So you’re curious about the Kraken and the Kraken Jr.?
This is not the life I envisioned all those years ago at the private Main Line prep school I attended. I don’t exactly know what the plan was then, but the outcome was going to be us (the 55ish girls with whom I graduated) attending charity luncheons and playing tennis and golf and being perpetually slim and tanned while nannies took care of our perfect, privately-schooled children, housekeepers cleaned our estates and our wealthy, handsome husbands shopped for gifts for us all day. Or something reasonable like that.
Then life happened, and I found myself a highly-educated and experienced academic administrator who had a harder and harder time telling everyone how to keep things the same (which is what they really wanted to do) when all I wanted to do was tell them how to change and be better and grow and adapt. Eventually, it came to a crashing halt when my overwhelming desire to frame a project in which we would tag blue whales in the Atlantic because they are mating there now for the first time ever and work with a corporate partner to make a documentary and publish the research and create a marketing plan involving selling a tracking app and hosting events and save the damned school got sidelined because of an actual chainsaw murder/suicide at the campus. Yep, that’s actually true. Needless to say, even I couldn’t come up with a way to derail the publicity around that, especially since the perpetrator’s father had also killed himself and his mother, in the same house and the perpetrator had found them. The local news went crazy, applications stopped coming in, and well, it wasn’t pretty.
So I took some time off, and I did a lot of yoga. Like #yogaeverydamnedday yoga. I even stopped eating gluten, drinking wine and lived completely clean. You’re welcome. So many people are still alive, with their egos functioning and fragile senses of self-righteousness and self-esteem intact, because I did so much yoga. And they’re not even grateful. I spent so much time in that yoga studio, I won an award for it. Did you know you get participation trophies when you do a lot of yoga? Yes, you do. And I have one to prove it.
Around then I started to write for realz because writing is who I am and what I am supposed to do if there is such a thing as what we are meant to do. I’m a great manager. I can put you in touch with people I’ve managed who still keep in touch and seek out career advice and are now managers themselves and consult me for advice. I watch (with a kind of wowed awe) projects I started that are still going and growing. I’m a great teacher. I am still in touch with students I taught when I first graduated from college, back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth carrying car phones that are bigger than most of the handbags I carry now. I am a problem solver. I love puzzles. You can present me with the most complex set of circumstances and insurmountable issues, and I will find your very best way out for you. If no one is dead, I can pretty much tell you how we can fix it, and if someone is dead, and there isn’t video, I might be able to help there, too. I can’t do any of that for myself, but for you? Absolutely. What can I say? My world view is slightly askew in all the right ways. But I love to write. Academic stuff, technical stuff, reports, marketing copy, reviews of stuff and things just to entertain. All of it. I have always loved playing with words.
I have the spawn, now aka 10.95, who with his last latest new haircut also took on a new name that he’s making everyone call him because of course he is and why on earth would he not? He’s Murphy (from The 100), who is an anti-hero of sorts, a smartass with a heart of gold, a slacker who saves the people he loves and does the right thing, albeit in the end, every time. I can’t decide if that makes me Wanheda, who is kind of Kraken-like, or Octavia. There are lots of strong women from which to choose on that show. I give the CW props for giving young women some strong role models. Then we got here (more on that later) and he went all Neymar, Jr. on me (again) within days but still wants to be Murph. And that’s just fine.
I have two cats, Dark Lord Cheeto and Crowned Prince Nedward. Hand to God, when I announced that Cheeto was running for president and began his campaign, I had no idea how things were going to go. And his bad attitude and penchant for peeing on stuff is just coincidental. Nedward’s Al Bundy act is something to see, and for a 7 yo indoor cat, he can kill a bird faster than anything I’ve ever seen on Nat Geo.
Speaking of Nat Geo, the hermit crabs that have captured everyone’s imagination are also part of our little family. Cheeseburger, Fries, McFlurry and Fil (Filet o’ Fish) have entertained the internet during some high-stress stuff, and we’re looking forward to learning more about them as we grow our tribe. After a grueling long-distance drive, Fries, being Fries, decided it was a good time to molt. And Cheeseburger decided to join him. Because they’re like that. Fries, somewhere in Georgia, decided to start singing to me. Because after 10 hours of driving through the scenes of horror movies like Deliverance, I needed his vocal stylings. I swear, that crab is lucky he was not thrown out the window at a seagull in Georgia. And then he and Fil and died, two months to the day after we arrived. And that kind of broke our hearts.
The Kraken came about in my dealing with the spawn’s school back in PA. It was a mix of hilarity and frustration, often at the same time, for both me and his teachers and administrators, to deal with an epically smart kid who doesn’t think he needs to go to school, manipulates people like they’re chess pieces and has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and pediatric migraines. Add in his mother whose primary instinct is sort of like the lioness on the Discovery Channel who will strike first, kill the threat and worry about the clean up later. It works great on the plains of Africa, but it’s not necessarily the best way to go in Tredyffrin. The joke became that if I called or emailed, someone would shriek, “You’ve released the Kraken!!!” and the Kraken Management Team (KMT) would scramble and deploy to do whatever was needed to keep me calm. We are a CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) family, and we spend a fair amount of time there. I’m still lobbying them for a rewards program that gives you points to use toward swag like baseball caps and hoodies and umbrellas, but so far, they’re not listening. As stressful and challenging as all that can be, it’s also usually the stuff of much laughter, especially as Murph gets older and wise(crack)ier.
So, now it’s time for the update part, I guess. I thought about not saying anything, and just keeping on keeping on, but that became impossible and more importantly, just no fun. Thirty days in, and the stories? And photos? So, after much consideration, consultation with the local sheriff and police about Carrie the Stalker whom I thought was gone but like all good villains came back, and in consultation with the Council of 5…The Kraken is now Live From Key West, FL.
Back in March or April, a job appeared in my daily feed, and it was at one of the very few places I watch pretty closely for openings. I wasn’t really searching, so it was serendipitous that I even saw it. And I applied and said nothing to anyone, and they interviewed me, and they offered me the job, and I accepted, and well, here we are in the Conch Republic. And it’s hilarious and magical and hard to be sad. The journey was rough going. The arriving? Not so much. The being here? We went through the typical 4-6 weeks in homesick, I hate this, what are we doing here period. No one was sympathetic because I was whining from a beach with a margarita in my hand under the bluest sky you can imagine. I said to one of the council the other night that I could feel the very last of the fucks I had to give going away as I crossed through the Everglades. It’s kind of like as not living in the US as you can while still living in the US. People are different here (the locals at least).
Everyone’s got a story, and no one really cares much what it is. I’ll share mine, or not. There’s not much to tell, really. I left it behind. Maybe that’s just what happens. There is amazing wildlife. And Murph? In the past three weeks he has matured and changed in ways I’m still trying to fathom. Being an unaccompanied minor on a flight with a layover after spending some time on his own with his new framily in Virginia was only the beginning of Murph’s morph. I fully expect to lose some kind of epic battle about how he is not going to go cage diving with sharks by the end of the summer. In the meantime, his camps this summer are scuba, snorkeling, marine life, sailing, more diving, reef preservation…well, you get it. High interest. I brought the brilliant kid to the place where his interests have always been, and suddenly he’s decided it’s cool to be the brilliant one. He’s reading (grown up books suggested by really amazing college professors) about reefs, fish, marine preservation and other stuff. He’s finishing Physics for Future Presidents and starting Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. He can suddenly do math if it involves the oceans. We got hold of a couple sea kayaks, and the kid is studying sea maps and navigational charts and plotting kayaking trips so we can snorkel shipwrecks. Remember when I thought he couldn’t read? Or add? That kid is gone. Genius kid has decided to show his spots. There’s a charter school, Sigsbee, whose focus is marine life, and there are two Navy bases and a Coast Guard station. The Navy trains divers and special operations forces here. Murph is fascinated.
And this is our life and times, or so it goes. Thanks for reading and being a part of it. You’ll find yourself welcome here and on our Facebook page.
If you’d like, you can make a small donation (literally every penny counts and is appreciated) to The Kraken Relocation Fund to help us keep going!