Procrastination (But I Digress)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Mutiny or Godsend

I am teaching a new group of students in the ROP Intro to Law class at the high school. I have 21 students signed up and Tuesday they were all there. Thursday we were missing just 2 and I thought, wow this is going to be a full class. Last semester I only had 8 students, so 21 is a big number for me. Here I am trying to decide how we were going to work debates and case assignments with so many students and then several students gave me a helping hand. They have no interest in the class and half way through, one kid just said, "I'm leaving early" and he left. So three more kids said "We're leaving too" and they did. I sure hope they don't expect to pass.

I have been told that the teacher last year let the class out an hour early every day and I, of course thought, how horrible. But I guess if the students just get up and leave there's not much point in sticking around.

My challenge, should I choose to accept it, is to make the class so relevant to these "do nothings" that they want to stay. Can I leap the tall buildings of crushing boredom, Am I faster than years of looming unemployment and a drains on society they're colliding toward, hmmmm... I shall do my best, though I have to admit, the people who stayed after these four left, did much better without them. Such a dilemma.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Work, work, work

Sunday I read a book. From start to finish in five hours. Yes, that's right, five hours to just sit and read. I love holiday weekends. On Saturday, it's true I was at work and yes I didn't finish what I'd planned to get done, so I was going to go to work again on Sunday. But Sunday morning it occurred to me that I could always go in on Monday instead, because Monday was a holiday. Most of the time this logic would not work on me, because work should come before holiday and then once my work is done, I'll enjoy the holiday on Monday even more. But I know from vast experience, that WORK IS NEVER DONE. I'm at the point in my life when sometimes, I want my dessert first.

Now it is Monday and I'm at work and my holiday is already over. And it wasn't even a very good book. Seems a shame to have wasted the calories.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

See a Penny, Pick it Up

All day long, you'll have good luck. I've lived by that rule for many, many years. Then one day, the penny in question was really filthy and I re-evaluated my belief system. I decided that while such a benign irrational belief system was generally harmless, who knew where that penny had been or where any penny on the ground had been and decided to break with irrationality.

I saw the brightest, shiniest new penny on the ground yesterday. I wanted to pick it up and have good luck, but I wouldn't allow myself to backslide into irrationality. It was so shiny. I did not pick it up. Shortly thereafter I had such a headache. I couldn't get anything done at work and I couldn't even stay at the PTA meeting that night. I thought eating might help--ouch, I was so full my stomach hurt, too. The pain that must be endured to overcome irrational belief systems. I'm not making much progress here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Yes, it's that time of the year again

It's girl scout cookie time. I figured out that this is my 8th year as the cookie chair for Glendale and yet it still surprises me when a new leader asks, what's a service unit (sur vis yoo nit: n. geographical area associated within a girl scout council, sometimes the name of the city, e.g., Glendale Service Unit in Glendale, California, Girl Scouts, Mount Wilson Vista Council). I don't know how to type pronounciation symbols. I know service unit is a foreign concept to the uninitiated, but it's so ingrained in my everyday life that it becomes very annoying to have to spell it out.

So it's girl scout cookie time--how is it that I forgot what it was like to stay up until 2 a.m. trying to make 8 columns of numbers add up correctly. It seemed so de ja vu, and yet I didn't remember that part. We are down to 24 troops, this should be simple as pie and yet, there's always something. This year, there is a form on line that the leaders can download on their computer, type in and the form does the adding for them. Then they can e-mail the form to me, voila, they are done. So easy. EXCEPT THE FORM ADDS IT WRONG. The form will add all the packages of all the different types of cookies and come up with the total number of cases, by dividing by 12. Unfortunately, they must order full cases of each type of cookies and so the form is off by 2 or 3 cases for the extra packages they are required to order.

Now you may be saying to yourself, how is it that the form was not fixed or that no one else noticed. Everyone at council and the other service unit cookie chairs noticed right away and they've been sending me e-mails for months, but since I don't have a troop and I'm not filling in the form, I didn't know what they were talking about until 2 a.m. in the morning when the 8 columns just would not add up. The forms look so pretty all typed up, that I only checked the handwritten one. Silly, silly me. Almost every typed form was wrong, which made all my totals wrong, which made me very grumpy at 2 a.m.. Unfortunately (actually it was kind of fortunate so I could put the thing down and go to bed), I couldn't finish the forms, because one leader turned their order in late, by e-mail, to my office (and darn this morning if I didn't write it all in without checking the adding and it was wrong.)

Ordering girl scout cookies is an art and yet we let novices order away. This morning, reading the late order, I realized that the new Brownie leader of six girls ordered more cookies for the cookie booth than all the pre-orders. Picturing myself at the end of March trying to help them get rid of 20 cases of cookies, I called to try to temper their enthusiasm. Well, 10 cases is easier than 20. Two other very experienced cookie chairs also ordered a lot more for booth sales than they had for pre-orders. Such dreamers. Me, I'm wondering if such a pesimist as I should be the person training all the new leaders about cookie sales. I mean I can't even add 8 columns.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Encore, encore

Have I mentioned how much fun Toastmasters is? I had signed up to give a speech last night, because my class is over so I should have had more time to prepare this week versus other weeks. Of course it never works like that and I ended up being completely unprepared. What to do? I pulled out my estate planning speech that I've given about six times before to different groups where I go through a senerio about Rosanne and Dan Connors disaster of doing no estate planning. I know that stuff inside and out, so it should be fine. I'm feeling a little guilty about not writing a new speech--I mean the whole idea is for me to grow as a speaker, not just do the same thing over and over. The other speakers of the evening were both brand new. NEITHER ONE USED ANY NOTES. NEITHER ONE EVEN STOOD BEHIND THE PODIUM. They were both very good. (Frank's speech was about politics in South America--how is it that I never knew that Venezuala is a communist country. I live in a cave. Why are we buying so much oil from a hostile communist country. Why are they selling it to us--I bet they don't much longer, not with China's need increasing exponentially, but I digress.) The bar was raised. So I gave the speech without notes (I can't be shown up by newbees). It went fine, except it was supposed to be funny and not a single person even smiled. Not one. I got a few nodded heads and nobody's eyes glazed over, but not a single smile. I was so disappointed. Am I the only person who watched the "Rosanne" sitcom? Guess who won best speech of the night? I love Toastmasters.

I was careful not to sign up to do another speech for the next two months, because my class is starting up again and I know I do not have time. In the last few minutes of the meeting they were trying to get speakers for an upcoming contest. My win of best speech of the night made me giddy and I signed up. I looked at the calender and guess what my speech that should be a motivational speech to inspire people to do something coincides with? It's girl scout cookie time! I will own that contest.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I shot the messenger, but I'm pretty sure he deserved it

There's this little sticker at the top of my windsheild to tell me when I need my next oil change. I remember thinking about it before Christmas and I remember assuring myself that I had plenty of time. So it caught my eye the other day and it said 86,000 and I thought, that's ok because my mileage is just...I looked down and it is 87,000. Oh, oh. I need an oil change.

Last week I also got stuck behind a big truck going through a sprinkler on the freeway--my windsheild was covered in mud. There are all these car washes that say free car wash with oil change near our house, so in my mind the two go together.

So it's now imparative that I get an oil change and a car wash. Not shop for a good price, not wait for a day when I have lots of time--no, it must be done right away.

So I procrastinated all day Saturday and then went first thing Sunday morning. I hate going to the mechanic because they always find a lot of things wrong that they insist must be fixed, but the last time I went in, I got the oil changed and they didn't even try to sell me an air filter. So I was hopeful to leave unscathed.

They said it would take an hour to do the oil change, or an hour and ten minutes, or an hour and twenty minutes. Fine, I have a book. At an hour and 25 minutes, the guy excitedly runs in and says, Kathy, you have to see this. I thought, is he kidding me. Like I have the foggiest idea of what I'm looking at on my car. They had my car up on the jack and the tires were off and he told me that I basically had no front brakes. I said, you guys put them on, so if they're gone, you guys took them. No, no, he assures me, they were replaced more than a year ago and the warrenty is 12 months or 12,000 miles and I've gone more miles than that. It's time to replace them, because it's very dangerous to drive around with no brakes. Ok, I say.

And, he says, your front tires are worn--look at how low the tread is. That's very dangerous to drive on bad tires. What else, I say getting extremely sarcastic and mean. The transmission needs to be serviced and the back brakes need service and the wheels need to be aligned and the air filter needs to be changed. How much? I snarl. $718. WHAT? I then proceded to yell at him and said, no to everything after the brakes (and the air filter, since I had been thinking it was time to buy a new air filter--like air is free--I know better). Well he got all defensive and the nuns in my head scolded me, it's not this poor guy's fault you have a junky car. But I was angry, so I didn't let the guy see the nuns in me. I sarcastically asked and how long is this going to take. 1 hour, (I sent him the dagger eyes), 45 minutes tops. OK.

Now the nuns are screaming at me. How could you be so mean to that poor, poor mechanic who barely eeks out an existance on $16 oil changes. So I took a walk and decided to buy the mechanics a box of candy. Mollified, I felt better. The nuns were not convinced. You're not going to buy any candy--you feel better because you thought about buying candy, but you're not going to actually do it. Yes I will, I huffily tell those nuns in my head. The boxes of candy didn't look too appetizing and the cookies were realy expensive. Party size, off brand peanuts however were $3. I would like to get that, I thought, so it sufficed.

Post Script. I told this story to Melody this morning and she said, you can change the transmission fluid yourself, can't you. I've haven't laughed so hard in years. Thanks, Mel.