Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I've been a fan of crushes ever since I was three years old, got my first crush on my sister's best friend, and got in trouble for wrestling with him at my babysitter's house. (He was just so darn cute, how could I be expected to keep my hands off him?) From there, I went on to have an illustrious crush career, encompassing older men, younger men, men of all colors, famous men, and fictional men. Whether or not you're in a relationship, I think a little crush is healthy and helps to put some spice into life.

My co-worker, Madame B, is a fan of the Dad Crush. She likes to have handsome dads volunteer in the classroom and, while the kids are busy doing work, takes a few minutes to flirt with them. Sometimes she even lures the attractive fathers of MY students into her room, since they have to pass by her door to get to mine. But because I'm easily embarrassed, the Dad Crush doesn't work for me, despite having quite a few good-looking dads in my class. I once had a sex dream about a dad (NOT an attractive one -- I really don't know where it came from), and it was so traumatic I couldn't look at either the mom or the dad for weeks. Sometimes it was even hard for me to look at their daughter.

Instead, I like to focus my crush energy on my yoga instructor, Grant. He's the perfect crush: handsome, chiseled, cute butt, wonderful personality, I don't have a chance in hell with him, and I can stare at him all I want during out two-hour yoga class without seeming weird. Occasionally he tells a story during his opening monologue about his girlfriend, and I just tune him out or pretend he's talking about his pet dog. (Turns out his pet dog has a lot of physical issues related to giving birth to two puppies.)

A couple of months ago, Dreamy decided to start coming to yoga class with me. He immediately took a shine to Grant, and stayed after class asking Grant all kinds of questions about different poses. Then, one day I let slip that I think Grant isn't bad-looking, which completely floored Dreamy. I told him he needed to get his eyes checked, because even if you're a heterosexual male you'd have to be blind not to notice how attractive Grant is. Later, I casually mentioned that I sometimes try to look up Grant's shorts while he's helping me with my wheel pose (never with any success, unfortunately).

A few days after my accidental revelations, Dreamy announced that he's giving up yoga for the time being -- possibly because of a shoulder injury, his purported motive, or maybe he didn't want to get in the way of my crush. I have mixed feelings; having Dreamy come along made it a lot easier to make it to my 10 a.m. Sunday yoga class instead of lolling around in bed, but couples who do yoga together do make me feel slightly nauseous. (Almost as bad as couples who do pottery together, an idea that Dreamy also once brought up.) Plus it was embarrassing to ogle Grant with Dreamy next to me, and Dreamy's feelings were hurt when I suggested he move his mat down a few spaces.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The toxic zone

Today was the long-awaited Spring Concert at my school, complete with kids dressed in fancy satin dresses with patent leather heels, boys in ties and button-up shirts that they could hardly wait to unbutton, parents videotaping, etc. In preparation, we had a dress rehearsal yesterday, and the grades that did not participate in the concert were invited to come watch.

The first calamity hit as the kindergartners were just beginning their second song. Right smack in the middle of the risers, as the entire school watched, one of them lost her lunch. All over the risers. The other kids kept singing as though nothing had happened, while adults rushed over and a space was cleared around the murky brown puddle.

The music teacher calmly announced that the rest of the concert would take place on the floor in front of the stage, while the custodians cleaned the stage and the afflicted child was tended to by the nurses upstairs. After the kindergartners had done a few more songs, they sat down and the first graders -- including my little ones -- stood to perform.

Lo and behold, just a few lines into "Down By the Bay," my little Michael upchucked. Five times, or at least in five different places, since he was running toward the nurse's office even as he continued to puke. The first time, his vomit landed squarely on Maeve next to him, a blonde, blue-eyed little girl who comes to school every day in dresses that make her look like a cross between an American Girl doll and a beauty pageant contestant. She handled it with remarkable aplomb, waiting calmly to get cleaned up and then, when she was given a simple yellow polo t-shirt, quickly bunching it up in the back and tying her hair band around it so it wasn't quite so out of sync with the rest of her outfit.

I'm not exactly sure what happened after that, since I was upstairs with Michael and Maeve for the next while, cleaning them up, calling parents, etc. By the time I got back, the second graders were well into their act, and somehow we got through the rest of the concert. Afterward, the music teacher sent out an email to say that, given how badly the dress rehearsal had gone, things could only get better for the second concert.

A short while later, however, she had to amend her earlier statement: The night after the dress rehearsal, she got hit by the stomach flu and was up all night puking.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You know you're working too hard when...

1) You can't stop thinking about what you're going to teach in math next week during Savasana (final relaxation) in yoga class.

2) You go out for dinner with friends on a Friday night, guzzle down your first drink before anyone else has even had a chance to ORDER theirs, then become catatonic while downing drink #2.

3) Your mind is so tired you feel like you can't handle real news. Protests in Libya? Tsunamis in Japan? I don't know what you're talking about. Out of all the articles last week in the New York Times, this was the one I was riveted by. It's the tragic tale of a hamster named Princess Stephanie's cruel death (actually, two hamsters' deaths, but somehow Stephanie got all the attention -- maybe because she's royalty) and the criminal charges pressed after the incident following a 9-month hunt for the perpetrator. And then I went in to work the next day and told my co-workers all about it over lunch while they pretended to be interested. [Update: the charges were dropped. Are there no consequences to hamster cruelty??]

4) You can't stop thinking about whether the mealworms in your classroom will live through the weekend and questioning whether you should have brought the poor little guys home -- all 80 of them in their 9 separate containers. After all, being responsible for 80 mealworm deaths is even worse than being responsible for 2 hamster deaths, and dying of dehydration is more painful and prolonged than dying from the trauma of being slammed on the floor.

Sigh. When will summer vacation be here?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dreamy's disorder

Monday night found me standing in the middle of a dark , frigid street in Cambridge, yelling at the top of my lungs into my cell phone at Dreamy (who didn't seem so dreamy to me at that particular moment): "I know that you didn't hear your phone ring. I figured that out when I called and got your voice mail THREE TIMES. The bigger question is, WHY THE F*** AREN'T YOU HERE?"

I'll admit it, sometimes I'm crabby during the week. Especially when I didn't sleep super well the night before, when it's late (e.g. after 7 p.m.), and when I worked and then went straight to pottery class. Which is why I tried to make my needs very clear to Dreamy when he called and asked if it was all right if he met a friend for a drink before I came over: "It's fine with me, but I need you to be there when I arrive at 9:30. Can you tell him you have to leave at 9:15 even if you're still in the middle of a conversation? Please don't forget."

Can you tell I'm developing some strategies to deal with Dreamy's executive functioning disorder? With limited success, apparently, because when I pulled into a choice parking spot at exactly 9:31 and dialed his number, there was no answer. So I tried two more times. Then I broke into his building by following on the heels of someone else walking in and went and knocked on his door. Then I stormed back outside and headed for my car, vowing to head straight for home and screw it if I didn't see him again for another two weeks till he gets back from his business trip. And that was when my phone rang (9:50, for the record). "Hey babe, just saw I had three missed calls from you! Oops!"

Yeah, oops is right. I let him have an earful as the undergrads on the street turned to look at the crazy yelling lady. When he tried to tell me where he was, I screamed, "I don't care where you are. Make it so you're HERE, PRONTO!" And then there was, "What kind of excuse is that, that you didn't have your watch?? Bring your goddamn watch when I tell you to meet me at 9:30!" I mean, come on, he seriously deserved it.

But as soon as he showed up, looking all sheepish with a silly little smile on his face, I forgave him. Because after all, I know he has an executive functioning disorder (in fact, I diagnosed it with the help of a social worker friend), and I'm dating him anyway. Not that he shouldn't try to be better; I made him sit down for a brainstorming session afterward about what he could have done differently -- text me his location before he met his friend, leave his door open, leave his phone on the table, etc. But at a certain point you also have to accept people's limitations.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Half a ticket to anywhere

When Dreamy and I first started talking about meeting in Europe next summer, it kinda seemed like everything would just fall effortlessly into place. Dreamy would be there for a work trip; my parents, amazingly, won a villa in Italy in a raffle, and the dates lined up perfectly. When his friend Brian suggested the three of us travel for a couple of days together before Brian left to attend a wedding in Tuscany, I agreed breezily.

We hit the first road bump when it turned out that Dreamy had run out of vacation time, and might not be able to spend a week at the villa after all. Luckily, he was able to get an extra week by extending the end date of his one-year contract. But when I took a closer look at the calendar I realized that I should not have been so blasé about the trip: Between Dreamy's business trip and my family vacation, we only had two days to ourselves. Two days which we had foolishly promised to spend with Brian.

So Dreamy and I sat down last weekend and discussed our options. I asked him to think about what he really wanted, since that sometimes seems to get lost between the demands of his work, his friends, and me. I told him that I would like for us to change the plans and make it so we have some Heathen and Dreamy alone time not because it's what I want, but because it's what both of us want. I had been hoping he'd agree to cancel the two days of travel with Brian, but after mulling it over for a day he told me that he felt like the $4000 he was supposed to receive for his work trip wasn't worth giving up the vacation days he could be spending with me, and he wanted to bow out. (Confusingly, even though it's a work trip, it comes out of his vacation days since it's freelance work.)

WOW. I don't think I've ever had a boyfriend put quite such a literal price on me: a week with me is worth more than $4000. I was so happy and flattered that I immediately, and without fully contemplating the meager contents of my bank account, offered to foot the bill for half of his ticket to Italy. We could now have two weeks: one at the villa and one to ourselves.

It turned out not to be quite so easy. Dreamy had promised months ago to go on this trip; he assumed it would be easy to find a replacement, but that doesn't seem to be the case. So instead, Dreamy came up with a new plan: I go to the villa and have family vacation without him, and then we will go on our own vacation elsewhere. "And babe," he reminded me, "I'll have lots of money from my work trip. I'll pay for half of your ticket to anywhere you want to go. Brazil, Thailand, Greece, Turkey, you name it. And then I want to buy you some amazing dinners while we're there, too."

Dang. I'm a little bummed he won't be coming to Italy, but I don't know if I've ever gotten quite such a sweet-sounding offer. So the only question that remains is: Where to go???