Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Guilt and Family - Escape vs. Martyrdom, Part 1

Recently, we've had a bit of family drama. We being my siblings and I. Most of it sprung from poor communication, misinterpretation of sarcasm, poor timing, general cluelessness, and not a small dose of preconceptions and fear.

Without going into detail... hmmm. Harder than I thought. Let's stick with the basics. I hope it's not too vague (or too specific!). This weekend my brother Rob called K2 (the 21 yr old) with "news" about K3 (the 18 yr old). K2 then called me (K1), very upset, not sure what to do about the "info" imparted by dear Bubby Rubby. I advised her to talk to K3 before taking any action. I also got a voicemail from Rob.

When he and I finally connected, he told me rather alarming things about K3. As usual, he spoke with complete confidence and conviction. He explained what he was thinking about doing in response to K3 alleged actions. Then he asked what I thought he should do. I didn't really have any solid advice, so I said that I would contact K3 and let her know about Robby's intentions.

WHY the boy did not just confront K3 with his suspicions in the first place is totally beyond me. I talked to her, she confirmed that she did make a few comments that could have been misinterpreted, but only because Rob came at her when she had friends over and was on her way out the door. She felt harrassed, so she laid out the sarcasm, not thinking that Rob would take her seriously. Oops.

Anyway. I asked her not to shoot me as the messenger. Agreed that Rob's issues weren't really her problem, but that if she didn't talk to him, he might make them her problem.

But you know what the worst part was?

I don't know my baby sister well enough to be able to speak on her behalf - to say to my brother that K3 is not like X - that she wouldn't have done what you think she's done...

I mean, I left home when she was not quite 8 years old and I never really went back. That's 11 years. Is it any wonder that we don't really know each other?

And so I have a wish list of regrets in regard to K3. I wish I had spent more time with her on my breaks from college. I wish I had showed more interest in her life. I wish I could be more patient with her as she makes "mistakes" in her life. Etc.

At the same token, I can't undo the past. And I've come to accept that I was too unhappy and bewildered in college to have been very good company to her - that I never forgot to contact her on her birthday or other special occasion - that patience it not a trait my family has much of...

(to be continued...)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Lazy Weekend

Or maybe not so lazy. Saturday, put in a couple hours at school, but mostly just surfed online while Jay did work, because I only have a key to my shared office, and everything else was locked up for the weekend. That includes the room where my computer prints out... But no biggie. I've got it all taken care of today.

We headed home to meet our friends J. and A. (you might remember them from my comments on their wedding last year, and their subsequent visit to us out in Utah). They'd won a trip to some condo/resort up at Jay Peak, about 45 minutes from our place. A. seemed really cranky when she got here, but I'm not always my best after a car trip either, so who knows. We headed out pretty quickly to go up to Lake Willoughby, with the intentions of hiking one side of the gap and then cooling off in the lake.

The hike went fine. A. is really out of shape and the climb was a definite struggle for her, but she kept a good attitude for the whole 3 miles up and 3 miles down. Not bad considering it was the first peak she'd ever climbed. We let the guys go ahead on the way down, and she and I had a nice, normal conversation the entire way. With me alone, she was happy, sunny, even, dare I say, perky. The minute we got back to J. she changed. Shut down. Became sulky and passive-aggressive. Like a totally different person.

Things only got worse when we got to the beach. The closer beach was really crowded, so we decided to check out the west cove. Well, the west cove is gorgeous, but is "clothing optional". A. does NOT do nudity. Being naked is "ugly and wrong" and she became borderline hysterical when confronted with the possibility of seeing nude adults. She "doesn't even like to be naked in the shower".

So we went back to the first beach, and started to wade out into the water. Now, I LOVE to be in the water, and I haven't had many opportunities to go swimming in fresh water recently. (HEY - something GOOD about Vermont!) So I was out there pretty quick. A. seemed to be doing okay, but then she just freaked out about the fish in the water. We're talking minnows here, nothing even half as large as my little finger. What I don't understand, is that when I pointed them out as we were wading after the guys, she had no issue. When J. said something to her, all of a sudden she was freaked out. I don't get it.

From there it just went down hill, and they ended up dropping us off at our place and heading back to the condo. (to watch TV?) They wouldn't even consider staying for dinner, like we had assumed would happen. So Jay and I were left baffled, waving goodbye and renewing our bets on their imminent divorce.

Serious therapy needed on both ends, but I don't think either of them will get it. So either they split, or they make each other miserable forever.

But Sunday was a nice, fun, lazy rainy day. Read books, bought new books, bought groceries, made lasagna, read more books. Not a bad life.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I have an office!

And office that I will be sharing with three other people, and one that has a tone of empty shelves and bare walls, but an office nonetheless. So I can stop hauling all my crap around with me and shove it in the corner instead. Yay!

Now if only I had a corrected contract and access to the college software that holds my rosters and grading abilities, we'd be all set.

But one step at a time, eh? One step at a time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Please, Waste My Time.

Evidently, this is embedded somewhere in the new hire materials for the college. I say this because the last two days I've spent hours and hours in utterly useless meetings. Frankly, if there are more than two (possibly 3) people at a meeting, it becomes a pure waste of time. Nothing applies to everyone, so many people end up sitting around listening to brain cells die while they wait for a few nuggets of information that might be relevent to their needs and job description.

And very few people in academia seem to believe in a concept I call punctuality. The only things that will make me late are bad directions or intestinal aggravation. And I feel that the first is usually not my doing, and the second is really better dealt with before entering a poorly ventilated room of people.

The people in the department seem friendly and willing to help, even though no one can answer a question to save their lives. Now, given a month, or even a couple weeks to prepare for a class, I would be perfectly happy to peruse the fifteen books that other instructors have used for this class and choose the one that I think will work best for me. HOWEVER. Classes start in six days. SIX DAYS. Just hand me two books that worked really well and tell me to pick one. I cannot assess fifteen different books in the next two days. At least, I can't do it well. And I hate not doing things well.

Other than that... I still don't have a signed contract because they goofed and listed it as 8 credits instead of 9 and I refused to sign it and trust that they would fix it later. (Do I look so (stupid) trusting to you?) SO I still have no class rosters and no access to email or any of the other software I will need. Brilliant, really.

Did I mention that bit about SIX DAYS? Hmmm. So I did.

I also don't have an account on the master "z" drive, so I can't really save any of my work, since I don't have a permanent computer... nor do I travel with portable disk space. Oddly enough.

But I swear, I'm not as cranky as I sound. Promise.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

off the cuff

And off the network... so spur of the moment posting is still all I can do. As if I ever did anything but...

We drove down to Jersey on Friday for Lou's 80th Birthday. (Jean and Lou - must be said with heavy NJ accent - are Jay's grandparents.) They held it at a Turkish restaurant, complete with belly dancer entertainment. The look on Lou's face - priceless. When he discovered that the dancer had been arranged by Cousin Mike, he said, "You're responsible for this? Thank you." Jay's sister Sierra said it was the most sincere thank you she'd ever heard.

All in all a nice little trip for us. We drove back to Vermont yesterday with stops in Paramus, NJ at Campmor for some new outdoor gear and at a craft store for more stuff for me to paint, and in Hanover, NH for dinner. My favorite Chinese restaurant is gone... shocking. So we ended up at a Thai place that didn't exist when I was a student. Lots of changes to campus and to the town in the last seven years.

Well, and lots of changes to me as well, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I can't even think of a title for this post.

Just got my official "offer" and "contract" from the college. Choke. They seem to be counting one less credit than was mentioned, and the pay is significantly less than $1000/credit, which is what one of the other instructors mentioned.

So. This is going to be a lot of work. And I'm not sure it's really worth my while. I mean, I could probably make more subbing at the various schools in the area. AND, with the times that these classes are scheduled, I won't be able to sub at all... not good. I'd really like to turn it down. But I don't think I can afford to do that. One, because of the small town issues, and two, because it might not be good money, but at least it is certain money.



We're heading out in a few minutes to go on the faculty/staff paddling afternoon on Lake Willoghby which should be fun. I've met a few of the other faculty and staff, so perhaps I'll meet them more thoroughly. Which I should do. I've spent the last two days speed painting a CD bookshelf - just scroll work and a few flowers, so nothing as complex as my Utah Shelf. I'll have to post pictures of that one of these days. If we ever get web access at home... but don't get me started on that.

Strangely, painting and listening to some good celtic music had me chilled right out... until I picked up the mail today that is. I bought a Dervish CD in Burlington this past weekend - Live in Palma, 2 disc set - and it was quite excellent. The last time I ever saw my grandma (adopted) before the Alzheimers took over was in Pittsburgh when I took her to a Dervish concert down in Oakland. God, that was so much fun. So listening to them reminds me of how lucky we were to have her as a surrogate grandmother for as many years as we did.

Other good things about pseudo-isolation: lots of reading and writing time. I've started on a revision/read-through of my second book with the intention of finally finishing the damn thing. I have to reread it because I've forgotten so much of it. Sadly, my 2YN project over at Forward Motion seems to have died out. I just don't care about it anymore.

Alrighty - must go. Lake calling.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

East vs. West

Maybe it's just a question of who I've met so far, but I have to say that the people around here have been much less welcoming than the ones I knew back in my beloved Mountain Time Zone. It's almost as if newcomers are such a novelty that people don't know what to do with them. So they ignore us.

We went to Burlington this weekend... actually Vergennes... for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament that Jay played in. Conversation was attempted several times, on both our parts, to little avail. Jay was fine as long as he was talking about the game, but I had nothing so interesting to say, apparently.

Here's a fairly typical representation of my attempts:

VTer: Um, what was your name again?

Me: Kate. I'm here with Jay. So where did you come up from today, Vter?

Vter: Oh... Lebanon area.

Me: Jay and I just moved back to New England from Utah. Its...

Vter: Oh, uh huh. (turns away like hearing more might kill her.)

I guess I'm just bewildered by the lack of interest in other people I've encountered here so far. Back West new people are treated like entertainment... someone with new stories and possible interest in the things that interest you. It's a traveling crowd, with individuals who have seen people and places all over the world and are generally happy to share them.

And food. To show up somewhere without food and drink to share strikes me as rude, and not a little bizarre. Yet no one else brought anything, or so Jay tells me. I didn't waste my time at the fields after the first three hours of being invisible. We fed the young'ns at the campground in the morning, and off-loaded most of a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as well.

Does this come from the people here having rarely been outsiders themselves? Because truly, once you've been the new kid, you never forget how it feels to have someone reach out to pull you in. I haven't felt so totally invisible since... since... um, since the first week of college maybe?

Anyway, it was a thoroughly disappointing experience. I can only hope that things improve once the semester starts up. Otherwise I think I'm going to find that Vermont has even less to recommend it than I currently suspect. Natural beauty and outdoor opportunities only go so far.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Still no real computer access though, so I'm, going to have to keep this short again.

I did get the job with the college. Perhaps not ideal, but I think it will be a good experience and this way I will have a definite income instead of piecing together substitute teaching gigs. I'll have two classes with the English department for a total of 9 credits - one regular Freshman English, the other a remedial course for at-risk students. Similar to what I was doing at Sylvan, but on a different scale. Pay isn't great, but since I get my benefits through Jay, I don't really have to worry about that aspect.

Hiked to the top of Burke Mountain on Saturday - all the way up to the top of the firetower there. Amazing views of the area - Adirondacks to the west, White Mtns to the east - beautiful sunny day. Excellent all around. Sunday I suggested a bike ride... we took it easy, mostly stuck to the roads, biked up to the ridgeline and tried one of the easier trails. Sadly, I think it confirmed for me that I am not a mountain biker and never will be. I just don't enjoy it at all. So I'll be looking for a good, but cheap, road boke sometime soon. With only one car in the family, it would be good to have a reliable second form of transportation in case I need to get into town while Jay is off doing some crazy outdoor thing that only he would find fun.

Alrighty - off to check out the local co-op with hopes that they will sell food that we actually eat, because the local big grocery store is pathetic. Organized like a disorganized child with a short attention span, and staffed by similar. Also, disappointing selection. I can't really think of a reason to go back. There's a smaller grocery closer to us that has most of the things we buy, but is still missing a few of our staples. Sometimes it is really challenging to eat well. Argh. I miss our Wild Oats. A lot.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

More Questionable Use

Of the college's computer lab, that is.

Well, I interviewed with the English department chair today, and unofficially they offered me two classes - 9 credits total - which would put me close to the income I had last year, actually. Officially, she said they had to go off and "talk" before it could be an official offer, but that she would call me soon. So. Hopefully that will work out.

We also are almost totally unpacked, except that we need a few more bookshelves, and I'm not willing to settle for cheapo ones. All the ones that I have now are the wood, stacking, folding shelves. Because, frankly, particle board sucks ass, and the ability to fold flat has great charm when I know we'll be moving again within the year.

Anywho... quick check of email and then it's out into the humidity for us.

OH - and we can't get the wireless access at our house because they maxed out their service capabilities and have to build another tower... We're having the cable guys come by to evaluate the possibilities for getting cable access instead. I do love me my cable internet hook up.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Patience, patience

I keep repeating that to myself.

We don't get cable in our village, so we can't use our cable modem. Instead, we will hopefully be able to get the (ridiculously overpriced) wireless service, except there's a backlog and it might be another month. We're having trouble getting a land line set up because the phone company has been holding on to a unpaid bill from Jay's college days (6 years ago)... and despite never contacting him regarding this charge, they now want $259 before they will grant us the honor of their service.

And even though we can't get home delivery of our mail, we must pay a yearly charge for our PO Box... which they had to change on us last minute (after we forwarded all our stuff, of course) because the lock on the originally assigned box is broken. Hmm.

The insurance agent only works until 12:30 on Wednesdays, so we'll have to try THAT again tomorrow... and we just ate lunch at a really awesome little restaurant that doesn't accept credit cards... good thing our new bank is right down the road.

And we keep getting mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Jay Sgonnagetit. Which pisses. me. off. Dude. And yes, I know I need to chill.

And the condensation from our toilet forms a small pond in the floor. And there are bugs. Which have eaten half my ankles off. And the place smells rather like wet dog. Which we are working on... though if anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Right now we are going with the open windows and vacuuming method. Sigh.

Bitch bitch, moan moan.

But the trip itself was good - got to see a lot of people. More on that later, because it definitely is story-worthy. Like my twenty-two year old hottie cousin who has decided that women under the age of 35 are not worth his time... and is currently "exploring monogamy" with his 38 year old girlfriend. The kid has already had quite an interesting life. He'd be even cooler if he could toss the grudge he holds against his father for years of imperfection. And he doesn't have much patience with other people's weaknesses. But that's what comes of being a very talented twenty-two year old. I suppose.

Alrighty - I'm out of time. Hopefully I'll be back before another week passes.