The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Sloppy Mess

This phrase could be used to describe so many things in my life right now. I thought it an appropriate title for tonight's blog based on my dinner experience.

What do you get when you cross sloppy joes and an OCD preschooler?  A dinner table battlezone. We have had few battles lately. Ever since we overcame this battle last summer, it usually only takes a brief reminder to get Vinny get back on track... but sloppy joes were just more than he could handle.

We order our groceries from a food co-op called Angel Food. It is not like a food pantry for those who cannot afford food or anything like that. It is not donated- it is all purchased. Basically, the organization buys the food in bulk and puts together boxes with a variety of items for a great price. The prices are a fraction of the cost of buying groceries in the supermarket because they don't have to pay overhead or advertising or whatnot. You get to preview what's in the box before you order, and it is usually a pretty good mix. Anyway, this month's box came with frozen premade sloppy joe mix, like with the beef already in it and everything. It has been a LONG week and I have had rehearsals until the very last minute that I can be at school, picking Tiana up at exactly the deadline every day, so easy needed to happen, and sloppy joes was it.

Vinny is a neat freak. He freaks out if you put a book back in the wrong place on the shelf, or if you leave something on the floor in his room. He gets disgusted at peanut shells on the ground at Dodger games. He HATES being dirty and washes his hands constantly. The thought of eating something with even the name "sloppy" made him crazy. He would freak out each time the filling squeezed through the bun. I finally even sympathized and offered to hold it for him so he could just eat it, but by then he had already declared, "I don't liker SLOPPIES!" It took the promise of homemade chocolate cookies for dessert (break and bake- also from the co-op box) to finally coerce him to eat it, as long as I offered to cut it in half. Oy... Vinny is totally OCD- basically, the complete opposite of me.

I was identified gifted as a child. I say this not to blow my own horn, but to explain something about me. As most teachers will certainly be able to confirm, gifted students are some of the messiest. Not at all of them, but many of them. They are too busy focusing on the big picture to worry about minute details like neatness. This is one of my worst traits, I must admit. My desk is a perpetual mesk. If it is not digital, I probably don't know where it is. Life becoming more and more digital does wonders for me.  My handwriting is a disaster. And to be honest... sometimes, so is my life. Like right now.

There is too much on my plate, and everything is falling through the cracks. I am CRAZY behind on paperwork. We are in the tech rehearsal stage of production for this semester's show. About 25% of the cast is just lacking commitment and making me crazy. I am trying to stay strong and pull through for the other awesome 75%, but it is just getting hard.

It is also really, really not helping that I have been in pretty much constant pain since last Tuesday. I got a filling done and ended up with a blocked salivary gland. Apparently, it is not anything the dentist did wrong- just some freak reaction. It got infected Sunday, and I went to the emergency room because I could not handle the pain any more. I am on antibiotics and I think the infection itself is starting to go away, but I still have this ball in my cheek that is the blocked gland and it is very painful. My whole cheek is bruised. They gave me painkillers to help, but they kind of make me feel like I am floating through the day. This would be an okay thing if I didn't have so darn much to do right now. I just can't focus.

I should be grading papers, but I don't think I can handle that right now. Maybe I will just go to bed. Ugh.

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