Tuesday, September 22, 2009

School Fights...When to Fight

The missing original interm report which was altered by the school via white out was found while I was looking through every school paper I had in the house. I was surprised and thrilled! When I showed it to the lawyer I had to point out “you need to hold it up to the light and look at the back of the paper to see what the original grades were. They were written in BLUE ink and the new grades were written in Black ink! On the facing side you could see that some grades were written in black (over white out) and the rest were written in BLUE ink! I had given up on ever finding that interm report but I finally found it when I stopped looking for it.

Another VERY surprising find was that the school had performed an evaluation in 2007. This was done without my permission and without a hearing. Those are the only two ways a school can perform the evaluation! I had received this evaluation just before Snow White transferred to the new school but thought it was just one of those plans the school was going to implement. It wasn’t until after I received and reviewed the evaluation from the Dr. I employed over the summer to perform the requested school evaluations that I saw….they were the SAME!! No wonder the school hounded me over and over again to sign the papers! They over stepped themselves and the law by a full year!!

The school insisted they had no recommendations to follow from the previous school but also state they did their best. I know they did their best to undermined my daughter’s education as much as they could. They board her to death on purpose!!

After the last school meeting the Friday before school started the school still insisted that they would hold my daughter in 4th grade based on her grades. They said if she had gone through their testing she would have been classified as Chapter 15 but based on the recommendations of the Dr. who tested her over the summer she is not Chapter 15. “Children with disabilities are not held to the same standards as others and are passed on to the next grade even if they do not meet the state standards.” Ok, I find that appaling in many ways since their view of disabilities is so vast how do they get away with it? Why are they encouraged monetarily to have a quota of disabled students?!” Oh, now I find out that the school which is a short distance from my daughter’s old school takes in a number of children from poor neighborhoods. This is a good thing in my opinion but tax and school money wise apparently is not a good thing. The school needs money and this is where their Gravy Boat comes in! They are educators! This shouldn’t be the case!!

My daughter was classified at Chapter 15 illegally due to the evaluation by the school without authorization but still classified as such. They tried to cover their butts and I didn’t just lay down and do as they told me to.

As soon as I had the test results in my hands I called the Principal and requested a meeting be held to let them review my daughter’s test results (August 14th). The tests they badgered me about having done for the past year. Remember I had not received Snow White’s report card until about a week before this and I had received her test results. The Principal said she would agree to meet with me and during the conversation she asked if my lawyer received the copy of Snow White’s records? The Principal went on to say “I made the copies myself and sent the box down to the Special Education teacher to mail out.” I told her that I had not heard anything about it since the school asked if I really wanted a full copy so I guessed they had them. I called the lawyer’s office to find they had not received them. I called the Principal back and told her they had not received them. She called me back later that day to say “If you would like us to start making the copies it will be $100.” I told her I would pay her the $100, pick them up at the meeting and deliver them myself to the lawyer! Didn’t she JUST tell me she made the copies?! How is it not possible they were not made and sent out?! Why didn’t my lawyer call and tell me? This was supposedly done before the end of the previous school year and school was about to start again!!

I went to the meeting that Tuesday without my lawyer because he was in court and the notice was too short. I understand the short notice thing but I NEEDED to let the school know the testing was done so my daughter should be in 5th grade not 4th like the lady said on the phone the week before. Oh, I called the week before and asked for a meeting with the principal to discuss who my daughter’s teacher was since I had not heard anything yet. The woman who answered the phone told me who my daughter’s 4th Grade Teacher will be.

So, I attend the meeting with the Principal, and I was introduced to the other two women at the table. One was said to be the Superintendent and one was the Director of Special Education (DSE). The DSE was none other than the woman who sat next to me at the previous meeting and said they didn’t have to take recommendations from outside sources and that outside sources usually misspelled the names of the students tested which meant they were not sure the real student was actually tested. This was the same woman who said she observed my daughter in class that day and my daughter was actually at home with a fever and vomiting and did not attend school that day. She also misspelled my daughter’s name in every instance she used it in that observation report she handed to me.

During the meeting I gave the testing report from the Dr. to the Principal.
She made copies for everyone and handed them out. No one looked at them but tucked them under their crossed hands on the table. I was sitting next to the DSE and to her left was the Superintendent and to my right was the Principal. The meeting started off with the Principal apologizing for any misconduct or behavior I thought was inappropriate at the last meeting. The DSE stated that no such shouting, anger or pounding of fists every happened. She even laughed as she said this!

This meeting was important and I decided not to show my anger towards the DSE. I decided to not look at her through the rest of the meeting. How could she?! How could she just sit there all calm and lie like that?! And give that awkward laugh about it all?!! I had to remain calm and fix what was wrong for my daughter. Anything I had to say to DSE would have to wait until later.

The Principal focused on the grades of the last quarter and how bad they were. I reminded her what my daughter’s grades were before attending this school and within the first three quarters. The Superintendent stopped me and said she “I have to say this. You will not leave this meeting happy. We cannot pass your daughter based on these grades.” Just as I was about to say something the Principal spoke up and said “ You didn’t contact us about summer school so we thought you knew she would repeat this grade.” I spoke up and said “You know I didn’t receive her report card until about a week ago.” She responded “We didn’t know that. Why didn’t you ask for it sooner? All parent’s know the report cards go out the last day of school.” I was fighting back tears when I said “I don’t know the routine of this school. I thought you were holding it until her test were back. You said…the last meeting it was said if I don’t sign the papers to have her tested she would be held back.” The DSE tried to interrupt but I spoke up and faced her “You said if she was tested she would pass. If I signed the papers for the school to test her you would pass her. She was tested as I promised and now…” I had to stop because I was not about to shed tears in front of them.

The DSE said “I don’t know where you come up with this stuff. We never said if you had her tested she would pass.” I was at the end of my rope with this woman! She lied about observing my daughter that day, she lied about the outbursts from the last meeting and now she was lying about what she said?! I stopped breathing for a minute then decided it was better to forget she was in the room and resume the meeting. Something had to be done NOW so my daughter would start off the school year right and in the right grade with the right accommodations to insure her trust in the school.

I reminded the Principal that summer school was not an option due to the lateness of the report card. She explained that summer school would not have been a factor in promoting Snow White as it was just an introductory to 4th grade and not something to pass 4th grade. Thinking to myself …Um, why mention it if it would not have been a help???

I did mention that Snow White passed the State Exams for her grade at Proficient and Above Average. They all said that didn’t matter as Snow White “did not demonstrate the concepts of 4th grade.”. I asked if the school has separate concept of 4th grade than the State but they said they were the same. Still they held fast to the point they would not promote Snow White to the 5th grade. The Principal added that Snow White told her “I did less work in 3rd grade and they passed me.” I also reminded the Principal that Snow White also told her that she didn’t do the work in class because it was too hard. Yet, she would blow through a whole weeks worth of incomplete work in 15 minutes at home but I couldn’t understand why she didn’t accomplish this in all the hours she was at school. I also reminded her of Snow White’s words “I cannot go in that room with all those important people…” She was intimidated by them and told them what she thought they wanted to hear! The Principal let out a little giggle as did the rest but she said she understood but hoped that Snow White would understand this year that she does have a voice. In the back of my head I am thinking why should she think anything different this year? The school has always done what they please no matter what I say and I am her Mother. If I don’t have a voice here why would she?

I give up on convincing the school and think the lawyer will have a better hand at this. Since school starts in less than a week and the lawyer is in court all this week, I move on. “So, no matter what grade she is in what will be different this year?” Their focus is on Snow White changing and I tell them her Dr. who did the evaluation fears that if Snow White is retained she will withdraw from school and eventually outside interests too. They still maintain that she WILL be retained and incorporate all recommendations by the Dr. I ask how and they explain she will use a computer rather than writing out her assignments and tests. She will have classes in school as to how to use the computer in these tasks.

The Superintendent said the school records will be ready the day after school starts (they didn’t have them ready for me to pick up). Also, I wrote out a check to the school for $66.50 for the records as they said it would cover what they could copy. The Principal said “It would have costed over $600 to copy the whole file.” I will take what they will give me and leave the rest up to the lawyer.

One thing we all agreed on was that since Snow White had no idea she would be in 4th grade again it would be very beneficial for her to meet with her teacher before school started. This would help avoid some of the gossip and rude comments by other students and help Snow White feel assured she was in a safe place. It would also give me time to speak with the lawyer. The meeting was set up for following Friday at 3 pm. This meeting was selected by the Principal.

Ok, so the first meeting was Tuesday and the next meeting was set up for Friday. The Thursday in-between I receive a call from the DSE who called just to make sure I understood there was no need to hold the Friday meeting. After all, she is going to be in 4th grade and it’s nothing new to her. There is nothing more to discuss. I objected and said “ I thought the purpose of this next meeting was so that Snow White could meet the teacher?” DSE said “I don’t know where you come up with this stuff. No one discussed her meeting the teacher. The teachers will be in meetings until 3 pm and no one will stay after for this meeting. Why would you ask for a meeting when you know the teachers will be out?” I reminded her that the Principal set the time of the meeting not me and I had no idea but thought it would be best if Snow White met with the teacher rather than be thrown in to the fire.” The DSE actually LAUGHED at me!!! Something in me snapped! I said that I still expected the meeting be held and that Snow White meet the teacher!” She said again that she didn’t know why I was so upset and making up stuff. I really lost it and actually YELLED “OK, LET’S JUST THROW HER IN THE FIRE AND LET HER JUST DEAL WITH IT! THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT! RIGHT! FROM NOW ON I WILL BRING A TAPE RECORDER WITH ME SO I JUST DON’T MAKE UP STUFF! HOW ABOUT THAT?!!!” She started to respond but I hung up on her!! I called the school and left a message for the Principal “I do NOT appreciate the way your staff speaks to me! I do not appreciate the antagonizing phone calls! Call me BACK!!”

The Principal did call me back. I asked her if the meeting for Friday was to be canceled and she said “No”. I asked her if it was part of the plan for Snow White to meet the teacher at Friday’s meeting and she said “Yes.” I explained the phone call from the DSE and the Principal said “I don’t know why she would say that? Of course the teacher will be there. That was the plan we agreed on.” I asked her if she spoke with the DSE and she said she had. The Principal asked me why I thought the DSE would say such a thing and I told her that woman lied in the meeting, she lied about the previous meeting and what was promised as well. I said “If I never see that woman again I wont be disappointed but if she has to be in the meetings I do NOT want to sit next to her! I cannot stand that she lies and right to my face!” I also told her that from now on I WILL bring a Recorder to every meeting and Record every meeting so I don’t Make Up Stuff’!

I met with Snow White’s lawyer Friday for an hour just before the meeting with the school. I told him everything that happened and he asked me over and over again if the Superintended of the schools was really there. I told him the name but he said I must have got it wrong so I described her to him. Then he laughed! The woman in the school meeting had long beautiful braids of silver and black, I told him she was very strong and verbally to the point. He looked at me quizzically so I added she is African American. I thought he was questioning the braids but he knew the Superintended had very short red hair, when I said she was African American he knew I was not introduced to the Superintendent of schools as the Superintendent is very fair skinned, actually lighter than me and I actually reflect camera flashes. Another couple I know in the area pointed out the Superintendent in this years school calendar and it was NOT the woman introduced to me in the meeting. I am ashamed that I did not know who was who in the meeting. I have now made it a point to know the names of the school board and all educational supervisors. I have no bias towards race, color, creed or religion. I was made a fool because I didn’t know the difference between who was Superintendent and who was pretending. A very fair skinned, short haired, red head and an African American with braids half way down her back is a very big difference in who I would later describe as the person who was in the meeting. How could the school hearing go well if I described the woman who was in the school meeting as the Superintendent of schools? The woman in the meeting is part of the school and I pointed her out in the school calendar to my lawyer. This is a point that will be addressed in the hearing. Thank goodness someone thought to ask me!!! I will pay more attention to who is who in the meetings I attend now, rather than just believe what I am told by the school.

In the meeting with the lawyer he asked me about the Dr.’s recommendation and I told him what she said “it would be detrimental to Snow White if she were held back. There is no academic reasons to hold her back. If she is held back she will shut down in school and then shut down in her outside interests.” I explained that she faxed a letter in that regard to the school already. He called the Dr. and had me speak to them requesting a copy be faxed to his office and it was sent post haste. He gave me a letter and a copy for myself to deliver to the school at the beginning of the meeting that day.

The letter stated 10 ways the school violated Snow White’s rights and the recommendation of the school certified Dr. stated in the enclosed letter the school had already received stated it would be detrimental to retain Snow White. It also stated that if the school did not promote Snow White to the 5th grade proper legal action will be filled that following Monday, the day school started. I handed that letter to the Principal as soon as I arrived at the meeting. She faxed it to the real Superintendent of schools and waited to hear from her before starting the meeting. Then it was unanimous in the schools eyes that they were not in the wrong as the testing now states that Snow White is not really a Chapter 15 or covered under the disabilities act.

I told them this from the beginning but they pursued it and pursued it. They badgered me in every way possible. What they did to my daughter is unforgivable and must be undone! They tried and tried to paint her into a little box of what they needed funding for! There are so many children out there that actually NEED this funding like my Niece! My Brother and Sister-In-Law fight month to month for my niece to have appropriate services.

Back to the meeting on that Friday, the Teacher did show up but she was late due a friend being in a near fatal car accident. She wasn’t very late. The attendees were myself, Dr. Kelly (school psychologist),. Principal and 4th grade teacher. Snow White was in the main office waiting until we adults discussed what was expected before Snow White was to come into the room. The teacher and Dr. Kelly were given copies of the report of the Dr. and recommendations. The teacher seemed to be on board and offered up that she has many things in her classroom such as 9 lap tops. We discussed Snow White’s interests and how she could incorporate them in the classroom. Since an AlphaSmart or computer was one of the recommendations she saw no problem with Snow White using one of the in class computers. There were so many things this one 4th grade teacher said was at her disposal I wondered why these things were not available to Snow White when the School thought she needed them but now want to implement them.

At the end of the meeting it was agreed that by the end of the first week of school there would be another meeting to redo the 504 Plan and Chapter 15. By the end of the third week I had not heard anything from the lawyer or the school. I did receive a flyer in Snow White’s folder saying Mrs. Dunn, the original school Occupational Therapist, would be in Snow White’s classroom. A week later I emailed her requesting a meeting. Within two days she agreed to meet with me. I received an email that Friday stating she would meet with me and I immediately agreed. My boss understood only half of what has happened over the past year so he gave permission for me to take leave early that day. What really prompted this meeting was the fact that I allowed myself to believe the school would do as they promised. They said they would abide by the recommendations of the Dr. One recommendation was that Snow White be allowed to use the computer rather than write out assignments and tests. I received an email from the teacher asking my permission for Snow White to use the computer for her assessment next week. I thought they were already giving her instructions and she was using the computer. My mistake for trusting them to do what they said they would. Snow White had not used a computer nor told she was allowed to use it after three weeks of school. She was told that only 7 students per week were in the computer group and only then could they use the game disks in their free time.

Oh, the outcome of the testing over the summer was - Snow White can use both hands for everything, holds her pencil in her right hand like a lefty which results in major criss-cross firing of the brain to manipulate a pencil….meaning it does take her longer to write things down. The rest of the testing shows that she has a major distrust of teachers and the school system as a whole.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

School EW

I didn't Die...

I fell back in to high school days (discuss later)

Fell in love at a High School Reunion...(discuss later)

I was working in Germany and then here and not a moments peace until now and now to catch up....

School starts up again before this month is up and I am calling in the LAW

The School, The Law and then there are other things that will come later. I have been working long and hard hours but in the middle comes life. I have tried to not think of these things when I had a brief moment or two of …well, time to not think of this.

Snow White and School. Oh how I hate how things have come about. Not sure why this happened but I feel that they won. They pestered me from the start. If I had ever thought the school was trying to help my daughter I would have been right beside them but they did things so very oddly.

Where did this begin? We moved to a new state after the school year had already started. My daughter disliked leaving her friends behind but loved that there was more time we could spend together. It didn’t matter what we did after school as long as we did it together. There was the normal adjustments like being the new kid in school but a few girls immediately took her under their wing. They are still friends nearly three years later.

A few months at the new school and the teacher started complaining Snow White counted in her head instead of on her fingers. This seemed silly to me but I let it go for the first few months. Finally, I caved in to the constant complaining and told Snow White to count on her fingers. Two weeks later the same teacher complained that Snow White wouldn’t stop counting on her fingers. Yes, it was now a habit. Instead of having the answers ready in her head we, yes we - the teacher and I, wiped that part out of her. No matter what we did she had to work it out physically rather than in her head. Thanks!!

Next I was requested to attend a meeting at the school. It was short but sort of absurd. The reason for the meeting was a “simple request” to teach my daughter to hold her pencil correctly. I sort of laughed when they said this required a psychological and psychiatric examination. I told them that if they wished to teach her to hold her pencil in a different fashion I would allow the “classes” but thought it was sort of an over the top request that she be evaluated on such a level just because she likes to hold her pencil at a different angle. The small group of educational staff didn’t seem too put off by my flippant regard to this issue.

The next year I received another invitation to meet with the school. This time there was a conference room full of people. This meeting was called because the other day when my daughter and her class came in from recess she walked on her tip toes to the bathroom. They started to explain to me there is a mental condition associated with the need to put pressure on the ball of one’s foot. This was a one time thing and my daughter had just played the part of “princess” in a made up play with her friends on the play ground. When I asked her about this she said “that was the day we were playing princess and I was dancing my way back from recess.”

At the time of the meeting I couldn’t believe what they were saying but I staid for the full two hour meeting and listened to what they had to say. I mentioned that she was only 8 yrs old and perhaps she was thinking she should be a ballerina. After two hours the women in the room asked me to sign a document giving my consent to them performing psychological and psychiatric testing. I actually laughed! I told them that this was not a case of her wanting to put pressure on her feet nor did one trip to the bathroom on tip toe warrant such testing. I excused myself and went back to work. I even told my co-workers about the meeting when I returned and they all laughed! They also said how grateful they were that their children are all grown up and no longer in the school system.

When I moved to this new state I couldn’t find a house I wanted to buy so I rented. Finally, I found a house I liked and we moved just a short distance. This short distance resulted in Snow White attending a new school. A few weeks after she started the new school I was asked to attend another school meeting. I found out during the meeting that this was called due to the way she held her pencil. Again they asked me to sign a paper given them permission to perform psychiatric and psychological evaluations in order to teach her to hold her pencil differently. I again declined the testing but said they could give her classes on holding her pencil since it was such a big deal to them.

Over the next few months things got ugly. Snow White was given a choice to do her work in class or give up recess. Well, actually what they said was if she didn’t do her work in class she had the option to come back and finish it or go out to recess. The first few times she went back to class but then she learned that her work was not being graded so she stopped doing the work and went to recess. She said the work was like 2nd grade and it was too boring. At this time the teacher started sending the incomplete classwork home and Snow White finished it within 15 minutes. I mentioned this in the next school meeting and the principal asked why this work couldn’t be completed during all the hours of school yet she would turn it in the next day. When Snow White was brought in to the meeting the principal asked her where she did her home work “dinning room“. Where was Mom, “down stairs working.” What do you do when you can’t figure out the answers? “Move on then take all the questions to Mom so she can tell me how to work it out.” Shortly after this meeting the teacher stopped sending the incomplete work home.

I asked the teacher if the work was now completed in the classroom and she said it was not. I told her to keep Snow White in at recess but she said that was not affective as they were giving her the choice but she always chose recess. In my house you do as you are told. I told Snow White if she didn’t complete her work in class she would have to stay in at recess. She said “The teacher says I don’t have to so I go. It’s more fun.” I talked with the teacher again but she again insisted it is up to the child. I told her that my daughter is a child and her education is not up to her.

Then there was a new development at school…rocking. The teacher mimicked it in a meeting. When I was asked what I thought the first thing that came to mind was “do you need to use the bathroom?” I know when the bathroom breaks are at school and yes, sometimes Snow White needs to use the facilities but waits for that time. I told her she can get a pass but she said a few times the teacher said “in a few minutes.” Snow White said “Mom, do you know how embarrassing it is to have to ask in front of the whole class to pee??!” This resulted in a bouncing ball to wait it out. Unfortunately, this bouncing ball is on the chair all day long. This leads to bouncing and rocking through out the day. This also leads to a new “issue” to discuss at the next school meeting.

I cannot tell you how many times a few of the women at these meetings told me “If you Loved your child” or “If you cared anything about your daughter” or “If you were a good mother…you would sign the papers allowing us to do the psychological and psychiatric testing.” One time I actually talked back to them and said “Did you Just call me a Bad Mother?!” The immediate response was “No, not at all. It wont harm anything so why not just sign the papers?”

The state testing was coming up and therefore another meeting was held at the school. “If your daughter does not pass the state testing we will not pass her to the next grade.” This was also said to my daughter when she was brought into the meeting. She said in sort of an apologetic voice with her head down “I don’t have a problem passing tests. I did less third grade and still passed the state testing and all my classes. I will pass the tests.” After this meeting she hugged my waist all the way to the car. Before we reached the car she was crying and said “I don’t know why all this is a big deal. Homework is for those who don’t get it in class. How do you not get it? You know it or you don’t and I always pass the tests.” When we were in the car I told her it isn’t all about the tests but doing the work in class to prove it to the teacher. She kicked the seat in front of her and said “But the teacher said I don’t have to do it. I can do what I want in class and then go to recess.”

One day while at work I received a phone call from our family doctor’s office. “We need you to bring Snow White in for a check up.” When I asked why they said they received a notification from the school that concerned them. I promptly agreed to have the appointment ASAP which was during that same week. The doctor met with us and she did examine Snow White. Then she told me something that unsettled me. “You must have the testing done but have it done privately. Do Not let the school to the testing. You will be giving up much of your rights as a parent if you allow them to do the testing. I will give you a list of names. You must have her tested or they will do the testing themselves. If you do not have her tested yourself then I have to tell them. In order for you to get a referral I need to write down something for them to test her on so I am writing down ODD.” She explained that ODD was an oppositional disorder usually seen in teenagers who do not like authority. “The school is coming after you and you need a lawyer. Don’t take this lightly. I don’t see what they see but they are already taking their statements outside of the school now.” She was so sympathetic and a bit more afraid for us that I was at the time that it really hit home. We were really in for a fight and she had seen this before.

I took her advise to heart but forgot to get a copy of the letter that was faxed to the Dr. office from the school. Since my work was right next door to the school I dropped by on my lunch hour to get a copy and the school pretended not to know anything about the faxed letter. I was so upset about being lied to my face that I took a little extra time during my lunch and went to the Dr. office who produced the three page fax. I cried after I read the fax. No wonder they wanted to see Snow White immediately. It was horrible and so not true. Ok, when I say horrible it didn’t say she was abused but it said things like she was hallucinating, always in her own world, doesn’t make friends and so many other things that I was just shocked! They made her sound like she just sits in her own drool puddle at school.

How could they send such a thing to anyone? How could they send out anything to anyone without letting me know or at the very least sending me a copy as well? It wasn’t an abuse letter it was a circle the answer questionnaire with no possible good answers. If there was abuse I believe the school has the right to take maters in to their own hands but not to spread obscure lies. What questionnaire has an answer that is either always or never? Why would those be the only choices? Have you ever been scared? Have you ever been sad? How can you answer that as never or always? We had a death in our family and yes we were sad? Is the child defiant? Yes, she did not do her work after we told her she could do it now or at recess but there was no room for explanation. Is hygiene an issue? Once and only once the teacher thought Snow White smelled and might have had an “accident” and asked me to bring a change of clothes to school. I came to the school but Snow White did not have an accident and the teacher said it must have been an off day for her nose as she didn’t smell it any more.

The next school meeting was just over a month before school let out. The state testing was over and Snow White completely gave up doing most of her in class work. When she did turn it in it wasn’t graded, only stamped by a fellow student who came around to see that it was done. This was the way it was done all during the school year so why did it bother her now? It bothered her because “it wouldn’t matter if I wrote down Yankee doodle dandy to a math question.”

So on to the meeting, I was told to sign the papers to do the testings or they would hold my daughter back in the 4th grade. I was faced with signing the papers “or else.” That was it. Ok, that wasn’t just it. I stated that I had already contacted my insurance company and would have Snow White tested outside of the school. This lead to one of the 10 women standing up, pounding her fists on the table and screaming at me in words I could barely make out. Why would this decision make her so angry? They wanted my daughter tested and I agreed. I just didn’t agree to let the school do it.

When the angry woman settled down the principal excused herself from the meeting. A woman sitting to my right handed me a packet then said “ I observed your daughter today in class and this is my report.” I looked across the table at the teacher quizzically since we both knew my daughter was not in school that day, she was home with her brother with a fever and vomiting. The teacher said nothing and just looked down in her lap. She had sent me an email prior to the meeting saying things that lead me to retain a lawyer. I thought it was odd that this state has so many problems with the schools that there is a specific division of lawyers dedicated to school issues.

I looked over the report while the woman next to me explained that out sourcing the testing does not mean they would even consider the results of those test. She also pointed out that each of the tests cost anywhere from $1,700 - $2,000. “Why put yourself through that expense when we can do it for Free?” I told them I was instructed to do so and I was following through on that. I did not tell them I had a lawyer. I didn’t want them to know yet. My lawyer said that once the school knew I had a lawyer they would postpone the meeting until the next school year, hold my daughter back a grade and then make a plea to the magistrate to wave parental consent for the tests.

This same woman sitting to my right also explained “Half the time these out side sources spell the child’s name wrong so we really don’t have proof they did the testing on the right child!” Just after she said this I circled ALL the times SHE misspelled my daughter’s name AND the DATE. Then I turned it and pushed it towards her so she could see it better. She said something snide to me and the teacher spoke up “Why does it mater if she is taking the option to out source the testing? She has that right, that option.” The room went silent.

A few moments later the “papers” were passed down to me again and all eyes were on me. They were a different color this time but requesting the same permission. I pushed them to the middle of the table and again said, “I am opting to have the testing done elsewhere.” Another woman said that if I signed the papers today they would allow my daughter to pass to the next grade. I was starting to cave and asked what time frame the testing would take place? I was told it would be made a priority in the first few weeks of the new school year then it would take a few more weeks (6) to evaluate. After this recommendations and other meetings would take place. I would have no say so, I would have to do what was directed as would the school.

At this point I was near tears but I wouldn’t show them there. I either had to sign the papers or my daughter would not pass. If I only signed the papers she would pass. They said if she passed the state testing she would pass but my lawyer explained to me that they wont have that information until August and school lets out in June so that was an empty promise to my daughter.

I finally came to a point in this meeting that I wanted to know all the options. So, if I signed the papers she would pass to the next grade, go through testing, I would have to abide by the interpretation and results as the school saw fit and not have any say so or disagree with anything they decide. I decided to hold my ground and say that the testing will be done out side of school. Testing because of how a child holds a pencil? How a child walks to the bathroom once? How a child bounces on a ball on their chair? That the school was treating me with not passing my child on to the next grade based on my signing these papers?

I said that I would have Snow White tested and I meant it. I would have it done over the summer vacation which would give “us” as a whole a jump on things rather than waiting until after the school year started. They told me that if I did it on my own they would hold Snow White back in the 4th grade and let her peers go on to the 5th grade while they sorted out the details of the testing. This makes no sense to me. How can they pass her on if I sign the papers and let them take longer to do the testing? Wasn’t it the whole point that I have her tested as they wanted? Wouldn’t that be the same? Why do they think it is not the same? It would be done sooner rather than later and Snow White could still enter the 5th grade.

Three of the women in the meeting were very angry with me through out the whole thing. I was glad when it was over. It was too intense and I was trying to be very cool and collected. The next week I met again with my lawyer. I have to rephrase that, he is Snow White’s lawyer and stated so in our first meeting. “You may be the one paying me but my interest is in what is best for your daughter. If the testing comes back that your daughter needs special attention at school or to be medicated I will be her representative, not yours. If we do not agree that I am to represent your daughter’s best interest then we can part ways at any time.” I was really touched by this and I showed him all the documentation I had.

He also noticed that Snow White’s grades were always good and that she had passed the last year’s state testing on grade and above. He was really interested in the interim report that was altered with whiteout. I so wish I could find that original document!! I sent a copy back to the school so I could keep the original. I still cannot find the original. I kept it at my desk at work for a few weeks. I am afraid that I folded it in an old document no longer needed and put it in the recycling bin. If I brought it home and find it, it would be of great use to show the school has altered documents to their benefit. At the time I received it I was suspicious about the white outs but didn’t think it was a document the school had to obtain the original of through out the year.

Along with that the lawyer said that since the school has been asking for parental permission for so long it is not likely they will receive it through the school judicial system. If the school thought this was such an emergency they would have pursued a judicial interaction before hand. He stated that the judge would also take in to consideration that Snow White has already taken the testing at great expense to the parent. The judge will question why the parent took on the expense and he has a ready answer that the school changed their reasons for the testing over and over again over the years she has attended the public schools here in this state.

At my 4th of July picnic I asked parents if they had received their child’s report cards. All answered that they had received them last month. When I said that I had not yet received Snow White’s the unanimous reply was “they are waiting to CTOAs (Cover Their Own A**s). Last week I finally decided to call the school and told them that I have not yet received a copy of my daughter’s report card.

I had received Snow White’s State Testing Report two weeks ago. She scored Proficient in Math and Advanced in Reading, Comprehension, and Spelling. She was only 3 points below Advanced for Math and 3 points from a perfect score for RCS. This past Monday I finally received Snow White’s Report Card. She is in the 4th grade and yet she was scored BB (Below Basic) for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Fractions, Time. My daughter knows her mathematics and knew how to do fractions before the school started to teach her. She scored well enough at the end of the school year to receive a score of Proficient from the state testing but yet the school says she has BB rating? Snow White has a great passion for reading but finds the books in school very dull, “Who wants to read a book with the words half as tall as a normal paragraph and about a poor dog who looses a leg then gets better? That stage of books Mom, they always get better and there is no after story. It isn’t a real chapter book story.” I flipped through a few of the books offered in the library box in her room and found they were very 2nd grade material. No wonder she cannot stand the material. Also, her room is not allowed anything but the library box to read from. No wonder she is put off by reading now. She loved reading before but almost stopped all together when it became an assignment to right down what you were reading and how far you got. She finished books before and Chapter Book

On the news in either York or Lancaster there was a young boy who had two breast removals due to the medications that the school said he must be on or he would not be allowed to attend school. If the mother did not admister the drug at home and provide the school with the drug then he was not allowed to attend school. It was a behavior medication prescribed after the school testing. This poor innocent child had to indure breast removal surgery but the school was not held accountable. The mother was told to contact the pharmasitical company. Yet, if she had not given him the prescribed medication her son would not be allowed in school and she would have gone to jail. What really took me by surprise is that no one thought to hold the school who diagnosed and demanded the prescription be held accountable.

Before learning the cost and the way the school goes about testing I would not have thought this family wouldn't know the end cost. I am so sorry for what they have been through. I also do not believe this starts with the company who supplies the medication but those who started the process and went through with it. Starting with the school.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Guess where I have been?

Yes, I have been VERY busy but look Where I was busy. Can you guess where?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Poor Customer Service = Missed Sales at Christmas and Year End by Zales "The Diamond Store"

Dear Zales,

I am writing you to say I am upset with the complete lack of courtesy or customer service that I have received on my last two visits to your stores. I was treated as if I were an idiot and on top of that I was called a liar by your sales associates.

Over the past year I have made several purchases at the Zales in the WC Mall in my town. I purchased jewelry at this Zales for my mother, all three of my past mother-in-laws, all of my nieces, my sister, sister-in-law, my own children and on several occasions I have made impulse purchases for myself. In May alone I purchased my children’s birthday presents, my nieces birthday presents, graduation gifts and a few Mother’s Day gifts.

On August 15, 2008 I went to Zales to purchase a watch battery. When I returned to the store after a shopping excursion around the mall I decided on impulse to also purchase a ring. The young redheaded girl behind the counter (maybe 16 years old) was extremely helpful, very cheerful and in training. A heavy set woman with blonde hair was doing paper work near the back of the store. She stopped what she was doing to show the young trainee how to ring up the watch battery, the ring and print out my warranty.

In October one of the small stones surrounding the large stone of my impulse buy - fell out. I was in the GM Mall in my town and thought since I was shopping there that day I would drop off the ring to be repaired. The sales associates laughed at me! They said I did not buy this ring at their store and I was not in their system so I couldn’t possibly have purchased this ring at any Zales.

I was irritated by the treatment I received from the sales associates at the GM Mall but figured I would just take the ring back to the Zales I purchased the ring at the WC Mall the next day. I dropped the ring off without issue. Since I would be without my big ring for a week or more I decided at the last minute to purchase another ring to wear in the mean time. I enjoy new things.

On December 9th I received a post card stating that my ring was repaired and ready to be picked up. I called the store the morning of December 10th to make sure it was ready since I planned on stopping by during a lunch hour shopping trip to the mall. What should have been a 5 minute transaction turned into an hour long ordeal.

When I arrived at the store I gave the sales associate the post card I received in the mail and told her I was there to pick up my ring. I also gave her the ring I bought on the same day I dropped the other off since it required the main center stone to be tightened as it was actually jiggling and making a clicking noise when I moved my hand. She pulled out a small yellow envelope then asked how I wanted to pay for the repair for the first ring? I was surprised since I was told the warranty would cover the repair when I dropped it off. I explained to the blonde associate that the ring was covered under warranty. I was laughed at by your sales associate who also sarcastically told me “Not only did you Not purchase a warranty for this ring but you did Not purchase This Ring at This Store or any Zales. If you Had you would be in our system.”

I explained every detail of my purchase as mentioned above and showed her which case and shelf the ring was in when I purchased it. She still insisted that I did not purchase the ring from any Zales let alone the one I was standing in. I was getting extremely irritated at this point. She asked me for my home phone number, cell phone number, my past address, current address, how to spell my first name, how to spell my last name, was I Sure it was a Zales store and not some Other store in the mall. To which I said to her “Did you Just call me an Idiot? I know which case and shelf the ring was in when I purchased it and every detail of the transaction! Not only have you Not found this sales transaction you Only seem to have Two sales with my information” At this point other customers started to leave the store.

Since there was only 5 minutes left of my lunch hour I said “Fine, I will pay for the repair which is more than the cost of the warranty just so I can get out of here and get back to work. I Will return later With my paperwork and I will expect an Apology AND a Refund!” The sales associate Laughed at me and said “You could save yourself a little money later on if I actually purchased a warranty on the ring today.” I was so angry I couldn’t speak! I had already purchased the warranty and she was still insisting that I purchase it Again! The sales associate said “Fine when she took my credit card to process the purchase.” After ringing it up she gave me my ring. While I looked at my ring I noticed one of the stones on the side of the band was PINK not Clear!

It wasn’t even the stone that was to be replaced! I questioned this and the sales associate obviously had enough of me so she passed my ring to a younger associate and said “Walk this customer out of the store and keep hold of this ring while she looks through the loop in a different light.” This was My ring and I had already paid for the repair. Why on earth would she need someone from the store to hold on to My ring?

After stepping a two feet out of the store the young sales associate and I both saw there was some sort of red either in or under the stone that looked pink. The young sales associate showed the ring to the blonde associate who had been very rude to me the whole time and mentioned the red coloring. The blonde associate cupped her hand over the young associates ear and whispered something to her. Then the blonde associate said to me in a very irritated voice “Instead of repairing your Other ring we are going to give you a New ring exactly the same and write up your other ring as damaged merchandise. Our manager will be here on Thursday IF you want to pursue this matter further. That is all, no need to do anything else today.” She was so over me being there. She was trying to help another customer while I was talking to her but she shooed me away. I took the new ring and my repaired ring and left stomping mad.

After work I went home, took the original receipt and warranty out of my jewelry box and stomped my high heels through the mall over to the Zales store. As I entered the Zales store the blonde associate was still there and talking to a family. I walked up and said nothing, just stood there for maybe a few seconds. She turned around, smiled and with the fakest cheer said “Hi, how Are you?” I told her “I do Not appreciate being called a Liar, treated like and Idiot or asking to pay for a warranty I had already purchased.” The family she was talking to left the store immediately and she said while smirking “I never called you an idiot or a liar.” She started to walk away and blow me off when I pulled a very familiar looking black flyer in a clear envelope out of my purse. The associate didn’t even blink when she turned on the Charm routine. She never apologized but did credit my card in the same amount that was charge to me during my lunch hour for the repair.

While reviewing my original receipt and warranty she noticed the number or something that indicates who rung up the transaction. Apparently it was a trainee who had only been on the job for two or three days. She called her off her break and reprimanded her in front of me for ringing it up as a cash sale and explained that was the reason my name and information did not come up on their computers. I told the blonde sales associate that I already knew the person who assisted me in the purchase was in training and told the young girl it was Not her fault since the heavy set blonde (a different blonde) rung up the transaction as part of her training. Now I am thinking the rude blonde associate not only lacks customer service skills but also the skills to work as a team player nor would she be someone I would want as a co-worker. I am not saying this to have her fired but maybe she needs some training in the proper ways of business.

After hearing that the sale of this ring was rung up incorrectly and the fact that only Two of my sales actually showed up in the Zales Database at ONLY the store of purchase I asked about the many, many other sales transactions I had made during this year. What if my relatives dropped off something for repair or to resize a ring I purchased for them? I gave them the warranties but what if they had the same problem I did? It would seem like I gave them a fake warranty! That was unacceptable to me!

The blonde associate explained to me that no matter what the warranty number would be available on all purchased warranties and would come up on their database. I was confused since I did purchase a warranty on every piece of jewelry I purchase be it from Zales or another jeweler. How is it that my name, phone numbers, address and all other information is printed out on my warranties but it does not exist in your databases for the many, many purchases I have made this year?!

The blonde sales associate said that every warranty is stored in the database and to complete the database for all of my transactions I would need to bring in every sales receipt and every warranty I have purchased over the past year. Do you Know how Embarrassing that will be for me to ask nearly every member of my family to hand over their warranties because the jewelry store I purchased their many gifts from doesn’t have any record of the sale or warranty??? That makes me look extremely cheap, that I did not care where I purchased their gifts from or at the very least that the company I selected to purchase from might or might not have the information in the system when they Need a service from the warranty! That same company might or might not honnor the warranty or worse ask for money on top of the warranty!

Before I left the blonde sales associate said “If you are still thinking of telling the store manager about this whole thing don’t worry about it. I will fill him in on everything.” The way she said it I just knew she would only cover her own butt and not explain the whole ordeal.

When I returned to work from my lunch hour to pick up my repaired ring I was Very upset and told every co-worker about it! I told my family and my out of state and out of country friends about it! I was Very upset! I told them the next day what had happened that night when I returned with my paper work and how I never received an apology after showing Proof that I Did Purchase the ring from that very store AND the Warranty! I was still upset about it Today when another co-worker whom I only see from time to time mentioned how Customer Service has gone down hill. I explained my whole ordeal with your store to her. She was appalled and said she would have contacted corporate about the situation and that I was nicer than I should have been!

For those of my friends who were at ITS the first ring I dropped off was the big ring I wore at ITS. The second ring I dropped off for repair was the one I bought to wear at the Happy Hour on Black Friday.

I refused to purchase ANY of my Christmas gifts from Zales Jewelers as a result of this mess! I took my business to the other jewelers in the same mall who didn't have the attitude problem.

Monday, November 24, 2008

High School Reunions, New Love and Then Some...

So much has gone on since I last posted. Drama…not like the high school drama, just parenting in the “other country” as my children and others have now named our new “State”. Try as we might to adapt to this new State after all this time, well, it just isn’t like “home“, yet.

I am finally in ONE house, the New house!

I went to another Get Together with friends from my past.

I met a Blast from the Past!! It was Fab…U..Lous!! The kind of fab-u-lous that makes your knees week and your pulse quicken when you brush hands at the table. Then holding hands while walking through the leaves at a state park which was once your stomping grounds.

Oh wait! I didn’t tell you about the first Get Together with my friends! There was Drama but I will get to that later. Things started out slow and awkward. The hotel Hampton Inn, didn’t have my reservation when I checked in. The girl behind the desk actually said “Are you sure you have the right hotel?” I spent 2 hours on the phone with them booking a suite for my friends and a room for myself. My response to her sarcastic, overworked and underpaid, remark …”Did you JUST call me Stupid?!” She and the other girls at the front desk all took a few jaw dropping steps backwards. Stuttering she said “Um-a-um-a-na, No.” They eventually found my reservation. After two hours on the phone with reservations to figure out how to book two rooms at once, they still messed it up by booking the suite for two nights and my room, the person paying for it all, for the wrong night! The front desk corrected the situation making my room for two nights and the suite for one night. Why didn’t the suite come up when I checked in? It would have been fine if I staid in the suit the first night but even that didn’t come up when I checked in.

I was finally checked in and on my way to my room. Oh my room preference is away from the elevators but I gave up on them fixing that. Then I went to check my wireless internet access and that wasn’t working. “We can send our maintenance man up in 20 minutes but it might be longer.” Oh joy! For some reason I thought it would work when I checked in and I let everyone know I would check my email and websites when I arrived.

Oh well, there is the bar down stairs where our day long party will end the evening. I was really surprised at a few things. Most of the people were 20 years older than me. There was a little glimmer of hope that not everyone who came here was in their 60s. I did promise something about an 80s night of music. Well, this woman passed by in a really short denim skirt, she was actually stick thin, blonde curls down to her waist. I was finally feeling optimistic that the under 60s crowd did still come to this place to dance! Then “She” turned around. The face that turned around was that of a 60 + woman! It would not have shocked me if she had not been wearing that micro jean mini skirt. It just seems so WRONG to be that age and have that face when you wear an outfit like that! Up until then I didn’t understand why the 30 + set (like myself) shouldn’t wear a plaid school girls mini skirt. I put my mini kilt in a box when I got home! It just isn’t right! Even a woman can see that! I can still fit the mini kilt I wore in high school but after what I saw, I wont do that again!

Since everyone down in the bar and dance floor was well over my age category I decided to give my in room internet another try. There were a few emails and website updates. Nothing major so I decided to venture out for a bite to eat. I. Got. Lost! In my own hometown! Too many new roads and new turns off the old roads. I couldn’t even figure out where to park for downtown dining! Roads were already being closed off for the festival.

I called my friend Rick to see if he had any suggestions and I was freaking out a bit about getting lost. He had been back a few times so maybe he would have some idea of what to do. He was helpful but then I saw something shiny! “Heather, are you still driving? You seem distracted.” “Um, I am in a store. Okay, I saw something in a window and I had to go in. I am a girl ya know. Looking for the perfect outfit. Hey! I did pass by three shoe stores before I actually stopped.” He laughed at me but staid on the phone while I told him about the different outfits I saw and how disappointed I was when I was actually in the store. Eventually I went back to my van and drove around. I had to say goodbye to Rick so he could get ready for traveling and I could find a place to eat. He did laugh more at my “what way does this street go!! I am on the high way again!! How do I get back?!” I gave up finding a fancy restaurant but wouldn’t give in to fast food that would make me feel like I ate rocks. I settled on Cracker Barrel. It was near the hotel and I wouldn’t get lost downtown or end up back on the highway again. Message to Cracker Barrel…if someone orders food to go, don’t just give them the covered dish…give them plastic ware!!! I was taking my food to go and didn’t realize there was no napkin, no fork and no knife, not even a butter knife or a spoon!! Thanks for the Salt and Pepper though! Thank goodness I remembered the suit case I used was previously a pageant suit case (much like a Girl Scout kit-be prepared) still loaded with the basic essentials like one set of plastic ware! The Cracker Barrel didn’t even give me one napkin so I used a tissue from the room. Tip, pot roast might require Utensils!

The internet wasn’t working when I returned to my room so I called a friend who walked me through the process. Yeah! I didn’t have to wait for the maintenance man to fix the internet. He did come by later to offer me a port-a-crib. I was in a room by myself. I did hear a baby crying on our floor so I cheerfully told him he might have the wrong room. While he was at my room I did mention the dripping noise in the bathroom and he said that would be fixed in time. I thought it would be fixed during the time I was there.

Around 4 am the dripping noise and my excitement about the next days events, the reunion with so many friends...I fell asleep.

Then I woke up every half hour. I was excited about the next day!! After the first hour I was no longer amused by the sound and vibration of the elevator. Oh well, at least it distracted me from the sound of the dripping faucet in the bathroom. Around 8 am I was so tired the sounds outside the room didn't bother me. I was tired by morning and the internet stopped working so I couldn't check my emails. I gave up, gave in and went to in to town.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Back To High School - Oh the Drama and High School Guys

Ok, I have been extremely busy. Soooo much to tell you but I need to take a chill pill so I don’t try to do it all in one post. It would just be way too confusing.

I still need to put off the continuation of “Crazy For You” since I haven’t seen Chris yet. We might catch up with each other next month.

So far there was the Get Together with friends back in my home town. This started out as a request to meet up with all the Angels but grew to a much larger group. At first I didn’t think too many people would be interested in coming to see me. Why would they? I thought of myself as an average girl in high school and didn’t think I was all that special so, aside from my best friends maybe a handful of people would come. The numbers grew and grew based on word of mouth at lunches and other such things like friends saying to post on a website that I am coming to town and let’s All get together.

Strolling down memory lane has so many ups. You remember all the great times and forget about all the real chaos behind the scenes. Between the time I announced that I would be back in my hometown and the date of the Festival there was so much drama I was going to back out. When I was “wishing for the good ole days” I forgot to wish for everything but nail-biting-what-the-heck-afraid-to-sleep-cold-sweat-drama. There was huge jealousy spiraling out of control for no reason at all. Girls fighting over men, via emails and online commentary and even a few of those late night phone calls between friends “guess who has a crush on so and so?” and “Can you believe he/she is talking to him/her and not me right at this moment?”

At first I thought this next issue would have been a pleasant surprise but it actually scared me a bit. About 95% of the guys who RSVPed or contacted me after hearing I was coming back…well, they felt the need to confess exactly how much they liked me back in the day. A few actually scared me into blocking any way they could contact me. I was greatly surprised by the number of admissions to having a huge crush on me. I would have to say 98% of those crushes I had absolutely no clue about back then or the select few I had spoken with after high school.

Oh and another really funny thing was a few guys who said they remembered me actually didn’t remember me by name but as soon as they looked me up in the year book suddenly remembered they had great amorous intentions towards me. I did test them a little by asking when and where they saw me in school , who I hung out with most and what my usual attire was since I was a bit out of the norm.

Apparently at Players I was a bit consumed in my own little world of worry and wonder. Several guys said they went to Players but I couldn’t even imagine them at that place. Then there were a few that I suddenly recalled actually dancing with at Players. So not like me to dance with them since they went to my school and were not part of my guy pal group. But, I did dance with them because they asked and I knew they wouldn’t have wondering hands. There were actually a few guys who said they wanted to come to the Get Together but didn’t trust themselves to behave well. They remembered I had rules and I would be greatly offended if they crossed any of my lines. Those few decided it was better to email rather than see me in person.

A few more guys were concerned about how much their looks had changed since high school. I thought that was funny since I had no intentions to make any romantic connections. I just wanted to see everyone, stroll down memory lane a bit and catch up on what they have been up to over the years since I last saw them. This last set of guys were part of the group I had not seen since high school. Don’t they realize most of us have changed in our physical appearance since high school? I even told them over and over again I was no longer a size 2 and 98 lbs. At the Get Together and before hand the women all seemed to be concerned with who was thinner than they were (I admit it was something I thought about a few days before going) and the guys were concerned with their hair or lack of hair. Many of the guys are now bald and I would have never considered that a good look on any guy before but I now have a new appreciation for baldness. The bald or hair thinning guys had me doing a double take look and I almost gave myself whiplash. Maybe it was the smile on their faces but my goodness I never thought I would like that sort of look. Any guy considering not going to a reunion of any type based on his lack of hair should really reconsider and get himself to that reunion.

There was one guy (Phil) who couldn’t seem to wait for the Get Together. He traveled to my state to see me. It was the cutest thing!! He brought his old letterman leather sleeved jacket for me to wear with all his pins but something was going on with the leather sleeves. They were sticky to the touch and seemed to be decomposing in some sort of weird way. Still, he brought it to show me he intending letting me wear it on our “date”. That wasn’t the cutest part. Since we went to the same school it was against my “rules” to date him and he never mustered up the guts to ask me out. Well, he went through his old boxes and dug up his class ring which he placed on my finger at the start of the date and asked me to “go steady.” He was even shaking and a bit nervous just like the guys were back in high school when they asked. Is that like the cutest reunion thing you have ever heard? It is the cutest I have ever heard! Ok, so it was really stepping back in time but such a sweet gesture!

There is so much more to tell but it will have to wait until later. I am STILL moving items from the old house to the new house. I think one more (it’s always one more) loaded truck will do the trick. Well, it did take two moving companies to move me to my new state. I should have remembered that. I do have my New Year’s resolution…to unpack the boxes in the newly dubbed “Box Room” unpacked or in the proper place (seasonal, craft and such doesn’t need unpacking) by New Years Day 2010. Also, I will have at least ONE thing hung on a wall (picture, ornamental item or something) by New Years Day. I really do hate patching holes in the wall if I don’t like it at first try.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Short on Time so ... Picture Book of What I Have Been Up To

Went to work one day and guess who was there?

Went out with friends to celebrate closing on the new house. No, I wasn't in trouble. See those smiling faces?

The "New" house has this...What? No, it's not that kind of bar. It is a 1950's Soda Fountain! I mentioned this to my Girl Scouts and they all want to have a sleepover at my house.

Oh, and what is this? Starting from left to right: wood stove, indoor grill and gas stove. All of this is in the same room as the Soda Fountain.

This was me mid June this year

This was me September 4th with a Secret Service Man (yes, really).

Me on September 15th (sucking in my tummy as if my life depended on it)

Me on September 28th, not sucking in my tummy. This was taken after being in the office for 10 hours then coming home to pack up boxes for the move and three nights of 2 hrs of sleep each. This photo was taken at around midnight by my son who snook up behind me and surprised me! I know my make up really should have been take off by then and eww but look at the rest of me! I went from a size 16 to an 8!

Did I starve myself? Did I join a gym and work out like crazy while starving myself? No, I bought a Ramones CD and started dancing around the house while doing house work, helping Snow White with homework and packing. Just moving around (dancing around) after work every day for an hour.

Went back to my "hometown" during a festival and to see many wonderful friends.

Played Tourist and took 364 photos in my hometown but my blog wont hold them all. Might post more later.