Literally it means “rotten pot” in French, but potpourri is one of my favorite Jeopardy! categories. It’s a little of everything, full of unrelated topics. Plus, I love how Canadian, and pompous ass, Alex Trebek always shows off his French with an exaggerated accent. Poh-pooooRRREEEE (with a rolled “r”). I watch Jeopardy!, one of the sure signs I’m getting old, but only when Odie’s not around. He’s like Saturday Night Live’s Celebrity Jeopardy Sean Connery, and keeps shouting “Fuck you, Trebek!” at the t.v.
So here are some of the thoughts stirring around in my rotten pot. Take that as you will.
I know that some of my readers are checking in to see if I’ll say anything about my nemesis, Kelle Hampton. I keep saying I won’t, but then I cave. I go back to her blog, skim it, and get enraged or inspired. Last week, she had this blog about a Catamaran cruise. Careful to emphasize that she and her husband NEVER DO THIS KIND OF THING. Remember, they’re regular folks, like you and me. Not rich, nanny-having-Naples-elite. She kept writing the word over and over: Catamaran. Catamaran. Catamaran. And every time I felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It was like “SHE KNOWS!”
When I was eight, my parents’ friends babysat me and my gaggle of sisters while they took a Catamaran cruise with friends on Lake Michigan. I watched the time they were expected to arrive home come and go and observed my babysitter as she tried not to show her panic to us. Eventually, I fell asleep. I mean, I really knew something big was up when the babysitter let me fall asleep in front of the t.v. This was some real, “Bambi, your mother can’t be with you anymore” shit.
Turns out, some strong winds on Lake Michigan had flipped my parents’ catamaran and they spent a while holding on to the capsized boat and waiting for the Coast Guard to rescue them. In my child’s memory, it was hours, but I know it couldn’t have been that long. Lake Michigan is “Titanic” cold, and they would have died. After the Coast Guard picked them up, they had to be treated for hypothermia and then drive all the way back to our little Chicago suburb, so I’m sure they were a couple of hours late. Felt like an eternity to child me, who already suffered from a pretty serious panic disorder at an early age. I mean somebody SHOT the PRESIDENT on t.v. that same year. The catamaran thing stands out in my memory as one of the biggest traumas of my childhood (I KNOW! Sweet childhood, huh?).
Miz Hampton’s chant of “Catamaran” felt like a taunt and a challenge, frankly.
And then there was her post about her very own “hurray for ME” spread in “Parents” magazine. She titled it: “I cried. In Walmart.” Subtext: see, I’m just like you “regular people!” I shop at Walmart!
The one-year subscription to “Parents” that came with my Boppy expired a few months ago, otherwise I’d be able to call my post, “I barfed. On my Mailbox.”
I’m surprised that a city like Naples which boasts 80 golf courses and is “the self-proclaimed golf capital of the world” according to Wikipedia (a source I NEVER let my students use for research papers) would even HAVE a Walmart. I didn’t read Miz Hampton’s entire post, but she wrote something about giving in to her daughter’s whining for Cheetos as she, Kelle, cried and sobbed over her own pictures in a magazine. Sometimes you have to throw some trans fats at your toddler so you can admire your own photo spread. Am I right, ladies? Can I get one up top?
A propos of nothing, Odie and I also entertained ourselves various times this week composing what we called “Poppa’s Grocery List.” For example: “Alabaster elixir that flows from pink nipples like mother’s love” for milk. “sumptuous spheroids stomped by our brothers in vats, comically by Lucille Ball in an unforgettable romp, whose destiny it is NOT to become a potent potable” meaning grapes. I invite you, dear reader, to join in this wicked game in the comments thread. Self-conscious alliteration, extended metaphor, and other purple prose required.
And this is not a “gay thing.” If it were, I’d refer to the “rainbow prose.” I don’t care who is gay and who isn’t, unless I’m sleeping with him. Carry on.
And speaking of the comments on my blog, one disgruntled reader pointed out to me that I am exactly like Hampton because I only publish sycophantic comments. I certainly do not publish comments that call my daughter “plain” or me a fucking asshole. Those came from two different people. I have, however, published some comments that are gently critical of my blog or that offer a different perspective. But yeah. It’s my blog and I’m going to decide what goes on it.
It’s nice to be able to control some things. I feel pretty out of control a lot of the time. I’ve been back to work for two weeks now. In many ways, it’s like I never left. Same classroom. I’m teaching the same class I’ve taught for 6 years (although not for the last 4). The students remain (sigh) stubbornly the same. 85% of them are delightfully sweet. The other 15% haunt my dreams. I’m pretty relaxed about Baby V in daycare now. It was a rough beginning. She cried almost nonstop the whole time she was there for the first few days. When I picked her up Friday, she was not only cheerfully coloring pictures in a high chair, she had NAPPED for almost an hour that day! I can’t make you understand what that means to me. Baby V has only napped for more than 20 minutes at a time if she were latched to my nipple. Until a few weeks ago, she’d taken every nap of her life in my arms. I lay awake nights for weeks before going back to work, picturing my devastated, abandoned, Attachment Parenting-parented baby in daycare, unable to eat or sleep. At first, that was exactly what happened. I felt like an ogre who had abandoned her child. A failure as a mother, in my duty to sleep train her. Like I should have put her in a crib in another room at six months old, like everybody says to, and let her “cry it out” while she was still too young to remember it. I just couldn’t do it. Happily, things are working out anyway. She had a bumpy start, but on Friday her teacher told me she’d done a complete 360. And since I know she meant 180, I’m thrilled.
Knowing my daughter is safe and happy takes the sting out of a Friday at work when you see the police coming up the hallways with the dogs, knowing from a “confidential email” that they’re looking for a weapon. They didn’t find one, and we didn’t go on another lockdown. I have only been with these students for two weeks. I’m not ready to comfort them in a life threatening situation, nor to supervise them as they take turns urinating in the classroom trashcan. True story.
In conclusion, it’s been a hell of a week. Odie went back to work, too. With our state in the toilet financially, we’re each looking at a 10% pay cut. We both have new administrations, and while mine is looking competent and judicious (see “no lockdown” story above), he has no idea what to expect of his yet. One thing is for sure.
We’re both hoping for one line on that stick.