chukichi

this thing is still about things

Category Archives: life

Saturday, in the Park…ing lot

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I am sitting in my car at 8:34 AM—cigarette lighter fan going, ice cold Diet Cokes within reach, listening to Spotify, typing on my laptop on a desk that attaches to my steering wheel…  What a time to be alive!

Why yes, my car *is* dirty.

Now, I’m not sitting in a random parking lot like a creep; I’m sitting in the parking lot of a local middle school like a weirdo.  My Saturdays for the next 3-4 months will be occupied with taking Josh to his Korean language class.  Yeah…Korean.

NewsflashI’m not Korean.

Neither is my husband nor are either of my children.  I am a firm believer that kids learn better when they actually want to because I’m one of those kinds of hippy nerds.  You know, the correct kind.  Of course, he was completely uninterested in my 5 years of high school and college Spanish that I’ve completely forgotten.  Japanese was briefly considered which would have been awesome, but he is, if anything, a practical old man in a young man’s body and chose Korean based on his 6 years of tae kwon do.  He has a variety of instructors that are fluent and excited to help him practice and he also reasons that if he ever has the opportunity to study at Kukkiwon, he should probably know how to communicate.

I’m almost 4 times his age and he has his shit together better than I do.  Fucking hell.

So that decision lead us to the Korean language program recommended by his Grandmaster taekwondo instructor.   It’s the same school that his own children attended so you can’t really get a better recommendation than that.  Every Saturday we leave the house by 8 AM so we can eat breakfast and make it to class by 8:45; class ends at 12:15 PM.  We study daily throughout the week and when I say “we”, I mean I observe that he does his homework and studying and sporadically suggest he watch a YouTube video to check pronunciation.  I was able to highlight some words in a Korean-English dictionary for him.  I’m helping.

This class started on August 10 which just so happened to overlap with his tae kwon do black belt ceremony.  See?  So much has happened since I last blogged for real!  He tested in May of this year and the weeks leading up to his exam involved extra classes throughout the week and double classes on Monday nights.  It was also expensive, at least, what we consider expensive.  It was practically spit-take expensive, but completely worthwhile and necessary.  Could you imagine how shitty that would have been to say no to such a milestone?  Hey, I know you spent *literally* half of your life working up to this, but I’m going to take this opportunity to stop supporting your goals.

Oh my fried chicken!

The hardest part was waiting for the official confirmation that he would be promoted—all test results are sent to Korea and reviewed and approved at Kukkiwon which took about 8 weeks.  His first day of Korean language class was cut short so we could attend his black belt ceremony where I cried for LITERALLY the entire time.  I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THAT’S MY KIND OF PROUD MOM CRAZY BULLSHIT.

I know that it might seem weird to just sit outside for three and a half hours, but I’m about 40 minutes away from home based on traffic so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to drive him here, drop him off, go home for an hour or so, come pick him up, go back home.  It just feels wasteful for both time and gas.  There is a Sam’s Club right down the street, and an H-Mart not far from that, so at least when I need to shop, it’s convenient.  I’ve been spending most of my time doing lesson plans and research but now, I’m trying to use at least part of this block of time for Me whether it be writing, working on some perpetually unfinished craft project, or simply napping.  Honestly, at first I felt a bit like a martyr for “selflessly” sacrificing my Saturday mornings for my offspring but that mindset was, at least for me, true mommy blogger virtue signaling bullshit.  I fucking chose this, happily and freely.  I don’t have brat kids that beg or guilt me; in fact, quite the opposite.  Josh spent quite some time really considering what he wanted to do–tae kwon do 3 days a week, swim two days a week and now this class for the entirety of his Saturday morning.  He purposefully declined joining the demo team at TKD so that he could focus on what was already on this plate.

If you’re unaware, a demo team is exactly what it sounds like:  a group that demonstrates all of the cool, choreographed showy moves.  We went to a local tournament this year to support some of his classmates and ever since he hasn’t stopped talking about how his school should re-start their demo team so he could join.  Sure enough, they decided to re-form and he was really torn.  Demo team would have meant one more evening in class for a total of EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK doing something.  He made his decision based on my boundaries, his own time restrictions, and how it would impact his family, not just himself.  Again, what even is this child!

Luckily, I don’t have to worry about Robin wanting to learn Korean—as of right now, she says she wants to learn Italian so she can understand musical terminology better.  GREAT.

Blog all the things!

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Or maybe none of the things.  I suppose this is the new semi-annual blog post, full of apologies for not blogging and bursting with excuses about life and time and blah, blah, blah.

Found on the internet to perfectly encompass my entire being.

I mean, it’s fine.  There are only like, 3 people that read this anymore and I’m fine with that.  The thing that *does* bother me is that I actually like doing this whole blogging thing regardless of readership.  I’m definitely that kind of idiot that laughs at my own jokes and appreciates my own honest stupidity.  I like documenting the good and ridiculous parts of my life–the minutiae that makes me happy and frustrated and moronic on a daily basis.  I hate only keeping a secret hidden diary that goes in depth with all of the über-dark feelings that are terrifying in the light of day.  I’ve been keeping a list of things I want to blog about and if I really applied myself like all of those teachers in middle school told me to do, I would have ten thousand pages of content.

But yeah, no.

In the past 6 months or so there has been so much going on.  Things that in the moment feel like tumultuous life changes, both positive and negative but now, over time, don’t seem nearly as big.  For the most part, this is a good thing.  I don’t want an exciting life.  I’m old, goddammit and I’m tired and I want the enjoyment of predictability, not the anxiety of a shit storm around each corner.  Life in general has been overwhelming and I feel a desperation to shoehorn in ME time.  And then I feel guilty when I’m so tired that ME time is just playing cell phone games or watching YouTube videos about washing cars.  Seriously, if you’re not subbed to Stauffer Garage what are you even doing with your life?

I have 3 hours of dedicated work time on Saturdays (more on that eventually) so ideally I’ll use that time wisely and write at least a little bit.  Until the next super delayed post!

Training

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Of all the bullshit things going on in my mind right now, I need to discuss a serious medical condition:  Puzzle Eye.

In a different time in history, I may have been accused of witchcraft or vampirism because I. cannot.  stop. with this fucking puzzle shit.  If I am chasing you, just throw some puzzle pieces at me and it will drive me mad until I can put it all together.  If I can’t work on actual jigsaw puzzles, then I play virtual jigsaw puzzle games or some sort of matching puzzle game.  It’s getting to be annoyingly problematic.  As an aside, I’ve passed this condition on to my son, but not my daughter.  She tries, but she can’t.  In fact, she bought a puzzle for herself that she worked on for all of 10 seconds before giving up and passing it on to me.  She never should have brought it into this house!  It’s become the bane of my existence.  300 pieces shouldn’t be a difficult puzzle.   It should not.  A 300 piece puzzle is an easy Sunday afternoon for me.  But fuck this puzzle.

It’s cheap and doesn’t fit together well and it’s a complete nightmare to put together.  I don’t know whether I’ll paint it not.  UGH, this puzzle.  I absolutely hate it but I will absolutely finish it.

Aside from that bullshit Color-Me puzzle I’ve been out of practice for a while because once I start I can’t stop and my life is too busy to lose a couple of days at a time to obsession.  Having said that, I have still been collecting puzzles even if I haven’t been putting them together.  Ravensburger is still and always will be king and their Challenge Series is a favorite of mine.  They are generally 1000 pieces and of decent difficulty so it’s hard enough to be interesting but not so difficult as to be stressful.

Ravensburger’s Krypt Series is amazing.  Once I’ve figured out the ‘trick’ of it, there is a great sense of accomplishment and I feel like a goddamn genius.  This feeling occurs when working on regular puzzles, but it’s really tenfold on these krypt puzzles.  I think that’s when puzzle eye kicks in.  I see a piece and just know where it goes.  I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how it works but I’m pretty sure it’s magic.  I have a plethora of amazing yet useless skills. The spiral one I have hanging in the classroom but I found no reason to put a silver square on the wall.

Previously, my largest puzzle was Ravensburger’s Tarot which was so incredibly satisfying.  It took 2 days of intense focus–and very little sleep or interaction with anyone.  This is what I mean about how ridiculous I am with puzzles.  This isn’t good behavior for normal people let alone for a spouse or parent, so while I still completed puzzles, I didn’t do any as larger or as involved.

Until now.  [ominous music!]

A few years ago I acquired my most intense challenge yet:  Ravensburger’s 5000 piece Sistine Chapel

Amazon has it listed for $68 but I picked it up on clearance somewhere for $20.  $68 is actually much less than what it was listed for previously–around $80-$90.  I want to do this so badly but I need to work up to it.  I have a few more untouched Challenge puzzles and a whole box of cheap grocery store puzzles of varying difficulty that I recently rediscovered tucked away in a box in the classroom.  I’ve been retraining my puzzle eye, just doing easy 300 and 500 piece sets, maybe a 750 piece one.  I may even complete another Challenge Series puzzle before I attempt begin the Sistine Chapel.  This training regimen has been fraught with frustration.

I actually threw away this cute doggie puzzle.  It was only 300 pieces and fun of course, but I knew it would be incomplete.  I had to find out how incomplete though, and a few hours later I was left with four missing pieces.  The cheap grocery store puzzles are kept in Ziploc style bags (as opposed to the individual jigsaw puzzle boxes that we’re used to seeing) and have been moved throughout the house countless times.  Some of these puzzles have pieces are missing.  I can’t express just how much this irritates me.  How much an unexpected missing puzzle piece makes my skin crawl.  Now, like the dog puzzle there are some sets that I know will have missing pieces; some sets that have been attempted by small hands and abandoned.  That’s okay.  I’m prepared.  My fried chicken* is ready.  But the ones that should be complete?  The ones that have not been touched and yet still come out with one piece gone? Oh fuck them.  FUCK THEM WITH THE BRILLIANT RAGE OF A THOUSAND SUNS.

I’m not giving up.  I’ll keep looking and maybe a miracle will happen and I fill find it.  In the mean time, I’ll continue to re-focus my puzzle eye and work up to that doozy of a challenge.