Homeschool-Ish

The three worst words in the English language: "Mom, something happened!" The code for the Google Meet isn't working. The Zoom call froze. The video isn't loading. I can't hear anyone. No one can hear me. I can't find my headphones. I tried to unmute myself but accidentally hung up instead. I hit submit on my quiz too soon! I wasn't done! It says to search in MackinVIA for "marshes and wetlands" but nothing is coming up. How do I find PebbleGo? Or DreamBox? Or Lexia? Do I click on Modules? Or Assignments? Where's Discussions? It says "Access Denied." The computer says there's no printer connected? The computer says there's no internet? How do you attach a photo? What's an inbox? Sigh. Let me see. You probably copy/pasted it wrong. Open a new tab. Hit refresh. Enable audio. Click join with video. Check your volume. Check the basement. Click rejoin. Message your teacher. Let me see. You typed "morshes and wetbands," sweetie. Click this for the text-to-speech thing, wait, hang on, let me see. First go to this site and then click that and then scroll down. It depends on the teacher, which Canvas square is your math teacher again?... Read more →


Friday Good Things, Obligatory Edition

Obligatory Food Related: For Cinco de Mayo, Jason made us queso and homemade Crunch Wrap Supremes. I've never actually eaten the real deal -- no shade to Taco Bell; I'm just more of a late night drive-thru chicken nugget variety drunk person -- but I feel safe declaring his version superior. And dangerous, because I could eat this drunk OR sober. And like, for breakfast. The margaritas were passion fruit margaritas, made by me, from a kit we ordered from our favorite local wine shop. Last weekend our new neighbors held an impromptu happy hour on their driveway and made everybody a round using the same kit. And lo, they were delicious, and a fine trade for the loaf of sourdough, half-batch of blueberry muffins, AND chocolate chip cookies I left on their front porch in the dead of the night before running home while screeching NO BACKSIES! NO BACKSIES! *** Does anybody else go through this cycle where you feel pretty good and okay a few days and then suddenly there's a day where your mental health just kinda NOPES out on you? And you're just inexplicably exhausted and cranky and on edge and can't figure out if you... Read more →


Badge of Shame

I was finally, at last, officially issued mah gubbermint ID badge yesterday. And despite the cheery encouragement from the woman who took my photo, the badge features what can only be described as THE WORST PHOTO OF ME EVER TAKEN. Actually, that's not the only way to describe it. After sending a celebratory selfie to a handful of friends, they responded with the following descriptions of the photo: hahahahahahaha oh noooooooo That does not look like you! Holy weird 70s hostage lighting You just look like a Karen I was gonna say a 1950s Appalachian grandma I see eye sockets but no eyeballs? Where are your teeth? WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE Oooof, girl. None of them are wrong. I, personally, cannot figure out how I manage to look sort of...melted? And also very swollen? While all my facial features kind of...shrunk? I'm like a puffy, well-fed hostage-ghoul of some kind. (Less creatively and more bluntly: I look old, and I look fat. Hooray! What a terrific confidence booster to have hanging around my neck every day.) Anyway, now that I've gone on and on about it, I guess I should just go ahead and post the damn photo, right? It's... Read more →


May the Fourth Be Boring

What am I even doing here? I have nothing to say! There is nothing to write about! Everything is strange and stressful and disorienting and yet utterly, mind-fuckingly boring. Since I last updated here, I reorganized our pantry. I planted some flowers that should be growing by now, but aren't. I made cookies and ravioli and garlic ginger paste. Jason spent like three days making an insanely complicated, beautiful ramen. Afterwards the kids begged and begged for Domino's pizza until we caved and ordered them some frigging Domino's pizza. I learned that Oxi-Clean and boiling water will make the inside of a trashed-to-hell Le Creuset Dutch oven look practically brand new. (I also learned that I had zero concept of how much money I'd actually spent on said Le Creuset Dutch oven, sweet merciful jebus, what was my life even. Once I realized how much it would cost to replace that sucker I was going to restore it to some semblance of its former glory even if it took hours of scrubbing, an entire box of baking soda, and half a layer of my finger skin. But I forgot to take before-and-after photos so like, why? Why am I even... Read more →


Friday Good Things, Cheez Edition

Last week, Jason splurged on mail-order cheesesteaks from Pat's. He wouldn't tell me how much they cost, told me to stop asking, and mumbled something-something about the "priceless" experience of giving our children their first authentic taste of Philly during a lockdown. It's not just a cheesesteak, it's world culture! Geography! Social studies! We're EDUCATING them over here, okay? (Or in the local language: This is a Homeschooling, Whiz Witout.) We ate cheesesteaks for dinner two nights in a row, and the kids begged us to order them again, immediately. I, the killer of joy and fun, told them no. These were a fun treat, but too expensive to be a regular thing. When we can, though, we'll take a trip to Philly and go to the actual restaurant! Maybe do a taste test with Geno's and Jim's! Wow, remember when we could just...do things like that? But never...did? Gah. Anybody not gonna finish their cheesesteak? Can I haz it? Jason, who is basically surviving this experience one ambitious Food Experiment Project to the next, was all MY CHILDREN DEMAND CHEESESTEAKS. BY GRABTHAR'S HAMMER, I SHALL DELIVER CHEESESTEAKS. He worked all week on perfecting the rolls and tracking down ribeye... Read more →


Tuesday Tedium

Our school district finally started distance learning this week, and I can already confidently report that there is exactly the same amount of "learning" happening now as during the previous four weeks, which is to say, NOT MUCH, BOB. Instead, it's mostly kids getting distracted by their own faces and each other's pets on video calls, teachers struggling to unmute their own microphones, and super-challenging homework assignments like "practice writing an email" and "watch this video and then comment with the answer to the question I ask at the end, and/or just type the same answer that 30 other students have already commented with." (Two. The answer was two. I didn't watch the whole video either.) On Friday I got the (not entirely unexpected) news that the already-very-slow badging process for federal jobs has officially slowed down even more due to...well, you know. All Of It. So the timeline for Mah New Jerb has been pushed back from "I dunno, hopefully soon" to "I still dunno, but probably later." On Saturday my prepaid debit card from the unemployment office arrived, at least. So that's fun and humbling. I took Beau to the vet yesterday, as he's managed to lick and... Read more →


Happy-Sad Ever Afters, Redux

Guess who got adopted today! This morning, I coaxed his royal highness into our cat carrier with the promise of some treats, then slammed the door shut a split second before the SHEER BETRAYAL fully registered. After a 10-minute car ride of HOWLS and WOE -- followed by orange-cat love at first orange-cat sight in a very nice man's foyer (we both wore masks, like supervillains) and a few exploratory laps around the joint -- he's now settling into a much more peaceful, well-suited home as an Only Cat for an Only Human, where he shall be loved and spoiled and be hereby, forever, known as Toasty. The boys had a hard time saying goodbye this morning, especially poor Ike. A successful adoption always manages to be the most rewarding part of fostering and also totally the worst. It's definitely disorienting to look around the house and just...not see that particular little creature around anymore. They're just...gone. But not really! But also, yeah, because we'll likely never see him ever again. But also, yeah, that's the entire point. If it weren't for Ike, I'm not sure this cat would even be alive today. He was destined for an overcrowded city... Read more →


ZombieTargetLand

I had to go to Target yesterday to pick up a prescription, but first I had to wait out a fucking tornado warning. It's official: Do not go outside! Outside is bad! Outside is code for out to get you! The kids gathered up the cats and their stuffed animals and hid in the basement, later declaring themselves incapable of doing any chores or online learning because they were too stressed out over the tornado, which did not actually materialize in our area. (I know many other parts of the country were not so fortunate yesterday, but forgive my children's naive, sheltered privilege; they don't read the news, don't want to hear about the news, and keep stubbornly insisting that "the coronavirus is going away on April 24th." They should probably be on a presidential task force by now.) Anyway, I left for Target after the tornado warning expired, but forgot about the severe thunderstorm warning that was definitely still in effect. (The saddest part of this photo is that box of rosé wine does not actually contain any rosé wine. Or wine of any kind! It is empty, like my sense of purpose and meaning and whatever the fuck... Read more →


Friday Good Things

Ike, Ezra and I made faux stained glass with glitter glue (procured from Amazon, probably price-gouged), food coloring (procured from a friend, as a barter for sourdough starter), and glass from some old photo frames. They came out great! Everybody had fun! And it took up some time! Noah did not create An Art, but he did swing by to talk to us about our lord and savior the USS Enterprise. Ike and his best friend had a Zoom call for their dogs. I made a fruit salad. Everybody was really excited about the fruit salad, and insisted we document the fruit salad. We also had a couple nights of nice-enough weather for the fire pit, the tire swing, and a star-gazing app. And outside bedtime stories. (Jason's reading of Dog Man wasn't quite as entertaining as Dav Pilkey's, but this week the boys learned that their Absolute Favorite Author has both ADHD and dyslexia. Ike ran around the house shouting "BEHOLD MY SUPERPOWAH!" for about 20 minutes straight afterwards.) We did it! We survived another week. I hope y'all did too. Read more →


In Which I Lose My Shit Over Oatmeal

I came downstairs this morning to this, a mini Instant Oatmeal Apocalypse. I've made the (old, tired) joke about my children being hollow before, but that's apparently not accurate. They are mostly oatmeal, 'tis the glue connecting their bones, and more oatmeal must be procured or they shall surely die. That is, of course, not something I can just DO anymore, and honestly, THEY ATE ALL THAT FRICKING OATMEAL IN WHAT? LIKE A WEEK? That's 32 individual packets! Guys. I cannot afford that kind of baller oatmeal lifestyle right now. I actually think one of you might have a problem. (Noah. It's Noah. He eats this stuff at breakfast, as an afternoon snack, and sometimes in the middle of the night, judging by the number of random glopped-up bowls I've found in his room.) So I'm actually asking for help here, O Internet. I have rolled oats. I have multiple kinds of sugar, I have flaxseed, I have sea salt. That's it. That's the entire ingredient list for this crack. That seems stupidly dupe-able. But oh, do not even MENTION overnight oats, or anything close to it. My children DO NOT like overnight oats, and I will not be fooled... Read more →