Friday, February 15, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

I feel bad for cashiers. At one time in history, their jobs were interesting. Maybe I've watched too much Little House on the Prairie or Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman, but I imagine a time when cashiers talked to people, took their shopping lists, filled parcels with requested goods, and sent them on their way with a, "Have a nice day."

Now? Now cashiers are surly automatons passing literally thousands of items over UPC scanners each day. The don't get to move except for their left arms sliding merchandise past the computer's eye...or their right arm occasionally punching keys into the computer that resembles an old-fashioned cash register (though almost nobody uses cash anymore).

I used to be a cashier. In Northeast Ohio. One of THE unfriendliest places in America, in my opinion. People would scowl...and they didn't have a problem yelling at you if you got their change wrong. I remember being so excited. This job was so much better than the banquet server position I had held the previous two summers. I talked to people as they came through my checkout. And they looked at me as if I had two heads. After awhile, the meanness took its toll and I stopped chatting with my customers. Eventually, I couldn't wait to get out of that job. At least as a banquet server, I could interact with people during happy times (weddings were a lot of fun). I never would have thought of myself as a people person, but my experience as a cashier proved otherwise about me.
I put classical music on while my baby naps because I read somewhere that it's good for their brain development.

I really need to work on getting Sam to like the finer things in He knows who Beethoven was, so maybe I'll start there.
I still get tense when I hear friends are pregnant...especially as their due date approaches. When they go into the hospital I feel like I'm holding my breath until I get good news. I'm not sure I can live the rest of my life like this. I've got to find a better way to cope or I'm not going to be invited to many baby showers. (And nobody better comment that there will be fewer baby showers in my new age bracket or I'll kick them in the teeth.)
I want to drink coffee all day...and wine all night. I think I've got a touch of cabin fever.
Wednesday was a sick day and I "worked from home" yesterday and today. I really think I need to find a new job...or inject some life into this one. I think the longest I've ever stayed at a job is a little over three years, so going on five years is a pretty long stretch for me.
Samuel is bored with Kindergarten. And by his accounts of daily activity, I can guess why. Every day it seems they sit and do "homework" (worksheets). He's bored...plain and simple.

Yesterday they had their Valentine's party and what did they do? Sit at their desks and eat sweets (and talk). There were no entertainment.

I recently discovered that Sam was at, "table group 1," but was moved, "back to table group 2." Table group 1 is apparently much better. Why? Because Liam sits at Table group 1. I asked him, point blank, if he was moved back to table group 2 because he spent too much time talking to Liam and he sheepishly admitted that was the case.

He received his first report card a while back with all "satisfactory" marks...except for music class. I was a bit startled and asked why he "needs improvement" in music class. His answer? "Sometimes I like to dance." I stifled a giggle and asked, "Are you supposed to be dancing?" Nope. But it got me thinking. You aren't supposed to dance in music class. You aren't supposed to dance in music class?!?! WTF?!?!

First grade has got to be better...right? Because I heard something come out of Steve's mouth last night that I NEVER thought I'd hear. "If this doesn't improve, we're going to send him to private school."

I'm a product of public school. I remember public school being fun. I remember in Kindergarten doing a play of Mother Goose rhymes...I was Mother Goose (the narrator). I remember finger painting and growing things in ziploc bags with wet paper towels. I remember my friend, Becky, coming to school in a little red wagon because she had broken her leg. I remember duck duck goose and tag on the playground. I remember "field day" where we got to compete in all kinds of contests of strength and endurance (the three-legged race was my favorite). I remember parties with cupcakes and singing and dancing and puppet shows. Maybe I was just lucky? Maybe it's time to admit that the public school of my memories does not exist for my son.
I love the Allstate commercial that says, "Let's start treating people less like they are in our way...and more like they are in our home." (or something to that effect)
Your life story in six words or less.

A beautiful life despite the sadness.
Obama promises change. And then is endorsed by the Kennedy family. Am I the only one that finds that irony amusing?

As long as I'm talking politics, I'm skeptical about all the claims by all the candidates that they will "fix what's wrong in Washington." If, by that, they mean they are going to actually respect the Constitution and restore the system to some semblance of what it was pre-W, then I'm all for it. But I think maybe they are promising more than they can actually deliver from within the office of the President.
Local candidate - Vandevort

I'm slightly uncomfortable with the similarity to "he who shall not be named."
The only reason I first started collecting unicorns when I was in elementary school was because the girl across the street collected unicorns. My family was thrilled to search for unique unicorn collectibles for me for many years until I asked them to stop. There are several pieces in my collection that are quite beautiful and I treasure them. But I feel like a fraud every time I look at them.


Monica said...

AS a teacher in a public school, I can say that the quality from one public school to the next is very varied. In fact, the quality of one classroom to the next in the SAME SCHOOL varies tremendously. Try asking around the neighborhood about good schools or teachers and try to get Sam in those schools. If that doesn't work, then go private. You have to do what you think is necessary to get him the best education.

I cannot believe she deducted points for dancing!!! But what I love is that he still does it!!

Julia said...

Oh, Catherine. I am so sorry about kindergarten. It's so upsetting to read of Sam's experiences because Monkey's couldn't be more different. She loves school, her one complaint is that it's too short (goes 8am-3:30pm most days), and most of what they do in music class is sing, dance, and keep rhythm with some sort of a percussive device. I've never gone to a private school in my life, and didn't really think we would send Monkey. Saw/heard about a bunch of snooty private schools that made me gag. But this one was so different, and she loves it there, and is learning so much new stuff. I am mad for you and Sam, and so sorry his first school experience is this.

Laura said...

Catherine, do you have Kindermusik in your area? I think Sam would love's a music AND movement class.

Aurelia said...

Yep, there's a reason we went for private. It seems like these days there is so much focus on the three R's in public schools and not so much on anything else.

So sad.

IrishGirl said...

I hear you on the school 5 it should be fun and challenging at the same time. I (sadly) have found that public school teachers aren't always the best. There are a few good ones, but most are NOT happy to be there. As my 3 get older (4th grade to 12th grade)I wish I had cut my losses earlier and pulled them out of public. I guess I just hoped they'd get a better teacher next year...wishful thinking. Let's see, collectively my kids have had 107 (WOW, I've never thought this out!) teachers so far. Here's the thing, we've only had 7 really great teachers between them. I think private school teachers try harder so they can keep their jobs, tenure for public school teachers does nothing to encourage them to do their best.