Our Great Big World

She woke early that day to make sure she packed everything.  A weekend away with the husband was just what she needed after an exasperating week alone with the kids having to taxi them to school, sports, practices, and lessons.  She couldn’t wait for her mother-in-law to arrive so that she could start her peaceful journey.  She loaded up her eReader with several of the top Indie books of the week and sat on the couch patiently waiting.

As soon as she heard the doorbell, she gathered her bags and sunglasses.  She kissed her son and her daughter, gave her mother-in-law an aggressive thankful hug and was on her way.    She drove to the airport with the sunroof open enjoying the warm spring air and the sunshine spraying in from the cloudless sky singing along with Bruno Mars about Young Wild Girls.

She made it through security seamlessly, heading straight for the bar near her departing gate.  She ordered a Bombay Sapphire and tonic and sipped it quietly anticipating seeing her husband after a week of his absence.  He was in California for a meeting at his corporate office and suggested she meet up with him for the weekend so that they could have a little much needed together time.  His work travelling had picked up speed the first quarter of the year, which resulted in their spending a lot of time apart.

She finished her drink, paid her tab, and headed to the gate just before the plane began boarding.  She boarded the plane along with the other people in the First Class group.  Having a traveling husband had its benefits, one being automatic upgrades.  She settled into her seat and sipped champagne, hoping that the seat next to hers would remain empty and buried her nose in her book, ignoring the crowds as each passenger made his way to his assigned seat.   Out of the corner of her eye, a passenger stopped on her row and started struggling with the overhead bin.  Her eyes traveled up, taking stock of her potential flight mate, clearly a man, youngish in Levi’s and a hooded sweatshirt.  She couldn’t see his face but noticed that he  had his ear buds in and would probably be unlikely to try to make the obligatory small talk fellow passengers always tend to make with one another.  She took a deep breath and turned her attention back to her book when she felt rather than saw him sit down in the seat next to hers.

“First class is the only way to travel.”   He said as he typed something on his phone.  Her ears perked at the familiar voice.

“Hey,” she said and turned her attention to him.

He studied her face for a minute as a wide smile took over his.  “What are you doing here?”  He asked.

“What are you doing here?” She matched his tone.

They both jumped from their seats and gave each other a quick hello hug and laughed at the coincidence that brought them not only to the same flight but to neighboring seats.  The flight attendant asked them to sit back down as the plane began preparing for takeoff.

They spent the entire flight talking, laughing, drinking the complimentary drinks, and getting to know each other in person after a year of being online buddies.  She asked him what he was listening to, which prompted a very lengthy game of “guess this tune.”  When one guessed an incorrect answer, they both had to drink.  They kept the flight attendants busy for the three hour flight, which seemed to go by in just 20 minutes.

When the plane finally landed, they departed at the gate, exchanged hugs and promised to actually get together again some time.  Just as he was walking away, she called out, “See.  It’s not such a big world after all.”

)

Warning:  This story is FICTION

 

Caught in a Landslide

Huz was watching something on the History channel or the National Geographic, something to which, I was paying no attention when he started asking me questions about my dad and his beliefs. For those who don’t know, my dad is a retired minister.

“Do you ever talk to your dad about this stuff?”

“What stuff?”

He started talking saying something about Genesis and creation versus evolution.  I resumed ignoring him again.  True story, I was reading iamthemilk  but outwardly, I said the obligatory, “mmm hmmm.  Oh?” and “Really?” nodding my head.  I rock fake listening.  I’m a preacher’s kid, remember?

“Do you know who said that?”  I snapped out of my blog trance and wondered  wtf he was talking about.

confused

In my head, I tried to decide if I should even ask or if I could fake it.  I thought back on the conversation.  What did he ask me? Something about the bible. Oh that’s right…do I know who said that?  Pfft.  Easy.

“Jesus,” I said with conviction because “Jesus” is a pretty good guess when we’re talking bible, right?  Just think about all of the red colored text.

“Dude, can you please put your computer away and listen to me?”  Huz said, completely exasperated by my sore attempt at faking it.

I  closed my laptop and rolled my eyes.  “Fine. Who said what?  I’m listening now.”

“’The bible tells us how to go to Heaven not how the Heavens go.’ That is a quote from Galileo.”

To which, I replied,  “(Galileo) Galileo. (Galileo) Galileo.  (Galileo) Figaro. Magnifico,” which made me laugh.  But not my husband.

shake-head

That’s just a typical conversation in our house.  What’s it like in yours?

 

 

Aside

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

She paces back and forth in her bathroom in nothing but a sexy bra and panty set, heart pounding in her chest.  Just do it. She tells herself, taking a quick peek at her reflection in the mirror.  Not bad.  She adjusts her bra for the 27th time.  Just do it. She silently says again, taking a deep breath.  She walks into her bedroom, picks it up off her nightstand and holds it out in front of her at arms length.

Click.  She looks at the photo.  Ick no.  She shakes her head and ruffles her hair, pulling it over her near naked shoulder.  Blonde hair splays across her chest.   She stretches her arm out again, holding it a little bit higher than the last time.

Click.  She tilts her head.  Click.  She looks up.  Click.  She looks down.  Click.  She looks to the side.  Click.  This time straight at the camera, pouty lips.

She holds her phone close to her face  and goes through the camera roll.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.

She growls and throws her phone on her bed.  Why is this so hard?  He’s your husband.  He’s seen it ALL before. 

Deep breaths, back to the phone.  Click Click Click Click Click.

Camera roll. Sigh.  Okay, that one’s not so bad.  She bites her lip and stares at the photo for few more minutes finding every single possible flaw, anxiety billowing deep in her belly.

Ding dong…ding dong…ding dong.  She drops the phone when she hears her best friend, Kimberly’s, signature ring.  Then she laughs and picks it up answering with a chuckle.

“Hello.”

“Hey.  What are you doing?”

“Taking sexy selfies of myself, ” she says holding the phone with her shoulder as she pulls on her jeans.

Kimberly lets out a breathy laugh.  “Why?”

“To send to Huz.” She puts her arms through her shirt and pulls it over her head.

“Send it to me.”

“Dude, no way.  I can’t even look at them.  I’ve taken at least 30 pictures.  One is just okay. ”

They talk for 30 minutes about 247 different subjects, their typical daily chat that takes place every day during Kimberly’s commute home from work.

“Okay, I’m here at the daycare.  Talk to you tomorrow.  Oh, and send me that picture.  I’ll tell you if you should send it.”

“Okay, whatever.  Bye.”

She waits the 20 minutes it should take Kimberly to get home before she hits “Send” along with the message, “You better fuggin delete this.”

Nothing.

Another text.

No response.

Then she paces back and forth, stomach twisted in knots, and waits for her alleged “best friend” to respond with…anything.

She convinces herself it’s terrible and decides not to send it.

Then she hears the ding on her phone.

Kimberly text

 

She responds with a sigh of relief.  Huz leaves for the store, so she decides it’s the perfect time to send it to him.

Send. Sigh.  Done.  Wait.

Tic toc.  Tic toc.  Tic toc.

Huz comes home, says nothing.   She waits until the kids are in bed and says, “Did you get my text?”  He smiles a half smile  “Yeah.  Why did you send that?”

“Really?”

She looks at him, rolls her eyes, and walks into her room.  If he only knew.  Later he says, “I like it.”  Too little.  Too late.  Not good enough.  She grabs his phone and deletes it after already deleting it from her phone and vows to never ever take a sexy selfie again.

Remember children, “Naked selfies almost always work.”

But almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Are You Smarter Than a First Grader?

First grade math…piece of cake…I got this.  Oh wait.

Please excuse me for a minute while I rant about first grade math.

As a mom/parent, my number one goal is for my kid to be better than everyone else’s.  Don’t even lie and say you don’t agree.  We aren’t allowed to say it out loud, but we want our kids to win first place.  Nobody wants to bring home the green ribbon.  What’s the green ribbon?  Exactly.

Well, as it turns out, my son hasn’t quite achieved gold medal status in math.  Not even close, and of course, being the competitive loving mother that I am, I want to help him get there.  So every day for 30 minutes after he gets home from school, we do this dance around the kitchen table called math.  And I can’t even begin to describe the amount of frustration that takes place during this dance.

Kid:  “I hate school.”

Me:  “No you don’t.  School is awesome. You love school.”

Kid: “No, I hate school.  I only like lunch and recess.”

Me:  “Don’t say ‘hate’.”

Kid:  “I really dislike school.”

And thus we dance around the table for another 20 minutes about how much he does/doesn’t hate/dislike school.  Geez!  And we still have yet to look at an actual number.

Once we finally sit down, he pretends to listen to me explain the directions.  Then I make him read the directions.  Then we look at each other like “huh?”

First grade math is not what it used to be, friends.  It’s complicated.  It involves things like ten frames, part part whole mats, number lines, number charts, etc, and all of these things are basically Greek math to me because I’ve never learned how to use any of them, and I have to sit here and try to teach my kid to learn how to use them, and it makes me want to poke my eye out with his Angry Birds pencil.  ARGH!!!

Here’s the problem.  Math has changed.  A LOT!  I learned math a completely different way than my son is learning math.  I was good at math.   It came very naturally to me.  It clicked.  I often see things in terms of numbers, and when someone needs to know what 24% of something is, I can blurt it out with limited effort.  But my son can’t, and it doesn’t click for him, and he gets really frustrated, and truthfully, I don’t really care if he is the best in math.  I just don’t want him to struggle…for anything…in anything…and all I want to do is help him.

So I went to Google.  I googled “part part whole mat” because what the eff is that?  Well, as it turns out, it’s pretty simple, and after watching 3 YouTube videos, I kind of sort of understand it.  In college, I took 12 hours of Statistics, 3 hours of Calculus, 3 hours of Trig…all upper level math classes, and I made A’s.  But I had to go to YouTube to figure out how to help my son with his first grade math. 

We worked on the whole part part mat, and I taught him how to use his number line to help him with his addition and subtraction, and when he left the table, he was smiling…a big partly toothless grin, and I felt triumphant.  I ran into my husband’s office.  We high fived.  I danced a little jig around his desk, and we all celebrated because I saw that look on my son’s face.  That “ah ha” moment.  The light bulb illuminated.

Today when he came home from school, I couldn’t wait to ask him about math and how it went, but I waited until we made it home so that my husband and I could both bask in the joy of my son’s excitement. “Hey, how was math today?”

He looked down.  No partially toothless grin like I expected.  And then he said, “My number line at school only goes to 20.”  Our number line at home goes to 30.  (the number line his teacher gave me to help him understand math). The thing that gave him the light bulb. What the @#$%^$#@!! 

 

I immediately sent my son upstairs and then began a complete temper tantrum where I used a lot of grown up language but still stomped my feet and folded my arms and said things like, “He needs a new teacher. She’s clearly trying to sabotage him.” And my husband said, “Dude,” (yes, he calls me “dude”) “you need to take it easy.” Which prompted me to storm out of his office, go to my closet, and call my best friend who is an elementary school principal and sort of my hero.

I told her the situation, adding some colorful insights/language, and she listened for a really long time, and then she said, “Are you done being an asshole for a minute?” And I said, “Yes.” And she talked me off the ledge. She told me that my son’s teacher is not a terrible teacher and that she’s only using the tools that she’s given. She then went into a 20 minute long lesson on math and the way kids learn, etc., and I listened to every word. (She reads this, so I have to say that.)

What I took away from her lesson is this: I don’t understand the way my son’s teacher teaches him, and because it’s different than the way I learned it, I’m terrified to teach him “my way”. And I don’t think I’m alone.

We don’t get text books anymore like our parents did. When I had homework that my parents didn’t understand (and they had their moments of confusion, too), my dad would take my text book into the other room for thirty minutes and then come back in completely able to help me. We are lucky in so many ways with technology, but sometimes, I don’t want to have to Google or YouTube. Because even with that, it may be wrong. I need to know how to use the tools that he is given, and I don’t think our teachers understand that we don’t know these things. I want a lesson. I want my teacher to teach me to teach my kid. We aren’t given any sort of “how to’s”, and then we send our kids to school wondering if they’re supposed to follow their teacher’s rules or ours, and we wonder why they can’t get it. I think I could benefit from a lesson in first grade math, a serious, sit down at the tiny desk with my No. 2 pencil and learn the way my kid is being taught. Because at the end of the day, the answer is, “no.” I am not smarter than a first grader. And that’s ok.

I have a conference in 30 minutes where I’m going to figure this all out. I’ll post a video on YouTube for the rest of you. Also, I’m going to get to the bottom of the discrepancy in number lines because that’s just bullsh*t.

Blogxiety

Someone get me some meds, I’m having a complete Blogxiety attack. 

First of all, let’s start with my new addiction:  Blogoshere…or at least that’s what I think it’s called. I wrote this little story about a girl who peed in the driveway…true story, by the way, because well, I was bored, and I’m slightly narcissistic, and I thought…sure people will want to read this, and by people, I meant my one blogger friend, and she read it, and then she shared it, and then she opened the doors to “a whole new world”. 

Birds flew from my computer (you think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  I saw macaws people, real ones.  They’re on a photographer’s blog, and they’re mother freaking beautiful, oh and I found her blog through another blog who was “guest hosting”, which I don’t quite understand, but totally support, and if someone wants to be my guest on my blog, please do so.  How does that work anyway?). 

I found myself in a winter wonderland fighting stuffed elves, falling in love with  crazy aunts, reading about chuck’s terriblemind…, reading thousands, I mean, thousands of book reviews (and books are my crack, so I practically licked my lap top as I ferociously added books to my “to read” category), and then there’s this girl who’s a hacker ninja, and she’s hilarious, and I read about 20 of her posts because…she’s just that good.  And then my husband said, “Hey, what are you doing?” and I said, “Shhh.” (but under my breath I used explicits) because he interrupted my blog hit, and you just can’t interrupt an addict when she’s getting her fix, right?

I guess what I’m trying to say is….

I’m not worthy.  I bow to your Blogness. 

You all are fabulous, and talented, and hilarious, and beautiful, and please keep posting because I really don’t want to pay any attention to my husband or my kids, or clean my house, or pay my bills, or do anything but read your blogs. 

 

Thanks for the welcoming me into this world where I’m completely overwhelmed but totally humbled to be in your presence. 

Please, introduce me to the blogs you follow, so I can continue to get my fix.  Although, I don’t see myself building up a tolerance to any of these I already follow.  What do you like?  Did you have Blogxiety when you started, too?  What inspires your posts?

 

 

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