TBT – A Snapshot of Working for a Passive-Agressive Supervisor

Through the window on the other side of the library, I could see into the fifth grade Social Studies classroom, where the lacrosse coach, Dennis, who’d been hired the same week I had, was readying his classroom. His degree was in Phys-Ed, but the school was on a mission to create teacher-coaches that year, a two-birds-with-one-salary kind of deal. I had been promised an eventual shot at being promoted from the library to the classroom, and mistakenly thought that this fifth grade Social Studies position that opened up mid-year would be it. But, I figured, rubbing my belly as the baby kicked, that it wasn’t my time. But still, I longed for a ticket to my teaching career train, and even more importantly, out of the library.

Helen came out of her office then, sidling up to me quietly in her navy blue Talbots suit and matching Naturalizer flats at the circulation desk. She looked at Dennis, pinning up a map of pre-World-War-I geography on the bulletin board of his new classroom and figured that the two of us were of one mind on the lacrosse coach. She also had territorial feelings about the classroom, though hers were based on the fact that it had once been a small-group-study room in the library.

“Can you believe they gave him that job?” she asked, her voice heavy with disgust.

“No,” I said sheepishly, feeling a little guilty about my desire to run from her as fast as I could.

Helen, who did nothing but surf the Internet from the confines of her office all day. Helen, who worried that the school didn’t appreciate her because it had cut the library from seven MLS-degreed librarians when she started ten years ago to just her today…left with me, an ambitious future-teacher, a so-called assistant, in her mind, not really even a librarian. And what if they decided to let me go? Or worse, what if they did actually move me to teaching? Where would she be then? They might decide to cut back further and leave her with no assistant. Not only would she have to do all the work herself, but she also might then be support staff to me as a teacher. Helen, who made sure to make it seem like she couldn’t do it all alone, by making certain that I did all the work. Helen, who made my life hell.

“I mean, you could do that job.” She said it in a way that wasn’t like she thought I was perfect for the job, in fact her condescending  inflection of the word “you” made it sound as if the job was so remedial that even a pleb like me could perform the tasks required.

I scoffed, “Ya,” since after all, I had a degree in history and was just a student-teaching semester away from getting a teaching certificate in the field. A student-teaching semester I had foregone by reluctantly taking this job after the principal himself had promised me not only a student teaching semester here, but the possibility of a future teaching career at the school.

“But you don’t want that job,” she said dismissively, looking down and the roundness of my belly. “You want a nothing job like you have now.”

“Excuse me?” My back was UP. Did she want to go to the mattresses? First of all, how the hell would she know what I wanted? That she would even presume to know was offensive, but that she thought my job was nothing? My job, which was the job of checking in and out the books, re-shelving them, cataloging new books that came in, dealing with the students’ needs and helping them find the materials they needed for their research projects, or the right work of fiction they might enjoy reading? That was a nothing job compared to sitting in a little glass cubicle watching me do all those things over the top of her computer monitor? Who did she think she was?

She must have sensed, despite her complete lack of usual perception, that I was a bit miffed by her statement, because she tried to explain it to me. “You know, with the baby coming,” she said and then repeated, “you’ll want a nothing job like this in the Fall.”

And then she turned and went back into her office. And I sat there like a cartoon character, a little wisp of smoke over my head.

Dropping off the bags in 2014

So, you may have been wondering where the hell I’ve been. Not that I flatter myself by believing that I am much more than a constellation of ones and zeroes in a universe of code, but I do feel like I have this place, and so I should tend to it now and then.

It’s 2014, and I have not written much in the last six months. I’ve been on hiatus, closed for business, out to sea in a lot of ways. But now we are almost a month deep into the new year, and I feel like I’ve got to come back, or risk never coming back at all.

1016511_10151829265723814_593771423_nThe thing is, we lost my father in September. He was an amazing guy, the kind of person who lit up a room, brought the party, made you feel like all was right with the world. He was just the best kind of father, and King of the Grandfathers. The kind of grandpa who dotes on his grandkids, slips them candy and money on the sly. I’ve written about him many times here, including the time that he totally saved my butt, which was just one of the many many times he did. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, complications from a procedure performed on his heart, that ended in a blood-splattered night of dashed hopes and tears. In the wake of the loss, I’ve kind of been empty and had a hard time putting thoughts into words. Also I feel like I need to address the issue of losing my dad before I can write anything else. Does that make any kind of sense?

I sat by his side, taking my daily shifts in the hospital, and we had the most wonderful conversations. I think he knew his time was short, or at least he feared that it was. I don’t know if other people let him feel those feelings, but I did. I let him know it was okay to be scared. And I feel so lucky because he basically told me everything I had ever needed to hear him say. That he loved me. That I’m smart, strong, a good mother. That my husband is the best kind of guy.

He didn’t believe in God or heaven, but he said on more that one occasion that he thought he would achieve immortality in the hearts and memories of the people who loved and remembered him. Whether or not he had that right, I know he will never leave me.

2013 was a good year in a lot of ways. Both the boys had lead roles in their school plays. Edison made the all-state chorus, and his scores at the audition earned him the rank of  number-one baritone in the state. We had a great summer vacation in California. We got a dog. But all that has been under the cloud of the worst thing that happened last year, not necessarily robbing me of joy in the good, but tarnishing it nonetheless.

My dad always told me, whenever I felt sorry about losing my mother, that I had to concentrate on what I have, to make what’s here now my focus. In the end, that’s some of the best advice he ever gave me.

So now it is a new year, and though the holidays were difficult, I do feel like the baggage is just a few ounces lighter. So much to look  forward to this year: Edison is going to high school, and Clooney’s going to middle school. Every day is a gift, and there’s a lot of laughter and love around here. So now I’ve said it, and hope that, at least in a blogging sense, I can move on.

My dad used to end every phone call by saying, “Okay, if you need me, you know where I’ll be.”

Yeah, I  know.

More Photo Challenge Catch-Up

March 10 – Loud


This a Mandrake I made. (It’s a Harry Potter thing.) Every time we pull it up out of the “dirt” the kids make the sound of it squealing.

March 11- Someone I talked to today

March 12 – Fork

March 13 – A Sign

That’s what she said.

March 14 – Clouds

Steam Cloud

March 15 – Car

My Empty-Nest Car

An open letter to the jane q. public i wrote those tickets to…

Sadly, too many people are like the woman described here. Maybe you know a few…


An open letter to the jane q. public i wrote those tickets to….


I wish I knew more people like the officer who wrote the tickets.

The Proust Questionnaire: Egghead23

I actually meant to write this as a post for this blog, but I accidentally wrote it on the Practice What You Pinterest site. I couldn’t figure out how to move it without ruining the format, so I just reblogged it. You get the idea.

The Proust Questionnaire: Egghead23.

Birds at the Feeder

I put up this feeder over the winter, and just recently caught a few birds in photos. I know the second one is a tufted titmouse, but I’m not sure about the first one. It looks like some kind of woodpecker. It had a hard time finding purchase on the feeder, hence the angle.

IMG_4484 IMG_4485

Drug Fiend


It started as a little cough. I’ve had mild asthma for several years, so when I get sick, it always goes to my chest. I had switched doctors not too long ago, because my former GP had decided to go into teaching and leave her practice, and because of the change, I hadn’t renewed my Albuterol prescription in so long that it had expired. And as I got sicker, I found that I no longer had any working inhalers in the house, so I made an appointment at the new practice in hopes of getting a refill for those.

Since she could see me sooner than the doctor, I went into the office and saw the nurse practitioner. She’s really great, very thorough, and took a good look at all the things I was complaining about. Basically at that point, I had sinus and upper respiratory infections, so she gave me prescriptions for Augmenten (antibiotic), Tessalon (cough pills1smsuppressant for day time) and Promethezine (cough suppressant with codeine for night time), and she renewed my script for Albuterol.


Two weeks later, the Augmenten was all gone, but the cough stubbornly lingered; not only lingered actually, but worsened. It was as if the cough had been waiting for the Augmenten to clear out of town and then just bloomed once it was. I waited another few days, and then went back to see the nurse practitioner, who figured that a low dose of Prednizone would knock out the cough, and she also upped my dose of Advair, a steroid inhaler that I take every day to maintain the asthma.


But, all that had no effect, so a week later, I went back to see the doctor, thinking that another opinion might help to get rid of this thing. She thought I might have whooping-cough (though I had a vaccine for pertussis in 2010) so she gave me a prescription for Zithromax, and thinking that the cough may also be caused by post-nasal drip, added a steroid nasal spray called Flonase.



Three days later, not only did I still have the cough, but I was completely a mess. Between all the steroids and the six weeks of Promethezine, I felt like a dozen ping-pong balls were bouncing on the inside of my head. My heart was racing. My chest hurt and my skin was clammy. I took the kids, who had the day off, to the grocery store, and I felt like I was going to pass out in the cookie aisle. I was afraid I might be having a heart attack. And then I remembered, I’m on so many drugs, I don’t know what day it is. It was like Brave New World over here.


So despite my fear that they might throw a net over me when I got there, I went back to see the doctor. I finished the Zithromax, but I stopped all of the other drugs. And I felt better. My head is stable and my heart is back to beating within the confines of my chest. I still have the cough, but at least I can see straight. They ran some blood tests, and it’s all normal, no worries.

I’ll be glad when the cough is gone, but overall, I feel like the attempted cures were worse than the underlying condition. February was quite the pharmacological odyssey.