Monday, May 15, 2006

Life support

Luther got some life insurance recently. I'd been bugging him about it. I worry that if some accident were to suddenly take him from me, I'd have to give up all of the plans we have together, and I'd have to run back to the safety net of Toronto, instead of pursuing what I think of as our dreams, if that makes sense. So I want some insurance, that I would be able to stay here (well, not here, per se) and do at least a few of the things that we would have done together.

But there's a reality, too, that I never did plan for a retirement or even a future before meeting him. And now that I can envision a future and have some expectation about it, I want to take what Luther can give me: Some security. With both of us here, his retirement is hugely important. If I lost him, on top of the wrenching grief, there would be the reality that I'd have just my lame-assed income. So that, too, is a part of why I asked that he get some life insurance.

Speaking of reality, however... the day he set something up, I got home from work, and there I was sitting on the couch when he reassured me by explaining what he'd done and what the particulars of the plan would be. And tears started slipping down my cheeks. And finally I asked that he stop explaining.

As a financial plan, life insurance is a good idea. It's a very wise idea in our particular case with our particular risks and needs. As a reality, it's hard to even think about. I know I have to know. But I don't want to know. I am not losing Luther. What is the point of having a money cushion, if I can't snuggle against it with my Luther in my arms?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

All mothers, all the time

I hate Mother's Day. Even more, I hate Mother's Day weekend, Mother's Day month, and the advertising that leads up to it all. I hate the overblown miracle of it all.Making babies is a common occurrence. So common, in fact, that practically 50 per cent of the population at any given time can make a baby. Yes, in all liklihood, you too can make a baby.

Can you raise a baby to be a fully functioning, independent, adult human being? Maybe. Maybe not. But this requirement is not addressed on Mother's Day. No. Mother's Day proclaims that all mothers shall henceforth be idolized for their giving, nurturing, self-sacrificing beauty, with no actual proof of giving, nurturing, or self-sacrificing activities required.

Any stupid, selfish bitch, who does nothing at all to ensure that her children grow up into viable human beings, can glory in this day because it is, after all, Her Day. We must shower her in gifts. We must purchase meaningless platitudes printed on overripe greeting cards in freshly butchered flesh tones. We must take Mother out to eat, because of course the Kitchen is Her Domain so we couldn't possibly stay home and fix a meal for her.

Finally, we must take a moment or two to ponder the uselessness of fathers. Fathers, of course, can never rise to the holiness of mothers. They can only stand helplessly by, wringing their hands, alternately adoring and beating the mothers of their children. Fathers certainly do not do for children what Mothers do. Fathers don't nurture. Fathers are not "always there for me." Fathers get a day in the summer, not sanctified by the hand-made card industry known as public school. On Father's Day it is appropriate to give gifts of singing fish and bad ties, in a vain attempt to apologize for the fact that a father, through no fault of his own, can't possibly be as amazing, giving, self-sacrificing, and beautiful as a Mother, no matter how much he loves his children, teaches them, cries for them, and feels lost without them. He's no Mother, that's for sure.

Poor, poor Dad. Please take this crappy tool kit I bought off the Father's Day table next to the cash register as I was heading out of the grocery store, and don't forget to buy a diamond for the Mother of your child next May. After all, it was your seed that made her make the baby. You useless man, you.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Update 2: All school, all the time

This morning, I am waiting for my grades, due out later today. I know what they’ll be, but I don’t feel like the semester is really over until I can print out a grade report.

Bizarrely, I am a student all over again. I dropped out of High School because I hated school. I barely kept my head above beer in University. And here I am now, working in an office at a college. This was the place that would hire me, so far from my home town and the industry I knew best at the time, so this is where I’ve stayed.

Here at the college, one of the benefits available to me is that I can arrange to take classes for free, providing they are offered at one of the state schools, and providing they don’t interfere with my job. Having finally taken that last class to receive my Bachelor’s back in 2001, I decided that getting another piece of paper might be fun, so I searched for a degree program that would suit me.

Georgia doesn't seem to be really big on liberal arts, however. Here in middle Georgia, it seems clear the only reason you go to school is to get a job, and the jobs are in nursing, childhood education, and information technology. A business degree is almost frivolous. Fine arts, which is what I first looked at... is out of the question in most parts of the state.

Finally, I found a likely-looking program sitting squarely on the fence between the creative and the practical, managed by a state university in Marietta, about a 2.5 hour drive from where I currently live, straight through the traffic hell that is Atlanta. The Master of Science degree in Technical and Professional Communication sounded like it might indeed be up my alley, but could I actually get to an evening class and home again without killing myself? Could I, more to the point, actually pass the entrance exam?

Luckily, I eluded both the exam and the traffic. Southern Polytechnic State University was also offering a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication as a fully online program. Admission required a couple of essays and some recommendations, but no exam.

Seven classes later, I am halfway to a Master’s degree. SPSU has graciously decided to extend an offer of a second online Certificate, an opportunity obviously created for the sole purpose of holding onto one of their star pupils, me. Yes, me. Why are you looking so shocked?

I will receive my new piece of paper in the mail in the coming weeks, but it looks like I am not finished after all. I will be back in class this fall. The former Becky Slocombe of Toronto, Canada, who never could stand school... works at a college; is in graduate school; does her best to support her gorgeous husband Luther, who is now a full time college student; and shares a home and her questionable wisdom and sense of humor with the teenaged Wil, who is a full time high school student. It’s all school all the time at the Hendricks household.