Saturday, August 14, 2010

School's Starting!

I love this time of year! School starts on Monday. Not only do my own kids go back, but I go back too. This year I'll be teaching 7th and 8th grade. I do not know why I'm so excited. At the end of last year, I walked, almost ran away! It was such a rough year. Some of those kids were real boogers. They were just constantly testing, pushing. The fact that I'm going to have some of them again should not be making me happy. But I am really ready to get back in there and teach and share. This is why summer break is good for teachers. It dulls the pain from the previous year, and allows you to do it all over again!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I was sitting in the front room talking to my mom on the phone while my kids were in the living room watching a DVD of The Brady Brunch. Yes, The Brady Brunch. I found a DVD at the library and wondered if my kids would like it. Oh my gosh, they loved it!. I have to say that I have enjoyed watching it again too. Who wouldn't love The Brady Brunch? Even though they fight and have problems, they always work it out. And Mike and Carol, while not perfect, are pretty amazing parents. But I digress...

While I'm on the phone I hear a loud, prolonged scream from nine year old son. Now, it is not unusual for my kids to have arguments of their own. And when they argue, sometimes they scream. I'm not proud to admit this, but there you are. So, I wasn't too concerned, except at the end of the scream there was a hint of fear. The scream sort of went up in pitch-just a pinch of hysteria. I had heard this very same scream from him a couple of years ago in the winter when I mouse ran over his foot. This was right after we moved in to our house, before I knew that mouse poison had to be a permanent winter time fixture in our house. So, my first thought was that he had seen a mouse.

I went in to the other room, asking him what in the world was the matter. He was all the way in the kitchen, and he pointed at the couch. "There's a spider," he said. I'm thinking, oh, ok, I can deal with this and get back to the conversation on the phone with my mom. I ask him where it is and he points the the edge of the couch. I look, and there is the biggest spider I have ever seen. It was definitely tarantula-sized. I know what a tarantula looks like, because when I was about nine years old, I was one in the latrine at Girl Scout camp. I didn't see it until I was actually on the toilet, looked up and saw it staring down at me. It scarred me for life.

I don't think I can explain how much I hate creepy, crawly, things or varmints of any sort. And seeing that spider took me right back to my childhood. All of the fear and revulsion that I felt at that time came pummeling back to me. My heart started pounding, my hands started sweaing, and I'm sure I was chalky white.

All this time my mom is still on the phone. I tell her in a quavery voice about the spider. Now, she only lives a couple of blocks away. I'm thinking she'll say, "I'll be right there." She is pretty fearless. But, no. She asks how I'm going to scoop it up. Scoop it up? Are you kidding? As far as I'm concerned, it can take up residence on my couch. My son will have to find a new seat. My mom starts telling me to grab a pot and place it over the spider. But the spider is near the crack between the cushions on the seat. There's no way that will work. And I know that spiders jump. Do you think that I want that spider to jump on me? No way. I don't think I could recover.

So my mom asks if I have any bug spray. I tell her irritably that I think I do, and I go out to the garage to find it. All of this time the spider is just relaxing, not moving, as if he's king of my living room. When I get back to the living room the spider is still where I have left it. I take a deep breath of courage, and with my two kids cheering me on I (across the room, mind you) aim and squirt insecticide all over that spider. I pretty much annhilate him with insecticide. The thing is, the spider doesn't move. The only movement is from the force of the spray. I ask my son if he is sure that the spider is alive. He assures me that it is, that he felt it move when he touched it. All of this is just too much for me. I tell my mom that it is still alive and can she come over? She says she will, and when I hang up I hysterically start crying. My kids are amazed. I don't usually cry in front of them. And I'm just sobbing. A spider can reduce me to this. Again, I'm not proud.

When my mom arrives, she scuffles up a pot to scoop it up in. She also is amazed at huge this spider is. She cautiously approaches it. As she scoops it into the pot, it lands with a dull thud. All of us rush over to peer inside. What do we see? A plastic spider. At this point my daughter speaks up. "I didn't think I left that spider in that couch!"