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Archive for August, 2004

|| August 6, 2004 || 12:27 am || Comments (9) ||

Kid Tuna and the Kindergarten Mojo

Dinner conversation with the Superiors

ROXIE: “There’s a crayon called Tuna? REALLY?”

MAXIM: “Really. It’s a whole new world, Mom.”

JETT: “And it’s fraught with strangeness and complexity.”

So last night was kinnygarten orientation.

Let me just say right here and right now that I am fully annoyed by long-winded people that hold you captive involuntarily just because they can. I am even more annoyed, then, by a string of several people in a row with the aim of doing precisely that.

I’ll go you one further and just tell you that I am also fully annoyed by anything with the word ‘orientation’ anywhere in its title.

So, kinnygarten orientation, by the simple fact that it incorporates both unflinchingly, gets my automatic ire. I will be derisive in the face of it, you just know I will!

I had a headache by the tenth minute into the whole farging shebang. Then, just as it has so often occurred to me in the past, I had a flash of brilliance so beautiful in its straightforwardness that it should be a fucking Fellini film.

There should be a Common Sense Test!

Yes indeedy, there should be a common sense test and everyone should be required to take it. All those individuals that score [X amount] or higher should be excused from things including long-winded people that hold you captive involuntarily just because they can and all things that include ‘orientation’ anywhere in the description or title.

Don’t worry about me; after I figured out how many BPM my headache was pounding away at, I had fun mixing songs against it in my (massively bored and ADD-spastic) mind. Eventually they freed us to go and meet the teacher, who had already sent us a lovely postcard and left a wonderful message on our machine at home. She had the right amount of spark in her voice without being kinnygarten-teacher ‘bubbly’. I had already decided I liked her, sight unseen.

Then, just a couple of days ago, I hear that she is the subject of MUCH SCANDAL on this here mountain, in this here community, because she stood up in front of The First Almighty Church of Community Power With Stress On Being Fiscally Established with her partner at her side and declared what can be best described as their ‘alternative lifestyle‘ in a ‘take-me-or-leave-me’ kinda fashion. HOO-WEE!

We met her –she is great– and it turns out we have an automatic ‘in’ because my gorgeous and super sis-in-law worked for her last year for some college credits and they got on famously, both being superbly creative and sweet people. We got our orientation packet, chatted up a couple other parents we know from preschool (Mathias’ best friend from preschool got put in the same class…how great is THAT?) and prepared to leave.

Kinnygarten Teach had a large yellow pad roughly the size of one of her students on the front table, and written on it in large, five-year-old-friendly letters was this:

“Pick out your favorite color and write your name with it below:”

Beneath it was a large, inviting space and next to it was a basket of chunky Crayola markers.

Two little girls were busily crafting ‘o’s and ‘a’s and Mathias patiently waited his turn after selecting the requisite ‘gweem‘. As we spoke with the teacher individually, he painstakingly put the marker to the page. When we were ready to depart, I glanced toward where he was writing what I thought would be his name.

He had written the word ‘tuna’*.

Ladies and gentlemen, it will most assuredly be an, ahem, interesting year.

*The teacher was amazed and congratulatory in the face of my kid’s word-prowess; I was horrified. TUNA.

|| August 5, 2004 || 11:57 am || Comments (4) ||

Things I wish I would have otherwise known.

Last night I stayed up late, sorting. Okay, you got me. I was really looking for something, a piece of paper that is supposed to be Very Importanttm but that I seem to have lost track of.

*rubs toe in dirt*

*looks at sky*

I was looking, then, and as I am wont to do in such sitations, I got distracted: “Oooooh! Shiny things!” I began to sort paperwork in the file cabinet, putting things in their rightful places, pulling out really old and needless stuff, gutting and piling. By the time I looked up and saw that it was three ay emm (“COURT!! I’ve gotta be at the courthouse in FIVE HOURS!”), I had half a dozen piles around me. Not wanting to just shove all my hard work into a drawer before properly punching-and-pronging, I smiled lovingly at it and told it I’d return tomorrow, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel. Then I went to bed.

When the alarm jangled me awake this morning, Maxim greeted me glumly with the information that the hot water heater had decided to take a walk without first informing us, so it was cold showers or no showers atall. Let’s see….taking three kids to the park: Swipe the pits with a rag, give ‘er the ole one-two with the cologne and bravely face the day. Testifying before various, assorted legal ‘professionals’: Best to groom one’s self with (kinda) the utmost of care.

So we elected to go in shifts to the Mom-In-Law’s, with Maxim and Mathias going first and then me after they had departed to work and preschool.

I had the best time in the world, let me tell you. I think everyone should shower at someone else’s house every couple of weeks now. It’s like going to Coney Island (back when Coney Island was the place to be), I swear. You get to smell all the soaps and body mousse and shampoos; you’re free to do a little test run while fully naked and rinse-able with all the sample product you could ever hope to poke a stick at! Plus, there’s the newness of a different shower head. That in an of itself is like going on vacation or sommat.

So I will call Roxie tonight and thank her for the use of the facilities and offer a little proposal: Shower-Swapping. All of the thrill and none of the danger, since we both know that the other has excellent taste in washroom accoutrements. If she balks and says no, then I’ll simply make a list of friends I know with attractive bathrooms and/or (most especially) tubside treats and pick up the phone. Most of my true, true friends are gimped in the brain like me and might give it a whirl at least once. I figure for six, maybe seven, of the coming months I can have a ‘vacation shower’ at least once a month.

I checked my messages this morning; Maxim got someone to the house post-haste. I kept thinking something didn’t feel right, but I was much pleased with his expediency. Oh well.

For all my bitching and bellyaching at times, there are days when small-town living is quite tasty and (dare I say it?) interesting.

Today, for instance. Yesterday afternoon I bought a nice backpack for one of the foster kids whose case I handle. I had seen the way that she inwardly cringed (albeit briefly, and she didn’t realize I caught that bit) when handed the state-supplied pack stuffed with school supplies and I resolved to go get her one that was a tad more fashionable for someone Eleven, The Ripe Old Age Of. School supplies should –byGOD!– be FUN! So I went and got this cute little pale blue (her verymostfavorite color) corduroy Jansport thing and thought that having it monogrammed for a bit more personal touch would be nice.

Okay, yesterday I bought the pack. Today I went and dropped it off to my mortgage lady to slap an initial on there.

This is the magnificence of small-town living: My mortgage lady does all my monogramming; she is also a foster mom to two of my cases. I used to drink beer and play music with one of her sons, do hard drugs with another and casually date yet another. Now she is a grandmomma; all the sons are happily married with kids and we all barbeque together and sometimes leave the kids with her so that we can roadtrip to a concert or music festival. Our children, sporting lovingly- and well-monogrammed jackets, will likely do the same one day. Plus, they will do it all with a Southerin Accent.

If heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie, I don’t wanna go, y’all.

I arrived home to see that the hotwaterheaterguy had been there, and I realized the source of my earlier discomfort: he had stacked all of my piles neatly atop one another and placed them atop my desk. Neatly atop those was the bra I’d taken off in a fit of filebusting pique. Beside it all was my oh-so-pretty wineglass (that I’d also left sitting in the floor) with just a wee smidge of roh-zay in the bottom.

So great. The man that will be coming back here in a few short moments to complete his maintenancely task already has me pictured as a Drunken, Careless, Fast-and-Loose, Naked-Breasted Filer O’ Paper. He probably imagines that I’ve not had my daily shower yet, either. Shit, shit, triple-shit.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::


In other news, I was so emboldened by the fact that the chicken microroasterwaver-thingy that the Crazy Purple Neighbor Porch Lady listed at an opening bid of one small dollah went for upwards of forty bucks that I, too, have decided to once again join the eBay fray. Only, this time all proceeds (as with CPNPL’s auctions) go to the Scotland trip. More on this in a minute. Like, one-thousand, four-hundred and forty of them.

|| August 3, 2004 || 9:56 pm || Comments (4) ||

For some, ice cream is enough.

There have been tears, because he is four and not yet staid in the resolution that tears spent on a mother that does not show up for her visits are merely a waste of salt water. I bought him ice cream –small consolation– so now the lower half of his face is a mixture of snot and sweet chocolate mint, both melted and both sticky.

“C’mere, Josh,” I say as I pull up in the drive of his foster parents’ home, “let’s get you cleaned up.”

A school-free summer is closing with the fierce gaiety it unrelentingly employs, and with it the clarity of smells that is one of its hallmarks. So it is no wonder that in the dead, muggy heat I can smell the warm salt scent emanating from the little cheeks where the tears have tracked mercilessly down as I clean them with a cool baby wipe procured from the box under my seat.

How many faces and fingers have I wiped over the span of my few years on the planet?

I exit the car, opening his door for him, helping him out; we amble up the drive in silence, the gravel crunching beneath our feet. An overexcited lab is waiting at the steps of the deck to greet us.

He crosses the deck, and as he prepares to mount the doorsill, me standing on the plank deck to see him securely inside, he turns to me. His face is upturned, the almost-ready-to-set sun gleaming gold off his nose, his cheekbones, his chin. Motes of dust and fluffy flecks of pollen pirouette in the air between us, little daytime sparks in front of his blue irises that could have been carved out of an Easter-Sunday sky.

“Hey; you my Sugar Worker?” he asks, bastardizing my ‘official title’, squinting one eye and baring still-perfect pearls of baby teeth against the explosion of setting sun behind me.

This gives me pause in spite of myself; an unsettling stir of emotions roll over under my ribs as I try this new title on for size: Jett Superior, Sugar Worker…trying desperately to wring sweetness out of shit and spin it into something fine–in all senses of the word.

Sugar Worker.

I squat, my face at the level of his, and push my sunglasses back across a messy tumble of long-day-tired hair. Secretly, I’m sure that the heels of my boots are leaving crescents of pale red dust across the seat of my Levi’s, but I don’t care. Our blue eyes fix on one another and I answer.

“Yeah, Joshua, I’m your Sugar Worker.”

Satisfied, he turns to mount one more step. I watch, then I turn to descend just one more. Every day, just one more.

Lord help.

|| August 2, 2004 || 11:31 am || Comments (11) ||

My plans for world domination, part three.

Look, everyone knows that a good despot can’t overthrow all the world superpowers simultaneously and assume absolute control without the obligatory morning sexual release.

That’s why this morning –instead of writhing ecstacically, having been brought up from sleep’s embrace by Maxim’s deft touch– found me fishing under the bathroom sink for tampons, saying, “There go my plans for world domination.”