Thursday, May 31, 2007

But...We Really NEED Your Help!

I knew it would happen.

Less than a week since the school told me I couldn't read for the Book Fair/Reading event, and the principal has hit me up TWICE to volunteer--once for the Book Fair (but not to read) and again this morning, trying to get myself and J. to serve on the PTA. I told her 'No' both times.

Last week she had gone up and down the line of parents waiting to pick up kids, armed with a clipboard, asking for volunteers for the book fair that night...and being, as always, rejected by parent after parent. She finally got to me and asked me if I could volunteer and I told her 'no'. Afterwards, two of the other moms laughingly called over, "Hey Velvet, I bet she got you to help out, huh?" I walked over to them and told them I hadn't, and why. I wanted to see what their reaction would be, to see if maybe I was overreacting to the whole thing. But they were amazed and digusted, and agreed that that was a rotten thing to do and if it happened to them, they would have the same reaction. Hmmm.

So this morning the principal cornered me in the office after I went in to pay for N.'s yearbook. She had her little clipboard out and a big grin, and said, "So, Velvet--can I count on you to help out and maybe serve on the PTA?" like she was offering me some kind of rare and special treat. I stared at her a moment and then burst out laughing (I couldn't help it) and shook my head 'no', which made her smile crumble in one big hurry. She said hastily, "But you can have your pick of projects! You tell me--what would you like to do?" OK, I thought. "Read tonight." I shot back.

"Oh no! That's just for staff!"

I just tossed my hands in the air, laughed and shook my head again and went for the door, but she stopped me. "It's a staff thing!"

"Well, then I should have been told that months ago when I asked if I could participate, NOT just a few days before the event when I had everything set up and was looking forward to it." I told her. She stammered the same thing again, so I just waved goodbye in disgust and left.

Up to now I thought that maybe the principal, who had previously welcomed, appreciated and been very happy about my offer to participate in the reading event, perhaps didn't know that I had been unceremoniously kicked to the curb, but it seems she did and is OK with it.

So much for volunteerism. I'm soured on it for good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We Desperately Need Your Help! But Not Really...

My daughter's elementary school saddens me.

During the year, they have various events such as field trips, science fairs, student art shows, etc. The school is forever clamoring and whining in their weekly newsletter for more parent help and participation. The school secretary and principal are very vocal in person about this as well, and VERY few people step forward--maybe 3-4 parents in the entire school.

Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom because of my various chronic injury problems, so I offer to help the school however and wherever I can. I've volunteered as a Kindergarten helper, gone on field trips, taken yearbook photos, done things around the school, all with no problems.

The school has an event every year at this time to promote reading, where they invite kids and parents to come out for an evening of books read aloud and a take away dinner (hot dogs, tacos, etc.) to eat picnic style on the grass. We loved it when we went when N. was in Kindergarten two years ago, and I volunteered to be a reader last year. Unfortunately I contracted pneumonia and was unable to do it, which really crushed me. I love reading with a passion, and J. and I have read to N. every day since she was born. As a result, she loves reading as well, and is well beyond her grade level in reading and comprehension. This year, the event is next Friday, and back at the beginning of this year I once again volunteered. Both the principal and the school secretary were appreciative and very eager for help, they said, "Sure! The more the merrier, fantastic!". So I got the green light months ago and I was all excited about it--books ready to go and no goddamn pneumonia this time. I had popped into the office a few times over the year to remind the secretary that I was still interested in it. I checked in again with her two weeks ago so I wouldn't forget the date. Book nerd that I am, I've literally been waiting all year for this.

The school secretary just called me to let me know I couldn't join in.

Apparantly, one of the teachers who is in charge, got upset and feels that it should be a 'teachers only' event. That was the only explanation given and I got the distinct impression that there was more going on under the surface, if you know what I mean. It's almost like she wanted to keep all her toys and not share. I think this particular teacher may have some control issues as well...

I feel like I've been dis-invited to a party. Why in God's name would you tell someone for months that your participation would be wonderful, and then with a week to go tell them not to come? Sad that the school constantly clamors for more money and parent participation, then at the last minute, spits in the eye of one of the few people who consistently volunteer.

Well...Hell, here are the books I was going to read:

Edward The Emu by Sheena Knowles
Edwina The Emu by Sheena Knowles
Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus! by Mo Willems
Cook A Doodle Do by Janet Stevens
The Story Of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Pinduli by Janell Canon
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Raoul The Owl by Louis Untermeyer

I had a little audience participation thing for the kids all planned and everything. I so would have loved to share these wonderful books.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Damn, She Was One Of My Favorites.

Rita in the back, Poof photobombing in on the left.

Rita was a feisty, headstrong little Cochin/Jersey Giant mix that we hatched ourselves back in 2003. She was one of my favorites and whenever I sat down out back, would come RUNNING over as fast as she could waddle (cochins aren't built for speed) to sit in my lap--and woe betide any other chicken that wanted equal lap time! Rita would warn them off right away. She would sit in my lap for as long as I would let her, and complained loudly when I set her down again. Often I'd have Rita on one knee, Babs on the other--Babs was a gift from my brother's household, and Babs thinks she is still a baby chick and insists on sitting on your lap with her head rammed in your armpit--under your wing, as it were.

Rita had a habit of at the last minute, sticking her head into pictures we tried to take of the other chickens. The end result was like bad vacation snapshots, photobomb city. So it's kind of fitting that in the photo above, Poof is doing it to her.

Rita died yesterday. I don't even know what killed her. Granted, it was nearly 100 degrees yesterday, our first really hot day this year. I had gone out like I always do on hot days to hose off the chickens and yard to keep things cooler for the animals. I had gone out at 8:30AM, 10:30AM and 12:30PM. Everything was fine. I even stopped to talk to her and pet her and all was well. At 2PM when I went again to hose things off, we found her in the coop, sitting in the corner as if to lay an egg and breathing a bit hard. Since she was distressed (we thought by the heat), we brought her in to cool off. She died less than 5 minutes later. She had been eating, drinking and carrying on normally up until then. I don't know what's worse--having an animal get ill and die slowly or go quickly like that.

Rita was one of those animals that 'picked out her human'--she chose ME as her favorite human first, not the other way around. Rita's mother, Elizabeth, is elderly but still with us, and Rita's daughter, Skitters, is twice as feisty and psycho as Rita ever was. Even Moet, our very elderly Frizzle Cochin who was Rita's foster mama, is still with us.

This is Rita as a baby, back in 2003.

Last night when I went out to sit with the chickens in the evening, Rita's mother, Liz, jumped up in my lap and sat with me a while.

She's never done that before. I appreciated it.