Tuesday, May 08, 2007

teacher appreciation day.

There is nothing like the sudden embarrassment of having all the administrators bursting into your classroom (your most unruly hour, no less, the one that leaves you pulling your hair out by the roots on some days and you had just crankily said, "Now, I'll wait for you. I'm getting tired of all the side conversations"), clapping, encouraging the bewildered kids to clap along with them, calling out about how great Miz Me is, how the musical went wonderfully, and thanks for all we teachers do, and the kids are left confused and bemused and wanting to watch the people slash each other with swords. I accept, and we continue with the video, clapping drowning out the dull roar of the street brawl in Romeo and Juliet.

Photo Courtesy Mark Packard

Photo Courtesy Mark Packard

Sadly, K had to fly out almost as soon as we flew in this week. We got home around eleven at night and four and a half hours later, K was up again, catching a flight out to Santa Fe. His boss sent along some photographs, to which I told K, "Absolutely gorgeous. The view is nice too," and made sure he was in turn taking pictures of his boss to send along to his wife. I miss him like crazy and it hasn't even been very long. I know that some couples relish having brief time away, a little bit of space is needed, but I don't think I've ever really needed that with him. Sure, there are those small moments when we need to give each other some distance, but it isn't for long swaths of time. So I want him to hurry home to keep me in check.

Of course, my stupidity last night: allowing myself to get lost in a book. It happens so rarely in the spring of musicals. I come home, trudging, so exhaustion I'm afraid I'd trip over the carpet (and did, on occasion), let alone my shoes or any of the gazillion dog toys strewn about the living and dining rooms. But now the musical is over, so I bask in these long afternoons, not willing quite yet to grade the piles (but knowing I need to, I ought to, and grades are due Thursday, so go get some of it done so the parents outcry is only partially warranted), and last night, I curled up in bed and I r-e-a-d for an hour. An entire hour! Without falling over from sleep deprivation (which I was certainly suffering from, given our late return hour) but instead remembering the delicious pleasure it is to simply give yourself over to the plot.

In addition to long, suspended moments in time, reading in bed between muggy sheets, I also have given myself a little project: clean the darn house. It's been a sty since the beginning of musical and hey, let's not kid ourselves--I'm a cluttered person, so it has been a sty since the moment we moved in. This is my fault; I accept that. But my goal of cleaning the house goes beyond keeping the laundry up to date and the floors mildly free of dog drool. I'd like to prove to K that I can be a clean person, I really have it in me, and one day, I will be able to iron with a baby on the hip and dangit, I'll enjoy it. Plus, I really want to see the look of surprise when he walks in and doesn't stumble over my stack of back issues of The New Yorker and somehow the tops of the bookcases aren't cluttered with bookish fodder. I've always been a little ashamed of how messy we are, not wanting to take a wide photograph of the dogs in action within the confines of our abode since you never know what would crop up in the background. I'm always on some mission to clear out something I thought totally necessary to collect, though just as often, I'm on mission to bulk up my poetry shelves, to have more lit mag subscriptions, to collect yarn for making a baby blanket for pregnant friends (or worse, fat quarters to quilt with). I have phases, and I'm learning not to collect things for sentimental reasons. And if I do, it must be flat, or photographable: I will keep that shirt I wore at This High School by photographing the emblem on it and giving it to someone who will still work here in the fall, I will keep memories of the trip to Boston by pasting a few stubs in my writing notebook and not in a box full of other cluttered junk, I will reminisce over pictures-of-the-day not by adding more dedicated photo albums to my shelves but by scanning the posts (and pray that blogger does not randomly and suddenly or even ever shut down). I will learn to let go and record in ways that aren't detrimental to simply living. Simplify, simplify. I think I may need some help in this department.

Small details about the wedding are cropping up. We have done several large things at the end of last summer: picked a date, of course, reserved a reception hall (that reminds me of a tin fairytale castle inside), reserved a very expensive photographer, reserved a baker and tasted cakes, selected a florist and received a quote. There are several large things that should have been done by now: rehearsal dinner, invitations finalized (I have an appointment on Saturday to meet with the letterpress artist), passports ordered, honeymoon book. We've only just reserved the officiate, a local judge (a woman sharing the name of someone very dear). And once I start to realize one to-do item, all others come tumbling after: must call reception to have beach reserved for ceremony, must order chairs for ceremony (do you get chairs for sand?), must also consider aisle runner and possibly flower heads to toss randomly for decorative effect (should I get a flower girl?), etc. My brain starts whirling in this crazy vortex, and suddenly, I realize: I now have no more procrastinating excuses. Kelly's wedding and the musical over and now it is this. (And this summer, too: teaching an accelerated theatre course to gifted and talented kids in Wisconsin, taking a course from a much respected poet.)

Rumor has it there was a big storm in the Midwest while we were gone. The only thing we watched this weekend was the last installment of The Matrix, garbage can would be among our things (someone else entirely must have collected our recycling bins, of which we have five, and our very own garbage and put it in its normal place as neither of us brought it in from the curb before we left for our trip, making me feel guilty about this chore I rarely do). And above, on my way home from work, making me glad I now officially bring my camera nearly everywhere I go, like some obnoxious tourist. This, I blame completely on Angie, and her photo-a-day project that I fell into with an obsessive and this was with me falling asleep in the too-soft pillow and K drinking wineglass after wineglass of water (and waking up, not remembering if he turned the television off or simply just fell asleep, and I assured him that he had, indeed, turned the television off, and he was content that he was able to watch something on television with actual reception, as opposed to Fox, which only comes in half heartedly and never when we need it to, like on Sunday nights). So there were no weather reports to let us know our recycling bin would be found across the street (how the bin got around our corner lot, we'll never really know), tucked in a sewer grate.

And now that I am home: the dogs. There was a certain thrill as I wound through the country near Home. Strange, I thought--this reminds me a lot of the country around K's parents' house, only with bluffs and more wooded areas and whatnot, but the stretches of farm and no where land. I always thought, "Pretty, but I couldn't live near this. I need tall buildings and something going on." I never thought, "Population 16,116. Wow, the biggest city within miles! Home!"

One of my students today said, "Did you know we are graduating in exactly one month? Oh, no, almost one month. Our last day is in one month." She went on to explain she knew exactly how college in Colorado would be. And I smiled and said that life has a way of surprising us, but she was certain, and I almost wanted to say, "Email me in a year. Or three. I want to see if you were right." Or if I was. Who knows? I certainly never thought I'd be living in what I consider a small town (and K considers a city) and teaching high school. I never thought I'd be getting married at this age (though patience does have its virtues, and really, I'm not all that old, just much older than my mother was when she got married, and we all know our lives don't follow any kind of map, let alone our parents').

And I'm single parenting. Penelope came home from the vet with this going on with her nose:

I think I'm supposed to be disgruntled, but I'm not. She probably did it by shoving her nose in the fence or playing with other dogs or even more likely, Zephyr. But it looks so sad to have your little one come bounding back to you, scarred from the weekend you left her behind. I feel like such a bad dog-parent and wish I could vow never to leave again, but there's that whole honeymoon thing on the horizon (and I'm gearing up to beg, beg, beg someone--Mom?--to housesit because I cannot stand the idea of impounding my two lovelies and haven't the foggiest what we'd do with the cats... I seriously need to meet some local folks).

There are so many thoughts speeding through my head. I come home, and I want to play with the dogs, really, I do, but I am just so tired from being around those energy-sucking students that I plop down and write. And I want to clean, but it takes everything in me to turn the dial for the washer and drier. I hear a sound in the other room and it is Zephyr who has pulled something else from the counters where I thought it was once safe, and now I'm realizing what kids must really be like. Nothing is safe and nothing is certainly sacred. In some ways, I am secretly glad when Zephyr destroys something because it is one less thing I have to have lying about. I almost want to leave out the shirts that I swear I will fit in again (and thus, must save them) and all the books I know I will read and probably dislike. At least then, it won't be my fault it ended up in the recycling or garbage.

It does make me nervous, though, for when our garden begins to really bloom. Here, an asparagus stalk I enjoyed photographing, not using the manual focus for once. In a plot of dirt they love to dig in, though a low slung fence has begun to deter. I have packets of seeds in the garage (not safe on the patio table) and once I had the starter kit (chewed squares are all over the yard now). These two are very destructive, and sometimes I wonder if we don't have a Lanie terror in Zephyr who not only physically resembles my parents' dog who still has potty training issues as she is now put on senior dog food but also in temperament--affectionate, lovely, cuddly, and a royal pain in the ass.

Also, have recently discovered this blog and have fallen in love with the clever wit of the writer. I'm apparently recently obsessed with reading other blogs, discovering those whose words belong in books for the common reader. (PS: And because of this, I seem to also be obsessed with comments. I like 'em, so feel free to leave 'em! I even turned the "Anonymous Posting" on so that folks without a blog could actually leave little notes for me to pour over.)

OK, really, on to taking care of things. For instance, figuring out what is wrong with our telephone (and did I stupidly put this phone number on my resume and cover letter to the Local High School job? Because if I did, and they called today, I am going to be so ... gar!). And tying Zephyr up by his toes while I try to do something productive beyond cleaning up his urine and chasing him away from some weird computer-object K had lying around in his den.

Really, I'm not cranky. Just very, very tired! Am not going to read until well past my bedtime tonight, am not going to read until well past my bedtime tonight...

I leave you with this: What color is your aura?

Your Aura is Violet

Idealistic and thoughtful, you have the mind and ideas to change the world.
And you have the charisma of a great leader, even if you don't always use it!

The purpose of your life: saying truths that other people dare not say

Famous purples include: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony

Careers for you to try: Political Activist, Inventor, Life Coach
What Color Is Your Aura?

Do you think it fits me?


Karen R. said...

Hi Molly! I love reading your writing--it's always so thoughtful. About simplifying and hoping blogger doesn't lose the posts--there are some places that you can use to turn the blog into a book. One of them is here:


Hope all's well!

Angie said...

Speaking of dog watching... Lane and I have been discussing taking on your crazy/destructive canines for the time that you will be on your honeymoon. That would still leave you with the cats to deal with (since there is no way in hell that they (Libby) would get along at our house. But the hardest animals would have a home for a week or so. And Bear would be in heaven!!!!