Friday, September 24, 2010

Bell Schedules & Bull$#!T (literally!)

I found this photo of Josie in my phone's memory - taken December 2009

It's been a really weird two weeks here at Casa Michele.

I've spent the past year pointing out the differences between California and everywhere else we've lived. I'm really getting to like Southern Orange County - the weather is near perfect and just driving the kids to school I get to see the most beautiful scenery. Josie is becoming the leader of the neighborhood tong (Chinese gang). Maddie is finally settling down into her school work and producing remarkable results.

The one thing I'm having trouble acclimating to is the darn bell schedules for the schools. This is the most unusual and frustrating thing I have encountered as far as the kid's schedules go... I checked Maddie's school calendar and there are only about 3 weeks of the whole year where she goes in at the regular time (7:35) and is dismissed at the regular time (2:40)! This past week Maddie had two one-hour late starts (Tues. & Weds.) and one two-hour late start (Mon.). In addition, every Wednesday Josie's school starts 15 minutes early and dismisses 45 minutes early!!

I don't know how working parents handle this situation. Last Wednesday, I was aware that Josie's school dismissed early - but I neglected to check the actual dismissal time. (I erroneously believed that since she went in 15 minutes early, that she would dismiss 15 minutes early...) A call from the Front Office (after I was 20 minutes late for pick-up) had me high-tailing it to the school and apologizing up and down and sideways!! One really nice thing though - Josie's new friend, Ava, insisting on waiting with Josie until I arrived. Ava's Dad, David, was kind enough to indulge her request. What a thoughtful child! Such a small act of kindness - it made a huge impact on both me and Josie. (We cut some roses from our side garden to give to Ava the next day - and thanked both David and Ava for the thoughtfulness.)

After a hectic week, the weekend brought more frustration. The on-going gardening dispute between me and my husband reared it's ugly head again. I'll offer a short explanation: My husband is a car guy. That's his thing. He buys them, sells them, maintains and cleans them. My car gets washed everyday - Detailed every weekend. (this is not an exaggeration - he will wash the cars even when there is snow on the ground!) I haven't had to fill the gas tank in my car in over 14 years! For this, I love and respect him. I don't mess with the cars.

I, on the other hand, am a gardening girl. I LOVE mowing the lawn, landscaping, growing, planting - you name it. I take great pride in having a great looking lawn. I used to do my best thinking on my riding mower. In fact, if I was having a particularly stressful day, I'd keep riding my mower and cut my neighbors lawn! Some of the best conversations I've ever had were with my neighbor Barbara while we were both pulling weeds. So, I am the lawn expert.

Imagine if you will then, my utter horror last weekend upon finding out that my husband had paid a ridiculous amount of money to have a bunch of schmoes spread 'steer manure' on my lawn!!! The guys were just driving around the neighborhood with a truckload of manure and my husband actually flagged them down!

I have heard of putting manure around plants to fertilize them, but I have never seen manure spread on a lawn. To add insult to injury, we have the AC off because the weather has been beautiful & Breezy. The stink is unbearable! The flies are unbearable! The neighbors are giving me dirty looks! My kids are just mortified! I'm just thankful that we only have about 20 square feet of lawn - otherwise our house would be declared a Super Fund site!!! MEN !! Can't live with them, can't shoot them.

Hmph! **deep breath**. I apologize for the rant and airing my 'dirty' laundry!

Anyway, this last picture is of a local landmark in our old hometown. (another photo that was on my old phone's memory) Take a good look at the bottom sign for the Chinese restaurant...

Of course, everyone in town has their own 'Fukien' expression:

"Hey, Where's my Fukien chicken?!"
"Honey, the Fukien delivery guy is here!"
"I ordered the Fukien Beef, not the Fukien pork"
or my new personal favorite:

"Somebody tell my Fukien husband to stay away from my Fukien lawn!!"

Until next time :-)


  1. Hahahaha, oh my gosh....that sign is a riot!

    I totally agree with your frustration on the schools here....and I have NO idea how working parents do it. I have to set alarms on my phone every Sunday night so that I won't forget to pick up the girls at all the different odd times that they get out. It is crazy!

    But, that being said, I also agree with you that I am really liking it here. I don't know that I could ever live somewhere flat and hot again.


    All I can say is I have heard about this Califorina bell sched and I seriously would shoot someone if I was a working parent. WTF??

    Can your husband drop by and wash my car for me?? that is sooooo nice!!!

  3. Thank you for the laugh today, M!!!! I am glad you are liking CA more and more though. I will admit all of the changes on the school schedules would drive me insane too!!!

  4. I smiled when I found your blog. I'm a West Coast girl who graduated from UCLA and now lives in Chicago. I'm being moved, kicking, screaming and holding on for dear life to the East Coast.