Friday, March 27, 2009

survivor (and a history lesson)

I have officially survived this week. That may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but it really is. Someone should make me a t-shirt or something. I Survived March 23-27, 2009. Health and energy-wise, it's been a rough two weeks. Although I ended up going back to work on Tuesday (and the rest of the week), I have had absolutely NO energy. I can't figure out why. I had some hopeful suspicions, but alas I was wrong. So now I still don't know why. My sinus infection/allergies/asthma are all gone or back under control though, so hopefully the energy will come back soon, too. In addition to not feeling well, I had two days of "professional learning" at work this week...which means 5 hours (per day) of sitting in meetings. In toddler-sized chairs. Writing on toddler-height tables. Ow. Come to think of it, maybe I just need a serious visit to a chiropractor and masseuse!!

Have I ever described to you where exactly I work? I'm not talking about what I do, I'm just talking about the physical school building I work in. Let me paint a picture for you.

The year is 1953. Athens is an up-and-coming, progressive-type town, so they decide to build a high school for the "colored" students. (Hey, I'm painting a picture...a historically accurate one. I read this in the paper a few weeks ago.) Wasn't that nice? (Heavy on the sarcasm here) So they built Athens High School. In 1953. Using the finest of materials and workmanship, I'm sure, because we all know that separate-but-equal was just that. Fast forward to some point they stop using the building as a high school and Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School was housed in the building. People I know that are in their mid-thirties now attended middle school in the building. After they decided that the building was too run down to be used as a middle school anymore, BHL got a new building. And the county decided not to put any more schools in the building because it was just. plain. old. And they'd just rather build new schools than fix the old ones. So for the next however many years they simply used the building to house various offices and departments, and it still does. The Office of Early Learning (whom I work for), the Technology Department (except they got the heck out of there a few weeks ago and moved to a new building), the Head Start offices, etc....they just converted the classrooms to offices and voila-- a great (free) place to keep a bunch of people. A few years ago, though, the county needed a place to stick the Bad know, the S.O.A.R. Academy-- the punitive alternative school. The place where the kids too young to drop out bide their time until they drop out. Last chance to learn how to read. Well, no one was using the upstairs of Athens High/BHL Middle/H.T. Edwards...they can have it. So the bad kids move in upstairs. Around the same time, the state starts funding pre-k programs (yay!). Now the county has lots of money to start pre-k classes, but there is very little classroom space in the schools...they built enough classrooms to house their K-5 populations, and didn't plan on suddenly opening up a new grade. What are we going to do with all these pre-k classes, the county wondered? Oh, I know!! H.T. Edwards!! That's still around! Stick them there!! All those empty (save the roaches, rats, and bats) classrooms are wasting away...put the four year olds there!

And so you have it. The building I work in has been "too old and run down" to house students for like 20 years...but it has been given new life. Not physically, mind you. Au contraire. We're still chillin' with the asbestos, lead paint, holey roof...the whole nine yards. As an added bonus, we're teaching the students how to commune with nature. They get lots of opportunities what with the rampant mold, the roaches that freely roam the building, and our most recent, most adorable infestation of bats. Oh, bats. Aren't they precious? Sure...but have you ever smelled their droppings? For 8 hours a day? No wonder I'm sick all the time. Don't bats carry rabies?

Anyway...the good news is, the county finally voted to spend like $50 billion or so on renovating (read: demolishing and rebuilding) ol' H.T. and it will start this summer. Those of us who work in the building enjoy looking at the floor plans and "artists' renderings" of what the building will look like, and we drool. It should be pretty sweet (whenever they finish it in like 2 years). In the meantime, I guess I'll do my best to protect my students from the environmental hazard that is their school. I've seriously considered buying about a million of those face masks construction workers and doctors and stuff wear. I think it would be a good investment.

But I'm home now, and happy about it. It should be rainy all weekend, which is bad if you're Lola, and also bad if you're her mom and dad...because a cooped-up Lola is a crazy Lola. We did get her a new toy yesterday, though, and she seems to love it, so maybe that will distract her a bit. We're going to look at another house tomorrow afternoon, but that's about our only plan so far. Matt's birthday is next weekend, so I need to be a good wife and start thinking about that. Any ideas?

Happy Friday!

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