Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This afternoon as the rain fell against my window, I brewed a nice hot cup of tea.  Billie Holiday songs were streaming out of my ipod while I sunk into the couch buried under a cozy cashmere throw.  I was completely comfortable and ready to read for hours and hours. Without being interrupted. 

Of course this didn't happen. This hasn't happened for 12 years, but man it is a fabulous daydream.

Here is how it really went....the good, the bad and the ugly.
This is the good, the oh so good.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks are my new OBSESSION.  I am in love with this drink and I want to marry it.

This Everyday Mathematics is bad, very, very bad.  Every time this book comes out of the backpack, which is every week day, I know trouble is ahead.

And this my friends, is when it gets ugly.

For years my family has been telling the straight line story.  We harass my father, who I am not sure actually remembers the straight line incident or not.  But it is one of those stories that has become family legend.

It started at a kitchen table, a lot like the one up in that picture.  With a girl that again looked a lot like the one up in that picture.  The little girl, me, struggled with math and confidence, and paying attention.  

My dad sat at the table and was helping me with my homework.  He patiently went over the math problems, over and over and over and over.  You have to understand that my dad is a very smart man (I think he and Oprah Winfrey know everything).  He has also always been very driven to succeed and know more about everything and anything, and be good at it.  My mother used to angrily mutter "if your father was a ditch digger he'd be the best damn ditch digger there was."  She used to say that like "how dare he!"  Ok, I digress, just trying to make the case for why he might have been so bewildered by his uninterested middle child so many years ago.

There we sat at the table for what felt like hours and we weren't getting anywhere.  It didn't bother me, which really bothered him.  At one point the homework assignment called for drawing straight lines with a ruler.  I attempted it and my straight lines were slanted, even with the ruler.  "Draw a straight line," my dad said with his jaws clenched.  I tried and failed.  Slamming his hand on the table he screamed "Draw. A. Straight. Line."  Hitting the table with each word.  Then he sort of started yell chanting it---"Draw a straight line.  Draw a straight line."  His eyes had a funny look in them, his hair was all messed up, he was turning red and sweating.  He looked crazy.  And damn it I tried, but the angrier he got the more slanted my lines got.  Finally the madness stopped when he said "I give up!"  He got up from the table and grabbed his head shaking it in disbelief.

My family laughs and laughs at this story.  We tease my father and how crazy he looked.  (And I still have trouble with straight lines.)

Oh it was such a funny story until now.  Now that I have those moments of madness with my own daughter.  

She hates math and really all homework.  And I hate it too. She is a smart girl, which makes it all so much more frustrating. I want to scream "What the hell is wrong with you?  You are making everything so god damn hard.  Just do the homework!"  And most days I don't.  But after just a few minutes with my daydreaming little beauty I feel my eyes getting the crazy gleam and my body getting that sweaty, hot rage feeling. 

This my friends is the ugly.  
But maybe it will be funny someday?  
For now, I am just waiting for the next really good latte.

1 comment:

  1. Oh girlfriend... WE are going through UGLY here!! Our 7th grade son is VERY smart, but does not see the need for homework. He is missing assignments. I have taken "everything" away - no computers, video games, even TV. I have called the school , and am ready to scream (maybe I already have reared that ugly face).
    Thanks for encouraging me that kids turn out great even if they hate homework...