Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sickie wickie

Well it has finally happened.
After 3 years of being the picture of health I have managed to come down with a cold. A nasty sore-throat,runny-nose,plugged-ears, chills, feels-like-my-head-is-going-to-explode cold.

This cold conveniently descended upon me last night, on the eve of my scheduled day off which I had foolishly agreed to give up so my boss could take the day off instead (*cough...brown nose....cough*).
I also had a dentist appointment this morning to replace a cracked filling, and I have my period, both of which added to the misery of having to yank myself out of bed this morning.

While the dentist put in a temporary filling and gave me the bad news that the tooth needs a crown and possibly a root canal (ka-ching$), in my sick-induced-fog I managed to make another appointment for next week and head off to work, completely forgetting that I was supposed to stay at the dentist for an 11 a.m. cleaning.
While I was so looking forward to having my gums scraped with sharp pointy instruments, I can't say that I'm sorry I didn't add to my ears-nose-and-throat misery by throwing my sensitive teeth and bleeding gums into the pain pile.

I re-scheduled the cleaning for next week right after the crown fitting/root canal.
By then I hope to be over my cold, over my period, and lucid enough to say "no" to all attempts to relieve me of my day off.

Let's put it this way, I felt so crappy today I didn't even feel like opening boxes and shelving books.
I must be running a fever.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sox it to me

My SO and I are kicking back and watching the Red Sox tonight in game three of the World Series.
The Sox are my adopted team since the NY Mets went into a nose dive and decided they'd rather be playing golf in October than baseball.

The ability to adopt teams is one of the good things about being a transplanted New Yorker in western CT. When my home team loses (Mets/Jets) I have the Sox and the Pats to fall back on...and they actually win.
I like having options.
It's kind of like the TV selection in western CT... we get two versions of each network - we get the CT CBS/NBC/ABC and the NY CBS/NBC/ABC. It's great. If we don't like the football game on the NY CBS we switch to the CT CBS and get a different game. If the NY NBC preempts the Ellen Show for a Bush press conference (ack!) I can watch Ellen later in the day on the CT NBC. If the CT CBS decides that a cat stuck in a tree in downtown Hartford is worthy of having a "film-at-11" news ticker running continuously across the bottom of the screen during C.S.I, then we can switch over to the NY CBS and enjoy the show in peace.
Having options is a beautiful thing.

Of course the best thing about rooting for the Boston Red Sox as a NY Mets fan?
Reveling in our common hatred of the NY Yankees.

Go Sox!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kitten therapy

This is Sophie.
She has won 82% of her battles on KittenWar.com

This morning I have to go grocery shopping, clean up some cat poop in the dining room, fill two vacancies on the Sunday School schedule, and make a dentist appointment.

I'd rather sit here and look at Sophie.

Readers: feel free to forget about whatever is weighing down your mind and stare at Sophie for awhile...works like a charm!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Falling Forward

Today is one of those windy, grey fall days that just screams "October."
The temperatures have yet to fall to fall levels (still low 70's) but the leaves are starting to disappear leaving behind those mournfully bare branches that will be with us until next April. Sigh......
Why isn't there any Halloween candy in this house yet?
I need a Twix fix.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday School Shenanigans

I’ve managed to make it through my third Sunday of teaching Sunday School this fall and I think I’m finally starting to realize that trying to rectify what I expect to happen in class and what actually happens is futile. It’s like forcing Felix Unger and Oscar Madison to set up house together. While the former approaches the situation with an orderly, and well-thought out plan, the latter is determined to obliterate all sense of order under a pile of dirty laundry and empty pizza boxes.
My lesson plan may say “The children will now join hands in prayer” but what it should say is “The children will now drag all of the chairs into the center of the room and try and make a fort.”

My grand plan for this year was to separate our single all-age class into two age groups.
The idea was to keep the rambunctious youngsters from distracting the older kids, and allow the rambunctious youngsters to experience a curriculum that wasn’t over their heads and thus cut down on the boredom inspired rambunctiousness.
Sounds good on paper.
While the older group has become easier to teach, the younger group’s behavioral problems have intensified. With the older kids no longer acting as a buffer, the little ones are bouncing off of each other like a bunch of hyper active pin balls; egging each other on and working the whole group into a whirling dervish frenzy.
I’m this close to adding a roll of duct tape to our box of worship items that we bring to class each week…….”yes you may light the worship candle Timmy, but then I will have to re-bind your arms to the chair.”

Kids are predictably unpredictable, but thankfully it can often be in a good way.
The first week of class I kept both age groups together to work on our Sunday School bulletin board. For the lesson portion of the class we all sat together on the floor rather than sitting around the library table or scattered around in the various assortment of chairs we have in the room. Sitting on the floor in close contact with each other brought an intimacy level to the group that surprised me. I had intended on talking about the early church and how the first disciples followed in Jesus’ footsteps, but the lesson plan went out the window as the kids began asking questions that they’ve obviously been harboring for quite some time but were never given the opportunity to ask.
The source of the biggest questions also surprised me. The six-year-old who rarely pays attention in class and usually prefers to spend the 40 minutes wrestling the other boys for the ‘comfy’ chair; the 8-year-old girl who is determined to do the opposite of whatever I’ve asked her to do, and the pre-teens who sit off to the side rolling their eyes and perfecting their best too-cool-for-school postures. All of them sat there on the floor, looked straight at me and peppered me with questions that had me grasping for answers.

Questions like:

How do we know there’s a God?
How can God be everywhere at the same time?
How come we can’t perform miracles like Jesus did? Aren’t we God’s children too?
Why can’t we see God…is he a person or a spirit?
Why did Jesus die?
How did God make Mary pregnant?
How does God see what we’re doing if he doesn’t have eyes?
Was Jesus God or was he a human being like us?

We have a hard enough time tackling questions like these in our adult Sunday School class so how does one go about explaining Christian theology to a child? Sunday School theology is easy to dispense when all we’re talking about is the lessons we can learn from bible stories….be nice to others, take care of those who have less than you do, love your enemies, give and forgive. It’s another thing entirely to try and explain complex theological concepts like the Trinity, the purpose of the Crucifixion, and the Virgin Birth. In the United Church of Christ we have no set beliefs on any of these theologies, but trying to explain the diversity of beliefs that exist in our church is difficult when you’re dealing with children who are used to receiving black and white answers. Children prefer certainty, not ambiguity……hell, I know plenty of adults who don’t deal well with ambiguity.

While it was disconcerting to stumble through these questions and try to give answers that didn’t entirely confuse the kids, I was ecstatic that the kids were even asking these questions, and for whatever reason they felt comfortably doing so with me on that day.

For yesterday’s session I had the older kids and I tried to recreate the intimacy we shared on that first day by having them sit on the floor. But alas, after a chorus of complaints about sore backs and not wanting to muss up the dress they wore to church I relented and let them sit in the chairs. With each child sitting in their own self contained world with 2 feet of upholstered chair arms and empty space separating them, they slipped back into their pattern of half-paying attention and giving the pat answers they thought I was looking for with my questions.
Their wonderings about God and how they fit into this world once again filed away under things too silly to talk about in front of their friends.

Oh well, I enjoyed the magic while it lasted.
Now, where did I put that duct tape….the Christmas Pageant rehearsals are just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So many books, so little time...

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Calgon, take me away!

Brazenly stolen from Eileen the Episcopalifem, this Wednesday Words of Wisdom clip goes out to my sisters who are moms, and to all the moms I see in the bookstore everyday...pushing overladen strollers, dragging screaming 4-year-olds away from the pile of Elmo books they've pulled off the shelves, and generally looking like they could use a good night's sleep, some quiet time to themselves, and a giant societal 'thank you' for doing the thank-less job that is motherhood.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

You load 16 Tons and whatta ya get?...

….another day older and deeper in debt.

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!
Actually, I never went away. I’ve been swamped with work/church distractions and my blogging unintentionally got thrown onto the back burner…..the back-back-back burner, the one crusted over with egg bits that no one ever cleans…
Thanks to all my readers who have inquired about my whereabouts….and who have kept my site hits up despite the fact that nothing has changed here since August 23rd.

This working for a living stuff has done made me bone tired!
To quote Bill the Cat: ack!
Being a student-slash-housewife for the past two years was a piece of cake compared to this bringing home the bacon gig. I’m not used to being on my feet for 8.5 hours a day, I’m constantly on the move in the store and shelving books gives me a better workout than any Thigh-Master out there. I’ve mastered the art of crouching in an extended deep-knee bend as I alphabetize lower shelves, and contorting myself into Cirque du Soleil positions to clean the window displays. You can bounce a quarter off my hamstrings they’re so tight.

Of course between working-for-the-man and getting the new Sunday School year off the ground, my blogging life has seriously suffered.
All my physical and mental energy has gone into learning the new job and all of my creative energy has gone into organizing Rally Day, recruiting teachers, and setting up the teaching/curriculum schedule.

Now I finally have a morning off and so far I’ve used the time in a very productive manner….laying on the couch in my Sponge Bob pajamas, eating Cheerios and watching House Hunters, Dirty Jobs and DVR’d episodes of the Ellen show.
Life doesn’t get much better than this.

The new job has cut into my blogging time but it feels good to be back in the working world. I like the job….I’m actually getting paid to organize book shelves, something I’d do for fun, for free, in a heartbeat…..yes, I am a freak, as my SO keeps reminding me.

Of course the first two days on the job included the usual panic moments where one feels like an incompetent know-nothing boob who was obviously deluding herself when she agreed to take such a high-pressure complicated job…….in a bookstore.
There was so much to learn; the corporate policies, the store layout, the ever changing list of items we’re required to push during every transaction: (“would you like any candy, bookmarks or gift cards?”), and the 35 different buttons on the cash register, each of which must be pressed in a particular order depending on the type of sale, the discounts being applied, the phase of the moon, etc.

Then there’s the company’s Rewards club card that we have to get every customer to sign up for (and God forbid we dip below a 70% compliance level), an antiquated computer inventory system that never seems to bring up the book that a customer is looking for and/or give the correct section where it can be found in the store, and a complicated ordering process that we have to foist on the customer if the book they want is not in stock.

Add on top of this a manager who is…ahem….very “particular” about the way things should be done in regards to procedure and paperwork, and who has the patience and tact of a cranky 5-year-old trapped in a supermarket check-out line.

At least we’ve finally opened up the new store in the local mall. After a month of training at a store 40 minutes away it feels good to have a commute that is all of 3 minutes. We spent a week setting up the store and it was a book-lovers dream.
Boxes and boxes and boxes of books all of which had to be sorted and shelved in the correct location. It was like Christmas morning in every box! (yes…..I am a freak).

Now that we’re in the new store I’ve been promoted to “Senior Bookseller/Keyholder” which means in one day I went from bottom-rung-of-the-ladder-newbie to being in charge. I also get the added responsibility of opening and closing the store and settling up the registers at the end of the day…….all for .50 cents an hour more! Whoo-hoo!

Of course my first official act as ‘Keyholder’ was to watch my precious key get shorn in half when I left it in the back door lock while the FedEx guy was shoving a pallet of books through the door. Having to tell my manager that I not only broke my key but the other half of it was stuck in the lock and we’d have to call a locksmith to get it out was not my most shining moment as a newly minted Senior Bookseller. The FedEx guy summed up my situation beautifully when he said: “Geesh, I so do not want to be you right now.”

Always the optimist, I know there’s nowhere for me to go but up!
That and my manager goes on vacation at the end of the week, which means I’ll have time to rectify the inevitable mistakes made by me and all our newbie employees before she returns.

I’ll do my best to keep up with my blogging as the fun ensues!