Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who's gonna disjoint your Sunday Night?

The power is back on at Clay's house, thankfully. Just so ya know though, it's not so bad taking a shower by candle-light in a 49-degree house; the hot water is enough to warm up a small-ish bathroom, so I was able to stuff the rug under the door to keep all the steam inside so I wouldn't freeze to death before I could get my clothes on. Just watch out for that ceramic tile wall, it's a cold summitch.

We've also discovered that leaving the door closed, with or without the steam of the shower, makes the hallway bathroom get quite toasty. Now, if I can just remember not to bash my skull into the closed door in the middle of the night...

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I thought about going home to My Mom and My Kitty tonight, but I've been told to stay put due to the fact that we can't leave the generator on overnight 'til we get that blow-by problem fixed. Apparently it made quite an oily mess on the patio. Whups, sorry. I guess it'd be about eight years old, give or take. I'm not completely clear on where or how Dave got his hands on it, or if it was completely new or slightly used then.

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I can't complain about stayin' with Clay's brother, but it's still so good to be back home. 'Twas certainly a learning experience -- Clay's Sis-In-Law teaches science to ninth graders at a school in "that part of town," and in the course of hangin' out with her while she was grading papers, I got to see a few things that scared me even worse that the HoMeSkOoLeRz. There are kids in ninth grade who are "reading at a pre-K level," yes, seriously.

I remember chatting with her at the first of the school year, and thinking about how hard it must be to change jobs, to go from working with adults to being in a room full of junior-high kids all day. I wasn't really surprised when she mentioned discipline problems -- but the full-on-stupidity I saw in those papers she was grading was just sad. Scary and sad, and they're so far behind by the time they make it to ninth grade, I really don't know how she does it. There's some kind of "policy" that teachers can't count off for questions left blank -- when I was in school, if you left it blank, you got it wrong! I seriously think that if any of the teachers I learned from had watched some kid write "I-D-K" for an answer on a homework assignment, they would've displayed it for the entire class and made an example of the little punk for everybody else to laugh at so it would never happen again.

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This morning I finally got around to putting ornaments on the tree, it's the first one I've had since 2001, and the first one Clay's had since he moved out of his parents' house. I was standin' there untangling ornament hooks and trying to make sure there weren't too many empty gaps between the shiny bulbs & colored disco balls while Clay was cleaning the bird cages. I'll be honest, we both talk to 'em, sing to 'em, whistle for 'em; sometimes they react, a lot of times they don't. I've tried for a long time to coax The Quaker into saying nutty stuff like "Got any bananas?" or "Popcorn's Done!!" but he pretty much stays with his standard phrases. Clay's been trying for quite a while to get him to say "Hi Grammy!" when My Mom is on the phone, but it still hasn't happened.

When he pulled the tray out of the bottom of the cockatiel cage, the mean one swooped right down and started peckin'. As I'm finding a place for a shiny blue disco ball ornament, I hear Clay say "Get up off that floor, don't eat poop!" It really didn't strike me as all that out-of-the-ordinary; he says crazy stuff to the birds all the time. And then The Quaker says "Don't Eat Poop!" and I about died laughin'! By the time Clay stepped back around the corner to see if I'd heard it, the bird had heard me laughing and started laughing too. We couldn't get him to say it again... But we're trying.

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I fixed spaghetti for dinner tonight, along with some bread, and I also bastardized a lovely Paula Deen recipe that she calls "Gorilla Bread." I'm calling mine "Babboon Bread," since it wasn't exactly to recipe specs and it just seemed like I should choose a different primate. I did not use chopped walnuts, and I didn't have a Bundt Pan here, so I used a flat round cake pan. I was really glad I put it on a cookie sheet, 'cause it forced most of the butter out over the sides -- but it was still soooooooooo good.

Of course, we're talkin' about me in the kitchen, so if The Quaker was going to repeat just any phrase out of nowhere today, it's a good thing he didn't pick up that sound I make when I realize the timer has gone off but I still haven't found any oven mitts. Or that sound I make when I knock the second spatula off the counter and have to wipe spaghetti sauce up off the floor again.

I'm told it turned out good, Clay ate a second helping, so I'm guessin' that's a good sign. I liked it alright, but it wasn't as good as the last batch I made -- probably due to the fact that I didn't really think it through at the grocery store. Spaghetti was a spur-of-the-moment decision this time, and it involved the phrase "Heyyyy, this sauce is only a dollar for a big jar..." Heh, in the words of Frannie M., "There's a reason for that..." It was okay though, I guess spaghetti is a good choice for me because I like it, but I don't have any problem quitting before I'm stuffed. It seems like more work to eat spaghetti than to cook it.

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I guess that's a first-class sign that I've worked through a thing or two over the past few years -- I managed to mention Frannie M. without takin' it into a huge angry rant. Don't get me wrong, I still think the time we worked together could've gone better, but hey, it's good to be able to pull a little humor out of a phrase she originally used in a snarky, hateful way and in reference to my personal life and someone I Loved very much, someone she'd never met. Her words stayed with me because I'd tried so hard to win her respect; and then those words, along with a few sights I'll also never forget, made me lose all respect for her.

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Does that mean it's time for me to quit typing and get some sleep? Probably.

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