Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How I spent my Saturday…

It seems that in the great state of Missouri we have had exactly 3 nice Saturday's since before Christmas. I've had to spend all 3 of them in Springfield. One was totally by my choice and I enjoyed it immensely, the second one was the week before Cade's birthday so it was a necessity and the third one was this past weekend. I spent a large chunk of my day helping at the district ag contests at MSU. Not necessarily by my choice, but I was asked to help. The person in charge of arranging the contests called our office to see if he could get some help. Since we are "the premier lender in agriculture financing" we are called on to help with a lot of different ag things. And since Jay and I personally know this guy, I think he knows it would he hard for me to turn him down. And I also know that I am the only one in our 3 man office who would understand the importance of Saturday so I agreed. The helping part isn't what's bad….it's the other stuff that stresses me with these contests.

Being at an ag contest is one of those things you can't comprehend until you experience it. Most would probably think what is the big deal? If you say that you obviously have never witnessed what goes on…and you sure aren't married to an ag teacher! This is the pinnacle of their whole year – this is a very large part of what they focus on…pretty much all the time. Even being in the middle of the 2011 contests Jay could tell you who he is going to have on the 2012 mechanics team. It is crazy. And since we are lucky enough to live in the most competitive area of the whole state, district contest seems to be more stressful than even the state contest. If you can get a team to state from the Southwest area, chances are you will do pretty well in the state contests.

So Saturday I got roped into looking at resumes, cover letters and job applications for the Job Interview contest. It really isn't bad – and as long as I'm not judging any form of public speaking I'm good. I happily sat in the MSU Ag office looking through papers. It was amazing the number of people who came in the office and thought I'd know something….where is the guy running the scantron machine? Where do the speakers need to be? Can I use that tape? Do you have a sharpie? There was probably one ticked off secretary Monday morning when she came to work and her supplies were missing. Most of the time I stopped the people before they even asked – I know nothing! I'm just here looking at papers. They would all look so disappointed as they walked away.

Actually, when I sent the people away without answering their questions I felt kind of bad. Again, you can not comprehend the stress in good ol' Karl's Hall until you experience it. There are kids and students lining the halls holding their breaths waiting for the results to be posted. You can cut the tension with a knife! I really hated walking to the bathrooms because 1 I would have to navigate through all the bodies and 2 the stress was very apparent on everyone's face. I can't think of anything to compare this to…those teachers faces showed more stress than any of the coaches in Saturday's Final Four games….it might compare to everyone waiting outside the courtroom while the jury deliberates on a very stressful case?

Another reason I don't care to be there is because of my husband. I firmly believe that you can have a wonderful marriage, and be best friends and all that stuff…but there are still times I don't want to be around him. An ag contest is one of those times. He is as nervous as a cat. While I and Carla (the wife of the guy who is in charge of the contests) were wrapping up the scores for the Job Interviews Jay came in the office and wanted to know what was going on. Miller didn't have a kid in this contest so he didn't do anything illegal. I told Jay we had the scores but we weren't sure what to do with it. We hadn't been told to post it yet. One thing about Jay and I you need to know – I am a rule follower. People who don't follow rules drive me nuts. Jay sees rules more as guidelines. This can cause conflicts between us. Jay told me to post it. Then he badgered me about who won, did so and so win , where did they place,etc. UGH!!! I was unsure because I hadn't been told to post it and Jay asking me all those questions was making me nervous and I know how serious these contests are taken. I did not want to do anything wrong. Let me tell you, Jay applied the pressure. He kept telling me we needed to post it and Carla was as unsure as I was. We did not want to mess this up. And most of the scores are posted online and we had no idea how to do it. Jay told me we needed to print it and put it on the bulletin board. He said the other teachers were asking and starting to get nervous (like it could get worse?). Finally the guy in charge walked in and gave us permission to post it. Jay walked it out to a bulletin board and put it up. It was like dropping a bread crumb in the midst of seagulls. I barely made it back before the crowd surrounded the board. Jay told me that was mild since it was a 1 person contest. He said I should see the ones where teams are involved. It's like 65 people pressing you against the bulletin board.

So Carla, Jay and I stepped back and we were saying our goodbyes. There was a shout around the corner and Jay just disappeared. I started to follow him to let him know I was going to leave. I had some serious grocery shopping to do. But I couldn't get his attention and he disappeared into one of the classrooms. I decided to just leave. I figured he'd text me later at least acknowledging the fact I had left and he'd see me later. Apparently he wasn't concerned that I had been kidnapped by aliens or something when he didn't see me again because I never got a text from him. I'm not even sure he realized I had left the campus.

The next day I was joking with him about it. I told him he just ignored me and walked away. He said but they were giving Creed results. I said I know, but you could've at least told me goodbye – I wasn't even sure you realized I had left. He said "I know, but they were giving Creed results".

Most won't get this, but maybe some other poor ag teachers' wife will read this and she will know that someone else in the world understands what she goes through every year. Carla and I had talked about it a little and she said just wait until Cade is in the contests. She said it gets worse. Then she told me she would be sure to pray for us then. And she wasn't joking!

Today is the last day of districts. Thanks goodness!

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