Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you ..."

September 2007. Lucky to be alive.
The title is a Sam Elliot quote from one of my favorite movies, The Big Lebowski. A clip from YouTube is posted below. It pretty well sums up my story in this blog post. Sometimes, when you least expect it, death comes up and narrowly misses biting you on the ass. That happened to me nine years ago this weekend...

In September 2007 my life was pretty good. I was forty-three years old, I owned a house in Eagle Mountain, UT (not the greatest place in the universe to live, but at least the mortgage company and I had a roof over my head), I had three amazing daughters, a minivan and an ancient SUV, and I had a job I liked that was a five minute walk from home.

Despite all that, things weren’t quite right. The previous summer I had acquired my first strep infection in over thirty years. It put me flat on my back for nearly a week and I never felt like I completely recovered. I was tired and weak most of the time, and any sort of physical exertion gave me shortness of breath and dizziness. During my first walk to work of the new school year I had to stop every few minutes, lean over with my head between my legs, and try to catch my breath. Clearly something was amiss.

On Saturday, September 8, my family and I were visiting my in-laws at their home in a hilly area on the upper east side of Provo, UT. Because I was bored and because my optimism overcame my common sense, I decided to go for an afternoon walk. I started out on a route that I had walked a thousand times before. It was a strenuous route, but not overly so; in previous years, when my kids were younger, I usually carried one of them over my shoulder or under an arm while I hiked the area. 

However, on that warm September afternoon I thought my walk was going to kill me. I had barely gone half my usual route before I had to turn around and go back to my in-laws’ house, because I literally couldn’t catch my breath. My face was pale and I had broken out into a cold sweat before I even walked through the front door. I flopped into a chair and basically scared everyone in the room to death. My in-laws insisted I take an aspirin in case I was having a heart attack. I asserted that I wasn’t, but I couldn't move from the chair for the rest of the afternoon.

The next day was Sunday and I felt awful. I spent all morning and most of the afternoon prostrate on a couch in my man cave, too exhausted to move. I don’t remember much about the day other than my kids were in and out checking on me, and I had no energy for even the most basic life functions, such as eating or bathing. 

Finally my ex-wife — to her credit — told me she was taking me to the emergency room. She called a neighbor who was a nurse and he told us that the hospital in Provo had the best cardiac care unit. The Provo Hospital was thirty miles away, so my ex arranged for her parents to meet us at the hospital and pick up the kids.

As soon as I described my symptoms the admitting nurse moved me to the head of the line for treatment, in front of other people with obvious bloody bodily injuries. The admitting physician was — coincidentally — an old high school acquaintance, and when I reported what I was feeling, he immediately admitted me to the hospital for testing. I remember being wheeled to my hospital room in a wheelchair and thinking that I could have walked to the room myself, although in reality there was probably no way I was capable of actually doing it. The delusions of a very sick man, I guess. The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I remember a visit from my ward elders’ quorum president — the only LDS Church leader to actually care, which is a story for another time — and not much else.

The next day, Monday, September 10, was hell. I remember lab techs hooking me up to a bunch of monitors and trying to jog on a treadmill. I couldn’t do it, which devastated me so completely that I broke down crying. I had always prided myself on being in reasonably good physical condition, so my inability to do something as simple as jogging on a treadmill scared me badly. The lab tech injected me with a drug that caused my body to react as if I had been able to complete the stress test on the treadmill. That medication made feel terrible — severe muscle cramps, shortness of breath, and nausea — and it was about that time my dad called. I told him what was going on and I think I scared him badly.

I honestly don’t remember much that happened after that. They wheeled me to an operating room where they injected dye into my cardiovascular system. A cardiologist found a blockage in one of the main arteries of my heart. The blockage was nearly one hundred percent (I found out later that a strep infection can cause plaque that already exists to expand rapidly.) The doc ran a catheter through an artery in my groin and opened the blockage, and then inserted a stent. I woke up the next morning to a few stitches in my groin, news stories about the sixth anniversary of 9/11, and a brand new, expensive piece of metal in my heart. A cardiac therapist told me to take it easy for a few weeks, but I actually felt better than I had in months. 

So that was my brush with death. Apparently I was a few days away from a major cardiac event due to the blockage in my heart. There should be all sorts of life lessons I could impart now, such as the temporary nature of life and how easily it can slip away, the inevitability of death (which I rediscovered less than a year and half later when my dad unexpectedly died in his sleep), and how easily and quickly things can potentially change for the worse. All of that is true, but the biggest lesson I learned is that I am sometimes one lucky sumbich. 

My belief system has changed a lot since September 2007, but I still think that there may be some primordial universal force that occasionally smiles on us and blesses us with good fortune. I don’t know why that happens; I look at places like Syria and the people fleeing the carnage there and wonder why them and not me. I’ve had a lot of really lousy things happen in my life since then, but I am still amazed that I lucked out so completely that September day, when I could have keeled over and left my kids without a father. I like to think they still need me; maybe they're why I'm still around.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad I’m still here. Despite it’s challenges, my life is good. I’m living more authentically (another phrase I hate, but I don’t know how else to say it) and I’m finding out what it’s like to actually be loved for who I am and appreciated for the talents I have to offer. 

It’s a good feeling.

Monday, September 5, 2016

My Dirty Life And Times

Midway Shithole. Stay away. Stay very far away.

Musical accompaniment to this post ...

After my divorce in 2011, I used to cope with the pain of it all by trying to convince myself (and others) that I was okay and that my life was normal. As I look back at my old blog, many of my post-divorce posts seem hollow and forced. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t okay, despite my protestations to the contrary. I was emotionally traumatized after spending twelve years in a mostly awful marriage, and I was struggling financially because of some stuff that my ex-wife and her father did to me just out of spite. 

I also had really bad legal counsel and I signed off on some things in my divorce that a better attorney would have caught and wouldn’t have let me do. Not making excuses for myself, but given my mental state at the time, I wish my attorney had insisted that I get joint physical custody of my kids or — at the very least — demanded that there was a provision in the divorce decree limiting the distance that one spouse could move away from the other. Unfortunately, neither of those things happened and I’ve spent the last five years watching my daughters suffer because of my own ignorance and an incompetent attorney.

Another way I coped with the bad stuff that was happening to me was to pretend that none of it happened (even while it was happening). Probably not the healthiest coping mechanism, and when I reread stuff I wrote or look at pictures I took and recognize that’s what I was doing, it makes me feel sick. I especially feel nauseous when I remember (or am reminded) of the time I spent in Midway, from January 2013 through August 2014. Such a lousy era of my life. 

During that time I lived in a truly vile apartment in Midway. It was all I could afford. Some people shouldn’t legally be allowed to lease property to others, and the H family are prime examples of those people. If they lived in a big city, they’d be called slumlords, but because they live in a small town, they get away with it. The H's were greedy and didn't care about the condition of their apartments. There was mold and water damage in my place. I lost clothing due to mildew from water leakage from the bathroom into the bedroom closet where the clothing was stored. The backdoor also wouldn’t lock and the neighbors helped themselves to some of my kitchen stuff one day when I wasn’t home. If there is a God, my former landlord will be condemned to spend the rest of eternity in one of his duplexes.

I went through several jobs after my divorce. My ex-wife sabotaged the job I had when we divorced, and for a while I struggled to pull out of the tailspin she sent me into. It seemed that each principal for whom I worked after my divorce was crazier than the last. I finally quit teaching elementary school for a year and took a job working at the local university. It didn’t pay much but it saved my sanity. After a year I regained my footing and my teaching career. I even spent a year as a principal, which reminded me of why I quit administration in the first place.

Anyway, fast forward five years and here I am, still standing and a little worse for the wear. There are a couple of reasons for all of this whining and complaining. First, writing is cathartic for me. It’s like draining the poison out of a snakebite when I finally face the truth and can write about it. I really want to get over the bitterness and anger I feel and I hope putting it out into the universe (God, that’s a stupid term, but it’s all I can think of right now) will help. Second, I learned some lessons that I want to share:

  • Things can get lousy fast. Never take the good times for granted.
  • Sometimes we don’t see our personal prison until we’re out of it. Comfort zones aren’t always helpful, especially when they keep us from progressing. For me, living in my hometown was a trap and limited me in many different ways, and I couldn’t see it until I was out.
  • Find someone you can love whole-heartedly, passionately, and without fear of rejection. Love someone who loves you for who you are now, but makes you want to be a better person. Love and be loved unconditionally. If you already have that someone, hang onto them for dear life.
  • Love what you do. If you don’t love everything about your life now, find at least one thing you can love. Life is too short to put up with drudgery for long. I love teaching, but I don’t love the politics that go along with it. I’m lucky to be in a place now where I can do what I love.
  • Fear sucks. Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Accept them, and if they’re negative, channel those feelings in productive ways. Recognize depression and deal with it. Don’t be afraid of trying new things. Don’t be afraid of trying old things in a new way. I once reached a point where getting out of bed in the morning became a challenge. That was no way to live, so I did something about it. Mostly, I found reasons to get out of bed — my job, my kids, and the people I loved most.
  • Don’t trust in religion. It’s your life. Live it your way, but don’t be an asshole. Be true to yourself, and accept, respect, and trust yourself. Don’t worry about what most others think or say about you; you can’t do anything about it anyway. Do care what your loved ones think. I spent a lot of my life thinking there were people who were more insightful or inspired about myself than me. I finally realized that nobody knows me better than myself. Depending on others because they claim to have a closer relationship with God than you is an invitation to disaster.
  • Accept others for who they are, but don’t be anyone’s doormat. Recognize others have bad days, but assume good will anyway. Be patient, but don’t accept being treated less than how you deserve, whether it’s by friends, family, employers, church leaders, or anyone else. It took me a long time to realize that I didn’t have to put up with being treated poorly just because I had an investment in a relationship with someone.
  • There are crazy and/or mean people out there who enjoy hurting others. Learn to deal with them. Even better, avoid those people altogether if you can. Sometimes bad people put on a good front before you realize what they are all about. Some of the worst people I’ve dealt with in my life have had advanced degrees and high church callings.
  • Be grateful. You’re blessed every day in large and small ways. Show gratitude for everything. Look for ways to help others.
  • Knowledge matters. Education matters. Experience matters. Ignorance is not bliss.
  • Intentions don’t matter. Actions do.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Back to the Hairy Liberal Curmudgeon

Eight years ago I started a blog. I did it because I was very opinionated — I was a liberal living in a conservative small town in the heart of a conservative county in a conservative, reactionary state — and I didn’t feel like I had an outlet to express my opinions. I also worked in a conservative school district that had many heavy handed, unnecessary policies that were rooted in the predominant, reactionary religious culture. In other words, I was stuck in Crazy Mormon Town without a voice, but I needed one for my own emotional well being. I love to write, so blogging seemed like a natural solution to my problem.

My ex-wife suggested I name the blog “Hairy Liberal Curmudgeon.” I didn’t realize at the time that the word “hairy” would attract Google attention that I didn't necessarily want, but it did eventually amuse me that people searching for photos of hirsute guys or women would inadvertently land on my daddy blog instead, and be subjected to my rantings. I blogged about a lot of different things — politics, religion, education, my family, and the strange community where I lived at the time. My blog was way more popular than I ever expected it would be, especially after I used my Facebook page to publicize each new blog post.

I loved to blog. As I look back at my old posts, I’m embarrassed by some of my more boneheaded blogging, but I also like the posts that still ring true. Through my blog I dealt with some difficult events in my life; death, divorce, loneliness, and unemployment were all topics that I tackled at various times. Some of my blog posts caused me some personal problems and in hindsight, I — maybe — should have been a little more discreet. I don’t regret blogging though, and I sometimes wish I still blogged more frequently. The ideas are still there; the energy and ambition aren’t.

All of that navel gazing is my way of saying that I am reviving my original “Hairy Liberal Curmudgeon” blog, and I’m using Blogger as the vehicle for publishing it. Wordpress is probably a better format, but I kind of like the symmetry of going back to Blogger. If nothing else, it has a retro, old-school look that screams 2008.

Anyway, I’m hoping to publish something that’s actually meaningful here soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Dear Phil ...

Dear Phil,
Ten years ago tonight you left us. Cardiac arrest brought on by an overdose of narcotics, and I’m still not sure exactly how it happened. I have my suspicions, but I guess it really doesn’t matter now. The point is you’re gone, and you’ve missed a lot.
My girls still talk about you. Susan remembers you; she was a few weeks short of her sixth birthday when you died. She remembers you were planning on coming to her birthday party. Caroline and Grace were too little to remember you when you died; Gracie was only twenty months old. But they love to hear stories about you, and I have some good ones. One of their favorites is about you flipping off the evangelical Christian protestors outside a Bruce Springsteen concert in Denver. I called it the patented Phil one finger salute. I like the story too. What were those people thinking, anyway?
Phil after the Springsteen concert, September 1985
My girls are awesome, Phil. You would be very proud of them. Susan has your attitude and smarts. Caroline and Grace have your twisted sense of humor. They’re great kids and I wish you were here to see them. Their mom moved them away from me a few months ago and that still stings a little. But I call them every night and I see them as often as I can. In my heart I hope you are able to check in on them for me sometimes.
Susan and Phil, November 2000
A lot of stuff has happened in our family since you left. Dad and Ray have passed away. Kind of hoping they’re with you and Mom. It would be cool if they were. I got divorced. I’m back to being a principal and I have a great job. I get to help kids who really need it. It reminds me of the stories I heard from your cop friends about you the night of your viewing, only happier. Apparently you never met a kid on a call that you didn’t feel compassion for and want to help. One of your friends called you Officer Sugar Bear. That made me smile on an otherwise very unhappy night. I like to think you would be proud of me for doing what I’m doing.
Officer Sugar Bear, WVPD
A few months before you died you called me expressing a lot of regrets about things that happened when we were growing up; stupid fights, unkindnesses, etc. I think about that conversation sometimes. I was telling a good friend a few nights ago about that phone call. I wish I could talk to you about it now and let you know that everything is okay. I told you that then too, but I’m not sure you understood. Those “hurts” you thought you did to me were just a part of growing up fourteen months apart. It makes me smile and feel a little sad that you regretted not working a shift at Day’s Market for me when we were in high school when I wanted go chase some girl. I didn’t even remember that incident, but you did; just a symptom of the world famous Rasband over-active conscience. Now that I’m pushing fifty-two, I really do understand that life is too short and precious to be spent on silly regrets about things that don’t matter.
Speaking of over-active consciences, I have some profound regrets about you, Phil. I feel like you were hurt badly by people who should have helped you, and I was too young to really understand how adversely that affected your life. People who were supposed to be your religious and spiritual leaders did you a huge injustice. I regret that I didn’t step in and push harder when you needed me most, when someone you trusted was isolating you from the people who could have made a huge difference in your life. My mind tells me that there was only so much I could do, and that I couldn’t rob you of your free will, as much as I wish I could’ve. My heart tells me I should’ve done more. Stupid heart. It’s probably right.
Anyway Phil, you’ve missed a lot. There is some damn good rock and roll we could be listening to. Bruce is still going strong at sixty-six and touring away. Caroline texted me this afternoon to tell me that he is going to be in Seattle next week. I imagined what it would be like to head up there with you, pick up the girls, and take them to their first Springsteen concert. Instead you're dead and I have to work. I know you could’ve come up with even more colorful adjectives to describe Donald Trump than I have, too. Susan would have appreciated that.
I miss you Phil. You were a hell of a guy and a damn good brother. I miss your laugh and your no bullshit attitude. You left an incredible legacy to the people who knew and loved you. And I hope you finally understand how much you were loved.
Love your bro’,
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reasonably Inexpensive Nostalgia, Part 2

No running journal today, but it was a great day. We took the kids to the American West Heritage Center this morning. I hadn’t been there in nearly twenty years, since I was a USU undergrad and escorted a group of kids from the university lab school on a hayride at the farm.
I can’t recommend the AWHC highly enough if you are a history buff like me. The AWHC is a working farm themed around the year 1917, and everything is as authentic as they can possibly make it in 2010, from the sausage making in the summer kitchen, to the blacksmith shop, to the chamber pots underneath the beds in the farmhouse.
There is plenty of extremely cool stuff at the American West Heritage Center:
An atmospheric entrance
A blacksmith shop
A mini-train that circles the farm
A petting zoo
A working farmhouse, full of antique furnishings
Caroline checks out the Victrola. It still works.
Communication, 1917 style
Authentic wall decorations
The original owners of the property where the AWHC sits
A broom making demonstration
Caroline holds the Widow’s Broom. If you’re a Chris Van Allsburg fan you’ll get it.

I’m still hurting quite a bit, so after a few hours I was done. I came back to the motel and crashed for the rest of the afternoon while The Wife continued the tour with the girls.
Tonight Susan and I went back to the Heritage Center for the Haunted Hollow, their western themed spook alley. I don’t think I’ve ever taken The Wife to a haunted house, so we’re talking at least twelve years since I escorted a young lady to one. I kept looking over at the beautiful blonde attached to my left hand. It was a little disconcerting to realize that I have such a beautiful daughter, and to realize that she will be going to places with boys on actual dates in a few years. Susan is a lot of fun to hang out with, and she made some interesting observations about the college kids on a date who were in our group.
Susan also saved my butt at the end of the Haunted Hollow by knowing about the horse drawn wagon that could take us back to the parking lot. My knee was really throbbing by the end of the walk. Susan saved the day.
So the Haunted Hollow was basically the end of our Cache Valley Vacation. We’ve got a few things left to do tomorrow, but then we head home and back to reality. Hopefully I haven’t torn a tendon in my knee. This week will be interesting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reasonably Inexpensive Nostalgia, Part 1

We’re going to Logan for our annual Cache Valley Vacation. I love Cache Valley. I spent five of the best years of my life there trying to get through Utah State University. Going to Logan makes me nostalgic, almost as much as going to Heber does. Cache Valley is one of my “Gee Whiz” places, as in “Gee whiz I’d sure like to live there.” Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be practical to give up my years in my current school district and start over in one of the two school districts in Cache Valley. Logan will just have to stay a great place to take a fall vacation.
We have some big plans, including taking the girls to a corn maze at the American West Heritage Center. The Wife hopes to meet up with an old friend for a girls’ night out as well. Something about getting her eyebrows waxed. Sounds like fun.
In the unlikely event anyone actually finds my life interesting, I’m going to keep a running journal of our time in Bridgerland ... 
Thursday, 9:00 PM ... The Wife and I watch TV in our own motel room. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to watch an actual television. Most of my video viewing at home now is either a download or on DVD, usually on my computer. Fortunately, The Wife had the foresight to book a suite, so our TV is not tuned to an endless stream of Sponge Bob or iCarly reruns, as it normally would be at home. That’s what the girls are watching in the other room.   
Right now we’re watching American Chopper, one of my all-time favorite programs, while eating Thai take-out. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a new episode of American Chopper. I didn't realize Paul Senior and Paul Junior were on the outs. I always thought Paul senior was the proverbial prick with a heart of gold. Turns out he’s just a prick. He still has a great mustache, though.
Friday, 3:45 AM ... I wake up, as usual. I realize where I am and that I don’t have to get up to beat the crowd to the gym today. I laugh out loud. The Wife thinks I’m nuts. I eventually fall back to sleep.
7:00 AM ... I wake up for good this time. There is an Anytime Fitness here in Logan, and I am eager to check it out. Unfortunately, the bathroom light and fan are on the same switch, and the fan is incredibly loud. The fan, which is only slightly less noisy than Paul Junior’s Chopper, wakes The Wife and kids. Once the kids are awake they never go back to sleep, so The Wife won’t be able to either. I guiltily slink off to the gym.
When I get to the gym my electronic key doesn’t work, although supposedly I can use it at any Anytime Fitness in the state. A guy inside takes pity on me and opens the door for me. I am impressed with the size of the facility and the amount of exercise equipment. I get on a treadmill and begin my morning run. I set my iPod to a playlist of favorite songs from 1990-91, when I was attending USU. I hear “Why Should I Cry For You” by Sting, “Mansion on the Hill” by Neil Young, “Hard To Handle” by the Black Crowes, and “Series Of Dreams” by Bob Dylan, among others.
About a mile into the run the left side of my right knee starts to hurt. Being the masochist that I am, I just ignore it and reach my goal. Usually the pain stops by the second mile, but today it doesn’t. I realize I’m not twenty-five anymore and vow to use an elliptical tomorrow instead of a treadmill, even though I don’t want to. I hobble over to a nearby Wal-Mart and buy some Arthricream, which of course makes me feel even older.
11:00 AM ... I take the kids to the Bluebird Restaurant - one of our favorite places, and a place we go every time we’re in Logan - for lunch. The Wife stays at the motel to catch up on her sleep. We get to the Bluebird and the kids, after a perfunctory stop at the table, head to the candy counter. The hand dipped chocolates they sell at the Bluebird are the best. Since I at least sometimes pretend to be a responsible parent, I make the girls come back to the table for lunch. Fortunately for Grace, a grilled cheese sandwich is on the menu. The girls eat quickly and immediately return to the candy counter, where I buy them all something.

After leaving the Bluebird we head up the street half a block to one of my favorite reasons for visiting Logan, Books Of Yesterday. Susan and Caroline are thrilled to be there as well; Gracie less so. Within five minutes of entering the bookstore, Grace finds me and proclaims that she needs to use the bathroom. Since there isn’t a restroom in the bookstore, we have to leave. Rather than take the girls back to the motel and disturb The Wife, I tell them that we are going to the grocery store instead. Grace then tells me she really doesn’t need to use the restroom. I tell her “tough”, and make all three of them use the restroom at the grocery store anyway.
When we leave the grocery store I take the girls a block and a half northwest and show them the house my parents lived in sixty years ago while my father attended USU when it was still USAC, and had to milk cows on campus early in the morning. My mom told me they lived in a little two room apartment in the back of the house, where she was pregnant and homesick. I have the girls pose at the entrance to the part of the house where my parents lived and take their picture.
A little family history never hurt anybody.
2:00 PM ... The Wife takes the girls swimming in the motel pool, so I have the next two hours to finally hit some of my old favorite haunts solo. I start out at Books of Yesterday. B.O.Y. looks like an earthquake struck, leaving piles of books everywhere. I’m looking for a couple of twenty-year-old crime novels by Walter Mosley, Devil In A Blue Dress and A Red Death, in the original editions that I used to own. Sure enough, B.O.Y. has them, and they are reasonable priced. I don’t even have to look for them very hard, surprisingly, considering the state of the store.
After Books of Yesterday I go to Hastings, another old favorite. Hastings has a couple of obscure Dylan CDs for really cheap, but I resist the temptation to buy them. I figure I can find them on Amazon. I finally go to Borders, which didn’t exist when I lived in Cache Valley. After Hastings, and especially after Books of Yesterday, Borders is a let down. It’s way too modern, and the book and CD selection is way too obvious. I prefer the cheap thrill of finding a book I really want in a pile in Books Of Yesterday. I don’t spend much time at Borders. My time is up anyway, so I buy a couple of pizzas from Little Caesar's and head back to the motel. When I arrive Susan is playing with a little boy I don’t recognize in front of the motel. Susan has a made a new friend, as usual.
I’m hungry, and after all the bookstore browsing, my knee is throbbing. I’m hoping to get off it and eat a piece of pizza. Just gonna hang out with the women in my life for a few hours ....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Too Tired To Run, Too Aggravated To Sleep

Susan and friend at the Utah State Fair, 9/12/10

The past few weeks I’ve been getting up at 4:00 AM to go to the gym. It hasn’t been a big deal for me to get up that early; I blame creeping middle age. Once upon a time I struggled to make it to a 7:30 AM class at USU. Now I look forward to getting up early to exercise and listen to music uninterrupted.

Yesterday and today have been a different story. We have had parent/teacher conferences at school the past two days, which have required twelve hour work days. As a result, I have still woken up at 3:45, but I have been too weary to get up and exercise. The problem is I start worrying about things, and I can’t turn my mind off enough to get back to sleep, although I’m really tired.

Right now my biggest concern is my oldest daughter, Susan. Susan is tall, blonde, pretty, intelligent, and athletic. Unfortunately, Susan has also become the butt of some bullying by some catty little girls in her class, probably for the reasons I just listed. She’s a little awkward socially and doesn’t relate well to kids her own age; she does better with kids who are a little older than she is.

One day last week Susan came into my classroom in tears and handed me some notes that another student had written to her. The notes were mean; among other things they accused Susan of getting easier work from her teacher because I work at the school, which was ridiculous. Susan is a smart kid and doesn’t need any intervention from me to grease her academic path. She does just fine on her own. The notes were also full of the usual fifth grade invective (loser, stupid, etc.) Like any parent, I took the notes to Susan’s teacher. The teacher dealt with the girl who wrote the notes by moving her away from Susan and informing the girl’s parents of her activities. I agreed with how Susan’s teacher handled the situation and figured the problem was solved.

Unfortunately, the note-writer is just one of a little clique of mean girls who have been hassling Susan. Susan told The Wife last night that the teasing has gotten worse because Susan told me about it. Apparently this catty little bunch didn’t like Susan telling on them. Susan didn’t want The Wife to tell me that the teasing is still going on, but The Wife did anyway, for which I am grateful. I am also pissed off. My daughter has as much right as anyone else to attend school without being harassed, and just because I work at the school doesn’t mean she should have to put up with any crap. My working at the school may not entitle my daughters to any special privileges, but my job also doesn’t mean my kids don’t have the same right to not be bullied as any other kid at the school.

Stay tuned.