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Things I do when I should be working

The thing about working from home is that—while those of you working in offices may recognize when you’re wasting work time via, say, watching cat videos online—my time slippage is a lot more insidious than it used to be. That goes double now that we’re back to school, because hey, sometimes Monkey really needs me to help him with his work, y’know?

There’s too many possible rabbit holes in my day, here. Because Monkey really needs me to help him with his work and THEN he has to show me this new thing in Minecraft OR he can’t find a syllabus and so I HAVE to orchestrate a clean-up mission. OR it occurs to me that I should probably get dinner started and then it seems like a GREAT time to try a new recipe even though I have a million things I really ought to be doing, instead.

[Sidebar: Remember the whole "Oh, hey, SURPRISE! Chickie has ADHD!" thing? I'm now reading Smart But Scattered Teens and... holy Chickadee. Holy Monkey. HOLY ME. I can't decide whether to be pleased with myself for not being a hot mess 100% of the time or aggravated that I still wander off when I see something shiny to this day. Executive dysfunction: A family affair!] (more…)

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It turns out that being a grownup is a grind

I spent most of the last week trying really hard not to whine about not feeling well, because there is little more annoying than listening to a grown-ass adult complain because she has the sniffles. But I didn’t feeeeeeeel goooooooood and that was HARD. Because of the sniffling. And the feeling yucky. And wah wah wah. The truth is that I always get sick after I travel, and that was WEEKS AGO, now, and instead of getting full-blown, plague-level sick right away, I was just kind of stuck in this Victorian-fainting-couch level of feeling unwell for weeks, not getting better, but not really getting worse, either. Basically I had a cold.

And then last Friday I woke up with an awful earache, because I am three. Naturally I handled this situation with maturity and aplomb, which is to say that I stayed in my pajamas for two days, whining about how I AM TOO OLD FOR AN EAR INFECTION. I also took a lot of drugs (legal ones; nothing fun) and ate all the vitamin C in the world and drank a lot of water. I bemoaned my fate as The First Person Ever With The Cold That Would Never Go Away. And then yesterday I woke up feeling fine.

I should’ve been elated, but instead I was 1) slightly embarrassed by all the carrying on I’d been doing and 2) annoyed that this meant I no longer had an excuse to avoid being productive. (more…)

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You don’t know until you do it

I had a nice chat with one of Monkey’s virtual teachers this year (uh, she is not virtual, she’s a real person—a real teacher—but she works with the Virtual School, I mean) wherein I said something in passing about how this is our third year of homeschooling, and she uttered the dreaded phrase:

“Oh, I just DON’T KNOW HOW PEOPLE DO IT. I could NEVER homeschool my kids!”

I have an arsenal of standard responses to such statements: that I didn’t think I could until I did, that one of my kids is still in public school, that we utilize a lot of resources like Virtual School, and—my personal favorite, as it really gets to the heart of the matter—that I never planned to, but with Monkey’s particular set of needs being incompatible with a conventional middle school classroom, I simply didn’t have a choice.

But the truth is that a huge part of the reason I hate that phrase is because I probably said it to homeschoolers, myself, a hundred times before we found ourselves homeschooling. The implication is admiration, but the subtext is disbelief that anyone could survive it. (more…)

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The giant calendar will save us all

Today is the first day of Monkey’s last year of middle school, such as it is. (“Such as it is” because homeschooling does not include the typical hallmarks of those hallowed middle years such as gum on the underside of your desk, stolen lunch money, and being knocked into the lockers every so often.) This is a sacred and serious occasion, which we are marking by… ummmm… well, I should probably wake him up and then figure that out. I am TOTALLY on top of things, as you can see.

His online classes “open” today, and then our new homeschooling co-op starts next week, and everything feels familiar yet different and I am very busy NOT NOT NOT thinking about what we’re doing next year for high school, which of course means I am obsessing over it to the point where if it was a scab, I would be a bloody mess with MRSA by now. (You’re welcome for that visual.)

But before the start of school, we decided to go have one last hurrah in the woods. As you do. (more…)

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Math and other things

I keep thinking I’ll post something coherent when a full-fledged story presents itself, and then I look over the past 9+ years of writing and realize that this whole notion of actually having a cohesive narrative has never stopped me BEFORE. Why now? Possibly because I am lazy, or possibly because there’s some gelato in the freezer and it’s not going to eat itself. I don’t know. But because I’m a trooper, I shall soldier forward as best I can with disjointed bits and pieces of things.

I’m a giver.

Summer mathin’. I may have mentioned the whole math thing…? Hey, kids, let’s do an entire year of accelerated math in a 6-week summer course, online, in the snow, uphill both ways! Okay, the last two may not technically be true, but still. The 6-week course started on a Monday and then concludes with a final 5 weeks later on a Tuesday, so the MATH people are bad at COUNTING. (Irony: it’s what’s on the syllabus!) It’s a 5-week long course and I’m fairly certain it’s designed to kill the students who are taking it. Chickie doesn’t seem to mind, most of the time, but it is killing ME, and I DO mind. (more…)

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Still here, just boring

I didn’t mean to wander off and forget to post for so long. This is the part where I should apologize and tell you how completely fantastical and over-full my life is, I guess, except that:
1) I believe that YOUR life is probably interesting enough that me not posting matters to you pretty much not at all, or at least it shouldn’t, and
2) I have absolutely no idea what I’ve been doing, and I’m sure it wasn’t that exciting or I would remember.

The second one is kind of a lie, actually. SOME of what I’ve been doing is having flashbacks to high school math, because OH GOD ALL THE MATHS. Did I mention that my darling daughter is taking this insane math class? Two or three or fifteen times? Listen, if you told me to pick between the math class my daughter is taking OR receiving a Brazilian wax administered by drunken toddlers, I would be hard-pressed to tell you which one I would prefer. By the time she finished the first week, she was all “I think I’ll work ahead this weekend! This is going great!” and I was just silently weeping in the corner.

I’m not sure I could pass this class again if I had the whole academic year to do it—I mean, I’m pretty sure I took this class back in 1987 or so, but my brain was younger and more elastic back then—and here she is, whipping through it in 6 weeks. One day it was all “MOM, I NEED HELP WITH THESE 3-DIMENSIONAL GRAPHS” and the next day it was “Okay, that unit’s over, what do you know about standard deviation?” (more…)

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Strawberrypalooza

Some days I have a ton of work to do, deadlines coming out of my ears, and also there is laundry to be done and the kitchen is a mess and the dog needs a bath and my children are needy in various ways, and because I am a professional and also a master of life balance I look around and say, “Screw it. Let’s go pick strawberries.”

So we do.

(more…)

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A couple of elsewheres

Back before it became clear that we were all supposed to spend this week pondering the fragility of life and/or the enigma that is the human brain (with its capacity for both great evil and kindness), I wrote some other stuff. I’ll grant you that it doesn’t seem quite so important right now, but it’s what I’ve got. (Other things I’ve got: a sick kid, an almost-birthday-kid whose only request is a flourless chocolate cake, no groceries or ingredients for said cake unless I get off my ass and out of my pajamas, seven OMGSOITCHY fire ant bites, and several real-life pseudo-crises I wasn’t planning on having this week which are demanding my attention. Considering the options, a couple of other posts seemed like the nicest thing I could give you.)

So!

Did you know that Friday is the 2013 Day of Silence? Your favorite teen may clam up for the day, and on BlogHer I’m telling you why.

Although I don’t expect it to strike quite as many chords as my first post (you people have strong opinions about marching band!), this week on Alpha Mom I’m suggesting low-tech solutions for teens managing anxiety. (Psssst! They work for adults, too.)

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How I make it all even out

Ah, glorious springtime! The birds are chirping! The lizards are leaping! The pollen is… pollening. Yes.

Like any other red-blooded American family, this time of year means that we are committed to cleaning and repairing various facets of our dwelling, because everyone knows that warmer weather + tax return = copious swearing from someone on a ladder. That’s just how it works.

I feel like every time we set out to do “a little project” it turns into our own special brand of “there’s a hole in the bucket.” (Why yes, I’ve noted this before, because it’s been happening for years.) This has a three-pronged effect of making me insane, because 1) the MONEY part of it makes me panicked and neurotic no matter how much mental preparation I’ve done and even if all the necessary money was set aside beforehand, 2) the TIME aspect just adds to the fun as I become convinced that life will never be normal again, and 3) the MESS is just the final, OCD cherry on the losing-my-marbles sundae.

Perhaps Otto and I need to have our own home improvement show. He can be all calm and capable and get stuff done while I run around pointing at holes in the wall and crying. (more…)

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The house still smells like bacon

I keep waiting for something BIG and EXCITING to happen, possibly because I’m still in the pinch-me-I’m-dreaming phase of delicious normality. The reality is that life has been mundane and I am not complaining. I am just… perplexed. Surely one of us is about to come down with Ebola, or the next time we run out of milk and I drive to the store, my car will burst into flames. I mean, that’s… just sort of how my life goes, no?

Well—hang on, I have to knock on some wood, throw some salt over my shoulder, and perform a rather complicated ritual with the tchotchkes on my desk—right now, things go pretty boring. It rocks.

Of course, Monkey would tell you that things have NOT been boring. Things have been TERRIBLE because he has been DEPRIVED OF FRIEND TIME while Lemur’s family was sick. It was AWFUL and he nearly DIED of LONELINESS. Apparently none of the rest of us were interesting enough to keep him alive. (more…)

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