I Saw the Sign

Sunday, July 31, 2011 | 2 Comment(s)

When you reach a moment in time, no bells and whistles flare.  Unless you are at a baseball game, no fireworks go off, no crowd goes wild.  What i'm try to get across here is that we really have to make sure we recognize when something important or special is happening in order to fully appreciate it.  More than once it has only been in retrospect that it dawned on me that something unique had just occurred.

I'm pretty sure one such event happened a few weeks ago while mmf and i were enjoying a post work snack on the couch.

Mmf had come home from the elementary school where she was finishing her training.  because she is both all sorts of amazing and an elite educating machine, obviously the school tried to find a way to keep her at their fine establishment.  Unfortunately, the public school system isn't exactly flush with wiggle room when it comes to hiring and firing, and the best they could find was a para position in the kindergarten (another ironic word that i can't spell--aren't we growing kids there?). 

I should mention that mmf has a degree in both elementary ed AND reading specialization, and that she has already worked in the school system here as a para in the nursery school before she went back to school for the later degree.

This job offer was not something to be taken lightly, however, in that it was both a job and brought with it benefits, in a time when schools aren't on a hiring binge.

Mmf came home with this scenario.  Take this job they were offering, or hold out for a reading specialist job--or something closer to her ideal (she works more with 3rd-5th graders).  here is where the moment came.  She asked me what i thought--always a precarious moment in relationships.  And i didn't wait to hear her thoughts first (to not be influenced).  And i said something along the lines of this:

You have, ostensibly, already done the job they are offering you.  You did it and you didn't love it.  the kids were too young and you, being a para, didn't have any real control.  And then you got more training -- training i watched you take seriously and devote yourself to.  I can't see taking this job, secure as it might be, as a step forward.  At best, its a lateral step.  But you are better than that.  You are worth more.  You are more than capable of being a reading specialist and, more than that, you are no longer anyone's para.  You being a para at this point would only give the school an overqualified (aka disgruntled) teacher for a discount price.  And you ain't no discount item. You fancy, huh! 

And, because mmf is a thoughtful amazing (evil genius) person, she heard what i said.  In truth, she was leaning toward taking the offer.  And i get that.  Job searches suck ass and its nice to be wanted.  But she thought about it more, and decided she WAS worth more (is there anything greater than hearing your favorite person recognize their greatness, in even this small way).  She declined the offer.  Another moment. 

The happy post-script here is that this decision kicked off what turned out to be the easiest and most successful job search i have ever witnessed.  A reading specialist position a few towns over was advertised.  She applied.  She interviewed.  And because the world recognizes the same brilliance in mmf as i do, they smartly scooped her up almost immediately.  She got the job.  Doing exactly what she just trained to do.

But that is not the moment (not that we didn't celebrate it like a moment).  For me, this was one of the most critical points in time when i really felt like a partner.  I felt i had to potentially upset mmf for her own sake.  I put our money where my mouth is.  It's all well and good to tell the person you love how great they are . . . but its another thing advising her to turn down a salary and security for the sake of both her potential and her potentially greater happiness. 

I'm really glad i did.  She IS that good.  It's nice, at a time in life when there are no more clear right and wrong answers to life's questions; feeling like you really did help make the correct decision for the person you love. 

2 Points of Clarification for All My ReReaders

Saturday, July 30, 2011 | 5 Comment(s)

Two points I feel I need to clarify, as mini versions of conversations related to these points seem to happen more and more.

Point #1.  Please don’t be embarrassed by, shy about, or otherwise insecure about talking to me about reading my blog.

Now I recognize that this particular post pertains mostly to those of you (of you heroes with your beautiful pictures under the Followers moniker) who both read this blog and know me in some form in real life.  I don’t want those of you who haven’t been able to come say hi yet (and that how I see you peeps) to feel as if you are less than or not as important.  The truth is you are much MORE important in that developing a readership can only grow so far if everyone reading has your same last name. 

So hear me out nonetheless.  Reading my blog is not “stalking me.”  Stalking me is hiding under my porch snapped hi res photos of me through our window.  If this is what you are doing, it is mostly your own problem and I wish you would have just said something so I could have worked out or given you my good side or whatev. 

Reading my blog is the antithesis of this.  I am honored to have anyone read my ranting.  And you don’t need to hesitate to put a follow on me either.  It doesn’t matter if we went to high school together (Jamie) or went to college together (Selena) or if you just see me from time to time on the island (Eric) . . . it’s a high compliment, to me, when people spend any amount of their precious time reading my scratches.   So don’t apologize.  You don’t have to.  This public blog is not my diary.  You didn’t reach between the sheets of my childhood bed to pull out the drawn-on padlocked writing tablet (before tablet meant a computer) which served as my diary/the-girls-i-like repository--along with a few select porno mags (before they invented the internet for porn).  

You clicked on a link I published.  We are more than all good.  No shame factor here.  And that no shame factor beings us to Point #2.

Point #2: Please don’t be embarrassed by, shy about, or otherwise insecure about about NOT reading my blog.

Now I’m not encouraging this.  And I realize that in some sense, writing “don’t worry about not reading the blog,” on the blog, is a fools errand.  But I had to give both sides of the story.  Especially because this particular worry makes more sense.  I mean, I DO want everyone to read me.  But im a huge narcissist.  Admittedly.  If you did whatever I wanted my friends would probably end up yoked to a sled like those ubiquitous reindeer.  On Brian and Harvey, on Janis and Kristen . . . 

You get the idea.  But I simply can’t even pretend to muster up offense at someone not dedicating themselves to my writing.  I mean, even the thought is, like, obviously bizarro riDONKulous.  But take a deep breath.  I too have experienced the business of life.  Hell, I hardly have time to read the few blogs I manage to peruse.  Often times the decision is one of reading others blogs or writing my own, and as I’ve already made clear, im a narcissist.

The moral of these stories . . . Whether you read or not, I will not be offended.  But please . . . either way . . . support my crushing self-absorption by increasing the self love meter, found under the “Follow” button to the right. 

I am as needy as I am conceited.  

ps.  do you like "rereaders" as a name for peeps who dig this blog?  i think i do. i think i like it a lot.

Getting Here Part II

Thursday, July 28, 2011 | 6 Comment(s)

I rarely get super pissed.  I don’t “see red” very often.

But, after going through security and getting to our gate, I had an interaction that pretty much put me into emotional hibernation for the rest of the day.

Like any normal human, after getting to our gate, I went to the customer assistance desk to try and check out if there were, in fact, any other options to get us to our destination without taking a tour of east coast airports.  This seems eminently reasonable to me.  It not that I didn’t think US Airways woman #1 was trying to screw us, or wasn’t good at her job, or any of that.  I just figured that she was doing reroute after reroute that morning and perhaps the constancy of panic stricken stink-faced customers (I can only assume that my “I woke up at 5am” face is approximately a stink face to others) may have prevented her from exploring all options. 

I find the service desk and there are two people already in line.  The first is a woman who is currently talking to the slightly over middle aged man behind the counter.  He seems to be helping her.  This is heartening.  He’s helping her so good, actually, that she’s up there for what seems like 20 minutes.  Hey, at least progress is being made.  I sit on the floor in line.  The person in front of me is a 15 or 16-year-old boy who seems mostly disoriented.  After the woman finally clears, he gets to the front and essentially asks directions to his gate.  I can’t believe that he waited this long to ask that.  Not my problem.  I get to the front and I, mostly calmly, explain my situation to him.  He looks me straight in the eye and just says, “nope, nothing I can do.” 

BUT YOU DID EVEN FUCKING LOOK AT YOUR COMPUTER!!! He didn’t even pay me a flinch of attention.   I ask him if he realizes how insulting it seems to not even attempt to check my options.  His reply is, essentially, “This is not my first day.  I know the flights (FROM ALL CARIERS!!?!?!).” 

This is unacceptable to me. It’s not the lack of options that pisses me off.  Its that i’ve obviously been screwed, and he simply doesn’t give a shit.  He doesn’t even give a shit enough to spend a second of his work time on exploring the problem.  He is, I suspect, secretly enjoying sticking it to me. 

I wish I could continue with how I used my wit and cutting sarcasm to inflict verbal repercussions back toward this man.  But, on days where im up at 5am, I sacrifice these tools for the good of consciousness.  I also have never been great at expressing fiery anger.  I seldom scream (in anger [I scream for my softball team ad nausea]).   And so, that switch inside me which has two settings, “fuck some shit up” and  “chill that shit down” flicked downward, and I sucked it up and in to hibernation mode. 

To be all FOX news here, that is fair and balanced, I must add that as all of this is going down with the puss encrusted ass hat service rep, another US Airways employee, Shannon, was being unbelievably accommodating to mmf near our gate.  Turns out that when she actually looked into our situation on her computer, she saw that the flight after ours to Charlotte was actually now leaving ahead of us, and the 30min difference between the two flights arrivals would be extremely important in us making our connecting flight to Miami.  This is additionally crucial in that the one place I really didn’t want to spend that night was Charlotte, because its one of the few places I really don’t know anyone—and therefore we would have to bunk up at a motel etc etc.  Shannon (we <3 you Shannon) looked out for us and we were the first people to be switched to the earlier flight.  She friggin saved the day is what she did.  And she saved US Airways from a nasty nasty letter.  From this point on, mmf was our point person the rest of the day.

Because I want to cruise to happier and more interesting topics, I am going to bullet point the rest of the disaster of this day.

-Twice when we arrived at our gate, mmf and I had to deal with passengers who decided that they realllllllllly needed to cut a few lines while exiting.  I actually had a young lady who was sitting at the window cut across me and another passenger (middle and aisle) to stand in the aisle as soon as the seat belt chime went “ding.”   Wrong day missy.  Really?”  I ask her.  “I have to make my connection,” she replies.   “Thank goodness you’re the only one with that problem,” I respond.  (good morning wit and sarcasm, apparently you were waiting for me in Charlotte).  Because on this day people are evil, this doesn’t stop her from plowing to the aisle.  She waits there, for an extended period of time as my smile grows and grows.  A poor woman travelling with 2 small kids (martyr) is getting assistance from a friendly passenger—struggling to juggle her children and luggage.  I get the satisfaction of watching this girls face crinkle as she realizes shes going nowhere fast.

- The second cutter is a middle aged guy who thinks he’s gonna pull a fly by on mmf.  Because I’m on the window for this one, I decide to start singing (pretty loudly) a song dedicated to the “yellow-shirted guy” which essentially lays out how inconsiderate and asinine it would be to try take advantage of an elderly couple needing a few extra seconds to get out of their row and push ahead of them and us.  He doesn’t look directly at me.  But he heard me.  Mmf throws a body block and takes pains to assist the older couple with their overhead luggage.  There are times when mmf being an evil genius is just plain sexy, and boxing out that dude was one of those times.  

- On the flight to Miami, across the aisle, we have essentially a couple out of the Miami version of jersey shore.  They are douchetastic.  More importantly, the guy has this itsy bitsy habit whereby he, very loudly, lifts the phlegm up from his throat and then nose-wrangles it back down with a snort.   Every 15 seconds.  Thank goodness for noise cancelling headphones.

- Our final flight showed a movie.  The movie was Jane Eyre.  I could play this off like “duh, everyone whose anyone read that book in high school,” but the truth is I read little to nothing in high school (in 10th grade I did a book report on Yakov Smirnoff’s Coming to America.  You can google him).  I probably figured Jane Eyre was the sequel of The Scarlett Letter, and Pearl scared me so badly the first time, I couldn’t take another dose.  Mmf has read the book.  But it was so long ago that she has forgotten the ending—and she decided to watch the flick.

As we are descending, the loudspeaker cuts in over the film and mmf tells me that they’ve just spoke over the most crucial scene.  Turns out she shouldn’t have worried about it since there is still 15 or so minutes left to go as the screens go blank and we taxi to the gate.  Oopsie.  Did we show a 1 hr and 45 minute film on a 1 hr and 30 min flight.  I mean, the final scenes are usually the least important one’s anyway.  Long story medium, if you remember how that book ends, you should email mmf.

You Can't Get There From Here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

I cant pretend like I didn’t kinda abandon you, people who are kind enough to read my rantings on a somewhat regular basis.  I mean, writing that last entry (bad place much?) and then cutting out for my longest blogcation with no warning was a little dick.  And I apologize.  Life happens, and in this case I needed to divest from the blog for a week or two in order to get where I am now . . . which is paradise.  My first vacation with mmf in over a year.  Aaaaaaaaand, lucky for you all, before flying down to the island, we first took an excursion to Chicago Il/Fort Wayne IN, for a friend’s wedding.  And that, my friends, is where blog entries are born.  Lots of em. 

This is the story of our 18 hr. trip from Chicago to St John. 

There are some days that just are born to be no good.  I have found that across the board, days that begin with my alarm going off (correctly) at 5am immediately throw themselves toward this category.  I’m not saying that every time I have woken that early has been a horrific nightmare.  I once woke that early to hike Mt. Masada to see the sun rise.  That was beautiful.  I also woke up at a similar time to watch the sun rise over the grand canyon.  Also beautiful.  

I’m seeing a pattern.  Perhaps my original statement should go like this:  Any day I am woken at 5 am not to watch a sunset is very likely a no good very bad day.  And I will say that usually one of these days (such as the one I am writing this very long introduction to) is juxtaposed by the day following, which more than not is spent in whatever wondrous local I deemed worth suffering the indecency of the previous morning for.  But somehow, in the moment of eyes at half mass, stumbling like a drunken zombie looking for clean underwear, fog filled confusion, I just don’t have that perspective.  I am not a morning person (unless you consider 11am morning, in which case im pretty ok).

On with the show.  Mmf and I wake in my college roommates bed on the south side of Chicago.  Said ol roomy is in his own little slice of post-doc hell, and conveniently his gf lives a mere 2 blocks from his office.  So in my mind, at 6am, when he finishes his daily torture, he kinda lets gravity and exhaustion and his gf’s beauty, tractor-beam his body down the steps of his building and into her bed.  Said gf is insane and wondrous enough to volunteer to pick us up at 5:30am and lug our asses to Ohare.  She either things im insane funny or really loves my old roommate.  The good money is on the later. 

Four zombies drive a bad ass Chevy Caprice (it looks like a futuristic cannon) on the swerving death trap which is the airport road.  I check my phone for emails on the way, mostly out of reflex.  Groupon Groupon Orbitz Orbitz.   UH-OH.  Both Orbitz emails explain our flight is delayed . . . and then further delayed.  The later email has us delayed well past our connecting flight, in Charlotte, to the islands.   An email that essentially says “you could have woken up 2 hours later, been more well rested, and still not made your flight today sucka!”   Least that is how I read it.

I slide my credit card into the self-check in machine and the computer spits back a “you have been rebooked on a later flight.  See below for details.”  Below, there are no details.  Literally blank.  Assistance please?  Us Airways man #1 tells me that we have been rebooked for our same flights the following day, (Unacceptable) and that we should go wait in the line to the left for further assistance.  Wait #1.  When we get to the front of said line US Airways woman #1 tells us that the best she can do (and she seems to genuinely be looking to help us—foreshadowing people) is to send us on our original flight to Charlotte, then connect us to a flight to Miami, and then connect us to a AA flight to the island.  She realizes how sub-optimal this is, but tries to ease the burden of reality by letting us know we are probably one of the few people getting to our destination the same day.  Not really a huge consolation at that moment.  She did give us exit row seats on the Char à Miami flight however, though not in the same row. 

I had to ask.  What is causing this mayhem?  What vile beast of destruction is reeking havoc on our travel plans.  I should have known better.  I really should have.  Knowledge is not always power.  Sometimes knowledge just pisses you the hell off.  There are sandstorms in Phoenix, she says.    I think to myself, “I don’t give a shit about phoenix (though I do have my papers on me just in case).  I’m not headed to Phoenix, not headed even in the cardinal direction of Phoenix and overall phoenix can pretty much suck my balls.  (this is not to say that I am happy that they are covered in sand of course).

Why the hell should weather in phoenix be an acceptable reason for ruining my travel day with no compensation?  Of course she explains that our plane is coming from phoenix and a delay out, means a delay in, means my day sucks.   This continues to piss me off (on the inside—this woman was just doing her job and obviously has no policy control).  Hell, does ANYONE have policy control on the airlines.  I mean, what if I tried this in my occupation.  Sorry doctor so and so, I was going to present my dissertation today, but my cousin in Chicago has the flu, so it’s a no go.  I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fly (travel pun!!!!).  Sorry surgery patient, I was going to perform this procedure on you but the hospital in Albuquerque is experiencing a power outage, so were going to cancel.   It just seems like bullshit that the excuse that you aren’t compensated for your travel troubles if there is nasty weather pretty much anywhere in the country, seems super lame.  

Things actually got worse after we went through security  . . . but that is to be continued.  (I promise there will be many blogs coming now that I have control of my time once again.  Stay tuned and bring a friend.)

They've Come to Take Me Away, HA HA, They've Come to Take Me Away

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 | 2 Comment(s)

 There are times, mostly after midnight, when i cast my mental fishing line out into the everything, and i catch nothing but the back end of feeling infinitely small.  There is me, in the shadow of my planet in the shadow of my galaxy in the shadow of being so small as to not yet have the capabilities to know what lies beyond.  My life span in relation to the human existence, in relation to life on earth in relation to the creation of the universe. . .  As you might have guessed, this is the thought process that invented anti-anxiety medication. 

But the facts are the facts and that’s why they are scary.  And I think about this more and more in the mornings.  When I begin anew.  I have been thinking, “this is one of the days of your life.  Have at it.” 

This is easier said then done.  Especially in graduate school.  But it makes me even happier to see my friends.  I am appreciative of the privilege of, as Sesame Street always encouraged me to do, knowing the people in my neighborhood.  I get to greet the people on the street, because they’re the people that I do see each day.

Holy shit.  I just realized that I’ve been brainwashed by Sesame Street.  The Children’s Education Workshop has control of my mind.  Oh my god . . . how do I remember that their even IS a childrens education workshop!!!    My reality is crumbling, I don’t even know where my cell phone is half the time, but I remember the in’s and out’s of the rules of Snuffleupagus ’s reality like they were the rules to baseball.  I’m tailspinning.  The “yup yup yup” of the alien squid puppets is humming outside my window.  I see them bobbing just outside the kitchen window.

OH NO THEY ARE INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!  They just friggin phased through the wall or something.  Like there were magical creatures or teleporters.  Either way im done for.

Remember to read and reread this blog when im gone. 

Their hovering is insanely creepy.  Im scared.  But it all makes sense now.  All that education . . . I mean . . . a DANCE major . . . and we named the dog Grover for god’s sake.  I should have seen this coming.  PBS is evil ya’ll.  Raw methodical evil.

And now this.  Their minions.  Come to finish me off. 
Their googley eyes will haunt last my last breaths. 

Abandonment issues & the 4th of July

Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 6 Comment(s)

This is not a dead blog.  This past week has been chocked full of life and has therefore left little remaining time for it's blog retell.  selfish life, taking all my attention.  But, lull no more, lets just throw it around the horn to get back into the feel for things.

Mmf abandoned me to go the great white north in alaska.   she had 2 weddings in anchorage, one friday and one saturday.  completely unrelated from each other.   I like this is the kinda strange stuff that happens only when you are an uber nice person like mmf.  On a related note: Beware the Anchoragoneans.  I'm pretty sure they are up to something.

While my lady was off ice climbing with the yetis, i went to my parents place to help celebrate a milestone bday for my mother.  Begin tangent: I can honestly say im not sure if my mom would care if i said which birthday exactly.  My gut says she wouldnt, but i have learned in such situations to exercise caution.  There are physical alarms that literally go buzzing and chiming and ringing inside me when i'm approaching a situation that may cause my mom upset.  I have been both pre-programmed and well trained.  So, all i'll say is, happy 40th mom.   you look great.   End Tangent

One of the centerpiece events of the birthday celebration was dinner at the restaurant on the top of Mt. Greylock-- the tallest mountain in massachusetts--with a full palette of family.  MOST notably, my grams, Rita, who you might remember from her inspirational blog comment last year, post surviving a near death ordeal which lasted months.  Well ladies and gentlemen, shes back.  Full strength.  They are making her carry a cane, and i have seen video of her "walking her cane." Not walking with the cane, but rather, taking the cane for a walk, a la a puppy.  She is back to her stubborn hilarious self.  Heartwarming stuff. 

top of Greylock
Two points on Rita.  One, she is a sculptress.  She makes clay figures conducting various activities, and also glazes them beautifully.  They are organic and really capture something distinctly human in her representation of the human figure.  Well, she made grover.  Yup.   For our upcoming wedding, she is making figures for us.  and she started with our puppy.  It was made from a picture and turned out spot on (PUN!).  She got the ears right, the spots, his energy.  I cried when i saw it.  It's that beautiful. 

"hi, im amazing"

damn right i have a clay dog toy!
the real mccoy
Second story.  We are sitting there at dinner.  Me next to Rita.  And she leans over and says, "Matt, i've been watching this new show, . . . have you seen 'Ice loves Coco'"  I nearly fell to the floor in laughter.  of all the tv programs i thought my grams would happen to flip to, the rapper Ice-T's reality show with his surgically enhanced barbarella wife Coco T (right!!!!), was NOT what i thought she'd be into.  I was wrong.  "It's silly," she says.  Admittedly i have only seen clips of this show, but the clips did include Coco's sister asking Coco to be her dulah or birth coach or something.  And Coco is relaying this story to her gay manservant?, who is alternatingly texting, not paying attention to Coco, and fully encouraging her to help birth this child.  Pretty life changing stuff.

Now part of what makes this funny for me is the ironic trajectory of Ice-T's career, going from U.S. Army, to the rap group Body Count featuring the iconic song Cop Killer to playing a police detective on Law & Order, to having a reality tv show.  My friend andrew says that this is a reflection of hip hop cultures inability to enact effective change.  I think its about how growing to need the spotlight desperately knows no bounds -- and a guy whose been famous since the late 80's wants to stay in the spotlight.   I mean, i saw Ice-T on a reality show called "I get that a lot."  Where celebrities go work retail jobs and when people tell them they look like, well, themselves, they say "I get that a lot" and proceed to try and convince people they are wrong.  Now, Ice-T was pretty hilarious running game out the Foot-Locker, but at the same time, is there any show ever that is more self-indulgent.  Oh hi, it's just lil ol me, Mc Movie Star, working this plebeian job like you 'normal people'.  Is anyone going to recognize that i am, like, so out of place here.  Oh you did recognize me?  Oh, well then lets play a game where i pretend that i'm NOT me!  Won't that be fun for us.  You wanting to meet me and me being here and at the same time pretending not to be me for tv.      I think you get my point. 

 Dog related lightning round.

Brother got to meet Grover.  Since Grover is my first pet, he is also my brothers first pet by proxy.  Considering the affect the grove-ster has had on me, i was pretty sure he would similarly affect my bro.  You be the judge.

Grover got to meet kitty.  Grover was excited to play.  The kitty . . .

less so
And that, in a nutshell, was my week away.

hope you enjoyed your mini-holiday.

"I heart Independence Day"