Thursday, May 08, 2008


In all the bumbling and fumbling these last two weeks, our special ed director decided to change the date of the next Parent Advisory Committee meeting. The problem was that he needed us to look over the upcoming budget before presenting it to the school board, and the board meeting was this coming Tuesday, and our next scheduled meeting was this coming Thursday. Apparently he emailed me a couple weeks ago about this, and I missed that message; then I emailed folks to ask when our meeting was scheduled, since I had forgotten to write it down, and was trying not to change the date on everybody. It finally got changed to today, 7pm.

Of course, today was a very bad day. That's why we didn't schedule it originally for today. Allan is out of town, so my attendance was a no-go. People had soccer games. Final exams. Doctor appointments. Child-care arrangements. There was a reason we didn't schedule it for today.

I live in the south. Not the deep south, but I am south of the Rappahannock, so it counts. For those of you unfamiliar with the ways of southern life and ladies, there is a tradition of being slightly vague in our language. Instead of saying "no," we say, "I'd rather not" or "wouldn't this be better?" Instead of saying "I am going to bring a tape recorder to this meeting," we say "Do mind if I bring a recorder to the meeting?" So "I probably can't come, honey" is the polite way of saying "Do not expect me to come." More directly, for you real northerners or literal-minded folks, the translation is, "I am not coming."

When I sent around messages about the meeting, I made sure to include my polite notice that I was unable to attend on such short notice. Now, I probably could have gotten my mom to watch the boys, that wasn't really the issue; my real issue was just coming off of grading and two weeks of no husband and a variety of other stressors, and I just couldn't deal with the stress of dealing with folks who haven't bothered to show up for meetings all year suddenly asking/demanding that one be rescheduled, knowing there would be complaints about short notice from parents and about lack of attendance from the people who hadn't been attending. But almost all of my messages included something to the effect of "I probably can't come."

At 7:15pm, I had two small boys in the bathtub reciting their new favorite chant (neeeee....kid.... BwuUTS!!!) covered in bubble beards and bubble "snow", while I tracked down appropriate sleep clothes and underwear. The phone rings. Without looking or answering, I just knew who it was. Yep. You guessed it.

"We're waiting for you to start the meeting!" came the pleading voice from the other end of the line. Waiting for someone who is probably not coming? Why? Even if taken literally, I would think such a phrase would deter you from awaiting a person who is probably not coming.

I now have an email from a parent who went to go to the meeting, and couldn't find it. Another parent who didn't go at all. Two of the other parents couldn't go from the get-go. And I was out of action. That leaves three regulars, and I have no idea if they went or not.

Looking into my crystal ball, I foresee more long, whiny diatribes about how parents don't participate enough.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Circus!

The Cole Brothers Circus, and we love it- thanks for stopping in Fredericksburg!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Back from the beach

We're back!

I know lots of people just rave about Virginia Beach, but I have to admit myself... disappointed. I'm sure it's great if you can afford a nice room in one of those fancy new places on that boardwalk and already know which are the good dives, and your favorite thing is to bake to medium-well in the summer sun. However, for a nice little daytrip from somewhere else, I saw nothing to entice me back. Parking was horrible and expensive, with a long walk to the actual sand. All of the boardwalk places looked alike- no character, nothing special, all chains (or too sterile to make any nevermind), shops were packed with bikes to rent, to the point you couldn't see what was for sale (if you could park close enough to go into a shop at all.) Forget something when you're on the sand? There's hardly any shops or anything on the boardwalk itself- you have to walk another block, through tunnels through the fancy hotels, to get to anything. There was one shop on the board near our stretch of sand- and it was quite a hike. No others in sight, up or down the walk. You have to cross the bike road to get to the sand at all, and hope you don't get run over, all day long. I saw a few glimpses of character left- only one of the once-ubiquitous haunted houses, for example. But mostly its been knocked down and rebuilt into Anybeach, USA. Inconvenient Anybeach.

The beach itself was OK, but not great. The sand was full of straw for some reason, and hadn't been sifted at all, so there was a lot of trash debris. I know some folks want the sand to be white, but to me, sand is yellow, and Virginia Beach is yellow, so no biggie there. There was a good number of people, but it could have been worse. No shells, but then, OC doesn't have shells anymore, either. That was one thing I remember from California that was so wonderful- you could really collect seashells. Not just shell scraps and bits, but whole shells. Very cool.

The boys did well in the surf, and had a grand time. We let them run about until they were tired enough to volunteer to leave. Joey immediately regretted his decision and spent the rest of the trip trying to convince us to return to the surf.

We were impressed by the Virginia Zoo. The main part of the zoo is open and the animals are more free-range, so they wander about and seem very happy. The lion area has windows right on the level with the cats, so they are walking right at you! Even with so much torn up, being remodeled, built,and rebuilt, there was plenty to see.

My sunglasses turned out to be the big hit of the trip, though. Very fashionable.

All in all, and my apologies to Va Beach fans, but we saw no reason to go back. Its fine if, like this trip, we're down there for other reasons and want something to do, but as a destination?

We'll take Ocean City, all the way.