Monday, April 28, 2014

Breaking my vow...

Okay, I know I promised not to rehash CountryTime stories, but this one needs to be told. If you have been following this blog, you know that I used to live in a parsonage next door to the 5 Star General of the Bloods. He shot and killed 3 people while living next door to me and may or may not have been responsible for the dead body found 2 blocks away in front of E's school. As a result of gang activity we forced our church to move us, causing all sorts of problems. The church moved us out to the country, 9 miles away from ANYTHING. The first thing I said when I saw the house was "Well, this is a tornado waiting to happen." The trustee leading the house tour scoffed at me and mocked me.

But that is exactly what happened. CountryTime was hit by tornadoes, two of which started just yards away from our house. For two hours, the residents of the house huddled in the bathroom under a mattress while the slow moving tornadoes pummeled them. At one point a hot tub hit the house and I can only imagine the terror the residents felt. The house stood, but all through the neighborhood there were trees on cars and sheds moved miles away. Even E's horses that lived at the end of our road lost their barn completely. I have no idea how they survived.

I hate feeling this way, but I am still angry at those people for moving us out to that house as punishment for complaining about the original house. The thing that really got me, however, was a FB comment made by a church member. Apparently the church neighborhood was also one of the hardest hit neighborhoods yet the church remained unscathed. The member posted that "God loves this church." I so desperately wanted to respond, "So all those other people that lost their houses and lives, did God NOT love them!!!???"

Okay, I promise, this blog is not going to become my place to rant and rave again, but this episode feels like the exclamation point on a sentence that just had to be finished.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

That Did Not Just Happen

I am a teacher's assistant. I was offered the lead teacher job, but I hate being in charge and after all the years at the children's theater and all the drama, I decided I wanted to spend some time just being in a support position. Yes, it is a lot less money, but it has allowed me so much more personal time and happiness.

That being said, one of my class parents is extremely unhappy and has been speaking to anyone in the community who will listen about how much he dislikes his son's circumstances. That is about all I feel comfortable saying, except this man holds some power in my community and at the school.

He has been downright mean to my lead teacher. It sent me mentally flying back to all I endured during the time that shall not be mentioned. So much so that I had to physically force myself to stay uninvolved. I am just the assistant. I don't get paid to get abused by parents. (Isn't it sad that teachers are expected to take some abuse from parents?)

But I have also been spending a lot of time trying to teach my students to take responsibility for themselves, to stop making excuses. They are struggling to grasp the concept that at a Montessori school there is no punishment for not getting an answer right, but that they need to persevere until they do get the right answer. I spend hours each week telling kids that I can't give them all the answers and they have to do the work themselves. And then I have kids whose parents think they never do anything wrong. One of my kids hid outside of the room and when I found him, he was trying to destroy school property. When the lead teacher contacted the parents, they indicated he would never do that and I must have it out for him.

Everything just kind of came to a head this week and I needed to vent some so I posted this on my FB page:

"Sometimes I feel as if we have all forgotten how to be kind, how to listen, how to accept responsibility, how to say "I am sorry." Too many excuses and accusations in the world."

You can imagine my surprise when I received a private message on FB from a former CountryTime theater parent. This parent tried to get me fired for not sticking around after one of her son's shows with another theater company. She was mad that I didn't gush over him even though I had a migraine and had to leave. She actually called my boss and tried to get me fired. This was her message:

"Muddy, with your last post being said... I really owe you an apology and I need to let you know what an amazing teacher and mentor you were to (son). I know all of us got caught up in all the "drama" at the end before you guys left (no pun intended) but he learned so much from you and The Theater will never have another teacher like you. Your help and all that he learned, I feel helped him to get where he's at. Thanks so much and again I'm sorry!"

Now you would think this would have evoked some strong emotion in me, but it didn't. There was so little emotion, in fact, that I thought maybe something was wrong with me. I just didn't care anymore. Those people have no power over me. I didn't know what to do. Part of me wanted to just ignore the message. After all, I owe her nothing. Part of me thought I needed to respond so that she couldn't tell everyone in CountryTime what I bitch I was for ignoring her. But the real part of me realized I needed to make some comment. If I didn't, I would be giving her power. I would always be expecting some nasty email or I would think of it from time to time and it would be like a little splinter stuck in my toe. Something that would eventually disappear, but would rub me the wrong way whenever something touched it. So this is what I responded:

"I appreciate your apology, but it is all in the past and was forgiven a long time ago. Your son is a talent in himself and I know that he will succeed if he stays on his path. I am just happy I got to play a small part in his development."

Short and to the point. I didn't engage, I didn't provoke, I just accepted and moved on. It is hard for me to believe that I may really HAVE moved on. Maybe it was all just a bad dream.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Summer To-Do List

I have been seriously thinking about what is going to happen this summer when I am on summer break. As I have established, not having a job to go to every day is a bit daunting to me as it allows my seeming agorophobia to surface and I nest in a not so healthy way. Since summer is just 8 weeks away, I have decided to make a to-do list. Think of it is as things to keep me occupied and protect me from myself.

I am, of course, going to continue to work out, attempt to grow my own food (although I am a huge failure as a gardener) and take E surfing as much as possible, since it no longer causes extreme pain to walk to the beach and sit in the sun. So the givens are not going to be included on this list. And I do have a small, two-week summer job teaching an arts camp lined up. Aside from that and a week in the mountains, the field is wide open.

So here it is, my honey-do list to myself:

First and foremost I am FINALLY going to learn to play my guitar. Seriously. I mean it this time. I am going to be able to play at least 5 songs before August 30th.

I am going to learn to fish from the pier. I have a church member who has the equipment and is willing to teach me. I feel as if I have gotten very far away from my primal humanity (is that redundant?) and would like to have this skill. I am a little queasy about gutting and skinning a fish, but I used to do it when I was a kid, so I am sure I can do it again.

Going along with the primal humanity theme, I am going to learn how to make a fire the cave man way. I know it sounds silly, but I just think it is an important tool to have in your survival skill tool belt. And NO, I am not a survivalist, I just feel the need to be a little more knowledgeable about how things work and what to do if, God forbid, the bridge to my island collapsed and we lost power. It wasn't widely reported, but we even had a tsunami hit our island this summer and that scared me. It was so little it took 4 months for the powers to be to officially say it happened, but still. The Outer Banks bridge got closed down for several weeks this fall and it was pretty scary to us other Islanders. Things happen on barrier islands.

I am going to make and can Red Hot pickles. One of our church members is going to teach me how to can, and the local little organic produce place has said they would like to try them. I love me some cinnamon pickles. Now, if I can just learn how to actually grow things (like cucumbers) to a full-size. Last year all my vegetables were little miniature versions of their true selves.

I am going to make homemade ice cream. Again, I need to borrow an ice cream maker from a church member, but since I eat so little sugar now, when I do eat it, I want it to be worth it.

I am teaching E how to cook and bake. That is a given. But I am also going to create a sourdough starter and use that to make my bread this summer. No more Wonder Bread for this family.

Lastly, I am going to be on turtle watch again this summer. Last summer I got to sit at the head of a nest as it boiled and watch 98 little babies break through the sand. A few weeks later I was called in on a sudden boil and got to be the turtle counter and I am actually now trusted and ALLOWED to handle the turtles. That was a huge thing, if I were more religious I would actually call it a blessing. But that is going to forever more be on my summer list. I am even thinking of getting a sea turtle tattoo on my inner wrist.

So that is it so far. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know. I need 8 weeks worth of things to keep me busy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Talk to the Hand

As some of you may or may not remember, Hubby does not seem to possess the chemical needed to prevent him from moving or acting out his dreams while he is sleeping. Over the years I have learned to discern his moods prior to going to bed and usually I can tell when he is going to have an active night. On those nights I literally sleep with one eye open. This potentially saved my life several years ago when Hubby rolled over in his sleep and attempted to slam an unseen knife directly into my chest. He has no recollection of it and swears he wasn't dreaming of killing me, but you get the picture.

Last night was a night like most nights and I felt comfortable going to sleep next to the man I love. I had only been asleep about 90 minutes when I felt my husband's arm propped up against my side. He is a snuggler, so that didn't concern me, but then I felt something hovering near my face. I instantly woke up completely and prepared myself for whatever physical onslaught he was about to dish out. Only what happened took me completely by surprise.

There was my husband's hand, being held as if he was working a sock puppet, and, in a dead sleep, he was saying, "Happy hand, happy, happy , happy hand." I honestly thought he was awake and playing a joke on me. I popped up and said, "What the hell are you doing?" He never answered, rolled over and was quiet the rest of the night.

The next morning I asked him why he did that and he has absolutely no memory of it. The only thing I can figure is he was dreaming he was putting on a puppet show. But I sure would like to know who or what Happy Hand is. Or....maybe not.