I couldn’t resist using that title…
I had another interview on Thursday. This was for a job that I never even applied for – though it was in the same district that I interviewed with 2 weeks ago. I got there 15 minutes late, though that was because of an accident on the freeway. Still, i felt like I left myself more that enough time to get there should I run into any traffic snafus; and yet, late I was.
In spite of my lack of punctuality, I felt like the interview went alright. Looking back, I probably would have changed an answer or two in the interview, but I don’t feel as if I said anything that would have sunk me. But then, they haven’t called me back, so who knows.
I’m not sure I would have even wanted to take the job had it been offered to me. It’s two hours away from where The Auteur and I are living, In fact, it’s closer to my parents than it is to us. But the fact is, a job is a job and I need a job. Badly.
Well, it has happened. Child support has finally started being pulled from my paychecks. I still think my payments are based on what I was making when I was teaching full-time. God knows they can’t be based on what I’m making now. But there are steps I can take to have child support re-evaluated. I just have to do it.
A decent read, and good advice for all the divorced; though it doesn’t say much about those of us who are out-of-state dads.
Last week, the Auteur and I threw a birthday party for 1B. Aside from the aforementioned birthday, this day marked a special occasion in that it was the first time that mine and The Auteur’s parents met each other. It went great, probably better than we should have expected. I don’t necessarily see them hanging out together or anything, but they were more than cordial and more than polite with each other: They were friendly with each other.
It’s strange because I wasn’t nearly nervous or excited about it as I expected to be. A lot of that was due to the fact that the Auteur and I were both running around like proverbial chickens with our heads cut off – trying to get everything ready in the 36 plus hours leading up to the party and we were tired. I also think a lot of it is due to the fact that – let’s face it, were not 20 anymore – our parents simply aren’t as big of a factor in our lives as they were when we were younger.
Something is happening to me. Lately, I feel like I’m not nearly as sentimental about some thing as I once was. I’ve always been a softie, but that’s definitely changing in some aspects of my life. Am I getting old? Cynical?
Hell, even with this blog. There was a time when I would have been writing about the party/our parents meeting that night or the next day. I just don’t do that anymore.
In other news, I got a call Thursday from the assistant principal at a high school in Georgia. This is the same district that I met with at a job fair back in April. I’ve been trying real hard not to put all my eggs into that proverbial basket. In fact, I pretty much gave up hope on them when they started school earlier this month. But that’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the years: When I stop obsessing over something, it usually ends up falling into my lap. More on that as it develops.
Earlier this week, I saw Heaven is For Real. I didn’t really plan on seeing it – it was The Auteur and 1B’s suggestion- but I think I might have gotten even just as into the movie than either of them did.
The movie and the novel from which it was adapted are based on a true story. Here’s the story in a nutshell: Greg Kinnear plays Todd Burpo a minister whose son Colton claims to have visited Heaven after falling ill. Colton’s experience becomes the talk of the town forcing Burpo and eventually the town folk to examine their own faith. Like any good art, this movie got me thinking; not in the sense that it redefined or reaffirmed my spiritual faith, but it got me thinking about faith and spirituality again.
Let me be absolutely clear: I am not a terribly religious man, but I do consider myself spiritual at times. I am not a fan of organized religion. When you stop and think about the whole concept of organized religion, the entire church hierarchy was established because people were generally illiterate and needed The Bible interpreted for them.
I used to think that I don’t need anyone to explain The Bible to me. I’m educated, I’m a teacher. I can interpret The Bible for myself, I thought. While I was watching this movie, I realized how hypocritical that attitude is for me to have as a teacher. People defer to me to teach their children because of my training. People see me as something of an authority when it comes to education. The least I can do is have the same respect for clergymen and clergywomen.
I think what really got my goat about this movie – and I can’t speak for the book or the true story – was the attitude that the members of Burpo’s church have about young Colton’s experience. One would expect even the most religious person to have a healthy dose of skepticism upon hearing about a trip to Heaven. However most of the community had the attitude of “C’mon Todd, you don’t really believe in all this Heaven stuff do you?” The film does a good job of demonstrating logical, rational explanations for Colton’s experience; but the churchgoers seem to reject Colton’s experience outright. A question I think the director should have addressed is when it really comes down to it, how much do you believe in that which you claim to hold so dear?
This entry isn’t a pro-Christian piece, or even a pro religion piece of any sort. But the fact is humans established religion(s) to explain those things that we can’t really explain. Why are we here? What is purpose in this world? What happens when life ends? These are all questions that religions are established and the answers require – no pun intended – a leap of faith. There’s no scientific or rational evidence to back up an religious doctrine but that’s the point. You trust in something when you don’t have all the answers. That’s something the film makers should have preached to the audience.
I weighed myself yesterday. 198. I literally cannot remember the last time I weighed less than 200 lbs.
About 3 weeks ago, I began moonlighting at a major pharmacy/retailer. Now, I’m sitting home after working a 7 hour shift and I’m restless because it’s the first time I’ve really had a chance to relax.
I think I’m getting addicted to work.
I was pretty lucky this week in that I had three days in which I worked both of my jobs. I say lucky because the school year is winding down and I know I will have to find another job of some sort relatively soon; so I’m trying to get as many sub gigs as I can before the school year ends.
It’s only been one week that I’ve been really busy and I find myself restless at the prospect of sitting here with nothing to do. Do work addictions happen this quickly?
I haven’t talked to The Kid much in the last several days. In part because I’ve been working a lot of nights this week; also in part because he is only returning my calls sporadically. Last week, I booked airplane tickets to pick him up for a week at the end of the month. I’m stoked to see him but right now our relationship seems a little rocky. He and I need this time together, but I fear it will be a little awkward at first.
Who am I kidding? I’m always afraid of how awkward things are going to be with him. Given our recent history, I think I’m pretty well justified in this fear.
We all have a few ghosts from our past that haunt us, or haunt our loved ones. Today I ran head-first into one of mine.
Since I’ve known The Auteur, I knew that my ex-brother-in-law, The Yooper, was working in the town where she – and now WE – live. Today, I substitute taught in his school. With this being a ridiculously small town we live in, it was inevitable I would cross paths with him had I ever been in his school. And I did today.
As I made my way up to my classroom for the day, I had to walk right past his. He was standing outside his door at the start if the day, as teachers do now-a-days. As I got within 5 feet if him, he immediately put his head down. Now, I don’t know if he would even have recognized me had we made eye contact. After all, it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve even seen him, but it seemed too coincidental. Later in the day, we crossed paths again as he was taking his kids to lunch; just as I was bringing mine back from same. Again, as we got within a few feet of each other, he put his head down and struck up a conversation with one of his students. This behavior from The Yooper really doesn’t surprise me. Phred told me that when they divorced and had their day in court, he couldn’t look at her either; as well he probably shouldn’t with the way their divorce went down. There’s a big part of me that wants to just crush the guy like a bug; but truth be told, he’s more deserving of my ridicule than he is my anger. He’s a joke. And the fact that he looked away as soon as he saw only serves to remind me how pathetic he truly is.
But we all have people like The Yooper in our lives. Pieces of the past that, while they may be out of our lives – they still live and breathe and walk the same Earth as us. Friends who have turned into foes, childhood rivals, exes. Ghosts.
Frankly, I don’t know how most divorcees do it. Most of the time, I feel luck that I live about 800 miles away from Jabba. I don’t want to live anywhere near her. I don’t want to ever face the possibility of running into her at any given moment. It’s not that I can’t handle seeing her; rather I’d like to keep those encounter to an absolute minimum and prepare myself for them well in advance. It’s weird enough running into and trying to talk to our common Michigan friends.
There’s a bit from the old TV show “Growing Pains” that sticks with me to this day: In ope episode, Kirk Cameron’s character Mike Seaver fakes being sick so he can stay home from school. He sits down to watch a rerun of “Gilligan’s Island”. He briefly leaves the room only to realize that the show continued even though he left the room. Mind you, this was before the days of DVR and on-demand programming. He quickly turns the TV off and on again, to realize that the show continues. He later tells his Dad of this incident and comes to the realization that even though he stayed home from school, the world went on without him.
Running into the Yooper wasn’t some senses-shattering epiphany or anything like that but it definitely serves to remind me that our ghosts continue to walk the Earth and live their respective lives.
A great poem that speaks volumes to both fathers and sons.
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
I don’t include this quote today out of any insane attempt to compare my situation – or any situation in my life to the Holocaust. I include it because, I believe it embodies how most people feel about life in general. Despite the experiences – good and bad – we all have with one another, we always look for the best in others. I was thinking a lot about this while The Auteur and I were at 1b’s basketball game. Her dad was talking about attending the game last night; he ending up calling in the afternoon saying he couldn’t make it. 1B didn’t seem surprised, but I’m sure she was still disappointed. After all, it’s her dad. In the time that I’ve known her, 1B’s Dad will pull no-shows, bail at the last second or he and his new wife will straight-up tell 1b that they’re not interested. In spite of all this, 1b will – as all people do – hold out and hope for the best.
This got me thinking a lot about my recent dealings with Jabba. Sometimes, I think that if Jabba knew about The Auteur’s experiences with 1B’s dad, it would really make her appreciate the kind of dad I am to The Kid. We’re trying to make plans for The Kid’s summer visit, but are having difficulty agreeing on a time frame. Things have been relatively peaceful between her and I – maybe because we spoken on the phone. This makes me optimistic. After all the crap she tried putting me through, maybe, hopefully, she’s starting to mellow out.
But then there’s the cynic in me that is cautious because she has been so quiet.
I don’t foresee things ever being amicable between me and Jabba. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t want to be friends with her, but it would be nice if we could be polite when it came to The Kid.
I talked to a lawyer earlier this week and he introduced me to the term parental alienation. I had never heard the term before, but I am already all-too familiar with the concept. He said it sounds like that what Jabba’s starting to do with The Kid and I. I just don’t get it. It doesn’t have to be this way.
I guess it’s because I’m am pie-in-the-sky dreamers. I like to think of myself as this über-cynic but the reality is that I too hold out & hope for the best even from those people who annoy the hell out of me.
Why, may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?
(Hamlet, 5.1.97), Hamlet to Horatio
Friday, I finally heard back from The Kid’s “counselor” whom I shall call The Headshrinker – no disrespect to psychologists intended. I told him the situation involving the Kid, Jabba and my thoughts on it. He told me straight-up that The Kid’s name did not ring a bell. He said that that could be a good thing or a bad thing. He wasn’t in his office at the time, and said that he had his office people double-checking his records to see if The Kid had, in fact been in to see him. He also promised that he would be back in touch with me , whatever he finds out.
To be honest, I was amazed he discussed as much with me as openly as he did. I half-expected him to tell me that he had to verify my identity; or that he had to talk to Jabba before he could say anything to me. I was a little taken aback when he described his experiences with that which I’m convinced has happened here: that Jabba is making this whole thing up and that The Kid has never been in to see him; or The Kid has been in to see the Headshrinker only because Jabba put him up to it.
Maybe I’m looking to into the conversation, but I feel like I gleaned a whole lot from very little factual information. My gut tells me that this guy hasn’t even seen The Kid. When he was running through the different reasons/scenarios as to why he might not remember the Kid’s name, it felt like he was trying to tell me something without actually saying it.
Please don’t misunderstand me: my worst fear is, of course that The Kid did in fact say that the he wishes he was dead / wants to kill himself. But again, I do not believe it. Nothing I’ve seen or head thus far has me suggested to me that Jabba is telling the truth.
This wasn’t the only big news of the last few days. Monday I decided to start making some phone calls, in the event that I have to put together a custody case. I called a few lawyers here and was told I would need to talk to a lawyer in South Carolina, as my divorce took place there – unless I can get the case moved here – which would probably be next-to-impossible.
I decided to call Greenie’s office – to see if they would send a letter to my ex-landlord as I’m still on the lease for the house Jabba and The Kid live in. The paralegal informs me that since our lease was only for one year, I’m basically “in the clear”. When i asked her to have Greenie write a letter to my landlord, informing them that I’ve been out of the house for 18 months, she informs me that Greenie died last week.
I was stunned, in that way that people are when they hear something come out of left field like that. Instinctively, I asked “are you serious?” which I’ve always thought was a really stupid question at a moment like that. Fortunately for me, my divorce case is final – as far as I know. I was planning to file a grievance with the South Carolina Bar Association for the way in which he handled my case; but that’s irrelevant now. I didn’t really know this guy personally, and I can’t stand him professionally; but I’m amazed at how much Greenie’s death has affected me personally.
I think in moments like this it’s normal to think about one’s own mortality. Greenie was 31, or 8 years younger than me. I’m assuming he was never married as he was dating one of his paralegals. Thinking about what little I knew about Greenie personally forced me to reflect on my own life. In spite of how many years I’ve spent in school and feeling like I’ve been spinning my wheels – at times – with teaching, I feel that if I were to die tomorrow, I’ve lived a pretty good life. I had a dream job; I pursued it, and I became a teacher. Sure, I spent too many years in a failed marriage; but I got the greatest son in world out of it. Today, I’m in a fabulous relationship with The Auteur. We love each other, and we share the same view of what love is and what love should be. We are both finally divorced and are absolutely psyched about the future. I have absolutely no plans on checking out anytime soon.
Picard: Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe than time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important how we lived. After all, Number One, we’re only mortal.
Riker: [smiling] Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever.
Captain Picard to commander Riker: from Star Trek: Generations