Tuesday, May 16, 2017

End of the year hussle

Why is it that the end of the school year seems so chaotic nowadays?  I remember when I was in school that the last few weeks were kind of chill and fun.  Wrapping things up and getting the school ready to be closed up for the summer.  It seems like things have been in serious crunch time with Princess Bear (PB).  Lots of end of the year testing, finishing up IEP goals,  finishing AR books so that the total number of books read for the year looks good and a few projects to boot.  

Now I will say that I had a lot of fun working with PB on her last social studies project.  It's always kind of irritated me that the kids were allowed to throw together any kind of accompanying poster for the project and it was good enough.  I'm a scrapbooker at heart so it kind of pained me to see a picture printed off, sloppily cut and slapped down.  For her last social studies project PB had to base  it off of her birthday.  Her birthday is June 11, 2003.  So she had to have her birthday on there, as well as a famous person born on her birthday and then 3 domestic things and 3 global things that happened on June 11 (2003 wasn't a prerequisite for those).  They started to research the project at school.  PB turned in a list of 5 things claiming she couldn't find another that happened on June 11.  Her teacher had supposedly read through it and ok it.  One small problem.  Two of the events weren't even for June 11th!!!! wtf!  So I helped PB do some more research and find the appropriate amount of events.  Then we got to take a trip to Michaels.  PB lives by the theory of the more it sparkles the better it is.  She decided on a gold and white theme.  We went slightly crazy buying stuff but had a grand time!  I then typed up the wording for the poster board and PB cut out the card stock that we were using as frames.  I really wish I had a picture of it.  The kid did a great job cutting and then putting everything together.  I think now that she realizes that she can have some fun on her projects that she won't go back to the print and slap on method. 

PB also had her last choir concert.  PB loves choir and has an amazing voice.  She really lets go singing when she things no one can hear her!  It's just beautiful and she obviously didn't get it from me.  Unfortunately the wonderful choir teacher from last year retired.  She was actually going to give PB lessons but wound up traveling a lot with her husband.  She did a wonderful job of incorporating the special needs kids into the Flyer Choir which is the 7th and 8th grade choir.  She gave the special needs students all the same opportunities as the other children.  They were allowed to go on the special field trips to sing in the community and they were able to enter the grade school choir competition for the entire district.  Last year PB gave serious thought to entering the district wide competition and the choir director at the time offered to meet with her after school to get ready.  Then PB decided that she just wasn't ready to get up on stage and sing by herself so she decided to wait until her 8th grade year.  Well the man that took over as the choir director this year constantly shortchanged the special needs kids.  He would only let them perform with the 5th and 6th grade choir.  That meant that they were not allowed to go on community singing trips or enter the district wide competition.  I was less that happy with the choir director all year.  Then last week at the last concert of the year he somehow decided that the 5th and 6th grade students as well as the special needs students didn't need to have their names printed in the program.  The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade band and orchestra members were listed.  The 7th and 8th grade Flyer Choir members were listed.  The entire back side of the program was blank and could have been used to list the other kids but nope.  I saw one mom try to talk to the choir director before the concert and he blew her off and said it could be discussed after the concert.  After the concert my sister tried talking to him.  She actually started out pretty polite.  That is until he doubled down and maintained he did nothing wrong and was a complete jerk.  After that my sister unloaded on him.  I so wish I could have done it myself but since I'm still fighting to get PB into a better high school I'm trying to not rock the boat.  I did however bring up the situation to the PTA president who was horrified.  She's one of those ladies that gets things done so I'm sure it won't happen again.

There's also a book fair at the school every fall and spring and the librarian always asks me to help.  I couldn't help at the fall book fair because I was in the hospital post hysterectomy.  The librarian is a super nice lady and I love helping out.  PB and I are both book works so it gives me a chance to scope out new books for PB.  The sad part is that we have to watch the kids because inevitably some of the "fun" items like erasers, bracelets and bookmarks are always stolen.  How sad and ridiculous is that????  Working at the book fair this year I met a really awesome lady named Tracy.  Have you ever met someone and just been like this is a kindred spirit?  Since I don't have a lot of PB free time friendships are somewhat hard to maintain so it was kind of cool to meet someone that I could chill and talk to.

The fight to get PB into the high school that she had been promised for the last 3.5 years is ramping up.  The school waiver forms had to be filled out this past Friday by 4pm.  The only available option to get PB into Richwoods (the school she'd been promised) is to have her be in Junior ROTC.  Well that can't happen but I was told to still fill out the form and use the one blank space to explain the situation.  So I did that.  I also had my letters for the Director of Special Education as well as the Academic Instructional Officer (why he needs to be in the loop I have no idea but that is what I was told to do) and in addition to my letter I had letters from her pediatrician and therapist stating that it is essential for PBs mental well being that she be allowed to continue on with the same group of students she's been with since preschool.  I tried delivering the letters in person.  After waiting for more than an hour I was told that neither person was in the building and I could leave the letters.  I was so pissed off.  I damn near had a panic attack just dropping off the letters.  I was less than happy to be screwed around.  It takes more than an hour to figure out that people are out of the building?  Please. 

So that has been life around here.  Well that as well as learning that I'm allergic to a lot of stuff but that's going to be its very own post.  I'm going to sign off and watch the season finales of Scorpion and NCIS.  Night y'all!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Not dead yet

There's been more and none of the above list was in chronological order.  I can honestly say that I missed the blog and blogging as well as checking in with those whose blogs I follow.  I can also say that the break was very necessary.  My mom breaking her foot at the holidays really threw a wrench in things but we survived it quite well.  Adopting a puppy (she was 10 weeks old when we brought her home) was quite the change.  The last time we'd had a puppy I was in high school and got a puppy as my 16th birthday gift.  There is something to be said for having one dog to train the new one!  My cousins death really threw me for a loop for so many reasons.  He was 4 years younger than I am and had been healthy before this whole nightmare started.  He was incredibly full of life and the father of 3 young children.  It was so very hard to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousins go through this horrible ordeal. 

Through all of this Mason has been absolutely incredible.  The man can drive me absolutely crazy inside 3 seconds but he is always there for me.  He's even kind of talked me into moving to Colorado at some point in time.  There was no way that I could be ok with the idea of living in California and for reasons that I'm not really sure I understand he doesn't want to consider Illinois.  He really wants to go back to Colorado.  I can't say I hate the idea.  I just wish the town he wanted to go to was bigger.   I'm a city girl at heart.  I want to be close to a city and that isn't going to happen if/when this move takes place. 

I could probably babble on for awhile longer but it's 1:40am and I have an early Dr's appointment.  I just needed to get a post under the proverbial belt so I can get back into the swing of things. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Where blogs go to....what?

I gave my blog list a bit of a clean up.  It has to be done occasionally.  Maybe I've lost interest in a blog.  Perhaps the blogger isn't posting anymore.  That's the one that kind of intrigues me.  Why haven't they posted?  Are they just taking a break?  Did the get sick of blogging and just say screw it?  Did some unforeseen circumstances happen?  Did they pass away?  I know I'm weird but these are the things I ponder every single time I do a clean up to my blog list. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

What is it about birthdays?

For quite awhile I was the one who had birthdays from hell.  I have some friends that are completely convinced that it's a goal for my mom to see if she can make me cry on my birthday.  I really don't understand it but there is some validity to the idea.  Perhaps karma paid a visit.  If so it was not at all what I expected.  The whole family is still very upset about having to give Addi back to the rescue.  After I blogged last night I tried reading and watching some TV but I was too upset and had an awful headache.  I heard my mom crying in the family room and went in to talk to her.  This was around 2:30am or 3am.  We were watching TV and pondering things and generally being a mess.  Around 3:30am I heard Princess Bear (PB) wake up and a few minutes later she wondered her way into the family room.  It turned into a slumber party in the family room.  I was able to get PB back to sleep about 4:30am but I was up another hour.  I really don't do well with a significant lack of sleep.  My mom & I discussed the fact that getting up for 9am mass was a bad idea.  I turned off the alarm on my phone before I did fall out.  Unfortunately someone had set the alarm in the family room.  I did convince PB that she needed to go back to sleep.  Next thing I know it's 9:20am and my mom is waking us up so PB can go to Sunday school.  I was over before I started today.

After Sunday school we had to meet my sister, brother in law, nephews and my uncle for lunch.  It's my Mom's birthday today.  Not a "major" birthday but my mom wanted everyone together.  All in all, considering how sideways some of our family gatherings go, it was a pleasant lunch.  My sister and I got along....a complete rarity.  My uncle behaved himself....also a very odd occurrence.  I'd definitely give it a thumbs up for family get togethers.

While we were in the restaurant winter that had been making it's first gentle appearance of the year started to get feisty.  In the matter of about 4 or 5 hours today we got 4.5" of snow.  My car has been living on the street for the past 2 months.  A week before my surgery we hauled some stuff out of our attic and it wound up parked on the 1/2 of the garage I use.  It hasn't been too bad until last week.  Then it started being a very chilly prospect to start the car in the morning.  It also didn't matter since I was on a no driving restriction until this past Tuesday.  As the day went on I was getting less and less thrilled about unburying the car from 4.5" of snow.  I've never ever missed a winter in Illinois since I was born.  I should be used to it.  Quite frankly have such a significant and long Indian summer spoiled me.  I also am of the theory that it takes some time to acclimate yourself back into winter.  This afternoon we cleaned up in the garage some.  We needed to find a box of winter clothes my mom had placed somewhere and I'd already dug through the laundry and the depths of her closet to make sure it wasn't hidden somewhere in the house.  No such luck.  So off PB, my dad & I went to the garage.  My dad and PB went to the attic and loft shelf to access the attic respectively.  I was in the garage trying to hand boxes up to them and schlepping some boxes of clothes they found in the attic into the house to see if they were the clothes my mom was seeking.  There is just one small problem with this plan.  I'm still on all the restrictions from surgery.  No lifting more than 8 pounds.  Don't pick anything up off the floor and it's also pretty painful to reach up high.  Yeah...I am hurting bad tonight.  My mom got all pissed at me and started muttering about if I had hurt and/or reversed some of the work the Dr. did on my bladder.  It's never a good sign when she's talking to herself. 

One of the things that has happened throughout the day is that my mom would start thinking about Addi, get up and start crying.  PB doesn't do very well with fighting or crying.  Thankfully there was no fighting today but there was plenty of crying.  After PB went to bed my mom was talking about how much her birthday sucked. I pointed out that other than the Addi aspect and being sad it wasn't that bad.  the kids all got along at lunch, my sister and I got along and my uncle behaved.  Not a bad outcome at all.  Tonight before I went to sleep I gave her a hug, wished her a happy crappy birthday and hoped the next wouldn't suck as much.  She laughed.  I've always used humor and was glad it worked this time.  I know that being upset about Addi will get better.  I know that worrying about Addi will lessen.  Right now though this part of the journey flipping sucks. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Addi

Today (12/3/16) so did not go the way I thought it would or wanted.  Mid morning my parents were out running errands and Addi & I were chilling on the recliner watching some Duck Dynasty.  My mom called to say that our vet called.  The vet and our trainer Bob talked about some of Addi's aggression issues.  While Bob had been telling us all along that Addi was a trainable dog and we'd be able to work through her aggression issues after he consulted with our vet it was  decided that it was just not a good situation for her to stay in our house.  The big concern was if she went after Princess Bear (PB) or my nephews.  If she was willing to try to go after my Dad like she did the other day and he's 6' and 285lbs there was no reason to think she wouldn't go after a child.  The first solution Bob came up with was to relinquish her to a no kill shelter.  The shelter he had in mind was a shelter that he works with weekly.  He takes dogs from the shelter to the prison and the prisoners train the dogs.  My mom and I were OK with that solution.  We hated that she wouldn't be with us but under the idea of wanting the best thing for her could handle this solution.  There were a few calls from our vet while he was explaining what the process was.  You have to love a vet that is taking time from his precious time off to try to help a family.  I was on the phone with the vet and our house phone rang.  It was the woman who worked for the rescue we adopted Addi from and had fostered her.  Now to be honest I can't say I was a fan of this lady.  While I respect anyone that rescues dogs we had a few problems with this woman.  When we adopted Addi she came to us with a raging staph infection around her spay incision (she had been spayed 5 days before we adopted her).  Now I didn't notice the staph infection while we were at the adoption event.  I actually didn't notice it until that night.  When things settled down I was petting her and said something to my mom.  My parents had an appointment with the vet for 5 days later.  How do you not notice a staph infection on a dog near their incision site?  Weren't you caring for her incision?!!?  The next thing that gave me pause was the fact that this lady had the paperwork for Addi's microchip.  That is something we definitely needed so it could be transferred to our names.  She promised to send the information to us.  It took 3 or 4 phone calls from me and over a month before we received the paper work.  Seriously?  So I was not a big fan of this woman.  So there she is calling us telling us that we can't relinquish Addi to the no kill shelter but we have to turn her back over to the rescue.  Initially I was pissed as hell.  I didn't care for this woman or have a lot of faith or trust in her.  At first she talked to my Dad and there was no other option than to turn her back over to them.  My parents asked that I do the information call with the volunteer so I did that.  I gave the woman every little bit of info from the fact that she was terrified of storms, hated the vacuum, loved chasing bubbles, her future need for surgery and everything else.  It was a long, draining call.  The volunteer lived about a 1/2 hour away and said it would take her a bit to get ready.  We went about packing up EVERYTHING of Addi's from her shirts, jackets, all her toys, her treats, elk antler chew, pillow for her kennel, a new bubble gun so she can chase bubbles and her meds.  While we were waiting my mom sent my dad to the store to buy a new bag of her food.  We didn't want her to be any more stressed than she was already bound to be and then have to acclimate to a new food immediately.  All in all it took the woman over 2 hours to get here.  2 hours of my mom, PB and I crying because we were so upset.  2 hours of trying to get as much cuddle time as possible in with Addi.  The woman that is going to foster Addi is a trainer so Addi is going to get some really intense training.  In addition our trainer Bob agreed to continue working with Addi.  We did ask if it was at all possible that we be given the chance to readopt Addi.  The volunteer also offered to give us periodic updates on how Addi was doing.  I made copies of the paperwork so there is some record of our intentions hoping to readopt her (we wrote it on there).  I then said to hell with my surgery restrictions and picked up my 42 pound baby and placed her in the kennel for her trip.

In so many ways this is so much more painful than losing a dog to  death.  There is always going to be a part of us worrying about her.  There is a sense of failure that despite everything we did, obedience school, private trainer, etc, that we couldn't get her to work past the aggression issues.  Addi is the 8th dog I've owned in my life and the first that didn't die of old age.

I can also go into the fact that the volunteer seemed surprised when we mentioned not only a trainer but obedience school.  She was actually a bit snarky.  I suppose that there are times people adopt animals and just say screw it and give them back.  That is not something my family or I would ever do.  I suppose that some people when adopting a dog and then finding out that the dog had some health issues and needed surgery would say screw it and give her back.  Again, not something we would do.  That is part and parcel of pet ownership.  Below are some pics I took of my baby and a video of her chasing bubbles when PB broke out the bubble gun at home.



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Friday, December 2, 2016

Send Nail polish or chocolate ASAP

This has just been a crazy week.  I'm still recovering which is going well but slow as molasses.  Wednesday I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck and 1/2 my face was very swollen.  It wasn't fun.  Enter yet another sinus infection.  I finally was able to get into the Dr. today and I'm now on prednisone and an antibiotic.  I'm really hoping this clears up very quickly!  Princess Bear (PB) had an appointment at her orthodontist the other day.  She'd actually missed a few months with all the craziness of me being sick.  She's rocking lovely Christmas color bands but her mouth is really bothering her since she hadn't had an adjustment since the summer.  I've had to go to school the last 2 days to give her Tylenol.  Yesterday I had to pick her up early since she overheated. 

Then to really add to the fun Addi, our dog, hasn't been feeling well.  Addi is kind of a hot mess.  We adopted Addi in August and things on one hand have been great and the other have been very dicey.  When Addi is good she is so very good.  It's just that she has shown some aggression and also is completely terrified of the vet.  The first time she was at the vets she growled at him so our vet gave us the name and number of a trainer we've been working with ever since.  The trainer is very positive about things whereas our vets are not.  In addition Addi seems to target PB the most.  I'm not sure if it's because PB is the youngest or what but if Addi is awake and in the same room as PB she tried gnawing on her arms and legs.  We're always having to pull her off of PB.  It's not cool.  Now please understand at this point this dog is very loved by everyone in the family, including PB.  So we're spending a ton of money on a training and trying to incorporate everything the trainer has taught us.  Oh please throw into the mix that a month ago at the vets Addi was completely loving up on the vet and giving kisses and then turned around and bit him.  I honestly have never dealt with a dog like this.  She's also kind of picked me as her favorite human and she's very much my baby which is making this whole thing super stressful.  When we took Addi to the vet a month ago they discovered that her "plumbing" isn't anatomically correct and consequently she'd very prone to UTIs.  So we have this dog with a medical issue that isn't going to resolve any time soon and she's completely terrified of the vet.  She was showing symptoms of a new UTI so my Dad and I took her in to the vet today.  They put us in a special room that has a mechanical table that is supposed to be less scary than being picked up and put on the table for the exam.  The entire time Addi cowered under the chairs.  Our vet tried taking her on a walk in the back halls just to see if she would calm down.  Addi yanked so hard on her leash that she got away from the vet.  My dad & I hear "watch out...one's on the loose!" and recognized our vets voice.  I fling open the door to the exam room to see Addi running past.  She saw me and turned around.  UGH!  Since she'd previously bitten a vet she's supposed to wear a soft muzzle any time she's being examined.  It was so not happening today.  The vet put her on one medicine for some of her symptoms and decided that we would bring her in so they could heavily sedate her and then get new sonograms of her bladder, etc next week and then we'd decide if she'd needed another antibiotic.   The vet also said he was going to call our trainer and talk with him to see what his opinion from a training standpoint is.  The vet also mentioned repeatedly that he would not keep Addi since she has shown aggression and people can sue so easily.  Not the news we were hoping to hear.  The appointment was at 10:30am. My dad called me around 2:30pm to see if Addi had been outside when I was around.  Nope.  Fast forward 2 more hours and the dog most definitely had a raging UTI.  We picked up a new antibiotic and further testing is on hold until this clears up.  At this point I'm upset that this dog apparently has some significant medical issues only in that actually getting her treated is so difficult.  The aggression thing also has me concerned.  I adore this dog but I also don't want my daughter hurt.  The stress level is HIGH.  I need some new nail polish or chocolate STAT!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When does it end?????

Today I had yet again another meeting with the school Principal and PB's teacher.  This is the 3 official meeting with the Principal and there have been some quick office visits to appraise her of the situation from my point of view.  Princess Bear (PB) has a new teacher this year.  To say that I'm less than thrilled about her would be quite an understatement.  I had been "warned" about this teacher before PB even had her.  I went into the year with an open mind but the bottom line is that she sucks.  The first meeting was about what wasn't being followed in the IEP and lack of accommodations on the teachers part.  The 2nd meeting I walked in with a typed list of almost 20 problems.  At that meeting I pulled PB out of the inclusion science class that she was in.  Last year I wasn't thrilled about the science class but that teacher was doing a great job with accommodations as well as teaching some valuable skills like note taking. 

Oops- before I go to far let me explain that accommodations in a special ed room is when the teacher takes information and then breaks it down in to the level that the child can understand and learn the information.  Since PB is in 8th grade but her reading level is a 4th grade level there needs to be a fair amount of time explaining vocabulary and then breaking the information down to where she is actually gaining knowledge and not just memorizing something. 

So this year the teacher she has does NO accommodations.  PB was in 2 inclusion classrooms.  Science and Social Studies.  The amount of information that is taught in that classes is way too much for PB to deal with and that's when it's at a level she understands it.  At the 2nd meeting after repeatedly asking for more and better accommodations I pulled PB from her science class.  While she really loved the teacher in that class she was getting very frustrated because things weren't making sense.  I put her in a science class that in all honestly is too easy for her but there wasn't another option that would have been the perfect fit.  PB loves the teacher for the new science class so she's happy about that.  I just hate that because the teacher wasn't doing her job it made a problem for PB.  I'm not OK with that. 

The day before surgery I picked up PB and the aide from her classroom, Missy, who at this point is a dear friend to the entire family.  Missy has some serious health issues and can't drive.  A few times a week we take her to run errands.  The day before my surgery she needed to go to Walgreens.  PB and I were in the car talking while Missy was in Walgreens.  I asked PB how her day had been and whoa!  I wasn't expecting what came pouring out.  PB was very upset that her teacher had yelled at her for forgetting an assignment.  Some of the things the teacher said were "How old are you?"  "You're too old to be messing up like this" and "Maybe if you're having so many  problems in this class you should drop it too".  This was the FIRST assignment that PB forgot this year.  I was pissed to say the very least.  You don't go off yelling at a child for forgetting one assignment!  You also don't make them feel bad for dropping a class when in all reality it was the teachers shortcomings that prompted that change.  So I called my mom & filled her in.  We agreed to meet at the school and try to talk to the Principal immediately since my surgery was the next day and then the kids were off the next week for Thanksgiving.  Luckily the principal completely understood and agreed with us.  She did ask if I had talked to the teacher.  I explained that since every time I've tried talking to this teacher she has completely disregarded me (and gave several examples) that I was no longer going that route.  I would bring it to the Principal or coordinator instead.  The principal thought it was time for another meeting and said that since the teacher hadn't listened to the Principal or the coordinator that maybe I should take the lead.  I told the principal I had no problem with that but warned her that it would be gloves off and no holds barred.  I was done and my next step is the School Board and the media.  She understood and was OK with that.  In some ways I don't think she likes this teacher much and was more than willing to let me have a crack at things. 

Today was when we had scheduled the meeting.  Since I still can't drive and my mom never drives to work my Dad had to take me, pick up my mom and drop us off at the school.  On the way to the meeting I was listening to Rammstein which is my "damn am I pissed and I'm ready to kick a$$ music".  To say the meeting was interesting is again an understatement.  The teacher at one point mentioned that her children were honor students and she expected the same things from her students.  HELLO?  Do you not even understand what population you're working with????  She also flat out lied a few times.  That will in all actuality make it easier to nail her to the wall in the future.  We talked about how we expected PB to be treated and what kind of accommodations were needed.  I have to admit that I don't have horribly high hopes that things will actually get accomplished but I've done what I can before I truly make things ugly at the school.  On the upside my inner bitch was having all kinds of fun since it actually had permission to come out and play!