Monday, February 22, 2010

Peevish. Also waspish and snappy.

I'm cranky.

I was going to try and write a cheerful-sounding post (fake it till you make it!) but five minutes ago my son called down the stairs, "Mom!!  I think I just Febrezed the cat!  Is he going to go blind?"

(Sometimes there are impulse control issues around my house, and spontaneous Febrezing occurs.  Also skateboarding down the stairs. Also microwaving metal objects. )

After I stomped up the stairs and performed a full physical on the cat, I  determined that he had only been misted, so he's not blind, only really fresh. But now it’s way too late for phony cheer, I’m sorry to say. Consider yourself warned.

Things that are currently pissing me off:
  • Remember my last post, where I shared poorly-written excerpts from student essays? Well. I owe them an apology.
Today I received an email from a teacher's aide at my school.  I have copied and pasted the entire email for you here, worded exactly as it appeared:
Eduardo is failing your class. Is she not turning in his assignments? What he be working on now?
What he be working on? Why, nothing!  That's why he/she is FAILING.
(It’s okay though!!  Gov. Schwarzenegger has set up a special education website, full of helpful information. Thank you, Mr. Terminator! I think it’s really going to make a difference.  My favorite part of the website is the header, which reads:

 A place for infromation about California Schools .  

I keep going back there, hoping they've fixed it, but nope.  We be freeing ourselves from the shackles of spelling and capitalization rules here in the Golden State!  No wonder we don’t need a budget anymore! )

  • Four separate people have used the phrase “What a hoot!” in my hearing this week.  No.  I don’t care what state you’re from, or how funny that crazy George Lopez is, nothing should ever be a “hoot”.  I will pinch you.  Hard.

  • An old roommate of my husband’s has shown up on Facebook.  He’s almost forty.  His new girlfriend is eighteen, the same age as his daughter. There are all these pictures of him, with his receding hairline and stupid grin, standing in a group of high school kids, one arm slung over his adolescent lady-love, or just the two of them, wrapped around each other in glittery pink lust.  Last time we talked to him he was married to an age-appropriate person, but now he’s dating Miley Cyrus, and as a high school teacher, this makes me more than a little nauseous.

  • I sort of hate the neighbor kid.  Not the one I’ve written about here before, that hits himself in the head with bricks and rides his bike into trees.  He’s okay.  It’s this new one that’s shown up.  He’s eight, younger than the rest of the kids, but I’m pretty sure he’s evil. 
For instance, he stands on our front porch and stares into the house through the blinds like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. You’ll just be walking by the front window, and there he is, just watching through the window and grinning. He-ee-re’s Johnny!

Last Saturday he showed up on our doorstep at 7:00 am, and began ringing the doorbell.

Ring,ring,ring,ring,ring.   Ring,ring,ring,ring,ring. Ring,ring,ring,ring,ring. Pause.  Ring,ring,ring,ring,ring.

Finally someone stumbled to the door.  Me. He wanted my son to come outside.

Me: “He’s still asleep.”
Demon Boy: “When is he going to get up?”
Me: “I don’t know.  I’ll tell him you came by.  Maybe he’ll be out later.”  Attempt to close door. Small foot in Payless ninja sneaker is squarely in the way.
Demon Boy: “When?”
Me: ”I DON’T KNOW.”  Attempt to push small foot from doorway.  Demon Boy has strength of much larger individual.
Demon Boy:  “Can you go get him right now?”
Me: “NO. He’ll be up lat-“
Demon Boy: “Why not?  Pull his hair.  That’ll wake him up. You want me to come in and do it? You don’t know how?”
Me:  “I know how, I mean NO.  Go home, Demon Boy.”  Almost succeed in closing door.
Demon Boy:  “My cousin needs to use your phone. Can he come in?  Our electricity isn’t working.”
Me:  “The phone doesn’t run on electricity.”
Demon Boy:  “I mean, the internet is down.  We don’t have any cable.  Can he use the phone now?”
Me:  “Who do you need to call?
Demon Boy: “Someone.  I mean, my mom.  He’s coming now.”
Cue teenage, non-English-speaking cousin who appears on our lawn out of nowhere, or possibly from out of our bushes.
Cousin:  “You dial phone.  I make call.”

Which I did, like someone under hypnosis.   Cousin spent five full minutes on my phone, speaking in an unidentified language.  Then he handed me back the phone without even glancing in my direction, turned on his heel and left, a grinning Demon Boy trailing behind him.

Also, on Monday, Demon Boy tried to off Accident-Prone Boy with a shovel in our front yard.  He’s going to fit right in to our neighborhood.  I’m getting better locks for the front door.

I need to go lie down now.  Tomorrow, when I get up, everything will be shiny new and sunny once again.

You’ll see.  It’ll be a hoot.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Suddenly soup sounds good.

"So what are you giving up ?" my son asks me this morning, casually, over an English muffin.
"Giving up?" 
"Yeah, like for Lent and stuff."  He picks the too-brown edge off the side and throws it to the dog.  The piece bounces off the top of the dog's head and lands under the table.
"We're not Catholic," I say.  "Not even a little bit."
"Well, everyone at school is talking about it, so I'm going to give something up too."
"Okay," I say.  "What are you going to give up?"
"Spoons," he says.
"Spoons?"  I look to see whether he is kidding, but his face is earnest. Virtuous.
"I really like spoons."
Well, okay. I'm thinking it might be an out-of-the-box kind of choice, but that's the kind of people we are. 
This is just a quick check-in, because a couple of people were wondering if I was dead.  The answer is no, not dead, but longing for a merciful release from the purgatory of staff in-services.  Today I made the presenter's face go all red and sweaty from my insightful questions,and then he just stopped calling on me altogether for some reason, so I had to go back to drawing clear boxes on my handout.

I'll be back tomorrow, after I dig my way out from under a million terrible essays that must be graded by tomorrow.  Before I go back to reading and weeping, here are a couple of student essay highlights for you to ponder.  Perhaps make them part of your morning meditations.

From a freshman student essay today:  
The Irish gave us potatoes.  If it wasn't for the Irish we wouldn't have no carbs.  Some people think the Irish are always drunk, but I say be greatful for the potatoes. 
  From a senior essay:

         Thick, black, smoke poured into his every orifice, like a feast of buttermilk, or cheddar cheese.

Mmm, cheese.

Monday, February 08, 2010

She Does Not Have the Diarrhea. (Or so she claims.)

A Poem for Erin

She does not have the diarrhea
It merely was a tiny tootle
"Blame it on my diet, see the
cabbage soup is really brutal."

She's skinny now ("I read my labels!")
Red meat, white bread, candy, Coke,   
All are banned from Erin's table,
"Aspartame is not a joke."

Her greatest love is Jeremiah
Ben Folds might be # 2,
"If not for Maxine, Rose, Elijah,
Olivia is Darling too."

Erin wonders why the waiter
Seems to hate her, she's perplexed,
Erin wonders how it works
When ugly people have the sex.

"I'm a blogger, I'm a dork,
I've had some visits from the stork",
Her scarves and hats are loved by all,
er...Jeremiah's pretty tall. 

"I do not have the diarrhea,
It merely was a tiny fart",
Writing this was her idea,
Writing this came from my heart.


(Love ya, Erin.  So......when do I get that cool owl pillow?  We don't really need to wait for any other entries do we? Jeremiah? Are you with me?)
(Its eyes are very boobarific-  If I win I'm putting it in the front window. All the kids getting off the middle school bus will love it.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Three Strikes and You're Stupid

Strike One:

"I know a lot of people with no legs." 

I said this to a perfect stranger at Starbucks the other day. I honestly don't know why.  In my head, as I said it, I was thinking Really, Vic?  A lot of legless people?? Do tell. 

I don't even remember what the context was, or if the man was throwing around wild facts of his own, and I felt I had to keep up.  He wasn't even handsome, so I had no reason to impress him, and even if I did, claiming to know legions of amputees just says "chemical imbalance" not "woman of the world".

For the record, I do know some people without legs, but not a lot, and maybe it doesn't count, because I think I've only known one person with no legs at all.   The others were at least still partially legged.  To clarify, the score is :
               Individuals I Have Known With No Legs At All=  1
               Individuals I Have Known With One Leg, or Portions of Leg Remaining= 2 to 3

So, possibly four acquaintances with leg issues.  Is that a lot?  It's hard to say what the qualifications are, I guess, but the point is that my social skills have apparently still not grown in.

Strike Two:

At the video store, after a death match battle with another customer for the last copy of "Whip It" (roller derby!)  I left the store in triumph, strode with purpose to the car, and got in the passenger seat.  Then I buckled in securely, because I'm all about safety first.

So then I was sitting there thinking about Drew Barrymore and waiting for everyone else to get in the car, when I realized that the car smelled a


Like diapers.

I glanced casually in the back seat and saw a  battered blue car seat, covered in what looked like a year's worth of gummed Cheerios.

Even though my youngest child is eleven, the reality of my situation was slow to sink in. And then, suddenly, there it was.

I was sitting in someone else's car. 

And any minute that someone was going to come tearing out of the store and wrestle me and my hard-won copy of "Whip It" to the ground.

I quick unbuckled and climbed out, closing the car door as softly as possible, and tried to look like I had only been loitering curbside, not breaking in to parked cars.

I would have gotten away undetected, only my son was standing outside the car, (which I saw now was not even the same kind of car) shaking his head in disbelief.  As we walked to our real car, parked clear across the parking lot, he whispered, "Mom, the door handles weren't even the same! That's so sad."

Strike Three:

I blame Facebook for this one.  It's Doppelganger Week, or was, or will be sometime soon, I'm not sure, and you're supposed to change your profile picture to the picture of your famous-person-lookalike.  And even though I wasn't going to change my profile picture, probably, I got curious to see what famous person others would think was my doppelganger.

I had absolutely no clue, but back in college people used to say I looked a little like Elisabeth Shue, so I found a picture of her, and then, (here's the stupid part), called my husband over to look at it.  His job, obviously, was to marvel at the likeness and then back away slowly, but I forget he doesn't know this.

"Do you think she looks like me?"
Squint.  Throat-clear.  Twisty, thoughtful mouth squinch.  "Well...she's smiling."
"Yeah, I know she's smiling.  Does she look like me?"
"Well.....your... hair is the same.... length!"  He looks up hopefully at me.
"Our hair is the same length?  That's the best you can do?"
"Well, I don't know! Who is that person anyway?"
"Elisabeth Shue!  I'm trying to find a picture of someone who could be my doppelganger.   It's a   Facebook thing."
"Oh!  I've always thought you look like Roland Orzabal." He looks pleased. Problem solved.
"Roland Orzabal? The guy from Tears for Fears?!?"
He sees my horrified face, and starts to backpedal.  "Well, maybe like his sister. That's what I meant."  Beads of sweat have appeared on his forehead.
"This is about that bi-level I had in 1986, isn't it?"
"No, of course not!  And it was a mullet".
"Bi-level. 1986 was a tough fashion year!  I'm going to look him up and prove to you I don't look like Roland Orzabal."
Then he ran from the room, but  I googled Mr. Orzabel anyway, and found this:

I've never felt more beautiful.  In case you want to see the picture bigger, you can go directly to the site I got it from.  Just google the blog title, which is "The Ugliest Men in the History of Rock and Roll".

I'm not even going to bring up the time a coworker thought my husband looked like Dwight Schrute. Don't even think I will.

 I still didn't know who I looked like, so I did a bunch of those on-line picture analysis things to figure it out. This is who the internet thinks I look most like, according to three different, highly scientific tests.  I'm equal parts flattered and freaked out.

So, either Roland Orzabal or Sharon Tate.

Also the internet suggests a resemblance to Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. I hear he's pretty handsome, and mullet-free, last I heard.   It's a step up.