The Emotional Rollercoaster That Is Selling a Home

Sigh.  

I’m tired of waiting…

Waiting for someone to view the home.

Waiting for someone to give feedback on the home.

Waiting for an offer that never comes.

Waiting for an offer that comes but is 20% less than asking price.

Waiting for a husband who insists on waiting 24 hours before responding to said idiotic, insulting offer.

Waiting for a realtor to draw up a counter-offer.  I assume I’ll be waiting for this after hubby’s 24 hours have passed.

Waiting for hubby to sign the counter-offer.

Waiting for potential buyers to consider.

Why the hell are grown-ups playing this game?  We priced it higher than we needed to to give room for this bullshit, but really, why? So the buyers feel like they got us?  Did they lowball for the same reason?  So we could feel like we won if they took our counter-offer?

I’m tired of waiting.  Someone just buy this damn house.  It’s an awesome 2-story house with a wrap-around front porch, patio, privacy fence around a salt water pool, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, not a single problem in the whole house, unless maybe you don’t like my paint colors.  New carpet, new gas stove, bonus room, 2 car garage, huge driveway, dining room, eat-in kitchen, huge living room….  Listed at $69/square foot.  On a cove with only 3 other houses, large lot, quiet neighborhood where our 3- and 5-year-old play outside alone.  Seriously.  Anyone interested?  

Workplace-Safe April Fools’ Day Pranks

Image

 

I didn’t realize that today was April 1 until yesterday afternoon, so I didn’t have a lot of time to plan.  So if you forgot until today and need some easy thing sot do that won’t get you fired, these will work for you.  They have raised the morale around here and have everyone laughing.  I don’t work in an office environment–I teach in an elementary school–but most of these will work anywhere.

Some guidelines first, to make sure you don’t get fired: 

  • Don’t do anything that is disruptive to anyone’s work.  Bosses tend to frown upon that.
  • Don’t do anything of a sexual nature, unless you want a dose of sensitivity training on a Saturday in your near future.
  • Don’t do anything to a coworker that you don’t have a good relationship with.
  • Avoid messy stuff. 
  • Avoid pranks that obviously took you a LOT of time to prepare.  Everyone will know that you slacked off when you were on the clock.
  • Don’t cause any damage to any property.

Now, some guidelines for making a prank actually work:

  • Unless you have a great poker face (my assistant and partner in prank totally does, which opens up a lot of possibilities,) don’t do anything that requires you to talk to someone.  They’ll suspect something.  After all, it’s April 1.  Instead, opt for things that just happen without requiring your presence.
  • Don’t try to actually see anyone’s reaction to a workplace prank.  Put it into place, and then go about your day.  If it made a splash, you’ll hear about it later.  More people will fall for it, and no one will suspect you.  You can fess up later if you want.
  • If you write anything, do it in block letters. 

Ok, now for the fun that my assistant and I have had today.

  1. She sings, mostly just in her church.  She convinced several people that Monday will be her last day working here because she had been signed for a record deal and would be moving to Atlanta.  She had to stop, though, when someone cried upon hearing the news.  Don’t do this one with your boss–joking about resigning is only funny with coworkers.
  2. She convinced several parents of our students that school would be closed on Friday, making up a different (crazy and hilarious) reason for each of them. She told one that there had been a threat that students from a nearby high school were going to set off dozens of stink bombs all around the school on Friday.  Another parent heard that there was a terrible mouse infestation and that the school was being fumigated–but of course, it was perfectly ok to bring her child to school for the next 3 days until the actual fumigation date.  
  3. We made (block lettered) “out of order” signs and put them on the toilet paper holders in all 3 faculty restrooms.  They’re the large, industrial TP holders that have several rolls inside them, like you see in public restrooms.  This was particularly funny because it wasn’t targeted at one person and became the talk of the school before someone figured out that it must be an April Fools Day prank.
  4. We made a type-written sign for the copy machine that explained that after an upgrade yesterday, the machine was now voice activated.  We were not able to sit in our school’s office to watch hilarity ensue, so this would be more fun for someone who works in an office near a copier that is used by multiple people.
  5. We put several random classroom objects inside the snack and Coke machines in the teachers’ lounge.  Another one that we might not get to actually witness, but news will travel if anyone is amused.
  6. My assistant has greased the handle of a coworker’s car door handle.  He won’t see it until 3:30pm.  He’s an infamous prankster, so he will think he’s made it through the day without being had, until he opens the door.  
  7. One last one just for teachers.  I let my students hear me telling another teacher that we were not going outside today.  It’s a beautiful spring day here.  Buttercups have bloomed.  No jackets necessary.  Not a cloud in the sky.  They were so sad, bless their little hearts.  It completely made their day when I did the big reveal, “April Fool! We’re going outside. Line up at the door!”  They loved having been “tricked” and getting to go outside.

So if you forgot that this day was approaching, and you’re stuck at work, you can still go for it.  Have fun, be safe, and please don’t lose your job.

And keep your fingers crossed that my 2-hour faculty meeting scheduled for this afternoon is an April Fool.  Hey, a girl can dream.

Noah: All Publicity Is Good Publicity

Image

Who hasn’t heard of the movie Noah?  It was released 2 days ago, and the news and social networks are abuzz. Those who are pissed off about the movie’s lack of resemblance to the Biblical story are the most vocal, but critics who are judging the film on its own merits are largely impressed with the special effects and the depiction of Noah on a personal level.

But… but…  Bible! God!

The fundamentalists and evangelicals that I’m surrounded by are offended by the film’s departing from the Biblical story of Noah.  They’re storming Facebook and Twitter and the blogosphere in droves, posting and reposting about the rock people and sharing every article they can find about the blasphemy that is Noah.

Guess what, fundies? Thanks to you, I have heard more about Noah than about God’s Not Dead, the Christian film that you all actually like.  If you cared about my soul, shouldn’t you want me to see that one? Without having seen Noah, I have a pretty good idea of what happens in the movie, what differs from the Bible story I heard as a kid, and why I probably won’t like it.  (I’m not into epic, over-the-top action movies. Just not my thing.)  I really have no idea what God’s Not Dead is about.  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see it–something about trying to convince an atheist professor that God is real?  While it’s more my style of film and I enjoy debate immensely… eh.  God’s existence is not exactly an interesting debate.  Maybe there’s more to it.  None of my Christian friends are talking about it, so maybe not.

But Noah? The one they think no one should see because it’s blasphemous, inaccurate, and downright evil?  I read a lot of the articles posted about it.  I’m amused that anyone thought the story of Noah with no embellishments would be interesting at all.  I’m impressed that an atheist chose this story on which to base his film, and that he dared to make it his own, instead of pandering to Christians.

If you think back to Sunday School days, you can probably remember how dull any Noah and the ark film was.  If you want a Noah movie based on scripture, it’s going to be a cheesy cartoon with animals marching in pairs and a rainbow at the end.

Image

Would you pay $10 to see that in a theater?  Would anyone?

And like it or not, the story of Noah is a fable.  It’s open to interpretation.  An atheist looked at that story and saw the making of an epic film.  He filled in the blanks of a fable with sensational special effects, sci-fi characters, and plot twists.  His PR people made sure we all knew that he wasn’t a Christian and that this was no Sunday School cartoon.  And then the fundies spread the word, effectively shouting from the mountaintops everything that the director wanted the world to know about Noah.  

Going to Town

It’s raining here.  It’s also Saturday.  Boo hoo.

I like my kids, most of the time, but truth be told, I don’t like playing with them for hours on end.  I want them to just play.  With each other, with toys, with crayons, with sand, whatever.  I think NOT constantly interacting with kids is good for them.  It teaches them to rely on their own ingenuity, work shit out for themselves, and all that.

And yeah, maybe I wanted to drink a cup of coffee and blog and check out Facebook and all that other stuff after I had played with the kids for an hour.

That last sentence is what motivated the burst of creativity that bought me the free time that is bringing you this post.

All it took was tape and lugging a few bins of blocks downstairs.  The kids want to be near me, and sometimes they will play without trying to draw me in if they’re just in the same room.

Ok, back to the tape.

I have tons of painters tape around from some recent projects.  I found it, and I made paths with it, sort of like the streets in a town.  The boys were busy for an hour.  They each ran to find a Hot Wheels car, then they got busy building garages for their cars and (the following gives you a glimpse into our lives) a Walmart and a Petsmart.  And for some reason, the little one built a church.  We go to a UU church about twice a month, but I wouldn’t say it’s a huge thing in his life.  Maybe it’s the church on every block that we see in our town.  He thinks they look like castles.

But whatever.

They built a town and left me alone for a precious 30 minutes. Win! Oh, And the crazy looking tape configuration in that one spot was created by the 5-year-old.  Not sure why I feel the need to say that.  Maybe because I don’t want readers thinking I would make an awful city planner because I WOULD NOT.

 

 

 

IMG_20140329_111127

This Is Happening in Tennessee

A dangerous bill is on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s desk, awaiting his signature.  I have no doubt that he will sign it.  He was elected by Republican, conservative Christians, which make up probably 100% of the people who will re-elect him.

A quote from the text of this bill: A student may express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. A student would not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of the student’s work.

So from the point that this bill becomes law, teachers can’t “penalize” a student for answering questions on a science test with their personal religious beliefs.

Explain the water cycle.

The book of Genesis says that God made land and water.  He created the water cycle.

That’s the most basic problem.  There are many others.  A student can bash other students if whatever s/he says reflects a religious belief that the student claims to hold.  Over half of Tennesseans now have no problem with some type of legal recognition of same-sex couples, when you combine statistics of those who approve of marriage with those who approve of civil unions.  But trust me when I say that gay discrimination is alive and well.  It’s not just a whispered thing.  It’s a point and laugh out loud thing.  It’s encouraged.  Parents teach their kids that gay people are an abomination, going to hell, and in need of saving.  Kids in our schools have been taught that it’s not just permissible, it’s their Christian duty, to call out gay, queer, transgendered, and lesbian people.  And now, the great state of Tennessee is giving them specific permission to demand an audience for anti-gay hate speech as long as it’s in the name of religion.  This law makes it a student’s RIGHT to demand class time to tell another student that s/he is going to hell to burn for all eternity because of his/her sin of homosexuality.

We’re losing enough of these kids to suicide already.  This is not ok.

Why can’t Christian parents, especially the most conservative Christians, put themselves in the shoes of someone with different beliefs?  Why can’t they think of how upset they would be if their child came home talking about what they learned about chakras in school?  They would call the media!  They DID call the media when a middle Tennessee high school took a world religions class on a tour of a mosque.  They claimed that their children were being indoctrinated.  Christians: The way you would feel if your child heard at school that there is one god and Muhammad is his prophet and your child decided to explore that belief further?  Yeah, that’s how a LOT of parents, more than you know from your circle of small-town, Bible Belt friends who all go to church on Sunday mornings, feel when your child forces them to listen to your religious views.  Can you TRY to understand that?

This is not ok.

Is This Fusion Cooking?

It’s taco night.  The boys won’t eat it.  They’ll have quesadillas.  I don’t fight the food battle.  I have better things to do.

I like the idea of French cooking, but I have no idea if what I do is in any way French.  I like to think that it is, but I have no training in French cuisine.  I’ve never even watched Julia Child.  I think that the style of cooking I’ve fallen into over the past few years mirrors French more than anything.

But like I said… taco night.

I don’t start many recipes without a diced onion and whatever other veggie I think might belong.  Tonight, it’s carrot.  A diced onion and a diced carrot (a big one) in a few tbsp of butter.

And then the fusion?  Because I’ve thrown the ground beef in, now that the veggies are well done.  It will be drained, and I’ll add some beans and seasonings to make it taste like tacos (salt, cumin, chili powder.)

So can I say that I’m a fusion chef?

You Better Recognize

Awards Day was always something I looked forward to.  My name was going to be called as one of the top ten students in my grade, along with a few other academic things.  Some might be surprises, but there was definitely, ALWAYS going to be something.  It was the day for the smart kids to shine.

Awards Day is a little different to me now.  It’s a lot different, actually.  I dread it.  Every year, Marissa gets excited when she brings home a note about Awards Day.  Some years, she wants me to come because parents are invited.

The thing is… Marissa has Down Syndrome.  She’s a sweet kid who is loved by everyone, but she never gets awards.  I’m actually not sure why… She never has discipline referrals, and her teachers praise her when I go to IEP meetings and parent-teacher conferences.  I guess when it comes time to hand out awards, they are all focused on the top tier of kids, and they don’t think about the ones with special needs.

Now, I’m  not one to say that everyone is a winner all the time or that kids should never experience disappointment or failure.  It’s going to happen.  I just think that if she’s doing the best she can and behaving herself, maybe there should be a way to recognize that.  She’s in the 6th grade and reads on a 3rd grade level.  It may not sound like much, but she so far out-performs her IQ that she amazes people.  With her IQ, she really should only be barely verbal.  But she can read!  Somebody notice!

Marissa seems not to remember Awards Day from one year to the next.  Every. Single. Year. She gets excited about it again.  I try to gently remind her that it’s ok if she doesn’t get an award; that not everyone gets them, but she knows she’ll get one at the end of baseball season (or something like that.)  But she still holds out hope and gets crushed.  It hurts me to think of her sitting through an entire Awards Day assembly thinking, “Maybe this time, they’ll say my name,” and they don’t.

But… this year was different!  This year, she came home with this!

“Marissa Sartain is a pronoun genius and a champion player at the game of Blurt!”

Her teacher’s aide made her a hand made “award” for her mad skilz in the game of Blurt! and something awesome she does with pronouns, I’m not sure what (as if it matters.)

It’s always nice to be recognized.