Thursday, May 27, 2010

My cousins hate me and only send me bad news.

I love my cousins, but I fear they only call me with bad news. It's actually gotten to the point where I look at my cell phone, see a message from them, and go, "Uhoh, they aren't coming."

This makes me sad.

They have yet to come up because of this "supposed" birch allergy (I've never heard of such a thing, so I think they mean to say, "Sorry, I don't like the way you stalk our children with your fancy camera and it's a little nervy to want to play with them 24/7 so we can zonk out on the couch or have some time to ourselves for a change.")

They were supposed to come up last weekend, and after lunch on Friday I looked at my phone to see the time: "One missed call from tumbelweed" At first I was excited, but then I thought about it.. "Why would they call me this early? They aren't supposed to be leaving until 3.... Oh no!" My heart fluttered with panic. "They aren't coming."

It was torture all day, because all day I'd been bragging about how I'd get to see my adorable niece and nephew, and hang out with my cousins, and play boardgames, and have intellectual conversations that don't seem to happen as much when they aren't around. I had to wait two whole hours to find out if I'd have a glum weekend.

It's ok, though. I would rather know in advance. It's easier to be disappointed from noon on than it is to go another few hours with the delusion of happiness. The fall is easier, I think. Think first story, rather than 24th floor, you know?

Anyway, it's ok, because they said they'd come up the 11th. But, as I am out on my way to my doctor's appointment I realize I have a text from Tumbelweed. This is highly unusual, because 1) tumbleweed does not text; and 2) Well... it is just weird because she doesn't text. Anyway, the message had been a reply to a picture I'd texted to her e-mail. So I read it over and it read, "I have bad news."

Ug!!! Why!!! No!!! A second bad-news call!!!

Again, I'd rather know in advance, because thinking they are coming for 2 weeks is more like a fall from the moon than a 24 story building. And I understand the point; if I had a chance to make some extra money, I would definitely keep working. I almost chaperoned a field trip, but got rejected because I wasn't a guy. Not entirely fair, but I wouldn't want to share a bunk with a lot of teenage boys.

Anyway, regardless. I feel bad posting this because I don't want to hurt any feelings, but I'm pretty bummed, and bored, so I needed to do something. I do wish they would call me with some good news, though!!!!

Love you guys!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Snake Snack

I was officially labeled "food" today. It was quite interesting. Apparently I tasted good--so good that the class pet did not want to give me up.

It was around 8AM, and my student and I entered the classroom to find a substitute teacher. He was kind of cute, so I decided to show off by taking out the class pet, Monty, a California King Snake. Now, I've done this dozens of times throughout the year, so I didn't think twice when I opened his cage. The only time I got that wonderful, "this was a bad idea" feeling was when he lunged for my knuckle.

This was certainly not the sort of attention I had aimed to receive, so I wasn't quite sure how to react. He coiled around my hand, as if to crush the mouse he thought I was.

>>Remain Calm<< My head told me, and, surprisingly I did. Even as he encompassed my wrist with his death-grasp, I stayed cool, calm, and collective. I tried to pull him off, but he didn't want to let go. The most I could do was unwrap him and hope he'd give up.

"Uhm, I need a little help over here." I said softly; no one heard me. Everyone was on the other side of the room talking about the day's agenda. "Guys?" I called again; eventually they caught on. I was so embarrassed I stared at the ground, but I wish I could have seen their reactions--half of them feared the snake. No, more than half. Most of them feared the snake. All but 2, and me, the lunch meat.

A few of them came over to me, my student included. She took charge of the situation like a pro. "Could you call the nurse?" She asked the sub, and started squishing the snake's head hoping he'd release me. I didn't want him to get hurt, though. He squeezed tighter, too, irritated by our plans to interfere with his breakfast. Eventually the nurse was called, and everyone stood around me thoughtless. I felt my legs start to wobble a little, but laughed when the sub told me how calm I was.

Honestly, I thought the snake was never going to let go. He was hungry, and he had his little snake brain set on a nice, big, "hand-mouse." I knew his teeth were in me, and I didn't know they'd be removed. I was afraid they'd have to kill the snake. Then I got the genius idea to run my hand under the sink. The nurse showed up on my way over.

"He's still attached??" She said alarmed. Great. Another ophidophobic person.

I ran my hand under the sink, careful to make sure the water wasn't hot. Then I debated on turning the water hot. Then I decided my idea was stupid.

A student who'd run to talk to the snake owner said to put my hand under water and pry him off with a knife. I was sure I'd lose my finger then, but it's good the class had plastic silverware.

I put my hand under the water, the nurse got tongs and a knife. It worked like a charm, but felt weird as his fangs left me. I threw a paper towel over my injury and watched the snake angrily slither around the counter. My student still had his tail, the nurse still had the knife, but no one wanted to touch him! Upon his release, he'd tried snapping at me, or so I was told. I was just glad to have my hand back to myself. I told the nurse to hold his head down with the knife and I'd grab him. She looked at me like I was crazy. "You're going to touch him again?" She said surprised. I shrugged. No one else was going to. It wasn't a big deal either.

I grabbed him and my student and I put him, tail end, back into his tank. I was quick to put the top on, too, and clamp it into place. It was over, or so I thought. The nurse made me go to some ER clinic for precautionary reasons. Not a big deal except I absolutely HATE missing work. I also am not too keen on city driving, but my GPS saved my life. (Though it did want me to get on the freeway; hell no!) I made it back eventually, with antibiotics and a sore arm. They gave me a tetnus shot, also precautionary.

It was funny; the secretaries teased me and said they'd never seen a snake bite before. I felt horrible, too, because some guy came in with a hole in his skull; they made me switch rooms because they needed to stitch him up. I passed him on the way out; he had a napkin to the left of his skull. I had 4 fangmarks and a little bacteria.

Got lost trying to find the supermarket to fill my prescription. Found my way back to work eventually, and treated myself to Tim Horton's just because I deserved it!

This entire incident has been portrayed in two different ways, which I find interesting. The kids say I was completely freaked, and that my legs were wobbling. I'd say that was an exaggeration. They shook a little, but they only knew about it because I said so. And there wasn't as much blood and drama as they claimed. It was pretty hush hush, IMHO.

The other story describes me as a hero--they say I was so calm and cool with it--when they themselves would have screamed and flung it against the wall. I've been trying to cover for Monty's digression. Truth is, I feel bad for him. I think he's being evicted from his home because of this whole situation. They say they have to get rid of him, because he is a liability. I understand the point, but it's sad when "no pets [are] allowed."

Today is now Thursday and I have a check-in back over at the clinic. Feels like such a waste. Waste of gas, waste of time, waste of money. I'm fine. My finger is still attached, I haven't turned into a snake (though my colleagues now refer to me as Medusa). Maybe I should call and cancel? I don't know. I just know

I volunteered to help clean Monty's cage, and, of course, by "clean" I mean hold him for an hour and watch. It seems stupid, but I'm hoping that by showing that I am not afraid and that his little tirade was just an accident, people will get over the whole incident. They seem to think he is a rabid animal that needs to be put to sleep, when really he was just hungry.

I hate that they are taking away the class pet, and I hate that it is basically my fault. That's all I have to say.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wow. A Part of Me Died Today.

I just got a text from my mom, via e-mail.

What it said shocked me.

"Crazy Woman" is the pseudonym I choose to use for my old neighbor, Crazy Woman.

Mom: Crazy Woman was murdered. (Text confirmed by NECN)

Before my sister was born, my parents bought a house on Lynn Street, in Everett. We bought the house from my aunt, who warned us that our neighbor was a bit screwy in the head--to put it mildly. It was a long time before we realized just what she meant. We lived beside her for 13 years. We did not part on good terms.

In fact, the year we moved away, as we were trying to sell the house, we noticed Crazywoman attempting to drain her pool into our basement!! Now, I don't say this to be petty, but I clearly remember her, every single year prior, draining the pool into Lynn Street. She had the hose, and even plumbing (I think) out to the front her her house. Yes, I think there was a white tube for draining her pool; but I remember the tidal wave of water splashing out to our street; except for when we were moving.

Fortunately, we had a good foundation, and caught her as she was doing it, but that just goes to show what kind of a person Crazywoman was. She was nuts. The kind of nuts that attacks your mom because your mom forgot to pick her up milk that night... I wish I was kidding, but I can still see the cops' lights flashing on our old, white house (which is now purple).

Crazy Woman was your typical, old, highly-religious grandma figure. (And I believe the more religious you are, the crazier you are!) To my knowledge, she had only two children. One was a big-wig beautician out in NYC--whom I never met but was told wanted nothing to do with her--the other, sadly, passed away from AIDs. I believe there was a third, whom died in a fire, but I never heard Crazywoman talk about her.

Kerry; I liked him. A lot. Not in the "I was attracted to him" sort of way--although the only image I have of him is wearing a speedo--Ha! I liked Kerry because he was so nice, and misunderstood. He was your stereotypical, super-sweet, gay guy. I don't remember him to be flamboyant, I just remember he was awesome. I can't even remember why. It depresses me that I didn't know he died, and I wish I could have known him better. All I remember of him is that I'd see him over the fence, and I'd jump up on to the metal fence to talk to him. (Crazywoman had a tall, wooden fence, and we had a short, metal fence; they lined up perfectly, and so I would always hop up onto ours, while hanging on to hers, and talk to them both. One time, I actually snapped off the point of her fence; must have been weakened by years of use. She was not happy, but I don't remember her being mad at me.

Crazy Woman was the kind of woman who most likely beat her dogs. We didn't talk to her for a year or two before we moved away, but I remember watching her out my bedroom window. Her on her hands and knees, gardening in her tight-purple spandex. Her second dog, Rainbow, went from a healthy, happy, pup to a cripple. Literally, I remember him in a diaper, dragging his back legs around the back yard. I wish to hell that I'd called the ASPCA, but I was young and didn't know better. Plus she was crazy. That isn't much of an excuse, though. Rainbow used to cry some nights; We think she locked him up in the bathroom. You never really know what goes on behind closed doors, though.

I remember, towards the end, I was afraid to go into my front yard. She was always there, always watching. For some reason, she went from loving gestures of "I Love You" to solid glares. Whenever my mom would walk by, she would curl her fingers to the side of her head to represent devil's horns. That's one of the last things I remember her saying to me, too. She told me my mother was the devil. Something along the lines of, "God help you, Spawn of Satan."

I remember bits and pieces of her house. You would enter, and there was a hutch to the right. She had gum there, and a bunch of crap that I never bothered to look at. Pictures, I think. Once she told me to get a piece of gum out of the drawer; I think it was a medium colored wood. I told her "no thanks" and she was insulted. She asked "Why not?" And I told her, honestly, I didn't want to eat old gum. I thought it had been there for years. Old ladies didn't chew gum--that was my logic, anyway. She was unimpressed.

To the left of the entrance was her living room. There was a sofa, I think? Light colored. I remember the carpet. I remember her Christmas displays took up the whole room. Big statues of Santa, and dolls. I think her tree went in there too. That room lead to her living room; there may have been a sofa in there too--I don't quite remember. I know she had a TV in there, because I remember her showing me her illegal set-up. She had a black-box, and some sort of contraption that allowed her to watch her living room tv on her kitchen TV. I remember playing with Rainbow in that livingroom. Scruffy little dog. When she first brought him home, he was amazed by his image in a mirror. It was hilarious. I think she had a computer desk there too; big and light colored. It's weird what you remember, sometimes.

Somewhere between there and the kitchen was a bathroom; I think it actually branched off of the kitchen, but I'm not sure. But picture a square, broken into 4 sections, and that was her house. the first block on the bottom right was the entrance, to the left was her living room, above it was the other living room, to the right of that was the kitchen, and back down is the entrance. Somewhere between the kitchen and the second living room was her bathroom. Regardless, I bring up the bathroom because of two particular memories. She bought a fancy sink, so fancy that I laughed and called it a bird bath. She was insulted, but it eventually turned to a game. "Bird bath, bird bath," I would harass her. She would retaliate by giving me raspberries on the neck, or back, embraced in a big hug. It was funny. The other memory, which I'm not entirely sure of, but hope is not true is that I remember her underwear. I had an odd flashback of someone washing her underwear in her sink, which is completely weird. I think I either watched her washing her underwear in the sink, or she had me wash them. Why I would do it is beyond me, but I was a pretty dense kid. If she told me I had to do it, I probably would have. Anyway, I have apparently repressed that memory, because I can't remember what really happened... Moving on.

That was Crazywoman; she could be really nice, and she could be senselessly nasty. I remember the stories of when she threatened a woman down the street with a knife; She hosed another one down in an argument. Her road rage almost got her thrown in jail (or it did get her thrown in jail, and she was bailed; I will probably never know the true story.) But she followed a woman home and tried beating her up because the woman had cut her off on the highway. This is the woman who brought me to church prior to my back surgery, and asked the church pray for me.

My aunt says she once spilled kitty litter on the sidewalk, and Crazy Woman retaliated by taking a bag of kitty litter, and shit, squirming with maggots, and dumped it on her front door. Knocking to ask my aunt how she liked the mess. My aunt retaliated by grabbing it and running it to the second floor of her home--tossing the bag out the window and into Crazywoman's pool.

The stories are endless. And so I am fascinated with this story. I wonder if that is normal? This was once my home, that was once my neighbor, that is my old house in the corner of the news articles. I sold lemonade in front of her house. I rode my bike around that corner. She came to my birthday parties. Took pictures of me when I went to my Jr. High Prom. She probably still has them!

I want to know what happened, exactly as it happened, and what's more is that I want to know who killed her. Was it random, as they says? Or did she finally push someone too far? Did she still remember me? Did she still take pity on me? Does she still have pictures of my family, or the old home videos she shot of us? Did she know I thought she was crazy? Did she know she was crazy?

I will never know. I hate not knowing.