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Y’all, this is a long post.
Due to all the rain and flooding, we had a 2 hour delay on Monday. While it was my scheduled day to conduct a reading screener test, it completely screwed our week up. My partner came to the rescue and we did an easy fix, although we lost an additional instructional day. Our unit test was supposed to be on Thursday, but we pushed it back to Friday and were SO gracious and let these sweet kids use their notes. I have cafeteria duty this year for the first time. It is one of the most dreaded duties, besides bus loop (which I had last year and was always there until at least 20 minutes after all other duty stations). I actually kind of like it, but I don’t like the noise. I like getting to see my other kids in 7th and 8th grade and my sixth graders with their friends outside of the classroom.
I stayed at school every day until after 7 pm…so I ate out every night. It was not my intention, but rolling into my town between 8 and 9 pm left me with little care to cook, let alone clean. This week, though, I’m going to have to force myself to leave before 6pm. I am terrible at self-care. I give and give and give, and there’s nothing left over for myself at the end of the day. I’ve got to start developing habits to care for myself.
My dad is having pain again, and my mother has recruited me and all my brothers. She is going to end up taking FMLA leave to force him to go to these rehab appointments. I called him and told him he better make an appointment with the cardiologist first thing this week. If he can’t handle his own affairs, we’ll be having a come to Jesus and I will be riding his ass. I’m not going to let his squander his second chance at life.
My brother was deployed to help with hurricane relief, and I had a Chromebook go missing on Friday afternoon, of all days. I only have 3 this year, and only six students used a Chromebook all day to take their reading tests. I felt terrible calling and explaining to parents, but they were surprisingly cool about it. I cried. I’ve never had this issue, ever. After exhausting my abilities, I went to my cabinet to pull out my purse, and someone had opened my cabinet and slid it between reams of paper. I was relieved I found it, but we will be having conversations this week about proper Chromebook procedures. On Saturday, The Man and I started in on replacing the fence that fell down during the hurricane winds and storming last weekend. We knocked down the old fence and the stupid dog house that came with the house and loaded it all up to take to the dump. I almost passed out loading full panels over the truck and into the bed. We got as far as getting the posts in cement and called it a day around 6 pm, so the dogs are still doing the tango in the yard.
I had a very upsetting incident that happened this week. In the spring, I had a parent badgering me throughout April about their student’s yearbook application status. Unfortunately, their student did not have their teachers complete the required teacher recommendation forms. I even called this parent and relayed that component was missing and gave extended time for it. I still never received it, so the student was disqualified for admittance onto yearbook staff. Later the parent asked our counselor for the student’s application back, which includes a photography component. The counselor told her those aren’t generally returned because we use their submitted photos as teaching tools. The counselor mentioned it to me, and it slipped my mind. If I don’t have a paper or an email, I forget about it. This was right before STAAR testing, and it did get lost in the shuffle. The parent waited almost two months and contacted one of my assistant principals about it. He referred it back to me, and I apologized and sent it to the office to be picked up. That was May 31st. Then two Thursdays ago the parent sent another email to my entire admin team about it, stating essentially that the parent had asked multiple times for the application to be returned and I was holding the student’s application hostage and refusing to return it. I took that damn folder to the office on May 31st, and the parent knew that because they received notification about it. I was very angry. I responded to my principals with a screenshot of my reply to this parent on May 31st. I also asked what additional action I needed to take, since I had already taken care of this and the parent was lying through their teeth. I received no response, so I assumed they dealt with it.
Then on Tuesday of this week, I received an email that the parent had taken the matter to the district office and straight to the superintendent. I was upset for several reasons, the primary being my principals did not even READ my email, let alone take any action. If they had, the issue would have been resolved and the parent would have had no fodder to take to the district office. It makes all of us look bad. Then my principal intervened and took action after grilling me about it. I was extremely upset for days since receiving the first email from the parent and then the one from my principal about it being above him. Thank heavens our front office secretary saves everything. The parent NEVER came and picked up the application after asking for it. That night he sent an email response that was as polite as possible but pointed out that I did, in fact, do everything the parent requested, and the application was still in our office to be picked up. On Wednesday evening, I was in the office doing some scanning and copying, and my principal asked if his response was sufficient enough. He made a point to tell me that the parent had still not responded. We went to check the box where items are kept, and the folder was STILL there! I told him how I felt, and that I had gone home on Tuesday and just cried about it. I was thankful he had my back (after the fact), and I expressed how I did not understand what this was all about or what the parent’s motivations were, but there was clear intent of something. After the week had gone by and it was in the rearview, I realized it could only have been retaliation for their student not being approved to be in yearbook.
Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Texas coast. Unless you live in Texas, all you are hearing about is Houston. There were so many who answered the call to help that they were diverted to other cities with their boats, like Beaumont. Aransas County ISD – the entire school district – is shut down indefinitely. Nearly 1/4 of the state was subjected to massive flooding.
This is what Hurricane Harvey flooding impacted, which is not what is being shared in national news coverage. If you want to run through and see what this impact looks like in other states, the Chron has done a comparison. I am so overwhelmingly proud of Texas and our neighbors in other states. The Cajun Navy from Louisianna and New York first responders were among organized groups traveling in. College and high school football teams sent their 18 wheeler rigs full of supplies to Houston. Linemen from across the state have been working around the clock restoring power. Individuals and groups have been donating generous sums to help with caring for those displaced. President Trump donated $1 million of personal funds, Texas’s own Whataburger donated nearly $2 million, Houston Texans player JJ Watts donated and has raised over $17 million. Several celebrities have donated in some way to hurricane relief, including Kevin Hart, the Kardashians, Leonardo Dicaprio, and so many more. George Strait is organizing a concert within the country music community. “Mattress Mack,” a Gallery Furniture store owner in the Houston area, opened up two of his stores to first responders, military personnel, and evacuees following the reports of Joel Osteen’s refusal to open his church, the largest in the United States. Sandra Bullock, an Austin resident, donated $1 million. I love what she said, too.
Texas grocery store HEB sent hundreds of trucks and personnel to feed thousands across the state. I love my HEB stores, and this makes me love the Butt family and their board so much more. They were out and helping before the government. I am confident in saying my grocery store is better than any other. Click on the link to watch video updates of the HEB emergency team traveling for the past 7 days and taking care of Texans.
Here are the last things I’m going to say about the hurricane relief efforts, besides donate if you are able or help in your own local food pantry. Our state is incredibly diverse and versatile. And we are resilient. It has been nearly a decade since a hurricane has hit the Texas coast, and when it did, it has done more damage than Katrina did. I remember Katrina evacuees coming to Texas, filling various shelters and arenas opened up for sheltering. Despite all of our differences from race, religion, gender, sexuality, lifestyle and more, what is happening right now in Texas is evidence that we CAN overcome all of these differences. NONE of that matters. Right now, no one gives a fuck if you are floating in on a white unicorn floaty to rescue them, $5K yatch or a monster truck. None of these things matter, and there are thousands and thousands of people that are living proof that we can overcome and work together. This is what we need to remember and continue to teach our friends and family, and refuse to give credence to the hateful commentary that has been a hot spot for the last year.
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People started flocking to gas stations all across Texas, waiting sometimes up to hours in line, to fill up in fear that it would be the last gas available. Prices have increased, some within the federal regulations, and others who are clearly price-gouging, which is illegal in a state of disaster. So many companies have already been reported to the Attorney General, and there will be more to come. However, despite the rumors that there was a fuel shortage because people believed it and freaked out, filling up before they needed to – and then five extra containers – there was a shortage at a lot of stations. They ran out because of the lunacy. There were lines so long they were blocking the lanes of travel, including on major (and dangerous) roadways. A great deal of poking fun was had about living dangerously during the “fuel shortage of 2017.”