I’m assuming this is the end. Anything is possible but when Jack leaves FOR COLLEGE next month, I mean, what other shit can I write about? Will he even call me regularly, never mind provide actual instances that I can quote from for this blog? Hmmmm…
A LOT has happened since May the 4th, my last post. It was a literal whirlwind of activity for Jack’s end-of-senior-year activities, graduation (OMG!), prepping for college and waiting for acceptances to come in, selecting a college (UConn-Go Huskies!) and a major in Engineering, oh and just a few other things like selling our home of 18 years!! Yea it’s been crazy and if you add in a few vacations and Jack’s summer internship, there’s hardly enough time to squeeze in a little blog post.
Jack also finished his rowing career for now. His club had an end of season banquet and they wished all the seniors well and sent them off with some nice parting gifts. It was a fun chapter in his life. Jack wont row for UConn (“they practice at 5am Mom!!!”) even through I really wanted him to try. Ah well. 🙂
Jack is currently in DC for a VHS Collection concert and mini vacay with his dad. nice right!!??
But the weeks that we have left to pack and purge and move Jack to UConn and us out of the house are so few.
me: Jack, when you get back from DC we really have to get your things packed for college and your room packed for moving.
Jack: There’s plenty of time for that.
me: Ummm there are only two weekends left until we go on vacation and then come back and move you to UConn.
Jack: Oh that’s plenty of time! I have all the nights after I intern plus I have Fridays off and then those two weekends. My room won’t take that long.
me: But there’s the entire house to do, not just your room.
Jack and I were sitting on the couch the other night. He was showing me something from school that I simply cannot remember right now (Oy!) and I had to lean in to see what he was showing me. Then he looked at my arm, reached over and jiggled it. (It’s a wonder he made it to 16)
Jack: Hey your arm jiggles like a lunch lady!
me: Whaaatttt???? (I start winding up for the knock out punch)
Jack: No! No! Don’t worry! The top of your arm is fine and that’s the important part.
We’re so happy to put 2020 behind us and look forward to new beginnings in 2021. Nothing immediate has changed, and we’re still working and schooling remotely and still facing the stress of this pandemic, but we have a chance to make this year as good as we can.
Last year ended with us all doing things in ways that we would never have predicted… school fully online, no winter indoor sports or gym training, no big family parties, and no staples like going to the movies, or waiting in a crowded line to get into a popular restaurant for a crowded and noisy dinner. Everything we did was quieter, more home-based and with smaller gatherings, etc.
We still had a great Christmas, and stayed up to ring in the New Year (albeit with the slightly creepy and mildly deserted New York Times Square broadcast…). We’ve un-Christmassed the house and it’s been back to “normal” for a few weeks.
Jack’s birthday.!! 🥳🥳🥳
Oh, and this year is the first of the BIG ONEs. 16.
The 16th birthday is more important, I think, for girls, because it’s their ‘sweet’ 16 (I wouldn’t dare call this Jack’s sweet 16 birthday haha), but it is symbolic just the same because now Jack will be old enough to get his driver’s permit. And, in the US and Canada, we think this is a cause for celebration! Yikes! I’ve seen my share of teen-related accidents in my town and even in my neighborhood. Not fun! But, there’s no stopping it.
And, Jack’s girlfriend turned 16 in November AND is driving, so Jack has some catching up to do.
In a few months Jack will take his driver’s permit test. The next available opening is in April, so we have some time to prepare ourselves and Jack has time to study. Those pesky questions about how many feet you need to park away from a fire hydrant (10 I believe?) and how many seconds you need to wait after passing someone before you can pull back in front of them (No seconds actually, you have to wait until you can see both headlights first…) are waiting to trip him up.
But, Jack is determined and has been studying already and also quizzing his friends that have already taken, and passed, their permit tests. He should do fine.
Getting a car will be the other fun task this year. Some things have me wishing it would stay 2020 a bit longer.
One of the things Jack got for Christmas was a shoulder bag (cough, man purse). I wasn’t sure he would like it so naturally I bought two! One for me! And it turns out he did like it. On the way to. Ew York last weekend he came downstairs with it sling around his shoulder cross-body style with the “purse” bag part in the front.
Jack: This is so convenient! Look, I have my phone and my air pods and… I don’t have to dig around in my pockets.
me: And that’s why even carry purses.
Jack: I totally get it now! Everything is literally right here!
Hahahaha, how funny. And Jack also got a rowing machine for Christmas, which sits right in the middle of the living room. So very convenient. Right?
Tomorrow I’ll make Jack’s yearly physical exam which always makes us laugh as we remember the horrors of past appointments and worrying about the dreaded “shots”. There is literally nothing on this earth that Jack was more afraid of than getting a shot. Nothing. The day after an appointment in which he did get a shot in his arm, Jack would start crying about the next year and possibility of another shot. I had to calm him down time and time again. This year we drive past his doctor’s office.
me: (pointing) It’s time.
Jack: (looks over and sees the office building) Noooo.
me: Yep, you have to get your physical soon.
Jack: I am not getting any shots!!!
me: I don’t know about that. It might be time.
Jack: Well I’m not getting the finger prick!
(Umm, you know…The tiny one they give you to take a tiny drop of blood?)
me: Geez Jack, that doesn’t hurt.
Jack: Yes it does. I’m not giving any blood. They can just use my blood from last year.
And, there you have it. Though he’s 6-foot 2, he’s still my little boy.
And it will soon be time for me to change the blog header haha. 11 years! Wow.
I came home from work the other day and was finishing up a phone call in the car. I could hear faint music coming from somewhere. I checked my car radio. Wasn’t on. I checked my work phone and personal phone in case Spotify was running… nope. Was my neighbor playing classical music while he worked outside? I opened the car door and could hear the distinct strains of… an alto sax. Jack’s alto sax. He was playing up in his room and the window was open allowing me to hear his band class in progress. Virtually of course.
Jack opted, with permission, to attend school 100% remotely, which was a change from the 2 days a week that he was going into school. There was a documented case of COVID-19 at his school, and we just didn’t want to play the odds. If his grades started to suffer, we would opt back into school at the next trimester. So far, he’s holding it together.
Jack: (via text to me while I was at work and he was at home) LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOO
I looked above that text and saw a screenshot of an email from his band teacher saying that his “zeroes” for participation for forgetting his sax (when he made the choice to stay home and left his sax at school), would be changed to 80’s after Jack made a convincing argument via email to his teacher. Probably saying it wasn’t his fault, etc. etc.
me: Hey, not bad Jack. I’m glad you stood up for yourself and got the grades changed. I almost thought the letter was going to be a bad one.
Jack: You can get the teachers to do anything these days if you mention a hardship or COVID.
So, back to the car. I got out and walked into the garage. Hmmm, the door was open. That meant that Jack…actually walked Moca?
The laundry was running… he did his wash and put the clothes in the dryer??
I was feeling a bit faint.
I looked in the kitchen. The dishes were put away. The dishwasher was EMPTY.
Jack came downstairs.
me: Are you in between classes?
Jack: Yeah. For… about 3 more minutes.
me: What happened today? Everything was done?? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?
Jack: No, I just knew you would tell me to do it all anyway so I just figured I would get it done.
me: Wow thanks.
Jack: Soooo, since I’m not going rowing today can I play X Box for awhile after school?
Jack is still practicing German on the Duo Lingo app and I’m getting pretty far along with French on the same app. (#2 in the Sapphire League yoooo!) I think Jack is also doing Spanish… Ambitious kid…
He was practicing his German in the kitchen while I made dinner. I had just come home from work, and in the car I was listening to our old Tae Kwon Do CD’s for fun. I heard all the classic up-tempo music which brought me right back to my martial arts class, when we used to have fitness days and were allowed to rock out to “Western” music. LOL!
Katy Perry, Firework… Justin Timberlake, Bringing Sexy Back… etc.
I was in the kitchen singing Ke$ha and Pitbull’s song “Timber” and heard Jack practicing his German. I started singing Pitbull in a German accent … “Sving your padner rownd and rownd”, I was really not realizing I was doing it hahaha.
Jack: Can you please not sing Pitbull in German?! I’m trying to practice here!
me: Sving your padner rownd and rownd, In dem Zahn Zvischenraum! (adding a little German dental speak in there from when I was in Cologne haha)
me: Okay sorry, geez.
Jack; I really need you to not be doing that right now.
And, my fun time was cut short by the tall boy. I bet he went up to his room later and started humming my version of the song. LOL!
Wow, Friday already. Time flies when you have nowhere to go and many rooms to clean, eh? We’re tackling things room by room, sort of. We started by clearing out Jack’s old “baby” bedroom, and got rid of many books that weren’t so special. Don’t worry, we saved about a THOUSAND BOOKS!
Here are some of the best books you could ever read to your child (if that child is Jack of course) 🙂 I cherish so many of these books for the illustrations (wish I could’ve used my Illustration degree to illustrate children’s books!). These books make me actually sigh when I see them and hold them. If you have children aged 0-6-ish, I would run out and get these!
Andrew Henry’s Meadow – Doris Burn
Goodnight Gorilla – Peggy Rathmann
Goodnight Cape Cod – Adam Gamble/John Andert
One Morning in Maine & Blueberries for Sal – Robert McCloskey
Close Your Eyes – Kate Banks
And if the Moon Could Talk – Kate Banks
Old Bear – Jane Hissey
The Dandelion Seed – Joseph Anthony
Owl Moon – Jane Yolen
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! – Lloyd Moss
As you can see, I could go on and on. We kept about 3 shelves full of Jack’s and my favorites. How can we give those away! Someday he may want to read these to his kids. (!!)
Today Jack is doing school work and also taking an SAT type practice quiz. Geez what a crab he is (Stop typing Mom, I’m taking a test, Go Go!)
So now I’m over here.
I asked Jack what he thinks about all “this” and if he’s ok.
Jack: I’m fine. I don’t mind being home. I can do my school work when I want to.
me: Yeah, I know but what do you miss? Teachers, friends, classes? Anything?
Jack: Not really. Though I do miss pasta Wednesday! (he sniffs dramatically). It was taken from me too soon!!!
(much fake crying)
Really? Ha ha.
Then I started looking up school pasta lunches so I could include a photo of what a typical pasta meal would look like.
THEN I started researching school lunches in other countries compared to the U.S.A. As you can imaging, we’re disgusting. Jack takes lunch to school 4 days a week, mostly due to his nut allergies (though the schools are supposedly nut free), but mostly because the food is gross.
Jack (in 9th grade): Mom, the burger meat has suckers on it.
Here is a pic of what school lunches look like around the world, with US for comparison…then I will show the US lunch with pasta (though this is not our school and I highly doubt we serve meatballs). I remember back in 1984 for pete’s sake, we had great school lunches with a salad bar and a “grinder” bar (It was MA, so we called them grinders. Get over it LOL!)
Jack: I would totally eat that lunch from Italy, or Spain! OMG, the US lunch looks gross. Sugar, sugar, carb, carb, frozen peas.
me: And that’s why you bring lunch.
And here’s the good old USA pasta lunch:
Gross right? Well the pasta is probably acceptable, and the carrots and banana. Oy.
And, by comparison, here’s what I made Jack for lunch today. Croissant with Swiss cheese and ham, roasted kale chips, cherry tomatoes and pineapple. Of course he picked out the little wrinkly tomato. Geez so picky!
For breakfast, Jack made himself some cereal and then when I made my avocado toast with lemon and an egg on top he eyed it greedily.
me: Sheesh, do you want a bite? I asked you if you wanted one and you said no.
Jack: No you didn’t.
me: I certainly did! Like last night when I asked you if you wanted sour cream for your potatoes and you said yes, then had a fit when I handed it to you. Pay attention.
Jack: Yeah, I wasn’t listening.
He grabs my toast and takes a giant bite out of it.
Jack has been getting some extra math help for honors Algebra II at a place in town, a few days a week. So far so good and he’s starting to feel more confident and less stressed after each visit.
I don’t recall being that worried about math when I was in 10th grade! Maybe I was but who can remember that far back. I mean, what with the slide rules and all, there really wasn’t much to it. 😂 Right?
Jack: Oh, Mom, today at math there was this kid asking really good questions and I got to learn some more stuff from him.
me: Good! Was he in a higher grade doing more advanced math?
Jack: I don’t really know. He looked like he was 8 but had a full mustache…
Sooo we are heading into mid-term season and Jack has been cramming, not just for math. He has Science notes that we practice and quiz on each night (man am I glad when we get to the end of those note cards), Spanish, Global Insights (which is all revolutions and coups and “Mom do you really know the difference between these??” No I do not.) And English. And Health. Sigh.
Jack just completed a cool poster project for Spanish on a cinematographer, Gabriel Figueroa. It looked amazing and he did a successful presentation. Looking for a high grade on that one!
All this studying has given me a headache each night but I’m really learning so much more about DNA and King Edward I than I ever cared to know!
Soon Jack will have his 15th birthday with some of the boys and midterms will be over and he can celebrate with another amazing cake. Rowing themed! I promise I will share.
Today was an “advisory” day at Jack’s high school. All that means to me is that Jack goes in at 9am rather than 7am. Sooo, I get to sleep just a wee bit longer in the morning. Not bad. But what do I do? Snooze. Just twice, but enough to put me in a little panic as I was trying to get everything done and get myself and Jack out the door on time.
You know, that easy stuff like walk the dog, feed the cats, feed the dog, scoop the kitty litter, pack Jack’s lunch, make sure he has his homework, make breakfast, make my lunch, helloooo get READY like shower and dressed omg, and then actually leave at 8:30 to drive to Jack’s school for 9am. It really takes that long even thought the school is 2 miles from here.
I woke up at 7:40. Gasp.
me: (hopping on one foot in the laundry room, putting on my boots) Hey, are you eating? What did you make?
me: Can you please fill the dog’s water bowl and put away your lunch from yesterday? How can we make your lunch with the lunch bag full of old stuff?
me: (shrugging on the giant winter jacket and putting on Moca’s harness). I’m going to take Moca out, probably be gone 15-20 minutes. Okay? Can you pull out everything for your lunch please?
Jack: Okay. Sigh.
me: Oh, and make sure to set your reminders to bring your sax home and turn in your form. You’re gonna forget.
(Moca is doing a bit of a dance as she waits to go outside)
Jack: Okay Mom.
me: (halfway out the door) Make sure you recycle that box, and do NOT leave a plastic bag on the counter with cereal crumbs in it. What do you think the kitties will do? Suffocate, that’s what.
Jack: I thought you were taking Moca out? (he goes back to crunching on his cereal)
me: (almost made it out but I pop my head back in for ONE more thing) If you could just get Moca’s food out too, that would be a BIG help… and – – – –
Jack: Mom, waaaaayyyyy too much talking for this early in the morning.
me: Gahhh! (Moca dragged me down the stairs to the garage in one big lunge. I think she agrees with Jack)
Jack and I were talking about the Law of Attraction and how if you put your mind on something and think about it positively, it will eventually come your way.
I tried it recently and was focusing on more leisure time. I got a promotion this year which meant longer hours and more work, and I started to feel as if the days were just too short. For a few weeks I focused on me having enough leisure time to go for a run in the morning, get some chores done, and maybe have some time to do things with Jack.
Enter Jury Duty.
I didn’t see this as a “more free time” type of commitment, however that’s exactly what it provided to me. The start time was approximately one hour later than my work time so I have been going for a run in the morning (and thank goodness the sun decided to finally show itself this week!). The case called for lots of lawyer meetings which meant that us jurors had many breaks. I got to READ A BOOK DURING THE DAY! Also, we had a few days with very long lunch hours. I got to GO HOME AND WALK THE DIG AND EAT LUNCH AND SIT ON THE DECK IN THE SUN.
And… I was home maybe a half hour early which allowed us to take a bike ride and go to the mall DURING THE WEEK.
Then I realized… leisure time .Ahhhh.
Now back to Jack. And the car ride.
me: See? It really does work. You should try it today seriously.
Jack: But what should I focus on.
me: How about your Spanish test? Picture getting a 100 on it. Actually picture it coming back to you with that grade written on it. Wouldn’t that make you happy.
Jack: Worth a shot.
Later that day… 👍👍👍👍👍
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Give it a try. Start small, stay positive, and really believe it. Trust me, it works.