Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Worst Mommy Award

And it goes to none other than myself. I made the video for Sadie's birthday. Last Friday was Katie's. She asked for a video as well. The problem is, to make a video for her I have to condense 6 years. Plus find the right song (I refuse to use Hannah Montana). So it isn't done yet. Ah well. Hopefully it'll get done this weekend. Along with more painting, yard work, financial analysis, ant killing, flyer posting, power washing, shelf building and other fun things I have on my agenda. I'm praying for rain on Saturday morning so that we can skip Katie's soccer this week. Three days in a row two weeks back to back is enough.

So, yeah, Katie is 6! She decided she'd be kind enough to share her festivities with her sister, and we had a joint party this year at the local air-jumpy-place (JumpZone - they were great!). We ended up with close to 20 munchkins in attendance, after much whittling of the guest list. Katie didn't get to invite kids from her Kindergarten class this year - I had to put my foot down somewhere or we would have filled the darn place. Sadie didn't get many on her list at all, thanks to Katie's ever-growing social network. That kid has more connections than I do! Sadie ran around like a mad woman, trying to keep up with her sister and the other big kids. All in all, a good party - especially since it wasn't in my home.

In fun news on the home front, we've had an invasion of ants in the last 24 hours that rivals something out of a horror movie. I bought 8 bait traps, some spray, gel and outdoor treatment and got down and dirty spreading it all. Tomorrow I look forward to the joy of emptying cabinets to remove all their tiny little carcasses. I've already gotten rid of the honey bottle full of them (how DO they get in there?!), a couple of pounds of sugar and a ziploc bag of lollipops. Nasty little buggers. I have to admit I hate to kill them, though. The pest guys said not to interfere - to let them take the bait back to their nests. So I've spent some time watching them travel in their little lines along my backspash, stopping to chat with their passing neighbors. "Hey George, how are the kids?" "Fine Mary, just taking back this nice bit of (poison)grub to them - check it out! It's in cabinet three and there's tons to be had by all!" They seem much more intelligent than the crazy cricket spider things that will invade later this fall.

Also on the homefront, Three Oaks Montessori School opens on October 13! I've hired on an AMS certified teacher, and we're busily prepping the classroom area. Still having problems with the county and DSS, but I'll find a way, I'm sure. For now I'm going to open to 5 lucky students until we finalize our DSS application and can add others. I've been loving getting out there and experimenting with the girls and our neighbor kids with the different materials, and amazed with Sadie's progress already. I'd been worried about her age and ability to cope in the classroom, but she is better behaved in the classroom than at home by far. Katie is excited about the "big kid" materials we got, too - I purchased an entire primary to elementary classroom kit, so there's lots of work with fractions, geography and language that she's been dying to get into. I do what I can with her, but I have tons to learn - I can't wait for OUR school to start! I'm nervous as heck about filling up the classroom and waiting list(s) quickly - our marketing materials arrive tomorrow, and it just all makes it so real. Of course, the loan payment to do all of this slaps me into that reality as well.

And on the other business front, I continue to plug along with my clients. It's been a tough few months, and one is facing a situation much like the one on Wall Street (only nano-sized in comparison), so I've had a permanent case of heartburn over it for the last few weeks. A "bailout" may be in sight, though, so I'm hanging on and hoping for the best. I figure something has to break soon! (Hopefully it won't be within the synapses of my brain!)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lisencing woes

I seriously wonder how it is that, in our current state system, I can be taxed for a detached building as "livable space," yet unable to use it as "livable space" by a separate state agency. The detached garage has now been fully converted and sprots a new restroom, complete with extra sink, ample space ratios per child and a nice plan of floor space. Yet DSS has now informed me I can't use it, because a law - down the road - will say I can't. Not that it's there in writing now. Not that they told me about it before, when I called and specifically asked (one agent said I could use it, another said absolutely not, but could not tell me why, or where it is mandated). Turns out the commissioner gets final say, and he says no 100% of the time to these sorts of requests. Sweet. Not that I won't try anyway!!

So glad my investment is already paying off. So glad I spent the last two months of my life fighting a contractor (Mike Kersey, All Exteriors, They SUCK) for a lousy job done, which still isn't finished. I ended up having to tell him not to come onto my property anymore after it escalated over a series of lies I caught him in.... I digress.

So anyway, I met an illiterate man who's applying for licensing to provide child care for after school. A woman who's brother just got out of prison on homicide, who currently resides with her but is moving out next month, who is applying. Another woman who has 600 sq ft in her entire household, and no outdoor area who is applying to care for 12 children daily. All these people are likely to be licensed. But in the meantime, my HVAC-installed, plumbed, 3-exited, well-lighted detached building that is technically defined as living space by the county (see my recent audit hiking up my taxes as proof), chock full o' beautiful new Montessori materials is inelligible for use. So lovely.

On to Plan C. Or is it D? E? I've lost track...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's her first day...

And she cried when I dropped her off. Oh, no. Not the tears. I was repressing my own as I walked away from her outstretched arms.

Not that her teacher helped. Her teacher didn't even greet her when she went in the classroom. Ms. X is about 23 years old at most, I believe. Seriously, don't they train Kindergarten teachers to say hello to their pupils? She was busy sorting markers, and the students all sat staring at each other at their desks, except for one little annoying guy who ran around with a glue stick in his hand. I think he'd been sniffing it.

And the teacher had moved her desk. At orientation, Katie was near the center of the classroom. Now she's off to the side, seated next to "Bertha," who must be about 75 lbs. She is the biggest Kindergartener I've seen in my entire life. Seeing that this is a person to have on your side, I introduced her to Katie. "Bertha" gave a loud, obnoxious "Haayyy" as she scratched her belly, which protruded over her jeans. Please, please don't turn my baby into a redneck.

Full report later on the first day. I'm here at work biting my nails, watching the clock, and hoping that I saw the worst part of Katie's day. Private school keeps looking better and better...

In all seriousness, though, it was a lot harder to watch Katie go than I thought it would be. Last night I sat looking at baby pictures, amazed at how quickly the years have passed. My cute little toddler is now 'school-aged' and off to make her own mark in the world. I realize she still depends on us, but at the same time, this is the dawn of her independence. Time to spread her wings. You want your kid to grow up to be independent, self-assured and such, but when the time comes to begin to let go, it's so much harder than I thought it would be.

She'll be fine. She'll adjust, and she'll love Kindergarten, I'm sure. Ms. X is probably just as nervous as her pupils and has no clue how to interact with parents yet. "Bertha" will likely become her best friend, and a great ally when bullies prevail the playground. And I'll learn to love having a routine for the first time in over a year.

But today, right now, I'm a bit blue... my baby is growing up too quickly!

UPDATE: She LOVED her first day! When I asked what the best part was, she said "everything!" I had been so worried, but she stopped crying by the time the pledge started (before I'd even walked out of the building). She also told me she made so many friends that it was hard to choose who to play with. Yay. She survived! (and so did I...)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Oh Happy Day

Labor Day, for me, is a lucky day. Two years ago, it was the day Sadie was born, and the first day she survived. Today it is a great day because (drumroll...) after two months of an intense search, I hired my first teacher for Three Oaks Montessori! It's official, our school is opening on October 13.

{Happy dance, Happy dance}

I'm so excited! The classroom is nearly complete, with only touch up paint, some final supplies and some art work I hope to create for the walls. I'll post a photo soon. The supplies are mostly here (some are still on back order), and I have to admit the room looks nice, despite my contractor's best attempts to screw it all up (most recently - a leaky door that let in over an inch of rain). I'd been feeling a bit glum the past couple of weeks about the contractor's screw ups, an initial "no" from my best candidate to teach, some messed up materials, etc. I've been working a gazillion hours on it all over the past two months, and felt like I was getting no where. Now it all seems not only manageable, but minor... because I have a teacher! Hooray!