Sunday, December 30, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Just a quick one. Is there anything else to my posts lately? I think not. Merry belated Christmas, by the way. I hope it was jolly for all. Tuesday is New Year's Day. I'd love to wax on prophetically about the past year and my hopes for the year to come, but that's another post. For sometime when I can stay awake past 7:15 and am not suffocated by the amount of schoolwork I have. Wah, wah, wah. Poor me.
The holiday was just dandy. I thought it was nice to see some of my family and things went well while they were here. My favorite aunt came down for a bit, and she's my husband's favorite, so that helped. My husband had some issues with the way things went, as always, so the holiday didn't end on a particularly happy note for anyone but Animal, who loved her new Elmo DVDs, which she is obsessed with, and trucks, which makes her my girl. If I were to share the whole ugly story, it would be baring unpleasant things about the people I love the most, so I'll spare everyone, especially them, the horror. Suffice to say, it won't go down in the top 10 Christmas list in my life. But, it could have been worse. I have a tremendous husband and family and fantastic friends, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my family's mouths, a minimal but present paycheck for part of the year, four functioning limbs, a somewhat functioning brain, and, last but certainly not least, a healthy & smart daughter and another baby on the way. I have NO right complaining. But somehow I still do. Someone needs to slap me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Harder to Breathe

Could you do me a favor? Could you check to see if there is a large man sitting on my chest? 'Cause it feels like there is a large man sitting on my chest. Christmas is a week away. Not done shopping. Not done making gifts that have to be sent to Virginia and Georgia. Not done with my comps stuff due last week. No wrapping started. I think I need to go hyperventilate. Happy freaking holidays, people.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Tannenbaum

It's Monday morning, again. How did that happen? The weekend flew by, as usual. Here Animal and I are, with my pumpkin asking where her daddy is. It was a productive weekend, though. They usual are. Just not restful.

Saturday we went to a tree farm in southeastern Connecticut. My husband's sister and her family met us there for the third year in a row. The kids are over-the-moon excited to see their uncle, but are remarkably well-behaved. Animal was a little freaked out by the snow and cold initially, but warmed up, so to speak. We found a nice, small tree to fit into our nice, small apartment that will be filled to the brim with more family than my poor husband cares to think about. My poor husband and I grew up so differently. To me, the holidays aren't the holidays without family. And the stress that goes along with it. For him, he'd like to barricade the three of us in our apartment and come out when it's over. I don't blame him. My family is overwhelming and he's only getting the condensed version. Someday that poor bastard will get his way.

Sunday was packed with cleaning, schoolwork, errands, being nicely accosted by furniture salesman trying to sell us a giant living room set that really...didn' Let alone our small apartment. Then, we spied the seconds room-SCORE! Poor guy. Didn't my yoga pants and ratty men's sweater, my husband's carrharts, and my daughter's snotty nose scream "THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT IN THE MARKET FOR A 6 PIECE LEATHER SOFA SET!!! MOVE ALONG TO A PROFITABLE CUSTOMER!!!!!" My husband bought me a wood filing cabinet to contain all my exams crap that had formerly occupied several beat-up cardboard boxes in the corner.

Today, Animal and I are attempting to clean, bake and cook in anticipation of my mother-in-law's arrival. She's staying with her granddaughter while I administer one of my class's finals. Finally. Millie just put a giant egg on her forehead, so we took a reading break to slow down and recoup. She's a trooper.

Have a good day, all.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Secret Agent Man

My daughter is, as we speak, climbing into the sink of the Fisher Price kitchen set, which is a good 18" off the ground. There was a recall on the item, but I don't think this is the danger they had in mind. She's such an animal. My husband is egging her on, laughing. Not so funny when it tips over and she bleeds profusely from her head. It's one of the many, many times during the day I am thankful she is active and adventurous, but worry about teaching her limits. Where to draw the line?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Love Will Keep Us Together

My oldest brother emailed me today to tell me about the upcoming event he has with his son, my oldest nephew. They are going to his first concert, a Trans Siberian Orchestra in D.C. In a corporate box suite. Sweet. They should have a blast.

It is destined to be a different first concert experience than my older brother and I had. If you ask me in mixed company what my first concert was, I'd be tempted, oh so tempted, to fib. I'd be tempted to tell you that my second concert was actually my first one. When I was thirteen, two of my friends and I were dropped off at the Allentown Fairgrounds to see the fabulous Tina Turner during her Private Dancer tour, with the amazing Glenn Frey opening for her. Lemme just tell you, there is nothing like sitting on concrete, backless benches on a hot August day, ingesting diesel fuel fumes from the monster truck rally in the next field over and the glorious waft of manure from the ag show a few doors down. My dad agreed to drop us off and pick us up, a major step for he who despises crowds and traffic. And, of course, rowdy pop music fans. He is not a big fan of them. So, our newly teenage spastic selves danced and sang and marvelled at this grand fresh world now available to us. Then, on our way out to meet my dad, Steph and I lost Amy in the crowd. Amy, who was all of 4'10. My Dad was PISSED, and looking back, probably worried. We thankfully were well-trained and had planned for a snafu like this. It took her a little while to wade through the tall crowd to the spot we chose to meet if separated. But, we eventually all got home to our beds, dreaming of The Smuggler's Blues.

That is the memory I choose to hold onto as my first concert.

The reality: my brother and I have the horror of acknowledging our first concert as The Captain and Tennille. It was at the same venue, but we were accompanied by our parents. I was five, I think, and my brother was nine. Horrifying. Muskrat Love started it all. Now you all know our dirty secret. One of many.

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One More Time

An addendum to the post below. Then again, my other student afflicted with the same problem had crazy swings between total delusions of grandeur and complete and utter self-doubt. One minute he was related to the Prince of Somewhere (I can't remember..Bali?) and was in line for the throne and the next minute he admittedly couldn't get out of his own way. So this poor bastard can't help himself, I'm sure. He likely has no idea what he said to me and blowing our meeting off was completely inappropriate.

I'm clearly obsessed with it. I feel bad for him and wish I could get through to him and help him.

Is it a sign of my own craziness that I found myself humming the song that Animal's toy vacuum plays? I think it might be.


Haven't Got Time for the Pain

Yeah. So, I told my student I'd meet him a few minutes before class. I got there early. And waited. Again, thinking, You Have Got To Be Kidding Me. And, that thought crossed my mind again as he strolled into class 20 minutes late. And, again when he came up after class and told me he wasn't on time because he was working on a paper for another class. Way to make my class priority. I have to keep in mind, it's not entirely his fault. But, come on. Make an effort, dude.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jingle Bells

Today is my last lecture for a class I am teaching. I can't wait. They are stupendous students, but I'm ready to be done. To add to the end of the semester lunacy, I got a call from our department secretary today, asking me about a certain student. Was I aware of his issue? Lemme guess, I said, is it Ben (not his real name, of course)? Lemme guess. He has Asperger's and didn't tell me about it? This is my second student with Asperger's who hasn't approached me about their learning disability. I don't think the first one was ever diagnosed. I think people just thought he was a turd. Now, this poor kid in my class is one of those students that whenever he raises his hand, the rest of the class audibly groans. He's socially inappropriate, more than a tad rude, and the worst kind of rambler. Apparently, with good reasons, which he can't help. He hasn't handed in any assignments and the last time I saw him in class was when he corrected my spelling on the board in the middle of class, which I attempted to laugh off as a result of my complete inability to spell my own name on a good day, but resulted in people behind him saying things like "You have GOT to be kidding me" and "SHUT UP" loudly enough for him to hear. I felt awful. And at the same time, as much as I despise admitting it, I thought to myself in my own head "You have GOT to be kidding me." And then I felt awful again. I hate to flunk anyone who doesn't deserve it. I am, I think, a very fair grader and try to write very straight-forward exams. I am also a bit of a push-over. Shocking, I know. I want to help this kid out. I don't want to be just one more person to sweep him under the rug or ignore his problems and hope he'll go away. Looking back, I wish I would have approached him earlier. Yet, I also have to remember I'm my students' teacher, not their shrink or social worker, a line that tends to be a bit blurred with me. I'm meeting with him tomorrow. Wish me luck.

So, Christmas is, what, twenty days away? If you'll excuse me, I must go vomit. I am stupid enough to have committed to making many of my gifts. 'Cause I have all the time in the world, you know, and the stamina of Richard Simmons on speed. My dad's and aunt's are done, but I still have a buttload of work to do on everyone else's. My husband and I agreed to forgo gifts for each other this year, and my BFF and I set reasonable limits this year. The two people I actually LOVE to shop for. I did find myself at Kohl's at 7:15 this morning to take advantage of their 50% off sale and snagged three cool, chunky, plastic trucks for Animal, all for less than $4 each. Sweet.

Speaking of Christmas stress, my parents and youngest brother are coming for the holiday. This itself is a good thing. Two years ago, two short months after I got married, the same three people came to Connecticut for Christmas. I got the best holiday gift a person could ask for that year-a kidney stone-and wasn't up to travelling to Pennsylvania. Depending on the cycle of visitation of my brothers and their families, there are years that most of my siblings are not with my parents. That was one of those years, so they came this way. It was a total pissing power match between my husband in his new home and with his new family and my mother, who is a total control hog (much like myself) but nothing but WELL-MEANING. She comes to visit, armed with food and planned meals because she does not want to be a burden. She cooks and cleans and brings gifts and things she thinks would be of interest and use. Most normal people would love that. My husband really wanted it to be done his way (or at least OUR way), which I understand, in his own home. Since then, I hope they have come to an understanding. At least somewhat. Our apartment is small and filled with toys as it is. Add a Christmas tree and even more toys and gifts and three extra adults and I fear my husband will snap again. Or maybe it'll be me this time. Or maybe we'll be so full of freakin' Christmas cheer that all will be swell. That's my Christmas wish.