Friday, January 25, 2013

Hands Off My Identity, Dude!

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I came home from a hard day of Math Practice (and there will be more on this below, because I need to vent) (and also publicly shame people who deserve it) (forgive forgive forgive . . .) to hear the following message on my answering machine:

            Hi Lady C, it's Nikita again, I was just talking to you, so I'm 
          looking at your upcoming appointments and you're also seeing 
          the surgeon on February 14. Did you want to keep that one? Call 
          us back!

OK, this is alarming on so many levels. The implication is that I called my face surgeon to cancel my appointment on the 31st — and without that appointment, why would I need the reconstruction of my face on the 14th? A reasonable question, for sure.

Except I never called, I did not cancel, and I've already gone a whole freaking week without drinking, which had better not be in vain. Who the hell is calling my surgeon to cancel my appointments? This is, like, the most annoying spiteful prank ever.

And when I called back, Nikita was very suspicious and did not want to believe that I hadn't called her earlier. "Someone else named Lady C must be having surgery the same day," I said. "Nope," she says, "only men are scheduled." "Then she's having it on another day," I said. "Nope," she said, with a definite aha! gotcha! note in her voice, "You said the 31st." "I didn't say anything," I snapped, but then remembered that Nikita was the one with the power in this situation, so I went back to being Miss Mohs Surgery Congeniality.

But I was annoyed.

I got my original appointment back (I thought about suggesting to Nikita that she and I choose a code word, so she'll know if it's really me when Faux Lady C calls again, but I just had a feeling that she wouldn't be into it) and my week of sobriety has not been wasted, thank heaven.

Though yesterday was such an annoying day, Husband pointed out that a drink might have been a good thing. Which is true. But I muscled through on my wits alone, utterly Chardonnay-free, woo-hoo! (Sigh.)

Here's the sitch: I do my math work with three different classes, and because of job-sharing and co-teaching and the like, this means working with five teachers. Four of them seem to appreciate and like me, but one has always acted like I am something she must endure, which of course makes me feel all kinds of happy and comfortable when I'm in her classroom twice a week. My style with the kids is definitely exuberant and joyful (though we do have ground rules, which I refer to all the time), whereas she is much more restrained and controlled (and honestly, if I spent more than 20 minutes a day with these kids, I'd probably have a different style too). But on Tuesday she took me aside for a little talk about "discipline," which basically went like this: "I perceive your group as out of control — no, don't speak, when I said 'talk' I meant 'lecture' — so, if you'll accept my advice, I think you should be much more stern with them and don't let them get away with any of the things you've been letting them get away with. 'Kay? Thanks!"

(Italics mine — I don't let them do crap; when they are pissheads I call them on it, I've already kicked one kid out of the group, and I sent Glum Albie back to his desk just last week when he threw a cube. But whatever, lady.)

She also said that it's very difficult for her when I come on Thursdays, because I'm leading my raucous out-of-control menagerie when she's trying to read a dear little story to her 18 perfectly behaved cherubs, and maybe I could take my wretched feral group of hellions somewhere else? I agreed with great enthusiasm; this will be better for both of us.

Dear Readers, what is your take-away from this story in terms of who will secure the alternate space for my group on Thursdays?
  1. The Teacher, who knows the school and the staff and the layout and the general schedules and therefore what space might be available
  2. The part-time Math Practice Guide, who only knows the five teachers she's working with and the three classrooms she's working in and doesn't know squat about the rest of the school
I picked option (1), how 'bout you? Oh, silly us. The answer, of course, is (2), which I found out when I appeared yesterday and Teacher greeted me with a tight smile and the words, "I thought you were taking them somewhere else today?" I said, "Oh, yes, right, where should we go?" Smile stretched even tighter over her bared teeth: "Well, I didn't arrange a space!"

I grabbed my kids — mind you, we are now a group of five: me, Glum Albie, and the three Dramatic Princesses — and we headed out to the hallway, because I truly had no idea where else to take them. And as I'm trying to find five chairs to put around the one empty table, the kids are clamoring, "What are we playing today? Whose turn is it to sit next to you? It's mine, isn't it? No, Glum Albie, it was your turn yesterday. No, it's mine, it's mine! What game are we playing? Can we play Mystery Bag? Can I choose the game? Can I go first? I don't need a chair, I like to stand," and on and on and on, and I kept saying, "Shh, quiet, remember, we're outside somebody's classroom, we need to be quiet," and I'm inwardly seething, feeling so completely set up by this teacher and absurdly conscious of the poor stranger whose class we were probably disturbing (she eventually closed her door), and my four would not shut up (to be fair, there was nothing else for them to do but yap, since I was still securing our pathetic little workspace), and I finally snapped and said, "Oh My God will you BE QUIET??", which stunned them into silence.

Which felt awesome. Not. Yeah, I suck as a disciplinarian.

When I got to my next class, I was a bit early and noticed that the room was empty and then remembered that I'd seen those kids trooping off to the library earlier; I asked the teachers if I could use their room for my earlier Thursday group, and they couldn't have been kinder or more hospitable. Which almost made me cry.

At our Math Practice meeting this morning I told this story, and my wise and wonderful no-nonsense boss said, very calmly, "Some teachers have control issues and that's why they become teachers." !!!! I felt so validated. My boss is awesome.

I love and support teachers, and I have so much empathy for what they go through, and I am very aware that it's Teacher's classroom and it's 100 percent her call how things are going to be, and if I'm making her life harder instead of helping her, then I'm not doing my job — all that is true, and she still pisses me off.

And I did make the new recipe for Pork and Pears with Quinoa last night and it was just average, which was very disappointing. (However, the green bean casserole kicked booty.) Tonight, I took the leftover pork and sliced it very thin and stir-fried it with asparagus and some other vegetables and concocted a sauce from chicken broth and teriyaki marinade and sesame oil and served it over rice, and it was sensational. And I rinsed the quinoa off the pears, sliced them thin, put them in a glass baking dish with some melted butter and brown sugar and poured a simple butter cake batter over the top, and we're all about to feast on upside-down pear cake, which smells divine.

Lemons, lemonade. All good.

I am determined to have a good weekend of light meals and exercise. Wish me luck!

xx Lady C


  1. I'm not laughing at your pain. But your description of the school and Glum Albie literally had me laughing out loud like a maniac. Carter and his friends are staring at me like I'm loony right now. As a matter of fact, I started cracking up again as soon as I typed Glum Albie.

    I'm glad (now that I've calmed down) that you got the whole stolen surgical identity bit worked out - sending all kinds of Mohs-related warm fuzzies your way. And the stir fry sounds DELICIOUS. I made egg-in-a-basket burgers tonight, which were a huge hit with all the mens. Also delicious. I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing Friday night, Lady C!

    1. My kids ask for Glum Albie stories every day. He is a character, all right, with his little mouth in its perpetual upside-down smile.

      Tell me more about egg-in-a-basket burgers, I have never heard of them! Sounds like Man Food. Husband would be happy.

  2. Oh honey, it's the day for stolen identities. WE went out to dinner at Mill Valley's Frantoio (which makes and serves the best olive oil on the planet). We have not been to Frantoio for several years (I no longer work in Marin and thus no longer score us free tickets to shows because I'm a big important newspaper honcho) yet the hostess not only looked familiar, she greeted us warmly. Very warmly. As in, "OMG, it's so GOOD to see you!" Fortunately she explained she'd formerly hostessed at our most favoritest restaurant, Greens, but now had this gig because she'd moved to -- well of course -- PETALUMA!
    "Small world!" I shriek. She lives about a mile away from us because she's getting a master's in counseling at SSU.
    That's not the story. I'm getting there. Jeez. Let me set the scene.
    So she looks at her computer and says, "Wow, you guys come here a lot. All these comments." (I reserved on Open Table. Some day I'll even redeem my points)
    "All what comments?"
    "It says you prefer a table with chairs."
    "As opposed to standing up and eating?" I said. "Don't most tables have chairs?"
    "Not if you want to sit at the bar."
    "That's not us."
    "You don't normally drink XXX wine?"
    "And you're not friends with Gianfranco?"
    "Uh uh."
    "Well, THAT'S too bad," said this divinely handsome man, materializing out of nowhere. "You get much better treatment that way. And decent food -- Gianfranco's our executive chef."
    "Oh yes," I say. "He's our next door neighbor. We named our son after him."
    "Too bad," DH man says. "You already blew your cover. You're nobodies. But don't worry. So am I. They just let me hang around here for some reason. Here. I'll show you to your table. It's one of the lousy ones." He smiles. I melt into a puddle of quinoa.
    He comes around several times while we eat very good food and drink a lovely 2010 Conundrum (oh, did I make you weep, Lady C?)
    Turns out he's the manager, lives in Novato and is going to give me his cork collection for my laundry room walls.
    But the whole point is, someone else added all this faux info about Mr. and Mrs. Chez Watts on Open Table -- so I guess I've been hacked too.
    We can be the Solidarity Sisterhood.

    1. That is HILARIOUS. What weird-ass cycle of the moon is this? These are the dumbest identity thefts ever. I weep for the future.

      Be sure to add "friends with Gianfranco" to your comments!!!

  3. I am trying to figure out why you were directed to abstain from alcohol for the same surgery, when no one said a blessed thing to me and I am CERTAIN I included a glass of chardonnay in the “clear liquid” category pre-surgery workup. And then it hit me – you must have told them the truth in the “how much alcohol do you consume?” question vs. underestimated your consumption like the rest of us. In my (righteous) mind, it is perfectly acceptable to err on the lesser amount because they figure everyone does that so they err the other way. Therefore, a “three to five glasses of wine per week” gets translated to same glasses per night and then your file gets red flagged as “handle with caution” by the anesthesiologist crew, who have read all the horror stories in their plastic surgeon journals of the evils of mixing knockout drugs with the spirits and patients who lie, lie, lie – and leave you with the malpractice bill/bad doctor reputation. Continuing down supposition alley, in their quest to make everyone feel included in the T.E.A.M. approach (another cautionary tale in the Plastics Monthly Journal), your file gets red-flagged for all to see including the lowly 23 year old receptionist Nikita, who could never live up to her La Femme namesake, but tries by reading salacious details of patients’ files so she can report to the head nurse in a hushed voice any signs of inebriation she suspects from the all-lying patients. So, of course when one of the “lush risks” (sorry to be harsh but those medical journals are just not patient friendly) calls to report an office screw-up of mixed identity it is no wonder you are not believed. Dear Nikita, peers at your red flagged file with widened, albeit slightly cross-eyed irises, and a condescending downturn of her thin (but to be plumped up as soon as she can save up enough for the procedure) pursed lips and questions your cognitive abilities to remember certain details, like making conflicting appointments and not remembering phone calls.

    Not sure if you got the gist of this post – as a knowing friend, you understand I am not judging. It’s pure deflection from my procrastination of not doing the schoolwork I should be attending to on this chore-free Saturday.

    1. Oh, I'm sure you're right. The "avoid alcohol for two days pre-surgery" directive was on a photocopied sheet they mailed me months ago, but the PA I met with said that two weeks before and after is better, to promote healing. And since "healing" is the thing I'm most worried about, I will do what they tell me.

      But yes, I have no doubt I'm red-tagged as a lush risk. And not just at this doctor's office. :)

    2. My son had surgery recently and no alcohol and no smoking and no blood thinners were the rules. No blood thinners is normal but the other two were new to me. (I smoked until I was 31, but my son has adopted this filthy habit. He is 22 and has quit for a month now, but having a harder time since he went back to school.) Avoiding alcohol and tobacco is supposed to promote recovery healing.

    3. Yes, *exactly*. I went back and read the printout, and it says clearly that alcohol is to be avoided because it impairs healing and leads to excess bleeding. Ugh. I want to HEAL, quickly and beautifully and scarlessly.

      I also smoked until I was 31! Or possibly 32. Or 33. I quit when I started thinking about getting pregnant. I always assumed I'd start it up again when I was old, but I took a drag off a friend's cigarette a few years ago and thought, "This is awful. There is nothing I enjoy about this!" So I think I'm an ex-smoker for life, I'm happy to say. I wish your son all the best in his efforts to quit.