(Dis)connected learning

My kids started school this week – two in college, and two in high school. Everyone’s “remote learning.”

I’ve been buried in my basement for five months now, doing the ol’ “working from home” thing during the pandemic. It’s boring. It’s monotonous. It’s drudgery. (Don’t get me wrong, I do feel fortunate to still have a gig in a cratered economy.) But yesterday when I went upstairs and saw three of my kids staring at computer screens, my heart sank. They looked like mini-versions of me, zoning out during a boring meeting.

“Said no actual human ever.”

It’s one thing for an old man like me to be a Zoom Zombie for work. But school should be more lively, and more life-affirming. Their days should be filled with laughter, broken lockers, lunchtime sandwich swaps, PE in a gym with a freshly refinished floor, soccer practice, juvenile jokes (they still get those at home). They should be passing notes in class, and passing their friends in the hallway.

I know (or at least I hope and pray) that this is a temporary situation. And it’s the right call for their physical health. But this is making them old before their time.

C’mon science, let’s find a vaccine…

Wunderkinds

Your thought for the day… nay, thought for a lifetime for any parent, comes from cellist, composer, and conductor, Pablo Casals:

“Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you… You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of its children.”

Source: Joys and Sorrows: Reflections by Pablo Casals, page 295

It may be the weekend, but let’s get to work!

The edge of 17

Can it truly be possible that my baby girl is turning 17 today?

Hairstyle = tribute to Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure

It can’t be. The clock is a liar. The calendar is a thief.

And yet, Leah is 17 today. We’re a week and a half away from the 4th of July, but she’s already made her Declaration of Independence. She’s moved beyond parental obedience… the best we can hope for now is “guidance” as she carves out her own space in the universe.

I hope she remains as kind, caring and empathetic as she’s always been. I hope the sassiness that’s sometimes a mild affront to our current parental sensibilities (insert eyeroll here) morphs into resilience and grit and a healthy dose of skepticism.

I can’t wait to wish her a happy birthday… when she arises at the crack of 3 p.m. (Oh, to be a teen again!)

Release the hounds!

I have two cats. They sleep all day, require zero attention and poop tidily.

My wife, however, has somehow hoodwinked me into allowing two dogs into the house. The first one was a Christmas gift, allegedly for one of our kids, but in hindsight that was just a good cover story. The second one was a service-dog-in-training. We “socialized” him for six months, then he went back to the nonprofit for several months of hardcore training. He didn’t pass the rigorous testing required of service dogs, so we (i.e. my wife) adopted him. I have a sneaking suspicion that my wife waved a raw steak in front of him when he was going through the final test, to ensure that he would drop out.

The dogs require daily walks, like to beg in the kitchen, sleep in our beds, nap on our couches and poop all over the yard.

I’ve told my wife that I’m going to build a big doghouse in the backyard, so the pooches can be outside dogs. But if I actually built it, I have no doubt who would be banished to it, and it wouldn’t be Bibo and Hope.

I’ve got a math problem

I can’t figure out how our youngest is 15 years old today.

Quarantine cake… and quarantine haircut courtesy of his older brother and an electric razor’s beard trimmer

Let’s see, 3 older siblings times one baby boy… carry the pumpkin seat… minus all those nights he toddled into our bedroom… divided by a million soccer games… yep, that adds up to 15.

He’s not much of a kid anymore but he’s still a great kid.

Lockdown is boring

My big sis Jeanne lives in Brooklyn with her husband Michael and their youngest child, Chris. They’re safe and sound, thank goodness, but my sister’s work shut down, so she’s had plenty of time to ponder the mysteries of the universe (and perhaps her Netflix queue).

She’s come up with a list of “Things to ponder when you are bored”:

  • You are a bit disoriented when you wake up like that was a terrible nightmare and then you realize that you’re waking up to live the nightmare. 
  • You hear sirens all day long. On weekend nights when your kids were young and out late, you prayed they listened when you said “don’t drink and drive.” Now you pray for other reasons.  
  • Your husband doesn’t know which bandanna to choose (thank goodness you ordered them before “currently unavailable”). He ponders whether to align with the Crips or Bloods and opts for both. 
  • You used to skip lunch at work now it’s a five star production.  
  • Your unwind beverage of choice was a nice glass of Cabernet.  Now it’s straight Gentleman Jack. 
  • You eccentric father who never believed in doctors believed peroxide could fix most ailments: teeth, skin, etc.  Who knew?  
  • How can you not purchase a Dr. Anthony Fauci bobble head?  
  • Amazon Fresh says they update delivery availability throughout the day.  They lie. Fresh Direct doesn’t even offer a future delivery date to choose.  
  • I always wanted to live in Montana.  
  • I forgot my ID on my last walking adventure to NYC.  I was not able to get an Ezra Keats Snowy Day library card. My husband brought his ID and got his. He doesn’t even know who Ezra Keats is. I read, he bought the kids candy.  
  • I have a drawer that must have 10,099 buttons.  
  • J Crew sent me a spend $100 get $50 free coupon.  That’s not happening.  
  • A liquor store is considered an essential business.  Go figure.   

Hang in there, sister. Things will get better someday…

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