Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Post Where I Talk About My Hair

I have hair. Quite a bit of it, actually, and for a few years, I wore it very long. Almost down to my ass long. There’s a lot of gray and silver in it, along with some of what a friend of mine calls “old-lady black.” There’s even a white streak at each temple, which Tam seems to think is beautiful. Back when it was long, I’d pull it into a pony tail to keep it out of my face, and every day my head would throb from the weight of all that hair.

It’s not curly, although it is quite wavy and will hold its shape much better now than it did back when I was actually trying to give it shape. In those days of curling irons, perms, coloring and other brain-numbing atrocities I submitted my hair to on a regular basis, it became…dull and not nice. Then one day, someone told me I have lovely hair, it was too bad I didn’t take better care of it. That’s when I started leaving it alone. Any processing that would get done to my hair would be done by the professionals.

It became the daily, or every-other-day shampooing, then towel dry, comb out and leave alone routine. Mind you, I have so much hair that it takes several hours for it to dry, especially when it’s long, so there would be the occasional going-over with the hair dryer because my head was cold or I needed to leave and look like I did not just get out of the shower. But that was it, and my hair began to recover.

Then I got poor and visits to my favorite hairdresser, a lovely woman I like to call Sasquatch, became nearly non existent. When I did get there, she would bemoan the fact that she missed my hair and wished she could play with it more often.

She would tease me about the strange hairs that would spring up, the ones that looked like rogue pubes sprouting from the top of my head. “But they’re curly,” I’d whine, “Why can’t they ALL be curly like that?”
“Because then you’d complain that they’re too curly and you wished you had nice thick hair with good body and shine.”
“I always wish for a good body.”
“Well, the wish was granted for your hair. It’s perfect, leave it alone.”

She would ask me how I kept it so nice and soft. “What do you use on it?” she would ask.
My answer would rarely change. “Whatever is cheap that doesn’t make my girlfriend sneeze.” The worst was when I’d given up shampoo and had been using baking soda to wash and vinegar to rinse. It was soft and glorious, shiny and manageable. And it reminded me of Easter.
“I hate you,” she whispered.

Then one day at work, a student took me down to the floor by grabbing my ponytail. It took three other adults to get her to let go, and by that time my scalp was throbbing. I got it cut. Short, as in, about collar length. It was a shock for a while, but I got used to it. But what I had the most trouble getting used to was not being able to wash it at night any more. Ok, technically, I CAN wash it at night, but sleeping with wet short hair is NOT the same as sleeping with wet LONG hair. The end result it much different.

It usually requires a total rewetting of the head thereby rendering the whole purpose of night-time showering moot, since I end up with wet hair for hours. This is not nice.

I suppose this wouldn’t be such an issue if I just used a hairdryer, but I hate hairdryers. They are loud and heavy. The one I had was not only loud, but occasionally it would grab some of my dry hairs that were flailing about in the hot artificial wind, and suck them into the air intake, thereby yanking them out of my head and making me say naughty words. When the hairdryer died, I did not mourn the loss. I mourned a warm, dry head, but that was all.

As my hair began to grow out, I decided to attempt nighttime hair washing again. That first morning I was awakened early by the telephone.
“Hi. It’s the 1980’s. We’d like our hair back, please.”
I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. “Holy shit! I have a Flock of Seagulls on my head.” I immediately rinsed them out and did my best to style it with a comb. The end result wasn’t much better and I ended up wearing a headband (a.k.a. head(ache)band) that day. When I got to work, someone asked me what was following me. “It’s my hair,” I said, and I knew it was time to take a drastic step and replace the damn hairdryer.

But it’s been a while since I’ve used one, and I don’t know if it’s the shampoo or the conditioner, my lack of skill, or a combination of the three along with some sheer nonsense thrown in for good measure, but the early morning phone calls have increased.

First, it was Jeff Bridges demanding that I return his 90’s hair, and the 70’s were not about to be left out. Shawn Cassidy?!?

WTF, hair?

I cannot control my hair. Every morning it’s like that game, “Mystery Date” only instead of some guy behind the door I have mystery hair and some decade or pop star demanding it back. For the record, I do not consider Jeff Bridges a pop star.

Some mornings I have wings sprouting near my ears. Sometimes they’re tufts or a single handful of curls hanging out with the straight hair for a day. One morning my hair got so big, I had a hard time getting through the door to answer Tammy Faye Bakker’s demand for the return of her hair. Other times, it looks like I am the love child of Albert Einstein and Don King.

And it feels stiff and heavy.

I miss my long hair. It might have been heavy as hell, but it was soft and easy to take care of and maintain.

And the phone was never busy first thing in the morning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ok, So I Screwed Up…

…and I sincerely apologize. They’re not “difficult children” they are bright, wonderful spots of sunshine in my otherwise dull and boring life. There. Happy now?

Seriously, I know shouldn’t refer to them as difficult children, even after a week of what felt more like a World Wrestling Federation Smackdown Tapout championship match than it did teaching. I have the owies to prove it, too. We all do, actually. Seriously, spring is hard on my kiddos. So is adolescence.

Anyway, it was pointed out to me in the comments of my last post that my phrasing was less than compassionate and I apologize. It wasn’t meant to be antagonistic or a put down, I was simply feeling the emotional after-effects of a wild week topped off with someone else’s bad parenting skills (they allowed the kid to run amok, rather than keeping her happily occupied at their table).

My supervisor keeps saying I should write a book about my experiences in the workplace. I think that shall have to wait until I’m independently wealthy and therefore do not need that job.

With her permission I can tell you that this week I…

…had my boob groped, pinched, hit, and headbutted;
…had my arm scratched, pinched, hit, and yanked;
…had my shin kicked…repeatedly;
…had landscaping thrown at me (sticks and stones, even small ones, sting);
…had to run after someone who was heading for a gate that had been left open by the grounds crew;
…had to change a diaper on someone who nearly knocked me on my ass;
…had someone fart directly in my face when I bent down to pick up a pencil;
…got to sit in the sunshine;
…got hugged;
…got to walk in the park;
…held hands;
…sang songs;
…sent a suggestive text to my supervisor instead of to my partner;
…made people laugh;
…kept three people from having meltdowns;
…heard a student say my name for the first time in the three years we’ve been in the same room;
…had same student interact with me on a one-to-one basis with no screaming and actual, you know, INTERACTION;
…saw offhanded compassion when a Gen-Ed told his friend to “shut the fuck up, stupid” when said friend referred to something as “retarded” just as my class walked by;
…witnessed rudeness of the same caliber as Gen-Ed students crowded through a doorway in front of a wheelchair (and the rest of my class);
…watched someone just out of arms reach eat something off the cafeteria floor;
…once again learned the importance of being still, because amazing things can happen when you just wait and watch.
…also learned that there are times when waiting and watching aren’t such a good idea, especially when small projectiles or sticky stuff is involved.

I also witnessed something that will stick sideways in my craw for a long time. A parent was making demands of the teacher, insisting that certain things be done for one particular child at certain times. When the teacher told the parent that those times are already taken up with activities involving the other students in the classroom, the parent said, “I don’t care about the other children, I only care about mine.” This is one of the things that make my job unpleasant.

I understand that parents want the best for their children, but the teachers in that classroom want the best for all our students. We’ll do what we can to make sure every child gets our very best efforts to help them learn and grow, but we can only do so much. There are only so many hours in the school day to accomplish these things, and there are only so many changes we can do while still maintaining some semblance of order for those students who NEED their order to remain unchanged. They are ALL important to us. EQUALLY important, and that’s what pissed the parent off so much. A compromise was reached, some changes were implemented but the parent isn’t thrilled and will be complaining to the principal.

Pretty typical week at my place of employment.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Voice From Above

Tam and I had some errands to run, so we ended up grabbing a salad for lunch at our favorite organic market. When we got there, our favorite table opened up and we snagged it. It’s a nice place to sit, on the balcony overlooking the floor below. It’s where we perch to watch people coming and going while we snarf down some organic greens.

While we were eating, a very busy, out-of-control little girl was running around the dining area, jumping and making my sweetie go a little bit stabby. Since neither of us is particularly fond of children who did not come from either of our wombs (or those of people we love), neither of us wanted to be visited by the scarlet shoed menace. It wouldn’t have been so bad if either the mom or the grandmother had actually attempted to corral the kid and remind her that manners are important and staying at your own table is a good show of manners, but they did nothing to stop the spitfire.

Being someone who works with difficult children, I understand there are times when things DO get out of control, however, that’s when parents help their child by removing them from the over stimulating environment, and allow them to de-escalate in a safe place. I also realize that parents of special needs children need a break every so often, but the best way to do that is leave the kid at home with someone you trust and actually take a break away where you don’t have to worry what they’re up to while you sip your latte. And read a book, or otherwise ignore said offspring who are gadding about disrupting people simply trying to enjoy a quick lunch.

It was much more peaceful when they went downstairs. For a little while, anyway. See, one of the drawbacks to that store is the accessibility of the wind chimes. They are located at kid level, right next to the cashier stands, but out of reach of parents who are in line. The little devil in red shoes was having a wonderful time, banging the hell out of the metal pipes, clanging them together in the most non-relaxing manner. It set our teeth on edge. Grandma did absolutely nothing other than read her magazine (yes, they found another place to sit because patrons in the deli complained of the busy one).

They set up camp at the table near the door to finish their smoothies and magazines, but the mother had gone off to do something out of our line of sight. Finally, she hustled over and removed the brat from the instrument of torture and told her to leave it alone. Said brat began to run around, trying to get past her mother in order to clang the chimes again. Mom put her in time out. Yay mom.

Then, mom had to go do something again and left grandma in charge. Little darling ran over and attacked the chime stand, rattling teeth and nerves to the point where my dulcet darling, that petite love of my life, leaned over the balcony and yelled, “STOP THAT!” in a voice that rattled windows and echoed for a good five minutes.

It worked. Mind you, everyone in the store stopped what they were doing for a moment as well. Then the mother came back, administered some parental prerogative and put the beast in the corner. To make it stick, she sat right there to make sure the dreadful monster stayed put this time. It signaled the end of the concert and the continuance of a decent afternoon respite.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thoughts on Pain Meds

This is not a dissertation on the advantages vs. the disadvantages of pain meds, because unless there is a serious allergy involved (I cannot take many of the “fun” pain meds because they will kill me), I am all for them.

Unless they make you fuck things up, like, oh…. taxes… yes, my darlings, I had to take pain meds for a kidney problem and decided it would be a GREAT day to do my taxes. It was two nights later, around 2:00 A.M. that I awoke with a sickening feeling that I’d forgotten something. A scruffle through my printouts confirmed my error and I ended up writing a check to the IRS for a goodly sum.

I felt it was a badly sum, but in the end I was still almost 200 dollars ahead of the game. It sucked, then I shrugged and went on with life. I had actually been thinking I was going to get nothing back and still have to pay, so my paltry sum to the good was a nice surprise.

This post is about stuff while I’m on NEW pain meds for a DIFFERENT pain. This time it’s a migraine and the meds are marvelous. There is a distinct etherealness to the world around me…wait… can the ether be distinct? Meh, who cares?

Life has been a little on the upside down side, not exactly in a bad way, but in a “so busy and tired, yet this circus act is still going strong so I need to just sit back and figure shit out” kind of way. Work is getting harder, and next year…we got some paperwork on our incoming students and let me tell you, I’m praying like crazy for an office job to open up. One gal says she’s tired of working in the office because of all the drama. I keep showing her my scars and bruises, reminding her that drama comes in all forms and no job is complete without it.

Other things keeping me busy… editing! Yes, I’m in the polishing phase of my manuscript and my biggest issue right now is cover art. Seriously, who the fuck thought that would be a problem? But it is! I have NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK I’M DOING when it comes to cover art. None whatsoever.

Tam got a new phone. We’ve nicknamed it the magic pink brick of knowledge because it has everything on it. She got it for a good price (seventeen dollars after the rebates!) and it requires the internet. It got us out of a big city and right to where we needed to be (which was NOT in the big city). It has games on it, too, which is where some of my time seems to have been sucked to…off to…awaaaayyyy. (you know, these pills almost make having a migraine FUN!)

The weather has been a riotous mess. We had snow a few days ago. Then sunshine, wind, rain (sideways rain!), hail, frogs, locusts, and I do believe cats. No, wait, the cats will be in April, but that’s another blog post. I do have my feral darlings, and I’ve managed to tame another one. Every morning I go outside and do the “cat dance” when I’m trying to feed them and they want to be petted and loved. There’s a new one under the house and she’s finally to the point where she won’t run away the moment I step outside, so I’ve made progress there. I keep hoping she’ll learn to trust me so I can see her better. She looks like a silver, very pretty.

Once I get them calm and serene, I’m going to look up a place in an adjacent county where they will spay feral cats for free or low cost. That’s my goal, to get them fixed, then eventually get them good homes. But it’s going to take a while.

So, I was hanging out on the computer and I came across a blog of an old friend. We had a falling out, and there were bitter feelings, hurt feelings, and a bunch of BS that just left a lot of pain where there used to be love and kindred souls. The blog has not been updated in a very long time and I wonder what is happening that keeps it in that static state.

I miss the times we shared and I wonder if my friend does as well. I’ve been thinking about attempting contact, but to be honest, I’m a little leery. If my communication is ignored, then I guess I’ll leave it alone, but if it’s rebuffed and I’m left smarting, then there will need to be some healing again.

But I miss that friend, and not just when I’m on pain meds. I miss the old friend we had before things got strained and difficult. Before we became anchors that hindered flight instead of members of the cheering squad. I miss my old cheering squad. I kind of need to find those roots again.

And I’d love to attend a reading sometime.