News Flash: This just in: today's story will be put off until tomorrow to bring you the following late-breaking update…
This week has been hectic. I'm trying to squeezing in two tests before I have to be gone to the Science Fair on Friday, and squeeze in a session of ACT practice for my juniors who have to take that mandatory test in a few weeks, and make plans for all children left behind while I am gone…plus there are four separate groups of kids who will be out of class then and I need to make a master list of those not to expect assignments from.
"Whoa, Nelly, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!" you say. "You're not letting them off the hook for work that is vital to their book-learnin', are you?" Are you kidding me? No way am I going to make them make up work for school activity absences, just so I have the pleasure of grading all those odds and ends.
And, you know, what with 8-10 pupils absent every day with a raspy sickness, I have plenty of makeup work to last. So today was quite busy, as I also had to remind those Science Fair-ies (see what I did there?) to turn in their signed permission forms, and see which ones were riding the bus, and which of those wanted me to take their projects in my car, and, well, nothing much got done except the grind of reviewing for the test with four sections, and giving a test to two more. So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was left at the end of the day with her to-do list unchecked, with a traded morning duty looming on tomorrow's horizon and robbing her of before-school time.
Aha! But here's where Mrs. HM had a secret weapon up her sleeve! The secret weapon of forced down time! Uh huh. With The Pony staying after for over an hour to practice with his Smartypants team, Mrs. HM had a plethora of uninterrupted breathing room to get her workload under control.
Final bell sounded. Those high-spirited youngsters poured from the room, and Mrs. HM did a cursory snoop of traffic in the hall. Then she rushed back to her desk and commenced to catching up. Four tests labeled and paper-clipped for the special teacher to administer during her time with those kids. Friday's assignment laid out for 60 copies, because, you know, the baseball, softball, Science Fair, and the official upcoming ACT practicers would be absent, plus a few more sneezers, and there was a small supply of these forms left from the last absence. So no need to run 100 when apparently we had been chastised for using too much paper at that meeting the other day. Not that I would know, because it started early and I lost my seat, you know. The science ACT papers were laid out to copy for Mrs. HM's own personal practice with her students tomorrow. AND she could dash up to the office and grab her sub folder while those papers were running, AFTER she had time to finally partake of the unoccupied faculty women's restroom.
Yep. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was cookin' on all cylinders, such was her organization and consolidation of one trip up the hall to accomplish various tasks. That why she's a MASTER TEACHER, you know.
So there she was, fighting with the lesser Kyocera over feeding the multitasking tray or some such idiotic name for a paper slot that she had no intention of using, only wanting to run one copy on one side of one paper. Hmpf. It could wait for the main Kyocera to finish with the double-sided, stapled ACT papers. Mrs. HM dashed into the FWRR and basked in the solitude, nobody beating a hole through the heavy wooden door barking "Who's in there? Hurry up!"
She came out and ran her single page and prepared the sub assignment papers to copy. After a brief interaction with a student buying snacks IN THE TEACHER WORKROOM and admitting he was not in a supervised group as he should have been, she stacked her already-done ACT assignments and left the Kyocera unattended while she dashed up to the office for the sub folder.
While Mrs. HM was in the back room grabbing that folder, the unattendee tried to converse through the locked glass of the secretary's window about a baseball cap he had found while unsupervised. She called him inside the inner sanctum to figure out what the deal was. Just then, the office phone emitted a high-pitched, annoying beep. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. On and on.
"Why doesn't Ms Sec answer that infernal phone?" thought Mrs. HM, who really likes Ms Sec, thinks the world of her, her being a former student, and very efficient at her job. "Just answer it already. It's hurting my ears!" Let the record show that Mrs. HM has no idea how those multiple line phones work, or the noises they make, and runs out the door if she's ever alone in the office and it starts ringing. Not her responsibility.
As if sensing Mrs. HM's inner chastisement, Ms Sec said to nobody in particular, "What in the world is wrong with that phone?"
Mrs. HM was on her way out the office door, her tender ears ringing, sidestepping that unattendee, and noticed The Pony galloping down the hall towards her room like a thoroughbred. "PONY! She's right there! Your Mom's right there!" The Pony reversed direction. Looked relieved to see me.
And then Ms Sec's voice blared over the intercom: "EVERYBODY IN THE BUILDING GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE LOCKER ROOMS. GO NOW. TO THE LOCKER ROOMS. WE ARE UNDER A TORNADO WARNING."
So we all funneled down the steps and between the bleachers, to the girls varsity locker room, after a bit of confusion from students who were quicker, and left to their own devices, who declared, "The girls' locker room will smell better! Go in there!"
And there we sat for 90 minutes, with our softball team, our Smartypants team, student and adult spectators from the softball game, a board member who was driving by and needed to get out of the storm, baseball players waiting for their practice, after-school kids there for EOC review, coaches, custodians, Mr. Principal, and poor cell phone reception. The opposing team was allowed in to go to a different locker room, and the radio broadcasters who were there to cover the game set up a mobile broadcast center in our gym.
The Smartypants coach got a message out for me to Farmer H, who was driving home in the maelstrom. We were all safe, but by the time we were allowed to leave, Farmer H was trapped behind a fast-rising culvert and could not leave the Mansion to take The Pony to his college informational meeting at the local junior college as planned at 5:30. I could not get home, so I took him. Then Farmer H fired up his 4WD Ford F250 Long Bed Extended Cab and forded that fiord like a champ. We met and transferred The Pony, who had his meeting despite all classes at the college being canceled for the evening.
Yep. Best-laid plans of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and The Pony often go awry. I snatched up my copies, left a mess on my desk, and need to gas up T-Hoe on the way to school tomorrow before my duty. The second day of flash-flooding has left our roads in a gosh-darn mess. Farmer H is selflessly taking a vacation day tomorrow and Friday to use his tractor and work on them.
The Great Chasm has relocated to just in front of our downhill neighbor's barn. Those brown bubbling swirling waters are a death trap for the uncountryfied folks. Stay home. Do not drive into running water. Check how deep the chasm is before trying to cross that furrow.
Be safe. We are.