Life is funny like that

By Mir
May 7, 2014

I have been working out. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that this is not a thing I do because I like it or because I love being healthy or anything like that; this is a thing I started doing because I feel BLAH and squishy and weak and old. I have tried to develop a regular exercise regimen, on and off, at various times in my life. I’ve had a modicum of success for months or even years at a time, sometimes. And then slowly I give it up, because I never LIKE it enough to keep going just because it speaks to me. (I have friends who say they LOVE working out. I strongly suspect this to be the modern-day form of no soap radio.)

I do not love this thing, this carving out of at least 30 minutes every day to move my body and pause my mind. But I am kind of getting to where I can see that it’s Not Awful. (“Not Awful” may be as close to “I like it” as I ever get. Baby steps.) The past few years have taken a toll on my health in ways I never could’ve predicted, and the one silver lining is that now when I exercise, I kind of appreciate it. (Sometimes Otto and I refer to my time on the elliptical as PEDALING AWAY THE RAGE and while I doubt anyone is going to patent that as a a tagline for a marketable exercise program, it works.)

These days, I move more, and talk less. I still don’t move enough and talk too much, but it’s progress in the right direction.

* * * * *

The kids are wrapping up the school year, which includes both kids finishing the VERY! LAST! online courses I will ever allow them to take. I don’t know if my special little snowflakes are just particularly brain-damaged or if our state’s online course system is especially difficult to follow (a combination of both, I suspect), but for years we have done this dance, semester after semester, and if I ever have to do it again I cannot be help responsible for any violence that may result. It goes like this:

Me: Did you turn in all of your work?
Perfectly Capable Child: Yep!
Me: Are you SURE? The deadline is TONIGHT. It’s ALL done?
PFC: Everything’s done! All turned in! GEEZ, MOM, CHILL OUT.
*days pass*

PFC: What? No! I did! I swear! I mean, I think! That’s so weird!
PFC: Okay, okay, GEEZ.
*days pass*
*next deadline approaches*

Me: Is ALL of your work in this time?
PFC: Yes! I swear! It’s all done!
Me: Good. I’m glad you learned from what happened before.
*days pass*
*NastyGrams arrive*
*my head explodes*

It’s almost over. And no child of mine will ever take another online class while living under my roof, world without screeching banshee of a bitchy mother, amen.

* * * * *

So here’s some irony for all to enjoy: Despite the online Virtual School Angst, and despite the fact that getting Monkey enrolled at our local high school in January practically required an act of Congress (and occurred among many assertions from certain administrators that there was “no possible way” he would succeed in this set-up), a certain boychild of whom I am extraordinarily fond made the top honor roll for the year. As in—yeah, I crunched the numbers, because I’m a dork like that—the one that only 3% of the student body makes. I’m bragging, right? I mean, it sounds like bragging, except I had nothing to do with it, and I hope that the folks who gave us such a hard time back in December will take this as their cordial invitation to SUCK IT and get out of my kid’s way, but whatever. He worked hard. I’m proud of him.

That said, we did not attend the award ceremony where he was supposed to get his HEY SUPER SPECIAL HIGH GRADES KID certificate… because 1) such events are really not Monkey’s bag and I wasn’t going to force him and 2) we were at home frantically trying to get him through the remainder of his missing Virtual School assignments before the last deadline. (I told you! IRONY!)

For some reason, this prompted our neighbor (who has kids at the high school as well, of course, as well as one billion feral cats) to come knock on the door at 9:45 that night and SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF ME. I was in my pajamas, not expecting anyone, having just dealt with threeish hours of alternating IT IS NOT MY FAULT and I AM GOING TO FAIL THIS CLASS AND THE WORLD IS GOING TO END, and suddenly there was a rap-rap-rap at the door and the dogs went ballistic and it was all because the neighbor was there to see if maybe I was drunk.

I mean, I assume. She said in what I took as an accusing voice (probably it wasn’t; my maternal guilt tends to wear disapproval-colored glasses), “You missed Honors Night. I brought you a program.” I am SURE she was just being nice, not just wondering why in the world my child received a top honor at school and none of us showed up. THE GOOD NEWS is that I wasn’t drunk! The bad news is that after hours of Virtual School Wars and clad in ratty pajamas, I probably looked like I was. So that’s awesome.

* * * * *

Shout-out to my oldest: During the Great Virtual School Meltdown, Chickadee took it upon herself to pull a chair over to the computer, open up the prized gummy bears she’d received as a gift and was saving for a special occasion, and commence calming Monkey down via soothing words and—whenever that failed—popping a gummy bear into his mouth and saying, “Shhhhh, chew.” (At one point I am pretty sure I heard a garbled, “Chickie, I can’t BREATHE!” because he had so many in his mouth. He was really stressed out, and she was committed to her role.)

The work got done. The gummy bears are all gone. Sometimes my kids surprise me.

* * * * *

When I do the elliptical, usually the dogs come into the bedroom with me and take a nap on the ZOMGTHEBIGBED. I work and sweat and they snore. Then when I’m all done, I like to have a snack to replace my energy (usually a banana or some carrots). The dogs try to convince me that they used up lots of calories sleeping and need a snack, too. Goobers.

That has nothing to do with anything, I just like to show you how ridiculous my dogs are and how my office is filled with pitifulness.


  1. 12tequilas


  2. Ani

    Oh my gosh! I just had that VERY SAME talk with the resident boychild wunderkind. Times likes this I mutter under my breath and crack another beer. Usually the root kind, but there are days….I totally understand why some animals eat their young.

  3. Karen R

    Congratulations, Monkey! And, good job calming him down, Chickadee.

  4. RuthWells

    (Off to check my kids’ grades on the school portal….)

    Your kids are awesome.

  5. StephLove

    My son’s never taken an online course in his life and we still get frequent unwelcome surprises on the online grade tracking system about work he never turned in. He’s not one to blow off assignments but he loses track of what he’s supposed to do, or even more frustratingly, does it and fails to turn in the work. He’s actually failing English right now because of three missing homework assignments (it’s early in the 4th quarter so they have outsize importance right now) and I swear I remember him doing all of them. Teacher does not respond to email. Kid doesn’t want to ask him about it in person. Mother unsure how much intervention is helicoptering.

    So, not taking any more online courses might not solve your problem.

    Cute story about the gummy bears.

    • Gayle

      Thank you for this comment. You and I are living the same experience, but I always feel like I am the only one. It particularly drives me nuts when he completes an assignment, but doesn’t turn it in. Urgh!

      • Mir

        Oh, ladies. I feel you both. We’ll still deal with this stuff, but at least communication with the school seems to work better than the Virtual School communication. (Also we have an online portal where I can easily see missing school assignments, but no such device with the online classes. Which is bizarre, now that I think of it.)

        tl;dr: I fully expect my darlings to continue being disorganized and/or deceitful. But they will be easier to catch!

  6. EJ

    My kids also have never taken an online class and this scenario has played out at my house within the last week. Twice.

    I hate school. I haven’t been in school for twenty plus years, but I really hate it.

  7. LizD


    And always love pics of the goobers, I mean dogs.

  8. My Kids Mom

    I think kids are just overconfident about everything they do. I just blogged about this. We just had the twice a year “Do you have dress clothes that fit?” circular game in which I ask, they claim they’ve tried on, and then the day of/hour of/minutes before… suddenly Nothing Fits. I’d have cut off their heads but I didn’t think it would make the shoes fit any better afterward.

  9. Sharon

    Heaving a big sigh of relief here – I could feel you relax through cyberspace:)

  10. not supergirl

    This was my first year of having access to my girls’ assignments. I’m not sure I appreciate being expected to take over that responsibility. I liked having plausible denial, back when it wasn’t my fault anymore if it wasn’t written in that planner. ;)

    Also, speaking of your office, what did you end up thinking of the paint you were considering, the kind with no black pigment in it?

    • Mir

      I still have not painted my office. I keep saying I will and life gets in the way. I did, however, find a similar color to the expensive-unattainable-fancypants full spectrum paint at Benjamin Moore (their Aura Color Stories line is full spectrum, no black), just as expensive, but actually available locally.

      So if I ever get my crap together, I’m totally gonna paint.

      • not supergirl

        I’m totally gonna want to hear about it. Also, accessible and full spectrum? That might be worth trying out, so thank you.

  11. liz

    Yay, Monkey! Way to be in that 3%!

  12. suburbancorrespondent

    I would love to get to the Not Awful stage of exercising.

  13. Jeanie

    Your kids AND your dogs are awesome! You’re pretty cool yourself, and we all know Otto is a prince among men. ZOMG, I’m gushing!

  14. Daisy

    Deep sigh. As a virtual school teacher, I resemble these remarks. I know firsthand that positively, absolutely, some courses have directions as clear as mud. I spend a lot of my time checking and double checking and reminding kids and their parents that Their Loving Children did indeed skip a science lab or a research paper.

    But on the plus side, I knew the Final Jeopardy answer/question today. No one in my home knew it, and neither did the three contestants. I knew it because I had just graded a research report on the topic. Yyyyesss!

  15. Korinthia Klein

    It’s ridiculous how much of this post I relate to. (SO cute that photo!)

  16. Jen

    On your darkest day, remember Chickie and the gummy bears. ‘Cause that is one funny mental image. :)
    Yay Monkey! You give me hope that someday (ohgodplease) my very own 2e special snowflake will make it back to public school and thrive. That said, I know the feeling of “suck it, administrators!” and will be doing that particular dance in a few days. :D

  17. Aimee

    yay Monkey! boo nosey neighbor! yay Chickie and gummi bears! Yay you and exercise! and ZOMG CUTE DOGS!!!!

  18. Lindsey

    Your dogs are so cute!! They totally deserve treats. Because, look at ’em! So cute! (My dogs use this reasoning frequently with me and it never fails. Sigh )

    Also, I love gummy bears! My love of them is driving me to do a Sugar Detox. It is very sad.

  19. murgatr

    Ah yes, the complex relationship with the workouts. As boring as it is, I can truly call it stress management when I deal with all my problems on the elliptical. Hats off to Monkey & Chickadee for surviving virtual school, anyone who does that deserves a medal! Honor Roll = redemption and gummy bears rock.

    Pharm. Tech. RDC’06

  20. Javamom

    The dogs look like they’re starving! lol

    I saw ‘the Middle’ last night where the mom created office hours for the kids to approach her for their endless needs. It failed, as these things do, but I liked the idea…makes me think about the homework/gettingworkdone thing and how we mom’s are always in the middle of it even if the ‘capable child’ is, um, capable…


  21. Karen

    oooh those faces!!!!…

  22. Jamie

    The gummy bears are my favorite part! I love it when our kids surprise us like that. Warms the heart until we have to scream at them again. I need to start working out, too. Not awful would be a great place to get to.

  23. Heather

    Thank you for including that convo about homework. I seriously feel like my head may explode on a daily basis. He has really never missed homework assignments and this year… OMG!

    We have a handy dandy app to check our kids grades, this also includes if they have missing assignments. I don’t want to tell you how many times this year I have come home from work and said, “You have a missing assignment in…”, and I hear, “No, I turned that in, I think I did, I know I did.” Then the next day, “I guess I didn’t, but I turned it in today.” He has one teacher that will only give 1/2 points on late assignments. So my A student has went to a B/C student. Driving me insane!

    Sadly, it make me feel better that others are experiencing my pain! Makes it feel normal at least…

  24. Angela Stone

    I love the gummy bear part! It is so nice when the pause the antagonizing and are nice – even if it is short lived.

  25. Pip

    Mostly all my coursework as a kid was done on the last possible day, with nobody chasing it up or really asking about it. To be fair, my parents probably asked and I probably lied.

    My brother did have one of those meltdowns though – he was 16, doing his GCSEs (they’re a pretty big deal), and he was doing statistics as an extra GCSE because he was really good at maths. Except, somehow, he completely failed to understand statistics and ended up in hysterical tears the night before his coursework was due in. I spent that entire experience washing the dishes in the room nextdoor, and it got bad enough that Mattie was crying, Mum was crying, and I was in the next room crying because other people were crying.

    The eventual outcome of the meltdown was that Mattie got to drop statistics with my mum promising she wasn’t that cross with him and I eventually finished the dishes.

    (Mattie also had a big freakout about his exams at university and went AWOL instead of attending them. He showed up 24 hours later and had to get a doctor’s note for stress. My family does not do well with formal education, which is kind of ironic since my mum, dad, stepmum and stepbrother are all teachers)

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest