February 2008

This post over at The Collective–if you haven’t already seen it–perfectly explains what I miss about my childhood.


If the most interesting thing you can say about yourself on your SECOND story-day on Jeopardy is that you quote movie lines in regular conversation a lot–you seriously, SERIOUSLY need to get out more.

No burst of color
no riot of flame,
merely a slow, slight
change from black
to less black
to gray.

I think we’re often told that adulthood is all about how you juggle.  Sometimes, we’re told it’s a balancing act.  Well let’s mix some metaphors here and say adulthood is flat out trying to juggle while you walk a balance beam that occasionally turns into a tight rope.

For me, I generally walk the balance beam okay, it’s the juggling that gives me trouble.  I learned to juggle scarves in 3rd grade PE, but no one ever taught me how to juggle 20 flaming torches of adult life.  I suppose it’s something you learn on the fly.

In my world, those torches don’t exactly fall.  More, they float out of reach so that as I walk my beam/tightrope, I’m struggling to continue the juggle, with one eye on those things floating just out of my grasp.  I make a grab for it–and it just floats further away… taunting me.

Right now, writing is one of those flaming torches.  It’s something I love to do.  When I’m writing well, it effects my whole outlook.    I’m a much happier person.  Writing is a part of me and not being able to do it–and not being able to do it well– drives me just a little crazy.  It’s not that I have nothing to write about–it’s just I seem to have lost the ability to write about it effectively.  Is it a side effect of adulthood?  That stupid torch will always burn just out of reach because I’ve got too much else to juggle.  Is it a side effect of teaching writing to students who are disinterested, don’t care, and skills make me want to scream.   I don’t know, I only know each failed grab makes my heart sink a little deeper.

This weekend was a bit of a roller coaster.  The biggest dip was finding out our house is not going to be done until the middle of April…. even though the sales lady assured us it would be March–which is when our lease ends!

She was all, “They won’t tell you this, but it’ll be done by March.  They can’t put that on the paper–they’ll have to put March/April to be safe, but they’re always done in 90 days.  Really, REALLY, they will be done by March.”  Over and over.  There would be No! Problem! Being! Done! In! March!  (She talks with a lot of exclamation).  “We will get you in by March!” She giggled maniacally.

Unhappy with the progress of the house in the past few weeks, R. and I finally sucked it up and went in to talk to her.  And she went on and on about “how fast” our house has gone up.  “Can you believe how fast it’s going?” she demanded.

R. and I kind of looked at each other because, um, they’ve been working on shingling the roof for about 3 weeks-and while I realize weather really slowed them down–they had NO trouble roofing the ranch down the street that started 3-4 weeks after our house did.  To me–that’s not really FAST.

“I guess the weather has been a hold up,” she finally agreed really reluctantly.  Then she told us our scheduled closing dates.

16. Days. After. We. Were. Supposed. To

3. Days. After. Our. Wedding

3. More. Days. Off. Despite. Not. Having. Subs

Living. With. Parents. For. 2+. weeks. without. R. including. after. we’re. married.

I’ll admit it, I lost my shit last night–if you can’t tell by all those misplaced periods.  There was some throwing of things and some yelling.

Luckily, R. is very wonderful and went and got our lease extended another month today and it will only cost about 200$ more than our usual rent.  I have recollected some of my shit.

But, I have learned a valuable adult lesson: Don’t trust sales ladies.

Winter is making me irritable, claustrophobic, tired, jumpy, disinterested, and just crazy in general. February is always the hardest month. If I spend one more day shut up in this apartment because of precipitation and temperatures I am going to flat out lose it.

Sadly, pictures of an old vacation to Hawai’i is not easing my pain.Wishful Thinking


I think I’ve mentioned many times that when I was a little girl I spent a lot of weeks at my Grandmother’s house in rural Iowa.  It was my favorite place in the world and sometimes those memories are still so real and visceral it’s hard to come back to this place where she’s no longer here and so much of that magic is lost.

I can still remember each part of the day clearly, but one of my favorites was morning.  Grandma would be in the kitchen making herself breakfast or cleaning, she’d have the AM radio on low listening to news show and politics show.  Now, I’m not sure if she so much listened as was comforted by the sounds of voices in a somewhat lonely house.  The sounds were all muffled and muted, but they were there and they were always comforting.

Today, we’re being pelted by freezing rain and my school had not yet canceled (now we’re working on an early release, but I am the only teacher that is here presently).  I was under the WRONG impression that local AM radio stations would give out the school closings, not say, “hey, go look at our website.”  Hard to do when DRIVING.

Anyway, they get through with the local news and up next is Paul Harvey.  I’m not going to lie, I cried a little here.  That’s probably not the reaction most have to Paul Harvey and his old, gravelly voice, but it was so much a part of those mornings at Grandma’s.  Her old radio, occasionally bursting with static, Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh’s craggly voices bellowing through the room as pots and pans clinked together, cabinets softly banged closed.  I could smell the rain on a spring day and hear a fan whirring quietly up the basement stairs.  It was so quick, so poignant, to be back in that place that had been my ultimate refuge and it literally hurt to not be there–and know that being there would never be an option again.

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