Sometimes, the universe gives us a gift we must savor, enjoy, and share

 

Maggie has been under the weather for the last few days.  She missed two days of school earlier in the week because she was vomiting.  Yesterday, she felt good enough to attend school, but then told us that she spent half of the day in and out of bathrooms: gastrointestinal issues.

She barely ate dinner, and when she said she still felt ill, I was putting the dishes away and happened to notice the bananas on top of the refrigerator.

“Honey, eat a banana.  Maybe even try to eat two.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because bananas are binding, and you will feel better.”

“What do you mean, binding?”

“They help make things in your intestines solid so that you won’t have the issues you are having.”

“Mom, that’s gross.”

Ah, a typical teenager, complaining about how miserable she feels, but when her mum offers advice, she turns it down as sheer lunacy.

A few hours later, I was lying in bed watching the DVR’d  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when I saw my phone light up.  I looked over and the text was from Mags.  Yes, the same Maggie who was lying on the couch one floor below me, a wee small flight of stairs away.

9:53PM
This banana thing is no joke.

You feel better?

no but I feel the banana
What does that mean?

idk I feel weird
You know you’re not supposed to put it up your  butt, right?

You’re supposed to eat it.

umm I have to go                                                                                                                                     

Poop?

no

Take the banana out of your butt?

mom youre disgusting

Yes.  Yes.  Maybe I am.  However, I had to be sure.  I am her mom!

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Censored or Unsensored: The Trigonometry of Falling part

Carson came home from school, plopped on the couch, clapped her hands together, and said, “Ok.  I have a story.  Do you want it censored or uncensored?”

Ooh!  Six seconds after school, and I am being offered this gift!

“Uncensored.”

“Awesome.”  She stood, so she could readjust. She sat back down on her knees, a sure sign gesticulation would occur.

“So I am sitting in precalc today, and you know how we are taught?  We sit in “learning groups,” which means, you know, we teach ourselves.

“Mr. K. — He’s like a really brilliant mind.  He understands math better than I think any teacher in the building, but like all real geniuses, he cannot always articulate what he knows, and this frustrates people who don’t want to work for understanding.  Anyway, he’s walking around the room watching us learn and I am just minding my own business working through my problems when I happened to look up.  I notice that the girl who sits across from me at the next table, she looks… I don’t know, almost despondent.”

She paused to readjust, sitting a little taller.  The story was about to get juicy, I knew!

“Okay, so this girl, Amy is her name; she’s a senior, and she obviously needs precalc to graduate.  I know she doesn’t like Mr. K’s teaching style, and I know she struggles in the class.  She looked miserable. She was just staring at the book.

“Mr K. then said, ‘Does anyone need assistance?’  And I watched her hand raise, very slowly mind you.  Hesitantly even, but she did raise her hand.  She didn’t turn toward him, nor did her expression change, but her hand did go up.

“He walked over to her and said, ‘What can I do for you Amy?’  She did not look up.  She did not speak.  She just pointed at a problem in the book.

“Mom, I looked around and no one was paying attention.  The weight of her point was making me nervous, and no one was paying attention!

“Anyway, he bent down, looked at what she was pointing at, and instead of explaining how to do the problem, he posed a question.  ‘What is the cosine?’  See, he teaches by making us figure it out for ourselves.  I mean, I don’t mind because it makes me think about the problems more in-depthly, and I always end up understanding the solution better, but Amy and kids like her, they just want to be told what to do or how to do it…”

“Or maybe they just want the answer,” I interrupted.

“Exactly!”  She pointed at me.  “Okay, so Amy did not look up or answer, and I noticed that her face looked hot.  She was turning different shades of red.

“K was looking at the book and not at her so I don’t think he realized that she looked kind of upset.  He didn’t get an answer, so he posed another question.   ‘Amy, can you tell me which part of the problem should be solved first?

“Mom, this is no joke.  I saw Amy clench her fists.”

“Did she want to punch him?” I asked.

“Probably, but she did something even better.”  The giddiness in her voice let me know this was going to be good.

“Uncensored?” she asked again.

“Good God, yes!”

“Okay.  So she clenched her fists and I saw a single tear leave her right eye.  Mom, I looked around and still no one was paying attention! I looked back, and I am not kidding, the tear moved in slow motion down her face and literally dropped on the page of her book.

“Mr K. was still oblivious.  He was standing next to her but kind of behind her so  I really don’t think he could see any of it.”

“So what happened?”  I asked.  I was feeling the tension she was describing.

“Well!”  She clenched her hands together again, “She let out this kind of weird sigh or sob or…. God, I don’t even know how to describe the sound.  It kind of resonated in her throat, but blew out her nose.

“I realized that everyone else was suddenly aware something was about to happen.

“I cannot make this up.  She looked up, and Mr. K. finally saw her face.”

“What did he do?” I could not wait to hear!

“Nothing!   He did not react.  His face was just as serious and calm as ever.  So, in a very quiet voice, she said, ‘I don’t know what comes first.’  And then tears streamed down her face and it started.”

“What?”

“She said, I don’t know what comes first,’ and then her voice escalated,  ‘because you don’t fucking teach.  I don’t understand a fucking thing and I probably am going to fail out of high school because you are the worst math teacher in the history of fucking math teachers.”

I could feel my mouth gaping.  “What did K. do?”

“That’s the best part.  He never reacted.  His expression did not change.  He just looked at this poor, frustrated, bumbling girl and he did nothing!  After a second, he did say, rather calmly I might add, ‘Amy, I think you should gather your belongings and head to the office.’

Head to the office!  Mom, like she had received a call slip or something.  She stood up, swept up her stuff and headed to the door.”

“What happened next?”

“Oh. this is the best part.  She walked down the hall, a hall with door after door ajar, and kept talking loudly.  “Yep.  I’m going to fucking end up on skid row because of K.  Thanks K!  Thanks for destroying my fucking life!”

She patted her legs as if to iron out a wrinkle in her pants, and smiled.

“Is that it?”  I knew there had to be more.

“Well, basically.  Everyone was staring at K.   I saw it, though.  I saw his reaction.   He cocked his head ever so slightly.  Oh, his wheels were turning, and that slight head movement let me know he was thinking.  And then, he looked at us. No one was moving, and he just calmly said, ‘Does anyone need assistance?’ Like the whole thing didn’t happen!”

“What did everyone do?”

“Pretty much everyone put up their hands.  Like, kids who never raise their hands, they suddenly had questions.”

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know.  Maybe out of sympathy.  Maybe out of fear.  I don’t know, but I feel like after she left, everyone went out of their way to try to understand precalc today.

“That’s fantastic!”

“I know, right?  God, it was amazing!”

***********

This experience was my first with “censored or uncensored,” and I am so glad I made the “uncensored” choice.  Ah, the stress of a high school senior.  I want to say to Amy,  “It’s fine.  You will be fine. Maybe in a wee bit of trouble.  But ultimately, fine.”

 

 

Someone Stole My Name!

Someone stole my name!  I know I am probably not the only Cheryl Huffer in the world, but someone had the audacity to steal my name!

I once had this blog at cherylhuffer.com.  And then it was stolen!  No, do not open a new tab and look at the miscreant’s page!  Do not give them the satisfaction.  Keep reading and all will come to light.

About forty days into the 366 days of my 42nd year of life, I decided I wanted to buy a domain.  For a measly $22.00 a year, I could provide direct access to my blog instead of asking my followers (I think I had a whomping  50ish followers by then) to go through the generic WordPress page.

As a firm believer in Hollywood movies that show people being “discovered,” I knew this one change was going to lead me into the paid writer world.  My pIan was to write something  genius, have it go viral, and because I owned my own domain, some publisher or editor would easily find my brilliance and insist on flying me to New York and offer me a writing contract on the spot!

So, Life as I Understand It officially became available on cherylhuffer.com in February 2012.  My foot traffic did increase, but that might have just been through my own marketing and WordPress access to users.  Thus, it worked, sort of.  It was easy to tell people how to find me.  However, besides for an amazing day in November when I was Freshly Pressed, I didn’t get much more than a hundred views a day.  Sure, my following increased, but my phone never rang, and like the bride left at the altar holding a bouquet too garish for any sophisticated wedding, I never did catch a big break.

Needlesstosay, I continued to write, and the next February, I renewed my domain.

My writing became sporadic, but still the next February, I renewed again.

And the next February…I let it lapse.  At that point, I hadn’t blogged in almost  a year, and people could surely reach me by means of WordPress once again.

A few months in, a faithful friend called me.  He said that he was trying to reference my blog to show it to someone.  Yet, he couldn’t find it.  It all but disappeared.

Frantic, I logged into WordPress and all my posts were still there, but the access points had changed to default, and it was more difficult to find.  I grappled with the necessity of having a domain; I decided it wasn’t necessary.

However, last year, I realized that my blog was funky.  I sentimentally went on to read “My Frank McCourt Moment,” one of my favorite pieces I have ever written, and I realized I couldn’t find it.  The website was haywire because my simple domain did not match well with the generic WordPress domain.  Fearing that I would lose some of my favorite stories to cyber space, I decided I needed my baby back.  I took out my handy-dandy green Citizens Bank Visa. I opened up the purchase page, I typed in my domain… and it was no longer available!  cherylhuffer.com had been bought!

Of course, I immediately opened a new window and found that some hacker stole everything: “Life as I Understand It.”  “Where Insight and Humor collide.”

My name!

My title!

My tagline!

The most egregious component of my stolen identity was that one of my blogs was still attached to the page– a little ditty I titled, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe;” and the only entry the rapscallion had written was about gaming.

I was besides myself.  I am not a gamer and I did not want my domain associated with a topic that had no understanding, no humor, and no insight.

So what is a girl to do when she has been wronged?  Rectify the wrong.  I bought a new name.  A better name.  cherylhuffer.org.  The “org” makes it more swanky, don’t you think?

So here I am today–blogging once more.  I still have my tagline, my title, and my watchful eye.  So, feel free to keep reading and tell your friends. It’s an easy Google search away.

Oh, and if you cheated and looked, you already know– the other blogger who tried to steal my identity no longer exists.  The gamer lost the game!