Category Archives: Boo-Freaking-Hoo

Mr. Sandman: You, sir, are no gentleman.

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Well, hello there. It’s 8:45 on Saturday. I’ve been awake since 7:30. That’s not counting the two other times I woke up after not going to sleep until midnight. Either I have developed sleep apnea (possible) or this mattress was the biggest mistake we’ve made in quite a long time. I’m not sure what to blame it on but when you feel just as bad (or worse) upon waking up as you did when you went to bed, there’s a problem. Especially as, since the advent of the mattress, I have lost the ability to nap. Used to be if I quit moving and went horizontal for more than sixty seconds, I’d fall asleep. Some days I’d sleep a couple of hours. Now? Forget it. I might start to doze off but never get fully asleep. Mostly I flip and flop and am uncomfortable for the entire time I’ve allotted myself to sleep. I didn’t used to be able to take naps and apparently I am back at that point. In this case, as well, though, it’s hard to know whether it’s the mattress or not because, around the same time we got it, I also stopped taking medication I’d taken for several years that is known to make people drowsy. So maybe that’s what allowed me to sleep during the day and now I’m back to (my) normal.

At this point, I don’t even care what it is. I just wish I knew. How can I be effective at, well, life if I am constantly sleep-deprived (and waking up with the occasional headache, back ache, etc.)

Also at this point I’m thinking, how bad will sleeping in a tent for a month possibly be? It may even be an improvement.

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How about you tell me how this post has broadened YOUR academic experience?

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I thoroughly dislike professors asking throwaway questions in the requirements for writing assignments. Sometimes I think they are typing just to have something to put on the paper and not because it’s actually relevant or even entirely tenable. For example, I am currently sketching a framework for my review of an ethnography (Monique and the Mango Rains) for my Cultural Anthropology class. The professor has given us a long list of points we should address in our paper and the last one is “Discuss how this volume has broadened your academic experience.”

What even does that mean? I can’t stand vagaries of that sort. That’s not a legitimate, directional request, that’s lobbing a fancy-sounding phrase at us, then ducking and covering while it goes kaboom. It’s “Well, this sounds scholarly, so I’ll tack it on there and let them scramble to eke out something that could be loosely interpreted as fitting that description.” How has it “broadened [my] academic experience?” It hasn’t. It was a good book. I’m glad I read it. I found it very interesting. But, let’s be realistic, here. It is but one of many, many books I will read over the course of my college career. It has not changed my life, nor has it been a seminal point in my education. It was a mildly engrossing, occasionally thought-provoking story…that I still would have been completely academically fulfilled without reading. I am not going to go out tomorrow and join the Peace Corps, become a midwife, or alter the course of my education because of this book. It hasn’t “broadened [my] academic experience” except as a singular cog in the giant wheel of my overall college literary intake.

Because of the ambiguity of that imperative, I am going to be forced to make something up. This is not a problem, in and of itself. If there’s one area in which I possess superior skills, it is bullshitting. I can make up the most ridiculous twaddle and write it so it reads like a dissertation. I hate to do that, though. I hate being disingenuous and claiming something changed my life when it didn’t. I hate having to string together a bunch of academic buzzwords to fit a paper’s requirements, instead of just writing what’s in my heart and mind. I can play academia’s games and jump through their hoops like a good circus dog…but I don’t have to like it.

I Left My Intestinal Fortitude in San Francisco

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Guys. I totally wussed out.

I went into SF today to check into my hotel on Haight Street. Now, I have been up here enough in the past 3 years, I don’t know what I was thinking in trying to go into SF on a Saturday. Honestly, you’d think I’d never been here before. Anyway, I got to the Haight and it was just crawling with people and cars. Y’all, I drove around for almost an HOUR trying to find somewhere to park. ALLLL the street spaces were full (and, even if I’d found one, they are metered, which means I’d have had to go feed said meter every few hours – not so handy when I was planning to park my car and leave it for the night). There was no space in front of the hotel to pull up and at least unload my eight-hundred-pound suitcase. I also never did find the parking garage I was told was several blocks away. And the thing is, there wasn’t even anywhere to pull over and consult my phone, or ask for directions. There are no parking lots in that area, it’s buildings, sidewalks, and street parking. That’s it.

After close to an hour I was running low on patience, not to mention the will to live. I was tired of being honked at and stared at, balefully, by groups of people as they sauntered in front of my car at intersections.  I was worn out, hungry, and I’d had to pee since I left the East Bay. At that point I really didn’t even feel like being in SF anymore. I wanted a nice, quiet, easily accessible room where I could spend the rest of the evening chilling and getting ready to head home (pretty early) tomorrow. So I fled the city. I headed south until I got to some suburbs (parking lots! public toilets!) and then I got on my phone and booked myself a room in Hayward. It’s a little further away from the airport than I’d wanted, but it cost half as much as any of the rooms I found on the other side of the Bay. I’ll just have to leave here around 7am to make it to the airport on time. Considering my inability to sleep in on this trip, that shouldn’t be a huge deal.

So my trip to the Bay Area ends a little unpropitiously. However, as I pointed out to myself earlier in an attempt to stave off the guilt of chickening out on my day in the city: I accomplished everything I specifically came here to do. I saw the two concerts, and I got tattooed. Anything else after that was just whipped cream on top. And, really, who needs the extra calories, anyway?

This just in: I’m a mentally substandard charity case

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So. I got a 28 on my ACT, but because I was “deficient” in Math I was not admitted to the school. Instead, they made me take what I thought was a placement evaluation for Math. I thought I’d take it, they’d see what I could do, and put me in the correct class and we’d be on our way.

Except….except it wasn’t an evaluation. It was pass/fail. I failed. And now they want me to take another test, not just in Math but in every. single. subject. In Reading, where I scored 34/36 on the ACT. In English, where I scored 34/36. In Science, where I made a very respectable 26. They want me to take the test they give to people who fail the ACT.

Let me repeat that one more time. They want me to take a test for people who get a shit score on the ACT, even though I made a 28. Know what the lady in the Educational Opportunities office said when she heard I got a 28? “You should get a full-ride scholarship with that score.” And yet because I am lacking in one area, they expect me to take a test that consists of questions like “An attorney is an expert in A) Law. B) Travel. C) Religion.” Then, when I’ve taken it, they expect me to go meet with a panel of three staff members who will decide if I’m worthy enough to bestow upon the honor of attending their school. And you know what?

I’m not going to do it.

I’m not going to go grovel and have my intelligence insulted for the privilege of attending a school I don’t even want to attend in the first place.

I can’t do that Math work, not because I’m unintelligent, but because I never learned how. I didn’t take those classes in high school so, consequently, I don’t know how to do it. That doesn’t mean I can’t learn; I just need to be given the opportunity.

I took their stupid test, though it was ridiculous to make a person my age take it in the first place. I GOT A PASSING SCORE. Hell, I got a better score than probably 75% of the people they allow in there. And yet they are going to treat me like I’m stupid? Like I need “special help” to get into school? They should be begging me to enroll, not the other way around. I’m sorry; I try not to be conceited but in this case I’m owning it. It’s the truth.

I just can’t believe (though, all things considered, I shouldn’t be surprised) that it’s this difficult for me to get into school. Everyone else I know has decided to go to college and just….gone. Can it be that easy for me? No, of course not. I guess I don’t get to go. I have an IQ in the high 120s or maybe into the 130s, but apparently I am not good enough and not smart enough to go to a little pissant college in rural Oklahoma. Excuse me, ECU, while I go take my Harvard-level Reading and English skills and flush them down the toilet. Sorry I bothered you.

Hey, this was really fun. We hope you liked it, too.

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I find myself on the eve of another “last day in California” and I don’t like it any more than I ever have.

I can’t say this trip zoomed by. Honestly it seems like an age since we left Oklahoma and I feel like we crammed a lot of activity into a short time here. So it’s not that the time went by fast….it’s that, as always, there wasn’t enough. Slow-moving, fast-moving; it doesn’t matter. It’s never enough.

Obviously, then, my first choice would always be to stay indefinitely. Just as obviously, that isn’t going to happen. This results in differing degrees of disappointment when the end of my stay arrives. Some trips (most often the ones I’ve stayed for a month or more) I am…not ready to go home, as in desirous of such…..but accepting of it and maybe even looking forward to things we have planned once we’ve gotten there. I may not want to leave but the amount of time until the next visit seems manageable and there is plenty to distract me in Oklahoma.

Then we have trips like this one. This time I’m not holding up quite so well. I can’t really pinpoint why that is. Maybe it’s because it’ll be about six months before I get out here again. (Between this visit and the previous one was only around four months, and I had a trip to San Francisco in between!) Maybe it’s because of the return to the school routine when we get back. As I may have mentioned before (eight thousand times) I HATE having my kids in school. I wish they could be home all the time. I hate missing out on that much time with them and having to kowtow to the school district’s schedules and rules. We get back and go right into all of that again, slogging through the seemingly interminable stretch from after-Christmas to Spring Break.

OR perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m going back to a house which is still in a state of chaos from our move three months ago. The amount of junk I have yet to deal with and the fact that there’s nowhere to put it is fairly depressing to me, not to mention overwhelming. I’m an ideological/theoretical neat freak. I crave everything being organized to the hilt but I don’t have the mental stamina nor the energy to make it so, which causes a lot of angst, ennui and discouragement, along with a healthy dollop of guilt just to help it all slide down like a glass-shard-and-thumbtack Jell-O mold.

I think I’m going to peg it as a combination of all three things and call me analyzed.

My point in all this is I’ve already started to circle the drain. I hate it when the spiral starts before I even leave because then I feel like I waste my remaining time feeling bad instead of enjoying myself. I’ve been feeling anxiety about the actual trip home for days – driving “all the way” to Oakland, being on time for the flight, the actual flight – the usual pre-trip bullshit my brain comes up with to drive me insane. That’s just my preemptive worrying, though. Once we get to the airport on time I will relax and everything will go well. And then….I’ll be home. That’s when, I’m afraid, the problems might start. I’m not liking the way this is shaping up so far. It feels like I might be in for a major crash and burn.

And, on that happy note, I’m calling it a night. Here’s to me being wrong and holding up better than I think I might.

A Good Old-Fashioned J/B Family Homecoming Celebration

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What a lovely thing to which to come home!

Yes, in typical J/B family fashion, the worst and/or stupidest possible thing that could happen, did. Robert was driving my van through Hardesty, all four blocks of that thriving metropolis, when the gods of fate snapped out of a light doze and thought, “Oh my Us! Things have been FAR too quiet in the J/B household! Why, you might even say it’s been a bit boring, all this lacking in drama. We’d better get on the stick!”

So then Robert hit a horse.

It was dark and raining and he was only going about 30 mph but there stood the beast in the middle of the road in down”town” Hardesty. Whammo. First he thought it was a cow, because he really didn’t see it that well and when he went back to look for it the animal had fled (without even bothering to leave a note, can you imagine?) He had been able to perceive that it had been larger than a deer and so automatically assumed cow. But then I got home and took a look at the damage; particularly this:

Now, my grasp of physics and my spatial perception isn’t the greatest but I’m pretty sure that a cow could not smash in the entire windshield, top to bottom, excepting for if it had become airborne and then landed on the van (note: this did not happen). The only thing tall enough, by my reckoning, to create this kind of damage this high on the vehicle would be a horse. Additionally, the hairs stuck to the front of the car look suspiciously equine. So that’s the explanation we’re going with at this point unless some other ungulate wants to step up and claim responsibility.

This looks rather painful. I do hope if it was a horse it found its way home and is receiving medical attention. That way I can go back and shoot it later, right after I give the farmer the bill for the insurance deductible.

In evidence of our recently-improved luck we at least have good insurance coverage. We will have to pay the $750 deductible; however, it’s going to cost considerably more than that to put the thing to rights. (If this had happened three or four years ago it would’ve probably happened in a microsecond-long window in which we had no insurance coverage and it would’ve been four horses with rabies and highly contagious VD and the van would’ve been totalled and Robert hospitalized or, quite possibly, dead. So, you know, things have improved somewhat.)

Note the distinct lack of a rearview mirror or antenna.

Our kick-ass insurance also covers a rental car for up to $50 a day for 20 days. We’ve already picked up a nice Toyota Sienna from the local Enterprise office. (Me: “Maybe we can get the Odyssey fixed and just give it to Enterprise and keep this Toyota.” Robert: “Have you ever been tested for adult ADD?”)

Anyway, so it’s business as usual at our house. Apparently our bad car mojo has mutated in order to continue dogging us. We blocked the way it used to manifest itself, as mechanical troubles, by buying two super-reliable cars (a Honda and a Nissan). So now it’s made a lateral move to continual body damage. For those following along at home we have had this van less than six months. Prior to the Mr. Ed Incident it was already sporting this…

…a result of some asshat backing into it in a parking garage in OKC a week after we got it. And at some point while we were gone someone hit Robert’s car with something heavy, possibly trying to break into it as it sat in our driveway. There’s a large ding at the top of one of the rear passenger doors, right next to the window, and also scrapes down the glass.

I’m telling you, people, you can’t make this stuff up. And the only appropriate response, I’ve learned, is to laugh incredulously. Because, really, who else on earth but one of us would run over Trigger in the middle of beautiful downtown Hooterville, Oklahoma?

This is how people end up on Dateline NBC

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This morning a call came in at our house from a client of Robert’s, who then left a message (if anyone reads this who doesn’t know, Robert is an attorney who does primarily court-appointed criminal defense, i.e. he gets pretty much the bottom of the barrel, humanity-wise).

This, in and of itself, was a problem. Our phone number is unlisted and Robert is not loco enough to give it out. Any potential mystery was laid to rest when the second sentence out of the guy’s mouth was, “I talked to your dad….” Yes, my oh-so-helpful father-in-law had given this dude, whom he doesn’t know from a hole in the ground, our phone number when the guy had called him out of the phone book. (I would like to say this is the first time this has happened. It isn’t.) Rather than get into a whole rant about how someone who’s been an attorney for umpteen decades should know better than to give felons people’s home phone numbers, I will just say: Bad Frank. Not cool. I have since spoken to him about it.

Anyway, on the message Client says he thinks he is supposed to be in court at 1:00 today but he can’t make it and so wants to know if it’s possible to delay the hearing. He also mentions that he has been told by FIL that Robert is in the panhandle. (Remember this later.) This message was left around 8:45, when I was out taking the kids to school. I do as much as I possibly can from this distance, which consists of calling both Robert’s cell phone and his office and, instead of hanging up on the voice mail, leaving an actual message detailing the call.

Around 9:55 I am sitting here and the phone rings. It’s a local number with a name I don’t recognize so I don’t pick up, but I suspect it’s Client again. Having no wisdom or information to impart to him, I do not answer the phone. He leaves no message. Then, at 11:02, he calls back. I don’t pick up again. This time he leaves a message which I go down and listen to. Now Client is mad. The message is something along the lines of, “Robert, you let me down. YOU’RE FIRED!!!” and then the slamming down of the phone.

Now, keep in mind that Einstein here has been informed that Robert is not in here, but in the panhandle, which, for those playing along at home, is six hours away. Client also knew he was calling Robert’s residence here in town. Not in the panhandle. Where Robert actually is. Client, if he had the sense God gave a goat, should also realize that Robert has shit to do all day, like be in court defending the dregs of society (as mandated by the United States Constitution™), as opposed to sitting by his phone checking his home answering machine remotely every half hour to make sure he hasn’t missed anything. (Just as FIL should’ve realized there was no earthly reason to give this ass clown our home phone number being that ROBERT ISN’T HERE, HE IS IN THE PANHANDLE AND I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY.) All this is not to mention that Client was calling to try to delay the hearing, so why get his boxers in a wad over Robert not being here? It’s not as though Robert has stood him up at the courthouse. Also, to truly avoid looking like a total douchebag, one should allow the full amount of allowable time for a task to be completed to pass before screaming at someone on their answering machine. Technically, Robert still had two hours from the time of the last call to get the message and call the court on Bozo the Redneck’s behalf before the alleged 1:00 hearing.

And when I say “alleged” it is because, hey! Guess what? The hearing wasn’t even today! Following that last call I decided to call the Texas County Court Clerk and ask her to slip Robert a note about the situation – not because I give a crap if Client misses his hearing but because I was afraid Robert had forgotten he had to be here and didn’t want him to get in trouble for being a no-show. Robert informed me that Client is a child support enforcement case, and they do not schedule child support enforcement dockets at 1:00 on Thursdays (also, apparently, the court system is REALLY anal retentive). The call ended with Robert promising to call the Court Clerk here just to double-check, and then, presumably, sit back and wait for the Bar complaint to roll in. (Not an uncommon occurrence; many of the indigent clientele seem to be unfamiliar with the adage “Beggars can’t be choosers.”)

So, end of story. All is well. Right? Perhaps. Or perhaps not, when you have a tendency toward paranoia such as I have. Situations like this make me very uneasy. It seems like these domestic/child support people are always the ones who snap and go all Smith & Wesson to exact revenge. And this isn’t exactly a model citizen we are talking about, here. The guy missed his last hearing because he was in jail. He’s paid $30 in child support in the past ten years. Robert got him a deal on payments previously and the guy never paid any of it, even then. Just the sort of person who’d decide to shoot his kids and his ex to get out of the payments, and take out the attorney who’d pissed him off just for good measure. And, now that he has our home phone number, fifteen minutes and a small fee on the internet could yield our address. So I’m sitting here with our land line phone and my cell phone next to me (you’ve got to have backup in case one fails) and I plan on answering any knocks at the door from the second-story window above. I’m hoping that Robert actually talks to this guy, and that the hearing wasn’t even today, and that Client’s tiny brain is evolved at least enough to grasp the realization that he has no reason to be angry with Robert. I do also hope that, on the off chance I’m actually right about this guy, stupidity coupled with lack of means combined will prevent him from forming any sort of solid plan. I’m fairly certain he’s got the stupidity part locked up, at least.

Man, I LOVE being married to a public defender. Never a dull moment!