Revisiting Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

I am revisiting being a stay-at-home mom since the pandemic and brazenly quitting my job. I haven’t done this since 2007, and I have to say it’s interesting? Well, first off, looking for a job, particularly now, is fairly rotten. I hit up all the job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, in addition to going to actual websites of places I might like to work, and I have not had much success. It takes forever, and you have to enter a lot of search filters, leaving you eventually tired, exasperated and cross-eyed. Plus, I don’t even know what I want to do. I clicked on a wide array of positions, including being a Door Dash delivery person, an online social media designer, a development director, and a reporter. I freaked out that I’d get murdered with being a delivery person, so I opted out of that search.

But, then, I stumbled upon what may be my real talent and niche: Camp Counselor Philanthropist! Since school has yet to begin here in our town (first full day is October 13 #brutal), I started Camp Alex: Endless Summer. It’s essentially impossible for working parents now when kids are home all day, so I am helping them out while simultaneously entertaining my own children by having them over for camp. Win-win!

Here’s a look at Camp Alex. First, we have Puppy School, in which the dogs do math and get grades. The kids do “drop-off,” bringing the dogs upstairs with treats, and I do “pick-up.” At this time, I am versed on how well they behaved. For example, today, Poppy got an A+ and Winnie struggled with some addition and got a B+

Didn’t make Honor Roll

Around noon, we have lunchtime, which consists of whatever I can find in my fridge that they might like: edamame, french fries, grilled cheese and gummies.

Healthy!
Questionable

Next, we have play time on the trampoline and on the slide. One of their favorite games, which I created a long time ago as a disciplinary method, is “The Crab.” It’s really quite simple: find some tongs, and chase them around with the tongs biting at their ankles (gently, of course) and their knees. This is the crab! They absolutely love it, and it only costs a pair of tongs! Cheap, officious and fun. Next, we have pool time, in the baby pool, and finally quiet time with puzzles and crafts.

It’s interesting how we fall into things and unknown talents, like me being a camp counselor, during difficult times. I’m making the most of my staying at home during COVID, because I know it could be short lived. I don’t miss being in the office cubicle even one bit. The paycheck? Er, well, that’s another thing. For now, though, these kids laughing is a pretty good payoff.

My kindness rock garden

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool? That is the Question.

Who here is struggling with whether or not to homeschool in the fall? I am raising my hand virtually, because I can’t decide! I mean, on the one hand, I am totally in fear of the fact that I will have to be their teacher again, and I’m gonna be honest…I wasn’t that great at it! Not only did I lack some real patience, but I also let them have recess too long, and I skimmed over some stuff, and I totally let them take advantage of me, like we used to do when we told the substitute we were never given homework on Tuesdays.

On the other hand, I don’t want to send them to school and worry each day that they’re carrier monkeys who didn’t wear their masks, or didn’t wash their hands, and did not keep their distance at recess. I can say now from my observations this summer, that when kids get together, the distance seems to go out the window. So then, I think, “Okay, let’s just bite the bullet, and I will step up and be a good teacher. I will have a curriculum, and I will stick to a schedule and I will forgo my life for the school year, even more so.”

Then…I sit on the couch and stare out the window, frozen, and think about making a run to the liquor store.

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Fact: I didn’t look like this. I was not smiling, and my hair isn’t that short.

So maybe I won’t make a decision. Isn’t that a decision? I just want people to decide for me. I remember going to therapy, and I’d ask the therapist, “Can’t you just tell me what to do?” And she’d be all, “No, that’s not my job! You have to figure that out for yourself. I can lead you in that direction, but I can’t make a decision for you.” Well that made my decision: not to go to therapy anymore…

Also, don’t our decisions constantly change? Or is that just me? For example, today, I implored my children to go to the beach with me. See how messed up that sounds? Like, I have to beg someone to go to the BEACH? How ’bout y’all get a job, and then we can talk about how painful the beach is… Anyway, so my daughter says to me, “No! I’m not going so you can sit on your can in the sun and not swim!”

SIT ON MY CAN!

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What I sit on

Can you believe she said that to me? First off, where’d she get that expression (#guilty?). Second, I had to not laugh (even though it was kinda hysterical) and tell her that she better shape up and stop disrespecting me.

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So we decided not to go to the beach and instead to go to the Vineyard on the ferry boat. Good plan? Okay, maybe. So I go get dressed, walk the dogs, get ready to roll, and the kids are not moving. They’re now settled in with their devices, playing Adopt Me and Shark Hunt, and now I’m pacing back and forth like a rabid hyena telling them we “NEED TO GO!” so we can find parking and get on the hot, COVID ferry only to ride over and be hot in a mask. They didn’t respond.

So I decided not to go to the Vineyard.

Now I am doing this.

See? I can’t make a decision. Can you? Homeschool or no? 

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Vexed and Confused!

Why? Why does this happen JUST TO ME (it feels like) that I finally order this gadget called a Gizmo from Verizon to be able to text/talk and locate my child, and it DOES NOT WORK! Here’s the sitch: I splurge and buy this $175 Gizmo gadget thing that a lot of the children we know have. My child has been imploring me for two months to ascertain this. I decide to give in. It may be great, I think, and probably a good idea! So I finally pull the trigger, and we wait for its arrival. My daughter runs to the mailbox each day, opening it with closed eyes, wishing for the box to be there. Finally, it arrives! We jump up and down in front of the mailbox, together holding the Amazon box, chanting, “Gizmo, Gizmo, Gizmo!” Then, we get inside, I charge the sucker, turn it on and set up the account, and BAM! It gets stuck on this home screen of a scan code, and I’m out, done, it’s over! Total deflation! The bar code screen is permanently frozen! I can’t get past this screen! So I call tech support at Verizon, and they tell me that they can’t help me out, and that I have to go to Amazon to get a replacement. That it’s just BROKEN. I mean, really? It feels to me so unfair! I asked my friends if this happened to them, and, no, of course it did not! ARRGH!  I feel like this crap always happens to me!

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Frozen 3

Okay, so I’m being a baby. Like, put me in a crib, white noise, mobile, I’m out. I need some formula and a pacifier because COVID is going on, and obviously that is way more important–not to mention all the other ailments and problems in the world. Gizmo? Not so important. But, I needed to vent. So here I am…venting!

Okay, so what else can I vent about, cause I’m kind of on a tear, and I’m not sure why. Oh! My taxes! So I thought I was all 2020 (not that that is a good thing, since this year uber- blows), and I used Turbo Tax for the first time to do my taxes. In the past, I had used H&R Block, but it’s kinda pricey at $220 if you only have one W-2. Am I right? So I do Turbo, and I’m all fired up that I’m filing electronically, and my State taxes get freaking rejected, for some unbeknownst reason, and I have to mail them in. MAIL! I mean, for reals? Like, I am on this site so I can file ELECTRONICALLY! So I pay to e-file, and now I have to staple forms, and find an envelope and some, like stamps?? And actually go to the post office to postmark it?  Who even does that anymore?

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I am annoying! Mail me! Snail Mail only!!

I am, however, getting a refund. So that’s kinda sweet. If I hadn’t quit my job, I might use it to go on vacation, but (A) I did quit my job, so I need it to pay for wine and the mortgage; and (B) there is nowhere to go in this pandemic. My son said he knew what he would spend it on: a Louis Vuitton prism bag and a Burberry oxford shirt. Good to know those cost the same as like two months of my bills. Yeah, so not happenin’, Son!

Anyway…what else can I complain about? HA! Sorry. Okay, I’ll stop. This is it. But, feel free to vent to me in the comments.

xo

Flying the Covid Skies

I flew on an airplane recently and everyone seems to ask, “What was it like?!” Well, I’m here to tell you what it’s like. I should begin by saying I’m not exactly the world traveler; Vasco Da Gama has me beat. In fact, prior to last year, at my niece’s wedding in California, I had not been on a plane in seven years. I know this, of course, because when I wheeled my suitcase out from the attic, cobwebs intact, I unzipped it, and my son’s pacifier from when he was 2 fell out! And a baby spider was sucking on it! Wait, no, kidding. But, I think you can imagine then why I didn’t travel after that…It’s called spawn. I had another one shortly after this trip, and then hunkered down for seven years in toddler-dom. Who wants to fly with toddlers? I didn’t.

I digress.

So, to start, I got to Boston in an hour and fifteen minutes, which would normally take about two hours and then some in traffic, because, well, no one is going to work. I pulled into Central Parking, and it was like a dark, apocalyptic field with a plethora of parking. Next, the real stuff came into play: the Covid Costume, equipped with two masks, ’cause one is just not enough, glasses (kind of like the goggles I wore in Chemistry class), a hat (cause no one wants the ‘vid on the locks), a coat with hood, and rubber gloves. No skin was showing. This is what I looked like.

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Once you get into the airport, there are few people roaming about. Let’s just call them the Bold and Not-So-Beautiful. We “bold” ones decided to take the pandemic by storm and risk our lives for loved ones. You can tell which folks are taking this seriously and which are not. Some are dressed in the CC (Covid Costume), while others, who are mostly venturing to or from a Southern region, it appeared) are in shorts, with exposed, tan legs, flip flops, and a mask dangling from one ear. My favorite are the ones in the masks who don’t cover their noses. Like, why bother? You may as well just sneeze on me.

I breeze through security, with about four people six feet in front of me. There are little markers delineating where to stand, kind of like in the game of Twister.

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Guuuuuuuurl, back on up! That’s not six feet!

This all was impressive. Next, I cruise towards the gate, with only two venues open: Hudson News and Dunkin’ Donuts (this is slowly changing, but don’t count on a quick beer or Fireball shot before you get on the plane–no restaurants/bars are open). Then, the real challenge sets in, having to venture into the bathroom. Now, this might be easy when not dressed as an Eskimo, but imagine having to zip back up your pants with rubber gloves on. Not only did the top of the glove on my index finger get stuck in the zipper and tear off, but my glasses were fogging up with the mask, I was sweating to high hell, and my bags were crammed against my knees in a tiny stall filled with pandemic possibility. I might suggest a diaper for the next run.

Anyway, so I get to the gate, and there are reserved seats that have ribbon-like banners across them, telling folks to social distance. It’s sort of like a Covid Miss America banner. With one torn glove, I get my sanitizing wipes out of my backpack and wipe down the entire chair and arm rests. People are staring, but also kind of jelly that I thought to do this. Finally, I sit, still sweating with fogged glasses, and I can relax, but it’s hard to text on my cell phone with gloves. So I risk it and take them off.

The rest is fairly simple. We board the plane, everyone in masks, walking down the tarmac, semi-spaced (there, too, are Twister dots), and we sit in our seats (post-wipe-down on my part) with masks required. The plane is about half-full, because no one is sitting next to you. They are, however, not six feet in front of you. I will say, most everyone complied with the masks. The only issue I saw, when swiveling my head around to make sure everyone obeyed the rules, was a few folks with the nose exposed and one or two with the mask dangling off the ear like an ear-cuff.

 

The stewardess corrected them, though. I was a bit dismayed that there were no drinks or peanuts served on flight, but we did get a Ziploc bag with a bottle of water and some kind of snack bar. So if you’re thinking of flying, it’s really not that bad. As a recovered germaphobe, I was fine! Thank you to #JetBlue! Enjoy your trip…

When You Quit in a Pandemic, and Hit your Head.

Did you hear the one about the woman who quit her job during a pandemic?! You didn’t? Well, now you have: it’s me! Yeah, no joke, actually. But you know what? Before you go on chastising me and asking me how the hell I will support myself, don’t fret–I got this covered. Momma has been saving, and there’s a reason I’ve been buying Route 66 brand gear at Walmart for a couple years, so now I can take my time to pivot into my next move. And, I will spend the summer finishing my second book about three women living on Cape Cod who end up dating the same man! (Stay tuned)

I know, it’s crazy, right??? Well, I invite you to join me on my journey. The journey has started somewhat roughly, as I hit my forehead on the corner of my car door the other night when I was buying candy for the kids after the beach. Here is what I looked like.

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Oh, and, yes, those are tears in my eyes, because it hurt…like, a lot. I’ve been applying copious amounts of Vaseline and Vitamin E on it, so I won’t look like Rocky Dennis in Mask (’80s movie with Cher. So good). I mean, my face is my money-maker, so I have to protect it. Wait, what? Er…but, no, seriously, I asked my son if I looked bad or heinous with this cut on my forehead, and you know what he said? He said, “I can’t tell the difference between that cut and the other lines on your forehead.”

And…fade to black. Drop the mic.

I also had the unfortunate experience of having to scold my daughter for being rude to me this morning.  And I say rude in quotes, because she was like an alien creature that hatched from the lower depths. See, she couldn’t find a card she had made for her dad for Father’s Day, and so she tore her room apart, screaming, pulling drawers of clothes out of her dresser, and eventually accusing me of tossing it out.

“You throw out everything!” she screamed in the spawn of the Devil’s voice from upstairs.

I went up, tried to calmly help her look through her FOUL room that literally had a candy toilet plunger stuck to the nice wood bookcase, and we didn’t find it. In the interim, I cleaned her room and, yes, threw a lot of stuff out. Ya’ know what? You don’t play with it for six months? It’s gone. Ya’ done. Pare down. So, eventually, after I yelled at her, and called in support from her dad, she wrote me this apology note. Oh, and she calls me “Moo,” as in moo cow. I mean, wait, should I be offended by that?

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Anyway….that’s the start to my new life. A little rough, but kinda excited.