Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Come and knock on my door...

Let's talk about how much I hate where I live. Sure, I live by a university, AND it's an apartment complex but seriously folks? Seriously?

I've complained numerous times about dogs barking and whining because their selfish owners keep them locked up in a bedroom or on a balcony while they are at work. I think I actually got someone kicked out because of my complaints. Either that or they gave their dog to someone who lived somewhere with an actual yard, like dog owners should do, unless they're taking their dog out for walks on their work breaks. I'm just saying. I'm not hating on my dog-owning readers... I'm just hating on my selfish dog owning readers.

I've complained about noise in the wee early hours (or late hours, depending on how you look at it) of the morning/night. It's like, I get it, you want to have friends over and smoke weed and drink on your balcony. I have no problem with that (really, I don't). But see, some of us have this thing called a job (maybe you've heard the term before?) and actually need sleep so that their students don't walk all over them the next morning. Sure, party... whatever. But make the cut-off at like 10 or 11pm on weekdays, will ya? I'll even give you until 12am on weekends. But seriously, have a little respect after that.

I've complained (and this was my favorite) on some residents (or perhaps not?) playing an actual game of BB guns at 11pm one weeknight. I kid you not, I heard little gun shooting noises and thought for a second that perhaps it was an airsoft gun. So I looked out my window to check it out. And what I saw could only make me laugh. There were two people hiding behind what looked to be an electrical breaker or something of that nature with guns in their hands and padding/guards on. And then I listened... and I heard them talking about their game plans on how they were going to shoot their BB gun. Yeah. I'm not kidding. There must have been another team across the courtyard because I kept hearing, "Are you ready?!" in a shouting whisper.

I've complained about the incessant dog piss that "trickles" down from the balcony above me. I remember one day I heard the noise of water dripping. Well, it wasn't so much dripping as it was flushing down. I actually thought my neighbors were cleaning their balcony. I think I actually smiled at the thought of clean neighbors. I heard it a few times after that and starting thinking, wow, these people are really clean. And then one day (and I have a friend who was staying over that can attest to this moment), I opened my slider (because I don't have central air) and WHOOSH! The smell of dog piss flooded my nostrils. So, being the mathematician that I am, I put 2 and 2 together and realized that my neighbors weren't clean at all. In fact, their asshole dog was pissing on their balcony and it had been trickling down and landing on mine for weeks!! I immediately called management and after two complaints (yes, 2), it was taken care of. For a few months. And then it happened again today. I fucking hate this place.

I have not complained about the guy (and chick? still not sure) who live above me whom I have had the joy of hearing have sex more than once. Please, if you live in an apartment and want to get it on, close your windows. That precious dilemma led me to wearing ear plugs at night. Oh yeah, and I still wear them nightly.

I have not complained about my upstairs neighbor, who, I swear to god, wears anvils on his feet when he walks around. And sometimes, I think he jumps off his couch and lands so hard that I have to stop for a second to make sure we're not having (another) earthquake. And he's up all hours of the night. Squeak, pound, crack... this is what I hear at 3am. The earplugs have helped, I admit, but there are some nights that I still hear it.

I have not complained about the couple (oh wait, I think I hear them right now...weird) who (oh my god, I think he just beat her because she screamed so loud) argue so loudly that I feel like I'm sitting in their apartment listening to it. One day the argument lasted more than an hour and then continued on later that evening. It was pleasant. From what I gather, she's "fucking" tired of him doing "fucking" nothing. Actually, it was great entertainment and I wasn't the only one looking out of my window trying to figure out which apartment it was coming from. I oftentimes text my friends throughout these ordeals and keep them updated.

Oh, and who can forget about the little old Mexican couple/family who lived next door to me and had one of the worst and loudest arguments I've ever heard. From what I gathered, the family was together, having a few drinks (probably celebrating a Tuesday or something). And by a few drinks, I mean an entire bottle of tequila+. By the time I got home, the festivities were loud. If you've ever seen the movie, "A Walk in the Clouds" with Keanu Reeves and you remember the girl's dad who was old school Mexican and total machismo... that was my neighbor dad.
And he was wasted. Completely wasted. But havin a great time (kudos). And then his daughter (who I don't think lived there) and her boyfriend went out on the balcony (which is attached to mine) and had a freakin argument. The pansy boyfriend made a comment about her dad maybe drinking too much (at least this is what I gather). She ripped into the poor guy, telling him that he better never tell her that her dad is drinking too much ever again and he was just having a good time (the bitch was PISSED). Well, I think "A Walk in the Clouds" dad got wind of this and flipped out because the next thing I knew, he was slurring/yelling at his daughter and her boyfriend in Spanish and the daughter was yelling back and the mother was trying to calm people down and it wasn't working. It lasted about 5 minutes, which is a long-ass time if you're me, listening in. It was pure mouth-opened awesomeness. At one point, security came and knocked on their door. I know because I looked out my peephole (don't judge me) and saw (and kinda heard) him telling the family they needed to keep it down. So then it calmed down. For juuuuuust about enough time for security guy to walk away. Next thing I know, they're all standing in the doorway (because I can see this out of my peephole) yelling at each other. The daughter was saying to her boyfriend, "Let's go!" and the father was slurring something in Spanish and the mother was trying to calm the dad down. Door slams (scene). Oh but wait, it wasn't over... "A Walk in the Clouds" Dad comes barreling out, yelling something in Spanish. What I got out of the diatribe was "... the devil!!!!" It sounded something like this (slurring): "blah blah blah blah el diablo!" Being the Spanish connoisseur that I am, I assumed the dad was mad and calling the boyfriend, who obviously started the entire argument because he totally judged his now probably ex-father-in-law for drinking too much, the devil! Well, of course he's the devil. Of course.

See, now that I've written about that last story, all of my tension has been put to ease remembering the awesomeness of that night. But that still doesn't take away the fact that I ran into their office this morning (after I had marked it on my calendar) to give them my 60-day notice to mutha fuckin vacate, bitches!! I shall begin my countdown.... now.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Always their kid

Yesterday I left in the early morning to go on, what turned out to be, a rather long hike. While I was hiking, I left my phone in my car because a) I didn't get reception where I was, and b) why do I need my phone? I was with two other friends and we were going to be on a marked trail.

Apparently that was a bad decision. My mom tried to get ahold of me more than once throughout the day and that turned into my dad texting me (my parents don't text, but know very well that I live my life texting) and that turned into my brother and sister-in-law texting and emailing me and THAT turned into my parents driving out to my place, 25 miles away, and searching my apartment, hoping to not find me dead. None of these things bother me in the least bit, in terms of invasion of privacy. I gave my parents my apartment key for a number of reasons. I honestly have nothing to hide from them. And they don't abuse it.

I finally got to an area with reception 8 hours later. Yeah. You can imagine the noises my phone was making once there was clearance. But I was driving, so I let it all go. And then my phone rang. For some reason, I knew the only people that might call were my parents and I knew I had been gone all day so I answered. My mom had a melt-down.

After I got off the phone, I wasn't sure if I should be really angry or feel really bad. After all, I am a grown adult and I shouldn't have to check in with my parents when I go places. And believe me, I don't and they don't expect me to. But what could I have done to ensure that nothing like this happened again? I had to take into consideration that my mom just lost her mom and she is in high-stress mode. I don't blame her for that. And I understand it makes my parents reasonably uncomfortable that their daughter lives by herself, 25 miles from them. I realize that they trust that I make good decisions about dating guys and watching my surroundings at all times and locking my doors and so on and so forth. But I also realize that it's not my decision that they worry about so much, it's everyone else's around me. 

So, although I've always realized this on the surface, it hit me that I'll always be their little girl. And this made me feel safe and emotional all at the same time. I had people who were honest-to-god worried about me. Sure, some might think they crossed the line and need to let me be independent. But I get it. I get why they worried. With my family, we have a basic process for communication. Some days we talk. Some days we don't. But when one of us calls the other, we expect a call back. And when we try again and again and again and there's no response, a warning sign goes off. I'm not angry with my parents. Instead, I feel horribly guilty. I'm not about to change how I live my life with no one to answer to, but I also feel a responsibility to let others know when I'm doing something out of the ordinary. No parent should have to drive to their daughter's apartment and unlock the door, hoping to god they don't find her lifeless body. That's ultimately what happened to them yesterday.

The only reasonable solution we could come up with is me giving them some of my closest friends' numbers so that, in cases such as yesterday's, they have some form of communication with people who might know where I am. And sure, none of my friends know where I am at all moments of any given day, but they have ways to find me. Luckily, all of my friends on my contact list were more than willing to help out and understood completely.

So today I am grateful to have a family who cares so much about me and friends who are so understanding about this.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My reward

This is a recent email from a student I had 6 years ago. She just graduated from high school. What a reward for me....

hey [insert what my students call me here], i just wanted to say thanks again for coming to my graduation and my party. i know you don't believe me when i say 6th grade was my favorite year of school and you are undoubtably the best teacher i've ever had. you were a teacher that let us have fun, but never let us walk all over you. you taught us math and how to read where the red fern grows but you also taught us how to solve our problems and how to listen to people. you gave us responsibilities and made all of us feel important. you pushed us to do our best but never made us feel bad for messing up ( in my case drawing ugly pictures ) you gave us influences from roman and egyptian rules to the beatles. you made fun of us but we also made fun of you. you let us come back to your classroom and almost destroy it and go in your drawers and throw stuff and try and lock you out of your own classroom. you listened to our jr high and high school stories and laughed at our lives and plugged your ears at our actions! i think 6th grade is an important year. it's kind of a turning point when we're getting ready to go to jr high and decide what kind of person you're going to be. this is going to sound so lame and you're probably going to make fun of me but the kind of person i wanted to be was you. i wanted to play adult soccer, have a career, be funny, be nice, and not to mention be cute. all this to say, thank you. a lot. you were a huge influence in my life and you still are. i'm really thankful you were my teacher and now you're my friend.

love you [insert what my students call me here].

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Class of 2004

This moment right here is why I love what I do. These are kids from my second year's class, who graduated from high school tonight. I got an invite from one of the girls and proudly attended, cheering for all the names I recognized. After the ceremony, there were also former students arriving for the next ceremony (our district does high school graduations at a minor league hockey arena). Anyway, we got six of them together to pose for this shot. This was probably one of the best, most memorable classes I've ever had. These guys were like a family for the entire year. Many of them remained friends throughout Jr. high and high school. I felt like a proud mom tonight. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Grams of all Grams...

  This is the letter I wrote to my grandma when I found out that she stopped eating and drinking and hospice was giving her 2 weeks to live. She passed away this morning (less than 24 hours later). My plan was to read this to her as she lay sleeping, which is what she was doing 95% of the time in her last few weeks. I didn't get the chance to do that, so this is my memorial to her. I will miss her dearly and I love her with all of my heart.
This is really hard for me to do. As I sit here typing this out, I imagine myself being really uncomfortable reading this to you as you sit and prepare for your exit out of this life. And when I try and figure out why it makes me so uncomfortable, it’s because this is not you. In my head, this is not my grandma lying here in this bed. This hasn’t been you for a very long time. I watched you slowly become less and less of who I knew you to be in the last few years. And I’ve stayed away. I’m so sorry, but it was so hard for me to watch you deteriorate. You weren’t my grandma and I was scared to watch you go away.
I wanted to remember you not as you are now, but as you were when I was younger. The grandma who sat and ate a bowl of Cheetos and oranges with me. The grandma who would sit on one side of the couch and strong-arm my feet. I remember finally figuring out that all I had to do was lock my knees and I’d win every time. I remember sharing my room with you when you’d spend the night and we’d stay up and watch Arsenio Hall, because you liked when he did his trademark, “Woo! Woo! Woo!” (I also remember you snoring.)  I remember all the Christmases you and Auntie Elva would spend with us. You were always the first one up, waking me up and getting me to go in Mom and Dad’s room to wake them up. I remember when you and Grandpa bought me and Bryan those bikes; and our first TVs. And when you bought us (or Auntie Elva made us) all our school clothes. I was so excited to go shopping with you. I remember you at my soccer games, you and Auntie Elva cheering us on from the shady part of the sideline. I was always so excited to say hi to you at halftime or after the game. I wanted you to be proud of how good I was.
I wanted you to be proud of me in everything I did. And I knew you were. When I’d call and talk to you and I’d tell you something I did that I didn’t think was such a big deal, I remember you always getting excited for me. I can hear your voice in my head, “Tsk. Ooohhhh, look at you!” And I’d giggle because I didn’t think what I did was so fabulous. But I knew you were proud of me. And that was all that really mattered. I loved that I could call you and just be really sarcastic and it would make you laugh. I don’t even know if you got my jokes or my sarcasm, but you laughed and I loved that.
So here I sit, remembering why you were such a huge part of my life, and realizing that this is the end. I know this has been a difficult few years for you. It has been for us to see you in so much pain, mentally and physically. I know you’re ready. I don’t want you to go, but I know you’re ready. So I want you to know that I’m sorry that I haven’t been around in the last few years. I’m sorry that this has been so difficult for me to watch. But know that I think you’re the greatest grandma in the world. Know that I couldn’t have asked for a better grandma. You spoiled me like any grandma should have. You were proud of my accomplishments because I could hear it in your voice and see it in your face. Thank you for playing that role in my life.
I love you, Grandma. Go ahead and leave this life. You deserve to be out of the pain you are in right now. We will be sad you’re gone, but relieved that you are at peace. Look down on me from where ever you go and continue to smile and be proud of me. I know you will. I have faith in at least that.