On exhaustion and bad parenting

I have done some grading tonight, but not much, and I regret to inform you that you cannot make me do any more. Nor can you make me get any lesson planning done; this week is going to be by the seat of my pants, more or less, and it’s going to be fine anyway because this shit is muscle memory by now. This weekend was kind of nuts; my father-in-law’s memorial service was Saturday morning in Plainwell, Michigan, which means I got up earlier on Saturday than I typically get up during the week and spent the drive up hurriedly composing the eulogy I was supposed to deliver in my head, sans paper, because for some fucking stupid reason I hadn’t written it yet.

Don’t leave eulogies to the last minute, people. I pulled it off and everything went fine because I am exceptionally talented, but … don’t do that.

Oh, and the … hole? Is it still a grave if you’re just using a box with an urn and some Beefeater Gin in it and not a casket? Well, whatever it was, the Goddamned thing was too small, and everyone got to take turns digging the hole wider and deeper with what I think were technically stolen shovels before the service started. My wife briefly considered putting the box in sideways, an idea that was quickly vetoed out of existence, and we all just sucked it up and got to digging, my father-in-law’s amused laughter echoing from inside his box.

Afterwards the whole extended family went out for Mexican, because really, what else are you going to do? Sure.

And because emotional whiplash is how we do things nowadays, we had tickets to see Barenaked Ladies Saturday night. By “we” I mean all three of us; it was slated to be the boy’s first concert, and I think he was pretty excited about it. Which meant we were all a bit surprised to be leading a sobbing child out of the theater barely four songs into BNL’s set, meaning that we really only got to hear the (shitty) opening band’s set, and we didn’t get to hear the one BNL song that the boy has memorized and really wanted to hear, as I’m sure it was the last song of the night.

Parenting advice! Concerts are fucking loud. This particular concert was perhaps too loud. And, like, I mean that as a reasonably veteran concertgoer; it was too loud for me, and I’ve seen shows in that venue before. That said, though, like, BNL doesn’t need to be blowing my Goddamned eardrums out. This isn’t a hard rock band or some shit like that, and even the shitty opening band was too fucking loud, and they were going for some sort of pop/bluegrass nonsense or something like that, so they definitely didn’t need to be super loud.

Anyway, we were unprepared. We should have brought headphones and/or earplugs, or at least warned him thoroughly, and we did none of those things. I’m not mad at him and this is one hundred percent our fault as the adults in the scenario. He doesn’t necessarily Have Sensory Issues in the way people generally mean that, but we should have been able to see this coming and we didn’t. The worst thing is that he was clearly upset about ruining the concert for us, and it’s hard to convince an upset eleven-year-old that you’re not mad at him and you’re not disappointed in him when he’s absolutely certain that both of those things are true.

So … yeah. I’ve mostly laid around like a lump today. I have started the new Stephen King book; it is terrible, and I am currently deciding if I’m going to drop it or hate-read it. It is about a seventeen-year-old who is somehow actually however old Stephen King is, and said fake teenager uses slang that no teenager, including King when he was a teenager, has ever used, except it’s not about that somehow. We’re supposed to believe that this ancient old man who refers to earning money as “folding green” is just a regular teenager and pay attention to the rest of the story, where he’s inexplicably befriending an old man, except the old man is actually an old man and not an old man masquerading as a teenager.

Anyway, it’s bad and I’m tired and I’m a shitty dad and somehow I have to go to work again tomorrow and I kind of want a redo on the last couple of days.

On (not) being Catholic

I am, by any reasonable standard, a grown-ass man. Furthermore, by most reasonable standards I’ve been a grown-ass man for a couple of decades or more. You would think, after all this time, I would have some idea of what I was like. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that of all the available topics for me to know things about, “what I’m like” should really be at least in the top five or so in terms of how much I know about that topic compared to other people.

And yet.

I am an atheist. I have been an atheist for my entire life; there has never been even a single minute where I believed in God. My family is Catholic on both sides; my Mom actually attended Catholic schools for at least most of her pre-college education, and I think my Dad went to Catholic schools before high school. I could be wrong about that, but he’ll see this, so he can let me know. They made no attempt to raise me in the Church– I wasn’t baptized, never attended confirmation or anything like that, and we never went to church except for very rare occasions with my grandmother on Dad’s side. That said, I have referred to myself as “biologically Catholic” on any number of occasions– look, I just did it again right there— and I can fake Catholicism way better than I can fake other religions. My first teaching job was at a Catholic school– that’s the church right there, in that picture– and while I didn’t participate in prayers or anything like that I got along with everyone just fine and I was never aware of anyone being upset (or, frankly, aware) of the heathen in their midst.

Why do I mention this? We went to a funeral on Thursday, and said funeral was at a white Protestant church. And when I say “Protestant,” I don’t mean, like, Lutherans or something, where their Protestantism is basically Catholicism with some of the edges sanded off, I mean, like, there were chairs and shit, and there was a fucking drum set behind the altar. At one point a man got up to sing, and that man who was singing was wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt at a funeral.

The Lord’s Prayer cannot be made into a song, by the way. He tried. He tried mightily. And he was talented! But that prayer is not a song.

Now, I feel the need to make something clear here: I have spent plenty of time in my life attacking religion. I’ve mellowed out a lot about it as I’ve gotten older, but I’ve done it. This isn’t that. Everyone at that church was perfectly nice, the service was fine other than the singing-the-Lord’s-prayer bit, and other than basically thinking the entire thing is fundamentally ridiculous I don’t give much of a shit how people practice their religion so long as it doesn’t affect me, and that drum set on the stage did not affect me one bit. But I’ve got to admit something: I was really surprised at how strong my reaction to seeing the actual sanctuary was. That picture up there is what I’m used to, y’all. And I had twenty or thirty oh what the fuck moments within my first fifteen minutes or so inside that place. I’m not necessarily comfortable in Catholic churches but at least I understand them, right? This? This I don’t get. Like, I know most Christian denominations don’t really go for robes and stoles and collars and such but apparently I really like being able to pick the pastor out in a crowd? And this guy was just, like, a dude in a suit, like a dozen other people in the building.

Who knew.

There and back again

We have returned from our voyage to the northern wilds of Michigan. I have officially missed Parent/Teacher conferences, and in accordance with prophecy I am exhausted. I do actually have a couple of things worth talking about, but … yeah, that bit about prophecy. They can wait until tomorrow or the day after.

Meanwhile, I do believe I promised you a picture. This is even relevant to one of those future posts! Consider it a teaser.

Because it’s making me nuts

I will take second to no one in my disgust with the loathsome beast currently shitting up the cushions in the White House, but somehow I’m STILL seeing articles and Tweets criticizing him for not attending Barbara Bush’s funeral and while I would prefer to never have to defend him ever it is starting to affect my calm. Folks, it is settled precedent that sitting Presidents, legitimate or otherwise, do not typically attend the funerals of First Ladies. Obama did not attend Nancy Reagan’s or Betty Ford’s. Clinton skipped a couple. Bush skipped at least one that I recall. They all sent their respective First Ladies. Previous Presidents attend. The current one does not.

I am not terribly interested in dying on the foothills of Mount Whogivesashit over this, and it is also undeniable fact that Barbara Bush openly despised his low-class ass and would surely have risen from her casket to devour the souls of all in attendance had he been there, but the shitgibbon gets a pass on this one.

So um okay

My mother-in-law passed away in January.  She died of… well, everything.   That’s both less disrespectful and closer to the truth than you might believe; my father-in-law is fond of saying she had everything but cancer, and the way he describes it never fails to bring this to mind:

My wife’s family, for reasons that have never been clear to me, does not seem to be overly fond of winter funerals.  This is, I think, the third family member of hers who has passed since we were married, all of them in the dead of winter, and each and every one had a spring funeral.  There has thus far been no service of any kind, and the first formal acknowledgment of her death is going to be May 20th when her ashes are interred.  In, uh, this:

IMG_20170513_150021770_HDR.jpg

She went to see her dad today, and he showed her this; her ashes are inside of it (presumably inside some sort of urn and not, like, poured out all over the bottom of the thing) at this very moment and in fact were there when the picture was taken, but he’d decided he wanted to inter a few other things with her– among which were a crucifix, which my son took one look at and excitedly declared to be a “trophy.”  He, being the eminently practical and utterly unsentimental person that he is, looked around the house and decided that this plastic goddamned cooler was the most size-appropriate object he had for the items he wanted to bury with her.  And the decision was made; this was to be her eternal resting place, tradition and propriety be damned.

My wife enquired as to whether the gravediggers knew that they were providing a hole for a cooler and not a (presumably) much smaller urn.  He, of course,  had already made all of the appropriate arrangements.  I guarantee he measured the damn thing and sent them precise metric dimensions.  Guarantee it.  He’s going to do some work in the next few days to get it glued shut and waterproofed (and judging from the way the man wraps Christmas presents, life on Earth will be extinct before water gets inside this thing) and that’s going to be it.

The great part of all this, of course, is that absolutely no one can argue with me when I insist on burying her father’s ashes inside an empty bottle of Beefeater gin when he dies. He’ll appreciate it.