Last Friday I worked at the top of the city, very early in the morning. Very early for work that is far away from home. 8.45 after a 7.45 kid drop. Six miles straight up through, I knew it would take me at least an hour to get there in the car. I could have taken the subway but I was due for a long drive.
I love driving through the city, especially in the morning. Thousands of lives waking up, stumbling out the door, rushing/not rushing to work and school and the corner store. Past the million dollar apartments and the $10K houses. Past the crossing guards, the dog walkers, the drug dealers, the night shifters stumbling home. Up 17th to just past Temple U, up 13th to the jog at Glenwood Ave, up Broad to Oak Lane, back over to 13th, around the block to find a spot. Into an elementary school that was better/nicer/cleaner/brighter than I expected, little tiny voices coming from the classroom almost makes me want to be a teacher. Almost. At the very least it makes me verklempt that I wasn't in Jacob's school that morning, doing Room Mother stuff. Decorating bulletin boards (paper cuts). Helping with coats (head lice). Sharpening pencils (lead poisoning). Tending boo boos (infectious diseases).
Sometimes I feel like working moms are worthless moms when it comes to the school. I don't get all the last minute calls to come in and help. I don't get personalized letters sent to the house addressed to Mrs. So and so (they always say Mrs, even for the Miss' and the Ms'. So archaic. I'm a Ms. I have never once gone by Mrs. It's gross to me, reminds me of control top panty hose hanging on a shower rod and jarred cold cream and potluck bible studies and male dominance/ownership. But I'm a weirdo, so what do I know? Nothing.) asking for baked goods or my hand in putting together fliers for the insert-holiday-here celebration.
There is a Valentine's luncheon at the school on the 14th. I can make it to that, I rearranged my schedule so I can fit it between site visits. The kids don't have to wear their uniforms, because photos will be taken. I guess one of the moms is a professional photographer and does stuff like this for the school all the time. So I hear. They aren't calling it a Valentine's party. They are calling it a "Special Persons Event". Lame. I didn't know that Valentine's Day had fallen victim to the Political Correctness Movement.
A little bit of Independent Internet Research shows that in 1997 a school district in New Jersey banned everyone from saying Valentine's Day because it is actually Saint Valentine's Day so they renamed it Special Person's Day and ever since then other districts and organizations have been catching on.
Of course. New Jersey. They have (according to Gallup Polls) the fourth largest concentration of Catholics in the US at close to 50% but you can't celebrate a Catholic Saint for fear of offending the minority. I wonder what percentage of people really give two craps about Saints at all. Or Valentine's Day.
I'm in the percentage of people who do not give two craps about Saints at all. Or Valentine's Day.
I'm also in the percentage who thinks something totally different when she hears the words "Special Persons". See also "Jerry's Kids".
I thought they were holding a fund-raiser on the 14th until I read the flier. The flier that I didn't help put together.
When one drives from the bottom of the city to the top, one passes lots of churches. Spanning the spectrum of Mostly Catholic at the bottom to Mostly Baptist at the top. The Methodists and Presbyterians and Eucharists and Episcopalians and Mormons and Jews and Mennonites and Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists and Others falling in the middle. Shaken up and spread out like Yahtzee dice. I get a kick lately out of the huge banners on the church fronts of every denomination inviting those who have been "hexed by witchcraft, bad luck, voodoo and the evil eye indoors for a spiritual evaluation". Somehow I always thought that churchfolk didn't believe in witchcraft, bad luck, voodoo, or the evil eye but I guess they do whatever it takes to get the neighborhoodfolk inside. There is a banner printer somewhere in this town who made a great fortune on these, I'm betting. The church near Broad and Lycoming had the banner flying right over top of one that said "Press Your Luck at Our Annual Casino Night". Under that was a Whammy. Remember Whammies? They sort of look like little devils. It was all very confusing. One of the downsides of driving is that it isn't very practical to take out my camera phone and snap proof of the ridiculousness that happens all over town.
I like to sing in the car.
Our car has Sirius Radio. I know words to most every popular song put out between 1963 and 1979. I start to tank after 1980, with a resurgence of popular music in the mid-90s. Thank the Radio Gods for Classic Vinyl, 60's on 6, 70's on 7, Coffee House and Classic Rewind. I also like the Margaritaville channel except when it steers toward country music and the Grateful Dead channel except when it steers toward space jams. I'm not a jam band sort of girl.
I like to sing in the car.
I like when people take pictures of themselves in the car. It's one of the things I miss about Faceboob. It's always either very serious or very silly. I tried. It's hard to take a decent picture of yourself in the car with your sunglasses off and your driving face on and your make up off. The older I get, the harder it is to take a decent picture of me anywhere. Especially with my sunglasses off because my eyes are super sensitive and I squint even at night time. I'm like an Ocular Princess. Plus my face isn't symmetrical which is made worse by the Trying Not to Laugh. I also blame the false bone in my head, but I think it is just age taking a toll. Five points to the first correct guess which side of my face is surged.
I wish the word symmetrical was symmetrical. Or at least a palindrome.
"Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?"
It's hard to take a picture of yourself and not feel like a smacked ass. I guess I missed that generation of the self-portraiteres. Seems that Kids These Days do it all the time. Duck faced little brats.
See that red rash around my mouth and eyes? Hardly, right? If you know me in real life you'd know it has been nasty since summertime. Actually, you might not because you probably haven't seen me. It was so nasty I haven't been doing much socializing.
At first I thought it was a herpes and freaked the eff out. Then I thought it was eczema. Psoriasis. Ebola.
You can google "perioral dermatitis" if you want to see how gross it was. Embarrassingly gross. And all over my eyes and muzzle. And chest and back and hands and sometimes in places where my body makes a V.
Turns out it's a sensitivity to sulfates. Three days without toothpaste (I subbed baking soda) and it was 50% gone. A week with a sulfate free facial cleanser (I got Trader Joe's Spa stuff) and it was even better. Now I have to switch shampoos (I picked up some Whole Foods 365 Every Day Value Grapefruit Citrus for Normal- Dry Hair but I haven't used it yet because I'm not an avid shampooer. I'm a co-washer. A co-pooer). I had the rash on my hands too, and subbing a mix of 1 cup Dr Bronners Citrus Orange + 1/4 cup water + enough drops of Lemon Essential Oil to make it smell good for dishes is helping that. Why I ever switched to regular detergent from Dr B's I don't know (read:lazy). I don't have a dishwasher. I am the dishwasher. Anyone know of a good sulfate-free laundry detergent? The rash is gone but there are some scars, hopefully those will fade if I stay out of the sun and keep away from sulfates.
Poor me. It's so hard to be this girl.
Y'all don't know what it's like.
Being middle middle class and white.
Am I middle middle class? I'm not sure. I hear the middle class is disappearing, I don't know whether it is taking me with it or not. Like that picture Marty McFly carries around, we all just start fading away until one day there is nothing left but the tree and wishing well we are standing in front of.
But for now I'm here. Doing well.
Standing around my own proverbial wishing well.
Oh, and the bedbugs have been gone for quite some time. Right around the time the rash started, so of course on top of everything else I thought it might be, I assumed it was something I contracted from the bugs, then I thought it might have to do with the extermination chemicals. No. It was because I chose the wrong things to clean myself with.
Today's moral: stay dirty, biznatches.