••• Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Pump is Outta my Pumpkin.The Go is Outta my Gourd. Part I 

Time is short and brain waves shorter, so I'm resorting, once again, to a two-part post, buckshot style.

1. My Gob
A review: Last spring the district I work for cut two full time positions from our department. Of course, redistributing the collective workload of six people between four people means all of us added additional building assignments to our previous load. My reassignment includes my current spot at the high school, with the addition of one day per week in another building. On paper, the changes for me are not overly dramatic. In fact, I've had higher total caseloads in years past, in just one building. ::Sometimes its quality, not quanity, anyway.::

But. You know how sometimes you run into someone you know, and while you recognize them right off, of course, you also note that something about them is somehow different? It's typically a subtle change, like a newly arched eyebrow or weight loss, or maybe a freshly tatted forehead. Okay, I added that last one to see if you were paying attention.

Anyway. That's kind of how I feel about my job this year. When I first returned from summer break, my job looked the same as it ever did. I attended the usual inservice days. I listened to the usual Blah, Blah, Blah. I reassembled the usual caseload files and related paper work.

It wasn't until I was few days into the first week of school that I realized there was something different about my Job Face. Subtle, maybe. But impossible to ignore.

It's like my Job Face is missing an ear. And its glasses keep falling off. So this year my professional goal will be to find out if duct tape really does fix everything.

2. New Job Jitters (Or, the Things That Scared Me The Most But Shouldn't Have.)
A. The Staff - Not too bad. Taste like chicken.

B. Loo Loo, Skip to My Loo- Years ago I was in this building (my new assignment) for a meeting. While attending this meeting, I had cause to use the staff bathroom that is closest to my new office.

When I entered the bathroom at the time, I was immediately assaulted by the stench of what can only be described as The Aftermath of a Biological Exorcism.

Now, I had to go bad. But not so bad that I would chose death over pissing myself in front of the secretarial pool. In fact, the self-preserving drive to get out of that virtual butthole was so strong, I cared not that the secretaries would witness the tears on my cheeks and my pants still undone, as I exited Satan's vortex.

But this was several years ago. I am older now. More mature. Wise, even. And it us upon those merits that I make this vow to you. I will never, ever again step foot in that bathroom. I will not. I have not. Ever.

I did find another staff bathroom down the hall and around a couple of corners. While not in the most convenient location from my office, it is a nice, airy place; equipped with three regular stalls and a fourth stall. A room, really. Inside this room is a toilet, a sink, a chair and a little round table, complete with cigarette burns. (From days gone by). I have no idea of the purpose for the extra chair. And neither do I care. For I have found Evacuation Nirvana.

After my highly successful (and anonymous) maiden voyage into that wondrous, mystical portal, I almost immediately concluded that things were gonna be okay.


C. Is That a Huge Ball Hanging By a Thread Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
The last person who used my new office was really into Public Service Announcement posters and handouts. Not that that is a bad thing. I think it shows not only professional drive, but a proactive commitment to the population to be served.

Anyway. She took a lot of the stuff she had hanging on the walls, when she left.

One thing she didn't take was this flyer about the dangers of inhalants:

Do you see what I see?

My first day on the job there, I was wildly distracted by this flyer. What the hell is that?

Then I was kind of scared.

See, I'm not sure I'm ready to be that kind of soshel werker. The kind who is not only brave enough to say that the large ball hanging on a string gives her nightmares, but who also has the courage to tell middle school-age clients that she is totally unprepared to answer any questions about that,ummm, thing. Hanging. By a string.

I do share the office with another another soshel werker who services the 7th graders. He has been working in the district for over 35 years. Recently he stopped by the office for a minute, and I brought up the flyer.

"What is that thing?" I asked.
"No idea." he said. "But it scares me."

The revelation by this sage cohort gave me a sudden burst of confidence, as I plucked the hapless, uni-balled wonder from the bulletin board and stuffed him into a drawer.

3. If I Stop to Think About It, It Takes My Breath Away.

Last weekend we celebrated The Cakers' 7th birthday and The College Blob's 22nd. It blows me away, really, how fast it goes.

In my experiences to date, with the aches and pains of aging, I find that the pain is not so much within my joints, as it is in my heart.

Where are you goin' my little one, little one?
Where are you goin' my baby my own?
Turn around and you're two.
Turn around and you're four.
Turn around and you're all grown,
Going out of the door


Just you wait. One day your children will have children and you'll be shocked to realize that grandchildren grow up even faster than your own kids did.
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