Sunday, August 29, 2010


A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.
--Ogden Nash
Oh dear.
Oh d-d-dear-dear-dear.
I'm sick.
And, because it is the weekend and I have no spawn to speak of, I am milking this for all it's worth. You see, once I have kids, I am not allowed to act sick. Not a bit. Well, since the closest thing I have to babies are my very independent cats, I'm spending the days in bed, tissue box as a constant tag-along and nasal spray as my best buddy. One of the worst colds I've ever had. Thank you, school children, for all of your love and your germs. Thank you, Chris, for putting up with me and babying me . . . while you laugh at my "grumpus" misery. Care and laughter make me realize how ridiculous I am.

My little sister Catherine came to spend the weekend with us while my parents and baby sisters were out of town helping with a church retreat. While I was in bed, struggling to breathe thru snot-corked nostrils and coughing like a smoker, Catherine had an all-day movie marathon and feasted on junk food and watermelon. She was so very very sad to leave. She became even more depressed when she realized that her phone charger liked the easy life so much, it decided to stay behind while she headed back to the real world.

So here I am . . . blogging . . . prepared to fold laundry, the first real work I've done all weekend (due to self-suffocation of sinuses and general weakness and aches) while listening to Tim Curry narrate A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning. Ah, Mr. Curry, you make literature glorious. Thank you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

They're After Me . . . Right?

My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe I'm paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around my neck that's worth more than my head.
--Rita Rudner
I break into a sweat every time I open my email inbox. It's not that there's anything bad in there, besides irritating ads for clothing stores that sell jeans with premade holes (which I will never understand . . . golly I sound OLD), but there are emails. Everday. Multiple times a day. Email. From parents. Oh it makes my stomach hurt to think about it. Nightmares are coming back . . . I dream about email responses.

It's not that there's really anything bad in them . . . questions mostly regarding the lesson plans . . . or papers Sherry and I forgot to hand out . . . or an assignment the parent partner (a parental volunteer who helps in class every day) forgot to stamp or record. I just always feel like I'm in trouble, a disappointment . . . the failing new girl . . .

I'm not. Everyone tells me I'm doing wonderfully. The parents are all really sweet and supportive. The kids seem to like me, they seem to be learning, and, while I feel like I'm losing my mind, my act just might be coming together. Just maybe. The point is my mild paranoia of pleasing everyone around me may just be turning into a true psychological case. Oh dear. And poor Chris has to hear me panic about it every night . . . such a good listener and encourager . . . the poor, poor man.

And did I ever mention how weird it was to be back in "first day of school" pictures? I haven't had one of those since I was . . . I dunno . . . the last one I remember was in first grade? Kindergarten? Ryan McIntosh is in it, a head shorter than I am with a combover and cowboy boots. I was wearing a jean jumper, and the hair that wouldn't fit in my side pony-tail-braid (it does exist) was pinging out in every direction. We had bags our mom's had decorated with our names. Now, I'm back in this pictures, though hopefully my hair looks a bit better, and the person next to me is a wee six-year-old in her school uniform, all smiles, while parents flash pictures like paparazzi. Everyone wants a picture with me. It's sort of like I'm a mini-celebrity, like a soap star or something . . . Anyways, it's just a weird Twilight Zone Moment. At least I'm used to being called "Mrs Bocchino" now. That helps a little bit.

Friday, August 20, 2010


American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.
--W. Somerset Maugham

May the gods grant you all things which your heart desires, and may they give you a husband and a home and gracious concord, for there is nothing greater and better than this -when a husband and wife keep a household in oneness of mind, a great woe to their enemies and joy to their friends, and win high renown.

Chris's sisters never failed to tell me the joys and woes of having him as a sibling, so I had a pretty good idea of his random quirks and habits, especially after knowing him and his family for nearly ten years (wow that makes me sound old . . . ). Chris knew most of my habits because most of our dating relationship we were on the phone and I told him waaaaay too much with words and without.

Marriage has a way of opening eyes to all sorts of little idiosyncrasies, some annoying, some funny . . . some simply exist.

Here are a few of ours . . .

Chris's Kitchen Habits that Confused Sarah:
  • "This cereal box/breakfast bar box/milk jug is empty. I will leave it on the counter so that we realize it's empty. Maybe my wife will throw it away or we can use it as decorative art . . . maybe."
  • Remember how the little girl in "Signs" used multiple glasses of water in a day because they had dust in them or whatever? That quirk was inspired by my husband, not M. Night Shamalan's brilliant plot devices.
Sarah's Kitchen Habits that Confuse Chris:
  • "Oh hey, kiddo, I was just at the store, but I forgot something, and I really need it for dinner tonight--you know, that dinner I planned days ago and put on my list with 'all' of the ingredients? Well, I can't finish it without this thing, so can you stop by the store after work and grab it real quick?" [ok, I have been getting better at that . . . but mistakes happen]
  • Setting dishes to soak in the sink . . . having any sort of sinkal blockage drives Chris nuts.
  • Fixing late dinners . . . partially because Chris comes home late but then making him wait later
Chris's Random Quirks Sarah is Learning
  • Anything involving any sort of chemical is DEATH. Even Raid vs the cockroach is not cool. Smashing it with tissues or shoes is so much better . . . despite the nasty musk and gutsy mess it leaves. And, yes, he is the one who gets to clean it up. [and fyi, we have only seen ONE roach here ever, which is spectacular, and using organic cleaners is cool . . . we are all learning that some chemicals are necessary . . . like Raid]
  • The PCs are in the bedroom, and when Chris is playing his online games in the gameroom via massive extension chords that decorate the hallway, one or both rooms' doors must stay CLOSED at ALL TIMES. I like leaving doors open.
  • We have a spot for dirty clothes in the bedroom and in the laundry room . . . but his socks always end up in a separate pile in the gameroom. Not a messy pile. Just a random pile. At least I always know where they are so he doesn't go sockless.
Sarah's Random Quirks Chris is Learning
  • I love spoilers. Love them. I will read detailed reviews, summaries, what have you on books and movies, especially if I don't think I will see them but I want to know the "twist" and if everyone lives without wasting two hours of my life. Chris likes to go into a book, movie, or game with no knowledge or expectations. My impatience drives him batty.
  • I like the apartment as tidy as possible when people come over--not perfect, not anal, just no yucky dishes out. Chris has never understood this female quirk. '
  • The need to talk about EVERYTHING. :) No really, everything. Eveeeeeryyyyyythiiiiiiiiiiing. He's learned way to much about pregnancy and childbirth, and I'm not even pregnant yet. My stories about my library decreased in faith in humanity. I have scarred him for life.
Dontcha just love marriage? Haha. I do! :) No really, I do. God has blessed me with my other perfect puzzle piece, someone who challenges me and balances me in the best of ways. Love it. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kiddo Diddos

Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month.
--Wernher Von Braun
And golly gee willickers if it doesn't feel like that's been happening lately . . . and yes, I did just sound like Opie Taylor.

People continue to ask me when Chris and I will be expecting. I'm hoping it's not because of my weight . . . *glare* I think part of it is because so many young married couples have been popping up fertile recently. Looking at all those magazine covers in the library and grocery store, I felt like an old-fashioned silly getting married at 22, without a real career. Women, statistics said, were happier marrying in their 30s with a well-established career, and even happier having babies years afterward by natural or scientific methods or wonderful adoption. So here I am, 23, ring on my finger, contemplating creating little mini clones of my husband (if you've seen his family photos, you know his genes are so dominant it's ridiculous ;) ), and wondering if I seem like a relic from Little House on the Prairie. Well, goooolly I was fooled. Maybe it's because I run in church circles, but we're pretty much your average couple . . . give or take the baby thing.

It helps me feel a tiny bit better about having kids working in class. Gosh, these kids are the cutest. Hysterical and chatty but cute. I had a little boy tell me flat-out that school was too long, that I should shorten it. I told him I couldn't but he was free to ask our principal about it. He hasn't really said anything about it since. I hope the kids are learning. They seem to be having fun, and they're all brilliant. Class days seem both not long enough and too long. I try to keep it interesting. Today, one of my boys decided to constantly remind me that I can't say the word "poem" correctly. We were talking poetry, and I confessed I say "poim" or "po-um," which drives Chris insane. Do you think my class let me forget that?? Nope. Not one bit. The parents are awesome. No mutant mother nightmares, though I do continue to dream about passing out papers. It's all a learning experiences . . . pun intended, I guess.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blustery Days . . .

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
--Flannery O'Connor
Amen, Miss O'Connor. A-Bloody-Men. Because, you see, if I had my say, people like Danielle Steel, Stephanie Meyer, and all those trashy romance novelists would have never EVER had a single title printed. But, as it is, my say means so little in the publishing world, they continue to turn the young woman's mind into a pile of sentimental mush with a longing for moody, stalker boyfriends. But, I digress. I'm a cynic after all; the romantic in me died in college.

Ok, so I survived my first day of school without murder -- parents didn't brandish weapons, students resisted tantrums, and, by golly we might have actually learned something. In fact, nearly parent that I have talked with since yesterday (and, when you believe in open parent-teacher communication thru the glories of email, text, and cell phone, you talk a lot) has told me what a wonderful time her child had. Oh I hope it continues to go well. One day down . . . oh so many more months to go. :) There is still so much I'm finding out that I don't know, but, hopefully, by the end of the school year I'll have most of it down. Searching for your life's calling is an intriguing trip. Chris asked me last night if being around super cute (and oh golly are they CUUUUTE) first graders has helped me feel more excited about having spawn of my own. Yeah, no. Now, I'm beginning to think that he was in league with the principle: "Hey, could you put Sarah in a lower grade with all the cute kids? I have a feeling if she's around older, moodier ones she may never ever want to have kids so . . . help me out, here?"

Oh, and last Tuesday, taking my furry little creatures to the vet, I had my first fender bender. More like a fender bump, as the dent in my car is pathetically minuscule. Do not repeat this to the lady I hit. Oh my. In her eyes, I took out her bumper, maybe an arm and a leg. If any of you know me, you know I hate making mistakes, and, even more than that, I HATE having people upset with me. I become literally ill. So, at that moment, not only am I having to deal with my nerves about my parent orientation the next day, but now I have a short, well-dress, hair-dyed, coordinated gold accessory-ed, miniature poodle of a woman shouting at me, "You just hit my car! You were probably talking on your damn phone! You're paying for this! Sorry doesn't cut it! You're paying for it! I'm calling the police!" (ok, and no, I wasn't on my phone--I glanced behind me very quickly because I thought the cat carrier was falling in the back seat, turned around, and there was a pristine BMW in front of me . . . oops)
I didn't even realize there was damage to the car, kept apologizing profusely to her as she snapped "Sorry doesn't cut it!" The policeman came and was very matter of fact about it. His main concern was injury to our persons. Other than my ego I was fine; Miss BMW barked "NO" as if wounds were not at all the point. I cried for the next two hours. Not really sobbing, just cried. Everything was wrong, all wrong, and it was my fault. Chris was a knight in shining armor and rushed to the scene of the crime to comfort me, then picked up something for dinner so I didn't have to cook. I adore my sweet hubby :). Monday, Chris went to our insurance agent to assess the damage; apparently, Miss BMW's mood was not entirely my fault; the agent said she was insane when he had to deal with her. Then again, I'm not sure if you could expect anything other than an anal temper from someone with a name like a Nazi school marm. Yikes. But, yes, the accident was my fault, I should not have looked behind me, and people were inconvenienced by my carelessness, and I'm very, very sorry.

Eventful week around here. I hope it becomes incredibly boring soon. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Taking a moment . . .

We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.--Wernher von Braun

I don't know whether to scream, pass out, or just start working . . . or a combination of all three. I'm having flashbacks of college all-nighters. Mom, you may stop reading now. You know . . . the ones with filled with panic, Vault energy drink, highlighters, notebooks, and a blank computer screen? So many nights, a paper would be due in my 9 AM class, my clock said 3 AM, and of the 12 required pages of a detailed analysis were at zero. Once I didn't start a paper until the day it was due. I just couldn't get my brain to work. I had the ideas, I had the theme, I had the quotes . . . but I couldn't vomit anything intelligible onto that Word document. I wrote it in three hours and dropped it off in the office at midnight. Mom, you did not just read this paragraph . . . I got an A on that paper though. Whew. So yes, the panic, the sweat, the shortness of breath, the wandering mind, the headache . . . it's all coming back to me.

Parent orientation is this Wednesday. Meaning I have three hours to sit down with women who could probably be my mothers and tell them everything I will pour into their precious child's mind and how I'm going to do it. Oh my. Mothers are terrifying creatures. Beautiful, wonderful, but absolutely terrifying. Next tuesday, they dump their little angels into my arms and hope I don't drop them. I'm only hoping the kids don't run away kicking and screaming.
On top of that, I have had three full days of information being stuffed into my brain like an overcooked overstuffed mushroom. Delicious, lovely, but oh so overstuffed. Teacher orientation kills. It's great stuff, but it's loooooooong and it's a lot.

I'm really beginning to realize that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
I've trained, I've prepped, I've thought out, I've imagined . . . but I really have no clue. If parenthood is anything at all like this, I don't know if I will ever be cut out for the job.

People keep telling me I'll do fine, so I'm trying to believe them. Trying really, really hard. Let's hope they're right.
God put me in this position for a reason; it could just be for humbling ;)

When I get worked up like this, I tend to have nightmares. I can feel them coming on. Mutant mothers with first grade math homework . . . oi vey . . .