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Home > Archive: March, 2005

Archive for March, 2005

36 days to go

April 1st, 2005 at 03:08 am

Today was better, mainly because the kids had two classes with another teacher - music. Both of the music classes are now consolidated into one day. Makes for a fairly short Thusday for me. Yay!

The Money Jar was filled today. So tomorrow we'll decide what we're going to do - a field trip or a party. I'm kind of hoping more for a party. I also told the kids that if they wanted a gripper (pencil holding thing that sticks to their desk) that they would need to giv me $.25 each by Monday. They cost $.50 for a set of 3. I already had 3 kids give me a quarter for it. Maybe they'll take better care of them if they bought it themselves. Probably not though.

After school I stopped by my apartment manager's office to drop off the rent check. But I guess they have switched management companies. The new management company is in Rockwall, so there'll be no dropping off a check there. I hope they get my check in time before charging me late fees or something. I'll really miss seeing Mercedes every month, or sometimes more often when dealing with maintance stuff.

When I got home, I found my dad snoring away on the lazy boy. He woke up after about an hour, and then told me about the very hard night and day he'd had. I really do feel sorry for him, and I do think that he's being treated harsher than necessary, but . . . he did bring it on himself.

One thing I'm finding about sharing my space with someone else on a more long-term basis, is that I really am set in my ways. It's very disconcerting to come home and not be able to just kick up my feet and do whatever, or to feel obligated to chat for a little bit. It's really making me wonder if I ever do get into another relationship, if I'd really be able to do it. If I'm just too set in my ways - being able to do my own thing without having to think or check with anyone else. I really don't like these thoughts.

Finally had a no spending day - on the last day of March none the less.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

How much longer?

March 31st, 2005 at 02:40 am

I am so tired of my job. Yes, I love my kids. Each one of them is special to me. BUT after a day like today, with some of them behaving the way they were, it's all I can do to NOT just say "The H with it!" and walk out the door. Most of it was just generally not behaving -- but the crux of it was M at lunchtime. He INSISTED that he had hot lunch today, but then he did admit that his mom had sent him a lunch. When I told him that he needed to eat the lunch his mom sent him, he went into a 5 or 6 minute crying rag which only ended when I handed him the phone with his mom on the line. We get out to the lunch room, and I ask the lunch ladies if he had hot lunch -NOPE! Of course he's still insisting that he did, and that teacher's shouldn't force kids to eat food (whatever kid!)

It sure didn't help that I didn't get a very good nights sleep last night. Not really sure why, cause I went to bed at a decent hour, and think I went to sleep fairly quickly. But all day I just was feeling out of sorts. Of course M started in on his shenanigans the mOMENT he walked in the door this morning.

Oh the Earth project went off fairly well today. It kinda got pushed to the end of the day, which ate up our usual clean up time, but the kids were pretty enthused about it, which was good.

I used my free gas card today -I actualy have $1.24 left on it, which is actually kind of an annoying amount. But it was free gas, so I shouldn't complain too much. Smile

Lost tonight was just SO awesome! I had missed it so much these past couple of weeks. I can't wait till Septemeber when it comes out on DVD. Smile

Oh! The Spring Fling has been canceled for this coming Sunday. Apparentally I was the only teacher who had any parents willing to bring things or to help out with the games. Oh well, I really wasn't looking forward to losing my Sunday afternoon anyway. Maybe I can take in a movie at the $1 theatre instead. Smile

I'm off to keep reading this great book I started yesterday - "Otherwise Engaged" by Ellen Goudge. It's about these two friends who switch places for six months to see if the "other side really is greener". So far, so great. Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Another Long Day - Parent Teacher Conferences

March 30th, 2005 at 03:21 am

My work day started at 7am this morning, and ended at 6 p.m. The day overall went much much better than yesterday. M behaved better, and little Miss Priss didn't throw any hissy fits. I met with all but three of my parents. One child's parents didn't come for their appointment, another child wasn't even there today, and the third child is the new boy. All the conferences were positive. I told two of the parents that I wasn't coming back next year. I would have told the others, but their kids were in the room with us. Both parents were pretty dissapointed. M's mom was one of them. She actually told me that she was feeling depressed hearing that and asked me several times if there were any chance of me changing my mind. I told her there wasn't.

I actually got into way too much detail with M's mom about my reasons. I tried to just leave it at, "I'm looking for a change, something different." but she wouldn't have it. I hated to say too much, because she is a new church member, and a large part of my decision was seeing the major hypocrasy(sp?) of some high-up church leaders. I really really hope that I didn't say too much. I mentioned to her about whether she'd had M tested for ADD/HD and she told me that her peditrician had suggested it, but had also suggested that she get tested - which greatly offended her. I mentioned to her that research does show that ADD tends to be genetic, and that a lot of people that have it, tend to be the MOST intelligent people, just with a focus problem. She said that maybe she'd get him tested this summer, but wasn't willing to medicate him. I told her that there were other ways of dealing with it other than meds, but at least having the diagnoisis gives you a starting point. Really, all in all, it was a very good meeting (which lasted nearly 1 1/2 hours!)

Between appointments I got all caught up on my grading. Then I called my doctor to get my test results (from several weeks ago - we've been playing phone tag.) I finally got ahold of the nurse. She told me all my results were normal, except for my TSH (thyroid) was low. So, she called in a prescription for Synthroid (which I've had before). She also told me that my cholestroal (sp?) level was 203, but that the good stuff was very high, and the bad stuff was at least 20pts below the target level. So, I guess all the oatmeal and fiber I eat has been doing something good. Smile

My dad was still here when I got home which surprised me. He hadn't had a very good night. I told him to think of it as one night down, and 179 to go. He also told me he'd talked to my mom today. Apparentally she's claiming that she isn't engaged - though they've already set a tentative date, and have attended a pre-wedding seminar. Ummm yeah. He also told me that the check Ryan cashed and used to buy new skis, which mom had given him, had actually been intended for Ryan to pay back the people who bought his plane ticket here a few weeks ago. She'd even put it in the memo line (which dad saw in black and white.) That's not quite the story Ryan gave me when I talked to him last. He told me that mom had given him this check, and had insisted on gving it to him. So he finally took it, and cashed it, and used it to buy skis. Oh brother! (In both senses!)

Oh, the last parents I talked to today said that they have some orange and maybe yellow playdoh that I could have. I have enough blue playdoh (crust) and red playdoh (inner core) but I don't have any orange(mantle) or yellow (outer core). I really didn't feel like going to Wal-mart and buying $30+ of playdoh, just to get enough of the two colors I need. This is all for a project we're doing tomorrow (maybe) where we make a model of the planet Earth, and then cut it in half to see the different layers. This is one project that my kids from three years ago who are now in 3rd grade still remember. Smile

Spending Log:
Wal-greens: $17.37 (scrip + Easter Candy sales)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Long Day - headache

March 29th, 2005 at 02:37 am

Let me sum up my day:
1. New student is not there when school starts.
2. Withn five minutes of M entering the room, I'm ready to scream bloody murder.
3. Kids finally settled down and working. New boy shows up.
4. Cell Phone on the blitz and won't let me make any calls.
5. Major headache starts after lunch and still hasn't let up.
6. Miss Prima Donna throws not one, not two, not three, but at least four major hissy fits today.
7. I'm told I can't participate in a Market Study for first grade teachers because I don't work in a public school - would have paid me $100!!
8. After driving around endlessly trying to find the Cingular building, I find it. Salesman gives me a replacement battery free of charge to see if that solves the problem. Yay!

Am very tired. My head is killing me. And tomorrow is Parent/Teacher conferences - most people signed up before four o'clock, but ONE person signed up for 5:30! Wah! Woe is me. Though I do have to say I have it better than my friend Tammy did today, she had the pre-k and her class all by herself, since the pre-k teacher decided that the thing about not calling in sick unless you have a doctor's note didn't apply to her.

Ok. Am going to bed. NOT looking forward to tomorrow.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,


March 28th, 2005 at 02:33 am

I had very little sleep last night. My back and my stomach were hurting me so much, that not even a heating pad helped that much. Then the neighbor's dogs also decided to do a bark off in the middle of the night. Then my cat decided that he wanted to be fed NOW way earlier than usual, and didn't let up till I finally got up and fed him. Ugh! I am so tired!

As I was leaving to go to the grocery store, my dad arrived. So we went to the store together. I was only $30 away from getting the $.10/gallon discount, so I decided to go ahead and get that much, using coupons of course. Smile I ended up adding a Brita Filter because mine was on it's last dregs, so actualy ended up buying $80 worth of stuff for $49.xx .

Dad had brought quite a bit of stuff. I wasn't quite sure how he was going to get it all arranged downstairs, but he did manage to do that. By the time we'd gotten back from the store and gotten his stuff taken in, it was getting pretty late in the afternoon. So my dad offered to do my laundry at the laundromat, while I went to the school and got my lesson plans done. I thought that was so sweet of him. Smile

We ended up getting back at the same time because I was just too tired to do much more than the bare minimum. I then ran over to the grocery store again and got three dollars worth of pennies for the Penny Jar. Then I got back home and made up four burrito's for lunches this week. I had some refried beans left, so I made two soft tacos with it. Then I made spaghetti for supper. Dad helped me clean up the kitchen.

I am so tired!! Tonight I watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and am now watching Desperate Housewives. Then I'm going to watch the new show "Grey's Anatomy". I think that was the name of a movie about medical students. I hope it's interesting.

Tuesday is Parent/Teacher conferences. I haven't done the report cards for it yet. Will have to stay after school tomorrow to get them finished and get the graded papers ready to be sent home.

K, going to sign off now.

Spending Log:
Kroger's: $49.xx
Albertsons: $3.00 (pennies)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Squee!! Little House!!!

March 27th, 2005 at 03:15 am

I was estatic tonight when I checked the TV schedule and saw that the Little House on the Praire mini-series was starting tonight. I can't tell you how much I love Little House. My mom even named me after Laura - she and I both share brown hair and blue eyes. Smile I knew there was a new mini-series coming out soon, but didn't know when. Wow! I am so happy that I checked the TV schdeule tonight. It'll be on for the next 3 or 4 Saturday nights. Smile Smile Smile It was pretty good. I just loved it when Edwards showed up near the end - although I was just waiting for him to break out in "Old Man Tucker". I'm in high heaven!

I seriously debated about either calling or emailing my ex-bf and telling him about the Little House mini-series. He also really loves everything Little House. But I figured an email wouldn't get to him in time, and a phone call right now would be pretty awkward, so I decided not to. Yeah, he's doing that thing of taking forever to reply again. Wonder if it'll be three months again. Humpf!!

Last night I stayed up till nearly 3am reading (finishing the John Grisham book) and then I slept in till 10am. Then my friend Susie called me to remind me about the radio event we were going to. It was raining pretty much ever since Friday evening, but my umbrella was in my classroom. So anyway, she comes and picks me up about 11:30.

The radio event was really awesome. Deliilah (sp?) was there giving away free books and CD's and signing them. Yay! I listen to her program quite often in the evening. There were a lot of other booths giving away free stuff too. Then there were two guys who spoke about saving and investing money. They were pretty good, but it wasn't anything I didn't already know. Then there were the "Dueling Chefs." They made Creme' Bule' (sp?) and Ganche(sp?). Everyone got a sample of the Creme' Bule' - it was very very good. Next they had some ladies present their line of clothing which could be mixed and matched. Great idea, except that I wouldn't wear most of the patterns they had, and it would have been WAY expensive. They said that it averaged out to about $45 a look, and that there were about 250 different possible looks. The next presenter was this lady from the YMCA who did a mini-Pilate's class. That was pretty good. The last speaker was Delialah. She was really good and funny. She spoke about her kids and she spoke about a new project she started a few years ago in Ghana, Africa in a refuge camp.
It really was a nice way to spend the afternoon, and all for free. Smile

When I got home I was really really hungry because I hadn't really eaten anything all day. I was majorly craving a Schlotsky's sandwich. So I stopped at Kroger's and got a few groceries (and picked up some more Morningstar, they were still on a good sale) then got my Schlotsky's sandwich to go. Mmm mmm good (although pretty expensive!).

I finally did a majorly needed trash run tonight, and ran the dishwasher so I have some dishes to eat on again. Smile My dad is coming sometime tomorrow. I probably ought to call Grandma and find out when he left and if he has a phone. I wonder if Ryan told him about Mom getting married again. I wonder how long it will take him to find a place to live (other than here). I did some more searching last night and found a few more possibilities - even a few rental houses.

My Easter Sunday is going to mainly consist of doing laundry and lesson plans and getting ready for my new little boy.
Ok, now I think I'll be off to read my new book I got for free today. Smile

Spending Log:
Schlotsky's: $6.29 (sandwich)
Kroger's: $21.30

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

5 years? And money ponderings.

March 26th, 2005 at 01:16 am

In today's mail I got a letter from TRS (Teacher Retirement System). It mentioned that it had been five years since I had last made a contribution, and that my account is going to be deactivated (i.e. stop earning interest). I knew it had been five years since I'd worked in the Public School system, but seeing it in print kind of made me go, "Wow! It's been 5 years since I escaped from there?" That's somewhat annoying that they're not going to pay interest anymore. I made about $50 a quarter in interest with them, which is a whole lot better than what I've gotten from this IRA I started six years ago. I only have about $1150 in TRS. I now have to decide if I'm going to take it out in cash, which would mean that 20% would be held back for income taxes, and that I would also pay another 10% of it for fines for taking it out before I'm 59. OR I could roll it over somehow into an IRA or into my current employer's 403b plan, and not pay taxes on it in the current year. 20% would be ~$230, plus the 10% IRS fine of ~$115, which is a total of ~$345. That would leave me with a net of ~$805, which would be about $200 less than I contribuited initially.

The other piece of mail I got was from BofA about my IRA with them. Let's just say that this past year I LOST money with this IRA. It is some kind of an IRA that renews every two years. Mine is coming up for renewal 4/12. I'm really not sure what my options are, but I'd really like to get that money somewhere where it is actually earning interest for me, and not LOSING money for me!! The way it LOST money for me was this - it earned $19 in interest this past quarter - they charged some sort of fees of $32!!!!

So, I'm wondering if there is a way I could get both of these paltry amounts rolled over into ONE new IRA that actually pays a GOOD interest rate (not 1.15% !!!!) I'm just not exactly sure what kind of IRA it is that I have with BofA. I would dearly LOVE to take ALL my business AWAY from them. If I could roll over BOTH of those accounts into my 403b plan, that would be great, because that money has actually been growing pretty well for me - I've done pretty well picking stocks to buy. But then, I worry about having all my retirement monies in one place (VALIC) . AND I worry about what's going to happen to that account after I have quit teaching. I am already fully vested, so I know I'll get whatever money is in there when I retire, but with the way my employer's have messed around with other people, I just wouldn't put anything past them.

What I'd really love to do would be to stick both of those accounts into an ING 5-yr CD - that would earn more interest than that money has in the last six.

School was okay today. Not quite as an easy day as yesterday. A couple of my boys decided to goof off a bit, and some of my girls were having trouble getting along. But . . . I had the kids share some of their writing from the past week. Everyone who shared had some great writing. But .. . my second grade boy had written a second installment on his SuperBaby story about his baby brother. It was hilarious, and it was really, really, well written. I just cringe when I hear the difference between my second grader's writing, and my first grader's. Last year I was able to spend SO much more time with my kids developing their writing. But, then again, some of it may just be the year's difference too. I have no qualms whatsoever about sending ANY of my 2nd graders on to 3rd grade. But, I do have some major worries about sending some of my first graders on to second grade. I'm not going to hold any of them back, because none of them are THAT far behind. But I really do worry about a few of them really struggling in 2nd next year.

After school today I was going to go buy a book at the Teacher Store. This is a book that I KNOW I owned at one point, and it's not something I would have parted with easily. But, I have not been able to find it anywhere. This past week, I have been making up my own versions of the activities (as much as I can remember) but it's a major PAIN. The Teacher Store didn't have it though. Frown So, I ordered it from Amazon (it was the cheapest I could find). I hate buying any teacher stuff this late in the year, when I'm going to have to turn around and end up either giving it away or selling it for pennies on the dollar in 8 weeks. But, sometimes you just have to have a convenience.

Well, I'm wanting to finish reading "The Broker" by John Grisham. I started reading it last night, and had to finally force myself to put it down at 1 a.m. so I could have a few hours of sleep to teach on. It is SO good! I absolutely LURVE John Grisham!! I saw also that it is a "non-renewable" book, which means that I have to have it back to the library by the 13th or else pay fines. I think I'll probably take it back tomorrow. Smile Make the next person on the hold list VERY happy. Smile

Spending Log:
Amazon. com: $14.99 (book + standard shipping)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

13????? No!!!!!!!!

March 25th, 2005 at 03:13 am

I know there are many many teachers out there with this same age group who teach a much larger class than I do, and may wonder what I am whining about. I've taught in a classroom with 25 students before, so, yes, I do know what it's like. The largest only first grade class I've taught had 17 kids in it (in a very nice size room). The classroom I am in now is about as big as an oversized kitchen - in other words, NOT very big at all. I use tables for my kids to sit at. I have three tables that pretty much take up most of the available space in the room, and sit four comfortably. Up until a little bit before Spring Break, I had 11 kids, which left one empty spot. Then I had a new boy added (who is a great kid) which gave me 12. About that time I ordered the books for their end of year gifts from Scholastic - got 12. My second graders are almost finished with their Phonics book (maybe 10 pages left). They are 3/4 finished with their Reading book/skillpak. They only have about 3 chapters left in their Math book.
Oh yeah, --- How am I going to come up with enough materials to make another OTTER book???

Why am I saying all this?? Well, today when my kids came back from Choir, they brought a visitor with them, along with this visitor's Mom. Apparentally she had brought her son for a "visit" without informing ME or our secretary or our principal. It takes a few minutes generally to get the kids calmed down after Choir. Now add to the equation a strange little boy who's been announced to the kids as a "new student". Especially add to it the fact that he is in SECOND GRADE and previously there was only ONE second grade boy. I really didn't know what to do with him. His mom just kind of left him in the room with me, after saying that he would be starting Monday. From the little bit of time I was able to spend with him, he seems like a well-mannered enough little boy, and maybe a bit on the shy side. But . . . . all the time he is there, I'm thinking . . "WHERE am I going to put him!!!!?????" HOW am I going to get another copy of the books I got for my kids (without having to spend money of course!)?
"There's only 8 weeks left of the school year, WHY would you move a kid to a new school NOW???" ARGHHHH!!!! Just kill me now! (Ok, no, really don't do that. I only have to get through another 40 days of this.)

Up until the little boy entering our arena, my day was almost blissfully easy. Ahh. The difference one child can make. I was kind of surprised though to hear a number of the students actually saying that they MISSED my little whirlwind known as M.

After school I took Monkey to the vet for the recheck on his teeth. The vet said that his teeth looked great. Then she gave me this oral dental cat medicine called "Orro Vet" that I'm supposed to apply once a week. It annoyed me a bit because I wasn't planning on spending anything today. It's a 16 week supply, so I guess it's fairly economical, but still . . . !

When I got Monkey home from the vet, I did something majorly stupid. He didn't want to go back into his carrying kennal, so I decided just to carry him out in my arms. This is something I've done many, many times before, and have had no problems. For some reason though, I decide that I should lock my car up BEFORE taking him inside. The thing about my car is, in order to lock it completely, you have to hold the door handle up while at the same time pushing on the lock. Well, apparentally the angle I was holding him at when I locked and shut the door was a POOR one. His tail got caught in the door!!! Oh my poor poor kitty! Understandably, he was yowling in pain and rage. As I was scrambling to get the door unlocked and reopened, he was striking out at me (again, understandably) and I ended up getting bit on my hand, having several new holes put in my shirt, and some not so good scratches on my arm. I felt just so horrible! I think he has forgiven me. I think he knows that I would never intentionally hurt him, just as I know that his striking out at me like that was totally out of character.

I got a call from Ryan last night. Apparentally he had gotten the information from Mom about her getting married. He sounded more shocked than I even was. He said that he was probably going to give Dad a heads up about it. I wonder how that went. :roll eyes:

Ok. It's time for me to relax with ER.

Spending Log:
Vet: $24.95

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,