School, Uncategorized

How to raise that grade

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

me: Huh?

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.

me: Sigh.

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?

me: Ahhh there it is…

Conversations, School

German Pitbull (It’s not what you think)

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)

Jack: Ugh!!!

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!

Camp, Conversations, Uncategorized

At least it’s not MY name!

Jack and I were in the car driving to camp.

Yes camp! They had some that were actually going on tin person this summer! The kids would arrive, mask on, get their temp taken at the curb, get hosed with hand sanitizer and then get ushered (at a safe distance from the other kids) into the building.

So, we were on our way to art camp! Yes ART camp! Jack took portrait drawing and ink illustration and finally spray paint/graffiti classes. I was so excited for him. And he actually loved them.

Ok…soooo we were almost there and it was getting really bright and sunny all of a sudden, so I reached for my sunglasses.

Jack: Ohhhh, you have THE sunglasses.

me: THEE?

Jack: Yeah.

me: Thee what?

Jack: THE sunglasses, you know…?

me: No I don’t. What glasses do I have?

Jack: Haha, THE ones…

me: You mean lesbian sunglasses?

Jack: (almost spitting out the water he was drinking.) NOOO! Uggghhh hahaha, the other kind.

me: Ummm. Gay? Because I’m not, you know…

Jack: (ignores that) But you don’t have the hair to go with it.

me: To go with WHAT? Geez, we’re pulling in here so you have about 5 seconds.

Jack: Karen sunglasses. THE sunglasses that Karens wear.

me: Ha! Oh really? These are considered Karen sunglasses?

Jack: Yeah they’re not lesbian sunglasses.

me: Well good because I already have a Subaru. And I do know a few Karens that are lesbians!

Jack: On that note…

He hopped out and took his dose of hand sanitizer like a pro. They looked quizzically at the thermometer for a minute and I thought he might have registered on the infected scale, but he was good to go.

I hardly think my sunglasses are Karen style but I’m going to have to pay closer attention when I hear an outburst from someone in public.

😉

(I think that’s actually Kate from Kate plus 8?)

 

Conversations, Weather

Quote of the day – In German

Herr Jack: Hör auf zu reden, du bringst mich zum Niesen

😂

Or…

Jack: Stop talking, you’re making me sneeze.

He’s practicing German on the Duo Lingo app and I kept trying to repeat everything he was saying in my most serious German accent.

Jack wasn’t laughing. But for some reason he was sneezing!

And ironically I just started sneezing as I typed this.

Must be the messed up barometric pressure from the incoming storm and tornado warning!!! Gotta go!

😳

Conversations, Digital Technology, Phone Calls, Uncategorized

Grandpa’s introduction to tech

Specifically the iPhone 7.

phonecartoon

Jack’s Grandpa, my dad, is not computer literate and up until about 2 weeks ago had a push-button flip phone. His idea of technology is the ATM machine which he still uses with the help of the bank manager at his local TD branch. He knows the manager by name, naturally, and all the tellers know him.

I got my dad a cell phone a few years back for the simple reason of safety and updates, since I live in CT and he lives in MA. I found a very cheap and very reliable service through Net10, and literally paid $16 per month for him to have cell service. Boy did he struggle with that cell phone. He didn’t know the difference between the green send button and the red hang up button (mostly because he’s red/green colorblind LOL), because he wouldn’t ever put his glasses on and was guessing at which button to push.

Over the months he learned to successfully send and receive calls, but still preferred to talk to people via the wall-mounted kitchen phone, which thankfully had been updated at one point from the original yellow rotary phone. And that was probably the first and only upgrade it got.

We (ok “I”) recently decided that it was time for him to have an iPhone for the simple fact that he could Facetime with all the grand kids and even with the very first GREAT grand kid. If I had known the trauma I would have to endure to simply get him to make a call on this phone (which now he will only do via Siri), I would have opted to upgrade him to a newer push-button phone, albeit with bigger buttons. Sigh. I was trying to help.

Jack: Grandpa Face-timed me today.

me: What?? Really? OMG, how!

Jack: He figured it out I guess. But when I answered, he asked ME why I was calling HIM!

me: He dialed you by mistake?

Jack: I don’t know… he had no clue what was happening or why I could even see him.

me: Well he must have butt dialed you, but that’s so weird! I had showed him how to Facetime before so he knows what that is.

Jack: He was walking to the store and was very confused.

me: Sigh.

TWO WEEKS EARLIER:

me: Dad, so you have to turn the phone ON before you use it and enter your passcode.

Dad: This button?

me: Call that the “Home” button from now on so we are saying the same thing.

Dad: Now what? I just push the numbers in?

me: Yes, the ones we set up for you. Push them now.

Dad: Okay, now what?

me: Now you’re on the HOME screen. See the little phone at the bottom?

Dad: The bottom of what? I’m holding the phone.

me: No, the little green (sigh) I mean the phone receiver icon at the bottom.

Dad: What’s an icon?

me: Seriously? The picture! Of the phone! At the bottom…

Dad: Ok, so what do I do?

me: Just touch the phone icon and then you can start to make calls.

Dad: Do I have to enter my secret code again here?

me: No, that’s the keypad like on a phone. I mean it IS a phone key pad, sigh, you now can dial someone’s number. When the numbers are dark, you enter your passcode, when they are white, you’re in the phone keypad. Try to dial my cell phone and I’ll test it with you right now.

Dad: (presses one number for like 5 seconds). It’s not working. I got an “edit” message.

me: Sigh… no it’s a TOUCH screen so just gently touch it. (I wait). No a little harder than that but not more than a split second.

(He punches in my phone number, supposedly.)

Dad: Now what?

me: After you punch in the numbers, hit the green phone icon.

Dad: Again? How many times do I need to hit that button before I can make a call?? On the old phone you just pick up and dial. I thought technology was supposed to make things easier. I hit that button already three times!

me: Just. Hit. The, Button.

Dad: I have to dial the area code?

me: Yes. Always.

Dad: Even for local calls?

me: Yes, because you’re not…  Ugh, just yes. Always.

Dad: Ok, hold on. Is it ringing? (I just stare at him) It’s not working.

me: Gimme, let me see.

Dad: Maybe Jack should help me. He would start with the basics, you’re all over the place.

me: I’m teaching you to dial a simple phone call. This IS the basics.

Dad: Well you’re not very good at it.

me: Oh, look, you made a typo in my phone number. (I pause). Do NOT ask me what a typo is. Technology doesn’t remove the English language from your brain.

Dad: Well I don’t have my glasses on!

me: Well… get your glasses on!

(I wait… and wait.)

me: Where’d you go??

(I wait….)

Dad: Ok, I couldn’t see the glasses…it took me a minute…now I can see. What do I push again? The screen went back to black.

me: Sigh. Enter your passcode.

Dad: Didn’t I already do that?

me: SOB…

TWO WEEKS LATER, AFTER THE RANDOM FACETIME CALL TO JACK

me: That was so funny how Grandpa called you. I was dying! He has no clue still after 7 hours of me teaching him and writing stuff down for him to follow.

Jack: Mom, you should let me teach him. I would start with the basics.

(OMG Jack sounds just like my dad!!!)

And, I’m exhausted just typing a portion of this story for you to read. If you repeat the top back and forth, oh about 25 more times, throw in some F-bombs from me (and I don’t swear in front of my dad), you’ll sort of be where I am right now.

TWO DAYS AGO:

me: (grabbing my cell) Hello?

Dad: Hey I made a call!

me: Wow, so you figured out the difference between a keypad and the passcode?

Dad: No, I just use Siri and it calls you.

me: Sigh.

Dad: Hey, so if I ask it a question do I always have to say Hey Siri, or can I just keep asking questions?

me: It’s not a companion, it’s a computer. Sigh.

Dad: So… that’s a yes??

LOLLLLL!

Please send wine.

toon662

Conversations, History

10 questions I still can’t answer!

I had to dig out this blog post from 2011 after finishing a “Supernatural” podcast episode on past lives. (Go find it in Spotify, hosted by Ashley Flowers, part of the Crime Junkie podcast with Brit!) omg love them!

This episode ended with a retelling of a story o am familiar with, the little boy that claimed to be a WWII fighter pilot. He claims to have been reincarnated and could even remember being in heaven and “picking” his parents.

When Jack was small, maybe 3 or 4, he would constantly tell me that he picked his dad and me to be his parents while he was up in heaven. Jack was always very shy about telling me and it felt like he was secretly pleased about knowing this but wasn’t sure if I would believe him.

First of all, we are not religious and didn’t talk a lot about heaven when Jack was 2 or 3. I find the whole concept very interesting and would love to k ow of any parents out there have had similar conversations with their kids.

If this were true it would be so fun to learn more, however those memories are usually lost when children enter school. Jack used to say a lot of eccentric things!

This old blog post from 2011 showcases a top 10 list of questions I still can’t answer. 🙂

Enjoy!

Conversations

My 15-yr-old-boy, what a talker

Said no mom ever.

Grunts are the main mode of conversation. Actually, I would take a grunt, because half the time Jack can’t even hear me talking because of whatever is plugged into his ear. After 3 repeats I have to do the shoulder tap. Blank stare. “What??”

Sigh.

So, mainly we communicate via text even when he’s up in his room. Why bother with all the walking and yelling up the stairs, right?

Well, now Jack doesn’t pay attention to his phone (only when his mom calls or texts, ahem…) actually his dad complains of the same thing so it’s not just me. Anyway, I still crack up when I go back and look at our texts. Is this what you all are going through with your teens? Lol. I mean really.

(That’s Jack’s opinion on the food selection at home)

This is me reminding Jack that he MUST answer his parents when they text or call. I mean come on!

And what’s with the horse dude????

This one is just weird (well maybe I’m weird too now that I read it through…) and yes this actually happened in an executive meeting. Picture me with my phone flashlight crawling under the table to find (save) a tick! I met it out the side door hahahahaha. Ok so I’m a little strange. But that tuck was more afraid of me. I could see it in his 42 eyes.

But this is about Jack not responding to his mom! Let’s all remember that!!

😂

Quarantine, Travel, Uncategorized

We made it to June!

BrooklynBridge

Wasn’t it just snowing out? Like, literally last month it snowed twice. And now it’s June 6th and look at how great everything is. Sooo sarcastic. The world is literally crazy right now. I’m keeping a positive attitude and doing my best work, and I really hope there will be change for the better this year on ALL fronts. The virus, the weather, politics, wildlife, equality, world peace. That’s not too much to ask for, right?

“I always drink to world peace.” Ok, that quote came from which movie? It is also the same movie that gave us the quote “Don’t drive angry”, and “Is it too early for flapjacks?” The best. And I digress. Leave your guess in the comments. 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram (@debinort) you’d see that I drove Jack to Brooklyn last Saturday to stay with his dad for a few weeks. He hadn’t seen him since February! Crazy! Things have just been so nuts with the Coronavirus and quarantining and New York being the epicenter of the virus, so it’s been many months since Jack has gotten to travel south. But, it was a nice ride, a sunny day, and we took Moca with us so she could see some different sights. With all the dog parks closed, all she sees is our neighborhood, the house and the back of my car where she rides. BOR-ing for an energetic pittie mix, to say the least.

me: Jack, please get some photos of us going over the Brooklyn Bridge, since this is my first time driving over it.

Jack: You’ve never driven over this bridge?

me: No, I really haven’t. I jogged over it I think once, but never drove myself over it. Get some video too!

Jack: Ok be quiet so I can film.

Suddenly I have a coughing fit and the car swerved a little out of my lane and made the BEEP BEEP BEEP sound that Subarus make when you cross a painted line in the road.

Jack: Sheesh, quiet!

me: Uh, it’s the car.

Jack: Uh, actually it’s your driving.

Ok so it is kind of my driving but still! Rude! I posted the bridge video on my Insta story but yeah that’s long gone since it took me a week to write this blog post. Getting back to work full time really takes away all the free time I had. Ya know? haha.

Next Sunday I’ll be heading back to Brooklyn to pick Jack up, because no way is he riding the train. And, actually I think it’s still only for essential workers, though that might have lightened up a bit. I still don’t feel comfortable letting him ride near other people. Maybe next year.

Sigh. What a year it’s been so far. I’m hoping things get better very soon.

But hey, on the bright side, June 6 is National Yo-Yo Day. So there’s always that.

Sigh.

 

Food, Uncategorized

Not a time for change

There are so many things that have happened in the last few months that it’s hard to believe we are where we are. I mean, today I was in my work office, mainly alone, walking around with a bleach wipe to swab any doors I may need to touch, and wearing a hot and sweaty face mask for protection. I actually paused and thought, geez, last year around Christmas, if you would have said “Hey, in about 6 months, no one is going to be working in the office, everyone will be conducting Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, your kids will be setup at the kitchen table with a laptop and NOT going to school, you will all be fighting over Purell, tissues, toilet paper and face masks, hahaha.” Would you believe it?

A friend of mine said to me recently as we walked together on opposite sides of the street “Ugh, my masks never stay on. I don’t think I have the ears to wear masks.” Said no one. Ever. Sigh…

I still have yet to create my “COVID Cookbook” which contains the 5 or so recipes that I have MASTERED I tell you, during quarantine. Cooking takes time, and i never have time. Finally I got some time and was able to actually cook. Wowza!  Jack helped me just about every night and he got pretty proficient at some recipes also. Soon he’ll cook dinner all by himself. For me! Muhahahaha.

The other night I made his favorite, Mac and Cheese, home made,  but of course I had to mess it up, just enough right? Is it because I’m back at work? I’m lacking time again and had to sort of throw it together maybe. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Jack: What’s that smell?

me: Mac and cheese.

Jack: Then why do I smell basil?

me: Well, I put some in the cheese sauce, along with some broccoli…

Jack: You know, this is not a time for you to start trying different things. Stick to the basics.

Hahaha. Yep I’m back to the good old just basic cooking. I actually thought it was pretty good. If you like greenish mac and cheese that is.

Holidays

Happy Quarantine Mother’s Day!

UPDATE! I did get a very nice lunch prepared for me by Jack. Fresh mozzarella Paninis. Yum! He redeemed himself (somewhat haha)

It’s the first time we can say that…eh?

I like the “Friends” style art. So no one told you life was gonna be this way? (Clap clap clap clap)

Yes it’s me entertaining myself this morning. I walked Moca and wondered if Jack would remember it was Mother’s Day. Nope he didn’t.

I came in after my walk and the faint odor of Honey Nut Cheerios lingered in the air. Moca was wagging her tail excitedly but I didn’t see Jack anywhere. Was he even up? Yep I heard rumblings from above.

He came downstairs and was loitering around in the kitchen as I wiped Moca’s paws. My nose was running because ITS SO FREAKEN COLD AND WINDY OUT…

I was sniffling quite a bit.

Jack: Are you ok??

me: Yeah, just really cold outside and my eyes are watering. (NO, I’M CRYING BECAUSE YOU FORGOT ABOUT MOTHERS DAY LOL!)

Jack: Oh. Can I get a hug?

me: Sure…

He gave me a hug, cracked my back (I didn’t ask him to but he’s a giant) and he headed upstairs.

I was wondering if he was going to his room to make me a card or draw me a picture. I would like anything else makes, and he knows it.

A few minutes went by and I could hear him talking. Yep, he was playing XBox. So I went upstairs and peeked in his room.

me: Are you eating any breakfast?

Jack: I already ate.

me: Oh. (Hence the cereal smell in the kitchen) Did you remember it’s Mother’s Day?

Jack: 😳 (Blank stare). Oh. I forgot.

me: Ok I’ll let you figure out what you want to do.

I headed back downstairs and made the yummiest avocado toast with arugula lemon and an egg, on toast. THE best. I also watched a plastic surgery show while I ate. It was heaven haha!

Jack came downstairs.

Jack: How am I supposed to make you breakfast in bed if you get up before me and then make your own breakfast!?

See how he turned that around? Hmmmm. 😩😂😂😃

I hope you all have an amazing Mother’s Day!