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

I Got Into Columbia, But I Can’t Get Into Roblox

I graduated from Columbia, but I can’t get into Roblox, because I’ve failed the verification test too many times. In case you are not sure what that entails, it is simply clicking arrows to put a a goat or a buffalo cartoon image right-side-up. You have to do this eight times, and you have 7 seconds to do so for each image. I failed for the last hour. I can’t set my daughter up with an account. Question: Why is Roblox Fort Knox? Bigger Question: What is wrong with me (don’t answer that) that I can’t determine how to set a goat or buffalo upright? 

IMG_2662
I got this message about 20 times

Perhaps this is because I am not upright.

imgres-5
I may be upside down, but look at my patent leather shoes!

In other words, I’m kinda struggling here– with the pandemic, the decision to send the kids back to school, and looking for a job. The job sitch is almost as grim as the fact that I can’t prove I’m not a robot on Roblox. Yesterday, I applied for three jobs. Two were promising. The other? It was an Amazon remote job, in which I’d be available to talk to people about their FMLA and Disability. I mean, does this really suit me? Probs not! My career pivot looks less like a pivot and more like a circle–or just a cliff dive.

No, honestly, I’m excited about some of the opportunities. But it’s hard to find something remote. And, if I do, when I search on Linked In, it will say there are 122 applicants ahead of me. I mean, I know I’m a solid pick, but 122? That’s kinda rotten chances. I‘d be better off just going to buy a scratch ticket and heading to the beach with an Italian sub.

Speaking of Italian subs, I am not going to eat those anymore, or at least for today, because I decided I’m going to get really skinny. Like, I want to be a coat hanger. I know a lot of people don’t think of that as an attractive image, but I think all clothes look good on hangers, and some of the ones in my closet are really pissed at me that they’ve been benched.

imgres-4
My ideal body #goals

With that, I’m going to go for a long walk, since apparently I won’t be able to play Roblox!

 

 

 

 

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.

image0-1

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.

images
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.

image4

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?

image6

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

 

The Oxymoron We are Living

IMG_1915

I have so many thoughts, I don’t even know where to put them. Okay, so this pandemic feels like it’s over, but it not actually over. So we are living in this oxymoronic state that makes me, too, feel like I’m regularly irregular. On the one hand, I’m Easy like Sunday Morning (yes, I’m listening to the Commodores on Acoustic Sunday #Spotify). On the other hand, I feel sort of amped and maniacal. Now, before you go diagnosing me as bipolar or borderline personality disorder, I don’t gamble, go shopping, or indulge in crazy town risk-taking behaviors followed by a full meltdown (just slight ones).

So, like, today, it’s GORGEOUS out, and I thought, “Kids, let’s go to the beach!” But, that was soon thwarted by the thought, “Well, won’t that be kind of crazy to keep them six feet from other kids playing?” So, instead, I’ve chosen to continue to clean, organize and stay at home, a self-imposed shutdown, a living death (#oxymoron) But this has gotten super tired. Zzzzzzzz. I am boring myself. Talk about acute dullness.

So how can we stay apart, but together, together apart? I guess six feet. Anyone else having trouble determining how far six feet is actually? Like, do you do that field sobriety test, one foot in front of the other, like I do to measure? I’m not good at estimating. An exact estimate? It doesn’t seem possible.

And how about the openings of restaurants that are basically like still closed? So we can wear a mask in, and then take it off to eat and drink? That doesn’t seem to make much sense. I think we can agree to disagree on that one.

In the end, it’s all a giant oxymoron. I may as well just go to the beach.