Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kleenex Clothes, or The Beginning of My Life of Procrastination

Dear Mrs. Couch:
I know you've long since passed, but I feel the need to apologize for being such a maniac to teach. Having now dealt with a few nutbar children myself, I realize what I must have put you through, and I am so very sorry. I am forever in admiration of your fortitude, and for your willingness to actually arise every morning and make the brave decision to come back to your classroom. You, more than a lot of other adults in my life, taught me what patience and nurturing meant, and I am eternally grateful for that. May you be content in whatever your heaven might be.
The Baroness

I can still remember the look on Mrs. Couch's face as I regularly pulled my shenanigan o' the day. I know in my heart of hearts that deep down, she was amused. But on the surface, she was gruff and hard and pinched. This saintess was the Baroness' Grade 3 teacher, and the Baroness made that poor woman toil in earnest for every single penny of her meager teacher's wage. Taking into account that she was no spring chicken at the time, The Baroness no doubt also had some disturbing influence on her blood pressure and ulcer formation.

To say, non-chalantly, that I was a handful would be an understatement of the highest magnitude. I was by turns chatty, disruptive, noisy, sullen, anarchistic, and maddeningly individualistic. And poor, dear Mrs. Couch was saddled with me.

Not too long ago, the Baroness had a shower epiphany. Given the true nature of the word "epiphany" (look it up, lazybones), it's not entirely accurate, but you get the drift. I realized that the genesis of most of my less-than-flattering characteristics started in Grade 3. (Don't get me wrong here, as I plead for you to not think badly of the Baroness. I do have some good qualities as well). But, the sad truth is that most of my neuroses-fuelled shortcomings started around this time. It may have been coincidence. It may have been fated. Only God and Mrs. Couch know for sure. And neither one is talking; if she were still alive, Mrs. Couch would be approximately 115 years old. And it's hard to talk after 115 years. I get hoarse after a few hours.

So, what happened in Grade 3? Well, a handful of my fellow classmates and I were an "experiment" for our school district. At the end of Grade 2, we were assessed to skip Grade 4 and move directly into Grade 5. Grade 3 would be our "grooming" year. Enter Mrs. Couch. She had the onerous job of keeping us in line and on task. While others seemed to thrive on the extra work, I failed miserably. For example, I could not, for the life of me, get the whole concept of money. I didn't even get an allowance. Sure, I'd see it - but if I didn't have it, what use was it to learn about it? So, you're saying that there's one coin, but this coin is worth five coins. Hmm. But it's one coin. Where's the other four? My money issues have deep roots, people. Ask the Baron. Mrs. Couch tried. Yes she did. She had me in early after lunch for at least a month. I just didn't get it. When it was just the two of us, she had every opportunity to yell or throw chalk at me, or wing an eraser at my head. But she didn't. She just calmly, patiently kept going. She must have known that I was an experiment doomed to fail. But she tried. And I tried. Just not as hard as her.

What other charming trait did I develop? My procrastination skills. To this day, my own children sing their "Time Management Challenged Mom" song. (Isn't that lovely? To have a song written just for you?) Now, I do not know exactly why other people procrastinate, but I know why I do. Believe me when I say this - it's not because I don't care. It's not that I feel the need to put things off because I deem them to be unimportant. It's because I get distracted so very easily. All this became crystal clear on the lunch hour before my partner and I were supposed to present our project on Switzerland. I was in charge of clothing. But, in the 3 weeks we had to prepare, I was distracted. So I forgot. Until about 12:40 pm. That's when my mad Project Runway skills came into play. I decided I no longer had time nor the fabric to recreate the Swiss clothes that were in our book. So what crafty resource did I use? Yuh. I used Kleenex. Thankfully, mercifully, they stayed intact until our presentation. At which time, I could have sworn I saw Mrs. Couch's eyeball actually throb. Again, she remained calm. And waited until after school to let me know that my time management skills were sorely lacking.

To this day, I still have many of these "oh, crap, I forgot to do that" moments. But I am much better, thanks to the Baron taking up where Mrs. Couch left off. But I am still a work in progress.

By the way, did you see my new dress? It's 3 ply, and quite absorbent. Fierce.


Lisa said...

The Baronness .. makin' it work!! Tim Gunn would be so proud of your fierce design skills.

On your shower epiphany -- I had to chuckle because I do some of my best thinking either in the shower or on the bowl. I don't know what it is about removing clothing (partially or wholly) in the bathroom that allows the ideas to flow freely. When people ask "Did you pull that out of your ass?", sometimes I would have to answer honestly, "Yes!"

...Barbra Peapod

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Lisa: Dee-siiiii-nerz! Could I have you gather round and see what a marvelous job the Baroness has done with nothing more than a roll of Charmin and some spit...

What can I say? I just roll that way. (ugh. sorry.)

In keeping with your semi-clad-as-a-springboard-for-great-notions theory, do you think that there are a lot of epiphanies going on at any given time at a nudist colony? They must be frickin' geniuses!!

The Guv'ner said...

As the Queen of procrastination, I salute you! :) I am THE worst at putting stuff off till later. I aim to rectify this however as it's a trait I can live without. I'm actually doing it right now. I have seven things to do but I'm doing this instead. Ha.

More interesting, I read the title to your post as "Kleenex CROTCHES..." which was slightly alarming. But I think it's just my warped mind. It's all because of my St. Patrick's Day hatred you know. :):):)

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Your take on John from his baby pics is SPOT ON!!!

I'm WAYYYY impressed!

Hallie :)

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Guv: WTF (also the acronym for Way Too Funny. Like it? I just made it up. Huh). I believe those things of which you speak were used pre-Always.
Or maybe that was corncob crotches. I don't know - not my era, man.

Countess WWOW: Don't be too impressed. It embarrasses me. OK, be just a little. It's quite amazing what I learned from being an only-child empath. Well, not amazing; just plain weird.

Eat lotsa cake, and laugh heartily.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

What a great post. I always said that I made a great teacher bc I was such a PITA as a student. It is amazing as an adult to look back and see what kind of student you were.

Asthmagirl said...

I seem very talented and insightful. I'm sure I would not have come up with anything quite so delightful in such short notice.

So sweet of you to drop by today. I'll speak with "the girls" regarding your question. One of them will get back with you!

Stacy said...

i had an amazing grade 3 teacher as well!

not to worry, i'm sure your 2 ply would have made the cut.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess NATUI: Oy. Only when I decided to start venturing back into the dark days did I realize that I owed most of my teachers a heartfelt apology. And a hug. And maybe a luxury car. What was the name of Jack Nicholson's character in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"? That would be me, but set in elementary school. Yikes. Viva la revolucion!!!

Countess AG: I (and Lemonhundt) look forward to any future missives. I've been asked to inform you that while he has good intentions, he has no steady employment or income. He is very chatty, though, and loves a good sitcom. Something to keep in mind.
He also told me not to mention he snores. A lot.

Countess Stacy: Is it Canada? Do they just churn out excellent Grade 3 teachers? Hmm. Regrettably, the 2 ply did not make the cut, and the entire project ended up in the toilet. But I believe I may have gotten a "B" for creativity...

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