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October 2009
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November 2009

Hoppy Squeeky But

Honestly, I know I'm not the only person in the world to make mistakes. I recognize that I am an intelligent woman and that I'm only human, but I don't like to admit it. And I certainly don't want anyone else to see it.

Mostly, my work, my writing is on the web. Nothing is ever permanent. You make a mistake, one person or a few see it, it gets noticed, and you fix it. No big deal. It goes away like it never happened. And this being a personal blog, well, I tend to worry about that even less. I mean, I run spell check on these things, but spell check doesn't pick up on the words that you skipped or that you typed "here" instead of "hear". I was an English teacher. I know the difference. I often see the difference when someone else wishes I wouldn't.

It doesn't mean I won't make the same mistake as I'm typing along as quickly as my fingers will go, listening to my children fight in the living room, wondering if I'll be able to get this posted tonight, knowing I'm pushing bed time and my luck. Typos happen. Sometimes I get around to fixing them before I post. Sometimes after I post. Sometimes never.

At work, I try to be more careful. But often I'm just as rushed, getting interrupted, trying to accomplish as many tasks in one day as possible. The typos still happen at work. And everyone loves to point out a typo to an English teacher. It's not so bad in an email, something sort of off the cuff to another co-worker. Like an email I sent last week asking if the Buy List was ready to be run. An email I send every month. Except this time, I titled it "But List". Yes, it could have been much worse. I didn't call it the "Butt List". Of course, I got the snarky email back asking what the But List was. I don't blame them. It was funny. It was just funny at my expense, which is just not so funny for me.

Graphics are always worse. You can't spell check in a graphics program. If I'm putting a lot of text in a graphic, I'll often spell check it first in Word. I'm not, despite the English degree, the world's best speller. I've always considered it a weakness I've had to overcome. Writing on the board when I was teaching could be nerve wracking. Students always love to see their teacher make a mistake. And there's no spell check on a chalk board. And you can't always plan what you'll be writing up there during a brain storming session. But over the years, all the reading and the writing, and the conscious effort to get better, it has made a difference. Still, I'm not perfect.

So last year when I designed the yearly calendar of the boys that I give as Christmas gifts every year, a task which takes no less than four hours of searching through photos, image editing and optimization, background selection and caption writing, one of the captions read, "Hoppy Birthday". A silly and forgivable mistake. But one which now exists in print, memorialized in a calendar that is the result of four hours of strain on my back and eyes. It's just such a kick in the teeth.

Print media is unforgivable. There is no do-over. No taking it back. No hiding it from everyone else's eyes.

My boss quit. His last day is Friday. I'm gunning for his position. I'm not sure if they'll give it to me or not. His leaving has spurred a frenzy of training in our department. Certain troubleshooting he does for programs, servers, printers and computers that no one else knows how to do. It's been busy. We're planning a going away party for him Wednesday. He would have received his five year plaque at the Christmas party, so we had an Almost Five Year plaque made up. It reads something like, "Thank you for your hard work and dedication deserting us."

My boss has been keeping a list of some of our CEO's favorite sayings:

  • "We need a bigger boat."
  •  "It's a marketing issue."
  • "It takes a short time to get from here to here."
  • "First to Market"

There are others. Most don't make sense out of context. So we had a beer stein made up with all of these quotes. I did the graphic work. And I did it with a spelling error.

    "The squeeky wheel"

And there's no taking it back. Here I am, trying to make a good impression, and now everyone's calling me Squeaky. I can make up a number of excuses. I spent much time making sure everything was within print margins. It's all done in different fonts, different sizes. Graphically it came out great. Except for the little kick in the teeth.

One of the owners pointed it out. I'm slightly mortified. I have an English degree. I should be above silly little spelling errors. To be completely honest, I'm not sure if it was a typo or a spelling error. But that doesn't really matter, does it?



Halloween was awesome this year. It was perfect trick-or-treat weather. Pretty warm, windy with spooky clouds moving swiftly across the full moon. We did double duty while trick-or-treating, we were also passing out our Scouting for Food Bags. So we'll be driving that same route to pick up canned goods Saturday morning. At least, LT and I will be picking up canned goods. Blackstone has some seminar and Trouble has Saturday school. Yes, Saturday school. It's part of our Title 1 program. Kids with below grade level reading or math skills are invited to attend for extra school time. This is about the third time Trouble's been invited and the second time he's attended. He doesn't mind too much. He reads below grade level. We work with him. I probably don't do it as much as I should, because it's painful. For both of us. I think Trouble would enjoy a root canal more. I know I would. They give you really good pain killers for that. And people are nice to you. They bring you milk shakes and soup, things you don't have to chew. Nobody's nice to you when you're teaching your kid to read. Nobody feels bad. Nobody gives you pain killers and milk shakes. Teaching Trouble to read requires a Vicodin or Xanax chaser.

I first really started pushing the issue when he hit October in his kindergarten year. Up to that point, I just figured he was a little immature, still young, I didn't want to push too hard if he wasn't ready. Well, at some point, one of us had to decide he was ready, and it was getting obvious it wasn't going to be him. He was five-and-a-half and I was trying to teach him five letters at a time. He would not, could not do it. I knew he wasn't brain addled. I tried flash cards, games, jello, pretzels, bribery, yelling, all to no avail. He smashed a glass pumpkin on the kitchen floor out of spite. He was miserable. I was miserable. He hadn't learned any letters.

It has gotten better. Sometimes he can read me a whole chapter of Captain Underpants without any screaming at all. Sometimes.

But, back to Halloween. The boys were both dressed as Swampfire from Ben Ten. I was Princess Leia and Blackstone was a Jedi. I've never been a princess for Halloween before. I guess every girl needs to do that once. Princesses are okay, I just prefer mine to be able to kick some ass. Blackstone is still disappointed I didn't get the gold bikini. I like sexy Halloween costumes fine, I just couldn't see taking the boys trick-or-treating in a bikini. It can be damn cold in October. I'll try to get some pictures up here. That's more coordination than I'm capable of right now. It means actually locating the camera.

Blackstone kept lamenting what a fabulous night it would be to spend at the clubs. Everyone dressed slutty, completely uninhibited. Yeah, I remember those days. They were fun. Now I dress in a chaste, polyester white gown and come home with four gallon bags full of candy. I'm trying to convince myself that this is more fun. I'm losing that battle at the moment. I'd prefer to whoop it up in club in a gold bikini. Well, there's a part of me that would.

Trouble has survived his pumpkin carving accident. He stabbed himself several inches deep with a steak knife after missing the pumpkin. He is so lucky he didn't do any nerve or tendon damage. A he's been telling people, "The pumpkin won."

So all's well that ends well. Time to get my little monsters to bed.