Oct 13 2014

This is a test of the Mercury Retrograde system. This is only a test.

This is a test of the Mercury Retrograde System. This is only a test.There was a time, not that long ago, when I’d have to keep on eye on the phases of the moon. Life here in the House of Chaos would go off the rails during a full moon, and I liked to stay on top of things. Of course, it wouldn’t be every full moon, because that would be too straightforward and easy. No, it was something like every third moon. We may not have gotten hit every 28 days, but damn when it hit the lunar craziness was considerably more concentrated and intense.

We haven’t been hit with lunar batshit craziness in awhile…or we have but it’s just been absorbed into the daily crazy and I haven’t noticed…but sweetbabyjesusonapony the Mercury Retrograde. I know a lot of people don’t believe in astrology and consider MR to be non-scientific BS. I may have been in that camp at one time, but now? After this current retrograde I’m going to burn sage and talk to spirits and wrap my house in bubble wrap to prevent it ever hitting like this again.

Let’s review.

The MR is a week old and in that time:

•MacDreamy2 is having little mini strokes. Things like the RAM inexplicably just running low, or the screen doing weird flickery noise things, or taking a full five minutes to open an app.
•My iPhone is crashing on a regular basis now. Several times, every day.
•On Friday the van refused to start. I got a jump and got us to co-op, where it needed another jump to get me home. Nearly $600 later it’s at least functional enough to sit in the driveway and not be driven unless absolutely necessary while we either figure out which child we’re going to sell to repair the rest of the list/buy a replacement vehicle or rearrange lives so we can live with one auto.
•The dog ran off Friday afternoon and was finally found some time later on a busy street, eating god knows what between two houses. She’s not dead yet, so thankfully it does not appear to be rat poison.
•There is a…wait, can’t blog that. But it sucked and may continue to suck and really praying it ceases sucking shortly.
•Sunday night the lamppost across the street just randomly and without warning fell over.
•Waiting quite impatiently for…damn, can’t blog that either. But resolution would be nice.
•I own a banjo. It is a very out of tune banjo. The boys have found it and are taking great joy in plucking the out of tune strings, usually when I’m under caffeinated or desperately trying to avoid being run over by whatever whacked out chaos MR has thrown my way. Ohmahgawd now he’s experimenting with the tuning pegs. And pretending he’s in Mumford and Sons. Not enough coffee…
•There are at least two other craptastic items that I know I’m forgetting because Mercury Retrograde (which is replacing because reasons as my go-to for the time being).

This is all on top of Things That Cannot Be Blogged but are taking a physical toll on the adults in this house.

And there are still two weeks left in this MR.

I’ve read that to get through a MR in one sane piece to focus on the reReflect, reorganize, rearrange, review. That sort of thing. That sort of thing has been missing in my life for awhile, as I’m dead set on improving the future, not looking back and seeing where I screwed up; god knows I’ve done enough of that to no good result. I did manage a re yesterday, though. I scrubbed out the refrigerator. Can that count? I don’t want to review right now, I want shit to improve and resolve so we can move forward.

If this is a test, just get me through it. Life is pass/fail, just get me through this.

Two more weeks. I’d wrap the house in bubble wrap, but I need that roll for something else.

***************
Upate: Yup, knew I’d forget something:

•On Friday Facebook randomly blocked me from posting to any of my groups, then just as quickly unblocked me.
•Amazon is having some sort of seizure and won’t accept any of my credit or debit cards for the Subscribe and Save auto-ship of dog food.
•Apparently contractors don’t want work, because I can’t get any of them to return my calls or emails.

Sep 15 2014

Let me tell you about…why gifted identification matters

Why gifted identification mattersWhen a good(ish) idea hits you, run with it. It might be a slow jog, even a rambling shuffle, but run with it. So today I’m starting a “whenever I feel like it…or remember” blog series I’m calling Let Me Tell You About… I figure that’ll let me rant about damned near anything, from giftedness to lifelong learning to life to whatever I feel like at the moment, all wrapped up in a cohesive little bow.

Kinda like a blog, Jen?

Yes, kinda like a blog. You’re very smart. Hush. (This is what one does when one is pulling oneself out of a bad case of writers’ block wrapped in blog drift topped with chaos-flavored life sprinkles).

So. Gifted identification. When we first had Andy evaluated, he was four years old. We had no earthly idea what was going on with him, just that something was noticeably different between him and every other kid I had ever taught, babysat, or daycared. We were just looking for answers, so that we could maybe, somehow, figure out how to parent him and stay sane, because the sanity, it was teetering. A friend suggested evaluation, we had him tested, and whoa what a crazy road it’s been these last nine years.

If he hadn’t been ID’d twice-exceptional when he was four (and confirmed when he was tested again at age eight), I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that schools would have seen only disability and he would have fallen through the cracks. Wait a sec, that did happen! The saving grace was that we had documentation indicating that he was gifted, required specific academic interventions that some schools were unable and unwilling to provide, and we could advocate for his needs all the way up to and through homeschooling. If we had not listened to our parental guts, or had trusted the overwhelmed education system to know what was best and find the giftedness that was being smothered by the other exceptionalities, his giftedness never would have been uncovered and his bright spark would have gone dim. I have seen that with so, so many kids, and so many adults as well. It’s heartbreaking to talk to an adult who is so very obviously gifted, but thinks he/she is dumb as a post because schools (and trusting parents that support them) spent so much time and money focused on the problems that there was nothing left for the bright child that was there too.

I’ve heard parents state they do not want to have their child tested for giftedness because they don’t want their child labeled. Well, it’s not a label unless you print it up on your handy-dandy Dymo and slap it on your kid. It’s a way to better understand how your child observes and interprets and responds to the world. Giftedness is not a badge of honor, nor is it a mark of shame. It just is. I feel we fail our kids when we don’t help them learn what makes them tick, and how to work with that. They know they’re different, they just don’t know why or how or what to do about it.

Yes, it can be expensive. Trust me, I know this on a very personal level. One kid has been evaluated twice, with the other we did the preliminary interview only because our budget laughed at our request (result: based on family history, parental questionnaires, and that siblings tend to have IQ results 5-13 points of each other…we have another 2e son. And just for shits and giggles, a 2e son who is about as different from his brother as possible. Um, yay?). Yes, society tends to think gifted = elitism. Eh, pfft to society, we’re raising these kids; anyone else can go blow. My sons will know the hows and whys of themselves. And yes, knowledge is frightening because then you have to do something with it. Well, that’s the unspoken deal we made with the universe when we had kids. There’s a lot I wish I didn’t know, that’s for sure, because while knowledge is power…with great power comes great responsibility. Boom, mashup of Schoolhouse Rock and SpiderMan. <drops mic>

If you can’t tell, I’m a huge proponent of evaluating kids for giftedness, if there are concerns (of the “uh, do other kids do this?” type) about the child. Parents are, by far, the best estimator of their child’s ability, and if a kid shows signs of giftedness, I say go for it. It’s not easy, it’s not cheap, it’s just like every other aspect of parenting. I believe that “know thyself (and your kid’s self)” is half the battle; the easy part of the battle, if truth be told.

I have regrets upon regrets from the last dozen years, but nowhere in that list is having Andy evaluated. It was probably one of the best decisions we made for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10661821_10204240729565749_4628241033220783722_oToday’s post was part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum’s September Blog Hop, on why giftedness matters. I chose to focus on identification. Please go check out some of the other fantastic writers!

Sep 13 2014

BLOCK THE POWER!

BLOCK THE POWER!Two years ago I wrote very forcefully why I was not going to allow Minecraft in my home.

One year ago I caved.

Shut up. There were reasons.

Yesterday Andy learned, while at our homeschool co-op with his geek friends, natch, that Microsoft was in negotiations to purchase Mojang (the company behind Minecraft) for roughly two billion dollars (please hear that in your best Dr. Evil voice, complete with pinky to your lip).

Today I’d like to say, on behalf of every parent of a Minecraft addict devotee, “Mojang? What the absolute HELL? You dropped this on a weekend? When parents have to listen to the freakout for a solid seventy-two-effing-hours?”

My sons have been in full tilt Shit Losing Mode for over twenty-four hours now. Let’s listen in to a few of the more choice comments Tom and I have endured overheard so far:

“I’m scared, I’m sad, I’m infuriated…It’s overwhelming.”
“Those power-hungry dickfaces!”
“Ok, it’s time to save Minecraft, I don’t care what anyone says, we’re gonna save Minecraft.”
“#SaveMinecraft.”

Tom and I are about to shiv our own ears. To compensate, a few of the more choice comments the walls have overheard from us:

Me: I can’t drink enough to make this weekend tolerable!
Tom (without missing a beat): BUT WE’RE SURE GONNA TRY!

Tom: The children! Someone must think of the children!
Me: …and their long-suffering parents.

Tom: Join The Resistance! Go outside and get some fresh air!

Tom: We need a T-shirt, with a arm raised in resistance, holding a Minecraft sword, but it’s all done in blocks. Ooh! How about a Che Guevara shirt, but it’s the block dude’s head!

Two billion dollars for a computer game. A game with endless possibilities and educational promise, but a computer game nonetheless. I just want to tell the boys to lower the freakout DefCon level, go brush up on Ye Olde Programming Skillz, and develop something that someone will buy for a couple billion and change. Daddy and I tired, guys. We want the progressive nursing home with the gin and tonic IVs.

Truly though, the boys are despondent. Hysterical (in every definition of the word), but despondent. I haven’t seen Andy this worked up about something in a very, very long time. Wish I could see that kind of intensity over, say, history or reading or anything other than a computer game.

I don’t regret caving on Minecraft…much…but this weekend is making that decision a wee bit…crappier. And there’s a lot more whining to come over this Microsoft/Mojang purchase, I guarantee it.

Block the power. Go outside and play.

Sep 12 2014

Change of seasons came early this year

Change of seasons came early this yearFall has fallen hard here in Chicago. No, that’s not quite accurate. Chicago has run, laugh-crying and tripping over itself with arms wide open while jostling others out of the way, into the cold and spindly arms of Autumn. Chicago will regret this; Autumn is a fickle lover, all color and crisp air and bright sun at first, but in a heartbeat can morph into a cold and distant Winter, moody and dark and bitter. Chicago did not spend enough time sweating on the beach with Summer, but I can’t say I blame Chicago much for that. This year Summer was not present but absentminded, its hot energy focused somewhere else; I’m thinking the southwest. Disappointed and lonely, Chicago put up with Summer’s distracted attention, and is probably why it ran to Autumn so quickly. Autumn promised Chicago Pumpkin Spice Lattes and crisp sleeping weather and that it would never, ever again slide into that bastard Winter like it did last year, knowing that Chicago would desperately believe whatever story it was told. Chicago does not want to deal with crazy-eyed Winter and its dangerous Polar Vortex alter-ego again.

So it is fall. And it is chilly and damp and I am wearing my winter layers already, the earliest I have ever piled them on. Did not expect to dig out the wool socks the second week of September, but here we are. Soon the fingerless gloves will join in and the party will be in full swing. I suspect this winter will rival last year’s, and that has me in full-on Winter Disaster Prep mode. It’s time to hunt down more gloves and scarves and boots and a new long down coat for me and layers and layers and more layers.

I’m not ready for fall and it’s eventual disintegration into winter. Summer never got hot enough long enough for me to view the cooler temps as a welcome and blessed relief. The days suddenly seem so much shorter and darker, and you can just feel the change of season descending upon your shoulders, smothering your soul like the heavier clothes drape upon your skin. Uncovered dermis, I will miss you, see you next summer. If I could shower wearing layers I sometimes think I would.

Six months of chill and cold ahead.

Here we go.

Chicago autumn haiku

Sep 11 2014

If you didn’t live it, it’s just history to you

if you didn't live it, it's just history to youThirteen years. A blink of an eye and yet a million years ago.

Andy was a newborn who scoffed at sleep, I was a new mom who wanted to set fire to the phrase, “sleep like a baby,” because my baby didn’t sleep. And one beautiful September morning, after yet another night of it’s-kinda-sleep, after being screamed to his bedside yet again and giving up any hope of shut-eye to rock him in the early morning hours, the world changed.

The boys see 9/11 as history, something they’ve read about in books and seen on BrainPop. Tom and I see it as the day when everything changed. We went to bed the night before, having watched the Broncos game and seeing Ed McCaffrey’s horrible leg break, and woke to a different world.

Even now I give thanks that Andy was a five month old, never sleeping infant. If he’d been older that day would have been an even worse hell, traumatizing him to a point I don’t want to even consider. We could barely hold it together; an intense child losing his own shit on top of that…I don’t even want to think about it.

I’m relieved the boys will only know this day as something in a history book, that they weren’t here to live it. I wish none of us had had to live it.

Peace and blessings on this day of remembrance. May no one see this kind of evil again.

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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.

Older posts «