Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again

Yeah, I know.  Stealing campaign signs is a crime.  But it's time for Halloween madness in Kate's world.  I needed a framework for Sara's dragonfly wings that would hold them straight out to the side; and that I could harness to her back, right?  There is only one substance on planet Earth that can fit the bill. 

Don't worry!  I was v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l!  I drove around for a couple of days, looking for a perfectly situated sign:  on a corner, outside the garden wall of the homeowner.  I returned to my chosen sign late at night and got my car turned for a quick getaway.  Engine and headlights off.  Then I strolled back and forth on the sidewalk near the sign, waiting until there were no headlights visible from either direction.  Yeah, yeah, I know:  "Tut-tut, it looks like rain."  Then, when the moment was right, I yanked it out of the ground and ran for it, driving away with only a slight squealing of tires.

I'm going to have to cover the sign-part with something substantial, so Sara doesn't get arrested.  'Cause that would be embarrassing.  I was at the local rec center this morning, and I saw her there with her gym class, getting ready to swim.  I said nothing, but this afternoon, I told her that next time I saw her out there, I was going to squeal, "SARA-BEARA!  Hi, Sweetie!  It's Mommy!  Yoooooooo hoooooooo!"  Just the idea made her livid.  I love this age.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Box Seats

Fifteen tickets to Real Salt Lake vs. the Portland Timbers.  Precious because they are in the (y'all ready for this?) Chevron corporate box.  They were a donation to Adult Education, so my colleague Ray M. and I spent a lot of time considering the fairest way to distribute the tickets among 140 students (Perfect attendance?  For how many months?  One ticket per student?  Or two?  What if someone with great attendance is not a soccer fan?  How do we impress upon them that the seats are valuable, and that they should only accept them if they are really going to attend?  How do we make sure the students know where they're headed, where to park, etc....?) 
 I actually donned my uniform shirt for the first time ever. So I would look official, especially since I combined the look with my stained housework jeans and my worn-out skaters. 

 I parked in my family's customary place and walked to the stadium, feeling very odd. Prior to separating from Si, this was something we did as a family every couple of weeks.  I haven't been to a soccer match since I moved out in June.  I hate to say that I miss it, but I do.  Today, I parked only a few feet away from Simon's truck:  he had picked up the kids from my place and brought them to the match himself.  I walked to the stadium alone.  No kids to hustle along; no hidden snacks; no big bag of blankets.

I ran in to a couple of students just outside security, hesitating over whether they could bring in food.  Sorry, guys, but no.   Carlos took his Subway sandwich back to the car;  his wife Maria and I went on ahead to find the box.  She hadn't really understood what the big deal was until we were headed into the the area and I pointed to the stairs up to the fourth level. "Oh!  Really!"  There is an additional ticket checker at the foot of the stairs, to make sure you have a reason to be going up there. She looked at us and our tickets with some scepticism, then lifted her eyebrows:  "Ah! Yes, go on up these stairs."  Maria heard the tone of surprise as well:  me mimicked her in whispers as we scampered up the stairs, squeezing each other's arms.  (By the way, I saw folks in the other boxes and no one was dressed up or fancy looking... Maybe there's just something about me that says, "One of the peasants.") We made our way to Suite B.  Posh!  It's like a very snazzy living room with a kitchen area, a fridge, a sofa and a big-screen TV.  There's a bar overlooking the field, and bar stools where you can sit to look out.  Then you can step outside to the stadium seating, which is cushy and padded, not the usual hard plastic seats like the rest of the stadium. 

The server for the suite introduced herself to me, and I was totally up-front about the fact that I know nothing of box-seat etiquette.  Menu service?  Drinks?  Can we bring in beer?  What does everything cost?  Simon had told me that there is generally free food, or at least vouchers for the concession stands included in the ticket price.  Not so for us.  We could go to the stands and pay concession prices, or we could simply ring for service and she would bring us whatever our hearts desire... for a lot more than concession prices.  I never eat or drink when I go to a soccer match, 'cause every thing's so damned expensive, so I wasn't too disappointed at the lack of free goodies.  I explained to the students, "Everything costs money."

This might not seem like a spectacular view to many of you, but believe me: I usually (well, it's not my regular practice anymore, but...) sit in that little top tier that you can see across the way.  This was WAY closer then I have ever sat before.
Here's everybody, at kickoff.  There were some surprises regarding attendees, as is often the case with my students.  I was so careful to choose the people who had the best attendance; to ask each person. "One ticket or two?";  to make sure that the person I offered them to really wanted tickets and planned to come to the match. 

So my first little surprise was when Maria and I got to Level Four and found two kids wandering around up there, alone.  These are the children of Alma C., to whom I had given two tickets.  Alma herself was nowhere in sight.  "Hi, kids!  Where's your mom?"  "Uh...she's sick." "She's not here?  How did you get here?!?"  "Our brother brought us."  Turns out that Alma didn't come at all, but instead sent her older son (who bought a ticket in the cheap seats and sat there for the match; and gave her two kids the box seats. 
Then, Julia A. was there with her husband and two kids.  I had given her two tickets.  "How did you get the kids in here?"  "They had other tickets, which they got at school."  I was a little confused about it, but let it go until I noticed that all the seat were filled and I was still expecting two more students.  Mario and his friend.  Where was Mario?  Why were there not enough seats to go around if everyone had a legitimate ticket?  I felt a bit fussed over it because there was nowhere for him to sit, and because I didn't know what had happened to him.  I even called the box seat supervisor to some and check out the situation.  She told me that she personally had printed off the fifteen tickets and had them delivered to the school.  That's all the tickets there were.  Turns out that Mario had asked me for two tickets, then turned around and handed them over to Julia for her kids.  I wish they had been forthcoming about that from the start, so I would not have been all worried about Mario.  When I figured it out, Julia's husband actually got in my face and was very defensive.  "What's the big deal, anyway?  Maybe the other person didn't really want those tickets and he wanted someone else to have them." 

Naturally, I didn't get into it with him.  Privately, I thought that Mario had insisted that he WOULD enjoy tickets: not just one ticket, but two.  I thought to myself, "There were 15 tickets to share among 140 students.  Did you and your family really deserve to get FOUR of them?"  And I thought, "My kids are not with me..."  But, I learned a long time ago that distributing resources fairly and evenly, so they all go where you think they should go, is nearly impossible.  I responded to the dad that, my only concern was that Mario and his friend were not out wandering through the stadium, looking for us.  

Real Salt Lake 1          Portland:  1

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

High Point, Low Point

High Point:  Sitting crammed on the sofa with Chuck and the kids, eating meatloaf and laughing at Men in Black II.

Low Point:   Sitting down to write the blog I really wanted to write tonight, about my weekend adventure making caramel corn.  Discovering that my laptop will not read the photos from my SD card.  Booger.  Caramel corn tomorrow, perhaps?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Have the Perfect Dress for that Party!

 So I overheard my kids talking about the Donner Reed Party, and I was intrigued.  That would be an awesome party.  I have a dress that would work great; and then either a pearl necklace or a jaunty scarf... 
 Look!  In this picture, her hair even sort of looks like mine on a bad day.  And I, too, could use my children as accessories!  "Who's hosting this party?" 
I had been whittering away, oblivious to the dumbfounded looks my kids were giving me.  They were talking about something different...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Summer Shoes

(Otherwise titled, for those who have seen The Incredibles, "Honey, where did you put my super-suit?!")

Packing up my summer clothes today depressed me.  Not just in an "Aw, booger!" kind of way.  More like a sit-in-my-closet-and-cry kind of way.

Why?  Beats the hell out of me!  Honest to Pete, I don't know where it comes from sometimes.  Don't think I am Depressed (capital "D", capital "Blech")  like I was last winter.  On the other hand, changing one's life is not like changing one's clothes.  I don't get to pop into a phone booth and emerge transformed.  Well, shit.  When was the last time I even saw a phone booth?  Changing my life takes TIME!?!?!  No shit, Sherlock.  There's broken stuff that I have to fix.  EVERYwhere.

Let me try to puzzle this out.

Let's try this:  I've wrecked everything. 

OOOOOOOOOK, that hit a nerve:  my eyes are welling as I write the words. 

The clothes I sorted through and packed up today were hung in that closet by a different person.  The previous owner of my summer shoes had more money, more friends and a lot more bravado. I thought that I would heal my heart right up. I thought I was going to be alone.  Dating.  My clothes reflect that:  little dresses; high heels; sparkly earrings.   When I tried to explain to Chuck over the phone, I was unclear, and he thought I was missing getting dolled up and going out.  But as I think it through, I am sad because I thought that, by the time the summer was over, I would have built a new life for myself and my kids.  Time to get out the sweaters and boots; and am I all the things I wanted to be? 

Here are my black, buckled boots.  My kids are sad and tell me plainly that they think I have done a terrible thing to their father.  Out come the thick tights.  In time for me to realize which friends are still with me, which ones have deserted me, which ones are still thinking it over.  My winter coat: brown suede.  Ten years old, now, and starting to look threadbare.  I am not going to starve - I have managed to figure out that much this summer. But I can be pretty sure that my next coat will not be leather.  Simon rages.  My divorce is not final.  I still haven't found the right tea pot.  Student enrollment is down.  And where the fuck did I pack those mittens?

Maybe all this warm winter stuff makes better armour anyway.  Because the destruction has to end.  And the aftershocks as well, so I can start to rebuild.  I can see it - the person I would like to be. 

I will help my kids heal and understand my decision.
I will rebuild my social life.  I can make new friends.  I will figure out how to fill the space around me with laughter and animated conversation, no matter the size of that space.
I will go out and listen to music.  I will make things with my hands.  I will take time to read books and follow the issues.
I will find ways to be useful.
I will write here and actually post what I write. I will pick up my camera and start taking pictures again.
I will be extra strong and wise at work, so we can pull through in this tough economy and stay intact. 
I will find ways to travel and have adventures.
I will remember that the answer is, "Yes!"

I had no idea that the woman who brought her summer clothes  to this apartment had so little confidence in her worth.  And love actually requires more confidence than I ever expected.  There are times when I look at Chuck and meet his eye with perfect understanding.  We are supposed to be together - it's just so obvious.  Other times, I'm scared of disappointing him.  Of fucking up.  Of not being perfect.  I sense the stupidity of this.  Chuck is not a perfect person.  I see the flaws and love them as part of the package that this guy comprises.  If I can love someone like that, then why not accept that he can love me the same way?  Love is not for chicken-shits.  Chuck is way braver than I am.

Who will I be when I take out my green tank top NEXT time?  Will I pull on my stripy cotton pajama bottoms in the bedroom of a proper home that I feel proud to share with my kids?  With a cat?  Will I step into my red slides and set the table for a little party?  Will I stroll along in a t-shirt and reach for Chuck's hand and just take for granted that he doesn't mind?

The answer is yes.  Watch me.  See Kate.  See Kate happy.

Chuck asked me if I would like to store my summer clothes at Aloha Road.  If only he knew the weight of all the metaphor packed in these two small trash bags.  He would reinforce the flooring.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

For Kristi

Here's my kitchen, Kristi!  I don't love it and I don't love spending time in it.  It isn't cozy - I've always wanted a kitchen that was warm and embracing.  Circumstances have conspired against me.  But when I am able to have a home of my own agan, that will be a MAJOR priority.