It’s Testing Time at school. Georgia Milestones. Honestly, I have not really given much thought to testing until now–now that I am smack dab in the middle of it, proctoring a classroom and seeing how it all goes down.My school has it down to fine art–like a well oiled machine (for the most part). Our principal has mad skills in organization. Of course things have gotten, well, a little…um…testy…here and there, but that’s to be expected. Testing is stressful for everyone!
These kids don’t have a clue how good they have it. They are taking their tests on computers! We, oh MY GOD, WE had to use PENCILS!!! Pencils and SCANTRON SHEETS!
And the instructions for the damn Scantron sheets were heinous!!! The teacher had to read them EVERY time we started a new section! Carefully fill in the bubble. Do not darken outside the bubble. Be sure to darken the bubble completely or the Scantron reader will not be able to read your answer. Make sure that you are on the same line with your question…..OMG. If you managed to get off line, you were totally screwed. These kids are only taking a section or two, two days a week! We, oh MY GOD, WE tested ALL DAY!!! Our little hands were cramped up and exhausted from filling in all of those damned BUBBLES! These kids get to…wait for it… EAT a snack between sections! YES, a SNACK!!! Now here is where I just really take offense. Back in the day, nobody gave rat’s ass whether WE needed a SNACK or not! There we were-little, tiny students….YES, we were a lot smaller than students are today! I know this to be true because I found a dress that I wore all the time in 5th grade and I held it up to The Baby about two months ago. It was way too small for him and he is in 3rd Grade. Granted, he is slightly tall for his age, but only slightly. Where was I??? Oh yes, there we were-little, tiny students, testing all day, filling in Scantron bubbles in hot classrooms (because back in the day a lot of schools did not have AC) SANS SNACK until lunchtime. Now, what kind of sadistic world were we living in?! It’s all coming back now–like PTSD…the abuse we suffered during ITBS Week. I may have to seek therapy…..Don’t come crying to me about how hard your baby has it for GA Milestones… 😉
I have heard some call it The Armageddon of the Highways, in jest, and others are serious when they say it. One thing is for certain: Atlantans only thought traffic was bad before March 30, that fateful day that I-85 caught fire and part of it burned down. The week after Spring Break, we had some more road problems. Torrential rains, hail-thunder-bolt-and-lightning-very-very-frightning-flash-flooding caused some roads to be closed down near where I live. This was Northlake Parkway:
THEN, I-20 buckled, due to an underground gas leak.
I was half expecting to see this guy come up through the concrete: A major intersection in my neighborhood was recently closed for about 5 weeks while the county fixed a water main. This sign appeared on Easter Sunday: This is the main road that we all use to get in and out of the neighborhood! This sign was a joke, of course, and the intersection was actually open, but some of us were beginning to feel like it was going to be closed forever. This week, a sinkhole on 5th Street was reported:
Now, this traffic thingy does not affect me all that much, say, unless, I have to go to one of my many doctors, who are spread out all over the city. While I thought I had taken care of all that over Spring Break, alas, I should have known that something else would inevitably come up and I would not only have to miss more work, but also have to drive through the clusterfuck that is now the Buford Highway Connector. I was right, of course. The Middle Child had a doctor’s appointment yesterday-deep in the heart of the fake Buckhead (I can say fake Buckhead, having grown up in Madison, Georgia, the next-door-neighbor to the original Buckhead, the one that keeps Buckhead in Atlanta from ever becoming it’s own city). We left our house in more than plenty of time, as I have a real hang-up about being late. I used Waze-even though my favorite voices (Morgan Freeman and Madea) are no longer available, damn it (If they are available, I cannot figure out how to use them-which would not be surprising in the least). They made it much more tolerable to drive anywhere. While Waze totally rocks, sometimes, there is just nothing it can do-especially here-and yesterday was one of those unfortunate times.
Everywhere I turned, there was a stopped line of traffic. I felt like I was in a corn maze…or better yet, at the Overlook Hotel…with Jack Torrance chasing me…..When we finally made it to what looked to be free and open road on I-75, we were blocked by 18 wheelers on either side, and an elderly woman doing 55 in a Camry in front of us. Not missing a beat, The Middle Child and I burst out into song, simultaneously, with a moving rendition of Ludacris’ “MOVE BITCH GET OUT DA WAY, GET OUT DA WAY”… I am getting a bit teary just thinking about it now (from laughing). I was finally able to pass the Camry and made up 2 minutes of our lost time before I exited onto Moore’s Mill Road and got hung up in traffic, yet again. Needless to say, we did make it, and only 4 minutes late. I have ONE GIANT COMPLAINT: PEOPLE OF ATLANTA!!!! STOP BLOCKING INTERSECTIONS!!!!! YOU ARE CAUSING THE TRAFFIC PROBLEMS!!!!! Our ride home was also heinous. Today I ordered groceries. I have had to lay down some ground rules. Nobody is allowed to do anything (except go to school) that involves me driving more than a two mile radius from home. All doctor and hair appointments (these fall under Necessary) must be mid-morning or on the weekend. If you must stay at school late, you must Uber home. Last, but not least, we will not be leaving the city on Fridays after 3:00AM. And a word of advice to anyone even considering coming to Atlanta: DON’T. For the love of GOD, stay out of here. I am thinking we may need to change Atlanta’s name to “Hotel California, Georgia”. You may be able to get in, but you can never leave. Good luck.
Yesterday, my cousin (who is more like a brother to me than a cousin) Clint and I went to Road ATL to watch my brother, Eli, race motorcycles. Clint drove up from Madison, to my house, which is actually in Atlanta, and we drove from my house to Road ATL. I find it somewhat ironic that Road ATL is on the Winder Highway, in Braselton, GA, 40 miles away from my house, which is in Atlanta. I was not exactly sure what I should wear to the race. I mean, I knew I could wear shorts. I opted for a striped, sleeveless, $15 dress from Old Navy, and threw on my running shoes. The Middle Child said it looked terrible. Clint said he hated it, too. It wasn’t the dress-it was the shoes with the dress. OKAY, OKAY, fine, I said. I went and put on my old, black, flat, glitter sandals with the ankle straps. I felt overdressed. JC said, It’s a spectator sport. There will be lots of people there who are dressed up. You will be fine. Here are your dressed-up spectators, Honey:
Thank God, Clint and I did a drive-by before we actually parked and got out. We split the scene and found the nearest Target so we could buy me some flip-flops and us some chairs (We did not find those bleacher thingies until after we went to Target. LMAO) Also, we went through the busiest Chick-Fil-A drive thru of all-time. It was so busy, it had to have it’s own traffic director. Unfortunately for you, I did not think to get a picture of that. We got back to Road ATL, ate our lunch, and Eli told us where we should go to watch the race. So, we went. We took Safety with us. The dog. Safety is Eli’s dog. The bikes are really, really loud. We were almost at the very end of the track, and we could hear them coming literally-a mile away. Okay, well, it probably was not actually a mile. It sounds like a really loud swarm of bees at first, then it is unmistakable–at least to me, but I grew up around motorcycles. They would go by so fast, that it was hard for us to find Eli at first. We knew what his bike looked like:
And we knew that he was #418. His helmet is black. His suit is black and white. None of that information narrows it down very much. Several in his group have similar colors, even though I don’t think anybody else had that exact same combination LOL. They are all going so fast, that it’s hard to see their numbers until they get right up on you–and, you are not allowed to get that close to the track. My 46.5 year old glasses-wearing eyes could barely see the numbers at all…until it was too late! I started taking pictures of everyone, knowing that eventually, I’d get him in at least one! (These are all him) (I think) 😉
They race in groups by experience. Eli is in the Advanced Group. The groups race for 20 minutes at a time and go once an hour. We decided just to stay where we were and not go back and forth to the Main Paddock. I had water for Safety (the dog, remember?) The next race was at 3:00. We were waiting for them to start when we saw 3 ambulances with their lights on, coming down the track. That was very unnerving. I looked at my watch. 3:02. I figured that was not enough time for Eli’s group to have even started. It was someone from the previous group, and we heard later that it was bad. We had positioned ourselves, our chairs, water, and Safety down at the very bottom of those stands. This was quite a hike and really good lunge exercise. I ended up having to go up these damn things 4 times–to get random shit out of the car. For this second round, we had set up a little farther down-so that we could see the bikes ‘do the S curve’ before they went up ‘Wheelie Hill’- a hill that lots of them did wheelies on because when they come out of the S and start up the hill, accelerating their speed, it’s on the engine and gravity. The motorcycle’s engine supplies more torque through the drive train to the rear wheel than the gravitational torque….click/boom: WHEELIE! I saw more wheelies yesterday than I have ever seen in my life, and it was au naturel…nobody was showing off. We somehow totally missed Eli’s 3:05 (post ambulance) round. In all of our intent searching for him, we never saw him go by. LMAO. In our defense, there was a lady there, photographing the whole thing for a friend. Her friend had texted her that his group, The Novice Group, had to stop mid-session, due to the big accident. She thought that his group had come back out at 3:05. Somehow, ‘black helmet, #418, white wheels, red bike’ were all just too much for me to look for at the same time, while the bikes were all going 180mph. Finally, at about 3:55, his group came out and we spotted him 😉 That was when we got our best pics. It was also when they got the red flag and had to go in early. The red flag means somebody has had an accident. We knew it was not Eli, because we actually got pics of him holding his arm up (to signify that he had seen the red flag) and going in. Now, at the time, we did not know what all of this meant, so we just sat back down and hung out. About 15 minutes later, I got this text:
(Those pics are some I had sent Eli after the first round we saw) So we gathered up all of our shit, and Safety, and we headed back up those big, bleacher thingies one last time. I decided my knees did not have it in me, so we walked all the way over to the edge and walked up the ramp–luckily, I think Safety knew he was going back to Eli, and was excited about that, so he pulled me up. When we got to the landing at the top, we heard another group start up. As we were almost to my car, Safety stopped dead in his tracks–like he was not going to move. He knew. Or at least he thought Eli was coming back out on the track! “Come on, Safe!” I said, “He’s not coming back out-that’s another group. Daddy’s done! Let’s go!” He walked on and got in the backseat of my car. When we got to the Main Paddock, I got him out of the car, and he walked me, very briskly, back to Eli! Safety knew exactly where he was!
I see now why Eli loves racing so much. I felt free, just being at the racetrack. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be driving that bike. I don’t really want to try that. I think I might feel like everybody else was chasing me-and that wouldn’t be fun for me. I used to ride a Honda Trail Bike (motorcycle) on the farm (a lot, not just once) growing up–and I loved it. It was very freeing. We did dangerous shit like that when we were young. We actually lived to tell about it too. Imagine that. My adrenaline was rushing, just watching them. I must add my Ricky Bobby commentary (even though I am well aware that Ricky Bobby raced cars, not motorcycles) Talladega Nights remains one of my favorite movies of all time…..It was a beautiful day at Road ATL….for those who like to go FAST…..we did not have our cougar, Karen, with us, but we did have our Labradoodle, Safety….. These men are the best there is. Plain and Simple. They wake up in the morning and they piss excellence….Maybe Eli and Elliott (the guy he rides with) ought to consider changing their names to El Diablo and The Magic Man… 😉 I’m just sayin’ ….will you at least consider saying ‘Shake and Bake’? You know, like before you start the race? LOLOL Please? 🙂
I HAD SO MUCH FUN!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK! Back to this place where the rubber meets the road. I hope it’s soon. Next time, though, I’m wearing shorts.
After I finished this post, I remembered an integral part that I had inadvertently left out. I thought about just leaving well enough alone, but alas, I cannot 😉 And, actually, it’s two integral parts. While we were watching another group race, I saw somebody lay their bike down hard in the S curve. The guy flipped (his body) four times, and landed in the gravel. I gasped and jumped up out of my chair. The hair was standing up on my arms. The guy just got up and walked away. The suits that they all wear do exactly what they are supposed to do: protect them.
During the round that we missed Eli–when we kept thinking that he was not out there (and he actually was LOL), it crossed my mind that perhaps those three ambulances we had seen had been for him! Nobody that he was with knew me. I thought that maybe, just maybe, somebody had seen me, in my black and white convict-ish striped dress, and new flip-flops (that I tripped over more than once) taking Safety off with me. Lots of people seemed to know Safety. And maybe, just maybe, somebody would have the wherewithal to come and look for me-if something had happened. Nobody ever did, and then, of course, I got that text from Eli….so, you know. Anyway, on the way home, I shared that little psycho tidbit of information with Clint 😉 I think it was probably one of those things that you think but should just not share 😉 Clint burst out laughing. He said, Jennifah! I can see it now. Next time we are here, you are gonna be handing out business cards to all those people down at the Main Paddock! You’ll be saying, “Here’s my information, please call me if something happens!” My VistaPrint order should be here in about a week, El Diablo 😉
I feel as though my head may explode right off of my neck. I have a lot going on. I will not list off all of my current life/stress situations for you, as I see that as nothing but complaining. I will say that I have a GOOD Stress List and a BAD Stress List. Number one on the GOOD Stress List is that, after 9 years of living in our house, our heinous hellfire pit of a backyard and our swimming pool are getting a gigantic makeover! And I will tell you that my father-in-law-of-21-years-having-liver-cancer is numero uno on the BAD Stress List. I am getting so many helpful tips of advice on how to deal with all of my stress right now, too. I know people meanwell-I really do. I know that these things that they are advising me to do have actually helped them, and I respect that-I really do. This is not the first time I have ever been stressed out or anything [choke LOL]. But seriously. I have tried the usual, obvious things that everybody suggests.
Pray about it. Yep. I do pray about it. Morning, afternoon, and night. I pray. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE get Dekalb County to get off their asses and finish fixing the intersection of Evans Road and Henderson Mill Road so it can reopen and I can get to and from work in a decent amount of time, because going the long ass way really sucks. I pray that I-85 gets fixed really fast, because the traffic situation here in the ATL is so awful that I am afraid that the road-rage death toll is going to start rising. I pray about a lot of things. All day long.
Work Out. Yeah. I’m trying. That, my friend, is a HUGE part of the problem! There are NOT ENOUGH hours in the day! Where did they all go? There used to be 24. Now there are like 5. What the hell happened? I get up, go to work, which I am usually 5 to 7 minutes late for, come home, have zero time to do anything, make lunches for the next day, throw together a shitty dinner or order out, and go to bed. Now where in the hell am I supposed to fit working out into that God-awful routine? Make it a priority-I know, I know, I know. I am trying. Really, I truly am. I set my clock. I go to bed early. Sometimes, it is just humanly impossible for me to get up at 4:00am-even if I go to bed at 8:30pm. I’m 46.5 years old. I work full time, not from home. I have 3 kids-yes, one is at college, but I do still worry about him like he is at home LOLOL. I had thyroid cancer in 2006 and have no thyroid. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2013, and while most of the time I don’t think I actually have it, there are times when that statement comes to bite me on the ass. I actually do work out two to three times a week, and for now, I’m afraid that’s going to have to suffice-for me.
Meditate. Yeah, right. I have proven that it is not humanly possible for me to meditate. I have tried. And tried and tried and tried. I even tried a class at the Buddhist Monastery near my house. I hate meditation. I don’t just hate it, I detest it. I start thinking about what I am going to do when I get done meditating, or what I need to be doing instead of meditating. Then my blood pressure goes up, because I am wasting time just sitting there. It is terrible.
Ask for help and allow people to help. I do this. Each and every day. In fact, I have gotten really, really good at this one. So good, that I am probably abusing some of my relationships, which is not good.
Learn to say “NO”. This one took me a LONG time to even grasp onto, but, man, I have a firm grip on it now. I don’t have a problem saying “NO”, in fact, I can give you a big, fat, “HELL to the NO” in under a second-for just about any request that involves me putting myself out, most especially if it involves driving (Next year, I have plans in the works to pay someone to take the children to school- If you live in Atlanta, that statement makes total sense to you-most especially since the crackheads burned down I-85). Nothing makes me feel guilty about it, either. Not even Mothah 😉
Take care of me. I try to do this. This falls into the working out category for me. It also falls under the not enough hours in the day category. How does anyone with a job, a house, bills, or kids actually have “me time”? Seriously.
Go to a meeting. Bill, if you are reading this, refer to the working out or take care of me category 😉
I have a lot of gratitude for all of the good things and good people in my life. I love my job and the friends I have made there. I look forward to getting there each morning. See, I knew this would happen. As frustrating as things were for me going back to work last August and September, and well October and November and if I am being honest, December was no picnic because it was the first December in 8 years that I had worked….What I am getting at here is that I do not want to give anything up! I cannot imagine not working now. I think I need to learn how to juggle….. So, just when things were coming together, what did we do? We got a puppy. What the hell were we thinking? Clearly, we were not. I had it all planned out in my head-it was going to work perfectly. Of course that is not what happened! I am losing my mind. At work, I can miss 13 days. 10 sick days and 3 personal days. That looks like a lot on paper, and it even sounds like a lot. Who should actually need all of those days? ME! ME! ME! I need them and more. I needed to go to New York City for three days, just because, with Mothah and her BFF and The Middle Child–that was planned before I took my job. Then, I found out I had a hernia and needed surgery-BOOM, 5 days. As much as I love my job, the damn thing interferes with my life, already!!! Fast-forward to Spring….We did not make any fabulous Spring Break plans because we are going to France as soon as school gets out. I made all the doctor’s appointments for Spring Break. Every single day of our Spring Break was taken up by an appointment of some sort. On Friday, I almost canceled my mammogram–just to have one free day of Spring Break, but I didn’t because I knew I would not have time to go again. How in the hell do people actually do this and stay sane? I am sitting here, on my bed, staring at my dresser and the mound of clothes that is piled up on top of it-simply because I have not taken the time to put anything away. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes. My family is waiting on me to cook dinner. There is laundry to be done. I could be downstairs on my elliptical machine, working out, but I am not, and for some reason, I don’t give a rat’s ass. It. Will. All. Wait. I have cried at work every single day this week (over non-work-related issues), except today, and today is Thursday. The funny thing about me not crying today is that during my carpool duty, I got a phone call and I actually answered it-just not thinking. It was about the mammogram that I had last Friday-the one I almost canceled so that I would have one free day of Spring Break. They need me to come in for a follow-up. Dammit. On top of every single fucking other thing, (remember, now, I didn’t tell you everything) I have to go back in for another mammogram. Really? I know it is probably nothing, and I am not really worried, but even having to go back in again at all is something to me–it takes time out of my day, and my job. It’s different now that I no longer answer to just myself. I know, I know….I should be grateful, and I AM. If it is something, that I am fortunate enough to have been notified and yada yada yada…yeah, I get it. It’s just always something, and I do know that life is that way. I seem to be getting a lot of life lately. I suppose I should be grateful?! I hear that it’s better than the alternative, a lot, but seriously, how do I know that? How do you know that? How does anybody fucking know that? LOLOL NOBODY has actually come back from THE ALTERNATIVE to tell us whether it’s better there or NOT! So, really, I’m sick and tired of hearing about how this shit is better than the alternative. YOU don’t KNOW that for a fact. When you DO know that, then come talk to me! 😉 That does not mean that I want to head for The Alternative! I’m just sayin’….. Anyway….There is a lot of good going on. Mini Me is about to be home for the summer. That means that I can hire him to do all of the things that I can’t seem to get to. He can also take care of, um, I mean BOND WITH the puppy! The Middle Child is going to Scotland with her youth group. We are all going to France. The psychomother is just, well, a little teeny bit psycho right now. It’s okay. It’s not like it’s the first time.
It’s the worst sort of ‘blockage’. Okay, so maybe not the worst. LOL. I surely can think of at least one other blockage that would be far worse, but this one is, at least…. bad …enough ? I have had WRITER’S BLOCK (WB) for about three months now! I am not talking about ‘just a little bit’ of WB, where I can at least think of a topic or two….I am talking serious, full-blown, nothin’-is-up-there, WRITER’S BLOCK. Life has been, oh, what is it I am supposed to say? Some positive-flowery bullshit like: “Full and vibrantly brimming with fun, daily learning activities that challenge my children intellectually, physically and emotionally”. When what I really mean is this: “Overloaded. Overslept. Under slept. Meant to work out. Didn’t work out. Too many carpools. Too much laundry. Can’t make it to the grocery store. Order out too many meals. Don’t remember the last time I vacuumed. Not ashamed to write that last sentence. (Sorry Mothah 😉 Soccer. Piano. Voice. Choir. Homework. New puppy. Misunderstood by most. Oh, and did I mention work? And that’s a new one this year. Everything else is not balancing out so well anymore. Last week, nothing was balancing out, and I was late to work every single day. Then, as if traffic in the ATL weren’t awful enough….the unimaginable actually happened: A huge section of I-85 caught on fire and burned up! Now, you really have no idea what this is like if you do not live in this gargantuan place. SO….I have been in the car more than usual this week-even though we are on Spring Break. It takes longer to get around town right now. I can’t even think about what traffic is going to be like next week, when we all go back to school. Basically, thepsychomother has gone a little, well…. psycho…. 😉 I am quite sure that I will get my groove back soon-I just didn’t want you to think I had fallen off the planet.