Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I did it.

I talked to my super.

And quite honestly, it was one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. (Does that sound like a huge exaggeration? I'm sorry... but I actually think it might have been!)

I dropped the kids off at the bus, and as I was walking to the subway I saw him lounging in front of the building. (Not that I mean to imply anything about a super lounging... supers are allowed to lounge. They work very hard. When they're not lounging. Or maybe keeping watch for dogs! That's it! He was on a dog reconnaissance mission!) But I digress. So I saw him there, with his eye keenly peeled - on the look out for dogs with weak bladders... and I stopped a few buildings up and sat down. I ran through the entire script in my head. Again. And again. And ooohhhhh, 50 more times for good luck. Then I got up and walked over to him.

I said that I spoke to the Building Manager & we talked about the problem. I asked what specifically happened & he said he saw dog pee in the hallway - my floor - in front of the elevator. NOW - I had seen puddles there before, as had J -- and I told the super this. I also told him that 1) our dog wouldn't do that (our dog! Like how I say "our" dog!! Makes me happy.) 2) If, perchance he did - we'd of course clean it up! Super nodded. (He's the strong silent type, this super.. which makes my mission all the more difficult.)

I said... soooo..... because the manager said it was ok that we bring the dog back every once in a while, and because he could possibly cause a bit more work for you.... I'd like to give you...I reach into my purse and start to take out a folded bill... He shakes his head. No. He does not want it. He will not take it. I said "really?" I said: "But I don't want to feel funny. I don't want this to be extra work for you - I know this is a dog free place..." He was like "No. That's ok." I said well...ok then - have a good day.... and walked off to the subway. Feeling ill.

Honestly. I felt ill. Thought I'd be sick. I hadn't even thought he wouldn't take it! This "Hush Money!"

So now two things... 1) I'm not really sure if it's all resolved... and 2) You know how sometimes when you do something that's really difficult - and when you're done... when you do it you feel good. Like: "Hey, it was really hard, and I did it! Wow! Good for me!" Well, I don't feel that way. I just feel unsettled. I"m not so proud that I did that. And I don't really even think I did anything "wrong"... except maybe I did? I don't know. The whole thing is just so out of character for me!

(And on a side note - the laundry service that picks up and delivers our laundry... and brings it back all nice smelling and tied into little bundles... well - last week I wasn't there when they dropped it off. I told them that I wouldn't be there, so nobody would pay them. They said "No worries - we'll catch you next time." Sooooooo today they dropped off the laundry & didn't ask for last weeks. I didn't offer. Next week I'm going to. I thought about it. It's the right thing to do. And NO - it's not a reaction formation from the guilt from the bribe! No! It's not! I'm just like that.)

Somehow I feel like this whole dog, bribe/hushmoney/tip/whatever saga has not ended... that actually it has only just begun (cue either Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun" or foreboding organ music.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wow, lots of things happen to you!

That's what my new co-worker said to me the other day when I complained about the note from my management company. The week before my babysitter was unable to pick the kids up & I had to scramble to find somebody at the last minute (called my old sitter) and it was horrible, horrible panic. Then got letter from collection agency - wanting money for plastic surgeon who two years ago billed me for 1) er visit, 2) after hours er visit and 3) after hours er consult! Can you believe it?!? The gall! I actually got the collection guy to get the bill halved for me - so that was good...

But I guess.. yeah... lots of stuff happens to me. Or maybe it's just a bad...err.... season!

So I called up the management company for my building & spoke to the guy in charge of my building. He was actually very reasonable. He said if it's one night every once in a while.. it's ok - but he couldn't allow anything that was "regular" (every other week...). So I was ok with that.. but then he said that it was the SUPER who ratted us out - because he found some urine in the building! I was like "Hey! That's not our dog! He doesn't do that, and if he did you can be sure we would clean it up!" So he was all "Oh man, that means there's ANOTHER dog in my building!" and I was all "But this isn't fair! I'm being penalized for something that wasn't even me!" I guess I could really deal with it if he had said that the neighbors had complained about the clicking toenails...but something we didn't even do! (And J said he's actually seen puddles outside the elevator on our floor - before he's walked his dog.... so I bet the other owner is on our floor!!!)

So - this is the action plan: We're going to (shhhhhh) bribe the super! Yes! I've never done anything like that in my life... but... I'm trying to think out a script - I have to. There is no way I can just walk up to him and be like "so, here's some money - keep your mouth shut if you know what's good for you!" Ha! I figure I'll say something like "I heard you had some trouble with a dog here, I want you to know it wasn't the dog that sometimes comes to visit my apt - but I want to give you this just in case having the dog here causes you any extra work - and hope that you'll let me know if there are any problems...." Does that sound too cheesy? I figure that since it wasn't a neighbor who complained (and he's such a quiet dog it was really hard to think of who would...) that if I do this we'll be safe.

And thus I enter the Dark Side.

I received a phone call from Max's teacher. In kindergarten he would receive weekly reports about his "behavior" and his teacher last year (same one as this year) had the same complaints. He likes to chatter. He likes to "laugh" and joke around.. he sometimes would rather (gasp!) do that than do work... and he's not "working up to his capacity."

I played the voicemail message for Max and showed him the note I wrote back to his teacher. I wrote that if I hear from her again he will lose a privilege (probably tv) and if I don't, I'll get him some Pokemon cards at the end of the month. We talked about it, and he understood (or seemed to) the cause and effect. Honestly? Yes, he's an active, rambunctious kid.. but I also think he's a wee bit bored. When I mentioned this to his teacher last year she got upset "But I make this class so challenging!" So I know better than to bring it up again. But his homework? Busy work. He finishes it in 10 minutes. If that is any indication of what his regular work at school is... Oy. So - we'll see what happens.

Wednesday the kids were over at X's. I call to say goodnight and X gets on the phone. "Nathan just at pork chop and mashed potato. I understand he never eats that with you." I kept my cool and said something like "well, then it's even better that you have him once a week now, isn't it?" but it upset me. Then Saturday he calls me: "Do you ever read to Nathan? He doesn't seem to be interested in anything." When I respond that he's interested in Star Wars and Pokemon he tells me that "Children should be exposed to all different things.... anybody can tell you that... you're not doing enough reading."

So here's the thing: In and of themselves these are just dicky X comments... but you know.. he has this WAY of always knowing the things I"m not so sure about... the parts of myself.... or my parenting... that I feel I can do a bit better. Like if he had said "I don't think you talk to the boys enough - you don't let them express themselves..." I would have told him he was an ass and hung up. I know that's patently untrue - and I KNOW that's what I'm good at. But these are two things that I'd like to do better.... I don't cook and feel deficient in that... and I feel like I NEVER have enough time to read to them as much as I'd like. Or, if/when I do.. well... I don't foist stuff on them that they don't feel like reading. I read what they want. Which is probably fine for 5 and 7 year olds... but... well.. he just plays on those insecurities. How does he know!?!?

Friday night I went to Shabbat services w/J and his daughter. It's at the synagogue he loves. I used to work there - before I went back to grad school - and now.. well.... I just can't connect. So I was sitting there.. and thinking - really thinking - about why I have these feelings about this place. I used to love it before I worked there... so what happened? What is it about the place? And I started remembering how it felt to work there... and I felt invisible there. I was an admin person and that was it. Was not really seen as a smart, articulate - PERSON. I felt invisible. And mostly from the two rabbis. Now, these rabbis are idolized. They are charismatic, dynamic, exciting, educated and insightful people. For the members. Me they said "hi" to and that was it...

But as I was really thinking about it more and more... I realized/remembered how it was for me there... it was right before X and I married. I was miserable. I went to a therapist and cried to her every time. I didn't know it was going to be like this. I thought love was different. Why is he like this? Why does he say these things? (And I don't want to get started about the therapist I was seeing then. She said nothing like .. ummm... if you're so miserable now maybe you want to think about things BEFORE you get married? I understand they're not supposed to "advise" but shit. She could have hinted....) I had just told X about a large amount of debt I had, and he was just horrible to me in ways that I just didn't even know how to counter... and I just wanted to talk to those rabbis. I just did. I wanted the sympathy that they were showing everybody else... I needed it. I was so needy. So miserable. And I remember even walking to where their offices were... hoping they'd come out.. ask what was wrong.. invite me in.. ask me to talk... They didn't.

And probably. Really. That was an unreal expectation. How could they have known? They were extraordinarily busy men.. with hectic schedules, members coming in all the time.. etc, etc... and I'm sure I wasn't the most outgoing of people.. especially about that! I mean, nobody - not even my closest closest friends knew about how horrible our relationship was... So there I was last Friday.. remembering this.. and tears started streaming down my face. You know, it's like I did therapy on myself. I forced myself to remember how it was... probably feelings I'd kept pent up for a long time - it was such an awful, awful awful time in my life... and realizing how now I just could NOT connect with the place because of that. It was a kinda surreal experience.

So I told J & well... he loves the place so we're gonna see. I figure that now that I realize what it's all about & talk it through... it'll be ok.. but we're gonna investigate other places, too.

So - now I'm up and ready to face another week! You?