Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, My Main Man

We sugar-coat, from time to time, our coupling. Yeah, I said "coupling." Goggle if you need to. But this man, that I have been married to for -- shit, I need a calendar.

This man that is with me? Your spouses can't live up to him. He is that. And all that. And that. And that.

I am extremely grateful to whatever cosmos or fate or god-like being you want to invoke that I have him.

There is no other. There will never be an other.

But, Pete? One of a kind. And it's his birthday. I will never be able to articulate who he is or what he is or, oh my freakin' god, how he is.

Thank you, the forces that made him the father of my children. I have never looked back. Not even one instance.

Love you, honey. I know you love me. You show me all the time.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Continued...No New Lockers in Sight

Let me preface with this: the fact that the high school principal is replying to emails on a Sunday? Kudos to him. (For the record, I work every day, too.)

The initial post.

His response:

Hello Patricia,

That is extremely valuable feedback, thank you!  Please do not ever stop being "that parent." I appreciate it when I get valuable feedback from parents advocating for their children.  I know I will with my girls.  We have looked at ordering more lockers but they are exorbitantly expensive and we would rather put that money towards improving curriculum and instruction. The unfortunate fact is that the lockers we have, are the "fixed" lockers. We will take your thoughts into consideration moving forward.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

And mine right back. Run past the husband because, you know, if anyone knows what a wingnut I am, it's that poor man. (Whose birthday is tomorrow, BTW. In case, you know, you want to get in early birthday wishes.)

Thanks, PRINCIPAL. I appreciate the response. While admittedly a limited sample -- given that like-minded folks seem to "FBriend" each other -- I can only say that the responses from others I heard from who received the email were similar to mine. I do not have precious snowflake kids. Heck, how could they be precious snowflake kids with me as their mother? But to expect students to schlep 50-pound backpacks back and forth to school because there aren't enough lockers is just bull. And while I, too, would rather put the money towards curriculum and instruction, I know that there are separate funds for facility improvements. It paid for the new administration wing. It paid for an improved dance studio. It paid for the new pool. They are separate funds.

I'd really appreciate it if you could let the new superintendent know that, until we're an all-digital society and kids each get a free iPad with textbooks loaded on them, they need to provide, at the very least, a bare minimum. And a locker? Yeah, a bare minimum.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Exchange with the HS Principal...Probably to be Continued

I'm just going to put it out there, with zero introduction. Except that sentence. Oh, and that one. Shit. Too many introductions.

The email from the principal of the high school Eldest graduated from in June and which Le Daughter will be a senior at next year and which Demon Spawn will start attending after Le Daughter graduates:


Attached is a revised PDF that includes all of the information that you will need for registration in August.  Please read the document and make the appropriate arrangements to ensure your attendance.  We have one very important change for NAME High School for the 2015-16 school-year.  Because we are extremely limited in the amount of lockers on campus we ask that nobody shows up early to place a lock on a locker.  The NAME High School administration feels that it is unbelievably important that our incoming 9th grade students have all of the available resources to feel welcome, comfortable, and ready to succeed as a SCHOOL MASCOT.  Therefore, all 9th graders will be guaranteed a locker on campus before any of the upperclassmen stake their claim.  Please note that if you arrive before August 14 and place a lock on a locker it will be cut off.  Thank you so much for your cooperation, and for your consideration of our incoming 9th graders.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

My response to him, just now:

Yes, I'm going to be THAT parent. It would have been great to know about this before my daughter went to put a lock on a locker two weeks ago. Of course, the lock was cut off. Which is fine. I get that. But it would have been even better to know this before you had the locks cut off. I'd have sent her down to remove it rather than have to go buy another lock.
Just one more thing. Has anyone considered making the district fix lockers so you have enough? When my eldest went four years ago, we had to repair a locker so he could have one. Yes, we did. We're handy like that.

Yeah, that parent. And you're stuck with me for another five years. ;) Please don't hold me against my kids.

Good god, I love email. Also? I love the district. I love all government workers. Said no Patty ever.


Sunday, July 19, 2015


Ashamed, I am, when the dentist sees Eldest for the first time. He is four. Apparently, that is too late to see a dentist. You need to see one, I end up believing, in utero. But he is my Eldest, that kid, and so I go to take him to the dentist when I think he should.

The dentist wonders if he was bottle-fed. Nope. Left with a bottle to sleep at night? Nope. Hanging on your breast whilst you sleep? Yes. Ah-ha! That explains the cavities.

It also, not coincidentally, explains why I am still sane after all those years.

So I bring Girlie when she is less than 3. It is a mistake. Girlie needs more time. In time, we will all know why she needs more time, and that gentle ogre of a dentist plays the part. Sing-songing to Daughter because she hates deep voices.

I want to marry the dentist then. But I don't because, hey, I've got the best husband anyone can find. I still do have him.

When demon-spawn comes along and projectile vomits on everyone his first couple of visits, they re-huddle. The next time, they have me don a gown and hook us up with the dental hygienist who will be there. Every. Single. Time.

Years pass. Dental insurance lapses. We still go there. We still go there because that dentist and his staff have wormed their way into our hearts.

Time marches on. The kids can use adult dentists now.

But my heart stays with them.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Day I Hold Dear

It is a day in Washington, D.C. It is a day in Huntington Beach, when a cousin set fire to his hand as well as to a firecracker. It is a day at Hickam AFB on Oahu. It is a day in Baltimore, in Long Beach Island, NJ, in Novato, CA, and, most poignantly, in Cocoa Beach.

It's not yet the anniversary of my Dad's death, but it's damn close. For his last Fourth of July, we put the egg-crate mattress topper in the bed of their Nissan pick-up truck, helped him up into the bed, and we drove to a strip mall.

It could be any strip mall in America. Or at least any strip mall in America where you're not in severe drought conditions, just waiting for some dumb-ass random neighbor to set off illegal fireworks and cause a fire of a colossal nature.

It wasn't the most spectacular of fireworks displays I've seen. Pretty lame, honestly. But I cried that night as I watched them. I cried because I knew the next Fourth of July would be one without my Dad. I was grateful for the dark. I could sneak peeks at him as he lay prone on that fucking egg-crate mattress topper, outfitted in an outrageous Aloha shirt, a flower-dotted green hat to cover the two brain invasions, and, certainly, black socks with a pair of tennis shoes. Outfitted to a tee in his Dadswear.

The hardest part about this whole atheism gig is the realization that, as I age, my memories dim and there will be no bright light tunnel I travel through to see him again when my time comes. I am quite rapidly closing in on the age he was at his death.

This is to you, Dad. I will do my damnedest to not lose those memories of you. And I'm eternally grateful to the cosmos that a part of you lives on in me and in my kids. And so on and so on.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


I started working at the San Francisco Newspaper Agency when I was four months pregnant with Eldest. I was hired as a market research analyst. And I didn't say I was pregnant until I accepted the job. In that telephone call, I blurted out, "I'm pregnant." As if they couldn't rescind the job offer.

They didn't.

I worked there for years, through the Hearst Corp. purchase of The Chronicle and the shedding of The Examiner to the tune of $66 million. Major losses all around. Still losses today, I imagine. I left on my accord when the husband got a dream job that meant I could stay home with the kids.

This is not about that job. (Although, truth be told, I loved that job up until I needed that job. Once you need a job, you put up with a lot of shit. That's what sucks about needing a job.)

Anyway, in my early years, after Eldest was born, I became friendly with lots of folks in sales. One of my favorites was Dale, who was just such a pleasure to be with. She was hilarious! Right up my alley. I went to her funeral a few years ago. I cried buckets of tears. She was a keeper. She is one that makes you want to believe in an afterlife.

Another woman, let's call her "Julie" (as if that's not her name), worked alongside Dale. She was equally fabulous. And here's the message I sent her when I saw her comment on another former co-worker's post:

I'm not sure you remember me, but I'll never forget you! SFNA. I had new babies. And you told me the story of how you ran into your kids' nanny/babysitter when they were older. They had no recollection of her. But she remembered them. I've never forgotten that. Even 'tho my "baby" is now 18 and off to college in the fall. You made me recognize that time goes by. Thank you. Hope you are well.

So for all my kvetching (inner and spoken aloud) about how we can never escape people thanks to social media, I raise a toast to the benefits of being able to tell someone, 17 years later, that you will never forget them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Taking Offense at "Mate"

The two oldest ones and I are at dinner whilst Pete and Youngest are at soccer practice. Today was the last day of school. Technically, for Eldest, yesterday was the last day of high school for him, when he polished off his AP Calculus final at 10:15 a.m. But today is officially the last day of school for the district. Consider this a preliminary graduation dinner and a welcome-to-senior-year dinner for Daughter.

Or consider it an alternative to me having to actually cook because Pete isn't home until after 8.

So, there we are, passing the time talking about the recent Reddit FPH controversy and where Eldest will be seated at graduation tomorrow night and where Daughter will find a job for the summer. (The last subject? Far more touchy than any FPH post I've ever seen.)

Two women sitting near us have finished their meal and are departing. They are older. Maybe 65? They sit in a booth, facing each other, shooting the breeze. One -- the one I will later offend -- sits against the wall with her feet on the booth bench. (Now talk about being offensive! Dude, put your feet on the floor. What are you, a toddler?)

They leave. And I notice the other woman has left her bag on the bench. "Excuse me?" I shout, jumping up to follow them out. "Excuse me!" I say, louder this time. But she continues on. Her rude friend has stopped to coo at a baby in another booth. I tap her on the shoulder and say, "Excuse me, but your mate left something at the table."

"My 'mate'?!" she says, horrified. "She's not my 'mate.' Why would you call her that?"

"I mean 'mate' as in 'friend,' as in the Australian use of the word," I sputter. "I didn't mean 'your partner.'"

She comes back to the booth, grabs the bag and, as the din quiets, I hear her say to her friend, "She called you my 'mate.'" She says it so indignantly.

I sit back down and say to the kids, "Jesus, what a bitch. She didn't even say 'thank you.'"

And I think, "As if any woman would have her."


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