28 May 2011

Another year down

I have 18 1/2 years in the book, and God willing, only 6 1/2 more to go.  However, with the way the economy is and the changes that have been made in our benefits, I may have to eat those "25 years and I'm OUTTA there" words.  At least in 6 1/2 more, I won't HAVE to go back if I absolutely don't want to.  And believe me, I could find plenty to give up in order to retire.
Before my 3rd block class left on Wednesday, one of my precious angels came up to me and gave me a big hug.  Brianna is truly one of the sweetest, most sincere young ladies I have ever known.  She always has a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips.  She looked at me with her big brown eyes, and I nearly lost it.  I told her NOT to make me cry.  (Of course, as I sit here typing this, I'm getting all teary eyed.)  Not all of my students evoke such emotions.  Some of them bring tears of joy to my eyes as they walk out of the room.  I know, I know...I shouldn't feel that way, but admit it, you've felt that way too about a co-worker, a neighbor, a family member (hahahaha).

Sadly, not all of my seniors graduated.  This frustrates me because the ones who didn't should have, but it's extremely hard to have a good grade when you are absent all the time or when you never put forth any effort in class.  I have two who did not walk across the field Friday night, and it isn't just because of failing English.  They both have failed one other class.  I had about five others who were in danger until the absolute last minute, but they completed the credit recovery course for the last term, and that gave them a high enough average for the semester.

One of the ones who did not graduate was waiting outside my room Thursday with her mother.  I saw them out there before the end of the testing period, so I sent Misty a text.  She went to let an administrator know, so Coach Goggans and Mr. Haynie came and told them they had to leave.  (Even with the student, they should not have been waiting outside the room.)  Mr. Reyes, Mr. Burton, and I met with them, and Mr. Reyes point blank said there was nothing that could be done.  This student was out at least one day EVERY week, and most weeks, she was out more than that.  She would be at school for an earlier class but would leave before mine.  She rarely turned in assignments.  When she was absent, she never asked about make up work -- until this week.  And then she wanted to make up everything she'd missed, simply because she finally realized the consequences.  Last night, about 9:30, I got an email from her mother saying how she hoped I was proud of myself for not taking 5 minutes to grade her daughter's research paper so she could graduate.  Well, um. the research paper alone wouldn't have given her a passing grade.  Mom should be proud of herself for making an effort to be concerned about her daughter's grades at 10:40 AM on graduation day.  Somehow, I managed to sleep about 8 hours last night.

I'm going to enjoy my summer.  Next week is the 3rd Annual Vest Girls' Beach Trip.  This year, attendees are Connie, Linda, Amy, and me.  So far, Connie and I are the only ones who have been able to go every year.  Hopefully we'll ALL get to go in the next couple of years or so.  Part of the problem is that we have an ADULTS ONLY/FEMALE ONLY rule.  It isn't that we don't love our little ones, but this is our chance to get away and to do what we want to do without having to plan around nap times, feeding times, etc.

The next week, Mom and I are doing our girls' night at Ross Bridge.  Maybe we can make this a yearly event, too.  I still have to call and schedule our pampering!  Other than doing that, we're going to just do whatever we want.  I suggested going to the new shopping outlet in Leeds, so that will probably be on the agenda.

The only other BIG event of the summer is Layton's arrival.  Right now, it looks like that will happen July 11th unless Jessi has something medical come up (praying that doesn't happen!) or unless she goes into labor earlier (praying that does happen...as long as no problems are the cause of it!)  We're so excited about meeting our little guy and getting to know him.  And spoil him and then leave him stinkin' rotten for his mommy and daddy to handle.  LOL

The rest of the summer I hope will be spent at the lake.  So far, that's gotten off to a great start.  hahaha

Have a GREAT Memorial Day weekend, and thank a soldier.

22 May 2011

Can I slam on my brakes?

Tomorrow will start the last week of this school year, and as much as I'm ready for summer vacation, I am so not ready for exams.  I normally give a mid-semester exam and an end-of-semester exam, but I just didn't get the mid-term exam in.  That means the exam will cover everything we've studied this semester.  Yikes!  That also means I have to write new exams for my 11th and my 12th grade classes.  Double yikes!  Oh, and I have to have them done by Wednesday.  Triple yikes!

Of my 52 seniors, two will definitely fail, and another 16 are in danger.  Of those 16, my best guess is that 3 or 4 of them won't make it.  Only 4 more grades will go in before they take their exams on Wednesday, and those grades are small...two 10-point quizzes and two 15-point quizzes.  Some of them are taking the 3rd term over in what is called Credit Recovery.  If they successfully complete that program, the 3rd term grade will be changed to a 70, so that will help most of them.  However, I don't know how many of them are actually taking CR or if they are completing the coursework successfully.  I'll send out an email to the senior counselor and Mr. Reyes tomorrow.

In other news, we went to a couples' shower for Jess and Lance last night.  Layton racked up!  Jess had a shower at work on Friday (I couldn't go...BOO!) and she said he got tons there, too.  I think there will be one more shower.  This kid is going to have so much stuff.  :) They may have to rent a PODS unit to keep all his stuff in.  hahahaha

We won't head to the lake this weekend until Saturday because of graduation Friday night.  I told John that he and the pups could go up Friday if they wanted to, but after telling him that, I realized it probably wouldn't be good for him to drive that far with the dogs and only one good arm.  He's doing super well, but he still has some difficulty with certain things.  And I could just see Ali or Bama jumping at something and causing him to move his arm in a way he doesn't need to just yet.  He will be off Monday, so we'll still have a good weekend.

Next Tuesday is our make-up professional development day, but I think I'll be taking a sick day.  I have almost twice the required number of PD hours, and I'll have all my grades in.  Next Wednesday Connie, Linda, Amy, and I will be heading to the beach for the 3rd Annual Vest Girls' Beach Trip.  I.  CANNOT.  WAIT!!!!  Then the next week, Mom and I have reservations at Ross Bridge.  We're gonna enjoy some one-on-one time and some pampering.  I.  CANNOT. WAIT!!!!!  So, the first part of June is shaping up to be quite busy, but that's okay.  I still see plenty of free days on my calendar for lake days.  :)

I guess that's about it for now.  The washer just went off, so I need to go toss that load in the dryer. 

Have a GREAT day!

16 May 2011

Let me scream!

So students are beginning to see their research paper grades in iNow.  Some who don't have internet access (but they post on facebook almost daily???) have asked me to show them their grades, and I have.  Most of them have been satisfied with their grades, both on the paper and on their current overall grade.


Yes, a "but" is always out there.  (And I could say a "butt" is always out there.) 

I had a couple of my students ask me today to show them their grades.  One of them (I'll call him Ricky) was less than happy.  He made a 116/500, bringing his average to a 51.  He wanted to know why, so I pulled his paper and showed him. 

1.  The outline was far from correct.  This was the third one to be turned in.  For both of the other times, I told him specifically what was wrong and how he needed to fix it.  Did he?  Not at all! 

2.  Margins were 1-1/2 inches instead of 1 inch, so that made his paper too short.  That 1/2 per line adds up.  I told them from the first day that I would deduct 25 points for every page OR PORTION of a page that the paper was short.  (It is ONLY a 4-6 page, double-spaced paper as it is!)

3.  He used 4 sources.  We require a minimum of 5, and again from day one, I told them they would lose 20 points for EVERY source fewer than 5.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  He simply threw something together, expecting it to be acceptable, and it wasn't.  It was far from acceptable.

This is a kid who is more than capable, but he is lazy, and he finds excuses for everything.  It was the intern.  He didn't understand anything she taught so that's why his grades were so bad last term.  When I pointed out that his test on the first unit -- that I taught -- was no better than the test grades for the material she taught, he then blamed it on the fact that he didn't understand Beowulf.  Well, sure, that is difficult.  That's why I go over IN DETAIL everything about it.  With his research paper, his excuse was that he just isn't a good writer.  OK...I understand that.  Not everyone is, but how many times did he seek extra help?  Not once.  I told him today that I was MORE than willing to have helped him with his paper...before school, after school, during my planning, during my study hall period...but he never came to get help.

Not five minutes after he left my room, I had a message from the office to call his mother.  HUH????  Not once has she called me or emailed me to express concern, and now that he is supposed to graduate in just over a week, she decides to be concerned?  GAH!!!!!  Granted, I haven't yet called her since I have my study hall class right now (yes, I am blogging during the school day.)  Maybe I'll be surprised to see that she is supportive, but I doubt it.

I love my job, but dang it!  I get so blasted frustrated at the kids...AND PARENTS...who make excuses.  I give every student more than enough chances to earn points so that if they don't do well on tests, they should still pass the class, so crap like this really gets under my skin.  One of my study hall kids said she heard him cussing me as he went down the hall.  Yeah, it's ALL my fault.

Have a GREAT day!  I know I will.  :)

10 May 2011

Sleeping single in a double bed

One week ago tonight was the last time John and I slept together.  I haven't actually been sleeping single...most nights, Ali and/or Bama have been sleeping with me, but that just isn't the same.  Neither of them slept with me last night.  I have no idea where they ended up, but I don't think either of them were in their beds in the bedroom.  Even though I do miss John terribly at night, it has been nice being able to sleep right in the middle of the bed and to stretch out in any direction I want.  And it has been nice not listening to him snore.  :)  I really don't even recall hearing him snore since he's been living in the recliner. 

Ali and Bama are going to be very unhappy once John does come back to the bedroom.  They aren't used to getting to sleep all night in the big bed, and even since I've been letting them, they don't always stay all night.  Ali will usually jump down and get into her bed at first, but about 11:00 or so, she'll jump back up.  Bama has had difficulty realizing that Daddy doesn't "go night night" in the bedroom for now.  He (Bama) is kind of set in his ways.  Correction...he is VERY set in his ways, and his normal routine has been messed up.  He's gotten adjusted a little better though.

Bama had a birthday yesterday!  He is 5 years old!  If he were a two-legged baby, I'd be saying that I couldn't believe my baby would be starting kindergarten in the fall.  LOL  Ali will be 4 Sunday.  It's hard to believe that on May 25th, Elvis will have been gone 5 years.  I still catch myself looking for him, and I've been known to call Bama "Elvis" more than once.  Someday I would love to have another shih tzu. 

I guess that's about it for now.  I have a few odd and ends to do, and I need to start on grading more of these research papers.  ICK!

Have a GREAT day!

08 May 2011

Hope your Mother's Day has been wonderful!

I usually post something about my mom much earlier than 8:30 on Mother's Day, but I just never got to it before now.  The last few days here in the Vest household have been tough, and today has been especially so!  More about that in a minute.

As I've said before, I am so fortunate to have the mom I do!  She has taught me so much about compassion, forgiveness, and serving others.  I often shake my head and wonder how she finds time to do all that she does, but I've very happy that she is as active and busy as she is.  I hope, though, that she will slow down a little this summer so we can spend some good QT together!  (hint hint!!)  I feel like a really bad daughter because I haven't gotten her Mother's Day present to her yet, but I know that when I do, she will LOVE it. Or at least I hope so!

I'm also very blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law.  I wish that we could have gone to visit with her sometime this weekend because I fear that next year, she won't know who we are.  The last time we saw her, she would say something about Johnny and Trina when she was actually talking about Tim and Tisha.  She asked us if Jessi was Tim's child.  Of course, she probably never even realized that today was Mother's Day.  And even if she did, she probably didn't remember it for long.  (I haven't said it lately, but I HATE Alzheimer's!!)

So, life at the Vest house...We are now four days post surgery, and John is miserable!  He is so tired of being "stuck" in the recliner, but he can't sit anywhere else and be comfortable.  And forget trying to lie down.  His sling irritates the back of his neck.  His medicine has made him feel icky, and he said today that the Toradol makes him have crazy dreams.  Or at least he thinks it's the Toradol.  It may be the Percoset.  Either way, he's having crazy dreams.  When he's awake, I can tell he feels horrible, and he isn't himself.  I'm not used to him not being goofy, so I'm starting to feel on edge, and that makes me feel guilty because I know he wants to feel better!  He has slept more in the last four days than he has slept since he was an infant.  hahaha  Because of the weird dreams, I don't know if that's a good thing or not.  :-/

He is planning on going to work tomorrow long enough to do payroll.  I'm not very happy about that, but he says no one else can do it.  What would they do if one of the department heads was SERIOUSLY sick on the day payroll was due?  Surely somebody else can do it! 

I guess that's about it for now.  I'm going to call it a night and head to bed.  I have AM bus duty in the morning, so I HAVE to get up early.  Oh joy...

Have a GREAT day!

05 May 2011

Technology is amazing!

How dependent are you on technology?  For many of us, we embrace technology and are open to expanding our knowledge of it.  For others, technology makes us cringe, and we run from it as much as possible.  No matter what group you fall in, we are all dependent on technology.  I think it really hit home for me last week after the disastrous storms.

Following the disastrous storms of last week, many people were without electricity.  With no electricity, most stores were unable to open, but those that did couldn't do any transactions that weren't cash.  With no electricity, ATMs couldn't dispense cash.  How many of us keep CASH on hand?  I know I sure don't.  If I do, it's usually only a few dollars...certainly not enough to fill my car up with gas.  Oh yeah...no electricity meant gas pumps wouldn't work.  It seemed like every day I was hearing about another problem that those in the storm-stricken areas were facing.

In the medical field, technology has brought about tremendous changes in the care that is provided by doctors and nurses.  Because of technology, John has five small punctures instead of one or more huge incisions.  Dr. Hartzog did think he would have to make a small incision to get to one of the tears, but fortunately he was able to do everything with a scope.  It hasn't been that many years ago that arthroscopic surgery was cutting edge.  Now it is extremely common.

Another way that technology has made improvements by leaps and bounds is sonography.  Jessi and Lance asked me to go today for the 4D ultrasound of Layton.  All I can say is AMAZING!  We were able to see his sweet face with those chubby cheeks that I cannot wait to kiss.  We could count his fingers and toes.  We saw him purse his lips and pucker up.  We laughed and ohhhhed and ahhhhhed and decided that Lance cannot ever deny this child.  :)  I wish John could have gone, but he just felt like he couldn't handle another trip to Montgomery and back, so Jess sent him some pictures.  :)  Take a look at this cutie.  He'll be here in about 10 weeks!  We can't wait!

04 May 2011

I like cheese, but pickles make me puffy

Several years ago, John Boy and Billy (of The Big Show) would have callers go through the drive through at fast food places and say, "I like cheese, but pickles make me puffy."  Some of the responses by the person taking the order were hilarious!  Following John's surgery, he was a little puffy.  On the way home, I asked him if pickles made him puffy.  :)

What actually happened was he had fluid from the water they used to irrigate during his surgery, and it wasn't draining very quickly.

He went to surgery about 9:00.  One of the nurses estimated that the surgery would take about two hours.  After about 2 1/2 hours, I was starting to get antsy.  I hadn't heard anything, AND I had to potty.  I was afraid to go to the bathroom in case they called me, so I waited.  Finally about hour three, I got the call from the doctor (who was very easy on the eyes!)  Everything went perfectly.  Dr. Hartzog was able to repair everything arthroscopically.  He thought the lower tear would require an incision, but he was able to get it with the scope.  He also removed some spurs, so hopefully some of the other problems he's had with his shoulder for the last 19 years (plus...only 19 that I've been around for) won't bother him anymore.  Dr. H said John would be in recovery for 30-45 minutes, and then we'd be good to go.

I sat back down and sent out the necessary texts.  After 30 minutes, I began listening for "Vest family" but it didn't happen.  Not at 35 minutes, 40 minute, or 45 minutes.  Again, I started getting antsy.  All these questions started flooding my mind:  Why haven't they come to get me?  Has something gone wrong?  Is he not coming out from the anesthesia like he needs to?  Finally, after an hour and fiften minutes, the recovery nurse came to get me. 

When I first saw John, I could tell he wasn't feeling great, which was to be expected.  Katy had told me ask him if he wanted salad (family joke.)  He said he didn't, and then this is what he said to the nurse:  "This chest pain isn't getting any better."  WHAT?  CHEST PAIN?  IS HE HAVING A HEART ATTACK?  DO THEY KNOW HE HAS A FAMILY HISTORY IS HEART DISEASE AND STROKE?  All of those thoughts screamed through my mind in about two seconds.  MY heart began to pound.  I know my eyes were huge, and I'm quite certain I lost all color in my face.  The nurse looked at me and said, "Fluid."  And then she showed me and had me feel the area on his chest where the fluid was accumulating.  She said they had done an EKG just to make sure there was nothing going on (there wasn't.)

This seriously scared the living crap out of me.  For that brief moment, I was terrified that something horrible had happened or would happen.  After I realized everything was okay, I thought I was going to hit the floor, so I sat down.  That didn't really help, so I laid my head on my knees, and that didn't really help.  I ended up drinking most of the Pepsi they'd gotten for John and I took my cardigan (extremely light weight) off to cool down.  Once I did all that, and took many deep breaths, I finally got over my "spell."  Honestly, if this had been some random person, it would have never affected me like this.  I can handle blood and guts with the best of them, but when it comes to the people I love...uh uh.  I can't handle it at all!

We got home and I got John settled in before I went to drop off his prescriptions and to go to the grocery store, and then I had to stop back by the drug store.  I fixed him something to eat since he hadn't had anything since supper last night.  SO FAR he has done super well.  I am making sure he is taking his meds, keeping an ice pack on as directed, and doing his breathing "treatments."  He won't have to have PT until after he goes back to have his stitches taken out.  I know that won't be fun at all.

It's time to get the ice pack again, and he'll be ready for a pain pill soon, so I better go. 

Have a GREAT day tomorrow!

Surgery today!

We got John signed in at the Jackson Surgery Center about 6:30, and he's been called back to get the IV started. I'm just waiting to be called back before he goes into surgery, and then I'll get to wait. The WiFi here stinks. The connection is excellent, but nothing other than iNow and the ALSDE pages have pulled up. Since my plan is to grade research papers while I wait, that's not a big deal. Buuuuutttt, I do like to take brain breaks and sometimes I need to check facts in the papers. Fortunately, the 3G on my phone works.

I hope John's surgery and recovery period aren't as bad as we've heard. I know OT won't be easy, but I pray that he will come through it all with flying colors. I love him, and I hate to see him in pain!

Thanks for any prayers!

Have a GREAT day!

01 May 2011

Quick trip to the lake

We got up yesterday to make a quick trip to the lake to check on things there.  We knew power had been out since sometime Wednesday and had no idea how long it might be before power was restored.  The problem wasn't so much the power lines from Cullman Electric Cooperative.  The problem was that Brown's Ferry Nuclear Plant was down and until they got everything operational, the CEC couldn't do much to restore power. 

We had left some meat in the freezer, so we knew we had to get it cleaned out.  We really expected that we'd have to throw everything away, but luckily, the freezer had stayed cold.  Everything was almost completely thawed, but it was still cold.  John decided to fire up the grill and go ahead and grill it all.  While he was doing that, I dozed in the hammock.  I know...lazy!!

Since we have a generator there, we decided to go ahead and stay the night.  The temps were cool enough that we weren't miserable without the AC.  John opened the bedroom window before we went to bed, and it made me think of the many nights I spent at summer camp...the smells, the sounds...I love it.  We got up this morning, and since we still didn't have power, we headed on home fairly early.

I "liked" the CEC page on Facebook so I could keep up the progress.  I know that many people have many reasons for wondering when their power was going to be back, but I was really frustrated by the people who made comments like "When will [insert community here] get power.  I want to take a hot shower."  I didn't comment, but I wanted to.  I wanted to tell them they needed to be happy they even HAD a shower to stand in!  Enjoy the fact that you CAN take a shower, cold or hot, in your own home.  I'm sure that the people in Tuscaloosa, Hackleburg, Cordova, Argo, Pleasant Grove, Cullman, and any other place I may have left out would LOVE to be able to take a cold shower in their homes instead of wondering when and where they would eventually find a place to call home once again. 

I understand how it is to be without power for an extended time.  When Hurricane Opal came through, we were without power for almost a week.  Taking cold showers wasn't fun.  Eating peanut butter sandwiches got old.  Having no TV or lights to read by made for some boredom.  I'm sure I complained, but I hope that if I am ever in that situation again, I will stop and say a prayer of thanks for the blessings I have.

As the days have passed since the storms, I have realized how dependent on life's conveniences I am.  Without power outages, stores have had to close.  Gas can't be pumped.  For stores that have been able to open, they have been able to accept cash only.  Because of power outages, ATMs can't operate.  Cash only...no ATM access...Trina would be SOL.  I rarely ever have cash.  Lesson:  always keep some cash hidden for emergencies.  (Note to self--go by the bank tomorrow!!!)

Slowly, power to the North Alabama areas has been restored.  I called the trailer because I knew if the answering machine picked up, we'd have power.  It did. 

I just wish that those who have faced horrible tragedies would be able to be "normal" with the flip of a switch.

Please PRAY for ALABAMA!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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