Sunday, April 19, 2009

Are you SERIOUS?

Name: Abbott

Number of times he's pooped in the house: 3

Number of times he's pooped outside: 0
Number of times he's peed in the house: 5
Number of times he's peed in the house somewhere OTHER than the oriental rugs: 0
Number of times he's thrown up in the house: 1

Number of kisses he's given and received: 1,000,000,000,000

BON JOUR, ABBOTT! (Apparently he's French. We know this because he French kisses us all day and night.)

Name: Hobbes

In Need of: Anti-depressants. He's all WTF?? Who brought the new guy? GET HIM AWAY FROM MY TOYS!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

There's a New Guy in Town

I like this guy. I like him a lot. And I have a sneaking suspicion he might be a hottie, too.

Long Odds, Short Stories

Take a moment and have yourself a looksee.

Also. I think there might be another new guy in this home of mine soon. A charmer for sure. But he's going to be fluffy and have four legs and a waggy type of tail. Maybe today even!

Cuz, you know...I'm not doing much (mothering, teaching, coaching aside...) and I have all kinds of down time, and my oriental rugs mean nothing to me. I feel that quiet is overrated (as are poop-free floors and hair-free anythings, including FOOD) so I thought I'd mix things up a bit with a brand new eight-week-old golden retriever puppy. To go with the full grown golden retriever dog I already have.

I'll take your top dog names in the comment section if you please...

Lord help me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Paint Stains

She barged in to my classroom three minutes before the kids were allowed to enter. "It's not okay with me that the art teacher allows the kids to paint without a smock. She came home with paint splattered all over her brand new shirt. It was Brand New!" She'd looked me straight in the eyes and raised her voice at me. She had some pent up venom about the paint and the dollars and the message and I don't know what all else. I guess it was probably about respect.

I looked up and to the right, breathing in a good slow breath through my nose. I took a brief moment to gather my thoughts or my wits or locate my cool or put on my filter or whatever I needed to do to remain professional. I exhaled and met my student's mother's eyes with my own, equally determined eyes. Her hands were on her hips, and her sunglasses were perched on the top of her head causing some stray hairs to stand up straight like hackles on a dog about to freak out. She had a stance like a dog, too: proud, aggressive and territorial. I let my arms fall to my sides.

I told her I'd ask the art teacher about it. I assured her that I understood it can be frustrating to lay out a bunch of money for something only to have it tainted. I reiterated my earlier suggestion that she send her twin daughters to school in clothes she didn't value quite so dearly. I explained that most often, a messy kid is in fact a sign of time well spent. I counseled her calmly to refrain from sharing her angst about mess with her daughters, as they were well within the norm for fourth grade stainage, paint-wise or otherwise.

She relaxed her stance ever so slightly, and her hand went instinctively to her hair as she said again how disappointed she had been in the school for allowing this to happen. "It just makes me feel run over,"she whined. Behind her, I could hear my class making their way down the hall to the room. I glanced above my trespasser's head at the wall clock : 7:59. No time to even read the sub's notes from the past four days.

I had just returned from Florida, where my husband's brother had been murdered. He'd been shot point blank in the face by his neighbor and left to die on a front porch. It was messy. He was forty and he had two kids. The whole thing had left a stain that made me feel run over. And I was just disappointed in the world and I couldn't believe the government down there would let people buy guns so easily, and shoot them too.

We had arranged for a beautiful service in a gigantic gazebo by the ocean where we could cry about our loss and more importantly his children's losses. We could look at the horizon and curse the injustice of it. We had been reflecting on issues - enormous issues of faith and respect and order and chaos and life and death- for those days in Florida. I was back in the classroom now though, and she was pissed about the paint.

True story.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Post Script

The Old Man has lost his joix de vivre. It's a familiar sad tale that accompanies the retirement of passionate people who touched lives.

"Volunteer," people suggest. But he doesn't feel much like volunteering because it takes too much courage to sign up for the damn stuff. He won't know what to expect or where to go and godforbid someone should need him and he let them down. So no. No volunteering. He'll just read there in his comfortable chair because it has actually taken the form of his body. Yes. The chair accepts him and the novel washes over him like a warm bath. It takes his hand and transports him for a time.

But the novel has the nerve to end.

He studies his cuticles. Ponders plucking out the hairs on his knuckles. Remembers that those are the hairs that used to get singed off when he built campfires in his youth.

Tea. He'll make some tea. Where is that damn teapot? Rusted out on the bottom. He'll need to use the microwave. Three minutes to boil the water, right? He removes his glasses so he can see the timer. He walks to the window to watch the bird feeder and wait.

The blue jays bully all the small songbirds. When they aren't chasing them down, they're warning them with their beady blue jay eyes, silently saying I'll come for you if you take a chance. Just try me.

The man feels the injustice of this feathered microcosm deeply, so he taps hard on the glass, hoping to show them who's really boss around here.

But the birds have the nerve to fly away.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Long Exhale

I smelled the Earth today.

I saw the robins out my classroom window, too. They were all work no play, marching like an army across the field. The worms didn't have a prayer.

While I was coaching lacrosse, I got muddy and I felt the wind and my fingers got a little numb from the cold, but I didn't wear gloves. When I looked northwest I held my hand like a salute to shade my eyes from the sun.

The shadows of the trees were long on my way home, but my headlights were off. My son went to baseball practice at 6:00 pm with a belly full of chili. He tracked cleat-shaped pieces of Earth in to the kitchen when he came home, and I resisted the urge to pick them up and feel them and smell it and rejoice in them.

It's spring. My uninvited visitor has left me for another poor soul.