The last week has flown by in a whirlwind. I experienced my first Black Friday with a 10-hour shift at Target. On Sunday, I decided to work my last day at Ross and focus all of my efforts on Target where I get, not only more pay, but a lot more hours, too. And tomorrow, I'm going for that four-hour training workshop to become a substitute teacher.
I'm VERY excited about tomorrow. I've been waiting for it for a LONG time!
Today, while I worked a regular six-hour shift at Target, Keva's class came in for one of their monthly visits to Target. (The teachers and aids take the kids around the store, teaching them how to walk the aisles without grabbing at things, and then they take them to purchase a few items that the teachers buy.) They came to my register! I was so pleased to see Keva in the group. She looked at me a little funny, probably wondering what in the world I was doing at Target with my red shirt and khaki pants. I gave her a big kiss good-bye as they prepared to leave. She looked a little disgusted at this embarrassing display of affection, but Daniel, one of her classmates was waiting for his kiss, too! So I planted a big one on his cheek, just as I'd kissed Keva, and he got the biggest grin on his face. It was precious.
Keva's teacher reported to me that he giggled all the way back to school!
She wrote, "You must have a powerful kiss!"
Keith commented later, "They only know the half of it!"
I got home as the kids started getting home from school. Keri Lynn had missed the bus for the second time this year, but -- as she waited in tears in the hallway -- she prayed that the Lord would provide a way for her to get home. Wouldn't you know that He brought along her friend's grandmother who has NEVER walked along the halls after school before . . . but she was there nonetheless . . . and was happy to be the answer to Keri Lynn's prayer!
As we sat around the table tonight at dinner, we chatted about the day. Keri Lynn spoke about the class periods and how LONG they are. Kade wanted to know what periods were and Keri Lynn thought that he meant another kind of period. So the three of us that know of such things all giggled amongst ourselves -- Kathleen, Keri Lynn and myself.
Kade piped up, "I know what periods are!"
"We're talking about a different type of period, Kade."
"Yeah, well I know what the different type of period is!"
Keri Lynn looked a little taken aback, but I had an inkling, so I said, "Okay, Kade. What's a period."
You KNOW! It comes after a sentence!"
That Kade . . . you can't pull anything over on him!
It was a fairly successful day at Target on Tuesday. I only worked five hours, but I signed up two people for Target credit cards. If one is to be a Target employee, a very big deal is made of getting "Red Cards". So even though my register speed is not up to snuff yet, the powers that be are still very happy with my work.
After work, I dropped by Ross to pick up my very first paycheck -- $146.23. While not exactly enough to go off and buy diamonds yet, it's still very nice to see some money at last. That was TWO weeks worth of part-time work at Ross. I'm still aiming for, at the very least, $250 a week. So, I'm still "a little" off my mark. But it's better than nothing, that's for sure, and the Lord continues to bless us with unexpected gifts from others. We are overwhelmed with such amazing kindnesses.
On Sunday, we got a anonymous gift from someone at church for $250 to our grocery store. The timing couldn't have been better; we had not been certain how exactly we were going to afford a Thanksgiving meal. However, as is God's way of keeping tabs on the tiniest details of our lives, I went off to Kroger and got a 24 pound turkey and all the trimmings, without a worry for the cost. This year is a time to be even more thankful than usual for His constant provision.
Today is Wednesday, my day off from all work. And, of course, I'll be off tomorrow as well. The girls had a friend over for a sleep-over and Kristofer had a buddy over for a sleep-over, as well. So this morning found me busy making a bunch of one-egg omelets for the group. I was especially tickled about Kristofer and James as they came down to eat. They could have easily eaten up the whole house, if given the opportunity, but as it stands now, I made those guys two-egg omelets!
Tomorrow, I'll put the turkey in the oven mid morning and we'll probably sit down at about 2:00 to eat. We're hoping to have Keith's friend Carol, who he's been helping get back and forth from chemo treatments, and maybe her daughter if she's in town, to come have Thanksgiving dinner with us. Otherwise, it will be just us. However, one of the great things about a big family, is that we never feel alone!
Our family tradition for Thanksgiving dinner varies from one side of the family to another, but for just our immediate family, we have a certain menu that we follow for Thanksgiving that I'm going to share, but only because I'm interested in what you all have for your Thanksgiving . . .
Turkey (of course) -- I always cook it in a bag Mashed potatoes (Keith loves them mashed, not whipped) Gravy (and lots of it) Stuffing (I never bother putting it in the bird) Green Bean Casserole (with extra of those yummy dried onions) Candied yams Jellied Cranberries My Mom's yeast rolls (except I bought yeast rolls this year for time's sake) Jello Salad (Jello, Cool-whip, cottage cheese and pineapple pieces mixed and chilled) Olives and sweet pickles Pumpkin pie and whatever other pies look yummy -- this year CHOCOLATE silk pie
What do you eat for Thanksgiving?
And, what are you especially thankful for this year?
The last few weeks have been filled with transition for our family as I continue to add hours to my work week. I was called in to Ross for the first time in a week, having had a problem with my schedule. (This turned out great for me, in the long run, because I was then freed up to work the hours that Target gave me.) Anyway, I finished at Ross after midnight on Saturday night and then got up early the next morning to get a covered dish ready for our Sunday School class social after class and also to ensure that we all got ready in time.
Unfortunately, Keith had forgotten to give poor Keva her usual Saturday night bath. On top of that, she had a precious diaper Sunday morning that Keith graciously changed while I cooked. He reported that it was the type of diaper where the poop was welded to her body. (Sorry, all of you with weak stomachs . . . ) He did manage to clean her up as best he could, then, he was off in his truck to go put the finishing touches on his preparation for teaching our adult Sunday School class and I brought up the rear in our borrowed minivan with the rest of the kids, including a rather stinky orphan-like Keva. She had a wafting odor around her that was not exactly pleasant, but there was nothing that could be done. There was no time! So off we went and we all pretended that we didn't have a distinctly special smell about us that day.
While Keith subbed for our regular teacher in our class, I subbed for the regular 2nd grade Sunday School teacher. We made Mayflowers with papers in each one to be pulled out during Thanksgiving . . . things like "I'm thankful for _________" or "My favorite teacher is ________" and stuff like that. Which reminded me of my favorite Thankgiving joke . . . .
IF APRIL FLOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS, WHAT DO MAY FLOWERS BRING?
If you don't know the answer to this little joke -- and I know you're just DYING to know -- you'll have to go down to the comments for this post and see!
When we got back, I took a nap to get ready for going to work at Target at 5:00 pm.
Both jobs have been interesting. I've been working at Target a lot more than Ross, and glad of it, too. The last two times I've gone to Ross, I've had to work with a managerial person that just isn't very nice, not only to me but to everyone. Ironically, she's the one responsible for getting me to the interview stage of the hiring process, so I'm grateful to her for that, but I'd just as soon stay way clear of her otherwise. (Some people just weren't taught how to be polite!) And because of my sensitive nature, I don't stand up for myself as much as I should. What I need is the courage just to tell her to act more professionally and to quit treating me like a idiot slave without my bursting into tears in the process. That would be REALLY embarrassing!
On the other hand, I stayed later last night to chat with one of the managers at Target who had some pointers for me on how to get more hours and add to my job skills. She said I was "a natural" with the guests -- Target has guests not customers -- and she was pleased with my progress. The register keeps a constant speed score for each of the cashiers, which appeals to my innate love of competition. That same manager was working with me earlier in the day to get my score higher, but she was wise to first compliment me on my eye contact and communication with each of the guests before honing in on necessary improvements. I appreciated that and reacted well to her words . . .
Which in turn made me think about how I act around my kids . . .
This whole work experience has reminded me that encouraging words from a parent are just as powerful as encouraging words from bosses . . . perhaps they are even more powerful!
I've also treasured the time I've had with the kids more than I have ever treasured that time before. Having been a stay-at-home mom all these years, I've taken for granted that I'd be home when they were home, that I'd be the one cooking the meals and doing most of the laundry and helping with the homework. It's not so anymore. We have to have more of a team effort, which is good in that they are learning important skills. When I do get to sit and talk and listen, I treasure it so much more.
Watching the harried moms come through my register line has been kind of fun, because I can then add a word of encouragement to them, too! I especially like to talk to the little kids and keep them busy while the mom finishes the business transaction. I remember the days, not so very long ago, when I had to watch that certain little people weren't falling out of carts, grabbing one of those evil aisle candy bars, or throwing a temper tantrum.
This week, all of the kids are off for Thanksgiving -- the whole week. It surprised Keith to find out that they were all off all week, even though it's been that way ever since we moved to Georgia. With a homeschool schedule, vacation schedules weren't nearly so obvious. So I depend on the older kids to keep an eye on the younger ones when I'm at work. Most of the the younger kids are off mooching off of neighbors and playing with friends all day on days off anyway. They don't usually come home until they're really hungry! Then it's all I can do to fend them off while I cook dinner!
A typical communication week between Keva's teacher (Christy), her assistant (Melissa) and myself. Please keep in mind that Keva has a terrible time whenever her teacher is out and has the audacity to let a substitute teacher take her place. Every single time, Keva misbehaves and is a general menace until Christy comes back. Worse, she screeches all the way home on the bus and then continues on her destructive path at home. I am very unhappy with the fact that Christy will be transferring to a school in another county next year. SHE says it's because she's bought a house in that area, but I'm not so sure . . .
Melissa: Keva had a great day. She followed directions and listened well today. Have a great day!
Me: Very good! Thank you for daily reports. : )
Christy: Keva is beginning to use her fork correctly. I think she had a little too much fun stabbing the meat today! : ) Hmmm . . . .
Me: You better be really nice to Keva now. : )
Christy: We are always nice to Keva!
Christy: Still stabbing! Keva had an awesome day!
Me: Keva wants to remind you about SUBS!
Christy: I'm so glad you have a great sense of humor! It makes my job so much better!
Me: And the same to you!
Christy: Keva and I worked on throwing the knobbly wobbly ball back and forth. She is using the cheap tack without banging it. She stayed quiet during the fire drill today. All is well in Keva world today.
Me: Does she have a problem with the shrillness of fire drills? I would imagine that it wouldn't be her favorite thing.
Christy: No. It does not seem to bother her. Of course, she doesn't have a lot of time to let it bother her with us rushing her out of the building. Our light flashes but the siren is disconnected.
Christy: Have a great weekend!
And here's another week . . . Keva's class gets about six weeks of corral where they all get to ride horses! She loves it! They also take trips to various places, like Target . . .
Christy: Today was our last day of Corral. Check out Keva's ribbon!
Me: Kathleen (6th grade), on seeing the ribbon: That is so not fair! We don't get to ride horses!
Christy: Oh well -- sorry. : (
Christy: Keva did a great job today at Target. She was quiet and kept her hands down (most of the time).
Me: Keva and her class have really been getting around! How about that! You guys do a great job!
Christy: Thank you!
Christy: WARNING -- I will not be here on Friday. Keva had a great day. We worked on ordering the planets by size.
Me: That sounds like fun! Since you're not going to be here Friday, I'm going to start building some kind of protective bunker here at home.
Christy: Melissa is requesting prayer for herself tomorrow. Please pray for her. : ) Keva had a great day. We have about 7-8 pull-ups. You don't have to send them in until next week.
Me: Oh, I'm so sorry, Melissa! Hang in there tomorrow! I'll pray for you if you pray for me for when Keva comes home!
Melissa: No Dishman! Despite the fact that our fearless leader was gone, Keva had an okay day. The morning was awesome but she finally realized by afternoon that SOMEONE was missing. Have a great weekend. (Noted later in the day) Keva has FINALLY realized at 3:05 that Dishman really is not here so I thought the bus driver could benefit from the splints today. Have fun this afternoon. I will be praying for you on my way home.
Perhaps this gives you a glimpse into life with Keva. The splints are occasionally used to keep Keva from constantly putting her hands to her mouth. They also help calm her down when she gets to excited.
The kids are getting ready for bed. We did our evening chores. Kathleen is finishing a bath. Keri Lynn is upstairs in her sanctuary tackling her homework.
The older kids all came home with mid-quarter progress reports today. Keri Lynn has all A's, Kristofer has two A's and two B's, and Kathleen has four A's and two B's. I don't worry at all about their adjustment any more. They're doing fine. Keith says that we're going to really have to put the screws on Keri Lynn -- we want to see her do more!
Kylie reported that one of the neighbor boys has been saying mean things to her on the bus like, "There's Kylie. . . she's part of the Losers Club!" As it turns out, the bus is the negative part of their school experience, especially the younger kids, who get bullied, but also for the older kids who are subjected to the worst kind of profanity. We have no choice at this point but to have them ride the buses. At least they have each other to help should any bad trouble come up. Kristofer has had to step in a few times to talk to some of the younger kids. But on the way home, the elementary kids are on their own.
I did talk to some of the older kids in the neighborhood who were using really foul language on the morning bus, when all of the kids, elementary age to high school are together. I told them to stop it or I'd talk to their mothers. : ) They've stopped!
I guess I'm going to have to talk to that boy's mother that's been bothering Kylie, too. Sigh. At least, since he's in the neighborhood, I know who the mother is. I think the thing I detest the most in group settings is kids being mean to other kids. I can't stand it when my own kids are mean to each other. They know I'll come down on them hard for it. After all, if you can't be nice to your own brother or sister, who can you be nice to???
This morning, after the kids went off to school, I took myself off to Target for my first work day! I went through a manual and self-trained at a register for about two hours, asking questions now and then, and trying to soak it all in. The register work at Ross helped me a lot today when I was assigned my own register to help customers. It also helped that an idiot can operate that register. It's amazing! Technology has come a long way since I last worked a register in high school some 26 years ago! I ended up working nearly seven hours with the majority actually working the real register. And it was a lot of fun. Customers were patient. The Target members were patient and helpful. All went well.
I think what I liked best about Target today was that I could wear my athletic shoes and didn't have to wear pantyhose! I had my Wal-Mart khakis, my red shirt (with a little stain on it) and a temporary sticker badge with my name on it. I'm having a hard time even thinking about returning to Ross. And I'm pretty sure I can get the hours I need from Target and not have to worry about it. For now, though, I'll work when I can at both jobs and see how it goes.
Did I mention that I got the letter for my substitute training class FINALLY? I did. I was so nervous opening up that letter after all of the job searching and eventual refocusing toward teaching. I tore it open and saw that it was the information for the class and to please let the person know that I was coming. Oh yes! So two weeks from tomorrow, I'll go to that training class. I think by then I'll have the whole orientation thing down!
Two hours later . . .
The kids are all down after a huge group effort to help Kathleen with an assignment in which she had to unscramble seven-letter words. I can't believe how hard it was! The teacher even said that the students could get help from parents when they got home -- not that we did much good. When Keith walked in the door, I breathed in a sigh of relief. "Good, a fresh brain to tackle these words!" And he got one right off the bat, too! Then, we all sat around -- me and Keith, Kathleen (the culprit), Keri Lynn and Kristofer trying desperately to figure out the last two words, and all of us (me especially) getting a little loopy.
I finally gave up and went over to the computer to see if there was a site that helped unscramble words. (When all else fails . . . CHEAT! Nothing like presenting a shining example to your child!) But by the time I did find the perfect site that would have saved us all a good 45 minutes of torture, Kristofer had figured them out. It was so EASY once we saw what the words were! And I didn't even have to resort to cheating!
Now, with my brain thoroughly exhausted from learning the Target register and having to unscramble 6th grade vocabulary words, I'm going to bed!
Tonight, Kathleen decided to help Kade get his tooth pulled out with the old string to the doorknob technique. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
There are two things that give me the heebie-jeebies. One of them is big disgusting throbbing splinters, and the other one is a loose tooth that needs to come out. Nevertheless, Kade went voluntarily went ahead with the plan and victory was achieved!
This week is a kind of vacation week for me. I'm waiting for my orientation date with Target. I don't go in until Friday afternoon for Ross. So until then, I've been playing catch-up with housework, bills and rest.
The kids start tumbling in at about 3:00 with papers to sign, homework to do and tummies to fill. Kylie proudly brought home a dog tag she had earned from reading a bunch of books. She says she's going to wear it every day. Her writing is getting better and better and she doesn't need to be put down to a lower math class after all. Kade, the other one I was worried might be too far behind, is also doing well in class. He still struggles with his reading, but he's catching up quickly. He has a lot of enthusiasm and tells me occasionally in his exuberant voice, "THANKS, Mom, for sending me to school! I like it!"
Each day, the kids bring home their agendas along with their homework. For the younger kids, I sign each agenda to let the teachers know that I've looked over homework. Sometimes, there's a note in them. For Keva, her teacher writes daily notes. The older kids use their agendas to write their assignments as needed. I don't think Keri Lynn or Kristofer even use theirs, but Kathleen does. And always everyone has PTA fliers, fundraiser paperwork, event information. That mountain of paperwork gets piled in the middle of the table and eventually tossed in the trash. It's getting so that I'm pretty fast at going through the papers.
Fall has definitely arrived now. The weather is very erratic, but with the drought, the leaves are falling faster as the trees go dormant quicker. I don't think I'll ever get used to the hundreds of shades of colors as I drive down the road or look out a window. The leaves fall in gorgeous swirls, and before we know it everything will be stark and cold again. Just like that! I'm putting away shorts and flip-flops and bringing out turtlenecks and sweaters.
I've got another job at Target! Yay! I'll be a seasonal worker, cashier, $8 per hour. Hopefully about 30 hours per week during the day.
Six weeks ago, when I started looking for work, I would have been rolling my eyes at myself. Retail? $8 an hour? You've got to be kidding! But now? I'm just thankful for employment.
Thank You, Lord! Thank You for Your blessings in every situation. Thank you for employment for the two months before I start substitute teaching.
Yesterday, I worked my second day at Ross. It was just a four hour shift, but I got some good training directly from the store manager, got my name badge, and ended up working my own register for a couple of hours. The till was balanced by the time I was done -- which made me inordinately happy! My co-workers are all very nice, and even the customers are nice, for the most part. The grumpy ones I just ignore. Experience has taught me that some people just never learned their manners.
It will still take at least a few more weeks before I actually see any money and still a few more weeks after that before the money starts actually making a dent in our financial crisis, but at least now we're heading away from the cliff rather than toward the cliff.