In other words, totally normal stuff

By Mir
June 1, 2015

Life has been uneventful here, of late. Yep. Nothing’s happening. Booooring. In the last month:

1) I got laid off. [insert sad trombone here]
2) School ended, and I now have a senior and a junior and SHUT YOUR MOUTH I DO NOT.
3) Chickadee got a job.
4) Monkey continues to insist he does NOT need to learn how to drive, despite a deadline of this week for our trip to the DMV to test for his permit.
5) We sold our camper.
6) We opened the pool and paid the children each a dollar to plunge into the cold water, as is our custom.
7) It rained a bunch and my garden is going berserk.
8) My dad and stepmom came to visit.
9) My dad and stepmom brought us the plague, which frankly was a shitty hostess gift, I have to say.
10) The dogs continue to be ridiculous and gross but we still love them.

Because I know each of these things is SUPER EXCITING, I shall elaborate. Lucky you! I’ll even spray this entire post with Lysol, because I’m still sick and I would hate to give it to you.

1) Laid off.
In the wide world of freelancing, generally the end of one job is not a huge deal because you have half-a-dozen others and it all kind of balances out. Over the last 18 months, I worked increasing hours for a really cool start-up company and eventually went on board as a regular employee, which meant I cut down on my freelancing quite a lot. I don’t regret this decision at all; I weighed the pros and cons and knew that start-up life brings no guarantees. It was a really great job while it lasted. And once it ended I looked around and went OH CRAP WHAT DO I DO NOW?? because that was a big chunk of income and time and I don’t have nearly as many irons in the fire as I used to, but after an initial period of panic I realized this is actually GREAT. I’ve been freelancing for a decade. I have been working full-time (or more) even on vacations and over holidays for ten years straight. I have enough work right now that I can coast for a little while. It’s summer. I’m learning how to relax. It might even be good for me. IMAGINE.

2) School’s out.
Both kids finished the year strong, albeit with an expected number of mini nervous breakdowns. The last month of school is ridiculously stressful for everyone. Add in the “fun” of teachers who aren’t always on board with those pesky IEPs (plan motto: NOT ACTUALLY OPTIONAL!), and I spend a lot of time being a pain in the ass to a lot of people in the name of advocacy. One teacher in particular seemed determined to carry a grudge right to the bitter end, and working that situation out was disheartening and exhausting for all involved. Everything was resolved, but trust me when I tell you we celebrated heartily when the last day was over.

3) Employed teens are the best!
Last year Chickadee applied for about a dozen (maybe more) menial jobs and didn’t so much as get an interview. I had mixed feelings at the time; I think working summers is a good idea, but I also doubted her ability to, say, sling burgers as a vegetarian. This year she started the hunt earlier, branched out in what she applied for, and ultimately landed herself a crazy good job requiring actual creative skills she possesses. She’s using her brain, making money, and learning how-to-conduct-yourself-in-an-office skills. Plus it will look awesome on her resume. It’s pretty much perfection. AND she did it all on her own—she’s come a long way, baby. (Furthermore, when we refused to order pizza for dinner last night, I suggested she do it herself as she has real money now. This was a revelation to her, and she went and conferred with her brother and then they ordered their very own pizza with their very own money. Magic!)

4) You’re not Sheldon, kid.
WHYYYYYY does my son remain convinced that he will never have to learn to drive? I do not understand. I’ve already told him we’re just getting his permit so that he has a valid form of ID and so that we’re starting that one-year “clock” that has to run down before he can test for his license. I’ve already told him that this summer we’re letting Chickadee drive so that she can test for her license before school starts, and the very earliest he’d start driving will probably be around Christmas. And still, the very mention of it sets him off. “I HAVE TO WASH MY CAT!” he declares, dancing away from wherever I am. “VERY BUSY! CAN’T DO IT!” Parenting: always weird.

5) A moment of silence, please.
After a few rounds of anticipated Craigslist hijinks, a very nice family with an entire herd of small children came to our house one day to check out Tweetie The Trailer. Otto and the dad spent about an hour walking around every inch of it while four small children roamed around our lawn and ultimately tried to fling themselves into our pool despite their mother half-heartedly encouraging them to please stop. It was… entertaining. And they came back the next day and towed the camper away, and now my husband is in mourning and I feel guilty about being somewhat relieved.

6) Dollars for dives.
If you plunge into the pool the first day it’s ready to go, you get a dollar. That’s in the bible, right? Pretty sure it is. Honestly, the water isn’t even that cold. (Not that I went in. I already have a dollar.)

7) I’m ready for tomatoes.
The only harvestable goodies from the garden so far have been green beans (and none have even made them inside; we just eat them all raw out there), but then we had a ton of rain and I have about a bajillion green tomatoes and some tiny squash and a bunch of eggplant blossoms. I don’t know why the garden is so thrilling to me EVERY SINGLE YEAR (I am easily amused?), but it is. I cannot wait for fresh veggies every day. Also the blueberries will be ripe soon, so basically everything is wonderful.

8) Yay, parentals!
So my folks had a wedding to go to in Virginia and we suckered them into driving down here, first, to stay with us for a few days beforehand. As per usual, there was a lot of food and merriment, and just a tiny built of guilt-tripping about our lack of journeying up north in the last few years. It is always wonderful to get to spend some time together. BUT…

9) … next time, leave the typhoid at home.
My dad arrived with a bad cold which he immediately gave to my stepmom, Chickie, and me. (Monkey and Otto have so far escaped it; knocking on wood.) Summer colds are the absolute WORST. My throat hurts and my face hurts and my nose won’t stop running and everything is terrible. WAAAAHHHH. I am drinking tea like it’s going out of style and looking forward to the day when I can breathe freely again.

10) Dogs are gross.
I don’t know if Licorice felt left out, what with Duncan’s myriad health issues, or what. But this morning Chickadee came downstairs and said, “Um, Licorice pooped on my floor last night.” This was an understatement. I will spare you the details. Just know that it’s a GOOD THING I’M UNDEREMPLOYED RIGHT NOW because I’ve spent a significant portion of time cleaning carpet instead of working today, and also Licorice’s new nickname is Exploding Hindquarters. (Chickie slept through the whole thing. Because of course she did.) Here’s hoping that rotten dog ate something disgusting unbeknownst to us, yesterday, and this was a one-time deal.

In conclusion: Life. You know. It just keeps going.


  1. Karen

    And it all sounds wonderfully awesomely -normal- and I am so happy for you all because you indeed deserve -normal-. Have a wonderful summer!

    • amy

      I second this comment!

  2. kimmie

    The first time we stayed overnight at my sister’s, she put us in the “Garden Suite” (her very nice finished basement livingroom). My mom’s puppy came down in the middle of the night and pooped near my head (futon height but STILL!). And then my sister’s poodle came down a couple hours later and re-christened the spot.

    It is now the Poop Suite.

  3. Becca

    The not wanting to drive may actually be an aspie thing. i was very concerned about driving and then when I tried I found I didn’t have the executive processing, not to mention sensory processing, necessarily to pull it off successfully. Still would be worth a try, though.

    • Mir

      Oh it is DEFINITELY an Aspie thing. But this is why we want to get his permit early and give him plenty of time to ease into it. (And for whatever it’s worth, I was sure his sister would be a reckless driver and she is cautious to a fault, so I’m trying not to make any assumptions about his aptitude.)

      • Leslie

        My Aspie son isn’t interested, either. He’s now 17. He has his temps packet, but no interest. I figure when he decides it’s time, it’ll be time.

  4. el-e-e

    I was wondering about (1), and “Exploding Hindquarters” is going to continue to make me laugh all day, so thank you for that. (But sorry you had cleanup doodie.)

    • Lucinda

      Me too! It will also give me the opportunity to remind my husband that there are things much worse than a hairball or two from our cats.

  5. Tracy B

    Is Sheldon on Big Bang your reference? (My favorite character and show, btw) I, too, didn’t want to learn how to drive until my sister did. And then I couldn’t wait. Maybe he’ll come around. ;)

  6. Brigitte

    I never learned to drive until I was out of college and I could no longer avoid it, if I wanted to get to a job.

    Even in my head, “Tweetie the Trailer” comes out as “Tweetie the Twailer!” :-)

  7. Mom24_4evermom

    Oh my goodness, that is a BOAT LOAD of stuff! Hang in there. I hope the underemployment thing truly works out to be a blessing and long about the time it leans to not being a blessing anymore, things pick up.

    Everyone feel! better! Perhaps especially Licorice.

    Good luck with Monkey. I thought everyone wanted to learn to drive. Not my daughter. I thought I could make her learn to drive. Ha! I am in idiot. You can not make someone learn to drive. Eventually, I dropped it and when it became something she needed, she did it. Last year. At 22. Lesson learned.

    Thank you for being you.

  8. liz

    WHOA. Life certainly does come at you fast!

    And…I didn’t learn to drive until I was 27. But I also lived in New York City, so it wasn’t really necessary. Then we realized we were moving to VA. So I learned.

  9. suburbancorrespondent

    Normal is nice. We both know that! And getting a job was the best thing my oldest daughter could possibly have done as an unsettled teenager – she has learned a lot from working in the real world the past, oh, 4 years, all while living on her own; she learned enough, in fact, to make it seem worth it to her to go to college. She did community college this past year (while still working full time) and is now going to a state university as a junior this fall. All this was completely unimaginable a few short years ago. We feel very lucky.

  10. Chris

    Wow – that is a fun-filled post. I was just wondering how your job was going the other day – summer is the best time to be underemployed so not all bad there. We just finished up school today with strong but stress filled years – give us 2 or 3 days before my eldest starts panicking about being a senior because no point in taking the summer off.

  11. Monica

    My neurotypical kids didn’t get their drivers licenses until they were 23 and 26! My son waited until he had a job offer that included the need to drive before taking his test.

    Basically until they saw a need to have one they didn’t see a need to do the work. Still seems very weird to me as I grew up in a small town and had my DL 2 hrs after the DMV opened the day of my 16th birthday. I was a little motivated :)

  12. Daisy

    In my home, that’s known as “Never a dull moment.” We keep hoping for a little more “dull” time.

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