Meeting John Malkovich

The boys and I were in line to purchase some electronics at Walmart the other night, when the guy next to me turns around and my heart skips a beat because it’s a scary looking, mentally ill version of John Malkovich.

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I think “that guy’s kinda weird…” Then I internally reprimand myself, “Andrea, you can’t just say that, not even to yourself. You could be discriminating.”

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As I shake off my judgement, my giant open mind stares straight ahead and smiles just enough while the lady repeatedly tries to add $35 in prepaid minutes to the flip phone he just purchased.

It’s not working so we’re standing there a good few minutes during which I berate myself for prejudging the man. I’m such a scaredy-cat that I’m worried about this nice gentleman.This cool dude is just trying to get some prepaid minutes, probably so he can call his mother on her birthday or something.

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I turn around to check on the kids. They have our shopping cart perpendicular to the aisle and have created a sturdy blockade of the eletronics department. Ughhh. “You guys, stay to the right and chill or we’re out of…”

Suddenly, Malkovich grabs the air and does a “use the force” hand gesture and rotates an imaginary ball of energy between his grip.

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Okay, so…I’m thinking my initial impression might be right when he turns to me and asks, “Do you know who Joan Jett is?”

 

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“Haha…uh…”

My brain kinda stops working and I respond “Sounds familiar, she’s like an old singer, right?”

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Then he says something and I do the whole “I heard what you said(I did not), and I’m laughing it off, and ending the conversation” thing as I’m trying to get the boys attention because

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He starts digging in his paper grocery bag. I’m talking to the boys who are parked to the side and are about to brawl over something stupid when Malkovich pulls out four pink letters and presents them to me.

“Look, these are to his Pasadena address. Look at the back!” Four pink envelopes addressed to Adam Sandler. On the back of each one was labeled uno, dos, tres, and the last one had a shiny sticker on it and was labeled fini.

“Do you know what that means?” he asks.

“The end?…” I croak.

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Let’s go guys this line is too long.

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So Adam Sandler, I’m just saying that I saw something, so I’m saying something. Your life could be in danger.

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When I got home I told Todd the whole story and he said “Why does all this weird shit happen to you?!” and I am still contemplating this. #itskindahardtotell

 

 

 

This Little Cutie Got a New Job!

10 pm and Todd’s ready for bed. This is a late night for him. After working as the summer school admin for SJCOE, he started a new job placement at DCA. So many acronyms, I know. 🙄 Basically, he worked ALL summer long. Every single day, all day.

On the other hand, the boys and I are on our 60ish day off. We’ve been mastering the “sleep in and chill.” 😴😴😴🎮🎮📖 Sometimes, I kinda feel bad. We’re like over here living our best lives, and he’s over there, grinding on the reg.

This poor man.

I swear our redeeming qualities make us totally worth it though. #hisfanclub

The one tiny consolation is that he LOVES his new job! It’s actually a really sweet gig with a cool ass program, with cool ass people. At least those are the vibes I’m getting…😂🤷‍♀️ I don’t know firsthand because I’m still waiting for my Q clearance to be approved so I can come check out his new classroom, because he’s teaching at…🥁🥁🥁…

A MILITARY SCHOOL!!!! 😂🤣😂🤣

Discovery Challenge Academy is a joint venture between SJCOE and the National Guard. It’s located at the old Sharpe Army Depot.

He was a Mentor last year. A kid he taught since jr high asked him to be his mentor and he was proud of the kid for making the choice for change in his life, so he did it. As a Mentor, he had special access to this cadet that his family could only access through letters and a few visits. Todd brought him a burrito 🌯 and a Dr. Pepper one time to check in with him.

He got a letter from his student a couple days later, thanking him for the lunch, but saying he’s not allowed to have caffeine next time. 🤣😂

#breakinthelaw🤘

His student completed the program, and we attended his graduation ceremony. These kids didn’t just graduate though, they CONQUERED. It was physical, mental, and emotional. I literally cried. 😢🖖

The more he learned about the program, the more interested he was.

Todd’s been teaching alternative ed since he began teaching, forever ago. 🦕 Before landing the one.Charter Main gig, he taught at several sites throughout Stockton. Some might suggest that many of his students weren’t typically “successful in a traditional educational setting.” 😂😉

I’ve told him so many times that he should get a job with Manteca Unified and make more money, doing less dangerous things.

The rumor on the street is that charter school teachers have a lot of ‘responsibilities’.

Most traditional school sites have a principal, vice principal, program coordinator, psychologist, counselor, resource specialist, assistant to the resource specialist, office manager, attendance clerk, custodian, nurse, tech support, health clerk, lunch person, assistant to the lunch person, yard duties, groundskeepers, etc. Sometimes though, at a charter school, you’re ALL of those things…and more. It’s the “more” you try to focus on. You’re hired as a teacher so in between IEP’s and CPS reports, you try to figure out how to teach 25 kids from 7th-12th grade at the same time that are typically “unsuccessful in traditional learning environments.” No biggie.

His first teaching job was at one.Ethics. A Community school on Hammer Ln that was shot up by Asian gang members. It’s cool though, he wasn’t alone.👍 He had another BRAND NEW teacher as his partner!

They taught 60 kids at a strip mall and GOT IT DONE!

Then he moved to one.Choice and taught teen parents. We donated our son’s baby clothes and I bet those kids improved their parenting skills just by knowing Todd.

He’s like, a really good dad…

Eventually, he earned a spot at the Manteca site with his mom. HIS MOM!!! 😂🤣

They taught at the same site for years.

Todd: Ms. B needs to see you.😎

Jerk: (snickering) You mean, your Mom?😂

Todd:

That’s the only sad part of this post…Todd’s really bummed to leave his friends (and family) at one.CharterMain. They’ve always been the best part of his job.😥

But…it’s day ten at DCA and he’s still on cloud nine. He’s eagerly discussing lesson plan ideas. Like #whoareyou? I’m so happy because he’s so happy and every night he tells me about what the kids are going through and I have huge respect for them. Right now they’re in the “acclimation” phase. They LIVE there for five months. They are isolated from what they know and are pushed to their limits physically and mentally. I just totally respect any kid that VOLUNTEERS for that and completes it. 👏🙌

Imagine teaching those kids… 🤯

They have NO contact with the outside world. NO cellphone, NO television, NO internet. It’s like one of my favorite shows #nakedandafraid but #scholasticedition.

Todd has Uh-Maz-Ing lesson plans and these entertainment deprived teens are going to love them. 🤩🤩🤩

Tomorrow they visit the USS Hornet and receive their uniforms. It’s like a BIG DEAL and that’s what I love about Todd’s new program. Things are significant. Those teenagers have pushed themselves physically and mentally to get to the next phase, and tomorrow they’ll be recognized. Earning a uniform is milestone for them. Proof that they have survived the early wake up calls, runs, drills, orders, etc. and shown they have the grit to commit.

These are the minds Todd gets to inspire and it’s precisely why he loves, and is loyal to SJCOE. I don’t want to say it, cause it’s hella cheesy, but…he’s on the frontline of change…🤣🧀. These kids are ready for it too. They are so lucky to have him.

There is one tiny itty bitty thing that sucks…

As I mentioned, it’s located at the Sharpe Army Depot and “apparently” he has zero reception. So he doesn’t get ANY of my calls or texts all day long. 🤔

So You’re Thinking of Joining a Gym…

Like millions of other Americans, in a few weeks after your holiday indulgences have materialized, you might think “Hey, it’s a new year, I need to get my stuff together and get in shape.” Good for you! Exercise is really good for you. At least that’s what the “doctors” say. I’m so sure, they’re so dramatic.

With the new year, you might be considering getting a gym membership. Maybe working out at home is just not cutting it. You quit too soon, children interrupt you constantly; you clearly need a gym membership. But, if you’re waffling, I’d like to give you a heads up on what to expect, just so you’re not intimidated and you can take charge of your health. If you follow this step by step, you too will have zero results. 🤞Guaranteed🤞

So the first, most important part is that you go in there acting all experienced, like you’ve been here everyday for months. DO NOT LOOK TO THE RIGHT. You’re not ready for the free weights yet. Just look straight ahead. Focus. Type your phone number into the keypad and place your index finger on the fingerprint scanner. While this registers, you’re probably going to question whether you should have put your thumb down instead. This is a legitimate concern. After a few seconds you might start feeling anxious. Damn it Andrea, if you came in here more often you’d know which finger to scan. Just own the index and look the lady in eye like you belong here…Please work 🙏 Finally the scan machine reads “Enjoy Your Workout!”

tenor Oh Thank God, it WAS the index.

So we’re in! Phew. That was stressful. Don’t worry we’ll get some endorphins pumping and feel great. Let’s just go drop our bags off in the women’s locker room. You’re gonna wanna carefully weave around the huge weightlifters and their giant water jugs. Are they seriously going to drink that gallon of water? You know you gain a pound for every 16 oz of that you drink, right? Hey, you do you, I’m just sayin. Oh here’s the locker room. Let’s find an open…

Oh wow.

The senior aquatics class just ended and they’re all just *thinking* about getting dressed. Totally naked, chatting away, and in no rush to put clothes on. Am I the only one that’s not used to seeing hella naked people all the time?! Obviously I’m super mature, so I look away and act totally normal, but just fyi…people get and stay very naked in gym locker rooms. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

So if you’re following the Andrea plan, you go to the elliptical in the far corner. You dial up your ipad to the latest crappy book you got on KindleUnlimited and you start plugging away.

ForcefulIcyAnura-size_restricted.gif After 30 minutes of sloth-like exercising, you wipe down the machine and migrate to the ab rollers. You do some crunches, taking lots of breaks between sets to rest and examine your life choices.

If it’s shorts weather, you might consider the machine where you’re repeatedly doing a spread eagle crunch with your thighs. This machine is highly effective. It really tones your inner thighs, but I’d avoid it unless you’re single and looking to mingle. It’s essentially Roxanne’s red light.

You could also take a class. I’ve taken all of them except Silver Sneakers, which is chair-based for the elderly.

bigstock-Seniors-doing-exercises-in-a-r-138261863 That one would probably be my favorite, but I’ll sum up the rest of them for you really quickly:

Cycling: the instructor keeps telling you to increase your resistance and you’re pretty sure you’re in cardiac arrest but you don’t want to make a scene. In addition, you’re crotch is suspiciously sore the next day.

Pilates: The Best. Only offered Tuesdays at 9:30 for the four people with no jobs.

Zumba: I can’t even. Every 10 seconds the class turns around in-step to stare at you, off-step as usual.

Body combat: “This is so dumb. I’m punching the air.” FADE IN Next Morning: “I can’t move my arms.”

Yoga: Child’s Pose #nailedit

Body Pump: Lighter Weights, lots of reps. You might die.

If you don’t like the hour commitment or public shame involved in classes, there are a couple other options.

If you like to play basketball, there’s a court, but I wouldn’t recommend it due to the sweat and aggression in there.

img_8868xlwCrH There’s also a huge section of weights and weightlifting machines. I don’t know how to use any of those, and there’s entirely too many mirrors and too much eye contact in that area anyway.

funny-pictures-workout When you finish your workout, you should reward yourself with 10 minutes in the sauna. That’s where the real magic happens. Fat melts and seeps out of your skin. Right? Is that not scientific? I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.

seinfeld12 While the sauna is the cornerstone of my fitness regime, it’s also where things can get kinda awkward. It’s an 8×8 wooden room of silence and it can get pretty crowded. Most of us just sit there and become one with our chakras, but sometimes we get weirdos. This one guy came in wearing his brief underwear. Not a Speedo, but sweaty, see-through, brief underwear. He started doing squats. Like deep squats. Me and the 70 year old Indian man next to me were really focused on the temp gage in the upper corner for awhile. Yup, still 180.

After 10 minutes it’s time to go home. If you’re like me, the sauna might make you freakishly red, so you’re going to want to put on your hoodie and sunglasses before you walk out or they might mistakenly call an ambulance.

So, that’s my workout plan. Three days a week, two weeks out of the year. Is it worth $35/month? It’s kinda hard to tell…

A-holes in the Outfield

This is a very important public service announcement to every sport enthusiast that has ever heckled a ref. You’re a jerk.

I mean I’m sure you have other redeeming qualities, but regarding this issue…

I mean cut them some slack, that’s got to be the worst job ever. I was reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens to some 8th graders recently and it said a professional referee can earn UP TO $250,00 a year. That’s it?! To be emotionally abused and a social pariah needing security to escort you to your car after a hard day’s work?!  When on your best day only half the people think you suck? No thanks.

Even reffing for 7 year olds is dangerous. During basketball this year we saw our opponents’ coach yell at a 17 year-old high school ref. She literally walked onto the court and screamed at him.

The young guy was probably just trying to make enough gas money to get him to an orchard party that night. The poor kid is doing his very best on a Saturday morning at 8 am. He’s probably got a helluva hangover. Cut him some slack lady.

Recreational soccer is even worse! They have sweet little 13-year-old girls refereeing the games and the parents are brutal! One year our team mom was the most viscious. She would yell at them “Oh Okay, so you’re gonna call offsides NOW?!” or “If the REFS are gonna let him push you, PUSH HIM BACK!”

However, the worst, by far…is the little league parent. These parents are actually advanced species.

They can call a strike from the outfield, through a net, with 100% accuracy. They have hawk-vision that is impeded by neither distance, nor angle. In addition to their advanced eyesight, they have extremely developed vocal chords.

“Great play! It’s not your fault the ump is blind!,” said the parent-spectator when Todd filled in as an umpire for a friend last Wednesday.

I guess it just bugs me so much because I feel like that 13 year old soccer ref is trying her very best. That poor teenage basketball ref is only making enough money to buy him a twelver of Natty Light, and his freeloading friends will probaly drink most of them. The volunteer dad is missing his mother-in-laws birthday dinner, but that’s beside the point.

It really is a super hard job. I subbed for jr high PE today and we played this really fun game called “Steal the Ball.” It’s basically capture the flag, but the flag is a tennisball and you can pass it one time. I’m there with my 13 year old whistle that’s all bent up and sounds like it’s going through puberty, and I’m doing my very best to monitor the participation, safety, and behavior of 28 tweeners when all of a sudden…

BOTH sides fire off a Hail Mary…

The two tennis balls were caught within nanoseconds of each other and I had just as much time to make a decision.

I went with my gut, but there was dissent. Both sides were so convincing with their opinions that it made me doubt myself, yet without instant replay, what can you do but stand by your decision?

Don’t get me wrong, there are bad calls. All the time, at every level.

They’re only human. I couldn’t care less if the “evens” beat the “odds” today, just like the volunteer little league ref doesn’t care if the giants beat the warriors tomorrow night. I think they’re just trying their best, hoping someone gets 10 runned, so they can go home early.

For some people, it doesn’t matter what level, what season, what sport, what friendly game of silent ball on a rainy Tuesday in elementary school. The refs are ALWAYS wrong, until they’re FINALLY right. Good sportsmanship is the greatest thing our kids learn from playing sports and I think we might need to be better examples.

Or hey, I could be totally wrong.

Yeah, these people might be shitty referees. If that’s the case, and you’re an outfield elite, get your ass out here and volunteer. We could really use an ace umpire like yourself.

Until then, just take the call as it is, and remember it’s just some teenager or some parent out there trying their best with no instant replay and a lot less than $250,000 for their effort.

Or maybe it was a crappy call after all, it’s kinda hard to tell.

Virtual Hoarding

I just got a message from a friend asking about switching snack bar schedules next week and I’m like “Sure, no problem! I’m not even on the snack bar schedule; it’s the least I can do”  She’s like…yeah, you are…according to the email. Oh Shit. The Email.

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About that…I’m a little behind on my email upkeep. I’ve been meaning to sit down and go through my inbox. You know, check some messages, mark some spam, but…

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One thing led to another, I was absent one day, and now this is me except with emails.

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I don’t know how emails work in the real world, but I got mine in the 1900’s and it’s the only one I’ve ever had. I went to America Online and I applied for membership. I was accepted and invited to create a username. No biggie, just a bunch of letters.

andreahayes@aol.com–UNAVAILABLE

andreamaehayes@aol.com–UNAVAILABLE

andreamaehayes1981@aol.com–UNAVAILABLE

Seriously?

andrea?????…

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Baklava!! Beat that, bitch! 

andreabaklava@aol.com–AVAILABLE!

YESSSSSS!

Like I said, just a bunch of letters…That you have to give EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU EVER TALK TO.

“Yes, Ma’am. I’m sorry your son isn’t feeling well. Could you tell me your email address for security purposes and we‘ll get you right over to the advice nurse.”

Yeah sure, it’s…andrea…

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…baklava@aol.com

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Most of you probably can’t even relate to this because you have real jobs with real work emails. Us “freelancers” don’t have that luxury. Sure we could create any random Hotmail account, or get a gmail barcode, but we’re old school. There ain’t no numbers in my username, biatch. 

Anyway, being OG means you got them OG cookie crumbs following you around. We bought a tac light last year and now these guys think we’re besties. Two emails a day. No, thank you, screw me once…

 I’m drowning in junk emails! But I can’t just delete it all. There has to be very important emails buried in that virtual hoard. There’s diamonds in that rough. I’m talking about baseball game snack schedules, PTA agendas, and birthday pictures. What the hell do I do? Just start a new email? What if my long lost cousin that I’ve never spoken to wants to start a relationship? How will they ever contact me?

**Side note: They could call my parents. My parents have had the same phone number all my life (209) 823-8817. Give ‘em a call. LOL. My mom even gave us our own phone line in high school. It was listed in the phone book as “The Hayes Children,” I shit you not. “Hey, let’s call that cute sophomore girl, what’s her number? Look her up…she’s under “Hayes Children.”

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Anyway, this virtual mountain of data is bringing me down. I think I’m almost ready to consider letting it go. I will be making a huge sacrifice. I will have to say goodbye to those baby pictures I never got a chance to open, those amazing deals, and I’ll have to give up the email evidence of that one time you said that one thing and now you’re totally wrong… Just know I know.

If only I could transfer them to a recycle bin that held on to them forever. Just in case. My heart is racing just thinking about the risk involved. No, I’m not ready. Not today, Satan.

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Maybe I’ll do it. If I get 200 visitors I’ll delete all and I’ll even live stream the ensuing panic attack. Maybe.

P.S. Did you notice how our six year old created a folder named “Mom and dad” and put all of our shit in there?!  

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Wow Miles, I’m so sorry MY apps on MY phone were making it difficult for you to access piano tiles and monster legends. Sometimes I don’t know who’s in charge of who over here. It gets kinda hard to tell.

Freelance Teaching

I became a freelance teacher, aka substitute, 12 years ago. Fresh out of college, I was planning to be a teacher, but thought I’d sub until I got my credential (another year of college…blah). So I applied online, took the test, never got arrested, and BAM! Hired.

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In the beginning it was a stepping stone, a way to make money until I got a teaching job, but I quickly learned two things:

  1. Subbing is really fun.
  2. Teaching is really hard.

Like, really hard. You’re basically parenting 30 children at the same time, but instead of them playing outside, watching cartoons, or slaughtering zombies on the xbox, you have to get them to silently stare at you while you teach them how to read. All of them. At the same time. It’s impossible, but these people do it. EVERY DAY. IN A ROW. My husband and mother-in-law teach high school and my sister-in-law was EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR!!

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So I’ve seen first hand how much time and energy goes into being a QUALITY full-time teacher. Todd grades papers on Sundays and worries about struggling students at night. The “parenting” doesn’t stop at the ring of the bell.

Subbing on the other hand has its perks…

Number one, obviously, is that I only work when I want to. I can take a month off or work everyday of the week. I schedule jobs online and cancel them at will. I’ve literally never met my boss. The only tiny catch is that you don’t get paid if you don’t work. I’m still trying to find a way around this.

Number two, I get to experience the fun parts of teaching without all the work. They pretty much give me a script and all the worksheets. I don’t take home papers to grade or deal with discipline the next day. I just stroll in and let the good times roll.

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Thirdly, I’m basically a celebrity at our school. When I first started, I subbed at every school in our district and tried every grade, but for the last several years I’ve been pretty much exclusive to my boys’ school.  So all the kids know me. When I walk across the blacktop to get to the junior high portables, the little kids smile, wave, and run to get a hug. “Hi, Mrs. Baker!!” “Hi, Mrs. Cupcake!”

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Also, I get to spy on my children. Every once in a while, 7th grade SSR coincides with 1st grade recess or 3rd grade lunch and I peek through the blinds while the class is reading quietly. I watch Miles race to the playground and hang from the monkey bars for 15 consecutive minutes, and I see Jonah playing soccer on the grass. Priceless…kinda.

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Finally, the best part of subbing is the hot lunches. For $4.50 I get to relive my childhood and experience the delectable dishes I was denied as a cold lunch kid.

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I’ve taught 8th grade laguage arts enough to know that any good argument addresses the opposition…

So, it doesn’t pay extremely well, monetarily. Warm fuzzies, yes. Cold hard cash, meh.

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Todd has taught summer school every single year since he started teaching to compensate for my summers off. He’s also worked most Christmas and Easter breaks. He makes that sacrifice so I can be a sub celebrity and spy on our kids. Obviously worth it, moving on.

Sometimes subbing can be a challenge. “Spirited” students often choose to derail a lesson and create general havoc, especially when their teacher is absent. Sometimes the dissent spreads and you have mutiny afoot. When this occurs, it’s important to remain calm. At this point you grab the nearest Expo marker and with poise and perfect penmanship, you write “Minutes Off Recess” on the board. Before you get to the last “S” you can hear a pin drop. You have won the battle, but not the war. It’s 9:05 am. By lunch recess you’re gonna need some glue therapy.

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Another downside to freelance teaching is the constant exposure to germs. I’m around 30 new snotty, sneezy kids everyday and I’m often touching the same things that their sick teacher just handled. A first grade classroom is the germatic equivalent to an incubated petri dish of bacteria. I have to confiscate questionable items everyday, like this slime…

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One time I had to take away a 7th graders lucky rabbit’s foot because it was distracting him and his buddies. AFTER he placed it in my hand I realized what the big deal was. It was a FRESH rabbit’s foot. He literally cut the foot off a dead rabbit the day before. It still had bloody flesh at the end.

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When you’re not handling specimen containers or amputated animal appendages, you’re a friendship counselor:

“They said they don’t want to be my friend anymore!” the little girl cries.

(Well that’s because you’re a tattle-telling little bitch) “Oh, I’m sorry! I’m sure they didn’t mean it. I’ll talk to them. And don’t be sad, I’m your friend”

Or you’re the conspiracy confidant:

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Or after consulting the answer key multiple times, you have to maintain a straight face while explaining to 8th graders how “dic,”  pronounced “DICK,” is the root word of contradict:

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There’s never a dull moment in freelance teaching. It’s the blessing and the curse. One of these days I’ll probably accept a full-time position. I’ll make 4x as much money and do 10x the work. Next time, I’ll tell you all about my worst sub day ever. If you’re interested. It’s kinda hard to tell…

 

Mergephobia and Me

Do you have a phobia? Not like arachnophobia. Everyone’s afraid of spiders; they can kill you. I’m talking more about those weird, funny, crazy phobias that interfere with your daily life. Well, I do. I don’t drive on the freeway. It’s not like I never have, but the number of times is definitely a single digit. It’s not the freeway driving that scares me though, it’s just the merging part. I don’t know how you guys do it. You have about 2.5 seconds and 50 feet to accelerate to light speed and slide into a tiny open sliver of space between two cars that will run you off the road if you don’t get it just right. It’s like level 30 of Tetris.

I’m pretty sure I got this fear from my mother. She drives on the freeway, although reluctantly. I remember getting on the freeway with her one time and for some reason she didn’t get her tetris piece lined up correctly so we had to pull over on the shoulder. Getting back on the freeway from the side of the road was pretty traumatic for the two of us. That’s never happened with any other driver I’ve ever known, so I’m pretty sure it’s genetic.

How does a person make it 36 years without driving on the freeway, you ask? Luckily for me, I am surrounded by lots of loving, caring, enablers. My best friends, Cynthia and Davina, always offer to pick me up for out of town things and my mom even drove me to and from UC Berkeley one summer so I could finish my Bachelor’s. She would sit near Sather Gate and read and watch the hippies until I got out. If that’s not love/enabling, I don’t know what is.

Since I try not to be a total loser, I have figured out ways to get to most surrounding cities without getting on the freeway. Sure, the backroads might add an extra 30 minutes to my route, but I get to see lots of beautiful farms and have more time for personal reflection. I just type my destination into my phone, select “avoid highways” and the nice, calm robot lady tells me where to go.

A few months ago, I was taking the boys to a birthday party in Stockton. Unlike the way to Tracy or Modesto, Stockton’s backroads are a little less farmy and a lot more scketchy. You have to go through the norteno breeding ground and take a right at the homeless encampment until you get to the bowels of downtown. Unfortunately, there was a Cinco de Mayo parade that day and ALL the major roads in downtown were blocked off. My robot lady was not aware of this, so I as tried to find a way around, she patiently kept “rerouting” me to the parade. I was so exasperated I pulled over and called Todd. I parked under an overpass right by the HWY 4 onramp and the bridge people popped their heads out of their tents and started to get real curious.

I have my sweet boys in the car and I try to remain calm, but I’m flipping out inside. Finally, I tell myself, “Get your shit together Andrea! A twelve year old can get on the freeway steering with his knees and eating a cheeseburger, YOU CAN DO THIS!” So I got on the freeway…but it was the wrong one! I ended up lost in the vast wasteland of the Port of Stockton. At this point I’m crying, the boys are crying. I call Todd again and try to relay my position, but the damn ships don’t have addresses. Jonah cries “Can we just go home? We don’t need to go to the party! I want to go home!” Jesus took the wheel and somehow we made it back. The boys are now terrified of Stockton, rightfully so.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to overcome this phobia. Ive practiced with Todd and I even went to group therapy once. Everyone in the group had anxiety and phobia issues. Some of them were pretty wild, but who am I to judge? One of the ladies in the group had a fear of minorities. I didn’t realize racism was a phobia, but I guess they’ll diagnose anything these days.

The counselor gave us all “homework assignments”to complete before our next meeting. The racist, oops I mean the “xenophobic,” was told to shop at Food 4 Less instead of Raley’s two times over the next week. Seriously?! My assignment was to drive on the freeway. Wow, what a groundbreaking idea. I mean, I’ve avoided it for 30 years, but now that it’s a homework assignment I’ll just zip on the expressway and get that done. 🙄 So I dropped out. My psychiatrist (yeah I got one of those) said “Here, Andrea, take this Xanax the next time you need to get on the freeway.” What!? So I can’t manage it with the music off, my brain on full alert, and my hands at 10 and 2, but you want me to try it ON DRUGS!!! No thanks, Buddy.

At this point it’s something about myself I’ve accepted and I hope you can too. I don’t think it’s worth it to risk innocent lives just so I can go around bragging that I can drive on the freeway.

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So maybe I’m avoiding the merge for the good of mankind. Or maybe I’m just a loser. It’s kinda hard to tell…

We are the Champions

You probably didn’t realize that you’re friends with a Fantasy Power Couple, but you are. We try to stay down to earth and remain friends with our base, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. I mean, two super bowl championships, Roadsidehermit considering a tour in Salida, and now this blog…

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Alas, everything wasn’t as rosy as it appears today. It was around this time last year when Todd and I almost got a divorce. It was an interloper, of course…someone hell-bent on destroying our MARRIAGE, the best thing that ever happened to me! His name was Jimmy Graham.

To really understand the weight of the betrayal, we should start at the beginning…

Todd started playing fantasy football about a decade ago and it continues to be the highlight of his year. He gets really into it. Every Sunday is an emotional rollercoaster. The other day, he came to me with a concerned countenance and said “Can I talk to you about something when you get a chance?”

Oh no…He’s unhappy…He’s totally over it…You can step it up, hear him out…

“Should I start Cousins or Stafford?”

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Ten years later and he hasn’t won the super bowl. Yeah, he got on the dance floor a time or two, but no dice. Definitely no name on the trophy…Yeah, they have a trophy…
Last season I was invited to play on a Female Fantasy Football League. I thought, “What the hell, I hear about this shit all day I might as well try it out. And it will complete my master plan of infiltrating every aspect of Todd’s life and taking it over.” Of course, my first priority was to draft Aaron Rodgers, I mean, we did go to school together…we had that thing at the crosswalk on Durant where he looked straight ahead and I stared at him, mouth agape…Rodgers

Surprisingly, to everyone but me, I made it to the playoffs. It was a rebuilding year for Todd, so he didn’t have anyone going, but I was super excited about my rookie year. It just so happened that Todd had recently unearthed the magical world of online fantasy football. He could choose a new lineup anytime, bet a couple of bucks, and make any game interesting. That’s super cool, #totallyendorse. Until…
I said…”You know, since you don’t have anyone playing in your actual league, could you just not start anyone against me online? I’m playing Kristyn and she has a really good team. I’m almost to the super bowl. I don’t want you to be rooting against me.”

“Oh, of course. No way.”

FADE IN. NEXT DAY. Todd’s on speaker phone with his brother in Miles’s room. They’re working out a line up. Again.

“Yeah, so we gotta go Graham.”

“Yup, what about…”

And that’s the second Todd jeopardized our marriage and I realized I had no idea who I was married to.

“Are you seriously starting Jimmy Graham? Kristyn has Jimmy Graham!”

“Well yeah, but…you just have to…if you want to win any money. I’m totally rooting for you though!”

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We got in this huge stupid argument about him starting a rival tight end and not supporting me and caring about my feelings. Completely exasperated, I said, ”This is so stupid. I can’t believe we’re arguing about football. I SWEAR TO GOD, I’m not playing this again!”
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What did I just say?!

I never swear to God. That’s like a vow. I made a vow in anger and I can’t take it back. I can never play fantasy football again.

It turns out, Jimmy Graham didn’t do shit that week and I made it to the Super Bowl… And I WON!!!!

I totally WON the championships my rookie/final season!

Even if my husband had no faith in me, whatsoever.

A few weeks later, this little bauble came in the mail. You can’t order these things online…

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And Blessed Be, after years of trying, Todd won THIS year! There was a 50/50 chance of Todd exploding in ecstasy or checking into a mental health facility, so we’re all really glad it went our way.

So that’s the story of how we became a Fantasy Power Couple and almost got a divorce. I was asked to play in the girl league again this year and I had to decline. I’m not about to risk my soul for another ring. However, I’m still looking for ways to suck the joy out of all Todd’s hobbies. I’m considering learning how to play an instrument and joining his band. I think he’d dig it. Or not, it’s kinda hard to tell.

The Biggest Loser

I’m probably supposed to wait awhile to post another blog, and I will, but this literally happened to me today and it’s too embarrassing not to share… I promise not to make a peep for at least a week after this 🤐

I haven’t weighed myself in a LONG time…I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life…but I went to the gym TWICE this week and I’ve been trying to eat healthier for months now, so I thought I’d give it a shot, you know…face the facts, get a baseline, somewhere to work from. So I drag out the dusty ol’thing and tap it to turn it on. Damn, those are some good batteries. Let’s do this. HOLY SHIT! I lost almost 20lbs!! Wow, I lost almost 20 pounds! What?! 20 pounds?!

Instantaneously, my Generalized Anxiety Disorder kicks in and I think “That’s weird…Unexplained weight loss is a sign of cancer…Any rookie Webmd’er would know that…okay Andrea, get it together, don’t freak out…you’ve been trying to eat pretty good for a while now, and the gym, don’t forget the gym…you’re practically a regular…you have that thing with the cashier about how you refuse to buy the other bottle of water even though the deal makes it practically free…but…20 pounds sounds ‘unexplained’…racing heart…panic…Todd will help.”

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“Hey, sorry to bug, but I’m tripping out”

“What’s up?”

“I just weighed myself for the first time in forever and I lost 20 pounds 😨”

“What?! That’s awesome! Good for you.”

“No, I’m freaking out now because unexplained weight loss is a sign of cancer.”

“Oh God, you’re trippin. You’ve been eating really good for like 8 months now.”

“Yeah, but not THAT good. I don’t feel like I lost 20 pounds, like AT ALL.”

“That’s just because it’s so gradual you just don’t notice it.”

“Yeah? You think?…You’re probably right. Thanks for calming me down. I guess I’ll just slam this subway sandwich, you know, get some meat on my bones…😂”

“😂Bye”

Wow, you did it. You lost all that weight and it wasn’t even that hard. Yeah, you did totally give up cheeseburgers. You can be proud of that. But…it just seems like your clothes would fit way differently…Maybe they will. I mean you have been kinda living in the active wear lately…

So I finish my no cheese, no mayo, turkey sandwich and head for the shower. I’m gonna see how much that sandwich affected my newly recognized svelte figure. I tap on the scale, it turns on and…

SON OF A BITCH!!!

I’m pretty much my regular weight.

This morning’s reading was either a glitch or the gods are practical jokers and I’m their plaything.😩

At least I don’t have cancer. I don’t think. My anxiety disorder tells me it’s still kinda hard to tell.

Hey Weirdos, Can You Leave My Nice Asian Ladies Alone?!

As you may or may not know, I am a connoisseur of fine massages. I prefer the fancy Swedish massage with warm blankets, aromatherapy, and a hefty price tag. Therefore, I usually only get about one a year, on my birthday/Mother’s day (always the same weekend). To satisfy my need to be pampered at will and at a low price, one day I ventured into a walk-in Asian massage parlor. It’s called Lucky Spa. I know, I know, “You know they mean you get “lucky” with a happy ending right?!” I disagree. My Chinese friend, Jackie Co, taught me in high school that luck is a big part of Asian culture, so I’m pretty sure it’s referring to that, you sicko. Here’s a rundown of my experiences at Lucky Spa and why you should give it go…if you’re in to that sort of thing 😉

First of all, I recommend the 60 minute $20 Foot & Body Massage. It’s advertised as $19.99, but I’ve never been given my penny back, so I just consider that their tip. (I actually tip $5. Don’t tell Todd, but one time I tipped $10, because Lily is the best!) You can walk in anytime. Like literally they are open 7 days a week until 10 pm. I admit that part is a little sketchy, but I commend their work ethic. You are usually greeted by a nice Asian lady that is disappointed you are only getting the $20 massage and not something more expensive. I did try a full body once, in the name of science, and it was very oily. Take it from me; stick with the Foot & Body.

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The best part of this massage is that you keep your clothes on. They walk you into a cubicle with a big, cozy recliner covered in fresh towels. You recline all the way back and soak your feet in scalding hot water. Yeah, that part kinda sucks, but after your nerves are seared off it’s actually quite pleasing. The masseuse, who doesn’t speak English and especially doesn’t understand the term “ow,” begins by using lotion and massaging your face. It sounds weird, but feels amazing, except when they press really hard on your temples and you think you might have an aneurysm, but that passes. Then they move to your neck, arms, and hands. They make every knuckle in your body crack, ones you didn’t even know you had. When it’s time for the foot massage, they may or may not wear rubber gloves. I’m not sure how they determine this, but I’m sure it’s very official. They use Vaseline to massage your feet and they really go to town on each and every piggy. Now comes the fun part…
After removing the slick grease with a hot towel, the recliner is converted into a massage table! There’s a little flap where your head was that opens up for you to put your face in. Now I’m sure all you germaphobes are probably freaking out about putting your face in the hole, but fear not! They put a split paper towel in the opening, bam! Sanitization Complete!
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Now the lady goes to town on your back and buttocks. If you’ve never had a butt massage you’ve never really experienced true ecstasy, so don’t judge. All you butt massagers know what I’m talking about. It is the biggest muscle, you know. Depending on whom your masseuse is, this is where it might get a little freaky. Sometimes they climb onto your back and massage your back and butt with their knees…I know, it sounds weird, but I’m thinking it’s a cultural thing? It feels good if you can avoid thinking of the lady waxing on and off with her knees on your butt cheeks…Then they karate chop you and slap you and you’re done! $20 well spent!
There are, unfortunately, some downsides to the Lucky Spa experience, but what do you expect for a $20 walk-in massage? Sure, your masseuse isn’t exactly “licensed,” but who am I, the Health Department? The worst part though is the constant influx of horny men that walk in and ask pervy questions. During your massage you’re in a cubicle so you can hear everything and I mean EVERYTHING that goes on. Even the “private” rooms aren’t very private. Yeah, they have a door, but they also have the top three feet of the wall missing. Hey creepy old man, I hear you whispering. Kitty’s not that kind of girl. Or maybe she is, I’m not positive. Like I said, there’s a lot of oil flying around in those private rooms. The last time I was there this guy came in and asked “What kind of massage do you do?” None of the three available ladies spoke English so he asked again and again. Finally he said “Like, do you do soft touch massage?” I’m getting my big toe worked on thinking, “Soft Touch? What kind of weirdo massage is that?” I googled it when I got home and yup, it’s a happy ending massage, a very specific one. Gross dude. One time I was in there and you could hear a girl arguing with the guy in a private room and my lady told me he was trying to get her to go home with him. The owner is a feisty lady and she told him straight up, “You go now!”
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See, my Lucky Spa is a legit operation with honest ladies trying to give wholesome pleasure at an affordable price. I think. It’s kinda hard to tell…