Saturday, August 06, 2022

That Bill that was Signed into Law...

I hate the Hoosier state.

I hate the party that controls the legislature by packing and cracking votes.

I hate the religious zealots who elect ignorant and corrupt people into power.

 Fuck 'em all.

Friday, May 06, 2022

I Didn't Sign Up for You

Forgive me for mishearing the lyrics of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," but I've used the phrase "I didn't sign up for this" as a tongue-in-cheek way of saying, "This wasn't part of the experience I had imagined prior" for years.

My older daughter is finishing up her first year of college, with finals wrapping up tomorrow afternoon. About two weeks ago, she told her mother and me that she didn't think she was going to pass her algebra class. 

This would be the second time she had taken this class because she had failed said course in the fall. What's worse is that the material was no harder than what she had already covered in her high school years, where she supposedly passed two years of algebra and a year of pre-calculus.

Putting aside my own frustration, I sought to help her get a realistic assessment of her chances. We looked at the syllabus to determine the basis for the grade, noting the weight for tests, quizzes, homework, and finals.

She had done a good chunk of her homework, but there were some chapters where she had not done much. Tests and quizzes were awful. Since the homework was done through an online system, we could view a ramp of progress over the semester. It looked like sometime in March, she had gone into a lull, and after that she had put in some effort, but not enough to improve things much.

The instructor reopened some of the modules so that she could resume working on them, and I put in time with her via Zoom to get her back on pace. By yesterday evening, she had completed 90% of the exercises successfully. 

Side note: She had been on edge the past few weeks already because the front axle broke on her car, leaving her without wheels. Since her mother works from home some days, she was able to use her mom's minivan a few days, but on days she was without a vehicle, she was taking Lyft to her work, which was about a mile from her residence hall and not safe to walk alone in the evening.  There is a lead for a used car that she should be able to pay cash on for most of it, but the seller had to get a title reissued, which will mean that she's without a vehicle for another week or two.

At the end of last week, she came home because she had a dance competition on Sunday. She had a meeting with an academic advisor on Tuesday, and she had to work on Wednesday. She had only two classes that had finals. One was an online exam for an English class, and the algebra final was on Friday afternoon. 

Her mother an I agreed that I would provide a ride for her to campus on Tuesday for the adviser meeting, help move out some things, and then bring her home with me so that she could focus on studying algebra. I would take her to work on Wednesday evening. My hope was that she would devote today to working through the final exam practice materials her instructor had posted.

Instead, we spent most of the afternoon packing up and moving her out of her residence hall. She lacked boxes for smaller things, so we spent about an hour organizing things to go into the boxes, and then we got some lunch and I managed to get some empty boxes from a liquor store. We packed up the items and got a basket cart from the front desk. My car, a sedan, was packed pretty tight, but nothing was left behind. I was tired and not in the best mood, but I was doing my best to not raise the temperature by expressing frustration at her.

I drove her to her mother's house to unload the materials. By then it was just before 4, and downtown traffic was clogged with early rush traffic. The closure of a section of major interstate for the past year or so has resulted in some serious clogginess. We made the trip, in about double the time it takes in light traffic. So I was really worn down.

On the way home, she was trying to convince me to leave her at her mom's instead of taking her back with me so that she could study more for algebra. I said I didn't think that was a good idea because I worried she would be more inclined to watch TV than study at her mom's. Moreover, her computer and final exam study materials were at my house. I also didn't want to make a trip back in the midday to pick her up for her final.

When we arrived at her mother's, she said she was going to stay there anyway. I said that's fine, but that she would need to figure out how she was going to get her computer and materials because I wasn't going to make the round trip to bring them to her. That would have been another hour's time at my expense.

At this point she just lost it. She started throwing the items she had in her hand on the ground... a hand vacuum, her cell phone, her lanyard, and a towel. She yelled obscenities at me. Told me that she was glad that she could say what she really felt and that I wasn't her father (she's adopted). I didn't say anything to her because I didn't want to escalate. I carried items into the house and placed them in her room because her mother was clear that she didn't want them in the family room.

I went home trying to process all of that. There had been times when she had been angry with me, but never to this level of intensity of language and never with throwing of objects. About 40 minutes later, she texted, "I'm sorry I said all that stuff to you. I did not mean to get upset with you." I didn't answer because it felt like an abusive pattern, and I didn't want to feed it.

I exchanged some texts with her mother afterwards to keep her in the loop about what was going on. She wasn't home when all of this happened. She said that our daughter had behaved similarly at times with her. I told her about the text and not replying. She suggested I send her a list of the items that were here, and I did, without any additional commentary to avoid escalation.

As she was raging, my daughter was bringing up stuff I had said in the past that she said made her angry at me. One of them was the phrase, "I didn't sign up for that," in reference to something I had to deal with as a parent. I can't even remember exactly what was being discussed when I used the phrase, but she interpreted it in the most negative way I could imagine.

She contacted her best friend from her high school days and got picked up to go to her apartment. They came to my house to pick up the materials she still had here. It was a brief exchange and she was icy. Her friend did well in math, so she might be able to help her prepare for the exam in a way that I wasn't able to.

This was difficult for me because on one hand, I didn't want to reinforce abusive behavior, but on the other, I didn't want her to fail her class by not studying after we had put in all that effort. Ultimately, though, she is an adult now, so she needs to be responsible for the things she does. I had sacrificed and rescheduled to work around her times as best as I could. It was out of my hands now.

About 10:00 tonight, I had a rare weekday glass of wine. I don't like doing that.