Worst. Summer. Ever.

Perhaps not "ever" but certainly within recent memory...


Things at MPOW haven't been going quite as well as they need to be going, and I'm not at all confident that we'll be ready for students to come back on Tuesday. That's a huge worry: books aren't shelved properly (yet); there's nothing up to highlight the Great! New! Books!; there's a huge archives project that needs tidying; our DVD collection needs to be rehoused; need I go on? On top of all that, Bogie's acting funny, requiring a visit to the vet. My house needs a serious cleaning. I'm very behind on updating my computer and on decluttering my closets. For every step forward I'm taking, I feel like this summer has been ten steps back.

Thing Two does something called "lie on top of", which is wonderful because it's like a human is acting as a security blanket; it's an eternal shame that I don't have constant access to a human for "lie on top of" (or that The Boys can't grow to human-size so that they can cuddle me back; part of me hopes that The Boys feel completely loved and snuggled when I do something similar to them - the certainly do purr as if they do!). Yes, yoga's good for destressing. Ditto dark chocolate. Or Ben & Jerrys. Still, give me a good "lie on top of" any day, and if you can find anyone to "lie on top of" you, do so immediately.

Of course, you could always tap your troubles away.


Poltical Imponderables

I'm listening to the recent primary results and in each race one candidate was "supported by the Tea Party" or "a Tea Partier". Hmmm...

At MPOW, there are many who have expressed a desire to see the Democrats take over the local, state and national governments. Not just this election cycle, but permanently. Unfortunately, this sentiment isn't confined to MPOW - I've heard it from others of a seriously liberal bent. If that were to happen, it kind of makes the Republicans the political version of the Washington Generals. And it kind of makes America a one party nation, something that should make every one of us rethink our allegiance to the flag.

On the other hand, the Tea Party is not the third party we desperately need. Unless it's the original (and still best).


Miss me?

Some things have happened over the past few weeks that have made me think about people that are no longer in my life. In part it's been seeing old friends and students, in part it's been random events that have made me wonder what [name of person] would have made of things.

The vast majority of these people are those that naturally slipped away - going away to school, marriage, leaving a job, etc. are all perfect opportunities to miss catching up with people and their lives. That's why we have school reunions, right? They're our chance to gossip about those that haven't come to the reunion, to share memories of each other and to wonder What Ever Happened To, as well as to revisit old grudges and dislikes. I've had great luck with my reunions, but other friends of mine? Not so much. The left over angst sometimes is difficult (as one friend said "they were all so happy to see me and acted as though we were friends, but back then I knew they really didn't like me so why pretend now that they did?").

And then there are those that are no longer part of your life because of a misunderstanding, a break-up or other catastrophe. The reasons then seemed great, but now you can't really remember why. And you miss that person, wanting to say "sorry" or "can't we find a way to work it out?".

I've done some searching for a number of these people. A few I've found; most I haven't found (despite all the reports to the contrary, not everyone has a web presence or online life!). And found or not, there are always those nagging doubts: do they want to hear from me? will they be as sexy/smart/funny/understanding/intriguing as they were Back When? will I have changed in ways that they don't like? is it too late to become friends again? would an overture be appreciated? If I were on the receiving end, would there be residual anger or embarrassment? What's the appropriate time frame in which to respond (too fast, and I'll look desperate, too slow and I'm clearly only being polite)?

One of the odd quirks I have is that I remember birthdays - one just passed for someone I haven't thought about in, well, 30 or so years. It was only seeing another friend that brought this person to mind, and I now know where they work. Should I send a card or note? Should I ignore the date? Does this person miss me, or am I too part of their distant past?

All of this to say that if I haven't been in touch recently, I'm sorry. I do miss you. Do you miss me?**

** and yes, I'm aware that a semi-anonymous blog post is not going to help with those I've lost touch with over the years. Still, it's "out there" as They say. Can't hurt, right?


Living in a bubble

Friday I headed north to SmallTown, in part to see my parents and in part to see a couple of people I hadn't seen in many years (that one of those people decided to skip lunch with me in favor of a golf tournament doesn't bother me at all and I'm definitely not bitter about it. Nope. But I digress.). Because things at MPOW have been completely messed up, my departure kept being delayed and then I rushed (serious traffic between the TZB and the Harrison tolls didn't help my mood, either).

Anyway, I got home and the first thing I needed to do was to use the bathroom. A discussion started about whether I could and it was decided that the toilet and sink were ok, but that I'd have to use my parent's Brand New Amazing Shower. At dinner, I asked what was wrong with my shower - I'd been regaled with tales of the 30 Year Leak (that led to removal of their shower, rotten wood paneling and other Tales of Woe, including the Great Garbage Saga) for months, but until now my shower (ok, to be accurate, the shower my sister and I shared) had not been part of the conversation.

It turns out that my parents were/are so taken with the new fixtures in their Brand New Amazing Shower that they want to put them in my shower. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the single knob hot/cold/more flow/less flow method, but I moved out over 30 years ago so I have no real say in the matter. And after owning the house for 40+ years, it's fine that they're making improvements. So... they've Made Plans.

Thing is, they loved the contractor they used for their Brand New Amazing Shower (and attending work) and assumed that the plumbing sub-contractors were of similar caliber. Dad called some time ago, and was told that there was no time and call back in six week. That was this past week. Dad called... Mutt (or Jeff, I wasn't clear which) said "tomorrow". "Tomorrow" was a no-show, so Dad calls. "3 o'clock tomorrow" is the response. No show again. Dad calls, but mysteriously can't get through. He calls Jeff (or perhaps Mutt), who is camping in the North Country and can't help.

My father is honestly shocked by this. Not "shocked... shocked!". Genuinely shocked.

I mentioned this to my friend D. (the one who did come to lunch. not that I'm upset about being stood up by L. at all), who has been renovating her house for the past year or so. She and her husband have had many issues with their contractors, so she's not shocked. I mention Briar's problems - this is more the contracting norm, right?

D. mentioned that I was forgetting one very important thing: our parents live in SmalltTown. There are no lines there. Everything is done right the first time. You don't have to drive more than five minutes to anything. Contractors are honest, hard-working professionals. It's worlds removed from MediumTown or BigCity. It's SmallTown.


What's in a name?

The other day at MPOW a colleague referred to the man she's in a relationship with as her "significant other". This colleague is a week younger than I, and it got me thinking: what term do you use when you're over 30 and "boyfriend" starts to sound a little like you're clinging on to your rapidly disappearing youth?

My paternal grandfather died in 1973 and his wife (aka my grandmother) died nearly 30 years later; during that interval she had two "gentleman friends", a term I don't believe anyone outside the Greatest Generation could use with a straight face. "Partner" sounds either as though this is a homosexual relationship or a legal/medical
relationship (a friend of mine had a life partner and a medical partner with the same name). "Lover" is a bit, well, TMI and implies that sex is the central focus of the relationship. "Companion"? Are we in Jane Eyre or some Trollope novel?

If it's a romantic relationship, POSSLQ is out (but thanks to the Census Bureau for a great acronym!). Equally, "roommate" doesn't cover that type of relationship and "fiance" might be pushing things. "Soul mate" sounds a little too Age of Aquarius.

So I'm stumped. Ideas?


My new life goal

In a couple of weeks, the people I went to public school with will be celebrating their 30th high school reunion (as readers know, I've already had mine). To be honest, of the 450 people that I would have graduated with had I stayed there, I only remember five. Recently I commented on one of those friends FB page; that night there was a message from another classmate who clearly remembered me but of whom I had no recollection. The other night I couldn't sleep, thanks to a midday latte, and I found myself looking in the basement for my 9th grade yearbook. Even with the photo as a prompt, this person's name wasn't ringing any of those memory bells! (take that, Thing Two: I don't have perfect memory of everyone and everything)

Reading the comments was interesting. Some were unreadable, because thin pen over a photo doesn't lend itself to reading. Most were of the "you're a good kid... have a good summer..." variety. So yes, I was a loser with few friends back then. There were a few "we had so much fun in [subject] class - never forget [name of teacher]". If my life depended on it I can't remember that teacher, or the class in which I apparently had fun! And then there were the comments that scared me.

Scared me how? Reading between the lines, back then I was smart, assertive, and hell on wheels. Plus ├ža change, right? Aren't we supposed to grow and change as we get older?

I mentioned this to Thing One, who said "I wouldn't say hell on wheels - you're more like purgatory on a unicycle." Maybe in another 30 years, I'll be "limbo in Topsiders." Certainly a goal to strive for.