I enjoyed my first day back at work. We did have a little girl who took off her diaper and hid it in the math manipulatives, then ran through the store bare-bottomed while her mother tried in vain to find the article of clothing in question. And there were some odd phone calls. But this sort of thing livens up the day and gives us something to talk about. The thing that gives me an opportunity to practice patience and compassion (and we all need these opportunities, don’t we?) is grade book shopping.

The season for grade book shopping has just begun. We have had only a few people in so far looking for their grade books or plan books. My public position on both is that they are like contacts or brassieres: very individual, and very important. Since you use them every day, you have to have exactly the right ones, and all the little details are important.

This position reflects, I think, the views of our customers, and it is therefore a real, though perhaps specialized, sort of truth. However, just in case you are not familiar with grade books and plan books, let me tell you about them. They are spiral bound books of pages full of squares. Plan books have big squares. Grade books have small squares. You could pull pages from every single grade book and plan book in existence, and a randomly chosen observer would be unable to see any significant differences among them.

We carry, at the height of grade book shopping season, about three dozen different ones. Thick ones, thin ones. Bright covers, plain covers, cute patterned covers, pretty covers. Ones with blue lines, ones with brown lines. No underwires, but otherwise, one would think our selection would suffice for any reasonable person.

And, invariably, we do not have the precise one that the customer seeks.

At this point, it is very difficult for me not to say, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, they’re all alike! Just pick one!” But I do not do this. I ask probing questions to determine why none of the ones on the shelf will do and try to figure out which grade book might fulfill the desires of the customer. This is good for my character.

Here is a toy camera picture of the second felted hat. Below and to the right is a close-up picture so you can see the surface decoration. I think we are getting the hang of it.

 I intend to write about felting (Sighkey has inspired me to do so) but not yet. I also intend to write about camping, but also not yet. The fact is, I am having a personal problem, and do not feel like writing anything except whiny things. I cannot whine effectively about either felting or camping, so they will have to wait until I either solve my problem or get over feeling whiny about it, whichever comes first.