Twenty Minutes

Yesterday I had a meeting at 8:00 am in Youngstown with Andy Rooney’s doppleganger.  What made me think I could pull it off (with both kids) and make it to work on time is beyond me.  I was late getting started, even though I was up way earlier than usual worrying about the meeting – couldn’t find the office, and was as a result 20 minutes late (I had to work at 9).  The meeting was with a gentleman that is going to help my friend and I start a small business.

We were talking and he was taking notes, when suddenly, the office filled up with a terrible stench.  Guess who decided to fill his diaper?  (The Andy Rooney lookalike guy is not the answer).  I’m apologizing for the stench, trying to wrap up the meeting, trying to make my children settle down and hoping to make it to my job on time.  None of those things worked.

We jump in the car and I call work, but no one answers – that’s weird.  I call again, still no one answers, but I attempt to leave a message and the answering machine cuts me off.  I call back and still, no one answers!!  I leave a fast message that I’ll be late and I TRY to speed off, but I’m on a college campus, and it is deluge time – the students are clogging the streets and it is right before that famous 9:00 class.

I finally am on the road and speeding again, even though I got a ticket two days ago (74 in a 55) and I get to work 20 minutes late…then I find out why no one answered the phone – the state inspector was there, and had I been on time, I could have helped the center from being written up…then 2 hours later (the inspector was there all day) – the owner comes down with a document I apparently missed in my entry paperwork for my kids, and they were written up for that too.  😦

So then today rolls around – it was an okay morning, I was on time!  I had a guest speaker lined up for the school (a police lieutenant), and he showed up like 20 minutes early.  What is up with the 20 minute pattern??!?  I scramble to get everyone in the meeting room so he’s not standing around, and my son is really taken with the fact that he can see me in the crowd of kids – he keeps smiling and waving at me, inching closer, but not coming over – he’s getting used to the whole daycare thing (thankfully)!!

The lieutenant is speaking to the kids and they are really just oblivious – kind of dumbfounded – every chance they get they are telling him about their pets, their families, their bikes, etc – and then my son stands up and I look over at him, and he’s pantless.  My kid, out of all the 25 kids there, he’s the one who’s standing there with no pants on.  Great.  It wasn’t intentional, mind you, he’s got a tiny little waist and 2T pants are just too big for him waistwise but not lengthwise, but I had my head in my hands nonetheless.  The cop is like, “Who wants to be a cop when they grow up?”  Not one kid raised their hand but Gage is showing his diaper.  I was giggling with another teacher so hard that I was crying – if we didn’t laugh we would all go insane (in 20 minutes).



Smiling Guinea Pig

Well, one would think today was a total wash…except for the guinea pig.

Mondays for me are notoriously unproductive, but today was particularly unproductive because we had all 4 of us in our irregular Queen bed last night, which is really just a double bed with an ego, and I drank a “Rock Star” energy drink at 6 pm (I had so much to do!), so at 1:30am I was laying in bed, wide awake, staring at the ceiling hallucinating shadows and figures and such.    I thought to myself, “Well, clearly, I am NOT a rockstar,” as my son elbowed me in the nose and my daughter smacked my ear in her sleep.  

I had planned to begin training for my 2 mile “Peace Race”  next Sunday, this morning – maybe shave off a few seconds off last year’s time, but when that alarm went off, I had only profanity to answer it with, and I turned it right off with no hope for snooze reconsiderations.

I arrived at work on time today, which caused my boss to actually clap.  She was laughing and saying that she had a dream last night that I actually arrived on time this morning and I said she must be a psychic.  I made a mental note to actually get up with the alarm tomorrow, no matter what.  Clapping for on time shouldn’t be happening at my age.  I keep waiting for that day when I “have it all together” but I don’t think it is ever coming – I am always a day late, a dollar short, and pretty much exhausted.

At my job, I have taken the role of “Zookeeper” because every classroom has to have a live pet and the teachers are not really interested in making these animals comfortable, because they are not necessarily on board with having a pet anyway…prior to me taking on this role, a lizard has died, several fish have died, a rabbit has lost its mind and began peeing orange and was removed, and a guinea pig has run itself ragged around and around the cage when the kids get loud.

Honestly, I’ve spent too much money on these animals at this point.  I have been reimbursed for what I have demanded to be reimbursed for – like a basking light for the lizard which was a life or death thing – and a few other things, but once I had everyone stabilized, I wanted to improve their quality of life.  Therefore I bought a big tunnel for the guinea pig today with timothy hay in it – a cool toy for the parakeet (she didn’t like the mirror toy I bought her last week) and a bunch more crickets for the lizard as well as longevity sustenance for the creepy crickets so I don’t have to drive all the way to the pet store so often.  The lizard still looks at me with contempt, although I’ve brought it logs, plants, mealworms, fruit flies (which have now laid a ton of freakin’ fruit fly MAGGOTS in the vial, vitamin supplements, and crickets, fresh water each day, it just wants to be in Florida.  Me too, buddy, me too.

So anyway, the kids today, well they were off the hook.  No one threatened to poop on me, and I was not spit on, so that is a plus, but I was kicked very hard, and head butted in the chin, which is bad because I have a front tooth that is barely hanging on as it is, due to several injuries over the years.   While reading books in my classroom I basically have to yell, because otherwise I lose their interest.  And while reading today, the kid who wanted to push my buttons just kept screaming indiscriminately, every 2 minutes or so, for effect and attention.  I ignored him, and eventually he listened to the book, and even commented at the end.  By the way, his mother told me last week it isn’t him, it’s me…and I just kept sweeping and mopping my classroom, clenching my teeth.

So as I was leaving today, I was feeling low, feeling like quitting, feeling like running away, and then I looked in on the guinea pig, and folks, well, I tell you, he was smiling at me, inside his tunnel, eating timothy hay, and loving life – and I said to myself out loud, “Well, if I did nothing else today, at least I made a difference to that guinea pig,” and I felt better about things.  

Well tomorrow I plan to get that new leaf turned over I’ve been planning to turn over for like 25 years or so…waking up early, getting my stuff together…I’ll let you know how it goes.  I read recently that passive aggressive personality disorder (since ’08 not in the DSMV) sounds way way too much like the reason behind my tendency to sabotage myself due to an underlying contempt for authority and rules.  Huh.  Well now I have to fight that.  






Sale – Yard

Last weekend, I “met” my great-grandparents for the first time – I went to the cemetery where they are buried and my Dad and my Aunt reminisced about them, and showed me where they lived (nice house, still well kept).  I wondered to myself why it has taken me 39 years to be interested in my heritage to this degree.  My great-grandmother was only 36 when she died, and apparently had been sick for some time (and in terrible pain) before dying.  She was a delicately beautiful woman, with a gentle smile.  So sad.  I then saw a mystery stone with no writing on it next to her.  I contacted the cemetery to find out about it and they couldn’t tell me anything about it (they didn’t know) – was it an infant, or just a foundation that that my great grandfather put there in hopes his children would join them?  I plan to find out eventually one way or another. 

The town they lived and died in is a small town, kind of odd – one that people don’t often travel to.  There is a diner in the middle of the town – in fact, I set my GPS to “town center” and it led me right to the diner.  As I was driving to it, I noticed a large warehouse type building with open doors and a sign that said, in big crudely drawn letters, SALE – then under that, YARD.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for thrift shops and the like, so I considered stopping on my way out of town if it was still open.  I work at a preschool and it needs toys – especially for my son’s room – the 2.5 year olds – so any chance I get to find toys for a song, I take it.

We had a nice lunch and tour and then we were all departing for our various destinations (I had a 4 hour drive) and my children were already beginning to argue (we had traveled less than a mile) when I saw the SALE – YARD was still open.  There were no items in the yard – they were all inside.  So yard was a strange word to be on the sign, but once I met the guy that owned it, it became clear to me that he wasn’t dealing with a full deck.

We walked in, and immediately saw toys galore.  The kids thought it was Disneyland – and there was a big box that said, “FREE”, full of toys, and much to my son’s delight, many matchbox cars were inside.  While they were looking and rejoicing, I wandered a few feet away and began looking at other stuff.  Things were so cheap it was ridiculous – like I found an antique camera for 50 cents!  I get a kind of buzz when I find places like this, so I was playing Marco Polo with my kids as I kept perusing.  Then, comes the WEIRDO.  He invades my personal space and I know right away he is, shall I say, intellectually impaired?  It is hard to put it into words – but I’ll paint a picture for you – he was big and round, dirty, looked like the mechanic from Dukes of Hazard – I can’t remember his name now – Cooter or something.  He had an underbite, had a camo hat on and was about 5 foot 4.  What he lacked in height he made up for in girth – he was probably close to 325 pounds or so, and he was right in my face.  

“I was looking at the TVs, didn’t see you here.”  

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah, the TVs all work.”

“Well, that’s good.”  (I am feeling a bit uncomfortable but I can hear/see my kids and I will leave if he touches me – probably after punching him in the nose – he is 3 inches away from me at all times).

“You like toys?”

“I teach preschool, and I have two little kids, so, yeah, I guess.”

“Sometimes people just give me stuff – other times I get it real cheap.  Look at this TV – free for me – it works!”  (There’s a $25 price tag on said TV).

“Wow, that’s great!”

Everywhere I go, he’s right there, I keep calling my kids, playing Marco Polo, and moving fast – he’s right there, 3 inches away, talking about everything I touch.  I size him up – up until this point I had not made eye contact, and I still don’t, but I notice him pulling up his pants, as he had on sweatpants and they had long ago given up their elastic properties.  Then my daughter comes and says she has to go to the bathroom.  I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding.  He tells me that it is there where the “No Dumping” sign is.  I think he wanted me to laugh.  I was not in the laughing mood.  I take her in there and it is scary in there – like a bad movie – meanwhile my son won’t come in with us although I am in a panic mode calling him but trying not to let on so the weirdo doesn’t get weirder…my heart beating fast, thinking I can’t leave my little girl alone in this bathroom to go get my little boy…I don’t know where the Sale Yard Serial Killer is…

Then, I hear…MY DAD.  My hero – my 6 foot 2 father – who was concerned that I hadn’t gotten on the highway, and turned around to look for me – was with my son in the toy room.  “He’s right here, I’m with him.”  The relief I felt was immense.  When we emerged from the bathroom, the weirdo was seated at his desk, and he left me alone from then on.  I was able to look around one last time without my fight or flight feelings – joking with my Dad and continuing the Marco Polo with my kids but not so panicked…

I will always need my Dad, my hero, no matter how old I get, and that’s why he needs to take care of himself and make it for the long haul.  He’s always had a sixth sense about when I need him the most.  My Dad’s health is not great, and he struggles to take care of himself the way he should.  I sometimes think I shouldn’t need my parents as much as I do at this age, but I do and the thought of them passing away is one I can’t fathom.  

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have stayed at the Sale-Yard – once I met the owner I should have taken my kids and left – but I was pretty sure I could beat him up, and that’s why I stayed.  You can judge me if you want, people enjoy doing so, but the fact is I left there with a trunk full of toys for needy kids for $10 and also got an antique camera and some other cool things for my house.  If you saw the smiles on the faces of the recipients of the toys I brought back to Ohio with me, you’d understand, I think.