Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Perspective

Act I

Setting: In the car. Liquor store parking lot. Hubby is buying stores for the cabin (good beer, some wine, and a small bottle of gin). Kids and I are waiting. The Boy is making various noises incessantly, antagonizing Girl. The Girl is entirely vexed and complaining continuously.

Girl: "I wish I had a gumdrop to shove in your mouth."
Boy: "I would just eat it."

And so on. (Boy going back to his noises.)

Act II

Setting: 10 minutes later. Driving through a mountain pass, eating burgers.

Girl to Boy: "I just realized! You're not mean . . . you're *funny*! And I'm funny, too!

[They laugh.]

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reason for Guilt #457

We are on the road and have been visiting friends. For the past two nights, we've hung out with friends for dinner, and our kids have hung out with each other. The kids all seemed to be having a good time, and we grown ups have enjoyed ourselves.

But then tonight I found out that one of the kids kept saying to my Girl, "I hate you." And I am confident it's true because the Boy confirmed it, and he is a truth teller.

I know this kind of thing is typical kid stuff, but I felt so bad for the Girl when she told me that she's been trying to hold back the tears for the past two nights. I had been wondering why, early in the evening tonight, she was telling me she wanted to go home and go to bed (she didn't tell me about the "hating" until we were on the way home). And I feel a little guilty about the way we tossed our kids together and expected them just to hang out and get along while we grown ups had a few drinks and enjoyed our time together. We do it all of the time, of course, and it usually goes well. But tonight I'm feeling bad about it.

I said all of the usual things to her: "Oh maybe he was just trying to get your attention. Maybe he was just having a bad day. In the past, he's talked about how much he likes you!" Blah, blah, blah. But then I also fessed up that sometimes we meet people who don't like us. I told her, "There are even some people who don't like me, which is weird because I'm so awesome."

But still. "Hate" is such a strong word--one that we rarely, if ever, use in our house--and it just never feels good to feel hated. And for two nights in a row, I unknowingly threw my daughter in with the hate. The first night, she avoided the kid*. Tonight, we were at his house, so that was harder. And what will we do the next time we see these friends? Should we say something? Should we let the kids work it out? Sigh. There really are SO many things to feel guilty and uncertain about, aren't there?

But in other news, I just submitted grades! So there's that . . .

And, overall, the trip has been full of merrymaking and awesome family time, which is really fantastic and, I hope, helps my sweet Girl feel very loved**.

*The kid seems like a good kid, so I really don't know what was up. In contrast, his little brother was going around saying "I love you" to everyone. So maybe he was just in an oppositional mood?
**And the Girl really is
not hate-worthy. The proof? In kindergarten, she won an award for being "kind and generous to her classmates." Maybe I need to get her a little badge to wear.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


My son has a pet cockroach, and just now, I was putting part of an apple in his cage to feed him. But the apple slipped a bit and bonked him on the back.

The question: Of what did this remind me?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Dear Administrator,

Really? This comes up now? On the Thursday of finals week? You want me to do what?! By when? Seriously? Why wasn't it done before? Why should I have to clean up this mess? How could this have happened? Why was this overlooked?

Don't you know that I am ON. THE. EDGE?!!!


Dear Union Pres,

Really? This comes up now, the night before the meeting? We can't do WHAT? Seriously? Why hasn't this come up before? It was on the agenda for weeks. How is this happening? Why was this overlooked?

Don't you know that I am. ON. THE. EDGE?!!!

At a loss,

Dear Santa,

For Christmas I would like to have entirely competent administrators who effectively lead the college and make sure everything gets done. I would also like extra hours in each day so that *I* can ensure all of my work is done. And also I would like resolutions to all conflicts between the goals of the Senate and the concerns of the Union.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Vomit Fear--Part the Third

Some of you who have been visiting this little blog for a while might remember parts one and deux. Well, we have certainly had some additional episodes of barfing since Part Deux, but last night was a return of the fear that we saw in part one. You know the fear . . . the kind that comes from being in bed with a barfy child.

The Boy started going down hill after I picked him up from school, and he got worse as the evening passed. Unsurprisingly, he was nervous to be alone while he slept, so he and I both stayed on the queen-sized futon in the guest room. Since he felt bad, he squirmed a lot. And with every sudden move he made, my adrenaline shot up, preparing me for sudden hurling. Fortunately, he, like the Girl in part one, was very controlled and contained, and nothing truly messy happened, but trying to sleep through sporadic adrenaline rushes (and even controlled vomiting) is not easy.

And not only does the poor Boy feel bad, but this certainly adds one more challenge to this crazy week that I was already moaning about.

And then I found out yesterday that I need to have a meeting on Friday (the last day of finals) with the presidents of the Faculty Senate and Faculty Union.

I think I'd rather face the vomit.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

On the Sharp Edge of a Nervous Breakdown

(Warning: Garden variety whining to follow. Stop now if you are, categorically, anti-whining.)

This past Tuesday, I thought I might lose my mind. I think it was a culmination of the following events:

Thursday evening: Family Read-Aloud Night at school
Friday evening: Gingerbread building night for 4-H (building GB houses for the elderly to enjoy)
Saturday morning: Gingerbread decorating activity for 4-H (at a house packed with kids and candy)
Saturday afternoon: 4-H arts and crafts activity (more kids, more candy)
Saturday evening: Lighted Boat Parade (we were on a boat which was cool but also cold)
Sunday midday: Birthday party
Sunday afternoon: work meeting about curriculum
Monday: (normal day of work and kids)

then there was Tuesday:

6:30 Up, getting ready, making breakfast and lunches (with Hubby's help)
8:15 Walk kids to school
8:30 Home to make stew for crockpot (dinner)
9:15 Back to kids' school to volunteer in each class
11:00 Arrive at work to hurriedly make copies for class
11:30-1:30 Teach composition
1:30-2:30 Office Hour
3:00 Pick up Girl to take her to dance class
3:30-4:30 Stand in a room full of about 35 kids to help them pick out and put on dance costumes
4:30 escape to go get tea
4:50-5:45 Sit in my car outside of dance studio grading paper drafts
5:45-6:30 Try to get clear instructions (over the voices of crazy dancing kids) about dance rehearsals for the next week
7:00 Arrive home and beg Hubby to put stew in bowls because that small action might actually cause me to implode.
7:30-11:30 Grade drafts of research papers

I think the effect was an accumulation of stimuli that I was storing in my body and mind like some kind of electrical charge. All of that high-energy kid stuff, without time to get release or even get my work done*, made me ready to send out some voltage.

But then, late afternoon on Wednesday, after a day of teaching, I had time to tidy my office and take care of loose ends, and I felt MUCH better. Today, I even managed to enjoy a full day of activities (parade, dance rehearsal, festival), and I feel fine.

Still, this time of year, it's very hard for me to understand how everything will get done--the finals, the grading, the activities, the shopping, the trips to the P.O., the packing for out-of-town trips--and sometimes I feel like I am hyperventilating. But tomorrow, I will get to see my daughter dress up like a rat, and we'll put up a small tree**. And next week, I'll have a lot of quiet time as I grade papers and finals***, and I will find a couple hours to shop, and it will all be OKAY.

Now, if I could just think of something to get my husband for Christmas . . .

*Although I am SOOOO glad that I sometimes have flexibility to do these kinds of things--volunteer, take my daughter to dance--this flexibility often means I feel guilty when I don't do these things even though I do have a full time job. So then I stay up late or work weekends or just make myself crazy during a particular given day.
**We're going on a trip, so we won't get a big, real tree this year.
***Is it sad that my work time is what I look forward to as "me time"?