We’re struggling…I guess

I like writing this blog, but being locked to my computer for school office hours and then additional hours to prep and generally deal with stuff does not make me want to revisit my screen even for enjoyment. I have to make myself walk away from all the to-dos.

I try to escape outside at least once a day. In typical fashion the weather has gone from warm enough to open the windows back to “it might snow.” The social media posts of my friends who have run 5 miles daily then done a lifting workout don’t inspire so much as they shame me for not wanting to do those things.

Maybe if I did those things and escaped the screens sooner, I’d sleep better. However everything from the committee that I don’t want to be on to my online purchase keeps the voices chattering. I awake blearily to the next day.

First Day: Thanks Garden

It’s the first day off no school! (I have a ton of stuff to do and will have to go back in the building, but without students!) I’ve been productively trapped by the gaping window of a delivery time. My seventeen-year-old washer and dryer set – my first big girl job purchase after adopting Bella Luna– was just not functioning like it used to and I finally resigned myself to purchasing a new set.

Workers in the house means packaging up four cats into bedrooms along with water bowls and litter boxes. Seventy-five percent of my population would panic at strangers and noises and could unpredictably decide to dart anywhere. Twenty-five percent of the population is incensed that I have locked him into only one room of HIS house when there are workers to be overseen, and spent the day banging on the bedroom door and clawing at the carpet. He had a litter box, a water bowl, a bed, a window, and his girlfriend, but oooohhhh nooooo.

I spent the pre-delivery down time vacuuming everything which shut my captives up pretty quickly. Vacuums are scary. I even busted out the Bissell and shampooed the carpet! Mostly, this happened because I had to move it out of the laundry room along with a  myriad of other items so the delivery guys could reveal the accumulation of “ick” when they removed the old washer and a dryer.

Things under and behind the washer and dryer:

  • Dust bunnies so big that I had to switch heads on the vacuum.
  • One hair tie
  • Stuff that looked like coffee grounds, but…..IDK
  • One sock
  • One pair of underwear
  • A cardboard toilet paper roll????
  • And, shockingly, only one cat toy. I thought there would be a whole nest of jingle mice.

By the time they left me alone with my new appliances, my productivity was waning and I needed food. A friends homemade hummus plus some goat cheese, with cilantro that re-seeded itself, and an entire salad of a very young onion, lettuce, kale, and spinach from the garden.

I love being able to go foraging!

What?

“What?”

(But hear my voice -or Samuel L. Jackson’s– when you come wandering into my classroom with time on your hands while I’m staring at the computer wondering who needs strangled next.)

img_8600

His Samuel L. Jackson impersonation.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. It has been a glorious and terrible week of exhaustion, panic (failing students panicking, not me), and universal done-ness. Tomorrow my colleagues will have an adult meeting with adult beverages and ramble on about their own done-ness.

I am not done.

If I can get the publication kids done, that’s a positive step, but that rarely happens in time for attending the adult meeting.

I am never done.

Miles and I will just leave this here. Whoever wrote it didn’t get the quote quite right, but it is my favorite desktop graffiti. Found during yearbook camp– yes, that’s a thing- that I attend and teach at during the summer.

Just another sign of my not done-ness.

13781728_10206965417562602_3244580420231858114_n

“Say ‘what’ again. I dare you.”

The worst poem ever: Can I Go to Bed Now?

Spring time sunshine, evening golden glow through my windowsBringing the yard to life, the yard that I put off mowing…unlike my neighbors. 

Put off because two monstrous gray clouds followed me around the neighborhood this evening 

Never mind the cracks of bright blue, surely these bring rain. 

However sunlight remained. 

And is still here even though

I

Am

Tired

Guilt that there is daylight still,keeps me awake and mostly clothed. 

Even though I have descended onto the couch and am pinned down by a blanket

Which is pinned down by a cat because 

Despite the persistent sunlight

My house is cold and the cat likes this particular blanket. 

My mind says “You are tired. Go take a bath. You deserve it.”

But there is sunlight so

I can tally all the minutiae of the day that started at 5:40 a.m. before the problematic sunlight

The rush to work to give the two hour standardized test that can only happen on iPads which can only function with wifi which is not made by sunlight

The off kilter sense of the day with a shortened class schedule because of the two hour test

All classes but the one class. Oh that one class. 

And I am just

So 

Tired 

But probably not as tired as my friend who had yet another cancer treatment today. 

Who is probably glad to see and feel the longer lasting sunlight. 

Not so tired that I can’t make something new for dinner -shrimp and broccoli- while 

Maintaining a constant loop of an imaginary conversation with a student who claims she is skipping my class because we are doing presentations. 

We aren’t even doing them yet. 

It is exhausting because I don’t feel like fighting a battle that I will lose. 

I feel like ignoring the bullshit of teenagers because they think

Sunlight shines out of their asses. 

It shines out of the sky and is still here which means

I should be grateful for another sunny day and not

Tired

And

Guilty 

And wondering if the cat wants to get high on the nip 

So that we can both go to sleep after the sunlight leaves. 

Professional Evaluation 

Birdie: “Why don’t you have this shit graded yet?”

Me, weeping into hands: “BECAUSE YOU WON’T MAKE DINNER OR RUN THE VACUUM!”

Brain:”Plus I spend the school day cleaning my government provided gun just in case bears show up. I just thought I was teaching a Dystopian unit, not living it.”

*”All Summer in a Day” awesome little heart string puller from Ray Bradbury. 

**With my 20 years of experience in public education, I can solidly say that any teacher carrying a firearm at school is a phenomenally bad plan. I cannot participate.

*** Just Google Devos and bears. The new Sith Lord of Education will probably send the secret education police out for me at midnight. 

Happy New Years: Insert Evil Laugh Here

Day 1 back from almost two magical weeks of doing whatever (mostly)  I damn well please.  Little to no sleep. Because why would my body go to sleep, knowing that the alarm would go off at 5:45 am? Yeah!!!

I’m so tired, I’m pretty sure I hallucinated most of my work day. 

This was an impulse buy at Target after school because ….caffeine.

Sadly, it did not smell like coffee.


 And my hair is super crazy. 

Multiple students today:”Hey, your hair looks nice. Did you do something different? Did you color it?”

Me multiple times today:”I ironed it because I can’t remember when I washed it last. Ironing it kills whatever is going on in there. The color is ‘old lady gray’ with ‘you need to dye your roots red.'”

Kids these days will cry at the drop of a hat. Weak. 

MY KIDS took it upon themselves to make  snacks today while I was at work. 

I came home to an open cabinet, a gutted bag of relatively expensive cat food, and four guilty looking cats all sitting in the living room instead of meeting me in the kitchen as per usual. 

Oddly enough, no one has asked for dinner, and I have not brought it up. 

Entitled What? WHat?! WHAT!!!

Is it so hard to wait your turn? Where do we get off imagining that the rules don’t apply to us? (I say “we” and “us” because I’m as guilty as anyone.)

Entitled douchebaggery. Insert eye roll here.

I witnessed this on my exhausting day of doctor appointments and re-scheduled madness. There was a section of road with one lane traffic. There was a flagger, huge pieces of construction equipment that would have captivated my nephew, plus neon orange, green, and yellow in abundance. We’ve all been in this scenario: wait patiently while the oncoming traffic uses the safe side of the road then the waiting side gets a turn to go. Simple.

Simple unless the rules don’t apply to you, and your life is way more important than the lives of others around you.

I had already been through this bit of roadway on my way to doctor visit number two and survived the experience. However in my haze of exhaustion  from blood sucking and fat weighing, I went on autopilot and used my normal route home which took me back to the section of road construction.

All was well. It was my side’s turn, but we were abruptly halted midway through the safe side of the road. The problem became evident in slow motion. Another driver had decided that it was HIS TURN. He had bypassed the flagger, huge pieces of construction equipment that would have captivated my nephew, plus neon orange, green, and yellow in abundance at his end of the road and was driving on the under-construction side of the road.

I watched from my car window as he slowly rolled along the road with the entire construction crew marching menacingly behind him. The burliest crew member was walking within reach of the car’s driver side door and repeatedly commanding the driver to stop.

Mr. I Have Places to Be in My Hawaiian Shirt and Pompadour (Seriously, this guy was done up like Ace Ventura Pet Detective. Tone Loc may have been cuddled up in the backseat with a monkey.) had his window down and just kept saying, “What” while shrugging and waving the arm that wasn’t slow motion piloting his car.

But not like “What? I’m a bit deaf in this ear.” Or “What?!! A bunny! Where?”

This was an entitled “What.” The “what” that teenagers use when you call them out on shit that they know they have done,and they know it’s shitty shit, but they don’t feel like admitting to it. Because admitting to it means admitting, “I have been a douchebag and committed ‘heinous fuckery most foul.'” (Thanks, Christopher Moore.)

img_4168

Let’s all pause to appreciate that I drew this incredibly accurate re-enactment on my notepad app with my fat fingers while waiting to get my haircut.

 

I got to start driving again, as the lead burly crew member was walkie talkie-ing to someone that “We’ve got a driver who refuses to stop.”

I don’t know how this roadside drama ultimately played out, but as I try to assess the events of the election this week, I fear that entitled douchebaggery and heinous fuckery most foul will be the status quo. I’ve tried all week to get my thoughts together. I had the perfect wording linking my thoughts on the winner to eating my feelings and the Arby’s sandwich that I vomited at 2 a.m., but it was 6 a.m. and I couldn’t pause the getting ready for work process to write anything down. At this point, the entitled driver is the best link I can make.

I’ve backed the losing pony before, but I’ve never felt this disheartened even in the Bush years when I couldn’t listen to the news on my morning drives to work because every day brought new anti-gay rhetoric or another step towards further destruction of the environment. I suspect I’ll be going news-less for the next four years as well. I feel like this election and its results have made it okay to voice whatever evil thoughts are in your head. Americans are now entitled to spew hatred and respond with the entitled “What?!” when somebody calls them on it.

It makes me think of another teen behavior; saying, “At least he’s being honest!” when a classmate cops to the shitty shit that was committed. I so want my response to be, “Being honest doesn’t absolve you from being an asshole 5 seconds ago,” but you know there’s the whole professional thing I’ve got going. Being a halfway decent human means recognizing that you’ve done something wrong and being sorry for it instead of indignant. Or recognizing that some thoughts are evil thoughts and don’t really need to be voiced in the name of “being honest.” (Trust me, there is plenty of evil in my head that I would barely be willing to voice much less document in writing.)

I fear that we’ve elected a large, poorly behaved teenager who has signaled throughout his campaign, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, that we are now entitled to voice our hatred of all that we do not see as “us” as if we live in a live confessional booth on a reality t.v. show. (Did the The Apprentice have a confessional booth? I never watched it because the main character was so deplorable, if you will.) I understand that all who voted for him do not support such rhetoric, but you still made a choice after watching the madness.

Never have I come in to school the morning after an election to emails asking teachers to be present in the halls during class changes because hateful words had already been exchanged between students. One student sobbed off and on all day at the mention of the election results. During a discussion, a Muslim student blurted through tears,”I don’t understand why this country hates me.” There  were chants of  “build the wall.” How do you tell students that this is inappropriate when the President elect is backing it? There were so many conversations among parents and teachers trying to figure out what to say to their own children as well as their classrooms.

The dystopian novels that I love have the common thread of a ruling class sorting people by WHAT they are, and creating hate and division between the groups through media propaganda, privileges, and lack of communication and information. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Red Rising, The Maze Runner, and Ready Player One all hinged on this concept. I love them because they are adventures with strong characters, and fantasies with a message. This post-election week has not been a fantasy and the things that I witnessed at school have been mild compared to other news stories pitting one faction of the population against another. I feel sad. I feel worried. And I keep waiting for the tightness in my chest that feels like grief over what we’ve become to ease.

Here is a therapeutic kitten to help alleviate any sadness or anger you may be feeling as a result of this post. She is not a pussy who likes to be grabbed, but would prefer a gentle cuddle.

img_4208

Also here is the awesome Kate McKinnon performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” This made me weepy for a good 24 hours, like crying in the Giant Eagle produce section type of weepy. I think the last verse is particularly poignant.

Did you vote, damnit?!

“Did you vote?”

“Yes, Miles.”

He’s such a stickler for democracy. 

He’s also blocking the tv, so no ballot counting updates here. We’ll be surprised and terrified to wake up to some version of the Twilight Zone tomorrow. I hope it’s one of the funny, quirky episodes versus eternal suffering and damnation. 

Miles is additionally blocking my ability to grade. You’ve probably heard the adage about teachers throwing a stack of papers down a flight of stairs to determine the grades. I don’t have stairs. 

I always say I grade by smell instead. 

If you get your paper back and it smells like cat butt….wellllllll. Sorry, kids.