsessing over THAT. It could also be that It Is Time To Go Back To a little bit Of Work. And you know that sort of obsessing takes extreme mental energy. So, perhaps my overwhelmedness is really getting in the way of blog inspiration. In any event, my sister, who richly deserves a fabulous nickname and will get one when said inspiration problems resolve themselves, provided me with a story that is nothing if not blogworthy. So, having no motivation to write about my own life, I'll write about hers.

During a shopping trip last week, she realized in Gymboree that her oldest (JC) was a bit... stinky. Quickly realizing that she had forgotten her diapers in the car and would have to hike aaaaaaaalllllll the way back to the car to get them, she determined to finish using her Gymbucks before leaving. Who can blame her? I do, however,have a problem being sympathetic with her at this part of this story since she lives near a mall that requires one to walk a loooong way to return to one's car AND since she lives near a Gymboree. I have neither. But I digress.

She relates that the saleswomen in Gymboree begin saying things like "ooh my. Someone is a little stinky." She is much nicer than I am because I would have called their little 18 year old selves on it and remarked that JC certainly was and they should use their nanny skills and change her whenever they wanted. But she's a kind and congenial person and did just want to use her freakin' Gymbucks after all and wasn't in the mood for banter. So, she picked out the pieces she wanted, drove several other nose-pinching families from the store, and realized that perhaps the diaper in question was not going to make it back to the car without an implosion.

She hightailed it to the nearest bathroom and discovered gleefully that she had just enough quarters to get a "diaper changing kit" from the dispenser in the restroom. Perfect. She pops those quarters in and... nothing happens. The "kit" is stuck in the machine, just out of reach. She squats on the floor and reaches her hand up into the machine. Nothing. She beats on the machine. Nothing. She enlists JC's help to beat on the machine. This was a somewhat promising tactic until it had to be abandoned due to fears that it was attracting too much outside attention. Apparently being allowed to beat on a public machine was enough to make JC squeal with glee and shout at the top of her lungs "HIT BOX, MOMMY! HIT BOX!!" At a point of desperation, my dear sister (a truly wonderful mother) does what anyone of us should hope we have the wherewithall to do should we ever find ourselves in this situation. She pulled JC over to the machine and jammed her significantly smaller hand up the thing and said "Get the present, sweetie." That sweet little person tried and tried for her chubby hand to get the "present" as her mother wrenched and pulled her arm, trying to get it further into the box. All to no avail. Nothing.

Just when all hope was lost, the package comes flopping down into the receptacle at the bottom! Oh, happy day! Except, the diaper changing "kit" actually turned out to contain only a...diaper. No wipies as promised. No sanitary changing pad as promised. No disposal bag as promised. Just a diaper. By the time she finished changing the child with wet paper towels from the sink, there was poop everywhere that you may imagine it would be after this scenario.

By the time they got home, the little one (three months old) has a situation of her own. My sister (can I just call her TB for the time being?), discovers as she lifts her out of the car that the situation is actually an all-out blowout of epic proportion. JC of course, is a proper two year old and chooses this moment to refuse to get out of the car and annouces that she will be staying to play in the car while her mother takes her sister inside. Since they live on a quiet street and TB was nearing the end of her proverbial rope, she debates trying to drag her from the car while maintaining her at-arms-reach hold on the messy baby. She actually ends up just leaving her in the car (if she had a blog, I'd include the address so that you could send the hate comments directly to her instead of going through me first, but she doesn't. She's too busy with poop to do any blogging). In her defense, I'll say that I have done the same and also live on a very quiet street. There, now the hate comments can rightfully come here.

Anywho, she goes upstairs and finds that the blowout actually includes poop up the back and (get ready for this) down the sleeves of the child's outfit. I really, really hate disgusting blogs and stop reading at most mentions of bathroom habits, but THIS, dear readers, is quite impressive, no? BEsides, it's baby poop and that, in my opinion, is much less gross.

She gets that situation taken care of and debates what to do with the outfit. She determines that since it has now been through two children and The Blowout Of All Time, that she may treat herself by just throwing it away. I think she deserved at least that, don't you? At least she had the foresight to pick up a few things at Gymboree that day.

That's all I've got for today.