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3:16 p.m. - 2012-01-27
What The Shirelles Knew...

It's been an exasperating week. The kind I warned Wolf would still happen despite this being the Good Days.

A couple months ago there was a kerfluffle at Mick's work. The high school track is not open to the public during school hours- there's a sign with the track's hours posted right next to the gate, but this doesn't stop some boneheaded folks and every once in a while Mick has to go shoo people off the track. They're hardly ever cooperative about it. Lots of bluster about how their taxes pay for the track and Mick's salary and yadda yadda...feh. Look, the track is for the students and their exclusive use during school hours, what's so difficult? Besides just being common sense, would you really want some creepy dude out there pretending to exercise and ogling while your daughters are running laps? Right. So shut up and come back after 3:00.

Anyhow some weeks ago there was a pair of guys out walking the track in the middle of the school day. Mick goes over to tell them to leave and seeing Mick coming the guys run for the far gate and take off across campus. Mick has to chase them and he's none too happy. After having to go at a dead run nearly all the way across the huge campus the bozos finally stop and speak to Mick. They finally, finally identify themselves as teachers from one of the primary schools. Mick asks to see their badges (which all staff are supposed to wear on neck chains or have clipped to a lapel in plain sight) and again these momzers are being buttheads. One drags out his id badge and hands it over but the other decides he'll be cute and he grabs Mick's arm and says, "Sweetie, you don't need to be so grouchy!" Mick jerks his arm away and tells the guy to keep his hands to himself and shut up.

Well! Can we say hissy fit? The one who put hands on Mick is now yelling and saying he'll have Mick's job for this and things get very nasty. All this because Mick was doing his job. He was asking for identification from two unknown adult men on a school campus in the middle of the day. Something two teachers should surely understand and cooperate with. But instead they screwed up and decided the best thing to get themselves out of trouble would be to make trouble for someone else. Ergo Mick was a bigot and a homophobe and needed to be punished. So they went whining and crying to Mick's boss, the superintendent of schools, and the board of ed. Told a whopping story about how they'd been deliberately discriminated against and that Mick had used certain terms for gay men that are big no-nos.

Right? WTF? I know my husband. He's not the most patient guy, but he's not a bigot. If those two had simply stopped and spoken with Mick in the first place and identified themselves right there on the track and shown their id as they should have done none of this would have gone so sour. But they chose to run away, be childish and silly and stupid about the whole thing, plus one of them had put his hands on Mick. Okay, the guy didn't hit him, but why do anything like that at all? This is grown-up land, adults don't joggle stranger's elbows and call them "Sweetie". Especially not cops' and security personnels' elbows. Duh. In any case Mick had NOT said anything really untoward. I don't believe "Take your hand off me and shut up, asshole" is a homophobic slur or qualifies as hate speech, do you? Perhaps not the best choice of words, but can you really blame Mick for being fed up by then?

Upshot? The two stinkers graciously agreed to drop their talk of a discrimination lawsuit if Mick was given an official letter of censure for his unprofessional conduct in this matter. The craven and lawsuit leery admin did that just that. On Monday Mick got a letter in his file and a lecture about being more 'tolerant'. To say Mick was upset is a bit of an understatement, but the most hurtful and maddening thing about all of it was the idea that he could have lost his job. All because two twerps decided their day needed some jazzing up with a game of "Let's bait the straight guy." If indeed that was their game. Who knows? Who knows why they ran? Or why they made Mick chase them through four parking lots and down an access road? Why think that being cutesy and handsy was the way to go when faced with a clearly aggravated and frustrated security guard? Why threaten the man's livelihood and family over this stupid shit in the first place? Why? No answers forthcoming from the twerps. No sticking up for Mick by the cowardly administration either.

Monday was not a good day.

Nor was Wednesday when we had to scrounge up a new TV when the elderly Magnavox finally went to the electronics' place in the sky. The scavenged new/old TV doesn't fit in my lovely media armoire and is sitting like a nasty squatter in another corner of the living room. A dumb, obtrusive hunk of glass, plastic and wiring on an ugly glass doored, press-board stand. Grateful my son can still play his video games, appalled by how my formerly gracious and arty living room is now owned by that moronic new-ish gigantic ugly ass TV. Might as well say, "Hi! I've never read a book or painted a picture or visited a museum! I live for the next episode of 'Real Housewives' and 'Jersey Shore'! Come on in and join us in our cable-fed stupor!" Blech.

Then yesterday we woke up to a screeching clatter coming from the furnace. The horrible noise was definitely inside the flue and not within the boiler itself, thank heavens, but in any case the house was getting damn cold and noises like that do NOT bode well for the equipment or our budget. I did what I could, which wasn't much- the whole unit was sealed up tight and I didn't want to start taking things apart only to find out later I broke something else along the way. The first rule of holes seemed to apply here so I simply shut the boiler down and called the heating guys.

In a better saner universe I could have called the ex and asked him to come fix it, but we know that wasn't happening. So instead of paying for parts at the contractor's price and giving my ex a hearty lunch and a thank you for his help, I'm out of pocket for a repair to the tune of almost $700. I did manage to hondle with the very nice repair guy and get him to skip the mileage and time costs for when he had to go back to Malltown and get the new blower motor to replace the broken one in the flue. Very decent of him. We'd swapped some HVAC war stories and did some chatting about folks we had in common from the biz, my time as the ex's assistant did that much good anyhow, but I was still ticked at the ex. If he wasn't such an absolute turd of a human being and rotten father...GAH!

The appointment with the heating guy had to be bent around a previous appointment made so Wolf could have his annual blood draw to check for liver function and other things. He takes some powerful meds and keeping up with his body chemistry is a must-do. I'd already put it off an extra month, December being simply too busy to finagle a fasting blood draw during the regular school week, and making the kid starve and get needled during Christmas vacation seemed like a crappy thing to do. Instead we did it yesterday while Wolf was off for Regent's week. He'd finished his own midterms on Monday and had the remainder of the week off while the older students sit for the fancy-schmancy state proficiency exams that are a graduation requirement.

Okay, they used to be fancy-schmancy exams. Back in the day a Regent's diploma meant something- it and good SAT scores got you into almost any college in the country. BAM! See, in New York there used to be two kinds of high school diplomas- a local diploma which meant you'd taken and passed a modicum of basic classes and had put in the required classroom time. And then there was a Regent's diploma- one that demanded a hella lot more work and study. Several years of all the core subjects, plus three years of a foreign language, a series of arts and sciences in outside fields, and participation in a sport, band, or academic club. Sure, I screwed around a lot during high school, even the Regent's level and honors classes were cake for me, but I did do it right. I did the course work, wrote the papers, played the sports, and passed all 11 of the required Regent's exams in the various subjects. And still graduated half a year early. I was proud of that dopey diploma and what it took to earn it.

Then back in the 1990s the dimwit chancellor of the Regent's board decided that EVERY student in New York had to have a Regent's diploma. The good students, the bad, the vocational kids, even the special ed kids. So instead of helping the laggers excel, they lowered the standards. They dinked with the Regent's requirements and dumbed down the exams to the point where a Regent's diploma doesn't meant diddly-squat.

Cranky about this? Oh, you know it. I'd looked forward to the day when my own kids had made the grade. When they, too, had gotten their academic chops and proven they'd learned something during their time in public school. They'd earned their diplomas and could go forward into the next part of their lives knowing their work and time had counted.

Will I be proud and happy when Wolf graduates in June of 2015? Certainly. But what I won't know is whether the quality of his education means anything. Whether he actually got an education that'll serve him well. All he (and I) will know is that he managed to stumble through the bullshit busywork the watered down Regent's standards ask of our kids until they reach age 18. BFD.

I never expected the public schools to teach my kids everything. A parent's real job is to teach their children all the stuff they won't get at school. A deal I was fine with and kept up on my end. The nightly dinner where we talk about...jeeze...what DON'T we talk about? Turning the kid loose outside to figure out everything they can get out there? Biology, physics, lawlessness. Did that too. I never thought it was the school's job to teach my sons ethics and morality either, I'll take care of that, thanks. But languages, some of the arts, science, history, archery, the basics of cafeteria etiquitte, the rules of the social jungle? Along with poetry, mythology, geometry, grammar, how to write a term paper, take notes and study, and at least pretend like you're paying attention when the subject and speaker at hand are boring as all hell? Yes. I ask that of the schools.

My goodness I am ejaculatory and chatty today. Don't mind me. It's been that kind of week. Hard on my guy. Hard on my checkbook. Hard on my kid. Hard on my WIP and my writing in general. Hard on my living room. Hard on my heating system. Hard on my poor battered tired bod.

My son can concur...Mama said there'd be days like this. And we're coming off a whole week of 'em.

Sanguine and waiting for things to turn, ~LA

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