Monday, November 03, 2014

Soften a bit until we all just get along

At work, we had a video conference with another school.  We had done a little art swap project with them, where our kids made something and then sent directions to them, and vice versa, then our kids made their artwork, and they made ours.  We showed the attempts to follow directions and replicate art, and then the kids told each other about their respective schools.  Since Prestigius is a fancy-pants private school in the big city, and our conference pals were at a public school in a small town in a struggling state, I think the other teacher got a bit peeved at how much our kids talked about all their classes and the spacious grounds and opportunities and so on.  I said, "No, we're jealous of you!  Your school sounds great!"  At which some of my kids screamed, "No it doesn't!"

I chastised them severely for this afterwards.

Later, the adults got into a tizzy fit because some people's scheduled were inconvenienced by the video conference project, and --- mea culpa --- I failed to adequately warn them that this would be happening.  (Although I still feel that should have been the tech teacher's purview.  She is extremely half-assed and lazy.  My excuse is that I am a bonehead.)  Educated adult drama!  People with zero problems making trouble!  It would be amusing if it weren't so stupid.

***

LD got a sitter to watch her kids while she worked late, and she came by my place before heading home.  We were both a bit stressed out and distracted, especially her of course, and so her visit was a bit awkward, but we sat and talked and I think I made her feel a little oasis of comfort and calm.  At least I hope so.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Old lady judges watch people in pairs

Today I had to go to work because we had an Open House for prospective parents.  I wore my shiniest shirt and crisp checkered shoes.  Or possibly the other way around.  Anyway, my ostensible role was to greet any touring prospects and answer their questions about third grade. Ms. Yule had the shift before me and told me that she fielded a few queries, but since most of the prospects had children aged 0-3, really very few had any interest in finding out about third grade just yet.  So I ended up standing around like an ugly male caryatid saying barely two words to any adults.  I did engage in a bit of persiflage with the Prestigius students that were attending, but that was about it. Afterwards I stayed and got Monday's spelling words and homework ready.

***

But!  Before that, I drove up to LD's house.  Eyeball had taken KJr out for a fishing trip (indoors somehow, as I understand it), so I went out to lunch with the three girls.  I really like Crab a lot.  I mean, Cake is sweet too, but I have a soft spot for Crab.  LD remarked that we share the same goofy facial expressions and mannerisms.  She cracks me up with her self-aware joking.

Tonight, LD and the kids went over to 74 and Zaftig's house, with Eyeball (the Family, as they used to call themselves), for Nora's birthday party. I felt left out and mildly resentful at the entire situation that has robbed me of old friends, as usual, but I am in a much more solidly grounded place psyche-wise nowadays and getting better slowly (I hope).  Unfortunately, afterwards I heard some really annoying and disturbing stuff about Zaftig.  LD told me she was making gross jokes about vagina restoration, certainly something she is copying from her new fancy super-rich Prestigius doctor friends.  But not cool, and disturbing to LD.  Especially, as LD said, Zaftig herself has been on the other end of that joke in her life.  (TMI!!)

Much more disturbing to me is the resurrection of a very old conversation, back when this first started, between Zaftig and LD.  Desperate to sway LD from me any way she could, Zaftig dragged me through the mud.  She characterized me as a quitter ("he'll walk away when things go bad"), as miles out of LD's league, as someone who LD should know better than go near because I am toxic, as someone who verbally tormented my Ex, as someone who dated a string of young women (ha!), as someone whose Ex was a 2 on the attractiveness scale while LD is a 10 (Zaftig is about a 3; I thought the Ex was cute), etc.  All very insulting and nasty.  It only reinforced my feeling that I am just fucking done with those people.  They are entitled to their opinion, but this insane passive aggressiveness just turns my stomach.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

It only believes in a pile of dead leaves and a moon that's the color of bone

LD and I have a tenuous tradition of date night on Saturday.  She sends her kids to Dutch classes in the afternoon which is sometimes additional time for us to be together, but she gets a babysitter for the evening.  Today, she had to catch up on work during the afternoon, so we only had date night.  We both agreed that given our situation, we also need to strengthen friendships and relationship, so she invited Eyeball to go out with us.

It was a fun evening.  We hit three nice restaurants and had drinks and appetizers at each one.  Eyeball is a very blunt person with no filter.  My behavior on this night, right before February, was caused by this bluntness.  However, whereas back then I took her comments as a deliberate attack, I am reasonably confident now that she's on the side of acceptance.  She is brutally honest, but sympathetic.  For example, early in the evening, she referred to me, half-jokingly, as "home wrecker."  I shrugged and accepted it.  That is a label and one way of looking at it.  But Eyeball then said, "Of course, that wasn't a home, and there wasn't any wrecking; that's my opinion, anyway."

Later on, we were talking about tattoos and she asked me, "Didn't one of your wives have tattoos?  I mean the young one."  Anyway, it was all good-natured ribbing of the particularly biting kind that close or long-time friends indulge in.  At one point both Eyeball and LD needled me for thinking I was superior to other people (which I really don't think is true), citing the fact that for years I did not know their names or talk to them.  Well, it is true I don't pay much attention to people until they show me something that wows me.  But in my defense --- and I wouldn't say this in return to Eyeball, though Friar agrees with me --- Eyeball herself doesn't exactly brighten up the room and engage people with her warm personality.  She is well-read and travels and watches good TV, but she projects a somewhat sour or reserved exterior.  It's only after a while, as with me, that she starts to thaw a little. 

I'm really glad we went.  Eyeball is officially neutral in the Rift, but it proving to be, if not an ally, a refuge from attack.

Friday, October 31, 2014

You know you got a lot to live for and you're gonna be mine

Halloween!  The one holiday I don't mind.  It's so unabashedly commercial and honest.

At work we had our traditional Halloween parade.  The kids all come to school in costumes and all the parents line the roadway around the school, and we all tromp by under their beaming gazes, and then there are photos and such, and then our normal day resumes.  I think it's sweet.  It does this old man's cynical black heart good to see kids enjoying themselves with such innocent, child-like pursuits: dress-up, pretend, creativity, escapism into fiction or adventure, candy.

74's family was there, of course, including two sets of grandparents and the boy D, taken from his school for this important event.  Nora seriously and earnestly hid when they tried to take pictures, but eventually 74 got one and posted it on Facebook.  I know this because LD told me.  I am apparently now excluded from 74's Facebook feed.  Family only!  (This includes LD, since, as 74 is fond of telling me, he and LD's family are "close as cousins at least," even though he doesn't actually like her.  Awesome.)

And, breaking a years-long tradition, 74 and Zaftig cancelled, at the last minute, their planned trick or treating with LD's kids, instead taking her own two kids to a party with some Prestigius parents.  This, I am sure, confused and hurt LD's kids, who practically worship 74's kids (Crab insisted on getting an exact copy of Nora's costume), and pissed off both LD and Eyeball, who has traditionally accompanied them all.  The decision to cancel this much-anticipated-by-kids event was, I am sure, half precipitated by the Rift (per the supercilious 74, LD needs to make her own friends, be taught a lesson, cannot use their old nanny any more, etc etc) and half just pure social climbing on Zaftig's part.

So I went over to LD's house, where her old friend from Boot State, Queen, and her husband, Anderson, and their two kids were.  We had some wine while the five kids tore around the house having fun.  Anderson and I hit it off to a degree; he is a cameraman and has some interesting stories about hi work (he has worked on shows in the lot next to where they shot "Seinfeld," and worked on the show "Homicide").  It was nice to have some adult conversation, if only small talk.

After they left, I read to the kids a bit, and then LD and I sat on the couch watching TV and being together.  It was a great evening.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I’m the car in the weeds, if you cut me I’ll bleed

"But Chance," I hear my non-existent readers roar as one, "You said in the reboot post that you and LD are having ups and downs, yet all we read from you is domestic bliss!  What gives?"

Well, there's a lot of backstory and high drama that I've skipped or glossed over.  LD's family are all in various degrees of dudgeon about her affair with me.  Her parents have given their reluctant, disapproving support; one of her sisters is at this point basically dead to her due to the horrible things she's said about this whole mess.  I've mentioned how 74 and Zaftig have broken with both of us in tongue-clucking moralistic horror.  And of course there's Kraut's mental breakdown and lucid, serious threats on my life.

These things take their toll.

The other day, we were talking about us, as we do, and I said something like, "Of course we aren't really together yet, but..."  LD laughed and said, "In what sense are we not together?"  And while it is true that we are quite couple-like at this point, the fact is we aren't together in the very real sense that, say, her kids don't know about us, and we can't bandy about our relationship at work or with certain acquaintances.  (In the case of her work, it's doubly touchy since they knew Kraut, who used to work for them as well.)

ANYhoo, today I volunteered to pick up her kids from school again right after work so she could stay late and get some work done.  She ordered a pizza from work, and I fed the kids, let them watch cartoons, and then at a certain point made them do homework.  All very nice.

When LD got home, she was extremely stressed out, and the kids got all hyper the way they do, and they climbed on me playfully and I read to them, and they got send to bed after much pushing, and she had to clean up Cake's bed because she had an accident in it.  By the time we had some time together, she was pretty high strung.  In talking about the kids' schoolwork (they're all three behind because in Europa, kindergarten doesn't teach anything, so much as a letter shape, but is just all-day play, and the older one is very bad at reading English), I said something true but foolish about Prestigius being about a year ahead of public school curriculum, and that sort of sent us downhill.  She knows she can't afford that for her kids, at least not as a single mom, and said so, which made me pretty hurt because my prime fear is that this life she has as a single mom will be so hard that she'll go back to Kraut.  And it got worse from there.

[Yes, I worry.  I worry that when Kraut comes here in late December, he will cajole her, "Look, all the things you complained about back in Europa is solved now.  You are here in Deviltown, with our friends, and have a job, and I will have a job and make money, and we won't live in a one-bedroom townhouse with my interfering mother and brother and evil bitch sister-in-law anymore, but a four-bedroom palace, and I won't be crazy any more, and everything will be good."  And I worry that even though I know LD loves me and Kraut has been a dick to her, she may choose to be persuaded, because after all it is easier and better to make a life with the father of your children; practicality is often more powerful than romantic sentiment.]

Well, the evening got better and we made up, but it is an example of how we can have some badness with the goodness.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One more block; the engine talks

Today at work, I gave the kids a reading quiz that I wrote (two adapted Aesop's fables, plus the questions), oversaw their partnered reading and looked at a few reading reaction pages (problem and solution), then went over homework.  An hour and  half goes by fast; what I just wrote out really doesn't seem like it would take all that time, but it does.

In adapting the fables, by the way, I took the one about the milkmaid and reworked it so that it was about a young man dreaming of using his money to buy a fine new tractor and lording it over his neighbors and spilling the milk as he acted out his fancies, rather than a girl tossing her head at suitors.  The original is (David Brent voice) a bit sexist, innit?

***

I literally had no idea the World Series was going on until I saw the CNN headline about the winner just now.

***

Saw The Vikings (1958), surely one of the worst major motion pictures ever made by Hollywood. From the bad acting, to the atrocious dialogue, to the off-kilter casting (Ernest Borgnine as the Viking Chief! Haw!), to the movie's bafflingly propagandistic association with a Germanic, proto-fascist people at the expense of our Good Old Ally England.

Among many of the unintentionally funny scenes: Monk makes sign of cross. Kirk Douglas says "Take your magic elsewhere, holy man" before pushing him to the ground.  Ha!  I don't know why that's funny, but it is.  That's funnier than a rotating chair.

I am still watching "The Walking Dead."  It is preposterous and thrilling!

I have also watched every episode available on Netflix of "Comic Book Men," a "reality" show about Kevin Smith's comic book shop in Red Bank, NJ.  It is staged and pretty goofy, but I am enough of a nerd to binge-watch it with at least one eye open.  Speaking of unintentionally funny, Jason Mewes (Jay, of Jay and Silent Bob fame) attempting a believable reaction shot to anything is hilarious.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'd ask you what you want but I don't think you'd know what I mean

LD is super overworked at her job, which is a mass of backbiting and undercutting, apparently.  I really don't want her to lose her value there, because frankly she was lucky to get that job (at a place she'd worked years before) because of the three-year gap in her resume.  She makes twice what I do, and with three kids she needs it.  When a kid is sick, she racks up yet another unwanted absence.

So when she texted me that Crab was sick, I drove up there after work.  She left me with Crab lying on the couch watching TV.  I walked over to her kids' school and picked up the other two; I'm on the list, this having happened before.  They watched a lot of cartoons (Garfield!  Phineas and Ferb! Some French series of shorts about a shark who loves a clueless mermaid and protects her from the hyena who wants to eat her!) while I graded some papers.  I made them two corn dogs, two breads with Nutella, and two pears.  Also Popsicles, after they took their various medicines (diuretic for Crab's stomach, antibiotic for Cake's ear infection, reading log time for KJr's lectophobia).  They eat huge amounts.  They are pretty big.  Wait til they're teenagers!

[Her kids are big because LD is tall.  LD is five foot eleven; I am five foot five or so on a good day.  We are both fine with this reversal of typical gender body dimorphism.  Some people aren't.  Her kids love to point it out.  Crab told her recently that daddies shouldn't be shorter than mommies.  They can be the same size, but not shorter.  On a similar note, apparently one of the topics covered on LD's last talk with Zaftig was battles with weight, and the perils of a woman weighing more than her partner.  LD doesn't talk about her weight to Zaftig because she doesn't want to hurt her feelings --- LD and I weigh approximately the same.]

After a couple solid hours of work, LD drove all the way down to my place, where she fed the dogs (she has been around enough that, unbelievable as it may seem, Dog II --- who has lunged snarling at my landlord, my neighbor, and my brother when he came to stay for a week once --- allows her to pet him and even enter the house without me, although he does run around crazily, barking and jumping on her).  Then she drove way back up to Mannontown to her house, where we all (including the kids!) had dinner of salmon and pasta.  So domestic.  Then the kids were driven reluctantly to bed.  We cleaned up, I tried with mixed success to pay LD's bills online, and then we absconded to the couch for some adult time.  We also watched some of "The Office" (UK), which I love.

LD and I butt heads occasionally on her willingness to let kids in her bed.  I think as a third grade boy, KJr is getting too old to share his mother's bed.  In particular I dislike the demanding way he asks her to go to bed, as if he were a partner in the bedtime process and not a child.  She would be happy to have her children sleep with her every day until they go to college.  It's not such a big thing to argue over, but I wish it didn't gnaw at me.  I certainly don't want to create rivalries before their time or have petty jealousy about her kid, for Pete's sake.

I got home around half past midnight.  I'd been gone from home since about 7 a.m.  This was only possible because of the thousands of dollars I put into having a six-foot fence built around my yard and a dog door put in the back.  These improvements have really changed how I structure my day!  My schedule used to be tied to getting home to let dogs out.

Monday, October 27, 2014

My insides shake like a leaf on a tree

At work, I am stressed about

(1) A few type-A parents who are going to the Vice-Head and saying my manner intimidates their children (which no one believes or sees --- and we don't have doors in our classrooms).
(2) Falling behind in my communication, including the irritating Creature Swap project we're doing at the behest of our unhelpful Technology teacher.
(3) Falling behind in the work the kids are getting done.
(4) Conference aftershocks --- parents wanting feedback on stuff they were told about last week.

I am used to being the star and success coming easily.  This third grade thing is kind of rough.

***

So that call and text from Zaftig yesterday to LD was her saying she wanted to have dinner.  74 was going to watch all the kids.  So that's what happened, and it ran long.  I started to panic a bit for no rational reason.  The thought of Zaftig and LD socializing still sends me into flashbacks about  February, because of Zaftig's two-faced, controlling role in causing it.  I'm slowly, slowly, getting better, at least I hope.  I recovered, and we texted and had a quick talk afterwards. I learned

(1) Kraut is calling around to Deviltown and Swampland friends, including Zaftig and the loathsome Ugly Joe, complaining about me being around his kids.
[He knows this because the kids tell him.  After one session on Skype or phone where they babbled merrily about how I am funny, and draw well, and give them gum, etc, LD said, "Daddy isn't such a big fan of Chance, so maybe he doesn't want to hear about that.  Naturally, the next conversation, Crab started it off with, "Why aren't you a big fan of Chance, Daddy?  I think he is funny!  He..."  Kraut replied, "Well, it's a long story, Crab," and then proceeded to question Crab about my interactions with them, though he did not mention me at all when he spoke to LD..  LD had to say to the kids, "I know he is your daddy, and you can talk to him about anything, including Chance if you want, but you should just know it makes him sad."]
(2) Zaftig apparently told him I was a professional and didn't want to be their dad and he should come over here and spend time with them himself to solve the problem.
(3) 74 was stressed or pissed off or something and very cold, just barely civil, to LD and, her kids reported, yelled at them; Crab was screaming in the dark when LD got there, apparently
(4) Zaftig, wonder of wonders, apologized for "making this harder on you than it had to be" (can it be?  was this actual self-reflection?).

I have nothing but bad feeling for both Zaftig and 74 at this point.  They'd have to bend over backwards to get me to attempt to recreate our past bond.  I've stuck out enough olive branches and had them ignored over the past year.  Their smug nasty controlling crap is just too much.  I don't care if I ever speak socially to them again.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reboot

Let's try this again.

The last reboot started, sadly, just before the Bad Times, which I won't go into now, if ever.  Let's just say there has been enough drama and enough tears for ten lifetimes.

These are better times, although still shaky and stressful.  There's still much that is up in the air and much that depends on external forces, which isn't a condition I gladly tolerate.  There are ups and downs.  But it isn't the nadir of hopelessness it was back in February.  Indeed, when LD and I say that word --- February -- it is shorthand for "the most horrible either of us have ever felt."

So.  Today.

I met LD and her three kids, Cake, Crab, and KJr, at the grocery store, where we shopped individually and together.  I then met them at her place.  Yes, she no longer lives in Europa. She lives here, in Mannontown.  So there's that.

The idea was that I should stay with the kids while she went to the office to catch up on work, but she lacked the energy for that.  So I watched the two biggies for just a bit while she went to go retrieve Cake from a birthday party.  Then we took them to the park and LD and I walked around and talked about us and other, less weighty matters, while the kids played on the equipment. I did a little work on her laptop, and then the five of us had spaghetti with meat sauce that she made.  We watched a bit of "Malcolm In the Middle" --- that show is funny and clever!  I never knew it was a notch above other sitcoms.  Then I helped clean up some of the mess and washed dishes.  It was all very domestic.

After the kids were asleep, LD and I had some much-needed adult time together, which was interrupted by a call and text from Zaftig, whose relationship with LD has been cooled and slightly awkward since LD and I got together.  (And Zaftig and 74's relationship with me?  Well, the first time I spoke to 74, my friend of 27 years, was last month when we met for a drink, and it ended in rather strained though civil argument, and no contact since; and I have literally not spoken to Zaftig since February.  Oh, except for professionally.  You see, I am their daughter Nora's teacher!  Ha ha!  It is awkward!)

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Need a place to hide out of anger, out of love

Bad craziness.  Told LD that "it was all lies."  She replied, offended, that she had never lied to me.  I said that she had implied that we had a chance, even while she knew all along she was going back to be a couple in Europa.  Lies of omission and implication.

But forget all the emo bullshit.  All you really need to know is that of all my pals, no one --- not Friar who knows I'm going through hell, not 74 and Zaftig who are holding a Super Bowl party --- called or texted to see how I was doing.

Mood: abandoned/suicidal

Saturday, February 01, 2014

How many times can it escalate till it elevates to a place I can't breathe?

Hysterical.  Called brother and unloaded on him.  Called Friar.  Even asked if I could go to his house just so I wouldn't be along.  I've never had a problem with being alone before.  He was out doing errands with kids.  I sucked it up and pulled it together and went to the library to get a backlog of grading done.  Stayed at the library until closing.

While I was there, a high school girl came up and asked me to help with a math problem from a test she was doing online.  It had to do with finding the original amount if you know what the percentage is.  I showed her how to set up the equation and then divide by both sides.  Later on she came up again and asked me about a problem involving two cars of different speeds and how often they pass each other on a track. I didn't really have any idea to solve that one.  I'm a teacher and I have a master's degree.  Ha ha!  I'm such a fraud.

***

Texting with LD didn't go very well.  I compared her to a happy prisoner, brainwashed into thinking she needed to comfort her captor.  She agreed with the assessment but said she wasn't very happy about it.  I said she didn't owe him anything other than a relationship with his children, but that she was deluded into believing she owes him a wife.  She didn't argue that either.  Then I asked her to stop texting for a bit because it was devolving into accusation and resentment and was killing me.  I sent her a short email, though, saying that I'd be there if she really needed me.

Worked out.  Took a sedative.  Started drinking.  Got a call from T-Bone and Courtney to go eat dinner, but I was at the library when they asked, and anyway I had plans with the Friar already set.  Went out to dinner with the Friar, then drinking at Sports Bar and then the Hangout, where we played a little video trivia and such.

Friar took me home, but I don't have clear memories of it.

Mood: hysterical/suicidal

Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm gonna try to nullify my life

Had to go to work.  Forced myself to keep it together on the drive in.  Brought a rag in the car to dry my eyes.  Was mostly okay through the day.  I'm generally unpredictably sullen or happy go lucky and not very personable in either case, so no one much noticed my depression (though Ms. Yule did).

Got home.  Worked out.  Agony inside, like heroin withdrawal.  Texted LD a bit.  Some accusatory and defensive, some simply loving and saying I'd be there for her.  Took a tranquilizer and drank.  Friar picked me up to go out drinking at Hangout.  He had been in contact with 74 and picked up him as well.  I mostly ignored 74 though was civil.  Sedated and drunk enough to laugh at times.

Want to die.

Mood: suicidal/sedated

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why does my life have to be so small? Yet death is forever

The final day of LD's visit before her flight back to Europa tomorrow morning while I'll be at work.

I texted and arranged that she'd meet me right after work today.  We went to Target and she bought her son some of those Skylanders that the kids love so much these days.  Then back to my house where we talked and had a last evening together.  I tried my best to plead my case: that we have an unusually intimate bond; that she's a captive who's deluded into wanting to comfort her captor; that her situation is sick and unhealthy and a break-up would be better in the long run; that she should model a live of love and support rather than passive-aggressive silence for her kids.

But she wants to go try to make her "family" work.

I shut down and tensed up.  I literally could not respond.  LD got hysterically tearful.  But despite everything, there was a farewell dinner at Zaftig's house that she was supposed to go to, and Zaftig kept texting every few minutes to see if she was coming.  We cried and kissed and whispered but we couldn't get control.  But she had to go to this dinner.  LD insisted on me attending (despite yesterday's awkwardness), because she wasn't quite ready to let go yet.  Neither was I, because I came along.  Eyeball was there, and to our surprise, Muffin was as well.  Nothing was said about LD and I arriving together.  It was calm and peaceful, sort of.

Eventually it was time for me to go back.  LD drove me back to my place where we had more heartbreak drama in the car (Zaftig texting her twice more, because she's an interfering meddlesome old harridan I suppose).  And eventually, again, I had to go and she had to go back for good.  I just said "Be safe" and got out of the car and went inside.

I knew she was going to clear her head.  I knew we'd be on hiatus and our contact would slow down.  I didn't know she'd already made her mind up to start yet again to make it work with Kraut.  The same thing she's been doing, passively, for three years, hating it and not speaking to Kraut's family, she thinks she needs to give another shot.

I can't take it.

Mood: suicidal

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

With so much sea between us

It's a late work day but we didn't have a meeting.  Still, because Ms. Yule and I are basically rewriting the third grade curriculum from the bottom up, she and I stayed after school to create the midyear progress reports that we will fill out and share with parents at conferences.

***

LD is back from Boot State.  She, Zaftig, and a mutual friend (who I don't remember mentioning before, but even if I did will henceforth be known as Eyeball) went out to cocktails and then dinner.  She texted me several times, extremely drunk.  I was hesitant to go to Zaftig's house, especially with Eyeball there, but I did.  On Zaftig's drunken suggestion, I built up a fire in their outside firepit, despite the bitter chill.  We sat around talking, or at least they rambled drunkenly.  Over the course of the brief evening, I had to leave the room several times due to Eyeball's constant mention of Kraut.  They'd be talking about hair color, and apropos of not much, Eyeball would say, "But it's not as dark as Kraut's hair!'  Or during the fire building, out of the blue, "Remember that fire Kraut and 74 built?"  Finally, when she went on and on about the best things to do in the medieval village where Kraut and LD live, I couldn't take it any more.  I leapt up, scowled a terse, "Goodnight," and strode for the door.

LD followed me and we had a little talk in the hallway where she tried to calm me down.  As I say, they were pretty drunk, so I'm not sure my bitchy petulant flouncing made a particularly heavy impression.  Still, thought, this evening was LD's plan to show Zaftig and I that we're all friends and we could sit together without there being any awkwardness between us.  So much for that idea.  I'm not sure if she was deliberately taking little passive-aggressive shots at me and LD, or if she really was oblivious to what she was saying, but it hit me in the nerve, repeatedly.  I'm just so sensitive, he shrilled, shaking his tiny fist futilely. 

Mood: enraged/despondent

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You can hang back or fight your best on the front line

Remember all that stuff I wrote about that I had to do this week?  No time to blog; still playing catch-up.

Today in class, I handed back and went over the two graded homework sheets from last week.  I also handed back and went over the analogy page that I graded.  For the most part they fill in the missing parts of analogies all right.  The thing the kids have the most problem with is explaining the relationship between the pair of words across both pairs.

The kids also did their book partner reading.  Finally, they wrote a five sentence paragraph (topic, three supporting details, conclusion) on something they would like to persuade their parents to let them do.  The last time they did this, the five sentence paragraph was to support any opinion.  One girl wrote,
"Mr. Chance is the best techer you could ever have!  To begin with, he is funny and if you joke around he might lagh.  In addition he sometimes lets us walk in weird ways down the hall.  Finlly if you get in trouble he just pats your head and pretends like nothing happened.  It is clear that Mr. Chance is the most awesome techer."
Moo ha ha.  My loyal army grows, one brainwashed solider at a time.

Mood: glum

Monday, January 27, 2014

Do open eyes keep the ghosts at bay?

First day back at work since the 21st!  Also, first time I have blogged about the new job.  I teach a literacy class lasting one and a half hours and including a reading and writing component, twice a day, to two groups of 12 kids each.  The rest of my day is taken up with planning, taking kids to specials classes, meetings, or recess or lunch duty.  Today, as at the beginning of nearly every week, I gave the kids a spelling pretest, which they grade themselves and then assign themselves words from based on how well or poorly they did.  I passed out and explained the first homework sheet of the week (Ms. Yule and I write our own homework sheets, or, more precisely, I write them, at least most of the time).  Then the kids met their book partners and discussed their reading with each other, as well as assigned themselves their own reading for tonight. They made notes about the books they were reading as well.  I read aloud to them a few chapters of a book, and finally we played a matching card game about analogies.

Also, after school on Mondays I teach le français to kindergarten kids.  So I stayed about an hour later than usual.
 
Which is too bad, because taking three days off means a lot of make-up work for a teacher (which is why I generally never take days off --- I have to work harder to arrange plans and catch up in grading than I do to actually go to work.)  Here is what is waiting for me to grade, or at least look over, from twenty-four kids:

last week's spelling test
Monday homework sheet
Wednesday homework sheet
apostrophe in-class worksheet
analogy in-class worksheet
fiction reading comprehension test
nonfiction reading comprehension test
descriptive paragraph about inferences

Whew!  But!  There was no time for all that, because I was required to return to school in the early evening to hear an author talk about his book on Why Johnny Can't Achieve, and What You Can Do To Help Him (Hint: It's Parental Attention and Good Attitude).  I read the fellow's book last summer, so the talk was mostly soporific.

Texted with LD both after school and before bed.  After she returns to Europa, she says she needs to clear her head and not text with me as much (read: literally constantly, every waking minute).  So I'm getting what I can.

Mood: Mostly too busy to be sad, mostly.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I can try all I want to find the will, but there ain't no sympathy

This morning LD flew off to see her siblings and parents in Boot State for three days.  Zaftig and their hick friend dropped LD off at the airport, and then I drove down to say goodbye while she waited for her flight.  I brought her a book I'd bought for her kids, and she handed me some lotion that she accidentally packed but couldn't take along because it was a terrorist-friendly seven ounce package.  We sat in the lounge for twenty minutes or so, just being together.  We have to sneak around like teenagers under watchful parents, and we act that way too.  Seriously, some of our text conversations would probably revolt people.

***

Went for a walk with the dogs with Neighbor Dale.  I bet people think we're gay.  Two dudes, just walking their dogs in the gayborhood.  Gayin' it up.

One of my mother's front crowns fell out the other day, so she is refusing to leave the house on the grounds of "looking like a raggedy old witch."  I went over and brought her some groceries, then watched some "Modern Family," a show I haven't seen in a few years.  Some of the characters have aged rapidly; the daughters look like 35 year olds.  The writing is still sharp.  I didn't belly laugh or anything, but I admired the wittiness and the rapid-fire dialogue.  Ah, the American sitcom.  It makes us forget our pains for a brief half hour.

***

Back to work tomorrow.  I requested an unprecedented three personal days --- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday --- last week in anticipation of LD's visit.  (And am I ever glad I did.)  I've sort of been coasting at The Job lately, not really shining in my new role.  So it's time to step it up.  Starting tomorrow.

Mood: sad

Saturday, January 25, 2014

If I could get my way, I'd get myself locked up today

LD came by early this morning with Green Juice from Starbucks while getting coffees for the huge clan currently staying at 74's house.  A clandestine visit!  She told me that as she left 74 said something to her, Meaningfully, about how it never takes too long at that particular Starbucks, so they expected her back soon.  And upon her return, she told me that Zaftig met her at the door, saying they were just going to go out after her and were "worrying."  It really pisses me off that 74 and Zaftig are treating LD like a child.  I have no interest in their disapproval or their bourgeois beliefs about how Things Ought To Be.  I don't mind the censure; but their working actively to destroy my happiness grates on me.

LD told me that she had this conversation with Zaftig:
LD: Has my relationship with Chance changed the way you think of me?
Z: It's changed the way I think of myself.  I mean, I never imagined something like this would happen to me or anyone I know, so now I'm wondering what I might do in similar situations.

I'm not trying to be vituperative here, but I've always found that thinking to be a bit infantile.  "I never thought I'd be the victim of a crime!"  Why not?  Crimes happen every day.  "I never dreamed my son would be gay!"  Why not?  Gay people are born every day.  So for Zaftig to be inflicting this brand of unthinking bland homogeneity on LD's own situation is doubly aggravating for it being so unexamined and banal.

Later in the morning, I saw LD again when she went to a Doc in the Box clinic for an injured shoulder received during drunken shenanigans this Sunday.  The desk nurse was very suspicious when I gave my name to be sent back to join LD where she waited for a doctor.  I guess I'm just a suspicious-looking fellow.  "Tell them you're my dad," LD texted me.  Ha!  At just this side of 43, I still get carded regularly.  Also she is like a head taller than me.

***

Tonight I went to dinner again, at Mexican Kitchen, with Friar and Auric's label president.  I had delicious tacos and mojitos.  Then we went out to the Reel, the club owned by our musician buddies Owens and Diamond.  We also saw three local pop-punk bands at a different club.  One of the bands was pretty terrible.  The middle one was led by another musician buddy of Friar's.  The last one was frenetic and loud and enjoyable.  We stayed out til 2:00 and then took Uber back to my car, where I drove Friar home.  He gave me some terrible advice about being sad.  "You're bigger than those feelings."  This is the same thing his seven year old child is told by his therapist.

No need for a sedative.  Slightly tipsy, mostly tired.

Mood: sad/okay

Friday, January 24, 2014

Your leaving breaks me like a bone

in media res

In the morning hung out with LD and had sushi lunch, then a quick walk in the unseasonably freezing weather.  And then came a goodbye; she is going to visit her parents in Boot State and will be flying back to her husband and children in Europa in a week.  The real reason, though, is that the outrage of 74 and Zaftig at this affair ensure we will probably not see one another socially this trip.  Cannot tear away, but should.  It's all messed up.  Very lachrymose.

Invited to go out to dinner with the Friar, Sonar, and the president of Auric's personal indie record label.  Sonar was all mopey about the fact that Sonar's Gorgeous Wife has told him in no uncertain terms that she wants a divorce.  He has managed to talk her into a trial separation instead.  She is "the love of his life."  They have two kids.  I feel for him.  Their marriage has been rocky for a few years now, though, so I doubt there will be a drastic schism in the immediate future.

After a vaguely unsatisfying dinner of well-made but pretentious nouveau-garde cuisine and bemusing craft cocktails, we absconded to Venue K, where Friar's friends Happy Garden were playing.  We had a little private suite with a booth to watch them.  I was too gloomy to be out.  Insides in turmoil.  No joy in Mudville.  I texted Uber and went back home alone.  Friar was too busy organizing his upcoming (putative) music festival to notice.  I took a sedative.  Texted LD a bit and slept.

mood: despondent