Friday, October 29, 2010


I have this weird thing about dentists.  I have always taken extremely good care of my teeth because my dad always told me the story of national health care in England.  When he was a kid, the dentist had come to the school to work on the students' teeth.  My dad had to have a tooth removed, only they didn't give him enough anethesia and he woke up during the procedure. They couldn't give him any more anesthesia so he had to suffer through the removal without drugs.  Plus, he had a removable bridge that he would shove out with his tongue and terrify me.  I never wanted to be able to do that.

When I was a teenager I went to a very nice dentist in Worthington, OH.  Worthington was the hoity-toity sister of Columbus, straight up High Street but a totally different world.  It was a very old-money kind of place and I lived in a house on the corner of 161 on the last official block of "Old Worthington".  That meant something in that town at that time.  "Old Worthington" residents had to be rich (we weren't, of course, but my dad was a well-known scientist so it was okay).  Ted Sorenson's niece lived down the street from me (JFK's Speechwriter) and the busiest Dairy Queen in America served blizzards to all of the teenagers who snuck out of the high school at lunch time.  The kids were all sons and daughter's of CEO's and corporate big-wigs who partied hard and drank to get drunk.  Alcoholism ran rampant among my class because liquor was just so damned accessible.  Ma and Pa Richie Rich would never think of locking their liquor cabinets.  The little Lords and Ladies would never, ever drink, would they?

But I digress, I am talking about my dentist.  Anywho, the dentist office was just up the street from the town square.  Not quite in "Old Worthington" but still in its protective shield where "nothing bad could ever happen here (at least not that you would know)" and the man was quite nice.  One day I had an appointment for a regular cleaning and as I sat in the chair singing through a musical number in my head, I was very surprised to see the most gorgeous man EVER enter the room. My jaw actually dropped open and I started to stutter.  The doctor introduced himself as the new partner in the practice and asked if it would be okay if he took my appointment today.  I was really uncomfortable with this incredibly sexy man being so close to me, but what was I supposed to say, "'re just too damn hot to have your hands in my mouth?"  So I agreed and he was very professional and thorough.   But I left wondering what happened to my old dentist.

Later that week the story broke that my dentist (the original one, not the hottie) was in jail awaiting sentencing.  It seems that he had agreed to do some cosmetic dental surgery on his mistress.  Only his mistress was cheating on him and he had found out about it.  So, when he had her under anethesia, he maimed her in such a way that she was left with permanent nerve damage in her face.  Worthington was stunned.  It was so inappropriate to air your dirty laundry in such a fashion.

But it has left me with this odd, lingering fear of getting dental work done.  The one time I have ever had to have a cavity filled the dentist had to give me two stress balls to hold because the sound of the drill made me shrivel and writhe nervously.  Last week I had an appointment for my regular cleaning.  The dental hygenist was friendly and chatted while she worked.  But in the 30 minutes that she worked on my teeth, she never told me there had been a change in the dental practice.  She rang for the dentist and instead of my normal dentist there was a new man, not a hottie, but the change made me wary.  Then he discovered that the one cavity that I had had sealed was leaking and I would need to have it fixed.  I was stunned and nervous and felt my blood pressure rising.  Suddenly, out of my mouth popped, "I'll need some squishy balls."  And I started squeezing my hands open and shut rapidly to show him.  I don't know why.

The dentist's eyes got very large as he warily watched my hands do their squishy ball dance and he said, "Excuse me?"

"Squishy balls...I need them for the procedure to squeeze.  They keep me calm." I responded, still pumping my hands just in case the term squishy balls didn't cue him to my impending sense of doom.

"STRESS balls,"  the hygenist blurted out, "she means STRESS balls."

The dentist told her to schedule the appointment and left the room.  But, amazingly enough, when I went in for the procedure, I had my old dentist back.  I guess the new one felt the need to protect...something.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In the past 48 hours two teenagers in our community have died.  One, a girl, passed away from a disease that had slowly been torturing her for years.  The other, a boy, died while driving his muscle car that he had no idea how to handle.  I did not know either one of these children, but I teach children their age.

My teenage theater kids came to class today saddened and shocked.  They all knew or knew of these kids but none were really friends with them.  And yet, they came to class needing to talk, to understand, to be heard.  They didn't get why they felt the way they did and yet I knew that I wasn't supposed to answer them,  I was just supposed to let them tell their story.

But what I wanted to say was:  you feel this way because when you are a teenager, your social web connects you to your entire world.  When one point on that web dies, your web weakens and skews until another person comes along to shore it up.  You feel this way because you were suddenly slapped in the face with the fact that teenagers are not immortal.  You can fall and get hurt.  Your body can betray you.  You can drive too fast or veer off course.  You feel this way because you are young and dramatic and full of life and when a  young life is snuffed out suddenly, your light dims in acknowledgement.

I wanted to say all of those things, but I was the adult in the room.  I was the sounding board, the anchor.  My job was to just be.  But today of all days I pray that the me who I am was enough.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just enough.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's the Little Things

I have had a heck of a 2 weeks.  I have doubled my hours at the theater and also have taken on two more days a week at the preschool since another teacher's assistant quit.  I was in my new class for the past two days and getting to know a new batch of kids.

At dismissal today one little boy was left.  He has an older sister who gets dismissed a little later, so his mom picks him up with her.  While we were waiting he sat on my lap telling me all about his big brother who had gotten mad at him this morning, and how he believed there was a monster under his bed, how he was dressing up as Batman for Halloween and on and on he chattered.

His mom came in, saw him talking to me on my lap and her jaw dropped open.  Then she got tears in her eyes.  I became a little afraid thinking I had done something horribly wrong.   Maybe he wasn't supposed to be on my lap?  I looked up and asked her if she was okay.  She stuttered a little bit and said, "He doesn't talk."  Huh? "He doesn't say more than a word or two at a time."  Apparently he has sensory integration disorder (possibly more) and has never talked to anyone but his mom and dad, but there he was sitting on my lap and talking to me.

After being made to feel like such an ogre this past week over jazz pants and wedding faux pas' and church things, to have that one moment where a child chose to trust me and share with me just made the whole negative energy of this week just wash away.  For one short moment I was special in the eyes of a 2 year-old child.  Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Living in a Southern Gothic Novel

I really think I should change the name of my blog.  Things here are so strange that I feel like I am living in some sort of alternate universe most days.

Last night at the grocery store I ran into the "anonymous former church member" who called me a radical liberal.  She actually turned on her heels and pushed her cart away from me as fast as she could to avoid me.  I must have leftist cooties or something.

Then I ran into another church member who proceeded to go through the things in my buggy one by one, actually touching them and moving them to get a better view of everything I was buying.  I had snacks and drinks for our children's church group that meets today and she thought they were for me.  She said, "Aha, I knew you didn't only eat healthy stuff!"  It was almost an insult, like I wasn't allowed to be human and eat junk food once in a while.  The weirder thing was that I just let her go through my cart because it actually amused me and I knew it would give me blog fodder.  I just wish Hubby and I still used condoms and I had a great big pack of them AND some sort of "just for her" vaginal lubricant!

But the last thing is the saddest thing and makes me feel most like I am living in a novel.  The woman who stalks my theater partner, the 80+ woman who goes everywhere she knows he is going to be and just hovers in his personal space....well I found out that the reason she is the way she is is because when she was in her twenties she was violently and brutally raped.  It's the secret everyone knows but doesn't talk about.  But no one tries to help her either, its the great shame of the elite around here.  (Oh, did I mention she is a millionaire?)

I just keep shaking my head as this place gets weirder and weirder.

PS:  I have a few kids in my preschool class that have the strange body shape I told you about so I am going to try to take pictures to post (without faces, of course) so you'll believe I am not making this up.

Monday, October 11, 2010

To top it all off

A parent interrupted my theater class today to yell at me because I dared to enforce the consequence written into the contract for the program for not adhering to the dress code.  She said, and I quote, "I pay too much damn money for my child to just observe a class because she's not wearing black jazz pants!"

Now tell me, we have had 4 weeks of classes.  Every week I have asked these children to please wear black jazz pants.  They knew it was the rule before our session even started.  By signing the contract AND the separate incidental form stating they had specifically read the point about the dress code, they agreed to abide by our rules.  It's not fair to the kids who do follow the rules to have to watch the other kids NOT follow the rules.  But you go right ahead and yell at me, giving your child yet an even greater sense of entitlement.  My daughter will be their lawyer when they go to jail in their 30's.

Damn I hate this town.

Everybody Sing

Hands, Foot and Mouth Disease
(mouth disease)
Hands, Foot and Mouth Disease
(mouth disease)
I've been exposed to HFMD,
Hands, Foot and Mouth Disease
(mouth disease)

One of my three-year olds went home Wednesday and came down with blisters on her body which was then diagnosed as HFMD.  She did not return to school and Saturday night I started to feel kind of icky.  Malaise, sore throat, very swollen gland in my neck.  Could it be that I too have HFMD-adult style?

But alas, that is not what I want to post about.  I want to post about "Why I do not attend weddings where Hubby officiates" anymore.  Hubby believes that performing weddings, whether or not the bride and/or groom are members of his church, is important.  More than one couple he has married have gone on to join a church and they all credit him.

Of course, unless the person is a member of his church, there is a fee for his service.  Most people think that a pastor should just do weddings for free.  But think about it.  Hubby refuses to marry a couple unless they first take premarital counseling from him or someone he approves (4 hours).  Then he has to meet with the couple to discuss the service (1 hour), write a small wedding sermon (2 hours), attend the rehearsal (usually 2 hours) and the wedding (2 hours) All in all he spends about 11 hours on a wedding and if the couple are not members of his church, that 11 hours is on top of his normal 50 hours work week.  He deserves to be paid.  If the couple doesn't want to pay, they should just get one of their friends to get ordained online.  But most people don't want that.  They really want to be married in the eyes of God.

Hubby (and family) is almost always invited to the reception.  It's just common courtesy.  I attended the first several weddings after Hubby was ordained.  Nothing good ever happened when I did.  Either we would be sat with completely deaf Grandma Lou who smelled like tea-tree oil and ben-gay, or we would be sat with the most obnoxious couple who no one else wanted to sit with.  Once, we discovered that even though our daughter had been specifically invited on the invitation and we had RSVP'd  for three, there was no chair for her.  And when we sat down at the table, several of the people very loudly proclaimed that "there goes our being able to drink"  and "I can't believe they brought their child" to which someone responded "They're just after the free food."

So eventually I just refused to go anymore. Why put myself up to ridicule?  But this past weekend, a woman who attends our church but is not a member asked Hubby to officiate at her mom's wedding.  Her mom is a member of another local church (different denomination) but her pastor was not available on her date.  Hubby agreed and told her up-front his fee, to which she said, "Sounds reasonable."  Hubby met with the mom and told mom and groom that he would need his fee two weeks ahead of time.  No problem, they said.  Two weeks prior came and went. No check.  He took them aside at the rehearsal and they said they had "forgotten" but would give it to him before the ceremony.  Ten minutes prior to the ceremony, still no money.  Hubby had to make a choice.  Walk out and have his reputation ruined, or perform the ceremony.  He went ahead with it, but I told the daughter of the bride that Hubby had not been paid.

We went to the reception which was on a marina deck of a restaurant.  Tables were set up everywhere but by the time we got there, most of them were full.  There were two tables which had 8 chairs, of which 6 at each table were available.  I went to sit down at one, and the woman sitting at the first table told me that we couldn't sit there because they were saved seats.  Um...okay, how high school, but I moved.  So I went to the second table with the last 6 available seats.  As I started to sit down, the woman there actually threw her arm in front of me and said "You can't sit there.  There's no room at this table," in this sneering tone.  There had to be room at one of the tables because there were supposed to be enough seats for every guest.  Stunned by the tone, I walked back to the daughter of the bride and told her no one would let us sit down.  She was pissed off that everyone was being so rude.  She asked the serving staff to get another table for us.  They got one and started setting it up in the shaded area.  As I went to sit down, this teen-age boy started telling me I couldn't sit there.  The chairs were still being placed and the table had been put out for us, but I couldn't sit there.  His mom (who was already sitting at a table) was yelling across the deck at him to stop us and make sure we didn't sit there because they had already called that table.  "Called" that table?  Are you serious?  Hubby started to sit down and the woman actually screamed, "You can't sit there.  You don't deserve to sit there.  That's for real guests."

By then I was feeling sick from being in the direct sun with this swollen gland, I had been run-off from three tables and embarrassed a la Jerry Springer by some screaming meanie.  I took E, took Hubby's car keys, gave him my phone and left.  I told him to call me when he got his money.  He finally called me 90 minutes later.  The couple paid him in cash.  I almost wonder if they took the money off the money tree to give him because they really didn't think he would force the issue. 

So anyway, I am back to my rule of not attending the receptions.  They are just not worth it. Yet another stellar example of the hospitality to be found in CountryTime.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't read this if you get skeevy about pastors having sex....

I haven't posted because my life went from 30mph to 180mph in 3 days flat.  That and my parents are here, so I have to sneak peeks at my blog.  Also, I am the type of person who can't write anything if something else is stuck in my head and insisting on coming out.  Something happened the other day that I have to share but I have been too embarrassed to.  But I figure this has happened to other people, so....

Something happened to me after my post in which I railed against the non-radical liberals.  It was almost as if that labeling and anonymous email set me free.  Before, I think I might have held out some sliver of hope that I could make this life work.  I love all of my kids, both preschool and theater.  My theater, in fact, was just recognized by the state arts council as being the premiere new program for kids.  I'm working my ass off for little pay, but I love what I am doing.  I just hate the church and my lack of friends.

But that condemning email just struck home that my family does not belong here.  And finally admitting failure at being able to bloom where I am planted cleared the board for me to be able to realize something else about myself.  These past two weeks I have been more "ME" then I have been in years.  I have joked with strangers, I have laughed with my kids, I have stopped holding on to all my anger and anxiety at this situation that we are in.  I even realized I no longer sit there and tell myself I am not qualified to be directing shows and teaching kids.  The State Arts Council says I am.  Having a kid on Disney's short list says I am.  Even all my former 4-6th graders who are now in college and getting cast in their college plays as freshman say I am.  All four who have pursued theater have emailed me and told me what I taught them has made all the difference.

I don't know if it is the therapy, or the working out, or just turning 40 finally (it hung over me so long), but I am feeling...normal...calm...qualified.  So with this newfound me-ness, I wanted to do something a little different.  For many years I have struggled with the fact that I am no longer sexy, or sexual really.  It's hard to feel sexual when you don't like yourself.  That's the hardest thing about getting older to me.  Men don't notice me.  And sometimes I transfer that feeling onto Hubby and I imagine having sex with me is a little like having sex with a stifled school marm sometimes.

So one night after he had fallen asleep and it was past midnight, I woke him up for a little midnight nookie.  I think men find being woken up sexy and I wanted to try it.  We and I got into it and tried not to, how should I say it, censor myself.  Aw, hell....I got a little loud.  Apparently so loud I woke E up.  She called my name and of course, I had to stop and go to her because it seemed that my "sounds" had scared her.  I told her I had just had a bad dream and that she should go back to sleep.  I was mortified and it was made worse by the fact that for the first time in a long time I had tried to be sexy and I was denied.  Obviously the Universe doesn't think I should be wild and amorous anymore.

But this whole situation was made worse by my conversation with E in the morning as I was walking her to school.  She's 8.  She's starting to hear about sex through her friends but she is still very innocent.  She had questions.  "Mommy, are you sure you just had a nightmare?  It sounded like you were exercising."  And then she started to imitate the sounds I had been making.  I NEVER EVER AGAIN WANT TO HEAR MY CHILD MAKING THOSE SOUNDS!!!!  And I am never having sex again.  I will just go back to my school marm status and Hubby can find a little piece on the side.

Good lord, I can't believe I am actually posting this.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Words I Never Thought I Would Hear Hubby Say

After E turns in for the night, Hubby, the Raptor and I curl up in our bed and watch TV.  The raptor sleeps in his cage at night but is allowed to be with us until about 11:00 when we go to sleep.  As a result of being in our room, we occasionally eat in bed.

The other day Hubby's parents sent him a recipe for a Nasty-Assed pie that he wanted to try.  It was low fat and low sugar and very Southern.  Being the good wife, and since it only took 5 minutes, I agreed.  He got home late from a meeting, sliced himself a large piece and came to join me in bed.

Unfortunately, his coming to bed offset the dog's snuggly position next to me and the dog had to readjust his position.  As dogs do, the Raptor started circling into the pile of blankets.  Hubby, being the slow-reflexed man that he is, didn't notice the Raptor backing up to pull a cover.  Suddenly the dog was sitting IN the food.  Hubby jumped up swearing at the butt impression left on his slice of Nasty Ass pie.

I heard him swearing all the way to the kitchen as he got himself another slice.  Upon his return, he sternly looked at the dog and said, "Keep your ass out of my pie, dog!"