A weird season of life

I feel like I’m in a really weird season of life right now. Not bad, just weird.

School is REALLY hard this year, for me and all of my colleagues. People are quitting. I feel more of a divide than I’ve ever felt in the past. This is year six for me, so I don’t have tons of historical experience, but it still is a really rough year for all of us.

The kids in my house are all doing well, though Eve asks every day if she can be homeschooled. She hates going to school, but usually comes home not too miserable in the end. Fortunately! Lex and B’Lake are both working a lot, and Lex is doing karate and lights for the musical again this year. I joined a gym and I’m trying to go 3x week. Our afternoons are busy! Lex has his license and a car, and next month he’ll be able to drive the other kids places, which will be nice.

B’Lake is still confident that he does not want to return home and we have started researching adoption. It’s interesting to consider adopting a teenager, and parenting a kid who lived for 14yrs in a very different home/family environment. I’m also in a way co-parenting with DCF, which adds another element to contend with. He also has a girlfriend that he worships and wants to spend every second with and talks about constantly. As a middle-aged divorced women I have to work hard to contain the eye rolling! 🙄😂

All three of them are getting so independent and starting to flex their wings. I’m finding I have to change my parenting style and expectations a bit. And for as busy as we are, I’m also finding myself alone more and more often. This afternoon Lex is at work, B’Lake is with a friend, and Eve is holed up in her chair watching anime, and I’m spending the time watching tv, prepping healthy food, and doing a little work.

Tomorrow is Indigenous Peoples Day so the kids have no school, but I have to work. 🙄 B’Lake asked if he could hang out in town with friends and I had to say no. Instead he will be at a friend’s house (I’ve connected with the friend’s mom to be sure is that plan!) Lex and Eve will be going to a corn maze with Alan. Alan was going to take all three kids, but one opted to hang with friends instead.

Anyway, this is just a random blog post from my phone (website still not working) while I watch Baking Impossible. I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday evening. ❤️

WPI

WordPress isn’t working properly so I can’t update the blog from my computer. Hopefully it works here ony phone.

We went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute this weekend. It was a beautiful day and both boys really liked it. Alan said he wants to go to college there too. 😄

Who is the prospective student here?? 😄

A classroom with whiteboards everywhere. They said the rooms are designed for collaborative learning or something like that.

I like this cool riser setup. There is a HUGE screen facing it. This building houses a 3D printer room, a ton of makerspace type areas and freshman dorms upstairs.

Does he look like a college student here? 😬

This building was designed to look like a church because someone wanted it that way, but it actually houses the music dept. They have multiple band opportunities! Also, that’s our tour guide, Sam.

This is the admin building. Our tour guide said students never see the inside of this building unless they are misbehaving. 😄

Toga and I enjoyed our day.

I love these masked not-babies.

This corner of the athletic center had a really great view of the athletic fields and tennis courts. The tennis courts are built on top of the parking garage, which was a student project years ago.

Just a cool building.

The library.

This doggie loved the fountain! 😄 Sam told us that the fountain used to be programmed to reach a certain height all the time, but on windy days it would blow and get people wet. So a group of students designed a system of wind monitors stationed all around the area that control the fountain. When it’s windy, the fountain doesn’t go as high and therefore doesn’t get people wet. Smart!

I took a picture of these pants figuring they were a joke I’m not smart enough to get. I showed Lex later and he told me it says WPI. Of course.

Gompie the Goat. Official mascot. Masked for our protection. 😄

Eve tried to hug it but the horns made it difficult.

While Alan and B’Lake talked physics with the admissions people, the rest of us took some down time… apparently we needed space. 😄

A Saturday morning walk in the sunshine

Eve and I took a walk this morning in the beautiful 70° sunny weather. There were lots of people out and yard sales and joy. We talked about fashion, body image, self positivity, etc. I loved that it was a conversation and not a anime monolog like it usually is when hanging out with Eve. I also loved that she let me take a selfie of the two of us out walking together. I don’t normally take selfies in my exercise clothes, but this one was just necessary.

She is the cutest thing ever. My blue shirt looks soaked in sweat, but it’s actually just a shadow! I wasn’t *that* hot and sweaty!

We found a few other interesting things along the way too.

This is a questionable choice in fencing for the bridge up the street. We both immediately noticed how low it is and how climbable it is. Eve said, “It’s like the built a short ladder instead of a fence.” 🤔

There is a nice little ledge to stand on on the other side of the “fence” as well. With zero trouble both of us could have been standing on this ledge within a minute. 😬

On a lighter note, the fairy door in the tree stump is open! The door has been there forever, but I’ve never seen it open before.

Happy three day weekend! 🌞

A mini photoshoot

Eve and I had fun watching Season 2 of Making the Cut, featuring Gary Graham, a hometown fashion designer. He was the runner up, but we both thought he should have won because his work was so artistic and because he made his own fabric with interesting country inspiration. We both really liked one of his dresses so I bought it for her! It came this weekend and she loves is. The style is rustic, the cut is perfect and fitted, and the fabric is heavy and durable. We talked about the difference in quality between well made products and cheap clothes. Then she added a few of her own unique touches and let me take a few photos!

I love this kid more than words can say. She and I had a fantastic day. After our photo shoot she threw on her usual hoodie and we went to Starbucks and the grocery stores. We laughed and giggled and talked about stuff and it was heart filling. When we got back she took the dog for a walk in the rain, skipping and singing to herself. This evening we cuddled on the couch and watching an episode of Making It, which of course brought on a few more giggles. 😊💗

(if you want to see all the pics, click here)

First day of school!

… was last week. I’m a little behind here. School kept me SUPER busy this week and it was over 90° every day! It was an exhausting week, but after and awesome Saturday I’m feeling more in the mood for blogging. :)

Back to school photos were, as usual, silly and rushed.

We got three in the picture this year! Three high schoolers!!

This boy drove himself to school on the first day! (and every day after)

Starting high school after 75 weeks, 525 days out of a school building. (I know those numbers because the high school principal commented on it in his back to school newsletter.)

Three high schoolers this year: freshman, sophomore, and a junior! One drove to school in his very own car, one chose to take the bus, and the third wanted me to drive her to school even though it meant she’d get to school 45 minutes early. We all made it to our respective schools and had a good first day, despite the ridiculous heat!

Welcome back to the library!

The AC in the library broke two years ago and needed to be replaced, a huge project that costs a ton of money. I was thrilled when my principal told me it was going to be fixed this year.  A little less thrilled when I walked in on the first day and found the AC guys at work! I was so excited to welcome students back to the library, but instead I had 90°+ temps, sweltering humidity, and construction. Sigh. The AC guys are great though and understanding, so I was able to get most classes in the library and only a few held outside under the tent.

Here’s to a new season!

A big day all around!

School starts tomorrow. In normal town this day would have been spent celebrating the last day of summer and getting ready for school. I think I need another month so I can do those things! Instead today we 1) got news from the judge 2) bought a car and 3) … umm… I guess that’s it. It just felt super big and busy!

The judge in B’Lake’s merits case ruled that merits were found and the boy are to remain in custody! It was a huge relief and I let out a big breath I didn’t realize I was holding. There are more steps in this process, but we now know that he’ll be staying here with us for the foreseeable future and brother will be safe as well. Thankfully!

On the car front, Lex and Alan have been doing some research on used electric cars. If you don’t know, the used car market is HOT these days. And by HOT I mean, cars are flying off the lot and dealers are charging a fortune. :/ They found several used Nissan Leafs and a used electric Ford Focus. We drove up to Burlington today to check them out. Lex drove a pretty red Nissan Leaf, but it was a little more money than we were hoping to spend and the dealer had zero interest in negotiating. He told us his dealership hasn’t sold below list price in many, many months. We decided to go check out the Ford Focus at a different dealership and Lex decided he liked that car better. It’s a 2014 (one year newer than the Leaf) and has a backup camera, which surprisingly, the Leaf didn’t have.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2014 Ford Focus Electric

Lex drove it, Alan drove it, we had a little discussion, and bought a car!! I’m in the process of refinancing the house and will get some money out of it to pay for the car, so Alan wrote a check against his stock account (or something) for the short term and I’ll pay it off when the house closes. I was shocked at how much quicker the car buying process goes when you don’t need a loan!

Eeek! Lex and his first car.

I mean, Lex and his first car and his silly dad. :)

The Focus doesn’t have a long enough range to get from the dealership to our house, so Lex stopped at Alan’s house for a few hours to charge, geek about the car, and have dinner. I headed right home to see Eve for a few minutes and then pick the other one up from his new job. Lex drove himself home in the rain and dark and fog. I worried just the right amount and everything was ok. :)

Alan’s car and Lex’s car. Can you tell the Tesla Model 3 from the Ford Focus? :)

Throughout the whole day I was getting incoming back-to-school emails, website update emails, and having conversations with the bank about the refi and an estate attorney about updating those docs. I felt like a very busy person! :)

Tomorrow we go back to school. Five full days a week. All in person. Lex will be driving himself to and from school. B is taking the bus (unlike the other two, B’Lake says the bus is just fine and he sees nothing wrong with it), and E has chosen to have me drop her off at school each morning, even though that means she’ll get there 45m early each day! She said that beats taking the bus. Our sweet carpool deal from last year was complicated this year because of the closed bridge right between our two houses, making a short drive much much longer and therefore way less convenient.

My bulletin board with 250ish student names on it. :) It looks like confetti to me. ❤

I’m looking forward to seeing all the kids again, and the fun of school, but dreading the humidity in my unairconditioned library and a little anxious about getting back into the swing of early mornings, work/school/work/karate/meetings/activities/etc. I’m already looking forward to next weekend! LOL!

This was my library last Friday morning. 🥵 I can’t wait until they fix the AC!

Lex got his license!

Yesterday afternoon Lex took his driver’s license test. We had to go to a DMV 35 minutes away, because that’s life in a small state in a pandemic. Lex hasn’t driven in a bit since he’s been home all week on a virtual camp, so he wanted to practice his driving and his parking. He knew there would be three key maneuvers that he had to do on the test and he really hadn’t practiced any of them recently, so we decided to leave a bit early. As we were walking out the door we remembered that we had to print his driving log. He turned his computer back on and the printer started having issues. Of course. We finally got it printed, but by then we had lost most of our extra practice time. It was sunny when we left home, but pouring rain when we got there. Lex practiced his parallel parking a few times on a street near the DMV, then we parked in the lot next to another black Tesla and checked in. We had a 3pm appointment, but it still took nearly an hour before we were seen. During which time the instructor passed by and asked if we were driving the Tesla. He said he had seen Lex practicing his parallel parking. 😬 Then he told us we couldn’t do the exam without a front license plate. We said we have a front license plate. He said no we don’t. Then he left to take another kid (before us in line) for their test. We went out to double-check and noticed that the Tesla next to us didn’t have a license plate. On his way past again he asked if we had the completed paperwork (we did) and proof of insurance and registration. So I went back into the rain to get those documents.

Finally it was our turn. We insisted (again) that we have a front plate, then he pointed out that registration is expired (it’s not!) because the paper I gave him said 2020. Ugh. Back out into the rain. I couldn’t find the current registration paperwork, so I took a picture of the back license plate with the valid sticker. Back in the office he told me that a photo of a sticker doesn’t count for anything, but he can issue me a second registration for the low low cost of $16. Basically what that meant is that he could reprint my registration paper (which he could easily view in the DMV system) for that fee. He said he can’t take a kid driving without the paper in the car. He was not mean, but not exactly friendly either. Very curt and short with us. Also, the whole place stunk like cigarettes, chemicals, and stale air. Needless to say I was working hard to stay friendly myself!

I paid the fee and they left for the test. It turns out the test is only 15 minutes and really just involves the three maneuvers (parallel park, turn around, and a hill start). It was still pouring rain and the DMV had closed by this point. I spent those 15 minutes sure that Lex was going to fail the test just because of all the crappy circumstances surrounding him. But nope, he came back in with a big smile and a thumbs up! Yay!!

Then the instructor asked for his identification (birth certificate, ss card, passport) and Lex didn’t have them. Lex had uploaded copies of those things to get his permit online (because the world was closed last summer), so he figured he didn’t need to provide them again. The DMV guy disagreed. He gave us all the paperwork and said to come back another time when we have the proper ID. Fortunately Lex didn’t have to retake the test though!

We went back this morning with ALL of the paperwork, waited less time (but still plenty of time, it is the DVM after all!) and got the job done! They don’t print licenses onsite anymore, so Lex walked out with a piece of paper that will serve as his temporary license until the new, official one arrives in the mail. This morning was quicker, less rainy, and less stinky, so I walked away feeling a whole lot better than yesterday afternoon. Lex walked away happy to be done with it.

They had a big selfie station set up with a sign saying “Looks Who’s Driving Now!” and some fun artwork. Next to that was a poster saying not to take a picture of your drivers license. 😜 Lex had zero interest in a selfie, so I snuck a picture of him getting his picture taken instead. Gotta have some photos!

 

 

 

So, now the real question is, what errand should I send him on first? 😄

My buff neck!

I went back to my Boston doctor today for another peek at my subglottic stenosis. Unfortunately the scar tissue is starting to build up again, which I was expecting due to the increase in symptoms I’ve been experiencing in the past month or two. It’s not super bad, but noticeable in the pictures (which I won’t show you here) and the doctor thought it was prudent to do another round of steroid injections. I agreed 100%! Steroid shots directly into my trachea, through my neck!, are not fun, but it beats surgery any day!

To do the procedure they spray two different disgusting sprays into my nostrils to begin the numbing process. Then a gargle and swallow of something else. Then a spray down the throat. All taste gross. Then a few (three this time!) numbing shots to my neck. The nurse gave me a stress ball to squeeze. Apparently I was not relaxed enough for neck injections. Then we wait a few minutes until my throat and tongue are all numb and weird feeling. THEN the fun begins! They take the scope (which they already used earlier to look down into my throat) and stick it back down my nose until they can see my vocal chords and, as best they can, through them. While the nurse holds the scope, the doctor uses more needles to inject steroids through my neck and into the interior lining of my trachea. I do my best slow breathing and wish I was a little more zen. 🥴 Then they are done. The doctor always shows me the video from the scope camera. It’s fascinating and creepy and disgusting all at the same time.

I made my usual stop at the fancy outdoor mall to change the car and get myself some Starbucks. The weather was so nice I decided to poke around in the stores too. They were all swanky, but also just mall stores. LOL. Outdoor, swanky, mall stores. I saw a neat clothing store, but didn’t feel like trying on clothes after I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized I was walking around with a big bruise on my neck! The doc said that might happen, but it didn’t last time so I assumed it would this time either. But it did. I decided to stick to stores without mirrors. :)

My next appointment is for the second week of school. I’m hoping I can make it a whole year without another surgery! How’s that for a low bar?! So far so good. 🤗

 

 

Rocking and rolling

Life is moving along at a steady clip around here these days. All the teenage milestones seem to butting up against each other. Lex has completed all of his driving requirements and has his drivers test scheduled for next week. He started working at Price Chopper this week.

His first day felt, to me, like his first day of school. I was home and thinking about him all day. Wondering what he was doing and how he was feeling. Of course he was fine. His first day was all safety training videos and his second day was 8hrs on the register! The important lesson he learned between day one and day two is to always have food and water with you! :) Or at least money. A few weeks ago I opened up savings and spending accounts for all three of them, each account comes with a debit card. None of them wanted to carry the debit card, but after a day of video trainings and no lunch (’cause he had no money!) he decided maybe he should carry that debit card. Then I taught him how to use a debit card. :) When I picked him up the 2nd day he pulled a Milky Way out of his pocket and said, “I decided to take advantage of this new having money thing.” 😄

Eve started working one day a week at the pottery shop. She’s cleaning and resupplying. She loved cleaning the art room at school last year, so she was excited about this opportunity. We stopped by two weeks ago to do some painting and I introduced myself and her to the owner. I have a friend who works there and had already talked up Eve to him. Once we met him in person, she did her normal weird awkward stuff (“How’s it going?” he asks, “Not dead yet,” she replies 🙄) I texted my friend later and said Eve didn’t make the best first impression. She laughed and said the boss loved her, and her gay snake (that’s what she had been calling it). He was happy to have her start working there. I guess that means it’s a good fit for her. 🤣

My third teenager is the one who wanted a job in the first place, but he’s having trouble finding something suitable for his age. Fortunately he has a birthday coming up, so I think it will be easier for him to find a job next month. That birthday also means I’ll have another teenager driver! In the meantime he’s at camp this week, then he and Lex will be doing a very cool virtual camp next week called the Governor’s Institute of Vermont. They sent a whole kit of circuit boards, LEDs, craft supplies and other goodies. I think the boys will have fun!

I’m going back to the doctor tomorrow for another check on my throat. I’m starting to have mild symptoms again, so I expect I might get some shots in the neck. I can’t complain though. I am thrilled with how long the results from last fall’s surgery have lasted. I had been dreading annual (or twice annual!) throat surgery, so the fact that the symptoms have been held at bay for this long already is great! I’ll let you all know what the doctor has to say tomorrow.

 

 

A day by the sea

We took a day trip to the Atlantic today. Lex wasn’t interested in spending all day at the beach, and Eve would like to live at the beach, so we came up with a compromise. We drove to Portsmouth to check out Prescott Park (thanks for the recommendation, Rosy!!). The park is beautiful and we found a bagel place for lunch. Win-win. I would love to explore the little shops in Portsmouth, but my teenagers were not interested in that today. :)

One of the park gardens. They were really beautiful.

The park faces the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, so there were lots of interesting boats to see.

Also a cool looking bridge. We laughed at the people on those little boats in front as they held on for dear life when a big boat came by, creating crazy rocking waves. :)

We were happy to get a chance to see the bridge go up! Can you see the sail boat below with the tall mast?

We walked in to the village to find food. I liked this menu. :)

I wanted to take our bagels back to the park for a picnic, but the kids opted for tables and AC, so we ate at the restaurant then walked back to the car, then headed for the beach!

I wanted to stop at the lighthouse, but the kids didn’t want to do that, so I did a drive by instead. :) We saw all the big houses and amazing views. We saw what must have been a million dollar child’s birthday party going on at one of the seaside mansions! I wanted to crash it, but the kids vetoed me again! Dang teenagers! LOL.

We got to Short Sands Beach in York, Maine and spent a few hours in the water. It was mid-afternoon by this point, and only in the high 70s, so we found a parking spot and plenty of room on the beach. The kids all swam, and I just stood in the water. It was too chilly for me to swim. Also, (true confessions) I don’t love swimming. Is it possible to love the ocean, but not love swimming?! I hope so, because I do! I love the waves, and the sound, and the power of it all. I love standing in the water, but feel no desire to dive all the way in.

The mermaid surveys her domain.

We had a lot of fun with this mermaid tail. Lots of looks. Several people asked if we were doing a photo shoot. I just laughed and laughed as she tried to get herself out to the deeper water. I love everything about this girl! She brings joy to everyone around her. <3

Three in the sea.

I didn’t swim, but I didn’t exactly stay dry either! :)

When we were all done in the water the kids changed back into clothes (they were chilly!) and we went to The Goldenrod for dinner and their infamous salt water taffy! Dinner was ok, the company was entertaining, and the taffy, as always, is fantastic!

And now, your moment of Zen.