Posts tagged #kids

Kid's Plans

What did you want to grow up to be? From my earliest notion of what a career was, I wanted to be an architect. I’ve always been a literal homebody: When I played with Barbies, I usually only got as far as setting up the dream house (complete with a Ziplock bag waterbed!) and arranging furniture. That was it for me. I had no interest in dressing the dolls up or acting out date scenarios with Ken. Setting up and arranging a home was my play.

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Until the embarrassingly late age of 12 or 13, I played with the Fisher Price Little People houses and city buildings and just created neighborhoods. My mom would casually urge me to go out and play with real people, but she generally left me to my own interior design devices. My home economics class in middle school was a dream - there was an entire section devoted to color schemes and furniture and setting up a home! I loved it. What a little weirdo I was.

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Around this time, probably a bit before, actually, I started to draw floor plans. Not of the actual house I lived in or my friends lived in or even that my grandparents lived in, but just floor plans of houses with grandiose proportions that I wanted to build one day. My dad has very architectural handwriting and draftsman-quality drawing skills, so there was always a pad of graph paper handy. I tore off a few sheets and started drawing.

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Soon houses had pools and landscaping and furniture started appearing in each room. And the people who lived in these houses started appearing in my head as I drew. Not in the “she might need some counseling” way, but when I look back over the drawings, I can remember who I was designing each house for, whether they were real or fictitious, and what their story was. The plan above, for example, was inspired by the book Wait Till Helen Comes. Ghosts need places to chill, too.

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This one with the hockey rink? I liked a boy in the seventh grade who played hockey. And he clearly needed a home rink if he was going to make it to the NHL.

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On a summer vacation to Florida, I drew a house for my younger cousin, Drew. I think it’s still one of my favorites. It had an atrium and a pool like my aunt’s house did, but I distinctly remember being influenced by my cousin’s love for Pee-Wee Herman. That rug, man. That was for Pee-Wee… and I’d totally buy it if I saw it in a store today.

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I was in band, so obviously I had to design a music conservatory with practice rooms and classroom spaces.

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I’d like to think my spaces became more refined and sophisticated as I grew a bit older, but I can see now that it was a lot of repetition from one house to the next. This is the last one I ever drew and, when I compare it to my first, I do see definite improvement and a closer attention to detail, so that’s something. This one has a sunken living room and, man, I thought that would be swanky AF.

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This decidedly analog hobby took hold when the internet wasn’t even a speck on my horizon and I love that. I drew one plan in MS Paint and, while it was a challenge, I found it to be tedious and not nearly as imaginative and therapeutic as when I would lay on my stomach with a pad of paper, a ruler, and a freshly sharpened pencil. Maybe I should take up this hobby again for those nights after a stressful day at work…

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If you were wondering, I didn’t end up becoming an architect. I majored in interior design for three semesters before calling it. I got a degree in linguistics and, eventually, a master’s degree in library science. Turning something I loved (working with houses) into a career made me kind of hate it - it lost all its fun and just became something I grew to dread. So I kept the fun for me and just do design-type-things as a hobby, just like when I was a kid. A few years ago, my little rental house was featured in a kooky design magazine, so it’s worked out pretty okay. Twelve-year-old me, who even then loved to pore over issues of home magazines, was thrilled.

Posted on August 1, 2018 .

Confession of a Childhood Bully

As a angry child and a eventual pubescent teenager I did a lot of things I'm not proud of as I'm sure we all have. In my, maybe not so unique, case I was a bully. I would pick my targets at random like a evil Plinko board. Sometimes they were big, sometimes they were small and easy targets but almost always they were different. Now, it's not in the way you were thinking; I didn't punch, hustle, or steal from the handicapable or the slow, in fact it was often times the reverse. I would try to bully the bullies when I had a chance, but in this especially malevolent case it was just plain evil.

Bullying is never okay!
If you ever find yourself in my position find out what's going on with yourself.
You are angry or misunderstood and making someone else feel shitty won't help.
I changed the names for obvious reasons. 

It was my first year in middle school, the big 5th grade, I was always pushed through school. I pieced together later that it was because I was such a pain in the ass. It made me a cocky little punk I didn't think I had to try, I never did any class work or participate in class. Somehow I was still in the same grade as my original classmates. I went to this same school for my whole life up to this point. I was well aware of the system (they had to create punishments for me) and had a adversarial relationship with the principal of all of my schools. Middle school sounded daunting. The teachers and principals filled my mind with the idea that I wouldn't be able to skate by and I was quick to prove them all wrong. So as usual I did absolutely nothing. I would spend my time devising plans on how to cheat or making contraband; i.e rubber band launchers, spit ball cannons, paper clappers. You know hoodlum shit. I can't remember for the life of me why this kid (who I'll call Jim) did to piss me off. Maybe it was his at times whinny demeanor or his shrill voice but he really cheesed me off. I wanted him to know loud and clear that he was different and I didn't like him. The thing is, he stuck out so much that no one liked him, not even the teacher. Looking back I can't imagine how much it must have sucked for him at the time but, what did I care, I was a snot nosed punk looking for a target. On one occasion I distinctly remember whizzing a nickel side arm at him as hard and as fast as I could like a major league pitcher as he was sitting by the teacher. It was a study time so the room was dead silent. I took aim and you could hear the damn thing cut the air so fast it had a harmonic resonance. FING! As soon as it left my hand I know my aim was true, so I turned around like I was writing and waited. It sounded like the coin hit another metal object as it resounded off of his head. Immediately this earsplitting shriek of agony came out of Jim. The teacher looks over at Jim and is furious, she proceeds to yell him "Jim to shut the heck up! We are trying to have a quiet study time"! 


If you have ever gone to school in Texas maybe in other states too there is a standardized test that school was graded on and is often times it was the way the schools earned federal grant money. "Good grades = mo muny", so they would push for all of us to study hard. As an incentive the school offered to take all the children who passed the test on a field trip, I believe that year it was a trip to the zoo. I just knew I was gonna go because I was a bad ass. Well weeks before the trip the grades came in and guess what? I wasn't gonna go. I was furious. I thought to myself what a damn injustice. How the heck can they just leave me out? Cut to the day of the field trip, everyone was so giddy and excited to go to the zoo and here I was stuck like a chump; I set my eyes on Jim. He was so happy that he was gonna go and that I couldn't. He had the audacity to flaunt it in my face and I was not having it. As I'm sure it's still the case; all students had to have their parents sign a permission slip, so I devised a devious plan. I would get rid of it before his precious trip.
I asked him if I could look at the permission slip and it was the wrong move for him to trust my wicked ass. I snatched it out of his grubby little hands and got in close so he and only he could hear me. I whispered "if I can't go you cant go either". I bolted to the restroom he and, in a futile attempt, chased me to save his permission slip. I shoved him to the side and flushed his only ticket to the zoo down the toilet. As I cackled and rubbed my hands together like a cartoon villain he ran off bawling after he had seen what I had done. "I won", I thought to myself, "he is gonna be just as miserable as I am. Stuck in a room at school with all the dumb/lazy kids like me." I was wrong. The principal called his parents and he got to go anyway. I, on the other hand, faced no repercussions that I could remember and proceed to spend the rest of my day drawing.
Life is tough for everyone in their own way. Don't be like I was. When it gets hard for yourself, don't take your anger out on others. Sow seeds of joy and you may in turn allow your own to blossom.

Posted on June 2, 2018 .