Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I have a real "skunk at the garden party" post brewing about Proposition 8 and the sanctimonious higher-ground grabbing by both sides, but I don't have the energy at the moment to tackle my life and public opinion at the same time. Or do much of anything else that involves more than keeping track where I am meant to be on which day of the week. I had to do an estimate of the job remaining, now that I have been at it for a few weeks, and my initial sample count leads me to think I could be looking at a year and a half to two years.

Since I waltzed into this job thinking that I might be done in six months, the calculations led to a certain amount of head-scratching. I know I am going to have to bale out at some point to recharge my health care card, so with breaks of a month or two a year, this thing could go on for ever and ever, which is not my idea of a good time, really. The Goat retires in a year or two, and I don't want to be chained to my desk beyond that...

The Goat remarked at dinner the other night that I seemed pensive. I supposed I was because I was spending time thinking about the "big picture." He laughingly responded with a list of proposed topics: Obama's appointments? world peace? faith and science? I had to pull in my horns a bit there, and admit that I was only thinking of my own big picture, which gives me plenty of material for mulling: my life five years ago made perfect sense to me and my life now makes perfect sense to me, but the two of them together don't make any sense at all.

I did not bite my tongue at that point as I should have, but in answer to further leading questions, I admitted that I occasionally worry that having opted the first time for someone who superficially resembled my mother but who thought and acted like my father, I had traded her in for someone who superficially resembles my father but who thinks and acts more like my mother--well, sometimes, anyway, and not in his best moments. The catch is that I am not always sure that the trade necessarily would be considered "trading up."

Not tactful. No. I know that.

But the fact is, I do sometimes wrestle with the fact of the Goat's shortcomings, especially when I am about to enter into an event where my family, who lived with my ex-wife as long as I did, and had sort of gotten used to things as they were, might wind up making comparisons. I shouldn't do it. He came through Thanksgiving with flying colors, and I even heard my mother quote him the other day, in just the know-it-all tone in which she used to cite my father's professional opinion--that made me think that maybe things were going to work out after all. But I do. I worry.

My redneck brothers are next on the list, but we probably won't have to deal with them until next Christmas, and I have already notified His Goatship that I expect him to be around for it. They're great guys, and I'd rather we got together on friendly but neutral territory, and did it before any "ideas" they may pick up from other people's comments get too set in their heads...

I shouldn't worry about things like this, I know. I'm a bad person.

But then, I don't make simultaneous and opposite pronouncements and expect him to discover some sort of thread of safe passage to navigate between the two. We all have our weaknesses, and the inability to keep my mouth shut when it counts is apparently one of mine. That may be the reason that, while he usually insists on doing and/or dictating everything that we do when we truck off to his little house in the Big Woods, the other night he complained that he was tired of doing all the cooking. It's not like I have been trying to get him to do it all, I just don't feel that he wants intrusions on his turf, either figuratively [cooking] or literally [his too-small-for-two-people kitchen].

The last time I tried to step in and finish off a meal he had had to abandon, I got a lecture on exactly how I was doing everything wrong and the lecture made me cry, so I am not particularly eager to go there again. But it turns out he would like me to cook where I am living, which, since it involves incringing on the three rooms my "landlord" still has to himself, I have been reluctant to do. I guess I have felt a rising pressure on that score, but I really don't want to wade into Jeff's kitchen and make a mess of things, on the off chance that he might turn out to be as territorial as some other people in the area. I decided I would just have to take the bull by the horns and do it.

So, today I went and bought a chicken. I can either roast it tomorrow night or take it up and roast it for my grandmother, or let it rest in the fridge until next week, by which time I ought to be able to arrange a meal for Jeff and me and the Goat. That should pour some chicken fat on the troubled waters...

Oh, and the surprise party? It was nice, actually, aside from the somewhat peculiar ending: the Birthday Boy got up to answer a phone call just as the presents were about to be presented, and didn't come back for over half an hour, by which time some of the guests had had to leave.

The good news is that I did get to play cards with my mother, in fact, had a second game extorted while I was trying to hit the road to get home in time for dinner with the Goat. It never ceases to amaze me how every hand strikes her as "strange," no matter how much in her favor the random dealing of cards may be. It's just part of the game to her, I guess. I had to do some family business tending with the aforesaid Birthday Boy, and managed to keep from telling him exactly what I thought of some of the things he was up to. but only just. He probably picked up on it anyway, just as I do with him...

Isn't life wonderful? Well, yes, actually it is.
No matter how bleak thing may look, it usually beats the alternatives hollow...

It was snowing when I left. My mother went on and on about how beautiful it was, and why wasn't I more excited about it? I was about to drive two-and-a-half hours home in it, is why, and I said so. And she just looked at me and said, "Yes, but the Goat will be waiting for you when you get there." I thought that was rather remarkable, really. Almost as good as elevating him to the status of Reliable Quote Source...

We are approaching Christmas at full speed, and so everyone at The Academy is rather strung out, what with the end of the semester and grades and reports all falling due in the two days between the end of classes and our departure for the Coast. To top it all off, it turns out that I am going to have all my kids here that weekend, an arrangement made because the Goat, assuming that this year's schedule would be like last year's--and he has been complaining all fall that it hasn't been--told me he'd have had a week off by then. Oh, well, if Himself is in a bad mood, which, on sober reflection is more than likely, it could be quite a weekend. And to top it all off, I am way behind on my one-size-fits-all sibling/nephew/niece Christmas project. I really have to get cracking on that one, or I will never be able to hold up my head in my mother's house again.

Wish me luck. I'll need it.
I certainly wish you the same.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. Anywhose, would you please stop saying that I called you "that empty young man." I was talking aboout Toronot Chris (a/k/a TC), not about you (a/k/a T@C). Sorry to bust your bubble.