More fun stories from being a substitute teacher!

I went to high school with one of the guys who is now a teacher here (as weird as that actually is). As soon as the students find out that we graduated together, I get 20 questions about what he was like in high school:

   “Was he a dork in high school?” (Definitely not).

   ” Did he skip school to play WOW?” (Not that I ever know of).

   “Did you date him in high school?” (Umm, definitely not).

   “I heard he was a jerk. Did he pick on you?” (Yes, actually. But it normally wasn’t too bad).

   “I heard he did (insert random situation). Did he?” (Not that I know of, but I didn’t follow him around in high school, so I can’t tell you).

Granted, he is a much better guy then he was in high school (mainly because we all grow up, at least most of us!). And he’s their teacher and there’s no way I’m going to say anything bad about him. And I’m not one to live in high school. He’s a good guy and a good teacher, and that’s all they need to know.

I was subbing at the middle school a couple times the past couple weeks (that’s a whole different ball game!). After spending time with them, it’s completely obvious that girls mature faster then boys. It’s also obvious that kids just can’t stop talking. Ever. Sometimes it seems like it would hurt them to stop. But for how young they are, they say the “darndest things.”

Two boys were in the library looking at the computer to see the very first book they ever checked out. I told one to go sit down and the library aide explained it as: “We were just looking up the very first book we checked out. You know, back in the day when we were young and naive.” I literally burst out laughing.

I also had a kid ask out loud (in the middle of class), if anyone wanted to go to the bathroom and get high. I was kind of dumbfounded that he even said it, and I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. I just ignored it. I mean, he’s in 8th grade…he doesn’t even have a job to afford stuff like that. But that was also in the “class from hell,” so I was to frustrated and busy to bother taking it seriously.

I had a 17 year old junior question my ability to drive, which I actually found funny, considering that I’ve had my license before he even hit middle school…

One high school senior asked me where Costa Rica was, and was it one of the islands off of Mexico? And then he referred to Africa as a country. I told him not to graduate quite yet.

And because no one wants to see a post without pictures, here are some adorable photos of my cats (because that’s all I ever take it seems).

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Timmy will sleep on me any way he can

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Tommy likes to be comfy

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Ok, so I lied. This is my brother’s dog Steve (yes, that’s really his name).

Sadly, since school is out for the summer, there won’t be any good stories for a while. Hopefully I can come up with some other entertaining things to write about…

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I spent this last weekend with good friends in Pittsburgh (My first time there!).

A good friend of mine from college is getting married at the end of this summer, and this past weekend was her bridal shower and bachelorette party. I love how they were both on the same day. Most of us live out of town, so it was super convenient.

Two other college friends and I carpooled from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh, about a solid 6 hour drive. We hit some nice and heavy traffic once we got there, so it took a little longer. Apparently, Pittsburgh is THE place to be on a Friday night.

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Photo via my friend (since I didn’t bring an actual camera)

We hung out that night at a local bar in our friend’s neighborhood (which is awesome, by the way – like a little neighborhood feeling in a big city). What did we do that night that was wild and crazy? Stayed up til 2am playing Rock Band…

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(Am I the only one annoyed that I can’t download my own photos from Instagram? I usually delete the photos off my phone, and then need them later – like now – but I can’t download my OWN photos. Super annoying.)

That Saturday morning was her bridal shower. We had high tea at a local bed and breakfast. It was adorable and lots of fun. I’ve never been to one, but it was so much fun! We got to dress up, have tea and delicious food, and played some fun games.

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The tea was good (I felt fancy!) and the food was delicious.

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The college friends (photo from my friend’s phone).

The bride to be was gorgeous. It was fun to dress up a little. I actually got a lot of compliments on my dress, which is adorable and from Target (seriously, I love that store). We had to get a photo of all of us outside the B&B as well.

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IU girls, reunited.

That night was the bachelorette party. We started out at the hotel for some games and drinks, and headed out to a local dueling piano bar. It was so much fun to be out with everyone, enjoying good covers and not-super-expensive drinks!

Our bachelorette didn’t make it too far into the night, and wound up back at the hotel far before the bar actually closed. After making sure she was alright, my friend Tina and I decided to stay at the bar and enjoy ourselves.

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I may or may not have had quite a bit to drink.

The Pittsburgh bar scene that night was weird. We arrived around 8pm, and the bar was packed with other bachelorette parties. There were women everywhere. The only guys were the bartenders and, around 11pm, a table of 5 guys (who our party ended up convincing to join us). The bar seemed to empty out around 11:30 and was pretty much empty until about 12:30, when the bar was suddenly flooded with 60-70% guys. I have no idea what was going on, but I’m going to blame the Penguins hockey game going on earlier that night.

The bar closed at 2am (without a last call – more of a “have a good night” while turning the lights on).  I haven’t closed down a bar in years. It was fun, but definitely not something to do every weekend.

We left Sunday morning, since we had a 6 hour drive back to Indiana, and Tina and I had 3+ hour trips back from there (she lives in Chicago, I live in BFE Central Illinois).

It was so nice to see everyone, some who I haven’t seen for a year or more. And the wedding at the end of the summer will be just as much fun (there will be a penguin!!).

March 20th was the last post on here. Mainly because my life is pretty dull when you’re living in the middle of nowhere. And because sometimes I think being a “blogger” sounds better then it actually is. I LOVE reading blogs and following the lives of people, but I find it hard to BE a part of it. Probably because I’m comparing myself to them, which isn’t fair.

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Social media is really good at showing everyone the best side of yourself, whether its on Facebook, Instagram or blogs. (Twitter seems to be the only place where I see the less glamorous sides of people’s life, like long work hours and things gone wrong). I have a tendency to compare my whole life with someone’s best highlights. Unless you see it, it’s hard to remember that these people also work, pay taxes, go grocery shopping, pay bills and have family and friend drama.

Granted, there are some blogs I follow that I LOVE because they are so down-to-earth and real (like Mama Laughlin).

So for now, I’m going to try my best to post at least once a week. Some may be more exciting them others, since, you know, I live in BFE. BUT (!!) some fun things are coming up this summer, like weddings and other stuff (mainly weddings).

First post up to bat? A recap of the ridiculous mud race I ran last weekend with a friend of mine and her dad. It was incredibly fun and definitely pushed my limits. Oh, and my molars hurt (say wha?)…

Until then, I leave you with this photo of my finish at the Spartan Sprint I did in Indiana at the end of April, in 60 degree weather. I might have a racing addiction?3978_727768a44c3dd4e92b54911e9df521c4_GladZone

I’ve finally stopped fighting it.

I’ve re-enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Wow. It’s still something difficult to swallow. If you know me, you know that I can go off on endless rants about the Army, National Guard, and bureacracy of the military. It’s ridiculously frustrating and can raise my blood pressure and get my adrenaline going. So why on earth would I sign up for 6 MORE years of it all? Especially since I’ll have 13 years when this contract expires, meaning I’ll more then likely stay in until I hit my 20 year mark (Holy crap that’s scary to think about).

I’ll let you in on my (probably horrible) reasoning.

First, I’m not staying an enlisted soldier. As crazy as it sounds, I’ll become an officer. After all the crap I’ve given officers in my time, it’s like retribution. But, if I’m going to make a career out of it, I did not want to stay an enlisted truck driver. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and being a Sergeant. But I don’t want to do 20 years of that).

There are two downsides to this: less face to face time with my soldiers (which was my favorite part of being a sergeant) and 13 WEEKS of officer training, followed by 12-18 WEEKS of job training. The hardest part of this whole reenlistment thing is the 13 weeks of officer training, which will be like Basic Training all over again (which I absolutely hated, by the way). It’s something I’m going to have to prepare myself for, physically and mentally.

Second: it’s a steady paycheck and some job security. Even if I can’t get a full time National Guard job out of it (which is kind of what I’m hoping/planning on), I will get the one check a month for my weekend. And they can’t fire me, at least not until my 6 years are up (or I do something horrible, which is pretty darn unlikely). In this economy (super cliche by now), that’s something worth having.

Third: it’s flexible. Because it’s the National Guard, I can try for a full time position, or I could go back to school full time to pursue my Masters using all the financial aid and grants I’m eligible for in Illinois (which would basically cover my entire program and tuition, plus some for living expenses). I can also transfer states if, somewhere in the future, I need to. It’s much more flexible then active army (although it also has it’s upsides).

Lastely, with my new 6 year contract, I will be a part of the Student Loan Repayment Program, which helps you repay up to $50,000 of eligible federal loans. Right now, I have $55K worth of federal student loans. It’s so crazy to me to think that, in 6 years, I will have the vast majority of that paid off. And with that money going to my federal loans, I can focus on paying down my Sallie Mae private loans, helping me pay off my incredible amount of student debt even faster (faster then my entire lifetime, which is what it would have taken).

I’m still in that inbetween stage. The reasonable side of me knows that this is the best move for me and will help set me up for the future. The emotional side of me is upset and disappointed for having to stay in the Army. I’m sure they will both reconcile at some point, but right now, I’m still waivering.

So there it is. I’ve been fighting and fighting it since about halfway through my last contract. Everyone was trying to convince me to stay in (including my parents), while I was fighting against it. But it seems inevitable. It’s time to stop fighting it and go for it.

As my dad likes to point out, I’ll be the only one of my friends who can retire (the army, at least) at 38 and know I’ll be getting a pension from them when I turn 65. Bonus, I guess?

You read that right. I own a house. Crazy, right?

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If you’re friends with me on any of the social media, it’s not something that I really advertised. It’s not that I’m not happy about it (I am!). It’s just that I don’t really see this as “my first home.” Let me explain.

My house is a studio duplex that we will be “flipping” (such an overused word with a negative connotation) into a single family home. The bare bones of it are good, and it has 2 fireplaces and 2 bathrooms. It’s just definitely from the 1960s and needs a good update. And once it’s done, we’ll be selling it. Any proceeds go to paying down my student loans. So, for me, it’s a place to live and a project and less of a “home.” Maybe it’ll feel more like a home once it’s done? But my hometown is not where I want to spend the rest of my life, so I have no problem selling it eventually.

photo (17)photo (18)photo (19)Anyways, it needs some work. So far, my dad and I have cleaned up one side, fixed it up, painted and laid down hard wood laminate floors. In the end, that side will be the living room, but right now it’s my studio “apartment” until we finish the bedrooms on the other side. It’s a work in progress, but we have a lot of good ideas that will make it a great starter/ending home (ie. before kids or when a couple retires).

There are some things that need to be taken care of (like the wall of ivy growing on one side of my house). I’ll be keeping this blog updated with what happens! Stay tuned!

If you didn’t know, I’ve been substitute teaching at my old high school. I actually love being around the kids, so I think it’s a pretty great (albeit unstable) job.

I’ve only subbed at the high school level so far, and the teenagers are pretty entertaining. Here’s just some of what I’ve seen and heard.

– I was told that the hardest class to find subs for is gym class. And after filling in a couple of times for the different PE teachers, I can see why. Most kids don’t want to be in gym, so they do as little as possible. And when they are forced to do anything, they whine to high-heavens about it. Here’s just one little piece of what typically happens:

   Me: Alright guys, we’re going to do intervals today.

   Student: What’s intervals?

   Me (not knowing that there are people who don’t know what intervals are): They’re exercises you do for a set amount of time, and then you take a break.

   Student: Oh My God, do we have to do that?!

   Me: Yes, you do. It’s not horrible. You won’t die, I promise.

They then proceed to whine about each individual exercise right before we do it, as in “OMG we have to do sit ups?!,” “OMG do we have to do push ups?!,” etc. After a while, it’s just funny to me. I’m that horrible sub that ACTUALLY MAKES THEM DO THINGS!! (The horror!).

– The majority of students I’ve come across love Pitch Perfect, so at least they’re doing something right.

– Often I sub for classes that I haven’t taken or done any study in a very long time, like chemistry or biology. After I was unable to help answer some questions on acids and bases (like, what product was which. All I know is that water is neutral…), I had to explain to them that high school was actually the last time I took any legitimate science classes. At some points, they really know more than I do. Moral of the story: take more science classes in college. (But if you need me to sub for history or English, I’m good to go!).

– My school blocks both Facebook and Twitter on the school computers (obviously), but they haven’t figured out to block Pinterest yet…so that’s usually how I spend my day.

– I LOVE when the kids try to pull the “but Mr. So-And-So would let us” line. I actually went to high school where I’m subbing, and over half the teachers here I had in high school. I know who does and does not allow different things. Some of them try pretty hard too:

Me: Alright guys, Coach X says that we can play Knockout, so grab two balls and line up.

Student: Can we play 3-on-3 at the other end of the gym?

Me: No, we’re all playing Knockout.

Student: But Coach X lets us play. (He went on for another couple of minutes with that line, trying to convince me that they do, in fact, play 3-On-3 regularly)

Me (after having 3 separate hours of this already): Do I look like Coach X to you? No. He says we’re playing Knockout, and we’re playing Knockout. Now get in line or you can’t even play that.

Student: grumbles about Coach X letting them do things, but gets in line anyways.

I mean, seriously, these kids must think that I never went to high school in my life. And that we never tried to pull the same thing on our subs. I was sneakier then you guys were, I promise.

– Today was the annual petting zoo that the Ag classes put on. For how much the kids were whining to go, you’d think they have never seen a horse, baby chickens or fish before. I was that horrible sub that just wouldn’t let them go, and they let me know that. Which is fine. Oh high school kids.

Let’s see what happens next week 🙂

The alternate title of this post should be “You Know You’re From Central Illinois When…”

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After moving back home after 5 years (I only came home once a month when I was in college), I notice more and more things that were seemingly “normal” when I lived here.

1. Camo in every style is a perfectly acceptable pattern for all types of clothing.

2. Hunting Orange is as well.

3. Jeans and a sweatshirt or nice tshirt is getting dressed up for going out to dinner.

4. If you don’t own a pick-up truck, someone else in your family does. If they don’t, you or someone in your family is looking to get one/dreaming of getting one.

5. There is no reason to put on actual pants if you’re just running to Walmart (ex. jeans).

6. A trip to Target and Olive Garden once a month is a fun trip out.

7. You can’t make it through the grocery store without being stopped by someone you know and wants to talk.

8. Having out of state plates causes people to stare at both you and your car.

9. Jeans DO NOT droop off of guys and show their boxers because they’re a bootcut jean they use on the farm.

10. Guys (and girls) save up their money to put lift kits on trucks, add straight pipes and change out the chips in the engines (and you know what all that is).

11. Mail doesn’t have to be addressed to your current address to reach you. Or any address at all. (My dad got a visit from the postman, who knew he was my father, and gave him an envelope addressed to me at an address I hadn’t lived at for 8 years. And another time they corrected an old address to my current one – by running a line through it and addressing it to the correct address. Serious small town status.)

I’m sure there are many more that I’m not even counting, since it really is normal to me. But when, or if I notice them, I’ll be sure to mention them.