The Certainty of Uncertainty

Mrs. G. sat down six hours ago to write a long overdue update of her life in the margins. September was a trying, uphill month for a number of reasons she is incapable of explaining with any clarity. And should she? Of course she should, because who wants to miss a minute of her ongoing, continually unfolding Lifetime drama: Stout Middle-Aged Woman Searching for Meaning in the Walgreens Candy Aisle

That's right. Mrs. G. lives at the corner of happy and healthy. Just not in September.

It all started with Algebra, hours and hours of tackling it head on, day after day. Mrs. G. couldn't get it because she never got it. Her last required math class was in high school, taught by a man, Dan Hedgeman, who was counting the months until he was eligible for retirement, Mr. Hedgeman smelled like old coffee and anguish. He frequently referenced ships that didn't come in and warned his students to "Just wait, you'll see."

Mrs. G. finally saw...she needed a tutor. The battle continues. Mrs. G. is winning.

Algebra was followed by family visits and a stomach issue that required consistent vomiting for a couple of weeks. She'll spare you the details but Mrs. G. feels the need to share that her visit to a gastroenterologist further compromised her lifelong commitment to the sanctity of her ass. When she called Mr. G. to report the security breach, he told her Sanctity of My Ass should be the title of her first novel. She hung up on him. He called her back and asked her if she had just hung up on him. She assured him she hadn't, that he must not have heard her say goodbye. It's these kinds of games that keep their love alive.

In between throwing up and solving for x, Mrs. G. would sit down and try to write, but she kept coming up empty, so empty she started to question her ability to write, to even discern good writing. She felt like a fraud. She was embarrassed. Rather than pouring a glass of ginger ale and calling it a day, Mrs. G. shut her laptop and didn't open it up until yesterday when her daughter called and told Mrs. G. that someone had contacted her to see if everything was ok.

Everything is ok. Thank you for asking. Mrs. G. just needed to take a break...a long ass break. Her laptop sat on the dining room table, untouched, for nearly thirty days. This is odd to admit but Mrs. G. was wary of it. She would walk by and avoid looking at it. There was a peculiar stand off that Mrs. G. is unable to clearly explain. Like her, the whole deal was weird. Particularly since September is typically her favorite month of the year. October, though, is looking a-ok.

There you have it in 521 words. Mrs. G. intended to just quietly slide back in with no fanfare because she hates writing slushy accounts of her good, little, typical life. There are so many bigger fish to fry. Truly.

Fair is fair. How was your September?

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    derfwadmanor - Derfwad Manor - The Certainty of Uncertainty

Reader Comments (55)

We've missed you honey! So glad you're doing ok. Sending love from the deep south.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermartha

Welcome back. And some months are just like that, aren't they?

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNavhelowife

I'm glad you're back, and I'm sorry that there was a breach in your back-region.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Hey, as we like to say in the south,
I find that a sabbatical is worth the price.
I drop myself into the land of lackluster; mindless tv, movies, or a trash novel or two.
It is the only way I can handle the new change of my life.
Sometimes we need to walk with the living even if the living are all just going to the store.
I'm happy to meet you on the candy aisle , save me a spot in line.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith@whynot

Since I was neither embroiled with Algebra nor vomiting nor protecting the sanctity of my ass, I'm going to call September good.

I'm so glad to see you online.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen on the Edge

So good to hear your "voice" again. You don't owe us an update or anything, but we do feel a little off killer without you.

And Algebra? I salute you. You're stronger than I am!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacCrackHouse

Glad to have you back on here! Missed your posts.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKay

September was a slow, quiet, wondering kind of month. We're all family, you know. You don't need to put on a show for us or be scintillating every moment. Just pop in and say hi once in a while, when you can. You know, we love you just the way you are! Welcome back, and congratulations on hanging on with algebra. Thank you for the smiles this morning.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I'm glad you're here again.
Sometimes I don't answer the phone for days, because if I answer it I will be required to referee an argument, or do something I don't want to do, or talk to someone who sends their stress to me down the phone line.
I certainly unplug sometimes too. Sending hugs.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah J

I, too, did the returning student needs algebra credit fiasco, albeit as a younger returning student. I was so lost. One day I was still sitting in the classroom absolutely stunned as my classmates filed out and the new class, and new instructor filed in. I stayed, I listened, I finally understood it! It wasn't me, it was my original instructor who was so brilliant that he was clueless about how to communicate with those of us in the trenches. Needless to say, I switched classes.

I offer this bit of a story in lieu of remembering what the heck may have happened here in September. Being 'of an age' means that I just cannot remember that far back. Sigh

I do still sing in the Mrs. G is baaaack chorus. (Alto with a smile on my face.)

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranother sue

A break is good. And don't raise the bar too high for the writing. Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to write slushily (whatever that meant, I personally liked your post!) until the good stuff arrives again. In fact, sometimes you CAN'T write what you want to write until the other stuff comes out.

I hid from my email for a week, once, and was having anxiety attacks about what was in that inbox. Yikes. How did this happen? I used to live without any of this.

Glad to hear from you!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersuburbancorrespondent

I had no algebra nor...other issues in September, but I have had freshmen.

Missed you, glad you've checked in, hope to see more of you (not your ass; no offense).


October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie (bad mom)

So glad you're back. Your writing is wonderful. I've missed it and you.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter1Les

Welcome back, and glad you are feeling better. Your writing, slushily or not, is as funny as ever.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArli

Sounds like my September, while certainly nothing to write home about, was more ok than yours!

"...long ass break." Heh. Heh heh heh.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterViolet

the algebra part is hell good for you for sticking to it … the ass part was no doubt caused by the damn algebra.. you had it at both ends.. life can spin out of control quickly.. glad you are better and steady on

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

Happy to see you back here and may those intestinal woes wane!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMinnesota Matron

I wish I was there to help with the algebra - love the algebra. Algebra is for me what crossword puzzles as for others. I will say the book I had in ninth grade was great! Finished it in three weeks. No one else in the class understood. This was due to their attempt to allow the teacher to explain algebra. I listened to her one day and had to go relearn that section as she left me confused. Once, after she attempted to explain a new section for three days, she caught me teaching someone in the back of class. She told me if I thought I was so smart to come up there and teach the whole class. They had it down in fifteen minutes, then I was sent to the principal's office. I figured out, years later (from an education class), that those who are strong in math tend to be weak in language skills. These same people write the math books. Find the people who have strengths in both and you'll be having fun (or at least an easier time).

Glad you're doing okay, honey. I figured you were overwhelmed, between school, classes, people and what have you, but I was hoping to see a how-do here. Thanks for the update - which, by the way is not only funny but clear.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternaomid.

I've got such a "meh" about writing that I can't even write you an update of my September. Well, here: , cut my hair short, unexpected house renovation, kid mental health issues, still no handstand. Glad to have you back, even if it's for a day. It's like meeting for a quick cup of coffee--can't wait until the next time.


October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarb Cooper

No explanations required. Just come on back. Take care of that little back-end problem - trust me, it's not so bad.

Why are you practicing Algebra? I will be doing the same in a week or so, to prepare for the GRE test. I don't care much about my Quantitative scores, but I don't want to totally embarrass myself. Are you prepping for an exam?

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Snow

So happy to see whatever you write! If you are ever wondering about "what" to write about, I'm still dying to know what your aunt wanted with those red feather boas from years ago. As I recall....you did tease us but I don't remember ever hearing the story...even if it is just because she wanted them!

My September was awful and wonderful in a weird way...and glad to have it in the rear (oops) view mirror. I'm just so damn tired and overloaded I think I could sleep for a week....but reading you again has put some pep back in my step! Hugs to you Mrs. G!!!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Carol

On a much less ambitious scale, last winter I too became overwhelmed by…something/everything and lost my blog chops entirely. I'm warming back up to the idea that anyone wants to read what I write, even planning out a few posts, and I think I'm almost ready. I'm even looking forward to it! I loved it once, I think I can love it again. I know THIS, though: I love reading your blog and I'm glad you're back. If returning to school and teaching aren't excellent blog fodder, I don't know what is!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Explains It All

So good to see you again, Mrs. G! Please don't apologize for the writing about your life (nothing "slushy" about it). You, and the derfs that comment, let me know I'm no so alone in some of the crap that life throws, and you make me laugh at your spin on things. It's a good day today, when I found you were back.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter~ Galiena

I figure a month without algebra in it has a better chance to be a good month right there. My September was peaceful. We're gearing up to move the MIL to a nearby Senior Living complex. It's gorgeous, expensive, and she refers to it as "The Lock Up". *Sigh*

naomid is absolutely right. The skill required to be a good teacher, imop, is the ability to remember what it is like to "not know" - and to be able to explain to that level of understanding. This requires language skills and people skills, which many math minds don't excel at. My father was and husband is math oriented, and neither one has ever understood the nature of math disability. I don't even try to explain it anymore.

Glad you're back!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBriget

Hey! I hardly remember September, but looking back at the calendar... oh yeah, I see why. It was a blur of school field trips (including a three day trip to a camp, complete with cabins, bunk beds, dining hall, etc. - ha!), visiting family, house projects, car repairs, and the like, but also a couple girlfriend outings, so yay! Glad to see everyone popping in here.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersusan

Glad to gear from you! I'm sorry your September sucked. Mine wasn't bad, just adjusting to both girls being in school this year. No more babies at home with me all day. But I've been busy volunteering at school, helping run a Daisy troop and trying to get up the gumption to sit down and apply to grad school. I admit I'm scared to go back to school. I was always a good student, but it's been awhile. I feel like I'm not as smart as I used to be.

I'm sorry also that we didn't get to do the sept shindig. We will have to plan one for next year!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan:)

Oh, Mrs. G., I hear you about the math teachers who cannot communicate with those who "don't get it". My struggles with algebra made me determined to teach math in a way that helped ALL my students love it and master it. This process developed and strengthened my own skills, and showed me the beauty of numeracy, at least at a primary level. Your determination to conquer this hurdle is what tells me that you will be a master teacher. You have the required well-developed sense of humour, great communication skills, and compassion for those who struggle, for whatever reason. A favourite teacher told me that a mistake is an opportunity to learn, and I passed that nugget of wisdom along to students for my entire career in the classroom.
September has been spent tidying up the yard to prepare for winter, enjoying leisurely lunches on the patio in the warm autumn sunshine, and watching the ribbons of geese make their way south. I have been worried about you, Mrs. G., and I am happy to hear that you are slogging your way through the hard stuff!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllie

Love the post!!! Your writing is always great to read, and in this case, better to read than to have experienced apparently.
Can't wait for the interestingly-titled novel!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterknittergran

Life here remains a balancing act and will be an ongoing challenge on the best of days. We are holding our own and that's the best we can hope for right now. Thanks for the smile, glad to know you are still out there looking at life as only you can.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbramble

You were missed...

I have always liked algebra because it makes sense to me, and let's face it, I am a rule follower. Isn't that who algebra was made for? If I were you, I'd pat myself on the back for being so flexible as to recognize that it isn't your fault; you have far too much creativity in you to be held back by algebra.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

Welcome back. September kicked my ass, but fortunately there were no breaches. I hope October continues well for you.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercardinal

I'm so sorry to hear you have been having these troubles. My prayer for you is that you will be healthy, and that everyone will respect your ass.

I am also having problems writing but I have no excuse whatsoever, because nothing at all has been happening to my ass. I can't remember what happened in September, but I'm pretty sure I was either chaperoning the marching band or at a worship service of either Jewish or Presbyterian nature. There are a lot of those worship services this time of year.

I have to admit, I loved algebra, probably because, as Deb said, it is just a set of rules that are to be followed. I might think differently if I had to pass an algebra class right now, though.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCommon Household Mom

Missed you A LOT! Hope you are feeling better and glad you're getting the Algebra!

My September was good... went by way too quick though. Oldest son is in last year at University. Younger son is trying to find his way, graduated from high school last year, not sure what he wants to do and is working PT... so I'm praying a lot about that.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie

I was so happy about you being back, that I couldn't even think of what I've been doing. My hair is purple and blue now, and I'm happier than a bird with a french fry! I've been reading a lot of books, including the creepy, scary, 'Birdbox' by Josh Malerman. If you like Stephen King kind of terror, you'll like this book.

I have to teach Kai algebra and it sucks balls. Nobody gives a rats ass what X equals and we probably never will.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Oh honey! We missed you, when we don't hear from you,we worry. Have yourself another glass of Reed's Extra Ginger Beer, and be well.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGwyn

September just was. Not too bad, not too good.

I was scheduled to start working at a major museum in late September. I have had this set up since the spring, I would work on a contract basis, half time, make my own hours, and work with the most amazing pre-columbian material. Basically my ideal scenario. Also? No meetings!

So I set up to have my first day be the day my mother leaves town after an 8 day visit from my mother. I was frazzled from the emotional roller-coaster of having my not-quite-mentally-stable and physically disabled mother visit. The entire time she tried to manipulate me into moving her cross country to be near me.

I text and say I'm on my way and for the person hiring me to meet me at the front desk to take me to security to get a badge. He texts me back and says "DON"T COME NOW. I just put in my notice and I am not allowed to hire anyone and since I waited to do your paperwork until today I can no longer proceed without multiple signatures from supervisors, which I probably won't get."

So now I am in limbo waiting to here if the Museum still wants to honor the offer to bring me on for a year. They are under no obligation to do so, as it was contract work only, and no paperwork was finalized. They pay was going to be crappy but enough to justify the fun and the huge resume boost. Also it may be an enormous bureaucratic clusterfuck with the head of the department leaving. Maybe I don't want to be there right now.

But in irony of ironies.....that same Museum just purchased a piece of mine for their permanent collection from a gallery downtown. An amazing honor and the price was about equal to what three months of my part time work would cost them. If they had asked? I would have given them the piece for free for the prestige of being in the collection.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermolly

I love reading your writing. It's okay to take a break, but I'm glad you're back.

My husband is a math professor. A good one. Math is one subject where the teacher is so important, since math requires translation. I hope that your tutor is a good translator for you!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCassi

So glad you are back! You were missed.

Briget..your MIL and "the lockup!" I am willing to bet and hope that once she is there she will be fine and will make friends and wish she had done it sooner. Good luck!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

Thank you for all the supportive comments. You guys are the best!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. G.

But if you were in the Witness Protection Program, who would you be and what would you do? Oooh, what if we were in the Witness Exchange Program?

Some hit man could come deal with my leaky washing machine and I could move to New York, get nicknamed after a vicious rodent, and whack any family members that annoyed me.

Sound like fun?

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSungmanitu

I used to be excited about September, you know because it's the beginning of fall, glorious fall. But now I realize that September is just as warm as August, so I'm thinking September is overrated. Go October and welcome back!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMIME

I have loved September for years, there are several September birthdays in my family, including my own. However, my life has been on the school schedule whether I have been associated with a school or not, September is like New Years for me. The longer that goes by without being part of a school, either as a student, or an employee, the more depressing September gets.

I had to take algebra again in college, and I found myself enjoying it for the first time. As others have said, it's a bit like solving a puzzle. Later I took a stats class, and found myself doing better than I thought. Of course, people will tell you that stats isn't really math.

And speaking of math, I had better get my (sanctified?) ass into GRE math practice, because I don't want to have another September that depresses me.

Aunt Snow, what are you going to be studying?

Mrs. G: Glad that you are back, proud of you for pushing through this...

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisse

I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties, mathematical and otherwise, but so glad you are back!
September? It's all a blur. I do remember that we had an open house at work, which forced me to finally unpack the boxes that were still sitting around my office from our move in May.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter~annie

Sungmanitu, sign me up. Cross-Eyed Charlie can come here and figure out how to stop my husband's dog from gnawing on the door jambs, and I can go take out my aggressions on some bad guys.

Welp, September was one helluva month. Did hard things, almost got a *nearly* perfect job, didn't get it. But ended up with a BETTER nearly perfect job that has the potential to become The Perfect Job.

And my life is changing in big big ways, but invisibly at the moment. Some times I'm happy and energetic, some times I lay in bed for hours, wondering what the hell I'm getting myself into. So yeah, it's kind of ... exhausting.

BUT, I did no algebra. So it's still a win, right?

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkate in MI

Oh so happy to see everyone back here! Big smiles!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBritta

Fall: love the weather, the smells, the changes on the horizon -- dislike the ultra-busy schedule for so many of us. I need a vacation.
Math: I don't understand it, but somehow I passed all my classes in high school (and that stats class in college) with good grades. Apparently it had something to do with formulas that were followed *but* I can't recall any of it. All 4 of my sons are math heads and I still don't know how that happened! I feel lucky to know how input the numbers into Quickbooks for the bookkeeper to check later. I'm told my oldest son is an awesome tutor but he lives about 300 miles away from you.

I think Mr. G. has a good title for your first third book -- nothing you write comes across as slushy, your life is definitely not "little" and if it is good and typical then praise God and pass the mashed potatoes! Or the candy corn. Whatever.
I really hope everything works out in the end...er, both ends.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren (formerly kcinnova)

I was worried about you! I'm glad things are looking up now. There's that Green Day song: Wake me when September Ends. Very fitting--it's a psychologically difficult month, like April.

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatience

Welcome back.....my September was pretty good. Got my head wrapped around some changes....most good, but my comfort zone had to be adjusted a bit. Work has been a little challenging for me.....I worked for a manager for many, many years and the plan was we'd retire at the same time. He was tasked with another position and left me in March. My new manager, while a nice person....is VERY different and I'm struggling, was even thinking of looking for another job within the company I work for. The one glorious benefit of my current position are my hours.

Well, my grand daughter started an awesome preschool program and, due to the nature of my daughters job, someone has to be able to pick her up after school....with my great hours, that falls to me three days a week and then I watch her till evening. They live with me, so it's no big deal, except that my lollygagging, meandering, go to the store before home, NAP routine changed drastically and then having those hours to myself has changed.

So, it's a blessing I didn't go for another job so that I can do this for my family, but I am a bit resentful that my routine is the only one that changed.....everyone else is rolling happily along. I know it's the best for my grand, and she is a delight...so we will get through.

My husband just texted me to see if we had sugar...it's in the cabinet where it always is.....nevermind, they are all idiots.

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertrudy

Welcome back, Mrs. G! Missed you a lot.

September was pretty good. September 1 I started an online facebook challenge to get more active. So far I've lost almost 19 pounds, and it goes until just after thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll lose a lot more.

We adopted another dog, Baxter, who is a hound mix from South Carolina. Thought he was a medium energy dog, which he is most decidedly not, but he's super smart, and learning the routine of the house. He's also gotten me out walking every morning, and my husband and our other dog at night.

The kids are doing pretty well in school, especially my twins with first grade. They both love it! My oldest still has her struggles with math, but her teacher is aware and we are going to keep pushing her. A few weeks ago she was crying to me that I wanted her to be perfect. I told her that's not the case at all, I just want her to do her very best and TRY. You can't do anything if you don't try and put in your best effort.

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessie - a different one

1) 7 1/2 weeks into the new school year. Teaching Pre-AP English I and II. I go in an hour early every day and stay two hours late almost every day. I'm exhausted.
2) We are down to only one kid in college and he pretty much lives and works away, so we are officially a kid-free house. It's sad sometimes.
3) My husband has a kidney stone. THAT is also sad sometimes.
4) I called that time (two months ago?) because I wanted to compare writing notes with you AND because I think I may stop blogging.

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRainbow Motel

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