Not dead! But still disappointing!

By Mir
July 18, 2016

If you’ve been feeling let down because I haven’t been writing here much this summer, know that you’re in good company—most of my family is annoyed with me as well. First I received a phone call from my father asking me if I was still alive, and if so, if everything was alright, because “when you don’t blog for more than a week I get worried.”

Next, I received a text from my eldest (who was in the next room at the time), because although she will happily walk miles to catch Pokemon, apparently ungluing her ass from the couch to speak to me in person is too much effort.


I guess what I’m saying is: If you’re bothered, get in line. But I’m well aware that I suck. So! A brief(ish) (lies) summary of what’s been happening in my life since we last spoke, and it’s going to be SCINTILLATING, I’m sure.

Monkey Does Dorm Life
Remember I told you about my 1,000 neuroses related to the Monkey finishing up his summer internship by living in a dorm? I’m pleased to report that I am just a neurotic fool, as he ended up rooming with a fellow band nerd from his school and had a fine time. Of course, he arrived home minus one pair of dress pants as well as missing one lucky sock (shhhh, don’t talk about it; I’m sure he doesn’t care about the pants, but the sock thing was distressing), but whatever. I’m calling it a success. And I’m guessing his roommate’s family enjoyed the frantic “Do you by any chance have my pants??” message after, too. We went to the closing ceremony (which was, I think, longer than his sister’s high school graduation ceremony…) and oohed and aahed over his research and pictures of everyone working in their labs and having fun on field trips and then collected what remained of his things and came home. That left him just one week before Band Camp to do things other than work, so I promptly scheduled him for a check-up and he had to get three shots because I am the worst. Also…

… Monkey Does Campus Tours
In a few short week MAH BAYBEE will be starting classes here at our local Giant University where he was just working/living as he embarks on his senior (!!!) year as a dual-enrolled nerdling (who signs up for 8:00 am Calculus? MY KID), and should he wish to continue on at Giant University as a freshman after graduation, well, he’s already been admitted. Which is very nice. He would happily just do that and not bother applying anywhere else, and would probably get a bunch of scholarship money, AND ALSO happily live at home if we allowed him to. (Should he choose to remain local, he will still be living in the dorms. Even if I have to change the locks.) ANYHOO. A while back we had The Talk. You know the one. No, not THAT one—the one where I explain that if he does his due diligence in exploring his educational options and THEN decides that the local university really is the best fit for him, great! But first he has to explore some other schools. So he did some research and decided to also explore his sister’s college (awwww) as well as Giant Nerd University (not the actual school name) in the city. But he reassured me (multiple times) that nothing would top staying here. WELL. We spent a day in Atlanta and the first student we saw when pulling into the visitor lot at GNU was wearing a “You read my shirt. That’s enough social interaction for today” shirt, and well, it turns out we found His People. He’s still not sure that’s definitely where he wants to go, but at least it’s a strong possibility and he’s realizing there are all different kinds of schools. (I’m not saying I have a preference, I’m just saying that GNU has both a Gaming Club and an Autism Club. Also I had the best fish tacos of my life at their student union and lunch is an important meal, y’know. So.)

The Home Hits Keep On Coming
So remember how a tree squashed our trampoline and my KitchenAid tried to commit suicide? The good news is that the mixer has been fixed and the tree guys came to cut up and haul away the fallen branch. The bad news is that the cost for these things is… bracing. The WORSE news is that right after I dared to say out loud “OH HA HA HA AT LEAST THAT’S OVER AND NOTHING ELSE IS WRONG,” our air conditioning stopped working. Because of course it did. I’m actually waiting on those repair guys right now. (Air conditioning is a luxury, no doubt. Here in lovely GA where our heat index in the summer regularly tops out at triple digits and the humidity is around 90%, it is… a luxury I am unwilling to relinquish.)

Adventures In Cleaning
The Big Chickadee Room Cleanout has begun in earnest, and I wrote you a post at Alpha Mom after the first wave, when we’d only just begun plumbing the depths of a decade of Packratitis. This past weekend we cleared out her closet, and I think I may need a Silkwood shower to recover. I mean, it’s getting done. It’s fine. We’ve moved a big chunk of dorm stuff into her closet (dual purpose: it gets it out of MY closet, plus it takes up the room she could potentially fill up with crap again before she leaves). New hangers have been purchased and under threat of bodily harm, only clothing items destined for the dorm are allowed to go on them (and then those hangers go in a separate section of the closet). Does this seem extreme? Trust me, there are tornadoes more organized than my child. Plus, priorities are odd things, man. Like…

I Wanted To Clean, She Wanted To Be A Pretty Pony
I think getting ready for college means cleaning your room and packing. She thinks getting ready for college means this:
Now, in fairness, her hair looks AMAZING, and I’m all for self-expression and whatnot, plus for the first time in 7ish years of messing around with color in her hair, she went and had the bleaching done at a salon because 1) she has a job and money now and 2) I was not comfortable bleaching her entire head as an amateur stylist. All is great (sooooo many compliments on her hair, wherever she goes, but kids who come to the restaurant where she waits tables seem particularly delighted) BUT remember how she used to have all these skin issues? Years ago? But it’s all under control now? HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA*sob*. The stylist did a great job bleaching her hair so that we could color it at home, but within about two hours of leaving the salon she was covered head to toe in welts and rash. (Bleach is irritating and as soon as part of her skin got irritated, her entire body decided to join in.) So now her hair is purple and awesome AND she’s on a course of steroids, and not to sound superior or anything, but I think I know what the song “Flying Purple People Eater” was based on. But she HAD to have her hair done before…

… Orientation!
We came, we saw, we Did All The Things. Chickadee spent the day with her suitemates and got her student ID card (with awesome hair!) and parking pass and mailbox key. We witnessed a ridiculous number of cheesy skits about college life. We ate in the dining hall and measured things in her Actual Dorm Room (!!) and went to the bookstore and bought All The Shirts. There was also a Marketplace thing where you could go around and learn about various clubs, and I’m pretty sure my kid signed up for a dozen things already. [Sidebar: we were trying very hard to avoid the Greek Life section and also the Religion section, but it was VERY hot outside and one of the church groups had free iced coffee. I have some guilt about getting coffee when really they wanted us to get more Jesus, but I feel like Jesus would understand that after a long hot day, anything you do for iced coffee is okay.]

In just over three weeks, she’ll be off. Let’s just… think about that iced coffee, instead. Jesus makes delicious iced coffee.

And finally:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for band nerds, and it’s extra bittersweet for us this season because 1) it’s Monkey’s last year and 2) Chickadee is working at it instead of attending. WHICH IS WEIRD.

So that’s pretty much it. The AC repair guy is here and he just came in and told me we have a coolant leak and then he told me how much it’s going to cost to fix, so I have to go sell a kidney now. Anyone need a kidney? Pretty sure it’s mocha-scented, in case that matters.


  1. diane

    I LOVE Chicky’s hair!! Even if it did result in a dose of Prednisone. Oops.
    If I had kids, other than telling them for God’s sake don’t major in the humanities but do learn how to write well, my college advice would be to dye your hair every color you’ve ever dreamed of because once you get into the working world you don’t get to do that anymore and frankly it is SO MUCH FUN! #remembermanicpanic?

    • Mir

      Seriously, people who ask me how I can let her do that, I feel like 1) It’s her own damn hair, 2) she’s not piercing anything, and 3) if not now, WHEN?

      • Chris

        Same here. People tell me how cool I am to let my 13 year old have colored tips and I say if not now, when? She is a good kid and gets good grades and whatever. A little pink/purple/blue hair never hurt anyone and it is not permanent! The purple looks great Chickie, BTW!

        • Erin

          I’m feeling the same way about hair dying, which is why my kiddo is getting the tools needed for her to dye a bright blue streak in her hair for her 11th birthday. It’s just hair. It grows out. There are bigger issues over which I need to exert my inner control freak.

      • Cindy

        Love the hair. My mom just turned 73 yesterday and her head sports new colors every couple of weeks. Currently, she is rocking a red, white and blue patriotic theme. Purple is her favorite though.

        She tried the at home kind too (my husband has many skills/fabo qualities, not the least of which is the willingness to dye his MIL’s hair) but the professional colors seem to last longer.

      • andee

        I let my 10 year old color her hair for her birthday purple. That was in February, and now it’s just the bleach blond left. Oops. But, it looks great on her, she’s her own free spirit and it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. ;-)

        Love this post by the way, made me giggle several times. :-)

  2. Jessica

    Aw, I admit I am rooting just a little bit for him to choose Giant Nerd U just because I envy other nerds that opportunity. I went to a really giant not particularly nerdy school and it was still a lot of work to find my people.

  3. Atlantagirl

    Hey, Mir-I contacted you about my dermatitis a little while ago. So sad to hear about Chickadee’s flaring again. If she has continued problems, there is a drug coming out in March of next year called dupilumab that’s supposed to be selective for the specific allergy pathway that causes atopic dermatitis. As for me, I had to get on immunosuppressant drugs, which worked when I was taking the highest dose, but because of side effects (I see you’re trying to sell your kidney, maybe I can get that transplanted so I can take the higher dose? :P) I’m dropped to a medium dose. And now white-knuckling increased dermatitis symptoms.

    Anyway, I actually do bleach baths two to three times a week to help reduce infections in the areas of skin where I’ve scratched. Just thought it was interesting that Chickadee’s rash seems to have restarted because of bleach, while mine is helped somewhat by soaking in diluted bleach!

    • Mir

      I think the kind/level of bleach for hair bleaching is super irritating, and as dermatitis is a whacked-out immune response, part of her skin (scalp) got irritated and her entire body decided it was time to freak out. She hasn’t been on steroids in YEARS (as opposed to when she spent nearly the entire summer on steroids…) so I’m hoping this is a one-off. Also? Probably not going to do a full head of bleach again….

  4. Sharon

    Glad you’re not dead. Never disappointing. Best days, those with kids finding their way. We just drove through the college campus where our daughter started 18 years ago. Good times remembered….

  5. el-e-e

    Man, that is some good updatery! Except for the AC being out. Hate when that happens. But otherwise, so big things! Such busy! I’m happy for you all. :)

  6. Stephanie

    So much news! I have missed your posts but you have definitely been busy!

  7. Brigitte

    My husband agrees with me that I MUST get one of those tees!
    I love reading your posts, even when they’re about “nothing” – hopefully you’ll have more and more nothing to write about as your babies fledge!

  8. Jeanie

    I love Chickadee’s hair! It’s beautiful, as is the top she’s wearing. Oh, to be young again. Actually, I’m going to get a couple lavender streaks in my own hair. Instead of being called a blue hair (as my friend’s daughter calls us), I’ll be a lavender hair.

  9. The Domestic Goddess

    I hear Ruth has an extra kidney. (No, really, she has three). Might need one, too. I dunno

  10. g~

    I live in your state (or perhaps you live in my state because I’m pretty sure I was here first) and my husband went to GNU and it was, indeed, not as much of a social experience as a NerdCon experience. Fortunately, when he DID socialize, it was with people who were even more awkward than my engineer husband so it was a confidence boost for him.

    I’m pretty sure I am currently working on my master’s (late-ish in life) at Giant University but it’s all online so I have zero chance of doing anything cool there. One of the main reasons I chose GiantU is because, even though we are not so much with the sports, it suits my sense of humor that we will have graduated from opposing schools.

    Finally, I dropped my 13 y/o aspie off at a new hair dresser the other day with the specific direction to “cut it kind of like it is but shorter…basically, make him look less shaggy” and when I arrived back, she asked me how I liked it. I sort of stared at her and said, “Errr…it’s fine but what’s important is how does *HE* like it?”
    (He later told me she asked him and he said he liked it but “I honestly don’t really care, Mom. It’s just hair.”)

  11. Bob

    Well, I’m glad to hear nothing has changed in the 35 years since I had to take calculus – every damned one of the classes were taught at 8:00 AM. Killer for those of us “night people” who tried to schedule all afternoon classes. I think math professors deliberately do this in revenge for their having had a career of 8:00 AM classes in pursuit of their Ph.D. I too went to GNU for a while. My first encounter with programmable HP calculators and (forgive me) polish logic.

  12. Mary K. in Rockport

    Now please come her and make MY daughter clean up HER room. I’ve run out of the oomph to make it happen after all these years.

  13. Cran

    Does Chickie leave wet towels on her bedroom floor? Mine is starting college next month too and I told her that her roommates are going to BEAT HER DOWN if she doesn’t get the slob factor under control. I have a hundred complaints but the wet towels make me want to strangle her.

  14. Tiffany Dozier

    Your posts give me inspiration about my 3(10, 8, and 6) autistic sons. I “presume intellect” of them and want them to develop to the fullest of their potential. I hope I can provide the tools and opportunities so that they can do that. Love your writing! It’s so fun and whimsical.

  15. Debra

    My daughter is the messiest! All that artdy creativity strewn every where! I also tried the you need to be neater because roomstes and it never worked. By the middle of the second year though I was hearing “they just pile dirty dishes in the sink and never vacuum or clean the lint filter in the dryer”. And i would just look at her with one eyebrow cocked and say “really?!?”

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