Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the moon landing is fake (continued)

this is a guest post by Iris to prove that her theory is correct.

I am also supposed to say that I am ten. but everybody knows that.

in an episode of 30 Rock Jack Donaghy admits that some of the Olympic events like Tetherball were staged so that they could show the U.S. winning and improve citizen moral. I realize that that was just an episode of 30 Rock, but it is obviously based on the moon landing. That is exactly what they did. They took all their money, (there was lots of it,) and in a time when people did not have much faith in the US government, they took an expensive filming studio and filmed a guy walking out of a cylinder in a fancy costume. Then they aired it on tv. Problem solved!

It really is kind of simple when you think about it.

When I get proved right, you peeps will all bow down in respect, and say "Oh Iris, I'm so sorry I ever doubted you. You were right all along."

And then will owe me.

summary: the moon landing is fake.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lola's existential crisis continues

Last night at bedtime, first grader Lola asked, "Why is life suffering?" and repeatedly stated, "Life is suffering. I have suffered!"

Lola was still thinking about something which happened last week, which seemed to her the perfect illustration of how all life is suffering. Lola had to stay late at school so I could get a post-op checkup, and she was playing with two other first graders. They were pretending to be princesses, when suddenly the other two girls changed the game without consulting Lola or explaining what was going on to her. "I suffered," said Lola gravely.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

tinfoil hats and grassy knolls in the future?

Ten year-old Iris uber Alles announced importantly, "I had an ephiphany! The moon landing was obviously a fake!"

"Oh, Iris," I said.

"Hey! It is soooo obviously a fake! There is no way they could have filmed it!" After years of being told by her parents that when they were young, there were no personal computers, internet, DVDs, or video cameras; Iris was under the belief that there couldn't have been a way to film those portentous first steps on the moon.

Iris pulled up some footage of the moon landing online. "Where was the camera?" she jeered. "This is so obviously a fake! Was the camera just waiting on the moon?"

"Iris, you think they could have made a spaceship, made spacesuits that circulated air, and managed to get them up to the moon and back in one piece but they weren't capable of making a camera? They made movies back then, you know!"

She refused to buy this line of reasoning. "It's so clearly a fake, Momdude. Only an idiot would believe in the moon landing."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Frowst takes one for the team

First grader Lola had been praying every week since Labor Day to be chosen to be the "Superstar", who gets to sit in front of the class at the end of each day and talk about herself and share off some of her prized possessions. Finally it was Lola's turn.

The culmination of this week of "Superstardom" is the "Live Share", where the Superstar may bring in a pet or a relative to present to the class. Obviously Lola had quite a decision to make, who to bring in for sharing. Her first thought was Ray Charles, our little black cat, but I vetoed that on the grounds that Ray's health was too shaky for all that excitement. Even if Ray were in top form, I wouldn't want to subject him to that. He's a shy animal who has taken to squashing himself flat and scuttling crablike under the dishwasher when Lola has playdates. Al, who of all our pets nominally belongs to Lola, was never in the running. "Too gross" said Lola critically (Al, being unfortunately allergic to plaque, tends to drool and is chronically underweight, although I contend that his unusually bright orange coloring and his extremely long whiskers and fluffy tail compensate for his other aesthetic drawbacks). Similarly the green Amazon parrot was not considered (too bitey). Henry, an attractive animal whose vet refused to believe was feral ("A cat this pretty has to be a purebred", the vet said repeatedly), was cute enough for the job but temperamentally unsound, as Henry hates to be picked up, held, or restrained in any way. "She might scratch them," said Lola.

In the end, it came down to either Pigwidgeon, the African grey parrot, or Frowst, the big, fluffy black cat. Which would be the most impressive and popular? Lola chose Frowst, and she authorized me to bring Pigwidgeon in his stead if I were unable to capture Frowst on the day itself.

Iris was critical of this decision. "Pigwidgeon is cooler." Iris recalled her own days as a First Grade Superstar, when she had brought in her pet rats, Goosebye and Cutebone, instead of the adorable foster kittens we had at that time. Iris had done that to educate her fellow students. One little girl had heard that Iris had pet rats and sneered "That's gross" at her, and Iris became hellbent on proving to the first grade that rats are sweet and cute. Even as a first grader, Iris preferred making a moral point to being popular.

On Live Share Day, I lured Frowst in from the backyard with a fresh can of cat food and promptly crammed him into a carrier. He went into the carrier peaceably enough, and for almost the whole ride he laid quietly in his box, nuzzling my fingers when I put them up to the carrier door. Then suddenly as I was driving past Washington High School, which always requires the utmost in driving concentration as heedless teenagers are so often darting out into the street, Frowst freaked and started screaming his head off. We got to the school, and I had great difficulty in extricating him from his box, which he had decided was preferable as a known evil over the unknown evils of the classroom.

When I got him out finally, I learned that his screaming fit was not the only symptom of his distress. Poor Frowst had lost control of his bladder as well, and his glamorous long fur was soaked. I toweled him off the best I could and held him in a way which concealed his shame.

The first graders were exuberant and noisy at the sight of a Genuinely Fluffy Kitty. Many of these children live in petless homes (many lamented of parents who are allegedly allergic to animals) or homes populated only by the ghosts of dead pets (child after child told the gory details of how their pets had passed away). Lola was in heaven, sitting up in front of everyone and getting to call on them and to talk about her cat. Frowst hunkered down in my lap like he was digging in at Iwo Jima.

Half an hour went by quickly, and on their way out of the classroom, each girl was allowed to pet Frowst, who truly proved his merit by submitting to this. His only sign of resistance was his lowered ears.

Then we had to wait for Iris's class to be dismissed, and the fourth graders fell upon Frowst in a throbbing, shouting throng. "Can we touch him?" "Why is he here?"

In the car Frowst started screaming immediately, and I told Iris to take him out of his box. He cowered down on the floor of the backseat, hiding his head under the seat, and occasionally letting out a mournful moan. Lola was floating still, enjoying the aftermath of having been the subject of so much attention and admiration, but Iris was profoundly worried about Frowst escaping from the car. "He's not going to jump out of the window, Iris", I reassured her, but she couldn't relax. "Keep the windows up!" she instructed her little sister.

"He's going to explode out of here when I open the door," predicted Iris direly. But in the end, he refused to budge when we got home. I had to rip him up off the floormat forcibly, poor Frowst having decided that the car was a safe alternative to the first grade and having dug his claws in with all his might into the floormats. It took the poor animal some time to realize that he had been restored to his natural habitat. When he did, he took off for the backyard as though his tail were on fire.

In the evening, Frowst came back inside and was unusually loving. Purring and rubbing up against us, he avowed his love in a way which was heartbreaking. "Poor thing, he doesn't know enough to hold a grudge," I pointed out to the Sober Husband.

Friday, March 26, 2010

the before and the after, both so unappetizing

So the cat, Ray Charles, and I are both in the tag end of our respective convalescences. We're both lounging around in this hellhole we call home, both appearing somewhat normal, but it took us a lot to get this far. This week's accomplishment for me was going off painkillers: I don't think I've had one since Monday. Ray's biggest achievement was feeling so much more energetic that he woke me up one day, standing on the bed and screaming for canned food.

Ray's convalescence is more spoiled than mine at this point. He wasted away to a skeleton covered with rough black fur, and we've been tempting his appetite with canned food to the point that now all household cats refuse to eat dry food. I foresee a rough adjustment when he is adjudicated healthy enough to return to dry food. But for me, there is nothing in this house I can stand to eat. If I see one more Amy's frozen "Cheddar Bowl", I may commit an act of violence. Yesterday I ate the stale crackers left in the bottoms of a couple of boxes, a few Triscuits and some saltines, for lunch. Today's lunch options are basically toast (made with stale bread) or an egregiously scorned can of low fat split pea soup which the children regard as beneath contempt.

Calling for takeout is not an option when we are over budget for the month, in large part due to a $947 vet bill for Ray Charles and in smaller part because I had a housecleaner coming in once a week for the month after my surgery, not to mention the medical bills trickling in. To look at this place, though, you'd have no idea a housekeeper had ever set food in it.

Everywhere I look, I see something that needs to be cleaned or put away or mended or thrown out. Every surface in this house is covered with used drinking glasses, stacks of books, weird plastic objects the children seem to effortlessly spawn, dust, and dirty laundry. There are stacks of dirty pans everywhere in the kitchen, despite the fact that there hasn't been a lot of cooking. In the garden, my calla lilies are blooming magnificently, but you'd have to make your way through a heap of moldering magnolia detritus and keep your gaze off the weeds and the plants that need re-staking.

I can't imagine having the energy to get even one room of this house bearable. It's reached the point now where it would be supremely embarrassing for anyone to come in the house. It's just overwhelming.

The bright side of this is that the cat and I are perky. During our worst times, I was in pain and miserable, and the cat was considered to be on his deathbed. The one thing I managed to do, with the able assistance of Iris, was to give the cat antibiotics and to hydrate him daily with subcutaneous fluids. This was not a pleasant job, stabbing the poor cat with needles and pushing endless syringes of fluids into him and soaking his syringes in bleach. The Sober Husband was freaked out when I accidentally stabbed myself with one of his needles, which I dismissed. "Diseases don't pass from cats to people like that, and I got needle pricks all the time when I worked at the bird hospital." We got from that state, moribund patients, to our current fussy, messy state, the cat and I. Perhaps in a few weeks we'll be perky enough to pick up the house a bit.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

banal updates

Yesterday I saw my doctor/surgeon for a post-surgical follow-up, and she praised me for a textbook recovery. We both agreed that the surgery had accomplished what it was intended to, and the only remaining issue is fatigue, which is typical after a major surgery like this.

It's a big problem, fatigue. My energy level is barely detectable. My arms feel like pieces of pasta, limp and muscle-less. My legs swing along slowly when I walk. I feel so tired, so very tired.

Nowadays I pick up Lola, hang out with her until it's time to get Iris, bring them both home, and sometimes I manage to make them a mediocre dinner. (Other times they live off snacks until their father comes home to make them an even more mediocre dinner). I nag Iris to do her homework, take Lola to her dance class, and I clean up after the parrot, and that's all I can manage to do. The house is a cluttered hellhole, embarrassingly cluttered and messy, and sometimes I pick up something and put it away, but not often. I've taken back the job of feeding the cats and parrots. Once I went to the grocery store without an adult assistant, and that turned out to be overdoing it. If there's company over and I spend a couple of hours talking, I'm totally wiped out just by that.

So it's a quiet life, but with some consolations. First, the proclaimed-to-be-on-his-deathbed cat, Ray Charles, made a remarkable recovery. Evidently he was misdiagnosed. I would have been more skeptical of his diagnosis, feline infectious peritonitis, if I hadn't felt so profoundly crappy myself (that diagnosis was only three weeks after my own surgery, when I was still on heavy painkillers and feeling awful). In the vet's defense, Ray did test positive for coronavirus, the cause of FIP, but his abdomen was never as swollen as a normal FIP patient, and coronavirus is omnipresent (all cats get coronavirus, but it takes a mutated and deadly form in a few).

Currently Ray is still profoundly underweight, a skeleton in black fur, but one which runs about in a sprightly manner and screams for cans to be opened. He has recovered enough to be actually annoying.

The other consolation has, not surprisingly, been fiction. I hit upon a streak of amazing books, books which are profoundly transporting and absorbing. A good book is like a drug, and I am so hooked.

"Await Your Reply" by Dan Chaon: At last someone has written a great book about identity theft on the internet, managing to be profound and gripping and scary and philosophical all at once. An unbelievably skillful writer, that Dan Chaon. There's an amazingly tricky plot that somehow all falls together, but yet at the same time, it's an easy read.

"The Heights" by Peter Hedges: Seeing this book reminded me that my first husband kept our copy of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" in our divorce, and I want it back. Peter Hedges doesn't write a book very often, and you should read it whenever he does. This is a witty novel about a Brooklyn couple who get in over their heads when the wife makes friends with a profoundly wealthy and bored trophy wife.

"Arcadia Falls" by Carol Goodman: Ms. Goodman writes books which aren't filed as chick lit, but they are, in my opinion, the platonic ideal of chick lit. She always has a protagonist with confused and awkward relationships with men and work, protagonists who manage to live a more rewarding life of the mind than life of the flesh. There's always mythology and strange ritual in these books, her characters always being influenced by the past as much as the present. Reading a Carol Goodman book feels improving, like you've just sat through a college lecture by Camille Paglia. To this day our family has adapted a version of the Pythagorean cult's evening questioning as a result of my reading one of Carol Goodman's novels. It always sounds so highbrow when we explain to a guest that we are following Pythagoras's ways, but that's what happens when you read a lot of Carol Goodman. I wish she published a book a day and I never had to be without a Goodman.

"Blacklands" by Belinda Bauer: it's hard to believe something this amazing is a first novel. It pulls off "The Lovely Bones" trick of being about a child killed by a serial killer but yet being an amusing feel-good of a book overall. Ms. Bauer's protagonist is a poor boy in rural England whose clothes smell like mildew, who lives with a cranky mother who dotes on his little brother and an angry grandmother who never recovered from her son's murder. The hero decides that he can fix his horrible family's problems if only he can find the corpse of his long-dead uncle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lola's existential crisis

Lately we've rolled up our rugs and moved our furniture aside, so that first grader Lola can ride "Scooty", her pink scooter, around the downstairs over and over again. Today, however, Lola is in a foul mood, and whenever her circuit takes her past me, she issues a depressed statement on life worthy of Camus.

"Life is overrated," Lola says darkly as she goes past on the bright pink, flowered scooter.

On her next pass, she says, glowering, "Life is a big circle filled with nothing."

Friday, March 19, 2010

how could that be?

Today the children had no school due to parent-teacher conferences, and it was a rare hot day. I took them to the beach in the Presidio, and we had a picnic and played and hung out. It felt like we'd been there forever as we trudged back to the car. I asked the girls to guess how long they thought we'd been there.

"Five hours! At least five hours!"

I thought it was more like four, but when I turned on the car, we were all shocked to see that it was only three thirty and we'd been there no more than three hours. We couldn't understand why only three hours had exhausted us so much.

Puzzled, Lola said, "Was it me that made it so tiring?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

an overlooked danger

At a St. Patrick's Day themed dinner featuring colcannon, Irish cheese, and Irish beer, the Sober Husband was telling us about his day when suddenly Lola interrupted him.

"I am scared because you fired that dwarf! I am scared he is going to come back and hurt Doggyo!"

"I didn't know you fired a dwarf," I said conversationally.

Passionately Lola pressed on. "All dwarfs have hatchets! And he will come back with his hatchet if you are bad to him!"

Her father tried to calm her down. "We didn't exactly fire him." He explained that this fellow's contract had run out and not been renewed. A worried Lola was not soothed.

"All dwarfs in existence, including human dwarfs, have powers!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

money madness

So the other day in the car, one of the children excitedly shared with me that Daddy had said that his half brother had suggested we all get a house together on Martha's Vineyard this summer. My blood pressure instantly soared. I wondered when my husband intended to raise this prospect with me.

A week or so later, the Sober Husband was going through our bills, and he came upstairs to convene a focus group to discuss issues and problems relating to our second mortgage. He shared that the first bill from my surgery had come in ("hundreds of dollars") and that we are still paying off the bills from my meningitis last fall ("thousands, thousands, it's hard to sort it all out, so many bills"). In this context I decided to raise the Martha's Vineyard topic, and he actually seemed to blush. Yes, he was trying to figure out a way to go on vacation once again to Martha's Vineyard (one of the most costly destinations in the U.S.) with his family. "I was trying to make it work," he said defensively, "so it would make sense for us."

Meanwhile the man rakes me over the coals if I suggest calling for a take-out pizza. As he's been doing the bulk of the cooking during my convalescence, he has taken to serving plain rice for meals. Sometimes he adds scrambled eggs to the white rice; other times, it's just plain white rice with soy sauce. If I raise a suggestion that this is not nutritionally optimal, he jumps down my throat about how cheap it is and how much money we're saving. So, we should live on a Third World diet here in San Francisco, and yet we can pay thousands and thousands of dollars for airfare alone and more thousands and thousands to rent a house in one of the most expensive destinations in North America?

I said that his half-brother was out of his mind to think we could afford this and suggested that he counteroffer that we all rent a house in Santa Cruz or Bolinas instead. This fell over flat, as we all know that the Sober Husband's half-brother inflexibly refuses to leave the East Coast (he acted insulted that we'd invited him to our wedding, as we should have realized the mere act of inviting him to go to San Francisco was an imposition).

Firmly I said I wasn't willing to go further into debt for another Martha's Vineyard trip (the prior Martha's Vineyard trip with his family was exorbitantly, outrageously expensive), but the Sober Husband still seemed to think it should happen. "I thought it would make you feel good."

"It makes me feel like I'm being hit with a sledgehammer!" I said. "It makes me feel that for the rest of my life, I'll never be able to go anywhere I want! The only vacation I'll get to take ever will be going to fucking Martha's Vineyard with my inlaws!"

At this point the Sober Husband put up his hands in a position of surrender and literally backed out of the room slowly, picking up his pace as he rounded the corner and rushed down to his lair in the garage.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

two little circles

Some time ago first grader Lola went off by herself to the study and emerged quite some time later, after composing an ode to buttocks.
(chorus) Two little circles may seem like nothing
but they are everything
they are everything
they are everything
oh yeah

(first verse)Butts always start just like little grapes
Just like grapes
just like GRAPES.
(repeat chorus)

(second verse) Now the buttcrack is made by METEOR
that's right
in your mommy's tummy
(repeat chorus)

(third verse) From humans to whales
All of God's creatures
they have this:
this one little thing:
(repeat chorus)

Now I've told you
you need to know
So there you go!
Lola sang this so sweetly, in a folk style, and we were all charmed. The Sober Husband and I went about the house singing, "Two little circles..." from time to time.

I asked Lola to record the song for the blog, and of course, the act of recording caused a very different outcome. Lola chose a more dramatic, pop styling and a rather questionable prop. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

meet Ə

Meet Schwa, or Ə.

what are these odd human creatures I see???

Ə says hello.

- iris of mustard

I regret to inform you

Of late our family has been facing a lot of stress, with my surgery and hospitalization and the poor cat's illness. We've also been weathering another loss, a rather cataclysmic one I've been avoiding writing about. I realize this blog has been rather depressing of late, but yet I feel the readers would want to know:

I regret to inform you of the passing of Cupy and his entire family, which had grown to number six or seven, save for one, rather indistinct Cupy offspring, which was enigmatically spared from the holocaust. When I came home from the hospital, on one of my first outings to the dining room I happened to look over at the built-in cabinet and noticed that Cupy and nearly all his family were missing. With everything else going on, Lola did not realize her loss until days after I saw it, and by that time, it was too late to search the garbage for the Cupys.

The suspects in this mass murder are two: my mother-in-law, who very kindly flew to San Francisco and stayed with the children while I was in the hospital, and our very nice housecleaner, who's been coming once a week while I'm recovering. The Sober Husband feels strongly that his mother would never, ever harm a beloved slurpee cup with a post-it note on it reading "Cupy", but on the other hand, why would our housecleaner, who has cleaned around the Cupy family for over a year, suddenly decide that all Cupys must die?

The survivor remains nameless, but a companion for him was purchased at the 7-11 yesterday.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ray Charles was diagnosed with a fatal disease

It's not a happy time here, as Ray Charles has been diagnosed with the incurable disease of feline infectious peritonitis. Feline infectious peritonitis is caused by a mutation of the ubiquitous coronavirus, causing a cat's abdomen to swell and the liver and kidneys to fail. "I thought he was too old to get that," I said to the vet. "I've had kittens come through who had that, but I thought he wasn't at risk."

The vet explained that the mutant, deadly form of coronavirus can lie dormant in a cat and then be released under great stress. Ray Charles, a shy cat who is greatly attached to me, underwent huge stress when I was hospitalized and Anton stayed with me, leaving my mother-in-law, a person Ray had never interacted with, in charge and Iris, another favorite of Ray's, hiding out in the master bedroom, endlessly video-Skyping to her mother's hospital room. When I returned, I was not acting normally, lying about calling for drinks and pain pills and not getting dressed, and I would have carried the harsh smells of the hospital. All of this stress probably triggered Ray's dormant coronavirus.

So basically it's my fault. Ugh. Ray is the most satisfactory of our pets, the sweetest and friendliest to family members. He's also not even two yet and had a very rough start to life, being found in a dump as a little feral kitten.

The children are devasted. "Why is God mad at RayRay?" sobbed Lola endlessly. Iris has renewed her faith in atheism. "If Ray dies, that proves there is no God."

Thursday, March 04, 2010

not going so well here

On Tuesday I geared myself up to drive for the first time since my surgery, successfully cutting back my meds so I'd be safe to drive. On my first attempt to reenter the world, I spent six hours out and about doing things. None of this was too strenuous -- drive Iris down to her appointment, find somewhere in Millbrae to kill time with a good book, meet Iris, drive her to Golden Gate Park, watch Iris at the playground, walk over to Lola's art class and meet my friend Joyce, who'd kindly picked up Lola at school and watched her until her art class, chat in the art studio with my collage teacher and another artist/teacher during the girls' class -- but the end result was huge. By the time I got home, I was in a lot of pain.

Throughout the night the pain kept waking me up, and I was back on pain meds. To make the night even more special, Lola threw up. The Sober Husband cleaned her up, stripped her bed, and installed her in our bed, and I, unable to sleep due to feeling so awful, moved to a chair for the night.

Yesterday was a truly awful day. I felt weak and terrible and in pain, and Lola was watching non-stop "iCarly" videos [in our household, children are not allowed to watch videos before six at night, but a sick child is allowed the special privilege of daytime videos]. At one point I insisted we have silence for a nap. I did manage to microwave some frozen food for us around two o'clock, for our only meal. Across town the Sober Husband, despite pathetic emails from me telling him how bad I felt and to make it a short day, forgot to leave work and to pick up Iris at school. About two hours after she'd expected to get picked up, Iris managed to use a school computer to send him a text message, and he raced across town to get her before the school's extended care closed.

To make it up to Iris that he'd forgotten her, for dinner the Sober Husband gave her a big bowl of fudge cookies. As far as cooking goes, he's over it.

On top of this, my favorite cat, Ray Charles, had been keeping a low profile for days. I thought it was because he was shy around my friend, Kim I, who came to town for a few days to save us all from our post-surgical sloth, but yesterday we discovered that one of his eyes is hugely dilated and won't undilate. He has also lost weight as well. "Don't make a vet appointment before the weekend," begged the Sober Husband. "I can't do it before the weekend."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

temporarily passing through the world of the gifted

Today I got behind the wheel for the first time since my surgery (watch out, Bay Area pedestrians, the Drunken Housewife is back on the road!) in order to take Iris uber Alles down the peninsula to do "fifth grade applicant activities" at the school for gifted children to which we are applying. I managed yesterday to cut my medications waaaay back, so I felt ready to drive (and indeed today I haven't had anything stronger than ibuprofen yet). The Sober Husband had made it clear he wasn't available for this driving, crystal clear, so it was up to me to get us across that last hurdle in our application process.

I'm not feeling very optimistic about this whole solving-the-children's-problems-by-getting-them-into-a-harder-school project of mine. At Lola's activity session, there were eighteen children present vying for a spot in the second grade, all proud possessors of IQ scores qualifying them as little geniuses... and there may or may not be one or two spots available. Sigh. Lola herself is not enthusiastic about this school, but Iris is madly in love with it. I tried to caution her today. "Iris, try not to get too attached. There's a lot of kids trying to get in and not many spaces. We can apply again next year if we don't get in."

At the school, I made the mistake of saying "after you're done with your testing." Iris interrupted me. "They're testing me? Testing? Two hours of testing? I thought it was problem solving."

"Problem solving, that's a euphemism for testing," I said. "It means testing." Iris was appalled.

"Maybe I should tell you what I told Lola. I told Lola, 'You're just going down to play some games.'" I laughed heartily, but Iris wasn't laughing.

While I was cynically trying to manage my gifted child's expectations, a British man, who drove a car which costs well over $100,000, was coaching his child up to the last minute. He had a manila folder in his hand, which seemed to contain strategies and tips for excelling at a gifted child's activities session. His son said gravely that in the past, he'd "only used five or six words in his answers" and that this time he would endeavor to use more words. I cheered myself up by noticing that this British man's extraordinarily expensive tie was soaked through at the bottom while the rest of his obviously extravagant clothes were bone-dry, as though he'd sloppily let it fall into a bowl of soup.

I noticed another boy had a name tag reading "Galileo." I pointed this out to Iris. "Oh my god, Iris, his parents are so hellbent on having a gifted child, they gave him the name of a genius. Imagine having to live up to that." Iris and I both found this highly amusing. This was really pretty rich hypocrisy on my part, given that I named my own child after Iris Murdoch, but still, the name "Galileo" strikes me as an unfair burden to impose upon a child.

There was a tea for the hopeful applicant parents while the gifted children were off doing their problems, but I skipped it, taking the advice I'd given Iris. I am so in love with this school and need to manage my own expectations, and I don't want to get any more attached.

Iris was fairly bubbly when I picked her up. She'd enjoyed the activities, which had been comprised of a group discussion, a game of figuring out a mystery object in a bag, and building things, as well as doing math problems. I was a bit dismayed that there hadn't been a creative writing section, as on Lola's visit she'd written a little booklet about herself (and Lola had been spitting mad that the school kept her booklet, since she'd wanted to keep it for herself). This set of activities did not give Iris a chance to display her sharp wit and strong writing skills, I fear.

In the parking lot another prospective parent rear-ended my car as he backed out of his parking space (my car was motionless throughout, as I was parked in a line of cars waiting our turn to get out of the little parking lot). This was particularly astounding, because he was driving a Prius, a car with an amazing little screen showing you a big, wide view of exactly what is behind you when you go into reverse. "Look at that, Iris," I said. "That man is a moron. Even here at the gifted school, there are morons."

"He's not gifted, though," observed Iris. "Just his kid is gifted." I supposed I could have said a lot of things in return to that, but I just drove back to the city.

Monday, March 01, 2010

the day off

The Sober Husband took off a week and a half from work, so he could be with me while I was in the hospital and then for my first week at home afterward. We should have planned for him to take off longer, because the combination of working, doing the driving for the children, and doing whatever the hell it is I do around this place is overloading him with stress... even though my friend from high school (sometimes referred to on this blog as "Kim I") flew down for a few days to help out. At first the Sober Husband prided himself on keeping the house looking fabulous, but eventually he gave up on that.

On Saturday morning the Sober Husband announced his intention to take Sunday off. I gave him a look (I'd had another setback in my recovery on Thurs., and on Friday I had a lot of pain and no energy), and he amended it to "of course I'll do whatever I need to take care of you. I just don't want to do anything for them", gesturing towards the children's lifeless bodies, sprawled on our bed watching cartoons.

On Sunday he announced this again, with significant looks at each child. But as the morning went on, Iris had computer troubles requiring opening a ticket for technical support [the children shout "Tech support!" when they need help with any computer-related issue, and I've taught Lola, when her father doesn't respond quickly, to go to him and say firmly, "I'm opening a ticket"), Lola needed to be driven to and from a playdate, Iris wanted help with her math homework, and they both needed meals, etc.. After ransacking the upstairs for a misplaced stuffed animal, the Sober Husband came to me and said, "I give up. I don't get a day off."