At what point does a day become a bad day or a good day? Are we always keeping a tally in our minds, weighing the incremental evidence until it’s clear the scales have tipped too far to be balanced? Or do we give up hope early at the first sign of trouble and jump over to the dark side, eliminating the chance of finding any joy to save us?
Tuesday morning. Better than Monday, no doubt, and I didn’t have to put Free on the bus, which meant I could let her sleep an extra 45 minutes and could be late to work because I didn’t have a first-block class. I was being observed second period by the principal, but I had gotten a lucky break on my way out of school yesterday and seen my name listed on his calendar, so at least I had a heads up that he’d be dropping in. Not that I had done any extra planning, but I did break out a dress for the (drumroll please) second time this winter.
I was feeling pretty good about the dress until Free asked me casually in the car why I was wearing long-johns.
“They’re tights! Because I’m cold! You wear tights all the time! Why do you think they’re long-johns!”
A solid reaction. Not defensive at all.
She shrugged, noting the color (white) and the “writing” (pattern in the wool). I let it go. Still a good morning; hope was in the air along with the light and the forecast for 40 degrees in the afternoon. (I must remind myself in July that sometimes, 40 degrees is a good forecast.)
In my second block class, the principal showed up late, after my fancy powerpoint and just in time for my very boring, teacher-centered lecture, which I nervously made worse with the decision to have every pair share a thought, which I wrote on the board. (I have awful handwriting, and there wasn’t that much to say about the question I’d asked.) The most boring half-hour ever; I think I even bored myself.
So glad he came and saw and took notes.
In my third block class, it took me ten minutes to settle my seniors down (to take their unassigned seats because, let’s be straight, I have no control over them and sometimes just don’t have the energy to tell them, again, to sit where they’re supposed to). After getting them ready to present their projects, three of them in the corner jumped out of their seats, covering their noses and gesticulating wildly.
Sigh. It is not unfamiliar, unfortunately, to have bad smells erupt in class, so I gave them the stink-eye (version #63, which clearly states “here are your choices: ignore the smell, which is entirely possible as I am clearly doing it, and sit back down or I will kill you”). When the stink-eye didn’t work, I considered throwing the kids out, but it fast became clear that this was not a case of someone having an embarrassing personal problem. No, one of my kids, the goofy one who drives me crazy but still manages to be totally likeable, had accidentally set off the stinkbomb he had stowed in his backpack, probably for a planned senior prank elsewhere on campus. I watched as it dawned on him what had happened, and I told him to take it out, out, out as fast as he could.
It wasn’t fast enough, and it infected the classroom next to us as well as the entire library adjacent to us. Sigh.
The stinkbomb incident was followed by my department chair yelling (literally, yelling) at me across the hallway as I proceeded to my study hall. I was so struck by her tone (was someone dying? had the stinkbomb travelled downstairs to her office? was my dress tucked into my long-johns, exposing the blue underwear underneath my white tights?) that I almost dropped my laptop (for what would have been the fourth time this year).
Fear not, gentle reader. It was none of those things. The horror (!) was that I had not submitted my grades yet (deadline yesterday, but real deadline tomorrow). Translation for those of you who don’t know about the first pass/second pass of sending grades: I had decided it was stupid to send in my “fake” grades because no-one, NOT ONE SINGLE TEACHER, ever has their grades finalized by the first pass, so why bother?
Well, now I know why.
Now, some might think that these things would tilt the scale toward “bad.”
But here’s how it turned around:
We tried out a new gymnastics place for Free after school. She panicked and fretted in the car, worrying that the test class would reveal her to be inadequate in hundreds of ways and they would make her work out with the “babies.” I tried to calm her for a while but then gave up and just let her rant. As it turns out, the coach was so impressed that he advised I skip the “pre-team” class I was interested in and sign her onto the Jr. Olympic training program. I don’t think I’ll be doing that, but it did make this mama feel pretty proud.
While Free was sweating it out with the gymnasts, I went to my gym and ran a 5k PR for the year on the treadmill. I’m inching my way closer to my goal, and I’m determined to make it this year. Woo-hoo!
Now I’m home and heading to bed to start it all over tomorrow. Every day we run a counter, I guess, and for me, today the good outweighed the bad. I don’t even mind that I now have a stinkbomb story to tell. And those projects the kids presented? Pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself.
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