Shower Musings

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Number 1: You are not saving money by using this razor until it is scraping the skin off of your undershaved shin. 

Yes, I know that the winter in Montreal doesn't "inspire" bare legs, and I know that a small pack of razors here is as well protected as the Meth ingredients in American wal-marts...and at 15 bucks for a small pack, doesn't exactly inspire shaving wily nily But WOMAN! There is no reason to experience this level of hell to shave your legs.  Throw the damn thing OUT when you notice it is dull. Don't wait until you peel all the skin off your leg for the third time to make your move. The trash can is RIGHT next to the tub. 

Dos: Whoever keeps moving my toothpaste from the edge of the shower. STOP it. There is One kind of toothpaste I like...and I buy it in abundance.  I also provide a couple of other flavors for the other two people who live in this house.  I leave the toothpaste on the side of the sink I can reach because Yes, I like to brush my teeth in the shower.  Having to get out of the shower to walk across the bathroom to get the toothpaste is counter productive.  Besides, you have at least three other containers of tooth past from which to choose. Leave mine alone. 

Three: There is a bath mat on the floor for a reason. To absorb the water from your sopping wet bodies as you emerge from the shower. It is not meant to be stepped around, nor is it meant to be balled up and kicked to the side of the room, sopping wet.  Come On. If I crack my head open and have to be photographed dead, naked and covered in blood by some freaking Quebecois CSI team, I am haunting the SHIT out of both of you, forever. And this note is to YOU Emily Damali - If I tell you to put the new, freshly laundered bathmat down and I walk in afterwards and find it thrown in the middle of the floor, I will not be pleased. And Yes, I know it was you. See Issue 2. There are only three of us in the house, and I handed you the bathmat. 

We may all now resume our regularly scheduled lives as bedouin housecats.

Early Care and Education Manifesto Part 2

Monday, April 19, 2010

So you all know that I am an actual certified Elementary Education Teacher who turned her back on her profession to lay on the floor with Babies. Wasting my rather pricey University of Vermont education in the opinion of many.

The truth is that I never intended to teach above 2nd grade. I knew long before I graduated that I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher...MAYBE a first or second grade teacher, but never above that. I may have been the only student to ASK to be placed in a Kindergarten for her teaching internship. Even among my K-6 education student peers, Kindergarten was seen as "not really teaching".....whereas in Early Childhood circles, it can be viewed as the brass ring, the place where maybe your salary may be on the low end of par with others. You know, the REAL teachers.

I was fortunate to slide into my career when I did. It was a strange time in Education, with the Whole Language movement being all the rage in Vermont. I had been trained to be "bi-lingual" in these methods - Both Whole Language and the Basal/Phonics methodologies. While I personally favored Whole Language, I also knew how to implement the other methodology if needed. I also had a very thorough training in assessment of reading skills and difficulties. I have to hand it to the professors at UVM - they made sure we came out with a pretty extensive set of skills - a true teacher education program...but I digress. The point is that there was a moment in education when I graduated in which ideologies were in flux. I landed where I was supposed to land - in the world of Early Care and Education.

At that first child care center at which I was employed, the Director handed me the NAEYC book, Developmentally Appropriate Practice. The OLD one. The Green Book. I read it in one night and came back to her the next day and asked "Where was this in my Teacher Education Program? It is completely RIGHT..." That was 1992. I began a re-education through the NAEYC publications at the center, coming back to Developmental Theory that I had ignored in Undergrad.

Because, I learned, you couldn't understand a child if you didn't already have some kind of template in your mind as to why/how they develop. If you can't understand that sorting objects is the basis of Math, or that a baby dropping things off a table is really the beginning of scientific knowledge and curiosity, then there can be no reason for the choice the items you select for the environment. Coupled with my fortunate and life changing introduction to the philosophies of Madga Gerber and RIE, I would never look at the children in my care with anything less than the belief that they were all VERY bright and capable learners...It was ME who had to catch up, not them. If I stopped and listened, they would tell me what they needed from me.

Magda's Mantra was "Unbusy Yourself". Teachers can find things to keep them Busy all the time. There is never a lack of things to do, and in Early Care and Education there are things to be cleaned, washed, disinfected, laundry to fold, bottles to start defrosting because someone is going to wake up hungry and the breast milk takes at Least 30 minutes of sitting in hot water to thaw.... It is easy to make the adult decision that Management of Tasks is your first priority. It would also be the wrong decision.  Teachers who function like this have very tidy classrooms, very pretty bulletin board displays - but lack a certain connection with the children.  If a child doesn't fit in this teachers world, then there is no place for him or her. If the train leaves and if you aren't in your assigned seat then you are Shit outta luck, my friend.

The best Early Childhood Teachers realize early on that YOUR plans are superfluous. Sure, you can have a vague idea of how the day is going to run...but whether or not these things actually happen depend on a wide variety of factors, most of which are well beyond your power to predict. IF Everyone arrives at school and IF everyone is Healthy, and IF everyone has the clothes they need for outdoor play and IF they have all eaten breakfast and IF they have slept that  previous night.....Oh, the list is Long and I am not even getting into the lives of children who see things they should never see. The boy who comes in after his mother was taken to jail the previous night for stabbing a neighbor....Or the one who comes in smelling very much of marijuana saturating his clothes, or the one who just weeps from the moment her mother drops her off until you can finally calm her down by holding her and keeping her next to you for the first three hours of the day.

Early Care and Education Teachers are on the front lines of some very heavy shit. And don't think it is only in "certain" places in "certain" schools. Young children have not learned to entirely shield their emotions and the things they see and feel are reflected right back through their actions, play and drawings. They will talk about things with peers to try and figure out "normal" through the lenses they possess. The teacher role is to listen and guide and reflect, then hopefully liaison back with the team teacher and  parent ( if possible) to discuss.

If a teacher is so busy making sure all the children have done all of the worksheets, or telling them to color the stop sign RED and then CUT IT OUT, there is no time for that observation to happen. The really important things are shoved aside. And let's be honest - If you can't sit at a table next to a peer without kicking them, or poking them with a pencil, what the hell are you going to do with your cut out red stop sign? If you can't find a way to enter into play with peers without kicking over their sand structure...then your Phoneme sounds are really of less concern than your inability to relate to other people your age.

But it comes back to that Crazy Teacher who likes her plans and her schedules. It's THAT type of person who has gotten into higher positions and is now dictating that the only way to Know if a child has learned something is to measure them all the same way. No room for the messy reality of difference. And let us not even TALK About the way some kids need extra time for things to click...or need sensory input to learn.  And oh, did we mention we are going to base YOUR salary on whether or not Your Kids perform to "standard" on this test?  Because everyone performs better when the giant  barbed stick is waiting to smack them.

This does not, and has never meant that Early Care and Education rooms should be Chaos. That was a side swipe we never effectively dealt with as a profession. That DAP ( Developmentally Appropriate Practice) equaled "Everyone gets to run around and do whatever they feel like doing". Oh No. During the time I was a Validator for NAEYC Accreditation, one of the things I rated very heavily was the "Tone" of the room. It should be busy and occasionally loud....but Not out of control. It shouldn't be too quiet. Children should sound happy...busy....occasionally argumentative, you know - NORMAL.  It should be obvious children live in this room - that the room exists FOR children. Art where they can see it. and obviously made by children. Areas set up so that they can independently choose to be in them or not.  It shouldn't be too messy - children shouldn't' have to root through giant plastic buckets to find the things they need or want. But not too clean either.  If it was too clean, I worried Why.  Usually I would find that there was a teacher who would "Close" areas or toys because they didn't want to deal with the mess.

DAP meant, to me, Would I like to be here? Would I feel valued and known in this environment? Would I have an adult to help me if I needed...but not hovering over me? Would there be things I like to do here - would my interests be listened to and encouraged? Would my humor be encouraged? Would there be boundaries and limits that were there to guide me...not punish me? Would I hear NO or DON'T all day?

In the last part o' th manifesto, I want to address the role of the Administrator in preserving the environment for the teachers to do what they needed to do. Because it is really important - and really, really hard. And throw some questions at me if you'd like. Who knows where the next piece will lead?

Early Care and Education Manifesto: Part 1

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You know, SB is completely right in her comment to me about my sticking my big old opinionated opinion into a conversation to which I was no part of in a coffee shop. I was a Supah-huge wench to that woman in the coffee shop. She would have been well within her rights to tell me where to go and how to get there.

I also know that SB knows and loves me Long time in bloggy and even Real World, so I can take her criticism with the grain of salt it is intended. Had someone tried to do that same to ME in a coffee shop, I can assure you that there would be one verbally battered patron exiting...and it wouldn't have been me.

But let me tell you WHY it is important - that term "Day Care" as different from "Child Care" or even better: "Early Care and Education".

After I graduated from the University of Vermont in 1992, in the Upper 1/3 of my graduating class with a Bachelors of Science in Education and a minor/concentration in English Literature, my first job was at a child care center. Due to some very strange economic issues, there were NO teaching positions when I came out of college - particularly for beginning teachers. We couldn't even get subbing work. Many of us were funneled into Child Care positions. Similar skill set, after all.

In hindsight, one of the more amusing things to me is that vast hand of destiny in my future career and professional life. I would have never chosen to work with infants, yet that is what I ended up doing. Most of the other "Real Teachers" in Child Care wanted to at LEAST have the kindergarten age kids. I mean, then they could use their knowledge of lesson plans and academics to feel like they hadn't wasted ALL of the money.

A rare few of us migrated to younger children. We found we had talent. We found that this age - this Infant through Two Year Old group - Well, if you could manage them successfully, you could do ANYTHING.

By this I mean, they had the most challenging Parents. The relationship with parents, by virtue of their child's still developing communication skills, had to be close and personal. Furthermore, parents are SUPER vulnerable to judgement in these years. Even if a family had more than one child, each child was completely different and new. Almost nothing that THIS child did was the same as the previous and/or subsequent child. This uneven ground that constantly shifted and changed made parents, in particular, feeling like they never really Knew what the hell was going on. Every time they thought they figured it out....It changed.

Then there was the observation skills. The best lessons I ever learned about observation and recording were learned on the floor of the infant room at Alphabet House. We watched the children. We lay on the floor with the children. We wrote down what we saw. We discussed it as peers with each other to gain other opinions about any concerns or general observations. As an infant caregiver, I had to set aside anything I knew and simply Watch. I had to formulate and reject or accept theories based on all the developmental knowledge I had accumulated to that point. I learned to watch the children and ask "Why"....because there was always an answer.

In this group of infants, I also honed my presence with children. If there is a Tough Crowd in any situation, it is a group of 12 infants. You show fear...or disrespect and they will eat you alive. They will refuse to eat. They will refuse to sleep. They will refuse to allow you to touch them to change their diapers. Infants and Toddlers are the absolute personality detectors. Later on, I could often tell if someone was even going to get an second interview by watching them approach an Infant or Toddler in the room. 90% of the people came directly AT the child, with some crazy fake voice...which tells the child to RUN AWAY, THIS UNKNOWN ADULT IS CRAZY! 10% may sit down on the floor and wait for a child to approach them ...those were the ones with potential.

So, imagine my surprise when people would hear that I worked with Infants and ask me "So you are a babysitter? When are you going to get real teaching job?"

That was my first glimpse into the fact that the work that I did, everyday, was not valued. It was throw away work, that Anybody could do, and which certainly did not require a Bachelor's Degree in Education! In the years I worked as a Child Care provider, more people than I can count told me I was wasting my talent, or asked when I was going to leave to get a "real" job. Many more were stunned when they learned I had a University degree. I mean, I COULD be working in an office photocopying and making more money than I was making caring for children.

And it was true. It was awful to see people being offered 10 dollars an hour to deliver pizzas, when I was earning 7.50 per hour caring for people's infants. And paying for my own health care.

Oddly, I remember the day that something in my brain switched over. I was calling a parent to tell her that I was pretty sure her daughter had impetigo, and needed to be seen by her Pediatrician.

This baby, in particular, had been a tough nut to crack as she had been a VERY HIGH NEED child, and by the time she got to me at age 5 months, had been asked to leave three other child care situations since she screamed ALOT. I carried her in a sling for a month to prove to her that I was a trustworthy adult, something she had not had a great deal of in her previous child care situations. Needless to say, this baby eventually attached to me - as did her parents - and we had a great relationship.

The mother's assistant answered the phone and I explained who I was and that I needed to speak to the Mom. The assistant paused and asked, "So this is her babysitter?"

CLICK in my brain.

Babysitter? I had been screamed at by this baby for a solid month. I had worked with her and gotten her to trust me so that she could now easily go down for naps...or play on her own...or smile and laugh! I had worked with her parents so we had a routine for separations which were neither Sneaking away (I'm being abandoned by the adult I love most) nor Endless lingering (Are you happy? I'm going to stay until you get upset, cause I need to see you upset to see me go or I can't separate!!!)

"No.", I calmly said. "This is her Child Care Professional."

When the mom got on the line, she was laughing. "She'll never call you a babysitter again!"


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have I mentioned my super power? The one in which I can offend nearly anyone new - somewhat unintentionally - within ten minutes of being introduced to that person? If I am drinking, that time can be cut down to maybe three minutes.

Being a rather hermit-like girl, I forget sometimes about this particular power. I avoid new people like the LITERAL plague. Every Leap Year, something awakens in my reptilian brain and I make a new be kept - FO-EVER! Like Sartre, there is no exit from being friends with me once I have decided we are friends. I also Imprint on people in service evidenced by my recent proclamation to "Glen" that he is my new Hair Stylist. When my old stylist went on Maternity leave and never came back, I waited 2 years until I couldn't stand it and found Glen. But let's leave that little creepy tidbit aside for the moment.

This morning after I dropped Em at school I swung by Second Cup to grab my perfectly brewed coffee. Yes, these kind souls will BREW me single cups of the coffee I like. In return, I will never buy coffee anywhere else in the city. Yep, they are stuck with me. For whatever reason they seem to like me. I fit in with the humor and tone of the joint. Therefore I forget that others may be unfamiliar with my essential "Dawn-ness"

Hence, today's vignette:

I walk in and wait in line. Chris, the owner, is chatting with a middle aged woman in her early 60's. She is talking to him about "day care" for his three year old son. After several repeats of the word "Day care", I can no longer stand it and butt in to say in what I thought was a semi-friendly/joking tone:

"As an Early Childhood Professional, I would just like to say that we prefer the term "Child Care" as we have never cared for a "Day"..."

I trail off and smile.

Chris, the owner laughs. This woman does not. She stares at me.

"Are you correcting me as I get my coffee", she asks.

"Well, Yes. Yes I am. As someone getting a PhD in Early Childhood, I feel strongly that terminology defines the importance of the work we do..." I trail off again.

"It's my field too", she counters, handing Chris her Card with the Moniker of a Large well known provider of Child care in many countries.

She turns back to him - "You should get your son on the list for preschool, like Yesterday..."

Not in the least deterred I pipe up, "I put Emily on the list at the Child Care I directed when I was two weeks pregnant!"

This was said to convey empathy for the plight of searching for the right child care and camps and programs and how you simply don't KNOW about this little kitchen nook of Hell until you try to navigate it.

Here is where she thinks she is going to Get me, I later realize. She is preparing to deliver her parting Blow.

"I stayed at home with my kids when they were little until they went to school and I just loved it."

And because I didn't hear the slam until later, I responded "If I had stayed home with my daughter, it would have been a crime scene. A terrible, bloody homicide scene. Me, Her, my husband and the Cat would have all been killed. No, I speak for the Moms who would be a TERRIBLE stay at home Moms..."

Chris, the owner, is now in full guffaw. I am still smiling oblivious of the attempt on my dedication/ability/expertise as a Mom.

She shoots me a terrible parting look that clues me in that I was Supposed to be insulted instead of cheerfully detailing the ways in which I would have disassembled my family.

I stand, waiting for my coffee. I am now in internal dialog with myself and am coming to realize that this all went very, very poorly. Chris continues to laugh. I look up and say:

"And you just witnessed my superpower in action. The ability to increasingly offend any stranger in ten minutes or less..."

He smiles at me. "That was spectacular", he says.

Men Kill their weak; Women Kill Their Strong

Thursday, April 08, 2010

There has been alot of noise about the ever-circular in-fighting in the world of Mommy Blogs. It isn't new, and it surely isn't NEWS, but hey, we all love a good catfight. Add in that the catfight includes getting to call someone else a Bad Mother and WHOO-HOO! It's GOLD, Jerry, GOLD!

I've been at this blogging game for awhile now. I've had my share of shit thrown at me in public and private for my decision to write about my life, family and permanent seat on the train to crazy town in this forum. And while 90% of what you read is True ( to my specifications of True), 10% is exaggerated. It's kind of what being a writer IS - blending truth and fiction, telling a story which captivates while still imparting some kind of truth.

And here is where I tell you something you already know: Truth is Terrifying.

Not just "Hey, don't go up those stairs, cause the killer is hiding in the shadows" terrifying but Entirely, "I just realized I am human battery in the Matrix" terrifying. Soul Changing. World Blowing Up. Core shaking.

When I started True Wife Confessions, I knew that there were secrets and omissions we keep from the partners we love. I knew that we keep those secrets for Lots of reasons, some universal and others entirely personal. Some shit just HAS to go under the rug to keep day-to-day life running smoothly. Every Dirty dish left on the counter, or pair of underwear on the floor can not be your relationship Waterloo.

To believe that Motherhood is any different is insanity. Yes, it is a Job - just like marriage - that many of us skipped towards, sprinkling rose petals and lavender in our wake. For women who struggle with infertility or pregnancy losses, I can imagine it looks downright fucking ungrateful to occasionally complain about Motherhood. And, in part, I would agree. It IS Ungrateful. Maybe even Selfish.

However, Truth is rarely pure. Truth is almost always wrapped up with tinges of ungrateful and swaths of selfish. This is because truth is Intimate. Personal. Even in a marriage, The versions of events that make up my Truth and those that make up Terrance's are fundamentally different.

Yes, when I was handed Emily after a ridiculously short labor ( I know, I can seriously Suck it), I felt....Curious? Glad that the Pain had stopped? A Bit perplexed? I mean, I was aware that a baby had just been placed on my breast and was now moving like some kind of crazed animal towards my nipple, but Did the Sky part and Angels burst forth with my Mom Certificate? No, not really. I was, dare I say it?, ambivalent.

Post Partum Depression aside, I obviously grew to love my daughter. To say that she has so firmly wrapped herself around the core of being that I can not imagine life without her existence in the world is utterly true. To admit that I have considered punching Teachers and small children ( and occasionally her Father) directly in the face for upsetting her is wholly true.

However, the lesson I learned in those moments, days, months and years after her birth was that Motherhood was a Job that many of us take On, but not all of us are entirely Suited for having. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have children...just that the experiences is going to be different than what the popular concept of "Mothering", distilled down from those crazy Victorians, has come to mean.

Like any job, there are days when I am really good - really on top of my game. I can multi-task, soothe hurt feelings, manage to get food on tables, pets fed and watered and encouraging words said over homework. Maybe I will even have sex with my husband later on!

Other days? Well, you can take this job and shove it so far up your intestinal track that it tickles your duodenum. These are the days when I am Done. I want a Drink. I want to Sleep. I want to be LEFT ALONE. I want to be selfish and ungrateful and work out whatever I need to work out in my juvenile temper tantrum. I don't want to be a mother or a wife or anything that owes anyone any kind of explanation.

Rather than deny myself those thoughts, as I once tried with disastrous results, I let them Rage. Roar. Rumpus. After twelve years of parenting and twenty of togetherness, Terrance no longer tries to cajole or chastise me out of those feelings. He knows better. I will return in my own good time.

Which bring me back to the Mommy-Haters.

In my experience, the thing I hate or react to the most tends to be the thing I need to face in myself. Just as when I watch the people who loudly defend marriage as being between a man and a woman, I often wonder how long before we see them in a gay sex scandal, or hear of how they like to have their diapers changed by prostitutes. I can't tell you how many people have told me I am destroying marriage with TWC, only to find out later they are all having affairs. I mean, it's almost like a pre-written Greek play to watch this stuff play out. Rather than be deeply angry with this type of person, I tend to pity them.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Fear of Truth is the most powerful motivator. My empathy comes from my knowledge that the fear of speaking the truth out loud to others - that these women sometimes hate their children, hate their husbands, hate their lives - is so powerful that it threatens their own very carefully constructed self images in such a way that the only choice is to divert this to other women. The "Look over there" strategy which is defined by many feminists, like Dr Lyn Mikel Brown as "horizontal aggression"

Girlfighting gets acted out horizontally on other girls because this is the safest and easiest outlet for their outrage and frustration. Girls are essentially accessing and mimicking the male violence they sometimes know all too well; and they are choosing victims that are societally approved— other girls. This pattern of horizontal aggression has long characterized subordinate groups since it manages the inevitable anger in the group being controlled without jeopardizing the over all structure of male privilege.

Its Easier to rip apart another woman than to face the issue within - that Motherhood is, at times, a thankless shitty job. It can put you in some blender of the cult of motherhood which strips away things about yourself that you value and allows others to assign you roles, ideas and feelings which you may not wholly believe. When you see a woman who has clawed her way out of the mold, she must be stopped because then, well, then what will everyone know about you - About ALL of us?

I know that I, and many other Women Bloggers, will never stop speaking our truths. Including those on motherhood and the many other stages of women's lives. When those other women are done raging against our uppity, ungrateful, selfish ways ( which again, means to me : "I wish I had the cojones to do/say what you are doing/saying") I am happy to welcome them into the fold.

Forgiveness through empathy trumps pooping on peeps any day.

What Fresh Hell is This?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I got lost in some seriously messed up rabbit hole within Facebook over the past couple of days.

It starts, as it always does, innocently enough.

Step One: Dawn Forgets about Facebook because she almost never remembers to go ON Facebook and check anything. She could be 1) walking around Montreal in fancy rainboots taking pictures; 2) reading graphic novels in the sunshine in her bed 3) figuring out other ways to avoid writing her Methodology Comp including, but not limited too: Cross Stitch, Deciding to Make a quilt out of vintage Chenille Squares and spending hours looking at these vintage chenille squares online, writing to a rug hooking expert in Nova Scotia to buy kits, perusing Etsy for hours on end bookmarking "favorite" artists that she will someday buy art from, hanging out on the "BinkyBunny" forum chatting about rabbits ( I shit you not, I do this), checking my ratio on some private torrent groups to which I belong, or last, but certainly not least...checking Perez Hilton a couple of times a day.

On Fridays, I get extra excited because a new FreakAngels issue gets published, so I always rush to read it.

Step Two: Dawn writes something on her blog that automatically gets published to her Facebook Feed. This is good as it just DOES this with no additional effort. It is also good because it allows her friends and the family members to whom she still speaks to know what is going on in the Hobbit Cave of her life.

Step Three: Friends and Family Comment! This reminds Dawn that, Holy Shit!, she has a Facebook page and maybe she should get off of her ass and respond to the people she genuinely LIKES in her life.

And here is where it goes terribly, terribly wrong.

Step Four: Dawn goes to the Facebook page and starts poking around. "Oh", she thinks,"I wonder how that person listed on my 100 friends list is doing, I should pop over and check them out". She pops over and sees a Name listed as a Friend of THAT friend and thinks, "I am pretty sure I KNOW that name....I wonder if it is who I think it is...." and clicks on over onto THAT page. At this juncture, it is safe to assume that the next Four hours are going to be spent meandering from page to page, looking at pictures in peoples albums.

Many times, it is Nice to see Friends. How they have changed, their husbands, wives, life partners, children, parents, brothers and sisters you recall from 20 years ago.

And then you click on a photo album, and there it is. A past that you were part of, but not part of. A past where you recall being friends with Many of the people pictured, but are noticeably absent from all of those pictures. Maybe your high school boyfriend appears like some kind of Dickens Ghost, replete with Chains a-rattling, before you and you feel the same surge of rejection when he dumped you after 5 years of dating, the same hurt as you had to redefine your life and most of your in-common friends seemed to choose Him. Except for the one who waited until the Boyfriend had dumped you so he could make his move to fuck you, first literally then more figuratively, of course. But That particular one, pictured in these photos, is remembered fondly by the friends. You however, remain absent.

If you are Dawn, you mope for a day. You may even chat at length with a friend who grew up in Europe to explain this tangled personal purgatory you have submerged yourself within. This friend will mock you mercilessly, and deservedly so. It is, as my daughter would say, Ree-donk-ulous for you to go wallow in a bath of 22 year old photos, feeling aggrieved and wronged.

"They didn't know you then and they sure as hell don't know you now, Dawn. Whatever recognition you are looking for can never be gotten and whatever apology you want is never going to be had, and even if it Was, they wouldn't mean it"

And here is where Dawn splits into the two. Logical Dawn KNOWS this. Logical Dawn wants to smack the ever-loving shit out of Emotional Dawn when she brings out the sack cloth and ashes and begins her self flagellation down memory lane. At the very least, Logical Dawn thinks she should just set a bottle of vodka in front of Emotional Dawn let her have a good cry and a hella hangover and be done with it. In fact, reminds Logical Dawn to Emotional Dawn, you were kind of a surly bitch during High school...Many of those people, you were not particularly NICE to. You were extremely wrapped up in your boyfriend, and when you weren't naked in his bed taking advantage of the last of the Pre-AIDS, only on the Pill dayz, you were wildly protective about who could be around the apartment. You were, in short, kinda a be-yotch. A Pretentious Be-yotch.

Emotional Dawn stares, quite balefully I assure you, at Logical Dawn.

Logical Dawn refills the glass, this time with the good dark Rum and a lime slice.

"No wandering off the fucking path.", she states.

Potty Talk

Monday, April 05, 2010

The husband and I have a few standard fight scripts. Some are most likely familiar to everyone. The Money fight. The "Who is working harder at {fill in the blank, parenting, the marriage, achieving world domination...} fight. The "OHMYGOD Didn't you Notice the Spiderwebs up there on the ceiling as you lay in bed reading graphic novels and Now I must go get the dustbuster to suck them up, while simultaneously talking to my clients on my earpiece and giving you dirty looks" fight.

Oh, wait. I think that one may be pretty unique to Terrance and I.

But it is This one that drives me really crazy. Like "I will fight you with a toothbrush shiv" angry. In his defense, he is AS angry when this fight happens. It exasperates him beyond words. For Terrance, the sheer horribleness of this very conversation is antithetical to his very belief in adulthood.

I am, of course, talking about the "Flushing Discussion".

Terrance likes a pristine bowl. As in sparkling clean, free from any type of paper, or other refuse. He likes a Lid down on this pristine bowl. If he is going to be accessing the facilities for any length of time, he locks the door. Regardless of the fact that in nigh unto 20 years of togetherness, I have never busted in on him. Never. He also will wait until we are all out of the house and THEN decide to use the bathroom. As in, Emily and Dawn are sitting in the car waiting for Terrance to come out of the house, only to realize that it has been 15 minutes and WTF is he doing in there? OOOOOhhhhhh. Using the bathroom.

Now Dawn...truthfully, I am not all that worried about the toilet. I go in - I use it, I flush and wash and give nary a backwards glance. Aside from the times I have escaped in the bathroom to avoid my spouse or daughter for a little peace and frakkin quiet, it exists as a functional space.

And in this space, two worlds collide.

The phrase "You are nearly 40 year old and should be responsible for the complete disposal of all of your waste" has actually been said at me. and Yes, we actually talk to one another like this. You think I make all this shit up? Hardly.

In truth, it is the fault of the old toilet. The one with NO suction. The one that in order to GET the proper amount of suction, one has to remove the top lid, hold down the float until the water reaches a certain high level, then flush...holding the handle down somewhat longer than you would normally, so that all of the water gets sucked out of the tank....except that Sometimes the plug doesn't seal up, so you have to reach down and re-adjust it so it snaps closed over the drain.

Dawn Rouse, Near PhD and novice toilet technician, at your service.

After one particularly hostile toilet fight, I messed with the float. I figured if I bent it up a bit more, it would naturally fill up with more water, thereby creating the necessary amount of suction to remove my "refuse" , or monstrous spiders, or whatever else I feel the need to flush away.

Because Honestly. I hate this discussion. I hate standing in the bathroom for an Hour flushing Over and Over so the bowl is up to Crazy Boy's standards. I could be doing other important things in that shopping on Etsy for Quirky art, or planning my next 12 craft projects to avoid writing my dissertation. Plus it wastes toilet paper. The GOOD toilet paper that I buy, because if I left it up to Terrance, we would be wiping our delicate nether regions with the pine bark equivalent of toilet paper. Dammit, I am a grown woman. I will spend the extra money on the GOOD SOFT toilet paper. Which gets wasted as I throw it in the bowl in my fruitless flushing campaign.

This counter-move sent Terrance, PhD for real and man with NO household repair skills, on a three to five hour journey to figure out WHAT I had done to the toilet which now made a noise that only he could hear. There was a great deal of heavy sighing, glaring and forceful door closure.

He didn't speak to me for a full day. I pretended to have no idea what he was upset about. Which, from previous Dawn and Terrance stories like this one, you know that it is a skill in which I excel.

Late the following day he appeared at my bedroom door to say these words:
"Don't mess with the float again."

To which I nodded....cleverly neither admitting nor denying anything.

The fragile toilet truce remains intact.
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