Everybody has a crappy week now and then. Your boss puts too many assignments on your desk. The car needs a new transmission. The world wants more, more, more, and your brain just can’t go another inch. Unless you are a prince, quitting isn’t really an option; you just have to muddle through.
It feels like everyone is having more crappy weeks than ever before, particularly young people, teachers, and parents. Because I write about schools, my morning twitterfeed and email box is piled with horror stories. (I’m not seeing things rebound in public education, by the way. I’m worried. You should be, too.)
Raising a kid with special needs when schools shutdown wasn’t easy. Now he attends a program between 8 and 3 every day, but I would not describe his current situation as awesome. Schools are having trouble finding special ed staff. So, on top of supplementing and supporting at home, I have to sit in hours of meetings with school administrators, write eleven-page reports, consult with expensive lawyers, research alternative programs, and fill out more paperwork. At the same time, I’m filling out government paperwork to get Ian into “the system.” This paperwork is so complicated that I scheduled time with a government social worker to assist me this week.
When I have weeks like this, I am not getting my own work done. I’m not writing articles or developing book ideas or managing the small business. None of those chores that I did this week “sparked joy” or even put an extra dollar in my bank account. Unlike a certain prince, I can’t quit when things are rough.
I took Ian to the neurologist yesterday afternoon for a regular check up. I gave her the update on his bad transition program, and we set up an appointment in January for another weekend-long EEG to make sure that his invisible seizures have stopped happening every two minutes.
Because we’ve been seeing her several times a year for 14 years, we also did a little chit-chat. I asked her how her daughters were doing. She said she was on pins and needles waiting for her daughter to get an acceptance letter to Brown University. Imagined her daughter on a beautiful campus with lots of loveliness all around, while my kid sits in a basement not getting any job skills as promised and just playing video games all day. I came home, threw dinner prep in the fridge, and told Steve to meet me at the local pub when he got off the train from work.
Typically, when I have periods of intense caretaking responsibilities and get too many punches to the gut, I rely on some strategies for keeping my marbles. Two glasses of red wine and an arugula salad with steak definitely helps, too. We do have lots of nice plans coming up, including a trip to the ballet, weekend skiing in Vermont, and Christmas tree shopping with the College Boy, who comes home today. And with the government paperwork at the post office with 30 minutes to spare - thank you, Steve sweetie — I’m officially clocking out and visiting the estate sales to go buy books.
I subscribe to a couple book agents’ newsletters. Earlier this year, one wrote that the only component of a book proposal that she cares about is “the author bio.” She said she zeroes in on that section and skims to see how many followers they have on social media. So, unless you have a million followers on Twitter, good luck ever finding a book agent. Well, it seems that relying on that metric for finding the next best selling author isn’t fool-proof. hahahahaha
Mark my word. There will be no good educational news for a very long time. Expect to hear one horror story after another. It does make me very sad that few people cared last year or even seems particularly upset now.
I’m not poor. I haven’t had to apply for government subsidies for 20 years. But as a parent filling out the massive government paperwork to get Ian in the system, I get it. As someone on the margins of society, I get it. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Stephanie Land. How can we get bipartisan agreement again to improve the system for disabled folks?
Crime in New York City is a growing problem.
I love Gurdeep Pandher of the Yukon.
“The last thing American children need is more time on Zoom,” said Helaine Olen in The Washington Post. Remote education didn’t work, but some school districts have returned to it, explains Olen. (And thanks for the shout out, Helaine!)
Because Ian loves classical music, we took him to a local piano concert where they performed a Nutcracker duet. (Short video clips at that Instagram link.) We had such a good time that we bought tickets for the full ballet in Lincoln Center for next week.
I rarely hit up anybody for money on my blog or newsletter, because this is a hobby, and I appreciate the feedback from people. However, I often do annual gift guides with links to Amazon products (I get a cut of any purchase on Amazon, as long as you get there through a link on my blog or newsletter.
This year, I’m using the gift guides to think through how our consumption has changed since the pandemic hit. Here’s the Intro. Part 1 is on investment clothing.Part 2 was about exercise and outdoor activity. Part 3 is about cooking. I’ll do more next week about technology and whatever else amuses me at that moment.
The best way to support my writing is by donating money. I haven’t set up that option on the newsletter yet, but you can do it on the blog. See the donation button on the top of the sidebar.