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4 kittens

The keeper of the catalogues retired.

Posted on 2016.12.19 at 21:11
Yesterday was a shitshow! A total one. We woke up in a little room in North Austin, all six of us. (It's not a mystery; we didn't black out the night before and find ourselves mysteriously there. We spent the night at our friend's house after they had a cookie Christmas party.)

The kids woke up at 6 am, and we hushed them with increasingly urgency for the next 2.5 hours. Our friends never woke up, which means our hushing was sufficient, but also tiring. Also Jammies was puking his brains out with a hangover.

At 8:30 we headed to other friends' house for a traditional Venezuelan breakfast. (The arrepas taste sort of like baked patties of grits. I love grits.) It was lovely. At 10:30 we got on the road for Dallas. Our flight was at 7:45 pm, and Dallas was 3 hours away. (The cookie Christmas party was in north Austin, about an hour towards Dallas. That is why we spent the night at our friends' house.)

I'm boring myself to death with this story. It was cold. Tantrums were thrown. Pizza Piper Pizza was time wasted at. We got to Denver around midnight. The end. It was 2 degrees out. Now we're here with Jammies' family.

Here's a little water bottle family portrait from the Dallas airport:

On Friday,

I was honored for being employed at Heebie U for ten years. Five years ago, for that honor occasion, I was given a catalogue and told I could pick anything out from the 5 Years of Service page. I picked out a paperweight: a little globe encased in plexiglass.

For 10 Years of Service, there was no catalogue anymore. (The keeper of the catalogues retired.) Instead I got an embossed letter, informing me that there would be an additional $100 added on in my December paycheck.

I guess I'd rather have the $100, but both are unsatisfying. An actual crisp $100 bill would have been hugely satisfying! Still spends, though.

Also on Friday,

Hawaii was awarded a Virtue Reward for the virtue of Compassion. (Different knight from Keith the Knight last April; same ceremony.)  We were informed on Thursday that the knighting ceremony would be Friday.

Here's how the ceremony works: parents arrive and are sequestered off in a tiny room. Then all the K-2nd students are seated in the cafetorium. Then the parents are solemnly ushered in. When students see their parents, they realize they're getting the award, and they get all excited.

While we were sequestered, Jammies said to me, "Pokey is going to think we're here for him." My stomach knotted up. There was absolutely no way warn him.

We were led to our seats. Pokey saw us, and lit up. Hawaii did, too, but I was a wreck for Pokey. The kindergarten teachers went up to announce the student from their class.

When Pokey's teacher announced some other girl's name, Pokey looked momentarily like he'd been punched in the stomach. I felt every bit of it. He buried his face in his lap for a few minutes. When he was ready, he composed himself and carried on.

They got to 2nd grade and Hawaii's name was called:

Afterwards I gave Pokey a big hug, but I didn't directly address his acute set-up and disappointment. I mean, he handled it maturely. It just sort of broke my heart.

Then we hugged Hawaii and congratulated her:


I bought

...a bunch of extravagant gifts for my friends this year. It's how I cope with existential terror, apparently. Delivering the gifts was great fun.

For one friend, I bought two pairs of gloves, one small and one medium. "Try them on!" I said, "Part of the gift is that I'll return which ever ones don't fit!"  She complied and kept one.

We stood around commiserating about chores. "All this laundry and packing," she gestured around the living room, which was full of stacks of folded clean laundry, "and I realized a moment ago that I forgot to get my teacher's aide a Christmas gift," she lamented.

"How about a pair of gloves?" I joked, holding the spare pair.
She looked at me. "That would be perfect. Are you serious?"
"Of course!" I said, delighted with the poetry of the situation.

Her husband chimed in, "I've got a giftcard to Target," he said, "that a student gave me. You could use that as a gift."
My friend said, "I could, but gloves are more personal. She's a really great aide."
"Totally," I said. "Help yourself."

The husband turned to me, "Want a gift card to Target?"
I laughed, "Yes I do!"
My friend said, "Oh yeah, take it! I'll never remember to pay you back for the gloves!"

I took the gift card. The whole triangle exchange was way more fun than just being reimbursed.

This coffee cup struck me as beautiful and rich, at lunch with Jammies. Wonders.

When I started

...at Heebie U, they told me that we'd be tearing down the building that my office was in, probably within a year.

That's Emma, for whom our building was named. For the past ten years, it's been a perennial threat: always in about six months, we'll have to move.

It was a dorm, so our offices had tiny closets and tiny built-in desks, which I found charming. (The desks were not authentic; my colleague built them into the walls the 80s. I still like them, and I like the colleague.)

Mold levels have finally exceeded legal limits, and we're being relocated this break. Here are the things I'll miss about my old building:

1. It's really quiet and out of the way.

2. My door has a peephole and a heart in the woodgrain.

Look closer:

3. This mosaic tile:

which we always kept hidden:

I guess it gets slippery.

4. Our very yellow bathrooms.

5. The arched doors.

I guess that's all!


On Friday,

my grandma turned 99 years old.  This will probably be her last birthday; she's got some fluid on her heart and is expected to wind down over the next few months. I spent the day feeling melancholy and twilight-ish.

Logistically it's somewhat difficult to get her on the phone, and I'd talked to her earlier in the week, and so I didn't actually wish her a happy birthday. But I kept the email from Facebook telling me that it was her birthday. (Actually she has two accounts, and I'm friends with the both, so the email says "Beatrice Geebie and Beatrice Geebie have birthdays today! Help them celebrate by wishing them a happy birthday!")


I have a toothache.

I think it might be infected.

I'm going to a Denver dentist tomorrow morning.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2016-12-20 16:39 (UTC) (Link)

Parallel lives!

You and I are moving offices at (nearly) the same time! And for nearly the same reason. We had surgery at (nearly) the same time! (But for different reasons!) We are both travelling for the holiday this week! (Okay, less astonishing.)

We are living parallel lives!

I love the triangle gift story.

We get gifts from our university at the five year marks. Last time I got a huge glass paperweight, very ugly. I too would rather have the money.
heebie_geebie at 2016-12-26 05:28 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Parallel lives!

We are twinsies! Except my kids don't yet draw amazing cats like your kid does. Other than that. We both live in politically shitty red states teaching kids with varying levels of awareness as to the degree that they're getting screwed by the system! I think more of your students are getting screwed over worse, on the whole, but still.

Merry all the holidays!
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