Daily Archives: 17 October 2006

Yay, I lost again!

Only this time, losing was a lot harder. Yep, there’s a parent council at Ignatz’s school too, and remember me being one of seven candidates at the Sniglet’s school? Um. There were fewer, this time. That is to say, there were none. Less than none: not only no volunteers, but no one who was willing to be drafted. I even asked Ignatz, awhile back, if Mrs Lallet’s daughter signed up for French (I was pretty sure she would, and I was right), because I was wondering if we’d have to elect a new speaker this year.

Okay, quick background on German schools. Umm, one thing is that they provide basic religious instruction here (four separate classes: Catholicism, Lutheranism (remember, Europe doesn’t have a zillion little freaked-out variants of basic Protestantism – they sent all those weirdos to the Americas in the 18th century), Islam, and ethics), which I think is a good thing because they don’t tell the kids that they have to believe it all, but they do tell them the stories, which are a good thing to know so that when they read or hear about a pillar of salt or a widow’s mite, they know what that means. It’s the same reason I think English speakers should at least read Shakespeare, because half of what you read has some figure of speech or metaphor drawn from one of his plays, and you want to know what’s going on.

Anyway. What I DON’T like, and what would be soundly illegal in the U.S., is that they divide the kids into classes by religion. They do this because it makes scheduling classes easier, and I understand that, but of course in the States it’s been well-established that administrative convenience does not justify sex discrimination (Reed v. Reed, 1971), so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be an acceptable excuse for religious segregation either. Anyway. We’ve protested, but there’s nothing we can do on our own, so, you know, whatever.

So they keep those classes together until sixth grade. Halfway through fifth grade, each student chooses what second foreign language they’ll start next year (the first is English, started in third grade, and it’s compulsory) – our school offers Latin and French. Then in sixth grade, they’re divided up by language, again to make scheduling easier. So that’s why it mattered that Mrs Lallet’s kid took French, because she wouldn’t be in my son’s class anymore, and we didn’t have an automatic speaker. We had to elect one.

It’s very difficult not to make eye contact with 25 people all at once, even if you’re sitting all the way in the back of the classroom, as I was. Nobody wanted the job, and finally the teacher went around the room and made each of us say why we couldn’t do it – the person with the most pathetic excuse would then be dragooned into acting as the parent-teacher liaison. My excuse was twofold: I’m a foreigner and I only understand about half of what is said to me; and my husband works out of town so I’m not available in the evenings because I have to be home with the demon spawn. It worked, I don’t have to do it, but it was a harrowing evening. I think I may just volunteer next year, to save us all the trauma.

That is, if things have settled down. I’ve just moved house, and have to finish up my server-side technology course and look for a job. Once I get a job, I will be like a normal person, in that when people ask what I’ll be doing in six months, I’ll probably know. As it is, I might could squeeze in a few evening hours a week right now, probably, but I don’t know if that’ll still be true in two months, or four months, or six months, so I can’t commit to something that’ll last through next July.

Of course, if DrBob gets a job anywhere other than Munich, he’ll be out of town all semester, and I really won’t have any evenings free until the Sniglet’s old enough to be left home alone. Oook.

Song du jour of the day: Don’t Fear the Reaper.

Two people have now sent me this song, which is doubleplusgood, because I can throw away that ancient Blue Öyster Cult tape which I only kept because of that one song. Yes, a cassette tape, an ancient means of recording data – the damn thing’s older than Samirah, but not as old as Monty and me (yes, I know it should be Monty and I, but Monty and me is so nice and alliterative – besides, language rules are effectively shaped by common usage, and we may not want to accept the validity of this particular construction, but it will be legalized someday – maybe not in our lifetimes, but it won’t be much longer. I’ll betcha). And yes, I have loved the song since I was six, even though I will never again be able to hear it without saying to myself, “Needs more cowbell.”

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Well that was interesting…

If, by “interesting,” you understand “a fucking nightmare from start to finish.” Umm, I don’t write a lot here about my relationship with my husband’s best friend, because it’s too complicated. He’s… well, my husband’s best friend, and my firstborn’s godfather, and both my kids really like him, but he and I don’t really get along, but I have to be nice to him, and sometimes he is nice too, and then I decide to forget about all the other stuff and that’s when he strikes. I can never decide whether he’s evil or just Really That Clueless.

He came to our house on Sunday. And he cleaned a lot (um, hello? MY house), and rearranged furniture and reorganized things that I now have to fix and restore and put back. He kept saying I could say no to his suggestions, but when I did, he ignored me and did them anyway. And I can’t trust him to be civil, so I have to be on guard all the time (on guard? what for? It’s not like I can retaliate in any way, since I have to be nice to him, see above) so I can’t relax when he’s in the house, which he was for TWO DAYS. And some of it was good, he found some special wood-polish and made the interior doors look not-so-crappy. And some of it was bad – some of the tools are on one shelf now, and others are on a different shelf, and then there’s one wrench – part of a set, mind you – that now lives in the kitchen? For some reason? And some is both good and bad – he trimmed the bushes in the back yard, thank you, and now there’s a big pile of branches and crap waiting for me to cart it away, thank you very much.

And he stayed overnight. In MY office. DrBob’s office has a sleepable furniture in it, but it’s the only room with internet, so it was logical for the Best Friend to stay in MY space, the only place I can be ALONE, instead. (Well, okay, I can hide in the laundry room. I did that a lot, actually.) But see how that worked? It was logical for him to sleep in my office, so I couldn’t object without seeming irrational. And the doors really did look crappy, and he really did make them better, but somehow that gave him the right to mess with everything, and he always made it sound so logical and anyway it was always just a suggestion and I could put it back if I wanted (tell that to the plants he cut up), and I could never object without sounding both ungrateful and unreasonable. So I just skulked around the house like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and got increasingly pissed off.

When Ignatz got home from school yesterday, BF dragooned him into reorganizing his room, steamrollered over all his objections, kept him busy for two hours (making changes that we will now have to un-make). Ignatz had made plans with a friend, and he was now late, so he rushed through his homework and sprinted out the door. BF checked his homework, marked all the errors, and told me to make Ignatz re-do it. Which I couldn’t, because I was taking the Sniglet to his first soccer practice (awww…), but I talked to Ignatz later about it. We made a deal: he doesn’t rush through his homework, and I don’t let anyone drag him away from it, for any reason.

So now it’s over, he’s gone, but I’m still twitchy because he kept talking about “next time,” and I have to be ready whenever the question arises with a list of reasons why “next time” is not going to happen, and um, that’s bad. Because I hate, hate, hate conflict, and when I know it’s in my future I get very jittery. Also because every time I turn around I see something he changed that I now have to change back.

AAARGH.

Song du jour of the day: Get Out of My House, by Kate Bush