What with the school year starting and the requisite getting the brain in teaching gear (amongst other things), I just haven’t felt up to a blog post. But as a recent tweet showed, I am capable of random thoughts or quips, and since I am beginning to work again on a novel with a rather random main main character (who likes to make random notes about life), how about I provide nine random BFS thoughts for your delectation and delight? You can thank me later.
1. Why must every new endeavor be fraught with self-doubt and fear?
2. Why can I never do teaching prep during the summer, when I have plenty of time, but need the no-time frenzy of the school year to prepare?
3. Why don’t people like to wash pillow cases and towels with other types of clothes? They’re seriously all rubbing against you at some point.
4. To go back a bit to #2, no seriously brain, why do you need the panic of a deadline to get things done?
5. Why do students so often do what you tell them not to do?
Me: “Explain your thinking! Don’t just tell me what you think this document’s purpose is, tell me what clues in the text are making you think that.
Students: “We think this document’s purpose is to be informative.”
6. Why did the federal government stop providing federal aid to post-secondary students who are taking a junior-high level class at the post-secondary level? I mean yeah, you would hope they would have learned what they needed to in junior high, but if they’re testing at that level after they graduate high school (or after they move to our country), how else are they going to learn this stuff? They can’t go back to junior high, can they?
7. Why is my brain waking me up an hour before I need to get up this week, then making me feel tired the rest of the day? Is it possible for parts of your body to want to mess with other parts of your body? Or is this generally just a brain thing?
8. To go back a bit to #6, does this mean the federal government has a secretly funded time machine program that they’re going to use to help students in need of some remedial education?
9. To continue thinking about #6, who would be watching the watchmen in this scenario, making sure Timmy didn’t use this opportunity to actually get the girl of his high school dreams to go to prom with him?
So I spent the Fall of 2016 just wanting it to be over. Going in, it was already guaranteed to add some more white hairs to my once gloriously red goatee—full class loads as a college professor of writing have a tendency to do that. But then this wonderful year just kept wanting to give:
Here you go, your your last living grandparent is going to pass on. Here you go, your wife is going to land a dream job in a city 4.5 hours away, and while the job is wonderful, it’s also going to require you moving during the aforementioned busy semester—once for her and many of your things in late October so she can start the dream job, and once for you with the rest of your things after you finish teaching your classes for the semester. Oh, and did you notice that? Here you go, you get to find an apartment in a strange city and live apart from your wife for two months, even though you two are pretty much inseparable!
But wait, there’s more! Just when you think you’re all done, grades turned in for all of your classes, both moves completed, sanity about to be restored, here you go… a stupid neighbor will leave a window open in the second floor community room of your apartment building (during a winter storm, no less), causing a pipe to freeze and send water everywhere. Sure, it won’t be directly over your apartment, but it will make the carpet in much of your living room swampy and squishy, and the management for your building will take over a day to get a water extractor in (it being the day after Christmas). A dehumidifier will take two days.
Good times, am I right? See you later, 2016, I don’t miss ya. And it certainly explains the dearth of blogginess around here the past couple months. Yet something more is troubling me, something that makes the events of the past few months pale in comparison: my cat seeks my doom.
Don’t believe all the cute pictures Jessica/the Celt may show you of our cat, Rosie, nor the picture below. She may seem quiet, shy, and altogether adorable, but she is crafty—she plays the long game in seeking my demise. With our living room unusable and our office full of boxes and objects rescued from the living room, Jessica and I must live in the bedroom. And even though we have two (not just one) kitty beds in this bedroom, this is not good enough for our seemingly innocent feline named Rosie. Oh no, she must lie all day on my side of the bed. Not just an hour or two: all day.
What? I’m just lying here innocently, I’m not plotting your imminent demise.
She’ll grudgingly accede for me to take the spot back when Jessica is home—though I have had to pick her up on more than one occasion—but if I get up to do something? Perhaps to put something away? Perhaps to let the maintenance men in to work on the living room rug? Spring, spring! Lightly does the Rosie leap from wherever she lay before, finding my spot on the bed, curling up so cutely, so innocently, that surely no human could possibly try to move her!
This obviously is leading in one direction. My permanent removal! Rosie had a month to grow accustomed to having an entire half of a queen-sized bed to herself, and she does not want to give it up. Every time I have to move her, she looks at me with those big, kitty eyes, tearing my soul in two… and she knows it.
Soon, I’ll be forced into sleeping on a couch I am too tall for, or on a not very comfortable airbed. Soon, I’ll be so tired my mental capacity will deteriorate, my paranoia reigning supreme, and I will be relegated to the funny farm. Soon…
And Rosie will have her half of the bed all to herself.
When you take a trip, particularly an airline trip, it’s common to be nervous. I’m sure there are some travelers out there that don’t have imaginations like the Celt and I do, who soldier through airports and car rental lines like nothing bad will happen, but, by golly, I have to believe they’re few and far between.
There’s a reason this Seinfeld clip is funny. Because it’s true, and it happens.
Reservations get lost, people. Airplanes get over-booked, airplanes break down, car rental companies accuse you of damaging a car you did not damage (*ahem* that’s a story for another time), you name it. It happens. And boy, did it happen to us, almost two weeks ago. The Celt and I were traveling to Vermont and… *shudders* so much happened. So very much.
First, we got up at 3 in the morning, because the airlines charge you a little less of an arm and a leg if you fly before even morning birds are winging from tree to tree and singing. Then, we stood in the fog, waiting for a cab that kept not arriving, even though I had made a reservation a few days before for an early pickup. Why? They had misplaced the reservation, they said (see Seinfeld clip above for the second time). Then we waited some more for a cab that was “on its way,” waiting and waiting as our flight time grew closer and closer and as we grew more and more nervous. Just when I was about to go get our car and drive to the airport–outrageous airport parking fees or no–our taxi arrived. Squealing tires through the fog and fifteen or so minutes later, we arrived, just when they were boarding. But we made it, and what more could go wrong…
Oh, but our plane in Chicago had a mechanical failure, so we sat for an hour while they investigated and fixed. The Celt and I kept calm, read books, tried to ignore the cramped nature of ever-shrinking plane seats and leg room. And luckily, they fixed the plane and we made it to Vermont’s Burlington airport. We had made it, and what more could go wrong…
We approached the car rental counter with some nervousness (Seinfeld clip reference #3), but surprisingly enough, nothing amiss here. The line was short, the reservation was ready to go, and we had a nice, little red Toyota Yaris to drive (admittedly a little clown-carish when you saw a Big Frickin’ Swede get into it). I had driven through the area before and we had printed out directions, so we were home free. We ate and then enjoyed the gorgeous Vermont mountain views as we drove to Montpelier. The B & B stay was going to be no problem. I had talked to the owner many times in March and we had made a large deposit on our stay. We were home free for the two weeks, right?
Wrong! *laughs sadly, deprecatingly* So wrong, Mr. Big Frickin’ Swede. So wrong.
No one was at the B & B when we arrived. No one. There was a note for current people staying and a cell phone to call, but the husband that it belonged to did not pick up (the B & B is run by a husband and wife team, of sorts). Backtrack from the country outskirts of Montpelier to somewhere we could get wifi and find some more numbers to call. Finally reached the wife, who was out of state and told us… they didn’t have our reservation listed. Oh, she could remember me from all our discussions in March, but she just didn’t have the reservation listed anywhere (Seinfeld clip reference #4).
Long story somewhat short, they stuck us in another room that night (not the one we had reserved, someone else was in it. …Seinfeld clip reference #5). The Celt and I were panicking, since all the hotels and B & Bs in the area were very, very full, and we didn’t particularly care for how this was going. The husband returned later that night and assured us they would make everything right, as “This has never happened to us before!”
Despite these assurances, they kept talking about how we could stay with them for the whole two weeks, but there would be some nights (okay, every night for a week) where they would have to move us to other rooms in the B & B and two NON-consecutive nights (!) where they wanted us to stay at another B & B because they were booked fully. You know, with people that made reservations after we had (is this really Seinfeld clip reference #6? Egads).
This continued over three days, thanks in part to the wife being out of town (and wanting to play hardball) and her being the one that runs the show and the husband trying to appease us whenever we talked to him. Three days, while I reminded them of my reservation for one room for a whole two weeks (#7). And I reminded them of the massive deposit I had made back in March for one room for two whole weeks (#8). Finally, finally they did the right thing and let us stay in the one room I had reserved (#9), something that was a little essential since 1) we were on vacation for part of our stay and 2) I was attending classes for my degree and the Celt was doing her own coursework online: we couldn’t be moving all over and into rooms that didn’t have anywhere to study.
At the end of our two weeks, the husband said he’d love to have us stay again… after charging us the rate quoted to me back in March (this rate despite our staying in a smaller, cheaper room our first night and having to deal with all the junk they put us through… oh, and Seinfeld clip reference #10!)
Did I mention I was sick for the last week of our stay, coughing and hacking and trying to breath while staying at this place and going to class?