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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Leader of the pack (they won’t miss you when I’m gone)


Laura emerged from the band bus, bummed last Friday. That’s “despondent” in old people language. 

I’ve learned it’s better to pry into these attitudes than let them pass, and eventually got the full earful.

“Trumpets!” she snarled. Translation: guys who play trumpets.

“Jerks!” she responded to another pick. Translation: guys who play trumpets, behaving badly.

“Loud and stupid!” Wouldn’t shut up.” Getting somewhere now.

“About gays!” Aha; she went to a GSA meeting after school. GayStraightAlliance. I thought they just tie-died shirts at the meeting. Guys all around her on the bus, being loud and stupid about gays. They probably do know she’s a member, and think a good target. In which case they picked the wrong person.

But, something’s not right here. I went to the principal and the band director the beginning of last year, when Laura had been assaulted and, frankly, was terrified of starting ninth grade a year ago. As a result of my  meeting with the principal, the boy who assaulted her and the boys who bullied her literally are not to be seen. No shared classes. No shared lunch periods. They don’t even cross in hall ways. The principal promised me that would happen. But, band?

“I thought boys and girls were on opposite sides of the bus.”  A snort in response.

“Chaperones?” Front of the bus and uninvolved. They are supposed to be interspersed with the students.

“What was said?” “They were screaming at me, ‘How do you have sex with a trans? Where do you stick it?’ Stuff like that!”

When the jerk trumpets refused to shut up, she shut up and waited out the bus ride back to school.

Today we talked solutions. I sent an email to the teacher who sponsors GSA, explaining she needed to open a discussion and show the youngsters ways to deal with jerk trumpets. 

Then I sent one to the band director, telling her she broke the rules I knew were in place at the beginning of 2016, a year ago. Boys on one side of the bus; girls on the other; chaperones evenly distributed. I have witnesses (more than one, I hope.)

“And don’t mention I’m the only S in the whole group. Let them worry about breaking a bunch more rules. They won’t miss you when I’m gone.”


Summer's almost gone; winter's coming on.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Not again!


This is another of those ‘I wish I were what I was’. I’m on this continuum of living, but I’m missing the landmarks. I’m grateful to everyone who steps up and puts me on the right turn. I’m less disappointed in those who don’t.

It’s a new quarter at school for Laura, come Monday. I realize I must not have been involved when all the registration for this year occurred. It would have been at the end of last year, this April or May. Or the beginning of this year, June, July. Whenever, I was not in the room when she was assigned a gym class that could have been this summer and a study hall, in lieu of a computer class.

What’s done is done. I just finished tracking down her counselor. The same I went toe to toe with over Emily’s scheduling. You may remember this as the counselor who gave her no help in finding and applying for scholarships, and Emily and I did all the spadework. Dear god, why must I relearn all this, instead of having a practiced format.

Another day with nothing to do and all day to get it done. Actually, this is the fourth weekday of this week. The big day was Wednesday, an appointment with my PC for a four month follow up, then Laura’s counselor. That was a good outcome, though. Then band practice, and done.

At my doctor appointment, Dr. J said, “You know you’ve lost four pounds since I saw you last. Do you know why?” “Probably walking more,” I threw in. Life is better, for a month of Belbuca; I can walk a block and back. The truth is, I don’t eat enough, and was disguising it with ice cream. Hershey’s, two big scoops in a waffle cone, every Friday on the way home from taking Laura to marching band inspection.

She’s not coming home tonight; she has a GSA meeting, then inspection and another damn football game. We’ll be home late and up early for her to volunteer at an aid station, passing out water to folks who run marathons for fun, on the towpath. Laura’s Gay Straight Alliance makes more sense than running on dirt trails, for fun. No school tomorrow, so Friday night football is Thursday, this week. No Los Angeles Radio Theater to listen to.

I had texts to pick up prescriptions. I delivered my opinion of the quality of her work to the counselor who signed off Laura’s schedule, instead of me. I decided I needed a donut, and started a mental search for a shop with cream filled donuts, within easy reach. I needed gas, too, and stopped at Marathon. I glanced over at the store I never enter, and read the sign: Dunkin’ Donuts.




I thought I bought enough for lunch and supper. I didn’t.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Completely unexpected


When did something last come your way, from the blue? Unexpected. Joyful. Lifts the load a bit.

My life has been so full of children and associated problems for the last five or six years, I don’t know myself from them, at times. Three are down to one. Hamilton studying computer programming at Tri-C in Cleveland, where he also manages a Chipotle. Emily is studying computer programming at Hiram. Laura and I just rub along.

Beautiful day
Most of us remember the wall of craziness Laura encountered two years ago, during middle school. I couldn’t stop it; I couldn’t turn it around. In desperation, I just left it behind and started over. Laura was hospitalized for about three months, in lessening degrees of stricture, until we settled into a routine of seeing a counselor every other week and a psychiatrist every month. And, that’s the way it’s been for way over a year. We just do it.

Must arrive before school buses are two deep
Yesterday was the usual appointment with the counselor who walked this long path with us. I leave the house promptly at 2:30, to get in line at school to get her at three, to forge back through the inadequate infrastructure of Hudson to arrive at Children’s Hospital for our four o’clock appointment with her counselor. Get the ticket in the parking deck, through all the doors, down all the halls, check in and wait. Yesterday I forgot to get my knitting, but I took the Akron Beacon Journal from the wall pocket. I’ve stretched it into an hour more than once.

Not bad
I wanted to put together a Halloween post yesterday, and put Laura in charge of  pictures as we drove to the freeway. There’s one! Too late. Oh, well. There’s one.  We missed it. But, she did learn to zoom the lens, and took a picture of the crumbling bricks she has admired for a while.

Bona fide Halloween
When we checked in, Stephanie, the receptionist with red hair I wish I had, and I made our December appointments. A matter of honor with me, Laura does not miss school for doctor appointments. I own four p.m. appointments as far as they are open in her counselor’s calendar. The counselor came out for Laura, and asked if I had any issues to come in about. As usual I replied if there was anything, I was sure Laura would mention it.

Must capture holes in foundation
I read almost every column of that paper, because it did have to last an hour. I’d just opened up to and folded back Dear Abby and the funnies, when the counselor actually tapped my shoulder to get my attention. Would I please join them? Save the incident this summer, when Laura was being consumed by her phone, I cannot recall the interior of that office.

Done!
The gist of the summons: she and Laura think Laura has her affairs nicely in hand, and they would like to cut back to one meeting a month, in case something needs tidied up. I’m not surprised, but what an unexpected, pleasing announcement. Wow. How nice. We stopped by Stephanie’s desk and cancelled all our second meetings of the month already on the books, including the fresh December appointment.

Stephanie reprinted our schedule. “You are wasting paper,” Laura admonished. “I know,” said Stephanie, “but no mistakes this way.”