Sunday, January 27, 2008

Journal of a Living Lady #314

Nancy White Kelly

Faux pas. That is French for big goof. Mistakes? I have made a few. This last week I faux pas-goofied again.

On August 5th, I was asked by a desperate school board to serve as administrator for Mountain Area Christian Academy. That was the same week Buddy and I opened the Ye Old Coin Shop.

Making my life-long numismatic hobby a business was our attempt to survive in retirement.
Like many folks these days, we were experiencing a green economic shift with our financial out-go threatening to exceed our in-flow.

The timing of these two major life events collided. Any entrepreneur knows the myriad details involved in opening a business. Any school principal can understand the daunting task of walking into the initial staff orientation meeting and facing 40 employees.

Ready or not, school was beginning in a week. MACA was entering a new, state-of-the art building. Workers were everywhere pulling electrical wire, rolling asphalt in the parking lot, painting walls and landscaping. Most didn’t speak French …or English. It was challenging to explain in universal sign language that the inside toilets weren’t working yet.

Back at the coin shop, our own toilet decided to misbehave. “El escusado se derramo de agua." Just days before the Grand Opening we had to replace an entire floor.

Thankfully the school is operating smoothly now. The coin shop is surviving, but not thriving. We are only open Saturdays and evenings by appointment.

I am proud of MACA and its dedicated staff. We have 232 students from pre-school through grade 12. MACA kids respect authority. Biblical principles are emphasized. The flag is pledged. The students dress in sharp-looking uniforms. That is, unless it is Spirit Week.

Though still under reasonable control, for five days we let our students break the norm. They can dress according to a daily theme, be a little noisy and enthusiastically encourage teachers to kiss a pig to help raise funds for the senior trip.

Atypically, our students and staff looked and acted like monkeys in Hootersville. To my chagrin, an old friend who is a distinguished lawyer, decided to drop by for a first-time visit. He was amused by my mortification.

Monday was “Blast from the Past Day.” No problem. Wednesday was “Tacky Day.” Staff could opt out, but few did. I smeared my lipstick, mismatched my shoes, and dressed in both plaid and stripes.

Then came my faux pas. Our office manager arrived in a swirly brown corduroy skirt. I raved about how tacky she looked. I meant it as a compliment. Unfortunately, she wasn’t participating in Tacky Day.


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