Aug 26 2014

There’s a hole in my (ice) bucket

There's a hole in my (ice) bucket

 

Sir Patrick did it best:

 

 

I was really hoping to fly under the radar with this über-viral Ice Bucket Challenge. But alas, I was nominated twice this weekend. Such is social media.

I’m not going to do it.

But Jen! It’s such a worthy cause!

Yup. I agree. ALS is a horrible disease, and may it never strike down another person. I pray this Ice Bucket Challenge raises much needed research dollars for prevention and to find a cure. Still not participating.

Jeez, it’s all in fun! What’s wrong with you?

I’m a 40 Year Old Curmudgeon, apparently. Or so think my sons, who desperately want to do this. But while they see people dumping ice water on their heads in the name of a good cause, I see a rapidly worsening drought on the west coast. I see third world countries that have little to no clean drinking water. If my kids want ice water dumped on their heads, fine. I’ll gladly do it to them…in the shower, to be quickly followed by later, rinse, and no repeat. But I’m none too keen on wasting water. If California goes completely dry from this unholy drought, what happens to the grapes that are magically transformed into that soul-saving elixir we know as wine? I’ll tell you what happens. They end up as raisins and raisins are just damned nasty. Worse than a Pumpkin Spice Latte in August.

No, seriously, what’s wrong with you?

Nothing. I just despise being cold and avoid it at all costs. See also previous answer of 40 Year Old Curmudgeon and the future of wine. Also introverted, stubborn, and kinda Tired Of All The Things.

Killjoy.

I can live with that. I’ve been called worse and will again I’m sure.

You’re a horrible person and just don’t care.

Uh. No. But I support other causes. And so I will go support one of those causes now. I could pick the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of a family member and a family friend. Or perhaps the Alzheimer’s Association, in memory of my gram and several of her siblings, or to honor of the family members who cared for them and suffered far more than the person with the disease. Or maybe the National Parkinson Foundation, in honor of my dad and in memory of his mom (though, by god, I am not taking a pie in the face. What the hell?).

Fine. Whatever.

At least we’re in agreement on that.

So I’ll join Sir Patrick in a drink, but I’ll skip the ice.

I like mine neat.

cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers.

Aug 17 2014

It’s a matter of bandwidth

It's a Matter of BandwidthMacDreamy2 is showing his age lately. He’s four years old and gets heavy, heavy use. If it’s not me pounding out blog posts (which have been sadly rare these days) or a snarky Facebook update or answering yet another email (Sisyphus would have lurved email) or working in multiple tabs while streaming music, it’s the boys Minecrafting something-or-other or Andy kersnurggling the glafoigan so as to twiddlywink the schnooperdiflagen. Humor me, I have no damned clue what he’s doing. But my beloved MacDreamy2 is sluggish and hangs and if I see a rainbow beach ball in real life I may try to stab it with my car keys. Far too much of my life lately is sitting and waiting for MacDreamy2 to move his ass.

So six or so weeks ago I bought an external hard drive, thinking that only 5% available memory on my hard drive might be the culprit. Got everything moved and…no change. A month ago I worked with a tech on the phone for over an hour and…no change. I’ve tweaked settings and quit using certain programs (Mail, you life-sucking hog, you’d better improve under Yosemite so help me…iPhoto, I hate you…) and…no change. I’ve maxed out the RAM, it scored a new logic board last year, the computer really should be smokin’. Something hiding deep in the background is hogging all the resources and making my MacDreamy2 suck little green frogs. Any simple request and it flashes me a rainbow beach ball before sullenly honoring my request. God forbid I try to do anything with photos or movies. Simple requests do it in.

Oh, the ironic parallels to my own life right now.

Just as there seems to be something hiding in the background hogging my computer’s bandwidth, something is hogging mine too. I make a simple request of myself and instead of a rainbow beach ball a mental obscene gesture to the universe pops up. It’s all I got, there’s nothing left. There is no bandwidth for that request. The beach ball spins lazily on the computer, the mental finger waves in the air.

I’m sick of making decisions, I’m sick of being asked to make decisions. I’m sick of trying to figure out what to do with the boys, so they sit and computer something most of the day until their brains scramble and I’m sick of that. I want to write more, but I’m sick of thinking. I’m sick of being chronically underemployed and the ramifications on the budget. I’m sick of the dog always underfoot, stink and all. I’m sick of my computer and my phone sluggishly responding to anything I try to do, sick of anything I fix or clean not staying that way longer than a day, I’m sick of a lot of things. It all takes mental effort, and that’s just too much effort or something something.

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No bandwidth. Case in point: I started writing this post at the end of July. Nearly three weeks later I returned to this site and started writing again, after freaking out because I couldn’t log in and couldn’t remember the password; it then took another three days of poking at this before I hit publish.

MacDreamy2 is slightly better now. I dingled the something-or-other and it’s a little zippier. Me? Not so much. I still have a chronic case of What The Hell Is Wrong With The World with the comorbid conditions Screw It All and The Shit Can Quit Hitting The Fan Now Thankyouverymuch. All the positive thinking and “manifest your intentions” and inspirational Pinterest posters haven’t helped. Story may be my word of the year, but right now it really feels like I’m writing myself into a corner, and really not caring all that much.

It’s a dirty mix of compassion fatigue, decision fatigue, attention fatigue, homeschool fatigue, parenting fatigue, society fatigue, and fatigue fatigue, handcuffed to a brain bruised by it all. It’s as though my mind has been filled with blow-in foam, packing every crack and crevice and solidifying. That foam is an over-active, hyper-alert mind, because the last few years have beaten it into me that you can’t trust the simplest things anymore. That schools will provide an appropriate education, that foods will be safe and our bodies will welcome them without complications, that if you are a hard worker employment will be steady and salary will reflect that, that people will do what they say they will do…have all been proven to me to be untrue, and it’s DIY or bust.

There is no white space in my head, no room for a deep breath, no space to take an idea and chew on it and see what comes out. There are too many background programs running, using up precious resources.

It’s a matter of bandwidth, and mine is all used up.

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This is simply a generalized rant by someone who just doesn’t give a rat’s ass about much right now, and a rough explanation of why I’m not making any more decisions, taking on any new anythings, and scraping from my plate as much as I can. 

Jul 29 2014

Who wears short shorts?

who wears short shortsAnswer: not me. In fact, summer in Chicago this year has been so cool that it’s been mostly capris and blue jeans. I do have shorts in the drawer, but I think I can count on one hand how many times they’ve been pulled out. Cool summer + AAS = I had to talk myself out of wool socks this morning.

The boys wear shorts, and I’m thankful for it. Blinded by the full glare of their knobby knees, I don’t have to acknowledge that every pair of track pants I bought this past spring is now high-waders, and can be blissfully ignorant for a few more weeks that the Big Back To School Clothes Shopping Nightmare will soon be upon me. Truly, clothes shopping with the boys is an event. I took notes around Easter time, when I realized they had nothing remotely appropriate for Easter services with their grandparents:

• Tony Hawk is the devil. Damn his clothes.
• They can wear shorts in april, in northern Iowa, yes? Please?
• I have been informed that pants must have a higher rise so as to not grab the junk. Duly noted.
• These two are non-stop meme sharing. Kohl’s should be paying me to entertain the other weary moms, or at least make them feel better about their parenting choices.
• Dress pants? Never!
• My kingdom for a pair of black jeans!

But there are others who do wear short shorts. Others who are considerably younger, with fewer stretch marks than I. And I saw one of these pretty young things this afternoon and it took several double takes to make sure she actually was wearing a lower level. I could use those shorts as a handkerchief. I own washcloths with more fabric. The bandanna I have in my hair at this very moment has a longer inseam. Short.

It’s just a matter of time before I start shouting at the kids to get off my lawn.

Jul 22 2014

It’s all about connection

it's all about connectionAs I write this, I’m heading home from the annual SENG conference. I had to stay an extra day because the airline was demanding all my organs for a Sunday afternoon flight, and so I had quiet hours in which to think, something I get maybe once in a never. My brain was all flustered that I was paying it so much attention and got kinda shy. But we persevered, and now my brain and I are thick as thieves again. At least for now. Hope I’m easily forgiven when my brain and I drift apart again.

This was my third SENG conference, and for the first time I didn’t attend sessions as a ball of stress, desperately trying to find The Answer™ to help Andy and hose down the chaos fires in our home. It’s also the first time I’m not dreading going home because of my kids. I’m not thrilled with all the other random crap that’s waiting for me, but the boys aren’t even in the top five. Imagine that.

I have always hated the phrase, “this too shall pass,” because I don’t think it pays enough respect to the hell of whatever the current situation is. Of course it will pass (usually like a damned kidney stone, painfully and with a lot of screaming), but there’s always going to be something else that takes its place and I don’t know what it will be but I know it’s not likely to be easy and frankly I’m suffering now so maybe throw me a little help here. So I’m not thrilled that that phrase is kinda on target. A lot of the painful chaos of years past is behind us (knock wood), and it shocks me that I’m able to say that. I never would have believed it. There’s a whole lot more shit rushing in to fill the void, but the 2e issues are…better. I enjoy my sons now, much more than I ever have.

This weekend I was speaking to a woman at the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum meet and greet. It was about making the frightening leap to homeschooling, but it applies here too. Imagine your finger is being wrapped by a piece of thread. It gets more and more painful and purple as the string is wound tighter and tighter. Eventually it gets to the point that it has to be unwrapped or you’re going to lose a digit and be called Stumpy the Nine Fingered Flute Player. Music Minus One, indeed. Something has to be done. Somehow the thread is unwound, albeit slowly and with great fear and trepidation; what will happen? There is an immediate sense of relief, to the point of joyful tears and thanks sent up to the universe. But the swelling and pain and purple color are slow to fade and you just pray the thread did no long term damage, even while giving thanks that it’s better. That’s where we are right now.

I wish I had a magic answer for how to get to this point. The best I can come up with is time, patience, never ever EVER giving up, and…connection.

There is no way in hell we could have made it this far with my sanity intact without my gifted tribe. There is no way. Connecting with other parents in this wonky, leaky boat has given me strength to keep on keepin’ on. Talking to others through this blog, in Facebook groups, through email, in person…I’ve felt less alone and scared and I can only hope I’m returning the favor. I know things won’t continue to be this smooth…teenagers, you know…but we’ve gotten this far. When I think back to age 4, age 8, the months before we pulled Andy to homeschool, I have a hard time believing that things are as good as they are. I urge you, beg you, to connect with other parents of gifted kids. Yes, it is incredibly difficult (never want to be seen as bragging, when we’re just talking about our kids), for you’re baring yourself and your struggles to others. You feel naked. But I strongly believe in “if you decide to confide in others, you’ll discover you’re not alone.” SENG parent groups, Facebook groups, the weekly #gtchat, email lists…there are so many ways to connect.

Parenting outlier children is hard. Like…stupid, bang your head against the wall, scream at the universe, seriously contemplate running away hard. So hard that you’d consider running away to someplace that not only didn’t have wifi, but maybe not even indoor plumbing. Or wine. That hard. Make it less hard by being less alone. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been open to talking about how frustrating raising a 2e kid can be, and that has made it easier and less lonely. Other areas of my life I’m not as transparent, and I find myself lost and scared and angry and feeling very, very alone. So I get it.

Open and honest connection. It takes courage and faith, but the tribe you will find is worth it.

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Today’s post is part of the National Parenting Gifted Children week blog tour, sponsored by SENG.

NPGC2014

Jul 11 2014

Summer polar vortex. These words are just wrong.

Summer polar vortex. These words are just wrong.So yesterday this BS came across my feed:

10451171_735202906536746_3122256645103371732_n 610temp.new_7.gif.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge.new_7

The words from my mouth would have made a sailor blush. Yes, the temps are only dipping down into the upper 60s (40s at night), but it.is.July. Supposed to be the hottest month of the year. I’ve only sweat through my underwear once this season, and that’s because I worked out and then gardened for a few hours. I want heat that causes me to sit on my porch with a dripping cold drink in one hand and a fan in the other, muttering “mercy, it’s warm,” as I listen to the buzz of cicadas in the trees above. I finally heard cicadas for the first time this season yesterday; if this cold chases them off I’m going to be pissed.

Yet people are telling us midwesterners (we midwesterners? I need more coffee…) that it’s only a little dip, that it’s only a few days, not to worry. I put these people in two categories. Non-midwesterners and bless-their-little-white-socks-idiots.

They don’t seem to grasp why we (ok, I) view next week’s Summer Polar Vortex with fear and loathing. Chicago has a hefty case of Cold Weather PTSD. First snowfall this winter and we’re gonna dive under the bed and shake like a dog on the 4th of July. A cold snap in mid-July does not do good things to our collective psyche. I know my own weather psyche is still pretty battered, and it’s been needing large doses of sunlight and heat to soothe it. Too many hours of shoveling, too many days of not seeing my lawn, too many weeks of temperatures that froze your liver right when you needed it.

By the way, west coast? I’m sorry you’re suffering through the excessive heat and drought.

It’s not just that the weather last winter was so cold and so snowy. It’s that there was no break to it. It was like Ma Nature (by the way, the pharmacy called, your prescription is ready, you might want to pick it up…[crazy bitch]) pushed our heads under water and held us there, just to watch us kick and flail. Maybe she’d let up a tiny bit, and we’d be hopeful that we could break the water’s surface and take a deep breath, but no, psych!, back down we’d go. Eventually she got bored with our desperate antics and moved on. With next week’s expected temperature plunge, it’s as though we’re being stalked. Oh, we thought we were free of the cold, but no…

<movie man voice> In a world that thought it had finally thawed (images of happy kids playing on a playground, half naked bodies on a beach)…an evil stranger returns (quick, dark shadows)…

Tuesday and Wednesday of next week I’ll crank on the oven and bake as much as possible to stash in the freezer. It’ll be Jen’s Allergen-Free Bakery around here. I’ll wear layers and socks and make the best of it. We’ll play Christmas in July, just for shits and giggles.

But I know we’re being stalked.

Jul 08 2014

What’s in a blog name?

What's in a blog name?Could your blog’s name subconsciously influence your life?

When I first started writing this blog, lo those many years ago, it was under the name Never a Dull Moment. Made sense. I had a four year old and a one year old and dear god dull moments were few and far between. So few and far between you could leave one, wander for hours in the metaphorical desert, get lost, get found, and be sucking the sweat out of the T-shirt you wound round your head to prevent scalp burn before you stumbled upon another. Very few dull moments back then is what I’m going at here.

Then I rebranded the site, got a proper domain, and became Laughing at Chaos. I was tired of having “never” in the title, very negative you know, and wanted something slightly more upbeat while indicating that the shit still likes to hit the fan with some regularity. The name has served me well, and a lot of good things have happened under the Laughing at Chaos moniker. But still, there is “chaos” in the name, and goddamn there’s been a lot of chaos in the House of Chaos these last few years. A. Lot. Tom and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary a few days ago. We celebrated but we also honored the fact that it’s a minor miracle (with an ass-ton of work) that we’re still together after these last five years.

What’s in a name? Am I bringing the chaos and WTFness on myself by having a blog name that encourages it? I don’t want to change it, mainly because I just went through the hassle of behind-the-scenes renewal and domain transfer, and I now own this domain for several years and I am waaaaayyy too lazy to go through that rigamarole again. So just for shits and giggles, how about some new, super-positive, life-affirming blog names.

All is Well and All is Well
The Words Flow
The Awesome of Homeschooling
Life Blessed by Abundance and Peace and Goodness and Light and a Retirement Account
It’s All Good
YAY!
Peaces of Life
☮ ☮ ☮
Sharing is Caring
Love What Ya Got
My Adrenal Glands Are NOT Life’s Chew Toy 
(wait, that’s not very positive or life-affirming)
Currency is My Favorite Change
Health, Security, and Prosperity, OH MY!!!

You know what? I went and checked…our lives began spiraling out of control riiiight about the time I changed the blog name to Laughing at Chaos. So maybe there is something to this cockamamie hypothesis that the name has jacked everything up. If I knew with complete certainty that changing the name would improve things, I’d do it. I’ve gotten to that point. There’s only so much laughing one can do.

Name me.

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This slightly frantic and very frustrated blog post brought to you by George the Camel, his orthopedist, and that little piece of straw over there in the corner.

Jul 07 2014

{GHF Blog Hop} I wouldn’t have believed you

{GHF blog hop} I wouldn't have believed you

I can’t believe I’m saying this, I really can’t.

It gets better, parents. I hardly believe it myself.

•The infant who didn’t sleep through the night with any regularity has become the teenager who easily sleeps around the clock.
•That crazy active toddler who ran around investigating how everything worked and demanded scientifically accurate bedtime stories has morphed into the kid who disassembles computers and hacks them back together into machines that not only work but do things they couldn’t originally do.
•The boy who would practically climb the walls has matured into a young adult who recognizes the effect certain foods has on him and monitors what he eats on his own. Mostly.
•The kid who used to have such sensory issues that socks were only forced when there was snow on the ground, that cutting fingernails required two grown adults and bribery, that regular squishings between large pillows was needed for daily function, that occupational therapy was a line-item in the budget for what seemed like years, is now a teen who recently jumped from a pontoon boat into a lake and swam to shore. Repeatedly, and of his own accord. Let it be known that I’d rather be zombie chow than swim in a lake.
•The child who suffered from such school-related anxiety that he once had a full-on anxiety attack in an elementary school hallway has flourished as a homeschooler, and was recently featured in a full page Chicago newspaper spread and online video interview on his self-taught tech prowess. Said video interview went on to win an award last month. (And for the record, I have no freaking idea where “Jenny” came from; I haven’t been a Jenny for 25 years).
•The son whose body was so out-of-whack that he didn’t gain a pound for four years and fell off the growth chart has gained close to 14 pounds in the last five months because of holistic medicine and the previously mentioned newly found ability to monitor his food sensitivities. I’ve never been so glad to drop so much coin at Costco for food.

If you had told me at any critical and stressful point in the last 13 years that these things would improve, I wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, I probably would have bludgeoned you with a shoe as I sobbed from exhaustion and frustration. I’m sure that if you told me tomorrow that homeschooling will improve and I won’t regret it and in the long run it will have been the best thing for him and me I would be searching for a stiletto with one hand and a box of tissues with the other.

Blogger, believe thyself.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know that Andy has been a parenting challenge from Day One. You also know that’s the first time I’ve used his name rather than his initial. But I’m going to tell you, right here and right now, that it’s gotten better. The teen years are upon us and I know they won’t be easy. But the last 13 years, those long years I was convinced would either kill me or leave me brain-damaged, have gotten better. I enjoy my sons more now than I ever have. They are growing into funny, fun to be around people…at least when I don’t want to strangle them for incessant meme-quoting, Minecraft-talking, or general bickering. They are still kids, you know.

It gets better. I never would have believed it.

 

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Today’s post was part of the July Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog hop, on the topic of gifted parenting. This blog hop coincides…kinda…with the annual Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted conference, which will be held in San Jose, California next week. GHF is a sponsor of the SENG conference this year, and we hope to see many of you there. FB Blog Hop July med

Jun 25 2014

It’s just like that

10464055_10152501877194806_7276646753319322775_n

 

It’s just like this.

Only the blocks are one big chunk of solid cement, I am crushed beneath it, and the boys are wrestling and jumping on top while the dog barks and farts with impunity. The pencil is out of reach, the paper is soaking wet, and the lightbulb has burnt out. My glasses have a shattered lens, the wallpaper behind me is peeling, and the desk has a bad leg so it tilts at a precarious angle. The building is on fire, a runaway train has jumped the tracks and is careening my way, and a wee little car stuffed with clowns (CAN’T SLEEP, CLOWNS WILL EAT ME…CAN’T SLEEP, CLOWNS WILL EAT ME…) has crashed into the house and is now puking red noses and large shoes all over the front lawn. A Cat 5 hurricane is bearing down, an asteroid is on a collision course with earth, and Voyager not only found signs of extra-terrestrial life, aforementioned life has taken Voyager hostage and they’re on the way here to turn us all into alien slaves before the zombie hoards eat all the brains with cocktail sauce.

Writer’s Block.

It’s just like that.

Jun 12 2014

Marry the person with whom you can have a midlife crisis

midlife crisis“It’s the days leading up to a full moon that lands on Friday the 13th, it’s Mercury Retrograde, I haven’t seen the sun in three days, the boys gnawed on my second-to-last nerve today, I’m PMSing to a level of crazy that is not healthy, and I’m out of anti-depressants. The pharmacy says they are on backorder and don’t know when they will have any.”

To Tom’s credit, he didn’t turn tail and run. That may have had more to do with the fact that he was about to climb into bed and less with spousal bravery. As it is, the look on his face was priceless:

“Someone save me.”
“Where can I hide the knives? Hell, all the silverware, even the plastic stuff?”
“I did not have enough wine at dinner for this.”
“I love this woman, but this may go above and beyond the marital vows.”
“I’ve never wanted a cyanide capsule under a false molar so badly in my life.”

His deer in headlights look was so perfect I couldn’t help but laugh, and my crazy dissipated a bit.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the tidbit about marrying your best friend, and while I did that and agree with that completely, I’m throwing another one out there.

Marry the person you can have a midlife crisis with.

Or rather, because I found the most inane grammar mistake the other day and it broke my brain, marry the person with whom you can have a midlife crisis.

Yeah, kinda hard to know that ahead of time, so I think we got lucky.

My aunt and uncle shared the “marry your best friend” bit, but it was something my parents shared when I was about J’s age that has really stuck with me. People are going to change throughout their lives, so if you and your spouse can find a way to change together and in the same-ish direction, you’ll be happy. Or something like that. It’s been 30-odd years, I probably have it all wrong, but it was something like that. If you can, change with your spouse and spouse change with you.

Tom and I are not the same people who married almost 18 years ago. Like a grizzled cowboy, we are worn, leathery, calloused in places that need callouses while still tender where it’s needed, with stories you just wouldn’t believe. We also have a collective squint and often grimace when we look out at the world. Like old grizzled cowboys, we walk funny, but that’s because my joints hate mornings and stairs and his back is a crabby troll that hates sunshine and rainbows and baby bunnies. But we’ve changed together-ish, in the same-ish direction. God knows we’ve both thought about walking out…many times…but we haven’t, we’re still here. Whether that’s because the rule (said in jest, but in every piece of humor is more than a nugget of truth) was “the person who runs takes the boys too” or because we were dedicated to each other depends on the day. But after 18 years we’re still here.

Having a joint midlife crisis.

No bikini babes, no hot sports car, no hair plugs (my man don’t need ‘em). No frantic attempts at reliving a youth gone by, no spray tans, no trying to be people we’re not. Just a calm-ish midlife crisis by two people who’ve recognized they have changed, want to continue changing together, and are trying to figure out that future change hand-in-hand.

I’m sure Tom will bring the silverware back out any day now. Sporks are not terribly efficient.

Jun 10 2014

The dregs of the drafts folder

the dregs of the drafts folderI was doing a little back-end housecleaning and oh hello, the drafts folder. Where posts go to die. I know there are bloggers out there who have several hundred or even thousand dribbles of posts in their drafts folder, but I don’t. I have an entirely separate working system where I have, at present, eleventy-billion different ideas in various stages of fleshed-out-edness. If something is in my drafts folder, it means I fully intended to finish and publish it. And then didn’t. Because it probably sucked. But because I haven’t written much as of late…because reasons…and because I hate tossing mostly written posts as much as I hate tossing mostly expired foods, y’all get to read bits and pieces of the posts that sucked juuuuust enough to not make the cut. Or got forgotten. Or both.

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From mid-April:   On Thursday the last of the five foot snow pile in the backyard finally melted away. It was in the shade on the north side of the house and was pretty much just ice at the end. Muddy ice mixed with blacktop from the driveway and probably some dog poop in there too, because nothing says IT WAS THE COLDEST WINTER IN CHICAGO’S RECORDED HISTORY than dog poop frozen to every possible outdoor ground cover. Needless to say, J earned a pretty penny recently scraping up and properly disposing of several month’s worth of poopsicles. I’m not convinced spring is here. The calendar says yes, the fact that I’m still wearing base layers, scarves, and wool socks into April says bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! Yet I look out the window from where I’m sitting, huddled in a blanket and drinking hot things, and I see grass rapidly greening. There are bulbs bursting out of the ground so insistently that you can practically hear them bitching about how sick to death they are of being underground and it’s about damned time Chicago! Trees have those red bud things on them, dangling high above, ready to drop and be tracked into the house along with old leaves from last fall and mud, mud, and more mud. Birds and squirrels are rumbling a la the Sharks and the Jets over seeds and nuts, and the chipmunks are flashing gang signs, ready to take on the winner for bragging rights. Pollen counts are jumping as rapidly as the used tissue mountains in the house. Rumor has it that we might hit low 70s by this weekend. Is that allowed? Are we breaking some sort of cosmic Chicagoland weather law by having warm temperatures? This winter was brutal, last summer merely tepid. There’s a chill in my bones so deep I’d need to be wedged into a rotisserie oven for several weeks to chase it out.

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From sometime in February…I think:   Well, today’s a wash. I gave up a couple hours ago. The day started so well. I was up! I got a kid out the door! I started the long and painful process of poking the bear waking the other kid! I was caffeinated! It was sunny! I wasn’t shoveling or driving in yet more snow! I got several items knocked off the to-do list in record time! And then SQUIRREL hit. Sometime around 9:30 or so my brain went, “Pfft. You’re boring. And I don’t like what’s left on your list. And I don’t want to concentrate and I don’t want to play with you and I don’t want to play the Force The Kid To Do His Lessons game and frankly I’m sick of you and of winter and of the whole shebang and it’s far too early to drink and even Twitter is boring and why is no one on Facebook to entertain me and god even blog reading sucks and it’s too bright in here and someone call me a waaaaahmbulance because it’s over toots put a fork in me I’m done.” My brain can be a real prick sometimes. I swear I don’t have ADD (except for the whole Adult Onset Child Induced ADD thing, which pretty much starts with the first diaper change), but damn today I had to wonder. If this is what A has to struggle with every day…well, let’s just say I have a greater respect for what he’s still able to accomplish. I can’t believe he hasn’t tried to rip off my head; if I’d had someone today trying to redirect me all day to follow their plan while I was having a nearly impossible time focusing long enough to think, I’d be writing this from prison. Homeschooling has been a challenge lately, and I don’t think it’s just the fact that the whole family is suffering from an intolerable case of cabin fever. I have wanted to drop A off at the nearest middle school at least once a day for the last six weeks. Just hand him over and say, “Dudes, he’s yours now. Educate him and call me only if there’s Blood, Bone, Vomit, or Fire. Learning, lessons, testing, homework, studying….you deal with it, I just can’t anymore.” As that is in no way a viable option I just keep on keeping on. Our homeschool has a terrible case of SQUIRREL. A has little to no desire to learn anything right now, and would prefer to spend all day every day coding. I know there are a lot of homeschoolers out there who would recommend just letting him do that, but for him? That much time on a screen scrambles his brains. It really throws him out of whack and he becomes…well, ass is being kind.

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From May:   I am past phoning it in, I have flat-out given up. I have no more fights left in me for the year. If A gets anything accomplished that resembles learning, fine. If he sits and watches crappy Minecraft videos for hours on end, fine. (Well, not fine, but I just can’t…) I’m so done I’m already done for next spring too. This, our second full year of homeschooling, has been rough and I’m just drained. I want to enjoy this homeschooling adventure and I’m not. The whole trying to figure out what’s going to work and for how long with a stubborn and oftentimes resistant learner is not fun. Because I’m working two jobs he needs to be more independent and work when I’m not here to hold his hand. He also needs to learn that when I am here to work with him and hold his hand, maybe he should move his ass and take advantage of that fact without me having to take that hand and drag the body to which it is attached to the table to work with me. So as a preservation mechanism, my brain has moved to summer. Unfortunately, because my brain has moved to summer mode, it means that I don’t actually have anything planned for the boys for the summer because that would require concentration and in summer mode concentration doesn’t exist. In years past that has never gone well. Ever. At all. They are currently signed up for the summer school program at Minecraft Homeschool and that.is.it. Eleven weeks of summer, one computer program that is done in my house on top of me on my computer taking turns and bickering please someone help. I’ve tried to sign them up for summer camps and have been shot down on every suggestion except the robotics class that is 45 minutes away and only two hours long…and is now full. Hold me.

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I have no clue when this was written, but it’s been a loooong while:   In my life, anything that happens before caffeine has not only hit my system but is making me vibrate is just not a good idea. I stumble around, I have conversations with my sons that rival anything on a sitcom (“Mom, if we could harness energy from alcohol, sugar, and sex, we’d have no power shortages at all!”), I misread things on my Facebook feed. I follow the Summit Center on Facebook. It provides services for gifted and 2e kids in the San Francisco and LA areas (psst…we could really use a satellite office in the northern Chicago metro area…hint, hint…). The other morning I caught a post from them in my feed about a recommended blog post on envy and giftedness. In my half-conscious state, I didn’t quite catch that the post was about others envying the gifted. You know, the old annoying story (mentioned in the post) of “I hate hearing about your gifted child,” though sadly no mention of my rebuttal post (with a respectable number of comments thankyouverymuch). Cross my heart, I thought the post was about gifted parents envying non-gifted parents. Why wouldn’t we envy other parents? Parents raising neurotypical kids? We’re the outliers here, why wouldn’t we envy the “norm?”

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Believe it or not, that’s not even all of the languishing posts in the drafts folder. I’m still hopeful I can resuscitate some of the others. Maybe today. Maybe not. It is summer break you know, and I still haven’t found activities for the boys outside the house. Because I can barely complete a thought with them banging around the house, it may be a summer of Dregs from the Drafts folder posts. No one is more thrilled than I by that possibility.

::headdesk::

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