My father texted me yesterday, and I need you to understand that my father only types on a regular keyboard with two fingers, so texting—even worse—is for him a laborious and unfathomably slow process. I knew it must be something very urgent.
He texted to say I need to blog to “protect his sanity.” I was tempted to let him know I’ll miss him if I’m all that’s standing between him and the brink, but instead I told him I’d try as soon as I had some time. Because, you know, time is weird right now. Also I was on a Zoom meeting when he texted, so technically I did NOT have the time right then. (It was a Very Important Board Meeting. I don’t know who the hell thought it was a good idea to put me on the board of anything, but mostly at those meetings I spend a lot of time nodding. They’re getting their money’s worth outta me, hooboy, mostly because the board is unpaid.)
Anyway, that left me trying to figure out if I had anything of interest to blog about, and the answer is not really, but when has that ever stopped me? Exactly. At the very least, I can mine my children’s experience for blog content, like the old days. Right? Sure.
As if seemingly sensing this to be the case, Chickadee FaceTimed me last night to show me that she and Sunny got YET ANOTHER CAT. They are now up to three and swear they are done. Because, “Three is already ridiculous.” Well, at least they’re self-aware. (They live in a 1-bedroom and I am allergic to cats. If this whole pandemic thing ever ends I can hardly wait to go visit so that I can step into their apartment and immediately asphyxiate.) The cherry on the bad decisions sundae is that Cat Number Three is actually a KITTEN. Lord. But! The good news is that Petey never gave up on harassing Tonkybonk and the addition of the kitten means he now has a playmate, and because said playmate is perhaps smarter than Petey, he doesn’t hassle Tonk, so pretty much Tonk is a pile of mildly displeased fur on the sofa while Petey and Nevey (I am not sure how to spell that; it’s short for Neveyland because of course it is) (I said they should’ve named him Captain Hook or basically anything else, but they’ve already had him for a week) race around and do Cat Things together.
It’s almost like Chickadee knew I needed something to blog about. Thanks, kid!
Okay but ASIDE from their cat-collecting problem, Sunny and Chickadee appear to be doing well—Sunny is in school and Chickadee found a job she loves in relatively short order, and other than a few random complaints like, “You will not believe how much money the vet wants to clean Tonky’s teeth!” they seem happy. (Also, if you don’t think my first reaction to Cat Number Three was “You won’t get your poor cat’s teeth cleaned because it costs too much but you think it’s a good idea to get ANOTHER cat??” you haven’t been reading here long enough.) (They have promised they’re getting her teeth cleaned soon.)
Meanwhile, back here at home, Monkey (I realize I haven’t updated on him in forever) was working for a while and then he was working and taking a class and then the pandemic hit and we asked him to stop working, so he did; and then since he wasn’t working he took two classes online over the summer. Both times he took classes the world did not end and he didn’t go splat and… I’m going to say this very quietly… he did well and liked it. So! He’s back in college full-time! Whoops, sorry, I got too loud there. Shhhhh. He’s in school. Act cool. Don’t let on how happy we are.
Online college courses are my idea of hell, but for him, it’s great. He’s happy to set his own schedule and attend to only what he needs to learn the material and he works ahead in the classes he loves and manages the classes he loves less with less angst than when he has to physically go sit in said classes. He would be happy to do his entire degree online, I think. Anyway, it has all been going swimmingly and he wrote his first paper for an English class and asked me to look it over before he handed it in, and I did and offered just a couple of tiny corrections. It was a really good paper and writing is one of those things he tends to believe he’s not very good at, so I was very pleased to be able to say, “This is great! Nice work!!”
Aaaaaaaand then he got a C on his paper. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN. I will not bore you with everything that followed, but suffice it to say he had a very unpleasant (online) conference with his professor who did not take super kindly to being told points had been erroneously deducted for something Monkey could prove he had done to the letter of the rubric. He was FURIOUS and came downstairs to rant at me, after. This was a scary setback. So we talked it through and I got to trot out alllllll the stories of dick professors I had in college, and how sometimes them’s the breaks and you just have to accept that life isn’t always going to be fair. (Might I suggest if you’re bored you try to have a conversation with one of your favorite autistic people about how sometimes things are unfair and you just have to accept it? It will take a long time, but at least you’ll want to kill yourself at the end of it.) I also reminded him that Cs get degrees and he doesn’t have to get an A in every class, he just has to pass, but that went over about as well as I’m sure you can imagine.
Anyway. I may have recommended he send a follow-up email to the professor just to clarify that sometimes when he’s frustrated he has difficulty modulating his tone, and no disrespect or offense was intended, and to thank the professor for taking the time for the meeting. After he cooled down, he agreed. Much to our mutual surprise, this story has a mostly happy ending—the prof apologized for being short, cited a difficult week as “an explanation but not an excuse,” and gave Monkey the points back on that one issue, which brought his C up to a B. There are still other unresolved issues there but I counseled him to take it as a win and move on, which he seems happy to do. Phew.
Monkey at 20 really is much, MUCH more resilient than Monkey at 17. I think he was just 100% not emotionally ready for college, before, despite all of us (including him) wanting him to be ready, and now that he’s more mature there will be no stopping him. There will still be issues like the one he just had, but now it’s a bump in the road instead of an oncoming Mack truck.
As for me and Otto, we are just trundling along as usual. He works too much, I work not enough, and we are trying to carve out some quality time and minor adventures as best we can. This past weekend, for example, we decided to drive up to the mountains and go apple picking, because 1) APPLES! and 2) surely this would be a good socially-distanced activity. Welp. Apparently everyone in the world agree with us, and when we got to our favorite orchard there were absolute hordes of people, most of whom were not wearing masks. We ended up buying some apples from their store, not picking, because it was faster and brought us into contact with fewer people. Then we left and went to a nearby state park which was also quite busy, but managed some light hiking without having to breathe anyone else’s air, I think. Also, those of you who have been reading here forever will be pleased to know that we procured apples and I made apple crisp and I didn’t break anything.
[Sidebar: Do you love apple crisp? I love apple crisp. I especially love this recipe for apple crisp, because it leaves the skins on the apples (making it super easy and also healthier) and is already gluten-free so I don’t have to adapt it. It tastes like baked apples topped with oatmeal cookies. We bought some Gala apples just to eat but some Crimson Crisp apples—which we’d never had before—for crisp, and they are PERFECTION in this recipe. They stay crisp, have wonderful flavor, and with the skins left on, the entire apple slice turns ruby red when baking, so it’s pretty, too. Highly recommend.]
Someday in the future someone will ask me what I did during the pandemic of 2020 and I will say I spent most of my time tracking the mail. We have Informed Delivery so I get pictures of our mail and notifications of packages and such, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the USPS is a complete shitshow right now. I’ve had multiple packages lost, including a huge batch of masks I shipped to one of my favorite readers which went POOF into the air. USPS’s response is “Well you never mailed it” which is WEIRD because I certainly did, AND I saw it being picked up, but silly me, I didn’t take a picture or anything, so they don’t seem to care. Also half the stuff we order from Amazon will be out for delivery and then OOPS YOUR PACKAGE IS RUNNING LATE and then… POOF. It’s entertaining once you get past the rage, which I manage to do about half the time.
So this week my entertainment is this: I managed to procure a large and only-slightly obnoxious political flag which WAS delivered, but the flagpole I ordered for it is OOPS RUNNING LATE and now we’re laying odds on whether it’s late or lost. Will I have to order a replacement flagpole? Was it actually shipped? Will USPS give a damn? WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO HANG UP MY PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE FLAG TO ANNOY MY TRUMPIAN NEIGHBORS?? Only time will tell.
Until then, I’ll just be over here eating apple crisp.