Thursday, March 27, 2008


D'Rose has been in the United States since February 10th. She's coming home next week. Most of that time, she's stayed with members of my family. This morning I got an Email from her asking me to check with the airlines about bringing back excess baggage. I don't see a problem here. I still carry a lot of excess baggage related to past associations with family, and no airlines has ever charged me extra for this. In fact, they've even lost money considering how that baggage directly influences my alcohol consumption.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Here is safe; there looks better

"Here is safe; there looks better"

I was a proficient apprentice with a roll of packing tape at ten; by the time I was thirteen, I was a master craftsman. I was born instinctively knowing that packing books spine down is not the way to go--it's a waste of box space and makes for a heavy load. Pack books flat and layer them only half way up the box, then load light, non-breakables on top of the books. Newspaper is as good as bubble wrap, but not nearly as much fun.

When I was being reared, we moved around a whole lot. That was the nature of my father's fluid careers. Sometimes he had some sort of regional sales guy job, submitting bids for oil and gas construction contracts. Other times he supervised warehouses on oil and gas construction sites. Both tracks required a new set of marching orders almost annually.

Moving has always been exciting for me in the same way really scary turbulence is exciting on long haul flights--each takes me away from the monotony of tedium, the tedium of boredom and the boredom of routine.

Changing schools was both a pain-in-the-ass and a gas, gas gas.

Changing schools contributed enormously to my lifelong norepinephrine jones.

You see, more often than not, I seemed to luck out and enter every new school in the middle of some lesson that I'd already had (in fact, when we settled in Louisiana, everything I needed to know in order to graduate from a Louisiana high school, I'd learned in grades 1 -6 in the Midwest).

I was this annoying new guy who never learned it was safer (i.e. adrenaline inhibiting) to not raise your hand with answers that had been fed to me by previous schools. As a result, with every new school there was, without exception, a day that would come like clockwork when I'd have to meet somebody after school, behind the gym. I was obviously begging for these opportunities.

The wins were harder on me than the losses for reasons I've never been able to figure out, but this phenomenon probably indicated early on that I'd grow up and vote Democrat.

I got older (maturing didn't go hand-in-hand with this process) I went to college.

The month after I got my BA, I left town. . .after town. . .after town. . . .in eight years, I'd had more zip cdes than I'd had birthdays. I'd skipped out on so many upper-triple-digit phone bills that I am convinced that in some small way I had something to do with the break up of A.T. and T.

Eventually I settled in long enough to earn an MA.

After earning the MA, I had two choices: A. I could dig in, get married and breed or B. I could cut and run and spend the next 12 years filling out dozens of DS 4085 applications for additional passport pages.

I'm settled now. Rapidly approaching old age and impending death has had that effect on me. I've been married to the D'Rose now for 3.22 years--that's 39 months or 1,694,383 minutes--anyway you cut it, it is a personal best (in this century).

I have had the same telephone country code for the past 2.28 years. Also a personal best in this century.

These days, I still visit travel agencies frequently but the difference between before and after is that I now book round trip flights.

So, while "here" looks and feels pretty good, I gotta tell you that "there" still looks better. Yet, these days I have this faint idea that "there" will still be there when the time comes for me to go there. Imagine that.

Here are the bloggers I'm hectoring:

Gringo Vasco

Sandy the TEFL ex-Blogger

Ms. Liz in HK

Lisa in New Orleans

English Teacher X

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Not Dead Yet

The last profile picture I had up was titled "Dead on Arrival". D'Rose snapped it in the back of a tuk-tuk at the end of a long day, round midnight, in Thailand last summer. We'd been sight seeing at this Wat and that Wat (Wat, Wat, Wat!) then we shopped till she dropped and somewhere along the way, we hooked up with our good friend Kevin who had in his possession a pocket full of happiness he was glad to share with me. One was purple. The other pink.

I've been asked to display something a little pleasanter, so I've uploaded onto my profile a photo that was taken more recently while I was laid up with a severe groinal muscle spasm. The happiness in the new photo is genuine, or legitimate, or, more accurately, legally prescribed by a medical professional.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Groundhog's Day Meets Goodfellas

The clock doesn't wake me up. A half dozen cats, maybe more, surround the bed at 5 and begin taking turns hiking across my bladder. I can take this for only so long before I throw them off me with a yelp, race into guest bedroom bathroom where I experience what is often the highlight of my day, where it's just me, my pud and the sound of trickling water. The cats run downstairs and take their positions, leaving me to have this moment of bliss and quietude.

(There is, by the way, a bathroom in our bedroom, but it is HER domain and I am forbidden its use. I forgot to lift the lid once without turning on the light)

Anyway, I'm in the kitchen by 6:03, spooning out wet, rank cat food into 7 small bowls while waiting for the microwave to ding with my left-over-from-yesterday coffee before I set four bowls out in the kitchen, carry a couple upstairs where two anti-social felines are waiting to be served, then I run back downstairs, feed the dog some canned food with a chew stick on the side, then I take 15 minutes to drink my left-over re-heated coffee in front of the computer monitor, reading Emails or glancing at the New York Times to see if Hillary Clinton has dropped out of the race yet.

Around 6:25, I cram a banana in my mouth then race back upstairs to scoop cat shit from two litter boxes, race downstairs and scoop more cat shit from the downstairs cat boxes, set the bag o'shit outside, throw some bird feed on the ground then run back upstairs, shower, shave and dress for work.

I fly into work around 7 and prepare for my first class. I am teaching on the women's campus this semester and they're tough customers because unlike their Gulf Arab spoiled-beyond-the- pale male counterparts, the Gulf Arab young ladies honestly want to learn; education is really all they'll ever have--so I have to make up these engaging lesson plans that involve group work and games, bells, dogs shows, whistles, pony shows and puzzles targeting the language point of the day, language points that they will never need to remember like why exactly do we use "some" sometimes and why do we use"any" at other times?

I have this lesson in mind, but I won't use it because I need this job.

"Your teacher ain't gettin' any. His wife's out of town. But even when she's in town, he only gets some ."

I'm finished with morning classes at 11. Then I have to race home to slop the cats again. There's a Simpson's re-run that comes on at 11, so if I hurry I can feed the cats, water the dog, make a sammich and catch the last fifteen minutes of the show before I race back to work.

From 12 - 1, I prepare for the two afternoon classes and by 3, that part of the day, the working for money part, is over.

Then I have to be one of two places--the health club or at a friend's house where we've been rehearsing a dozen Beatles songs with a full band for an all Beatles songs night coming up at the local Brit club/pub. The health club takes an hour to get there and hour to drive back, adding two hours for classes and time to shower--that's it, that's the rest of the day.

Each of these after school events takes me up to 9 o'clock, close to bed time. Then I go home, visit the various cat food feeding stations, fill bowls, walk the dog, put on PJs and watch TV.

By 9:30 I am in bed, and by 5 the cat parade begins. Again. My life has been this for a month now, and it might go on for another three weeks.

Gotta go fill the bowls. Gotta scoop up shit. Gotta keep stirring the sauce.

There it is.