The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week
I went to sleep at two in the morning on Sunday night after grading until I was cross-eyed and when I got ready for bed I checked my email and I had a message from a student who said I have emailed you twice in the last month and have not received a response- please get back to me about my questions and so I stayed up another half hour because I felt the need to write her back and prove with a screen shot that yes, I'd forgotten to send her a reply to an email she sent that past Tuesday but I'd only received one email from her since early April, and I DID reply to the one from April, and I could tell that when I woke up two hours later with the alarm and the beginning of a migraine and the non-sleeping Vampire Toddler it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.
At breakfast Little Miss Talkalot decided she was too tired to eat breakfast and then The Boy decided that he was too tired to eat breakfast and then Vampire Toddler decided she wanted to eat Pirate Booty for breakfast but I held my ground and said she had to eat fruit for breakfast and then she had a meltdown. I was irritated about the meltdown but also laughing because a two year old wailing "Boooooty" over and over again is funny. And then I forgot to eat breakfast.
I think I'll move to
Australia Austria off Long Island fuck I can't move anywhere.
In the hallway at school the design professor whose office is across from mine had her design students picking up portfolios and they were all waiting in the hallway for their portfolios and I attempted to walk through them and before I could say "excuse me" to one of them in particular her friend said to her, "Leah, move," and then Leah was all resting bitch face and vocal fry and, "I was just trying to get my portfolio," at the same time I did say "excuse me" in a smaller voice, and then Leah moved and I walked through but as I went back to my office I heard Leah's cohorts mocking my "excuse me" and talking about me on the tops of their creaky voices. On the upside, they called me a girl.
My migraine was now a low-grade headache; kind of like wearing a hat or an elastic band all around the crown of my head. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good very bad week.
On Tuesday I received an email from the publisher who solicited my manuscript a month ago and they said that they liked this one poet's book about a nineteenth-century computer engineer better than my book written in sixteenth-century stanza forms about a woman who grows a prehensile amphibian tongue.
One of their editors said my poems didn't sing. Another of the editors said section II sinks it and section III doesn’t help. Why did I ask for feedback?
I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
I could tell because while I was trying to grade papers in my office students kept coming into my office and asking for help on essays that were due in an hour or asking if they could drop off papers early instead of attending my class. They said they wanted to study for other professor's exams. They sent emails with papers as attachments even though I don't accept papers as email attachments.
I hope you sit on a tack, I said to them IN MY HEAD. I hope the next time you smoke pot in your car before coming to my class the cherry falls off and lands on your hemp pants and sets your crotch on fire and the only hospital and surgeon that can do the surgery is in
Australia Austria off Long Island fuck I don't want anyone to get physically hurt I just want them to show up with their goddamn work on time.
On Wednesday I think I witnessed a breakup happen between two students just before they took the final. Another student decided not to show up and take the final and her grade in the class wasn't great but it wasn't terrible either and I don't know what that means but she probably just gave up. While I was giving the final one of my friends wrote me a message on Facebook and asked if I'd heard back from that publisher because she read an announcement on the publisher's Facebook page that they were publishing a book about a nineteenth-century computer engineer. Guess who wishes she really wasn't on Facebook anymore?
It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
That's what it was, because after the final I had to drive over 20 miles to the Brentwood campus for the honors convocation and the coordinator of the honors program told everyone to keep their speeches about their students to one minute in length and then he and his campus colleagues gave speeches about their students that were two minutes in length and so my one-minute speech about my student seemed incredibly underwhelming and unenthusiastic by comparison.
Next year, I said, I'm speaking for
twenty minutes ten minutes five minutes fuck I'm probably not going to read a speech about anyone because why would they ask me back?
On the dais it was really fucking cold and while we were waiting for all of the deans to give all of their far-more-than-one-minute speeches my leg hair was growing at exponential rates and
when our students came up to the dais to receive their honors recognition medals the student awardee I'd been asked to speak about wasn't there because she'd taken off after receiving her award for being "the Spirit of Honors." The irony was not lost on me.
I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, I said to no one in particular. No one even answered because people don't like other people who speak to themselves in public. That shit be creepy.
So then I drove home in rush hour traffic approximately an hour later than I'd told my husband I'd be driving home.
My mother-in-law made us dinner and Vampire Toddler wouldn't eat her dinner.
I wanted to go to sleep or watch TV but I had to grade more papers.
I forgot to bathe the kids, I almost forgot to be the tooth fairy (AGAIN), and I realized I might not have clean clothes for Vampire Toddler to wear in the morning or clean underwear for myself so I did a load of laundry. I hate laundry.
I couldn't finish my grading in time, my house is beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders, and I haven't balanced the checkbook in a month.
I left the dirty dinner plates in the sink and we have an ant problem.
And then, yesterday morning, my husband's aunt passed away. It was untimely and she raised two kind, intelligent, beautiful children who now have to navigate their way through early adulthood without her loving presence. Those kids, and her husband, are going to miss her so very, very much. We, her extended family, are going to miss her very, very much.
It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, but it bears repeating what is so obvious: that I'm lucky to have a life that's so full, even if sometimes it's full of crap. It doesn't take a tragedy to realize it, but it stands out in relief when you lose a member of your family.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I read it to Vampire Toddler last night (not sure she understood it all, but she picked it from the bookshelf and then sat through the whole thing while I read it). Alexander doesn't have that moment at the end of the book where he realizes nothing is as bad as it seems, or as it could be, which keeps the book from being saccharine or scary, but he does end it peacefully, blissfully, deeply asleep.
C. passed away in her sleep, and all we can hope is that it was peaceful and blissful, and that the sudden, unexpected death of their mother doesn't keep P. or S. frightened or prevent them from living lives that might be sometimes terrible-horrible-no-good and very-bad, but that are mostly gorgeous and bright and full of things about which they care, and care deeply.
Even if they move to Australia.