Friday, October 18, 2013

Pepper for Breakfast

I'm feeling pretty moody with blogger.  Last night I wrote a big, beautiful post, but for some reason there were inordinately large spaces in-between paragraphs and I couldn't get rid of them.  So I switched over to HTML.  I successfully deleted most of the spaces, but then accidentally deleted the closing tag for a certain section.  When I hit the "undo" arrow, my ENTIRE post disappeared, along with the "redo" option.  I thought, "No big deal, I'll just go to the previous page before my changes are saved."  But the second I went to back out of the page, it auto-saved my blank blog.  Ughhhh.

Okay, that was a long-winded way of saying I lost yesterday's post (by the way, it's only a "big, beautiful" post because there's no evidence to the contrary).  I'll never recreate it, so that's that.

So new stuff.  Yesterday I was at a training with the rest of my department, when we got the news that there had been an incident at school.  It happened in my friend Jen's class (Niecy's former classroom).  Jen was sitting at the same table with me at the training when she got the news.   A student brought in a pepper bomb, which is basically pepper spray in powder form, compressed into a ball.  He never intended to use it; he just brought it to show his friends.  He had procured it from his dad, who's a correctional officer.  But it accidentally came apart when he was rolling it around on his desk (the sub either didn't see it, or thought it was a red toy ball).  Three girls who were sitting directly next to this student immediately ran out of the room, unable to breathe.  The rest of the class followed soon after.  Eight students were treated by ambulance before being released, and a correspondent from Channel 2 News interviewed our school about the incident.  Poor Jen had to relocate to a different classroom today so that her room could be deep-cleaned and her filters replaced with new ones.  Several kids left their backpacks, and they weren't even allowed to retrieve them.  RMS Cafe was supposed to be held in Jen's room this morning, but it was relocated to Naomi's room (my other language arts colleague/friend).  In addition to the usual splay of donuts, fruit, and coffee, Naomi supplied a plate of...peppers.  

One thing that stands out in my mind was a few hours before the incident, Jen was expressing her nervousness over having a sub in her classroom for two days.  But then she comforted herself by saying, "I have really good kids this year, so I really have nothing to worry about."  That right there is why I'm a strong advocate of KNOCKING ON WOOD.

Clint's schedule is brutal this month.  He's driving a train from Needles, CA, to Winslow, AZ, so he's gone for six days at a time.  Poor guy; he comes home with enough time to mow the lawn and repair things that need to be repaired, and then he's gone again.  And there is always something that needs to be repaired.  I swear this house very calculatingly waits for him to leave, and then decides to dump problems on me.  Like the smoke detectors that went all manic a few weeks ago.  Or the ice-maker last week, which would do nothing but growl every time I pushed the button, but then the second I opened the freezer, ice would explode on me.  On the plus side, I was showered with the specific ice I had requested, whether it was cubed or crushed.  So ten points for accuracy there.  Now our latest problem is the voltage on our electric fence around the petting zoo...it's too high.  I'm not sure what changed...maybe the fact that the ground has been moister than usual lately?  But on top of zapping two sparrows, the fence fried one of our hens.  Now I have more unfortunate critters to add to the ever-growing Why You Don't Want to be a Bird in Our House list.  So Clint will have to tweak that on Monday, plus get rid of the dead chicken that no one wants to touch.  Thankfully by next week he should be back to shorter routes, where he is gone for only 2-3 days at a time.

Clint's parents are taking the kids to an insect fair tomorrow.  Trin is all sorts of excited because there are supposed to be a few entomologist there from UCR, and she plans to pick their brains about the world of entomology.  Right now she's torn about what she wants to be when she grows up; either an entomologist or an aviary veterinarian.  The aviary vet idea has me laughing my head off.  How great would it be for a child whose family has a history of unwittingly massacring winged creatures to become a veterinarian of BIRDS?

Teri invited me to go along to the insect fair with them, to which I gave her a very polite hell no.  With Clint gone all the time, I'm saturated with kids 24/7.  The thought of some peace and quiet (aka: uninterrupted writing time) sounds like pure bliss.  I'm hoping to go to Starbucks tomorrow and make my word-meter bar grow.

Oh, I wrote a vignette (exactly 500 words in length) on my other blog, but I'm not crazy about it.  It was in response to another end-of-the-world-type writing prompt that one of my twitter followers mentioned me in.  I love creating short stories...they make for fun little interludes between chapter revisions.  But for some reason I only like to write them when I get a prompt of some kind.  Same for painting--I like being given some direction, like "paint an angel or paint a willow tree"--I feel too aimless if I'm just supposed to "paint".  Anyway, I failed a little on this one.  500 words was too shrimpy of a word count for me to flesh the exposition out, or to get the reader to care about the character or her plight.  I guess this highlights my shortcomings as a writer.  Although Apathetics is a flash fiction of sorts, and I managed to pull that one off in 440-some words.  So I don't know.  Maybe the repetitiveness of the topic was a problem too.  I do love the concept of vignettes--and flash fiction--so I might look for some more prompts here and there when I'm feeling ready to take breaks from DoT.