Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (New Year's Ed)

So here I sit at my computer with 2006 having started in New York and ten minutes before the calendar changes here in the Twin Cities.
Oh, I know, dear reader, you're wondering, "Leab! What the hell are you doing on the computer?! There are New Year's parties aplenty you could be at right now. What's the deal?"
Well, here's the real deal: My wife and I were supposed to go to a party tonight. First, however, we had a hockey game to attend (the Wild beat the Canucks 4-3 in a thriller). We got home and started to get changed to make our way to the party. As we started to leave, she started not feeling well. Once in the car, I knew we weren't going anywhere. As I write this, she is currently on the couch next to me passed out. I tried to get her to go to bed, but she wants to be with me when the clock rolls over. She wants to see the ball drop in real time. I might wake her up. I don't know.
So, how about I ramble on and see if anyone besides my two devoted readers peruse this?
Without further ado: GOULET!
Teachers Are ALWAYS on Call:
As I said, Mrs. Leab and I were at the Wild game tonight. During the first intermission, we started talking about the upcoming semester at the high school. The woman on my right turns and says, "Are you a teacher?"
"Yes," I reply. "I teach high school English. I'm the guy who every student hates by graduation."
"Oh, my daughter is in high school."
"So is mine," says the guy behind me.
"My son is at Central," The woman next to my wife says.
"We all go to Cretin," One of the guys in front me says.
I'm trapped, but it gets worse. One little question by the woman next to me gets an ugly ball rolling and leaves me talking in four directions for the rest of the night.
"My daughter here is a junior. She's trying to find a good journalism school. What do you recommend?"
After recommending a few far away from Minnesota (and a few closer for mom's sake), every single one of the people around me started asking me questions.
"How important is class rank?"
"Do they REALLY look at ACT scores?"

"Is the new ACT hard?"
I talked to these people, students and parents alike, for two more periods. That's about an hour and twenty minutes.
By the time the game was over, I was starting to get hoarse.
My wife, was even less thrilled than I was. "You need to start telling people you can't talk about it."
For me, the only issue is I am still on vacation, and I felt like I was teaching. I started to feel amped up. When I got home I had to take a few minutes to unwind myself (though I return to the building in a couple of days).
A couple of things amazed me about this:
1. There were many people freaking about the whole getting in to college process.
2. These people hung on my every word as if it were water in the desert. I can't get them into college, and many people would disagree with my assessments of the testing, what colleges are looking for, and so forth.
3. Mostly, however, I was just kind of pissed that I had no way to excuse myself. When I went to the bathroom to get away, one of the guys from Cretin followed me and kept talking to me. I almost peed on his shoe to make him shut up.
If you're a student and reading this, here's the best advice. It's hard, but you must follow it:
RELAX. Take a deep breath and relax. The whole college process seems difficult when you look at it, but it's really quite simple. Don't work yourself up into a lather. Relax.
Christmas with the In-Laws:
I am a patient man. A very patient man. My in-laws are good people, but they attempted to cram Christmas down my throat this year.
Before I left for Missouri, my wife told her parents I was not in the Holiday mood this year. "He says he isn't feeling it. It's weird."
From the moment I stepped into their house, Christmas was everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. The toilet, the toilet paper, the room I slept in, the fact that several of the African animals my father-in-law had mounted were wearing Santa hats. Oy vey!
While the gifts were great (I was given certificates to various places, a nice sweater, a hockey jersey, and a few movies), the fact I wasn't in the spirit was never far from my in-laws' minds. "Perhaps watching A Christmas Carol will put you in the mood."
Didn't work.
I did smile a great deal when my wife opened her present from me. Because her work is so stressful, I got her a full day at Litespa. She's never had a spa day, not even on her wedding day.
However, the highlight of my time there had to be how my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law both inadvertantly insulted me.
Christmas Day. I'm sitting at my wife's aunt's dinner table next to my mother-in-law. Mrs. Leab's aunt is lamenting her daughter's choice of boyfriends (the 18 year old is currently dating a 25 year old fry-cook having just dumped a 32 year old).
"I don't understand why she dates them," the aunt says.
"Well," says my mother-in-law," they're never with the ones you want them to be with."
A moment passes as everyone turns and stares at me. It takes a full five seconds (I counted) for my m-o-l to figure out what she said.
As everyone continues to stare at me, I finally say (in a joking manner), "'s tough when your only daughter marries the son of a dirty, dirty Jew. Sheesh."
I didn't let that one go for a full day. She would question my politics or beliefs or whatever, and I would respond with a comment about her daughter's taste in men. Awesome.
My brother-in-law, however, made it quite clear his sister was with me only because of money.
"Women only want one thing: money. Isn't that why you (my wife) married him (that would be me)?"
Stunned silence follows.
Don't get me wrong, it was a nice time down there, but it seems like everytime I see them now, my in-laws feel their daughter made a mistake. They hate that I'm not a practicing Christian, they hate that I'm not an Evangelical Republican (there was a FUN argument between my wife and her parents about Intelligent Design that ended with, "your husband has been brainwashing you again."). I like them, but I just wish we could talk about the world without it turning into either God, Bush, or Furher.
Is that too much to ask.
It's getting closer to the ole ball dropping, so let's finish....
Well Wishing:
I hope that you all have a better 2006 than 2005. Even if 2005 was a great year for you, I hope that 2006 will be even better.
To my wife, for everyone to recognize how great you are, like I do.
To my parents, some rest.
To my sisters, for life to bring you your just rewards.
To Greta, I'm sorry to hear about your employment situation. So I hope they regret it.
To Emma, this change in your views on life is...refreshing. May it continue.
To Laura, no more goyum.
To the students at HP, a better second semester and good times.
To my readers, long life and strong eyes.
To DeRusha, for Seth to enjoy year two.
To Michele, Meridita, Worm, Everyone at MN Speak, for you to be recognized for the geniuses you truly are.
Here's to you.
Happy New Year.


Voix said...

Happy New Year to you, Leab. Wishing you the absolute best of the best, including as little time as possible with the in-laws in 2006.

I am totally with you on that "teachers never get a break" thing. The only thing that helps is TOTAL SECLUSION (or not telling anyone that you're a teacher)



p.s. Thanks for calling me a genius! That was totally cool!

Admin Worm said...

Thanks for the kind words...and for your writing. Try to have a great year. You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

happy new year leab-o! here's to a basic standards class that doesn't hate you.

Jason DeRusha said...

My sister is a science teacher and I keep trying to get her to show my how my dad turns the beer green on St. Patrick's Day.

She too never gets a day off.

Leab: Here's to a great 2006!

faith said...

I also agree on the Teachers never get a break, my Dad and Sister are teachers, and I know they always either are bombarded with questions, and/or always run into their students everywhere! It is SO strange. My Dad runs into them on planes, and in Casino's in Vegas (he is retired but taught in MN his whole career)and restraunts in OR, and AZ. It is SO odd.

But, I wish you and your wife nothing but the best on '06. And please keep up the GREAT blogs!