Tag Archives: time management

Unwilling Learners

Ever taught an unwilling learner? They are the ones that question the validity of the subject matter, question the expertise of the teacher, and/or refuse to do the homework because of priorities in their lives. I was a band director. I required practice from my band students. I got calls from parents accusing me of being unreasonable to require 20 minutes of practice EVERY NIGHT for band students.

“How DARE you require daily practice! Kids have sports, homework, and chores to do every night!”

“Oh? They never take their books home with them. I know, I watch them as they leave. They’re in 6th grade, how often and how long are their football practices? Oh? They’re not in football yet? Oh, they ARE in football but it’s club football, not school football, so practices once or twice a week for an hour? So you mean to tell me that on the nights they don’t have practice, they’re doing homework for two hours and chores for three to four hours and going to bed at 9:00? Too bad they won’t get to play Football in High school. How will they EVER squeeze in time for the mandatory two-hour practices for football every night? High School homework is what, two to three hours a night? And they’ll have part-time jobs as well in High School.  So unless they work only on weekends, they get home after football practice at about 6:00 PM, do three to four hours of chores, homework for two to three hours, puts them in bed at 1:00 AM.”

“What? You’re going to keep them out of Football because they won’t practice for your stupid band?”

This is a conversation I had many, many times. They refused to give their kids any sense of responsibility.  Of COURSE, they weren’t doing chores around the house. Of COURSE, they weren’t doing two hours of homework every night. They were watching TV, playing video games, hanging out. It was amazing that the students ever learned enough music to fill out a concert.

There was one 6th grade band that did so badly (because I had 0 support from the parents) that I made them play the concert anyway. They got 1/2 way through their third song and just basically quit because they were all lost. I explained to the parents (and the children that were upset behind me) that with band practice once a week, we only got together for 14 lessons. 14 lessons should give them at least 14 notes they could play, plus the ability to play in two different time signatures, and the ability to follow a director. But for the days between lessons, without practice, the students lost about 20% per day of what they had been taught, lost the endurance and strength in the muscles that allowed them to play more than five minutes on their instruments, did not improve or maintain the eye-hand coordination necessary to process the information on the page and could not improve their listening skills so they could be in tune and play together. That’s why practice between band lessons is important and it’s important that these kids learn this concept and that you, the parents, learn this. Ya, I got fired.

“Why don’t we teach tax preparation and finance in school?” We do.  Do you think that the tax laws remain the same from year to year? Do you think your kids will completely reject your advice about money and ignore the advice from banks and other financial institutions that profit from people’s ignorance when it comes to money management? Or do you think you have all the money issues figured out because of what your Insurance Agent told you was a good investment?

“When will I ever need algebra and geometry? I have my iPhone.” Which bag of flour is the better value? Which car is the best for my money? How long does it take to get to work? Why does my shed keep falling down? Where do I put the jack on my car when I have a flat? Show me on your iPhone how you would input that information to get the answers to those questions.

“Why do I have to learn this Olde English Shakespeare stuff?” Ever watch Game of Thrones? Where do you expand your vocabulary? Can you communicate in phrases that are longer than 140 characters? Can you make a point? Can you win a debate? Can you logically defend a choice?

“What do YOU know about math? (English, Statistics, Computer Science…fill in a subject)” I know more than you. I know where to look to get the information I need to fill in your gaps. Do you?

The culture has changed. Kids don’t HAVE chores. They can’t have fun unless it is regulated by parents. Playdates? Really? Organized sports for 5-year-olds? Video games and educational programs on a tablet for kids under 4? What is WRONG with us?!!! If we want to immerse kids into a love of learning, they have to be surrounded by people that love learning. Because we denigrate learning to something that only happens during the first 12 years in school, and we abhor reading or going to concerts or seminars, what have we taught the children? Learning is a CHORE to be endured. Maybe we should establish mandatory boarding schools!

Welcome to the House of Husker.  There are 4 teams: Crimson, Cream, Black, and Runza. Their respective Beasts are the Crimson Pegasus, the Cream Cow, the Black Spectre, and the Runza Dragon. Each team will be responsible for learning basic life skills such as Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Geography, Physical and Biological Sciences, American and World History, Civics, and Visual and Fine Arts. Each team will be responsible for a farm consisting of garden and farm animals including pigs, goats, chickens, and cattle. Each team will be responsible for the finances and business management of their farms and other related ventures. There will be related businesses such as cottage industries that specialize in industrial technology such as carpentry, metal work, small and large engine repair, information technology, and animal husbandry, etc. Each class in each team will be responsible for cooking for the whole team one weekend of every month. (7th graders–Breakfast, 8th graders–Lunch, 9th graders–supper on Saturdays, 10th graders–Breakfast, 12th graders–Dinner, and 11th graders–Supper on Sundays.) Homework will include a mandatory hour for every class taken and an hour’s practice in the Arts course in which the student has enrolled. The heads of teams will be two faculty members per team, a senior student leader, a vice-leader, a business manager, a project manager, and representatives from all the classes in that team. Each team will wear student robes with the team uniform during class time. Intramural competitions will be encouraged.

Applications accepted on a first come, first served basis.

 

Update: I have had NO applications up to now, 5/10/19. I thought I’d have at least a dozen!

Update: I STILL have no applications as of 7/17/2019. What is WRONG with people!

 

 

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You need HELP!

So I have heard this 3 times in the last week.

Here’s the problem: I am simultaneously the smartest person in the room, and the least equipped to handle anything.  The first thing people notice about me is that I’m not very bright, but I am very loud and annoying.  No, the first thing people notice about me is my size, and they are shocked to find out I taught ballet.  No, the first thing they notice about me is that I’m always talking.  No the first thing they notice about me is I stand in a corner just watching.  I am a dichotomy.

I agree with the person that said I needed help with the house and recommended a cleaning company.  I think I’m going to do that.

I agree that I have a bad self image.  I don’t know how to fix that, so I would need to find someone to help me with that.  But see above…I’m always the smartest person in the room, even if I’m not.  When my boy was having problems in school, we went to a therapist, and he learned how to say exactly what she wanted him to say.  He thought it amusing.  One of the sessions, I was required to go with him.  She diagnosed me as Obsessive/Compulsive, Anal Retentive, and manic/depressive.  This is after talking with me for about 20 min.  I was shaking my head in disbelief.  Then she sent him out and told me in no uncertain terms, “No wonder your kids are all messed up!  You shouldn’t have had any!  You should have been in therapy for decades before you had kids.  It’s all your fault that your kids are useless.”  Remember, smartest person in the room…  I believed she was so set in blaming someone for the fact that she couldn’t figure out how my boy thought (because he was so much smarter than she).  I met a family therapist that thought he could solve our family’s problems with 3 sessions.  Tada!!! You’re normal!  Well, if we were normal, why were we required to have therapy?  Yes, again it was a requirement by the CPS.  I must have rose-colored glasses and be completely deluded about the mental health of my kids.  I couldn’t think of any kids that were as smiley and engaged as mine.  I have since been informed that all of them were extremely depressed and couldn’t wait to get out of the house.  (Oh?  then why is one of them still in my basement?)

As you may have guessed, I do not like being categorized.  I may have stressed this fact in this blog, and this one.  Never-the-less, I know from working all the myriads of jobs I’ve done that most of the people will take the easiest, least complicated path in solving a problem and then blame you if it’s more complex than they can handle.  I am fortunate to belong to a group of people who are very smart and in different ways.  One has 2 PHD’s in  the Sciences, and one in has a PHD in Human resources.  One is gifted in the emotional arena, and one in the ability to read and understand people.  3 are amazing in computer programming.  2 of them are wise on the spiritual level.  1 is exceptional in communication.  (That is good since we’re in the book writing business…)  Where does that put me?  I guess I connect all these various and sundry interests together.  So when I need some advice in my psychological state, and I talk to a psychiatrist and this person doesn’t measure up to this level of intelligence and takes short cuts–putting me into a box that is entirely too small and ill-fitting, I get discouraged.  I’m tempted to have a cattle call and have all the psychiatrists come to my office and give me their best shot so I can eliminate 3/4 of the incompetent people right off the bat.  Ya, right.

As for the 3rd time someone told me I needed help, I have been on this stupid diet/exercise/pill/herbs/mental trip for 4 years and I’m about 5 pounds heavier than when I started and that’s when I thought I was 45 pounds too heavy.  I’m going to try the Kathy Diet…forget to eat for a year.

New year’s resolutions?  Stuff I can handle, 1 more DTM, done with 1 full path in Toastmasters, read 10 more books, work out 3 times a week for an hour, replace the front door and the bathroom, hire a cleaning service, find my office and change it into a real library so all our books are in the same room instead of scattered all over the house, and dispose of the bunk beds…my grand kids will never use them.

Greyhound Customer Service

I did not think that I was booking a complicated trip.  Bus service is supposed to be for the common folk, not the kind of “Coach” tours that you have in Europe or the VIP tours you have in the US where they have mapped out all the stops and once you pay your tour fee, you’re relieved of all your worry.  I don’t get to see my oldest son very much as he lives several states away, and though he’s busy, he’s not gainfully employed.  So on the holidays, if I don’t send him a bus ticket, he can’t come.  Thanksgiving!  Woohoo!  Time to get online and get all the details done.

A month ahead of when you want to take the trip, you get on the Greyhound website and pick your dates.  You do this for the same reason you buy your plane tickets 3-4 months in advance:  the price goes up as you get closer to your departure date.  I have Tuesdays mostly free, so I figured if he could arrive on a Tuesday it would accommodate my schedule.  You get onto the site and it asks you for the dates you want outbound and inbound.  I set the dates.  It asks you to choose which route, and I choose one that makes it more likely that my son can get a ride to the bus station and one that allows me to take him to the local station at a reasonable hour for him to go home.  Then it asks you for your coupon code.  I leave that blank, I have no coupon code.  Then it asks for you email and your payment details.  Checked that off.  For some reason, it doesn’t ask for the name of the passenger.  Maybe it’s on the next page.  I hit “submit.”  The transaction doesn’t go through.  Search through all the page to find anything highlighted.  Nothing highlighted, it just doesn’t go through.  Check the whole document and for some reason, it’s put my email address into the coupon code and says it’s an invalid code.  Well OF COURSE IT’S AN INVALID CODE!  It’s my EMAIL!  I erase the email address, scroll to the bottom of the document and push submit again.  There isn’t a 2nd page that gives details on the passenger, and I get an email confirmation that I WILL BE TRAVELING.  I’m not traveling, my son is.  I recheck the document. I call customer service.

After 2 minutes of waiting for someone to answer the phone, I notice a chat feature on the site.  I push Chat.  I get the little time indicator saying my request for a chat is being processed.  2 more minutes waiting for someone to answer the phone.  I get a question on the chat, “What can I help you with?”  It’s one of those phrases that chat help puts up automatically.  You KNOW the person at the other end of the line doesn’t want to type that out every time some person wants to chat.  They hit the button and the initial question automatically pops up.  How do I know that?  Because if there WAS a person at the other end of the chat, it wouldn’t take so long to answer your question.  Still no answer on the phone.  I hang up.  “For some reason, when I submitted my payment for the ticket, it didn’t put the right name on the passenger.  It has my name on it instead.  How can I fix this?”  Wait… wait… wait…  See?  I knew this chat wasn’t Live the way we understand it.  It leads me to one conclusion:  Customer Service Chat uses zombies.  I go to Face Book to pass the time while the little back and forth dots indicate that someone might answer my question.  2 minutes later.  “Tickets are nontransferable and nonrefundable.”  I know that.  So I type back, “That doesn’t help me with my problem.”  “Didn’t you read the directions?  You have to put the name of the passenger on the form.”  “There was no place to put it.”  “You missed it.  Did you check the box that said the ticket was a gift?”  “Where was that?” “Right beneath the scheduling details.”  “I didn’t see it.”  “Well that’s where it was.”  “How do I make sure that my son can make the trip then?”  “Tickets are nontransferable and nonrefundable.”  “So I just made a donation to Greyhound?”  “Yes.”  “So if I didn’t have enough money to pay for two trips, I’d be out of luck?”  “Yes, you have to read the directions.”  “So….not your problem?”  “Not my problem that you refuse to read directions.  You can’t blame me if you’re incapable of following simple directions.”  What. A. Bastid!  He must have had a bad day.

Start the whole process over.  Found the stupid box.  Did you know they charge extra if you don’t use the ticket yourself?  Oh, and after you enter your email address, you MUST go up and take your email out of the coupon box. It automatically shows up there every time because you don’t know how to turn off the Chrome autofill feature that is supposed to make things easier.  Now that that’s been cleared, you have to re-fill out the information and re-enter the gift recipient’s name or it defaults to your name again.  HA!  Not going to get me this time!!!  Submit.  It submits!  Yay!  Send tickets to son.  Repeat process for Christmas trip.  I have now spent $700+ so my son can see his family for the holidays, $262 of which was a donation to Greyhound to keep their profits in the black.  Since it is a private company instead of publicly traded, the only information that’s available is the earnings report.  Their profit was down 16,000,000 British Pounds since the same time last year.  Well now, I’ve contributed to their bottom line.

So the story’s over right?  NOOOOO.  What?  There’s More?

I didn’t check on the actual route my son was taking.  He was to leave at 10:30 AM or so, travel from Norman to OKC to Tulsa to KCMO to Des Moines to Omaha.  4 different buses, one without plugins or wifi.  I had to pick him up Wednesday Morning at 1:30.  Remember that I had Tuesday as my chosen date of arrival?  He spent 14 hours on the bus.  I hadn’t chosen Tuesday for the arrival date, I’d chosen it as his departure date from OK.  I picked him up and found an IHOP where he got to eat for the 1st time since lunch the previous day.  We got home about 3:00 AM.  This is the day before Thanksgiving.  So if there’s going to be food tomorrow, I have to cook today.  I get up about 9:00 and start.  Turkey is frozen solid so I set it in the sink.  (I had put the turkey in the refrigerator on Saturday per instructions of the FDA…liars.)  My son spends the whole day in bed recovering.  14 hour bus trips are not the best way to spend a day.  Thursday, we have our Thanksgiving dinner and watch our football.  I have my Turkey Coma nap.  Friday we see little indications that our son is alive and well and truly visiting his loving parents.  “Hi Mom.  Hi Dad.”  Hello son.  About midnight, he comes up and says, “I’ve missed my bus…”  

Now I find out the rest of the story, he’d also missed his initial bus in Norman, it didn’t come.  What he didn’t know was that there are two bus stops in Norman, and he was at the wrong one.  Norman has a population of about 110k people.  Why does it have 2 bus stops?  His friend had to drive him to Oklahoma City to catch the next leg of his trip.  I was confused about him missing the bus from Omaha though.  He showed me his ticket.  It said Boarding at 11:41 PM Saturday. This was Friday.  Then he showed me the next ticket on his transfer in Kansas City.  Boarding at 8:00 AM Saturday.  I checked his tickets again.  Departure was 12:01 AM Saturday, not Sunday.  If he left Omaha Saturday night, how could he leave Kansas City on Saturday morning?  If he didn’t catch the bus in Kansas City, he’d have to stay here until January.  I’d be out another $183 for a new one way ticket if we got him another trip for a later time this week, or he’d miss getting his bills paid and might be in danger of having utilities shut off and losing his apartment.  So since his KC bus was leaving at 8:00 AM Saturday and it was a 3 hour drive…we jumped in the car at 3:00 AM and drove.  It cost me $45 in gas and $30 for breakfast at St. Joe, and 7 hours of driving.   His tickets for December are the same, pick him up Monday morning at  O Dark Thirty and send him to the bus station a day before his ticket says…(Wednesday at 12:01 AM is when his bus leaves, so I have to get him there Tuesday at 11:40 instead of Wednesday 11:40.)

So Greyhound!  Get your act together!  Print the tickets correctly!

Movie Bistro Madness

Come!  Enjoy your movie in the luxury of a recliner!  No sticky floors!  $7 for a ticket!  Unless you order it online to make sure you HAVE a seat when you get there, then it’s $13.  Unless you have our rewards card so you can order on line and get it for $7.  And that’s not all!  In every theater before the previews start, you get an advertisement for the Bistro Theater…4 theaters in the complex where they bring the food TO you!  You want to see an early movie, but you hesitate because you either have to have dinner at 4:00, buy dinner on the way in at 5:00 and hope they’re not so busy that you’re late and cannot get a ticket (unless, of course you already have your ticket…see above) or you wait until 10:00 when the movie gets out and have Taco Bell right before you go to bed.  Taco Bell at 10 pm can have unfortunate consequences.  The Bistro solves all those problems!  TaDAAAA!

“Be sure to get here and order from our chef-inspired menu and have the wait staff bring the food to you in the theater!  You want more to drink or another dessert?  Push the call button and have your payment ready.”  The food on the screen looks like something out of the gourmet chef shows on the food network.  It’s beautifully plated on square plates and artfully drizzled with just the right amount of sauce.  That’s a lot of effort for a chicken sandwich.

When you go to the ticket counter and pick out your seat, the cashier says, “Hey! and you’re in the Bistro so you can skip the concession lines and just order from your seat!  Enjoy your movie!”  Woohoo!  So you go to the theater, find your seat, get comfy and wait for the server to get to you.  Theater is nearly empty because you did arrive 30 min before the show as they suggest when going to a bistro movie.

Dum de dum de dum…no wait staff IN the theater.  7 guys and 2 old ladies are sitting there playing the screen games and they already have their food.  Silly people.  They do not have chef-inspired cuisine to munch on before the movies starts.  Still no wait staff.  Hmmm.  Press the call button.  The theater darkens.  The two actions are not related, but seem ominous.  The server sure enough comes to your chair and pushes your call button so it goes off and asks for your order.  By this time, you’ve forgotten what you wanted to eat and it’s too dark to read the menu.  “I’ll have chef-inspired popcorn with buttery topping please…small, and a bottle of your Blue Mountain Dew.”  “What flavor is the blue mountain dew?”  “I don’t know, it’s blue.  I don’t buy it for the name.  Find the Mountain Dew in your cooler and if it’s blue, that’s it.”  “Do you have your rewards card?” “Yup and here’s my payment,” and I hand him my debit card.  Why debit card?  Because remember it’s dark and I cannot now see my money.  He processes my card, prints out the receipt for me to sign, hands me his pen and runs off, leaving me with the receipt and the pen.

He doesn’t come back.  “Yoo Hoo?”  I must be in an action/adventure movie because all the previews are super heroes and dystopian futures and incredible rescues from disasters.  Dum de dum de dum.  10 min into previews.  Still hasn’t picked up the receipt or his pen.  I hit the call button again.  2 servers walk by me and ignore me with food for other people.  Remember those 7 guys and the 2 little old ladies?  They are looking at me with pity and those eyes that say, “Silly person!  You could have had your chef-inspired popcorn and your drink when you came in and would have consumed most of the popcorn by now…and it would have been HOT popcorn…”  I’m so foolish.  I press the call button again.  He shows up and wants to know if I want to add to my order.  I say no but here’s your pen and the receipt…thought you might need it.

It occurs to me that maybe the servers are on some sort of reality show.  They have to get the orders from the patrons, go to the kitchen, prepare the chef-inspired delicious hamburgers, nachos, and fries to order (there are no substitutions) and get them out to the patrons Gordon Ramsey style.  “You ^(*&%*&( idiot!  You can’t plate that hamburger like that!  Redo that!” and then throws the food on the floor.  “But Gordon!  It’s dark!  They don’t even know if I got their orders right!”  “Oh right then.  Put the sloppy mess back on the plate and get it out of here…scrape off the dirt and such.”  Meanwhile, the previews are over, and it’s last call for orders.  One server in the whole theater, and call buttons lit up all over.  It gives an eerie blue glow about the room.  I have now been in the theater for 40 min.

Once again the screen lights up to tell us that next time we should arrive 30 min before the show so we can have our chef-inspired pizza and beer brought to us and I think, “It really doesn’t take that long to put popcorn in a bag and grab a bottle does it?”  The movie starts.  The ship is blown to smithereens, the bad guys are throwing debris about with a wave of their hands and monstrous mountains with vaguely human features are wielding building-sized weapons to threaten our heroes.  At least I think so.  In the first 15 min of the movie, there have been 8 servers walking between me and the screen delivering food to OTHER customers in the dark.  How can they see the seat numbers?  AHHHH!  Finally!  Here’s my chef-inspired popcorn and dew.  It’s the latest in movie cuisine–like iced coffee and cold soup (Vichyssoise).  Room temperature popcorn.

In a restaurant, 1 server can work with 12-16 customers.  Ideally then, this bistro should have about 5-7 servers.  They should stand near their sections and greet you when you find your seat.  All the orders should be taken while the lights are still on.  If you have a party of 4 with dinner-type orders and a person by himself with a small snack order, you put in the order to the kitchen for the dinners, and grab the snack and the drink on your way back to the theater and serve the single.  As your section fills up, you take orders from the newcomers.  Put in the dinner orders, check on previous orders and pick up the drinks and deliver those to the people who have ordered.  Return to kitchen and pick up any dinner orders that have been completed.  Take orders from recently seated people.  Put in new orders at kitchen, check to see if any orders are filled and ready to deliver.  If not, get the drinks out.  Go back to kitchen grab filled orders and deliver, repeat. And as always, if you have a drink/snack order, get it out immediately.  The only people you should be taking orders from after the lights go out are the latecomers.

If you are going to run 4 bistros in a theater, you’d DAM well better have a big kitchen and plenty of cooks.  You have to serve 240 customers in 30 min or less.

I’m going to order my chef-inspired popcorn and Blue Dew at the counter from now on.

Just when you think it’s a habit

Time just is NOT in anyone’s control.  That is a myth!  Anyone who says that they practice Time Management is deluded.  Time happens.  The only thing you can attempt to manage is you.  Wake up, eat something, go to gym, done!  Come home, blog, and now you have the rest of the day to get your work done, and play and and and and ….  OK, I’m in the groove!  I don’t have to think!  BAM!  So wrong.

Friday was like that.  I had everything planned out.  I got up, had something to eat and now it’s 10:00?  Oh, I did my puzzle and my jumble…  but that didn’t take an hour did it?  Hmmmm, no, it took 1 1/2 hrs.  HOW?  Ok, the roofing guy is coming at 10:30 so I gotta get home.  Do some Toastmasters stuff while I wait for him….   and wait… and… OMG it’s NOON?  (Got a call from him this morning–Saturday–apologizing for not getting over here.  He’s coming on Monday now.)  I have to get to the University for a demo meeting for Toastmasters!  I better change clothes and get my pin on!  Hubby’s here, off we go!  GREAT MEETING!  but the organizer likes to talk and bent our ears for almost 35 min after the meeting got out. So NOW it is after 3 and we haven’t had lunch.  Now it is after 4 and I have a lesson in 1 hr, so I can’t go to the gym, and I still have to do my report for the District Exec Committee tomorrow!  Great lesson, she’s fun to teach, but now it’s 6 and I have to leave for training in 1/2 hr.  I’ll work on my report until it’s time to leave.  OMG it’s 7:30?  Meeting is starting NOW!  So I missed that too.  Waiting on stuff for my report and now the offices are closed, so I don’t have what I need to do the report.  I don’t want to go to the gym, and it’s cold so I don’t want to walk…besides walking outside tends to cramp my lower back.  Poof!  Day gone.

NOT going to do that today!  I had to prepare a report for this morning, so I printed out what I had and gave that.  The meeting went from about 8:00 to noon.  Hubby and I went to VI for breakfast.  Then we went to the gym. 🙂  I was supposed to do cardio and strength today.  I opened my bag… no shoes. 😦  Sooooo, I did strength training.  Crunches, mini planks (to my elbows and knees instead of hands and toes) then triceps curls, shoulder presses, and rows with 10 pound weights sitting on ball.  Then went over to the machines and did single leg extensions at 30 lbs, followed by single leg curls at 30 lbs.  Then we went to see Godzilla.  Recliner seats, 2 feet from the screen and staring straight up.  About 1/2 way into the movie, my feet cramped!  My toes on both feet were trying to cross each other!  and then my left forearm cramped adjusting the seat.  Really?  Really?!!!!  Oh C’MON!  Got home and took a 1/2 hr nap that lasted 2 1/2 hrs.  QED