Saturday, June 28, 2008

i had to stop for the night

I've been falling behind in my psychology classes.  In spite of having the little one here starting tomorrow, I am going to have to find a couple of hours a day to get things done.  

I spent the morning getting her bedroom ready, washing the old dresser set given to us by Shawn's family, and arranging the furniture so she would have all the basics.  Once she arrives I will have her help me to decorate so that she can have some say in how it looks.  That's one project.  Another will be to find her a bicycle and get her riding.  At her age, it's embarrassing not to know how to ride a bike, and other kids don't understand the fact that her life hasn't included normal things like that.  I think we can get her riding before school starts again in the fall.

Sometimes it makes my chest hurt when I think about all the things that this little girl has missed, all the things her life should have included up to this point and hasn't.  There is a woman to whom we owe the fact that we've finally managed to intervene, a woman who broke the rules to stick her neck out and invite us in to see something that was, from a legal standpoint, none of our business.  A woman who was finally able to confirm that the uneasy feelings were rooted in truth, not paranoia.  And I am so grateful to her for being brave enough to break with protocol, to speak the truth, and to start the wheels of change in motion.  

It has been incredibly hot outside today for the first time since we moved here, and it's unpleasant.  Too hot to eat, too hot to sleep, too hot to move.  Shawn has been mumbling about air conditioners again, yet another dream that cannot be fulfilled until we sell the house.  Eventually we plan to replace all the windows to improve how well the house "seals", and to exchange the furnace for a heat pump, a device which our furnace guy says will pay for itself within a few short years because it is so much more efficient.  And it pumps cold air too.  For now we have Shawn calls "ghetto AC", which means one fan is on the basement stairs blowing the cool air up, and another fan at the top of the stairs is blowing the cooler air into the living room.  Pretty ridiculous, but it helps a bit.


Friday, June 27, 2008

But now morning's clear, it's like I ain't here

It was a nice last day of work.  I finished cleaning up my office and took out my few personal belongings, and had lunch with the staff.  At the staff luncheon there were goodbyes to all the teachers who are leaving for various reasons.  C made a sweet farewell speech to me and the staff gave me a bottle of wine (woohoo).  The principal told me she was going to do all she could to get me back next year and said she thought it looked hopeful.  Encouraging words...  not enough to write cheques on, but a good start.  Now on to the next drama!

Another offer, allegedly, is being written on our house.  I don't really get excited about these the way Shawn does because they always seem to fall through for one reason or another.  I've sure it will well eventually, but meanwhile I am saving myself the stress of getting my hopes up over and over again.

Shawn had a job interview yesterday with what is probably the best company in his field.  I feel quite optimistic that they will want to hire him.... I certainly hope so.  I think he would be much happier there than he has been in the other place where he's given responsibilities without the necessary authority to meet them.  

While I was at work today, Shawn and J moved all the office furniture out of what is to be J's bedroom come Sunday.  Now we just have to organize it a bit and make it feel like homey instead of like a motel room.  Little darling, I so hope she will be happy with us.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

let them go, boys

Only two work days left.  The costume closet is nearly clean and I'm hoping against hope that I'll actually get to stay at the school to actually enjoy all the work that went in to getting it organized.  I'm feel apprehensive and uncertain enough to take all my belongings with me when I go, but still hopeful.

Tomorrow night is Awards Night and I have to stay at school to hand out awards to my top acting students.  I'm completely fed up with giving up my evenings and can't wait to be done for the year.  Funny, isn't it, how I am wishing for a job and simultaneously wishing it away.


Monday, June 23, 2008

down low down low down low....

In the costume closet at my school there are three years of neglect stuffed haphazardly into boxes, slung over hangers, and crammed into corners.  After invigilating Math 10 in the morning, I spent the afternoon sorting filthy dusty costumes and props.  The job is nowhere near finished but by the time I left the school at 3:00 I was feeling that I could, in fact, finish this job before we shut down for the summer.  I've been resisting doing this task, knowing it desperately needed doing, because I still don't know, and won't know until much later, whether I am to return to this school in September.  I didn't want to clean up the costume room because the mess is his, and if he's returning, I wanted him to deal with it.  However, after some introspection I decided to do it anyway.  If I do return to this school, it will a tremendous relief to have this job done properly before school starts.  And if I don't, add it to my karma tally.  I'm stockpiling so I can do something really bad.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

now that i have tried to talk to you

This morning I awoke from a frustrating dream and opened my eyes to realise I had a migraine.  I don't get them very often anymore - I did when I was younger - but this might be the first one in five years or so. 

I don't get migraines the same way other people do.  That is, they're not as severe.  My first symptom is always a visual one, not pain.  I see a floating blind spot, a semicircle that looks like it's made of crystals, all jaggedy and sharp-edged.  And what happens next depends on my reaction.  If I sit down immediately and close my eyes and relax, the blind spot usually slowly melts away and then is followed by a headache, but an ordinary headache of average magnitude, treatable with ibuprofen.  If I ignore the visual warning and try to continue doing things, the blind spot grows bigger and bigger until I can only see peripherally and a strange numbness spreads across my face so I can no longer feel my lips, my forehead, or the tip of my nose.  My fingertips also become numb.  The debilitating part, of course, is the blindness, which renders me helpless to drive, to work, to read, or to do much of anything.  And when I keep trying to push through the blindness and numbness, the headache that inevitably follows is extremely painful.  

Being the stubborn bonehead that I often am, I have tried to force my way through migraines on several occasions, telling myself I can tough them out if I really try.  And it has never worked, always resulting in a much worse situation.  Finally I learned that I cannot beat the awesome power of the migraine headache, and have learned, instead, how to minimize it.  

And it worked; it's better now.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

I've been a vegetable today and I'm not exactly sure why.  I haven't been able to stay awake for more than four consecutive hours.  Fortunately, J has been away on a road trip (settling up some things with his ex-wife) so we've been alone and therefore free to pass away a day drooling on the couch without interruption or interrupting.  As my Adventures in Parenting are about to begin, I am enjoying the last of the afternoon naps.


The play on Thursday was a pleasant surprise, much better than I expected it to be, a delightful little piece of Canadiana, written by a local playwright.  I was moved enough to miss the world of theatre, the creation of something special that makes people feel something.  I didn't know the actors, didn't know the playwright, but somehow I felt proud of them.

The other part of the night wasn't so great, the part where I had to spend several hours in the company of a woman from work who I barely knew at the start of the evening.  I have been nice to her at work, in the way that I just try to be nice to everyone, but I think that the truth is that people at work aren't nice to her very often and so she took this as an invitation to friendship.  We got stuck in traffic and after listening to her talk about herself for three hours I was exhausted.  After that we went for dinner where she whipped out an allergy card with about thirty things on it that she is deathly allergic to, and demanded to speak to the chef, requesting that he make her something that wasn't on the menu.  I was kind of appalled, and he seemed rather appalled too.  I now understand why no one on staff really likes this woman.


Last night was the high school commencement ceremony and it was deathly boring.  For some reason I cannot possibly figure out, instead of simply calling the name of each graduate as they cross the stage, instead they actually say a little blurb about each one.  Now I can understand this in a small school.  For example, when I went to Shawn's brother's high school graduation, his class had only twelve students.  They showed baby pictures of each student and told a little story about each one.  It was lovely.  However, the school I work at has a HUGE population and having to sit through three hundred nearly identical statements (ie: Mary Smith.... Mary would like to thank her friends and family for standing by her through everything.  Merle Smith.... Merle would like to thank his mom and dad and friends for sticking with him through his high school years.  Adam Southerland.... Adam wishes all the graduates good luck and thanks them all for being there throughout the years.  Tim Squire... Tim thanks his family and friends for all their support and wishes the grads all the best in the future.....) was both exasperating and tedious.  It took nearly three hours.



We decided, officially, to adopt Foster Pup.  Welcome home little guy.  


Thursday, June 19, 2008

lighten up baby i'm in love with you

I can never figure out why I make plans to go out at night when I just want to be home with my family.  I have to leave in ten minutes and I don't want to.  

I left work early (which didn't matter since I wasn't doing anything anyway) so that Shawn and I could go for a quick run, showered, and got ready to go.  Countdown to leaving now.

The real estate agent just called to say that he has an offer on our house (praise the powers) but he doesn't know the details yet.  And now I'm going to miss out on all the information while I am out at the play.  I wish there was some way to have two of me in these kinds of situations.  

Tomorrow will be another long dull day... it's awfully quiet at school without kids in the building, but I'm hoping I'll be able to do some of my psychology homework while I sit.  

Home late tonight.  Sigh.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

how can a light that burned so brightly suddenly burn so pale?

Today was a quiet quiet day at work.  I had no exams to invigilate, and no motivation to do the last few tasks I really ought to be doing (ie: importing my marks, cleaning out the prop storage and costume rooms).  Instead I sat in my office and read my psychology textbook.  I managed to finish it and wrote the last quiz for Abnormal Psych tonight.  That leaves me with an exam and a paper to write.  I'm not moving along nearly so quickly in the other psychology course; I find the assignments vague and the professor confusing in terms of what he expects.  In that course I still have two assignments to complete, another quiz, a paper and an exam.  I am going to have to put my nose to the grindstone once school is finished. 


I've done this awful thing again where I agree to go out and spend time with people.  I don't know why I ever do that because when it comes right down to it I always want to be at home with my family.  So tomorrow night I am going to dinner and to see a play with a woman from work.  I don't know her very well (and hence, why she invited me) but now that she's arranged a babysitter I guess I can't back out.  

Friday night I have to attend commencement for the graduates, so that makes two nights in a row where I'm going to be away from my comfort zone.  I'm not sure what has happened to me over the years but I become more and more antisocial all the time.  


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

you can lie to me, you can lie to yourself for awhile

Today after school, like the wife of a prison inmate, I found myself purchasing and mailing cigarettes to an institution.  C called to beg for them, wanted me to send to her at the rehab centre along with some earphones for her music.  The director of the centre spoke to me on the phone and said she felt it was better for C to have these things to fixate on as opposed to the drugs, and I felt somewhat trapped.  C also asked me, rather blithely it felt, to tell my parents that in the interest of coming clean she wanted them to know that the $4000 they gave her last month for rent, food, and clothing for the child was all spent on cocaine.  

Shawn was angry, didn't want me to send the cigarettes.  He sees C as a loser who acts like a child and sticks us with all her problems.  And this assessment of her isn't inaccurate.  It's just that he never knew her before, and he doesn't have the guilts associated with her situation that I do.  He doesn't wonder if he could have been more supportive or if he could have helped her if he'd tried harder the way I do.  He's not trying to rewrite the end of my sister's life. 


Sunday, June 15, 2008

covered for life

The graduates acted like idiots at the dinner and dance.  Or, to be fair, a small and extremely loud group acted like idiots.  They arrived drunk and high and threw up on the floor in the hotel, yelled and screamed during the speeches, stumbled around crashing into people and generally acted like complete buffoons.  Of course, because the kids who were acting this way were the "cool" kids, they were getting reinforcement from the others.  It was sad for the staff members who'd put such a huge effort into planning and organizing the event to have kids behaving so poorly, and to be honest, if this is what graduation looks like I don't think I'll attend it again in the future.  Chaperoning drunken teenagers is one of the least fun things I can imagine doing with my time.  

On the positive side, I did enjoy having time to talk with other staff members who I rarely see during the regular working day.  


This morning we went for breakfast and then for a walk by the ocean.  The tide was very low and we were able to walk along the sand all the way to the end of the docks where the sailboats are moored.  I love living by the sea so much; it feels like that alone has raised our standard of living a hundred times over.

In the afternoon I told Shawn I was going for a run and he decided to come with me.  This was somewhat miraculous because Shawn hates running.  Last spring when I convinced him to take the running class with me he was absolutely miserable.  I have no idea what has suddenly inspired him but he announced that he plans to run with me at least three times a week from now on.  I still have to say I'll believe it when I see it, but I'd be more than happy to have it happen.  


Two days left of classes.  Then exams.  Then holidays.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

we sure are cute for two ugly people

I can tell I'm getting old because I wake up at 6:30 on the weekends and I can't fall asleep again.  I tried until 7:30 and then gave up.  Shawn got up too.  He's older than me, even.  I'm thinking about how incredibly lucky I am to be married to a man who's willing to change his entire life to help friends and family.  These changes we're preparing to make aren't small. 

Having Shawn's friend J here has meant less privacy, less time alone together.  Less walking around naked.  But that change was small compared with what is to come.  Having little J here will mean having to be far more organized, thinking and planning ahead instead of living minute by minute the way we do now.  Little things like making lunches the night before instead of racing to do it in the morning.  Little things like planning a week's worth of meals ahead of time to go shopping instead of scrounging around or ordering pizza when we're hungry.  Little things like planning ahead when we want to be alone together so that someone can be with her.  And monitoring things.  Things like homework and toothbrushing and baths.  And then there's the cat and the hamster.  Feedings, cage cleanings, litter box changes, vet visits ... And on top of that, there's Palmer the Foster Man.  More feedings, more monitoring of playtime and exercise and safety.  All these extra mouths to feed, all these extra bodies using water, making messes, making noise, creating havoc... 

So what do we get out of this?  A sense of knowing we're doing the best we can to help make someone else's life better.  Deposits in the karma account, maybe.


Friday, June 13, 2008

i don't see what anyone can see in anyone else, but you.

Two students showed up for class this morning, and four for the afternoon.  It's unfortunate that we have to keep the school open during these few days before exams because kids aren't attending anyway, for the most part, and the grads use this time to enact pranks.  For several days there was a small car parked outside my office in the centre plaza, with "08" spray painted all over it.  

Tomorrow night is the graduation dinner and dance and I've agreed to go with a couple of other staff members in my department.  This is something I know I will probably wish I'd not agreed to do because it will mean spending far too much time with other humans.  


I found a fun summer camp for J to attend in which she will be part of the cast of a play, to be performed at the conclusion of the camp.  I think this is the kind of thing that will be good for her, to help her take her mind off the stresses she's living through, poor pumpkin, and to get to know some kids in our neighbourhood before school starts again in September. 

 I finally got a chance to speak with C, who assured me she still intends to go to the treatment centre on Sunday.  It's hard to believe her about anything, honestly, but I am hoping with my whole heart that she really follows through.  A part of me is looking forward to her first two weeks there, during which time she is not permitted to make any phone calls or have any contact with the outside world.  I am extremely tired from spending so much time talking with her through all of this, and a couple of weeks of peace will be welcomed.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

by the end of the decade

I skipped book club today.  Sometimes I just can't face being around people.


Things are getting more real.  My parents sent me an itinerary for little J's flight here at the end of the month.  Congratulations to me.  I'm going to be a mommy.


Shawn says Mr. Foster Puppy can stay.


I hope we can handle all this.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

her amphetamines and her pearls

This is our pack with little FosterMan starting to settle in and be part of the group.  He's a BIG boy next to tiny Little Puppy.  The boys seem to like him, particularly D, and E seems to have forgiven him for the incident the other day although he remains a little wary.  Shawn and I are working to help teach the new boy some rules about bullying.  Most importantly, he lets tiny Little Puppy boss him around and somehow she has retained her status as Queen.  This is important, of course, because she is so small and could easily get hurt if the rest of the gang didn't respect her.


School is winding down the for the year and I'm so glad to have holidays ahead of me.  There are a lot of things going on right now and I need time to deal with it all.  My niece is coming to live here (assuming things continue in the right direction) and will be arriving as soon as school is over.  I haven't been getting nearly enough work done in my psychology courses while this family-madness has been going on and I need to get the courses finished by the time school starts again.  There's a lot happening and I could really use some time off to get things under control.  Thursday is the last day of regular classes, followed by three days of strange schedules in which most kids, apparently, don't attend class and just stay home to study for exams.  Then we have exam week and it's over.  Of course this could be it for me, and I might not be employed again come September... but that's a fact I just don't want to spend too much time focused on just yet.  Right now I need to look at a lot of other things and it's too much to think about them all at once.



Monday, June 09, 2008

there beneath the blue suburban skies

Today Shawn is more calm about the situation with the foster pup.  Now he says he thinks he overreacted because he just wants to keep our pups save and secure.  Can't fault him for that at all... but I'm glad he's feeling better about things.  We've been working with Palmer to help him learn his place in the pecking order (ie: last!) so he won't pick on our pups anymore and today he has been much better.  No growling, no biting.  I think he's a smart dog and a quick learner.  We took him to the vet today for his vaccines and check up and she says he's in good health.  GreedyLisa wants to keep him but NiceLisa is just glad he's healthy and well because this increases his chances of being adopted by someone else.


Last night I had a dream that our neighbours burst into our house and took a bunch of things as part of some vigilante justice action.  Retributive justice.  Only it didn't make sense because we hadn't done anything to incur their wrath in the first place.  I was upset and worried because everyone in the neighbourhood seemed to think we were bad people.


I think C is trying to kill me.  Last night she called and told me she wasn't going to go into rehab after all, that she doesn't have a drug problem, and that she just wants everyone to F off and mind their own business.  After all these hours of talking with her, coaxing her along toward getting help, spending so much time away from my own life so I could be there for her, I wanted to kick her in the teeth.  

Today she called again, all cheerful, determined to go after all and certain that life is going to be just great.  I know this could happen forty more times before next weekend but each time it does I feel like I'm being dropped from a great height and then caught again a split section before I splat on the ground.  It's tiring. 


Sunday, June 08, 2008

turn the lights off, carry me home

I think maybe I am not a good candidate to be a foster care provider for dogs.  I've been falling in love with this little rugrat and wanting him to join our family, in spite of Shawn telling me he doesn't like the idea of four dogs.  I've been hoping he might fall in love with him too.  And then tonight, just after we got back from sailing class, we let the pups out to play... and Emory and Palmer were playing, a tug of war over a toy, and suddenly Palmer got snappy and bit Emory.  

It's nothing too serious, but enough of a bite that it broke the skin, enough of a scare that Emory was upset.  And enough to make Shawn even more upset than Emory.  He wants Palmer to leave immediately (which isn't really possible because we've made the promise to the rescue agency to look after him) and I'm feeling really disappointed because I had this silly idea that he was fitting right in perfectly and was imagining saving him from any more upheaval and confusion in his life, poor little soul.

In the end, I think I'm too much of a sucker to do a good job of being a foster provider.  I'll just end up wanting to keep them all, even when it's not a good idea.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

This is our foster pup, Palmer.  I am trying not to fall too deeply in love with him.

Friday, June 06, 2008

see the primitive wallflower freeze

Just when you think things can't get any weirder.  

It's been a hell-week with nothing but one stress after another.  My family is insane, exhausting, infuriating, draining.  And from one minute to the next I never know what tragedy will be happening, what war will be waging, whose mind will be changing.  It's exasperating beyond what I can describe or explain.  I've been hanging on by my fingernails, determined primarily to survive it all just for the sake of J who is only 11 and who deserves to have someone in her life who can stay afloat for her.  Determined to provide her with a stable home and a family that loves her enough to put her first.

With all that going on, plus the stress of the House that Wouldn't Sell, the saga of Finding Shawn a Better Job, my own uncertainty around my future employment, it just seemed like things couldn't possibly get more crazy.

Then A called and asked us to foster a dog.  

This isn't an unreasonable request.  We signed on to be a foster family for pups needing temporary homes.  It's just the way these kinds of things always work out, that it never rains but it pours.  It's always deadly calm or a complete deluge.  

So we're awaiting the arrival of Mr. Foster Pup who will be coming here some time tonight.  He's been abandoned by his family, and of yet, we do not know why.  The rescue representative will come with more information about him and hopefully we can make the poor little guy feel safe and at home while he is waiting for his forever-family to find him.

I guess I'm not really ready to stop trying to save the world yet after all.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

You could have done better but I don't mind

I want you to stop fighting with each other.
I want you to stop putting me in the middle.
I want you to ask me how I am once in awhile instead of only talking about yourselves.
I want you to notice that when you settle at deadlock with each other it is always me who has to do something to fix it.
I want you to remember that while you have copious amounts of time to dedicate to this drama, I am trying to manage a full time job and school in between rounds.
I want you to see that I'm taking time away from my marriage and my life so you can hurt each other through me.
I want you to act like grown ups.
I want you to see that you're dragging me under with you.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

you just kinda wasted my precious time

Some time soon I might get sick of trying to save everyone.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

like a friend of mine to hit me from behind

Tonight was our last in-class session of the sailing course, thank god.  We were learning (allegedly) how to navigate and how to set a course, using charts and protractors and stuff.  I didn't really get it.  I'm a very slow learner when it comes to things like this and I get frustrated 
easily because the people who already get it are always the ones who grab the materials and do the work while the dummies (ie: me) stand around helplessly wondering what's going on.  I wonder why that is, why the ones who don't need the practice are always the first to volunteer.  I guess it's because the ones that really need help don't want to make their mistakes in front of everyone else.  It's all been very eye-opening from a teacher-y perspective.

I drank a small cup of cheap coffee with Coffee Mate in it to keep me awake through the class, and now I'm wide awake and feel as though I might never sleep again.  


At present, things seem as though they are heading in the direction to have C enter a drug rehabilitation program in the very near future, and for us to take (temporary) custody of little J.  This is frightening in some ways (I'm not sure we're ready to be parents, even temporarily) but also seems like the best possible way this could turn out.  Certainly beats dying.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

that this should be my last with you

Joff is back from the U.K. now and living with us again.  That meant that yesterday while we were out sailing all day the dogs could still be out free and have someone to kiss and snuggle with.  If J ends up living in our custody we will have a full house.


I have run out of suet for the starling hatchlings and now they are all lingering around the yard wondering what happened to their picnic.  The store doesn't open for another half hour so they are going to have to wait.  Poor hungry babies.  I feel like a drug dealer who got them hooked on something and then abruptly took it away, except maybe I have more remorse than the average dealer about my actions.


Yesterday, while I diligently applied sunscreen to my face and even remembered, this time, the tops of my ears, I somehow neglected to apply any to my nose.  The result of this is, today, is a bright red nose, sharply outlined by the lines from where my sunglasses were sitting.  I look quite bizarre.