April 12, 2014

The Tall Man and Neighbors

I have a friend who has taught her little girl that "the tall man" never stands alone. Just the other day, this little girl, stood all of her fingers straight up from her hand and said, "Heaver?" (which is toddler-speak for Heather), "The tall man never stands alone."

This monkey let his tall man stand alone.  SOURCE

I didn't ask my friend why she had to teach this lesson to her pre-schooler, I just chuckled and assured the tiny tike that the tall man, indeed, never stands alone. And for a four-year-old? This is a valuable lesson.

This week, though, my tall man--actually, my tall men--stood alone. A lot. Behind the closed doors of my mother's house. I not only let my tall men stand alone, I let them do a little dance as well, and I accompanied their dance with some fancy lyrics that would have Tipper Gore slapping an explicit sticker across my mouth.

The thing is that I rarely--RARELY--actually flip someone off. Rarely.  It basically has no meaning. It doesn't make anyone or anything better. If anything, the bird only serves to exasperate any situation in which it is flipped. But, I was frustrated and there wasn't much I could do but let my tall man stand alone. So, I did.

Earlier in the week, a neighbor of my mother's left a note for me and my sister. I'm not going to give you details, but the note was nice enough. A few days later--Thursday morning at 3:16, to be exact, she left another note. But, if you ask the neighbor, she'll tell you she only left one. The handwriting was the same; when you teach composition for twenty years, you are a handwriting expert. The neighbor, when I confronted her got the content of both notes confused, but she only admitted to one.

In the second note, she became harassing and abusive, and she admitted to trespassing on my mom's property at 3:16 a.m.! My sister found the second note, got mad, let her tall man stand by himself pointed in the general direction of my mom's house, and then she called me. I decided to call the police.

Even with my frozen shoulder, I'm confident I could take the neighbor. Plus, my mom has a few really sweet, very supportive neighbors who'd chip in and help me if needed. They'd even let their tall men stand alone on our behalf.  I wasn't scared of her, but I wanted it on record that she'd trespassed and that she'd threatened us. After school, I went to my mom's.

I called the cops and said I wanted to speak to an officer. Then I waited. I got mad at the neighbor and my tall man stood alone. I got mad that the police were taking so long, so I let my tall man stand alone some more. Then, I thought I locked my keys in the car. My tall man stood alone more.

Finally, I decided to confront the neighbor. I was firm but respectful. I was honest and called her bluff. She was not comfortable with my presence at her front door. My tall man did not stand alone but mercy! He wanted to! Then, as I was basically telling her she had broken the law in so many ways, the police came to my mom's house.

But, it wasn't just any police man. It was a former student.

When I became a teacher, I adopted the philosophy of investment. If I wanted a return from my students, I'd have to invest in them. I go to sporting events, concerts, birthday parties. I know about their families, their friends, their hobbies, their passions. And, in return, they perform for me in the classroom. What I didn't understand when I became a teacher, was that the return of my investment didn't end  when they walked out of my classroom on the last day of school.

So, when Brandon stood in my mom's driveway and gave me a big hug, I was not only grateful that I'd invested in him as a sixth and a ninth grader, but that my neighbor was seeing just how well loved I was by an officer of the law.

I explained the situation to Brandon; he explained the law to me. We chatted about his new baby and his family and he promised to drive by mom's house and keep an eye on it.

My tall man? He won't be standing alone any time soon--I've got right on my side ... and I invested wisely as a young teacher.

April 7, 2014

Fleetwood Mac, Misti and Checking Out

Recently, my chick Misti and I had the privilege of speaking to a state-wide group of over one hundred moms. We were billed as--get this--the entertainment. We did not disappoint. Misti spoke very eloquently from her notes about Listen To Your Mother (you're coming, right?). I rambled in a nonsensical manner about peeing in the shower and painting with poop. But, ya know what? This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

But, before we entertained the moms, Misti and I were treated to a lovely lunch. We were seated at a table with six of this organization's past state-presidents. We were seated at the fancy table, y'all.

Misti had a draining week; I was having a draining week month; it was good to take a break with Misti, eat our lunches and just be for a moment.

So, we be'ed. We chatted about our weeks, our loves, our show, our lives. Then, the conversation turned to Fleetwood Mac. They're going on tour this year, friends. (My birthday's in June--hint, hint.) Misti and I both posted the link to their tour on Facebook and updated our statuses to reveal that this news made us get good bumpy and pee our pants at the same time. So, as we sat at the table of dignitaries, we got caught up in imagining the awesomeness that will be the Fleetwood Mac concert.

It was at the point in our imaginings where Misti was simulating how she'd be ugly-crying through "Landslide," and I was pretending to holler out "Sing it again, Stevie!" that the past president on my right touched my arm and brought me back to reality.

"Do you two know each other?" she asked us.

Not true to either my form or Misti's, we answered honestly. "Yes."

It's good to check out every once in a while. It's good to pretend that you are at a Fleetwood Mac concert where Stevie Nicks is singing "Landslide" just to you while Lindsey Buckingham winks and then licks his lips while looking straight at you. (I don't care how old he is. He's one sexy man. Seriously, listen to this and tell me you don't lose your breath.)

It's good to check out with a great friend who not only lets you lose yourself in a moment, but follows right along with you so you don't get too lost.

But, the next time Misti and I lose ourselves in a moment, and we're so caught up in laughter and tears and playing pretend, and someone asks us if we know each other, we've got our answers ready ...

We missed Julie at our pretend Fleetwood Mac concert.


"Nope. Just met her over the dumpster out back."

"We're married to the same man."

"We did time together in the big house."

"Nope, but we shared a room at the Holiday Inn Express last night."

"We met on our home planet."

"We worked the pole together last night."

"We once toured with Fleetwood Mac."

March 28, 2014

My Life As Shaved Turkey Breast

When I eat a sandwich, I eat the crust area and outter edges  first. I'm a lazy sandwich maker, I don't spread the mayo to the edges and I just squirt the mustard in a circle. Sometimes in a smiley face if I'm feeling particularly saucy. So, I eat the edges first because they are the less. They are the least good part of a sandwich. And, my method pays off when I pop that last bite in my mouth. The last bite that has the mound of turkey and mayo and smeared mustard, lettuce and onion and possibly pickle. It's so much better than the edge.

Source


Lately, my friends, I've been on the edge. Truly.

Today, a friend of mine said, "I don't know how you're doing it all."

I looked her right in the eye and said, "I don't either."

We are in the throws of softball. I wanna be there to watch every yellow ball that sails into Daughter 2's glove or from her hand or off her bat. But, I can't.

Golf. My goodness. I found out today that Daughter 1 has a golf-team nickname: Scary Spice. I've never once seen her play. I'd love to watch her tee off from every box. But, I can't.

My mom just moved today into a skilled nursing facility. I know she's nervous about what her future holds. Me, too, Mom; me, too. I want to reassure her--and I do. I want to help her. But, I can't.

Tomorrow, we'll pick one kid up from a sleepover, visit one displaced Mom and Nana, watch one kid play softball and somewhere in the in between times, I'll try to find my way to being the middle of the sandwich--full of all the flavor and all the tastes, where the shaved turkey breast is stacked highest.

Right now? Right now, though, I'm the edge. I'm looking for the balance and fullness and fairness of the middle bite.

Sandwich generation, indeed.

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