Autumn and the Zombie Archives

In Ohio, the autumn weather can be tricky.  Usually there are some pretty days of glorious color followed by overcast and drizzly days.  This past weekend, we were lucky enough to have one of those gorgeous fall days when I want to spin on a hilltop singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”  Wait, that is another fantasy.  I digress.  Of course, there are only a few pretty days left on the calendar, and this was one of them.

With a beautiful weekend day comes the classic question: “Mom, can we go outside and play?”

Of course, my answer is, “Yes, please, do, go, bye!”

On Saturday, the sun was shining, and I received the question I knew was first thing on their minds when they woke up that morning.

“Mom,” said Squishy, “It is nice outside! Can we go outside and play?”

“Of course you can,” I said, looking up from the waffles I was making. (Actually, Eggo made them. I put them in the toaster. For me, this is domestic bliss.)

“Well, when can we go? We have some business in the woods to take care of,” he said sounding like he was about to audition for The Sopranos.

“What ‘business’ do you have in the woods?” I asked.

“Oh, Mom, all you need to know is that it is for your protection. OK?”

“What, in fact, are you protecting me from?” I questioned him as I sprinkled cinnamon on the waffles (see, I am a domestic diva!)

Zombies are the thing.

Zombies are the thing.

“We are saving the neighborhood from the upcoming zombie attack,” he said with sheer seriousness.

I turned to him in horror thinking maybe he had seen an episode of The Walking Dead or something?!

“What would make you believe there is an upcoming zombie attack,” I asked, praying he didn’t access my Netflix account on the iPad (darn you, zombie shows that pull me in, darn you!)

“Mom, it is just a matter of time when someone makes a vaccine that will take out the human race and turn everyone into a zombie.  Seriously, you should know this. You are a teacher.  Gosh,” he stated as he rolled his eyes, disgusted with me.

Now I am wondering if he was scoping out my Kindle and came across my latest read, The Passage.  Or maybe I Am Legend.  Was there some zombie thing on TBS or something?  Darn you, TBS, darn you!

“I highly doubt that will happen, Squishy, but if it does…”

“If it does, Mom, you will probably make us have the shot at the doctors, and you really won’t be prepared when we turn into zombies. So, we must prepare now,” he said interrupting me.

What the heck is he watching on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel?

“OK,” I said, knowing full well he was getting antsy to get outside and save the world.

Taking zombie precautions one street at a time.

Taking zombie precautions one street at a time.

After a while, I went outside to check on the progress of thwarting the impending zombie apocalypse.  I found Nerf guns, sticks and a mountain of leaves ready to protect the innocent.  I also found the neighborhood posse in the middle of the street strategic planning their next move.

“What are you all working on?” I said to the group of defenders.

“Mom, I already told you. We are making sure the neighborhood is safe,” Squishy answered.  The rest of the posse nodded enthusiastically.

“Well, in that case,” I said, “carry on.”

And they did.

So, a message to all zombies: Beware, zombies, beware of our street.  We have protection in the form of elementary students.  Scary, right?

For Halloween we had a zombie and a werewolf.

For Halloween we had a zombie and a werewolf.

Ants marching…and zombies

I love Dave Matthews Band.  Love them.  I once had the really hot evening with the song “Crash Into Me.”  But I will provide no more details on that.  Mum is the word.

But there is one song that sums up this time of year.  It is “Ants Marching.”  I hear it in my head when I am going through the daily motions – the alarm clock, the same drive each day, the same car I am behind that I end up passing midway to school, the same novels and short stories that I have taught the years before, the same homework shuffle I deal with my own kids at home, the same getting everything ready for the next day – only to do it all over again.  Ants Marching.

My friend who works in business felt like this too, only she called herself a corporate zombie.  I thought it was hilarious.  Her bosses didn’t.  But I believe she has a good point.  She was trying to showcase a new software piece to replace the same old power point. She was thinking outside the box, she was ahead of her time and she was amazingly creative in this new approach.  They didn’t like it.  In fact, they poo pooed it and it hurt her heart.  So, she said she felt like a corporate zombie.  I would have felt the same. Poopie.

But, it is not just the corporate world that has the ability to turn a perfectly good human being into a zombie.  In education, too, we can become zombies marching.  Recently, a team I am on made a huge production for a “roll-out” of certain “core values” for our school.  In the spring, we prefaced the entire thing with emails to the staff, staff meetings discussing what the values should be, and even a survey to see which values were the most important.  We thought we had a green light.  This fall, upon returning to school to “ready” the big roll-out, we were bombarded with questions, concerns and even resentment (how dare we try and better the school!  Who did we think we were! OM to the G!).  Yikes!  It was as if zombies had inhabited the bodies of our coworkers.  It was as if none of the prep we did mattered.  But, like good worker ants, we kept marching.

On the other hand, in a way, we are all Ants Marching Corporate/Government Zombies.  We do what we are told, when are told to do it.  What is sad is that with all of this marching, we are losing out on creativity, individuality and just plain, good ol’ imagination.  I can’t even begin to share how many teachers have said they teach to the test so they have given up on teaching creative thought.  So, in essence, they, too, are creating Ants Marching Zombies. Sad, but oh so true.