Ahoy, mateys!

I’m about THIS CLOSE to wearing an eye patch and calling it a day. I hardly ever wear makeup, right? Like, I’ll wear it when I dress up. Which is almost never. For some reason at the beginning of this week I was digging for something in my bathroom drawer and found some mascara I forgot I had (my first mistake) and was all, “Oh! I’ll put some of this on.” So I did.

And then I woke up with an eye infection the next morning. Because of course.

I threw away the mascara. I’ve been doing warm compresses and medicated eye wipes (did you know this was a thing? it’s a thing!) and trying not to touch my face and and also whining A LOT about how my eye hurts and burns and itches and did I mention? MY EYE? WHICH IS CLEARLY INFECTED?

After one too many jokes from friends about the eye patch I am surely destined for, I went to the doctor today. Now that I’m on antibiotics I guess today is probably my last day to make pirate jokes, alas.

While I was gone this week trying really hard not to touch my eye, I wrote a couple of posts over at Alpha Mom. One is about what matters to me now that I’m solidly middle-aged and the other is (in response to a reader question) all about how homeschooling can be all kinds of different things. So, um, you can go read those and I won’t make ye walk the plank. Arrrrrrrr.

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What you see is what you get

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for forever, the way people sometimes recoil from labels or admitting that there’s anything less-than-perfect about themselves or their special snowflakes. So it should come as no surprise that I have some things to say on the topic of whether or not special-needs students should disclose in their college application essays.

I know. You’re shocked. It’s shocking.

[Sidebar: Maybe less of a good idea to discuss your laundry habits, as I’m not sure a certain child of mine would’ve been accepted to her school if they knew that she just didn’t do laundry the entire first month. This weekend we had a rather spirited discussion about the number of undergarments in said laundry (hint: not as many as there should’ve been, given the number of days away) wherein she INSISTED that some of her laundry must’ve still been at the dorm, and later she went back and threw her roommate under the bus to save herself: I got a phone call informing me that AT LEAST she’d brought her sheets home to wash, whereas the roommate had gone home without hers and still hadn’t changed them. In summary, be yourself but BE YOURSELF OVER THERE WITH SOME FEBREEZE, PLEASE.]

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Batten down those dryer sheets

Welcome to another episode of, “Well hello there, I am not in fact dead, I have just been busy elsewhere and also I suck.” I have baked things for Nerd Night! I have fitted one hundred smelly teenagers for band uniforms! (That’s not a slam; we do fittings during practice and they’re practicing outside and it’s hot and seriously, please send air freshener.) I have Cleaned Things and Dealt With Broken Things and said “let me know how I can help” and actually meant it, which means I have been doing lots of things which are probably uninteresting to anyone other than the folks I am helping, but whatever.

Chickadee is loving college. Monkey is loving his time on our local campus, too, and this week submitted his last college application (!!!), meaning that now we just sit back and wait and see what happens. I feel like both kids were young- and middle-teens with various issues and that time period stretched out in whatever the opposite of dog years would be; each of those hard years seemed to last at least a decade, while I wondered if we would ever be through it. Now that they are both upper-teens and doing well, time is going WOOSH right past us in a blur. It’s early to submit applications, for example, but if I blink, we’ll be at graduation. So.

My darling daughter was already slated to take a trip home this weekend, meaning I’d be seeing her for the first time in a month (not counting FaceTime…), and I was like a kid counting down to Christmas morning. She’d finish class at 2:00 and get her stuff and be home before dinner! SO GREAT! And then—I don’t know if you’ve heard that there’s a hurricane trying to eat the southeastern US right now?—the phone rang before 6:00 this morning and it was a robocall letting us know that classes were canceled for the day due to the storm. Which: thanks? Instead of waiting for dinnertime, my (supposedly) fully functional adult child stumbled into my office around 9:30, still in her pajamas, with a car full of laundry, and yay for her being home ahead of the storm. BUT I DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW THIS BEFORE DAWN. Also when you see that it is 1) way too early and 2) the caller ID says it’s your kid’s college calling, that has a way of making you (me) release all the adrenaline in the world while you steel for Terrible News, and then when it turns out to be a robocall, you might be kind of angry. And jumpy. Because adrenaline.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Except the laundry, because that’s never going to end. (No, she hasn’t done laundry at school even once. In a whole month. I KNOW.)

While I was off doing other things, I did write a couple of posts over at Alpha Mom. First, I am admitting that my neuroses about my career choices and salary know no bounds, and then yesterday I answered a reader question about transitioning from homeschooling to public school. You could go read those while I fold laundry, if you wanted.

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Back to the grind

Otto has this thing about asking me how my day was. I mean, he really wants to know, I’m sure. But he asks when he gets home and he often asks at dinner and sometimes he asks when we sit down on the couch later to watch TV, and he almost always asks again when we turn out the light and get into bed at night. It’s endearing the first fifty-seven thousand times. Last night when he asked me for the third time that evening I snapped, “YOU ALREADY ASKED ME THAT” both because I’m a terrible person AND because half the time, I have no freaking clue how my day was. How was my day? What did I do all day? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE???

I don’t think this is a kid-away-at-college thing. I think this is a Mir-is-a-somewhat-disorganized-dumbass thing. I do a certain amount of work each day, of course, but then I also find myself saying things like “Oh, I went grocery shopping!” like that’s some sort of major achievement. Um. Yay me? Yes, we have orange juice and a fresh loaf of bread! TRULY I AM A MARVEL! And if I manage to both do laundry AND put it away, well, I don’t require a standing ovation or anything, but if you must….

Summer was flying by the seat of our pants. Now that school is back in session, I’m trying to get us back on schedule. I’ve found that making dinner sacred again (you know, around marching band and everything else…) is usually a good anchor, so to that end, I’m over at Alpha Mom sharing my 10 Commandments of Drama-Free School Night Dinners. If you must know, last night we had chicken chili (made in the crock pot, natch), the leftovers of which will be nachos later this week. Tonight we’re having savory (gluten-free) cheddar buckwheat waffles topped with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and onions in a white wine reduction. I can’t swear that cooking dinner is the reason my family still puts up with me, but I have my suspicions.

Tonight when Otto asks how my day was, I’ll reply with grace and love, “It was delightful. Shut up and eat your fancy waffles.”

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We are all adjusting

After a summer that seemed to pass in a blink, we’re back on a school schedule that has Otto and Monkey heading out the door at 7:30, most days, and often not returning until late in the evening. Classes have started for Chickie, too, and she was kind enough to remember that I needed a picture on the first day.

1stday-college-2016

(Why yes, it IS 95+ degrees and a bazillion percent humidity here every day, still. Don’t you wear skinny jeans and combat boots in that sort of lovely weather? No? WEIRD.)

Each of us is figuring out our new schedule, our new space, this next stage. I am still marveling over how smooth of a transition it’s been, although that doesn’t mean it’s easy, just that it’s bearable. I’ll take it.

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Nerd Night: Mexican Chocolate Bomb Cookies

After a long, harsh (not really) summer, Nerd Night has returned! Even that is a lie, sort of—there were sporadic Nerd Nights this summer, they just couldn’t do it every week. And actually, the current campaign started last week, but I was too busy trying to get my child to pack for college and clean her room to share that recipe. (But: soft cherry chocolate chip cookies, in case someone feels they cannot live without that recipe. Happy to share it, if so.) Last night, though, that felt like the first “normal” Nerd Night in a while.

But… Chickie wasn’t here. Clearly this leaves behind a void, yes? A void which can only be filled with chocolate and sugar.

I went searching for something with chocolate and buttermilk, because I happen to know that buttermilk makes all things chocolate even chocolate-y-er (totally a word), and also soft and silky. When I came upon Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen’s recipe I knew it would be delicious as-is, but I was feeling feisty. My version has a spicy Mexican kick. This cookie is soft and super-chocolatey, with a lingering hint of cayenne. The plate came back empty. I’m thinking it worked.

mex-choc-cookies (more…)

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It is done (and no one cried)

Y’all. We made it. Chickadee’s at college.

Now is the appropriate time for an AMEN and a HALLELUJAH and any other celebratory exclamation of your choosing. This was a long road and I would’ve happily changed MANY MANY parts of it, given the option, but in the end it led her right where she needed to be. Have I mentioned how proud I am of this kid? She astounds me every day.

So yes, it is bittersweet. But everyone warned us we’d all be bawling and I said NUH UH and everyone did the whole “Just you wait” and guess what? It was great. I’m not going to tell you my eyes weren’t a little glossy by the time we said goodbye, but the overwhelming feeling for us (and I think her, too) was joy. This was a Very Big Deal.

Everything JUUUUUUST fit in her car, save for her fridge, which worked out just fine; she and I left at the ass-crack of dawn in her car, and Otto came later with the fridge. This is because yesterday was insane: It was move-in day for Chickie, yes, but her assigned unloading time was exactly the same time as Monkey’s first class at our local university. So while I was pulling up to the curb and a veritable swarm of student volunteers descended on the car (no joke; we pulled up, gave her room number, and the crew head barked out the number and twenty seconds later the car was picked CLEAN. By the time I parked and returned to the dorm, she was checked in and everything she owned was in her room), Monkey was bounding up the steps towards Calculus.

Move-in was smooth. Monkey’s assessment of Calc (shared later), however, was “Everyone seemed to be sleeping and it’s also way too easy.” (My kind, supportive response: “Not everyone is a morning person like you, and maybe don’t assume the whole class is going to be easy from your experience on the very first day, Mr. Hubris.”) (more…)

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Live from the House of Pop-Tarts

We move Chickadee into her dorm tomorrow. TOMORROW. Today is taking approximately 593 hours, in case you were wondering, but also she is not done packing because GEEZ MOM IN A MINUTE. As for me, about a month ago I bought a case of Pop-Tarts from Amazon as part of Operation Stock The Dorm With Snacks—this was a moment of weakness, as I am staunchly anti-toaster-pastry and found them gross even when I could still eat wheat—and hid it in the back of the pantry. BUT THEN. The pediatrician got on my case about Monkey being so skinny, so I dug out a couple of boxes and suggested he snack on them, and then suddenly most of the case was gone because it turns out that both of my children are addicted to Pop-Tarts. Hence yesterday’s emergency grocery trip to buy MORE Pop-Tarts. (Did you know that if you type Pop-Tarts enough times it stops looking like words? True story.)

So. Chickadee and her Pop-Tart stash move in tomorrow. Yesterday was Monkey’s first day of school. And you know what that means:

1st-day-shoes-2016

Please enjoy this picture, not just because my PRESHUSSSS WIDDLE BABYKINS is apparently part Yeti, but because this shoe photo is the end of an era. It’s the last shoe photo for the last first day, because he just started the last senior year.

(How did this happen??? I blame Pop-Tarts.)

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A happy ending after all

Guess what I have. Go on! GUESS!!

I have a fully functional fridge cart for my kid. HASHTAG MOST EXCITING THING EVER HASHTAG MIDDLE AGE PARENT HASHTAG UNNECESSARY HASHTAGS HASHTAG GOD MOM STOP.

(If none of this makes any sense, go back and read my last post. It took the whole village—or maybe several villages, and at least several warehouses—but we now have one entire, undamaged fridge cart. If just the hashtag part doesn’t make sense, don’t worry about it. I’M A COOL MOM.) (I am so not a cool mom.)

With that squared away, the packing up for college continues apace. More accurately, the forced death march of room cleaning is happening. And lest you think “death march” is my usual hyperbole, let me just tell you that this weekend our AC went out upstairs (of course it did, because it had been almost two whole weeks since the AC died DOWNstairs) (but yes, I am very glad that two-story houses in the south have separate units so that you’re not trapped in hell when one breaks) and still I made Chickadee do some cleaning. We emptied out her entire desk while it was 90+ degrees up there, with two fans going. We ate ice cream once it was done, though. I’m not a TOTAL monster.

My kids are in a great place right now, both of them. If you’ve been reading here for any time at all, you know that’s a huge thing (and something I probably shouldn’t even be saying out loud, much less writing down). There’s always a part of me that’s going to be tender and prone to bruising when it comes to comparing parenting notes, though. So today at Alpha Mom you’re getting a brain-dump on what those of us whose parenting plans go awry struggle with, often in silence, and nearly always in private.

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I just wanted a fridge cart

Chickadee leaves for college in two weeks, in case you’re counting. I was counting, for quite a while there—I was counting down until a wonderful, mythical day when ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER as we worked through that less-than-halcyon time when your college-bound teenager suddenly morphs into a prickly, cranky, spoiled brat. I hear this is perfectly normal, and that my reaction of wanting to strangle her with my bare hands was also normal. That time came, and went, and now we are just finishing getting her ready and enjoying each others’ company. And realizing we are going to miss each other. A lot. So part of me wishes we were back in that place where everything was an argument, because emotions are stupid.

Anyway.

We all know I shopped for a solid year, seems like, making sure that my kid would have everything she could possibly need for her tiny dorm room for the next year. I was mostly-done months ago, and she and her roomies have collaborated and negotiated and everything has been worked out. We’ve had a mini-fridge—given to us by a generous friend whose kid no longer needs it—forever. The roommate is bringing a microwave. Perfect. And then I made the mistake of reading one of those lists of THINGS YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN BUT YOUR COLLEGE FRESHMAN TOTALLY NEEDS MORE THAN OXYGEN kinds of lists, and it featured a fridge cart. You know, a little wheeled metal cube with mesh storage drawers and a wood top, perfectly sized to hold a dorm-size fridge. Dishes and snacks fit in the cart, it keeps the fridge off the floor and expands your storage, etc.

I thought I was done shopping, but I saw this thing and decided Chickie needed one. (Me: “Do you want a fridge cart?” Her: “A what, now?”) And because I am me, it turned into An Adventure. (more…)

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