Hi, guys. I’m in usual OCD mode before the holidays with recipe binders and lists. Lots of lists. The good thing is we’re mostly ready before guests arrive at about 3.
I’ve been missing the blog chatter lately. I might have to remedy that.
The latest Sesame Street initiative—Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children introduces the program’s first autistic Muppet, Julia, as part of an effort to teach kids about autism. It’s pretty great.
I wrote about it for the Atlantic.
This week, I did a pro-and-con piece for the Atlantic about the influx of international students in American colleges.
I’m slowly setting up a new writing schedule. Because I’m juggling lots of home chores, I need predictability. Ideally, my plan is one day for research, one day for writing, half a day for editing. But it never really works out that way. I often spend five days on those tasks. I also need time to figure out the next article topic. Ugh. That’s six days. If I waste time looking at social media conversations about my articles, I’m really sunk.
Last week, I spent five days on an article that sort of sucked. I didn’t know it was going to suck when I started it, but after five days, I still didn’t have what the editor wanted. So, five days of work went down the tubes. Now, I’m hustling to hit my writing quota for the month. I’m nearly done with one piece that will show up later in the week. But I’m going to have to work today with the kids in the background to get a jump on next week’s work.
I’ve thought about outsourcing some tasks. I’m still doing everything that I used to do, plus working nearly full-time at a new job. Maybe I should hire someone to drive the kids around to their after-school activities or bring in someone to make dinner and tidy the house. But I don’t really want to give up those jobs. Well, the house tidying I could pass on, but I don’t want to give up driving and cooking for the kids. Jonah is going off to college in two years, and there’s that countdown clock in the background. Only two years left of my kid.
For the time being, I’m managing. It’s all fun and interesting. And I’ve lost five pounds from stress! So that’s cool.
At 6:00 am, I woke myself up from an anxiety dream about missing a writing deadline and losing Ian on a New York City subway. I picked up egg sandwiches at the deli and dropped Jonah off at the high school for the cross country bus at 7. I arranged three interviews for Monday and forced Steve to look at fall jackets on the computer.
With that nonsense out of the way, the day is free for fall adventures. Jonah’s race is about 60 minutes north of here along the Hudson, so we’re going to make a day of it. We’re going to check out a new walking bridge over the river and some mountain trails. Jonah’s race is at 1:00. (I hope he doesn’t puke up that egg sandwich.) Later, we’re going to celebrate Steve’s birthday at this restaurant.
There’s a lovely crispness to the air with some hints of color in the trees. There are beer and apple festivals everywhere. It’s times like this when I swear I’ll never leave the Northeast.
Pictures will happen.
I just made a list of about 20 dumb “mom chores” that have to happen this morning (sign up Ian for computer class, pay the YMCA, picture day forms) and “general home chores” (buy butter, find out what happened to the security deposit from the summer house rental).
At 11:00, I have to go to see the dentist, aka Dr. Hands. He likes to run his hands through my hair before checking out my teeth, as he talks about his fetish for Debra Messing. I really need to add “find a new dentist” to my to-do list.
Behind me, Jonah is printing out pictures for a poster for his English class. Why is a junior in high school making posters, instead of a Powerpoint presentation? I’m not entirely sure. Add “switch English classes” to the list.
And in the midst of all this, I’m slowly learning how to write a weekly article, instead of writing whenever the spirit moves me. The editor and I are working out a rhythm. I’m attempting to keep the work out of the weekends. Right now, I’m waiting for her to edit a piece that I finished on Monday afternoon. If she doesn’t wrestle control of this essay away from me soon, I’m going to keep inserting zombie metaphors.
I keep meaning to read this article from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s husband about he had to be the primary parent, while Anne-Marie concentrated on her job. Yes, there is such a thing as a lead parent (see the first three paragraphs of this blog post.) But it’s entirely bizarre that the Slaughter-Moravcsik family is being used to describe the tensions and dilemnas of typical American families. “Sorry, dear, I can’t make dinner for your parents on Sunday, because I have to fly to Washington to appear on ‘Face the Nation’.” And it’s really weird that this guy who works at Princeton (Princeton! Tenure!) is whining about career sacrifices. It’s like when Gwenyth Paltrow talks about the fun of shopping for bargains at Barney’s.
Well, my procrastination moment has ended. Jonah needs a ride to school with his poster, and I have to go meet Dr. Hands. Shudder.
Bernie is polling well. Quinnipiac has him at 41%, Hillary at 40%, and Biden at 12% among likely Iowa caucus voters. Now, primary voters are always more extreme than regular voters, but those are good numbers.
Jonah is addicted to Reddit. It’s kinda funny that Reddit, which is an Internet 1.0 thing, appeals to my teenager, but it does. Last week, he used some random tidbit that he learned on Reddit in his Physics lab. The teacher had them use paper and tape to create a structure strong enough to hold their textbook a few inches off the ground. Just the week before, he had read an article about the stength of paper on Reddit, so he knew how to create IKEA-style legs for the book by cutting strips of paper and rolling them into tubes. He was the first one to finish, and came home gleefully triumphant. I had been mocking him for his Reddit reading, saying that nobody but lonely 30-years with Aspergers wrote posts on Reddit. Jonah 1; Mom 0.
And through his Reddit reading, Jonah has developed a passion for Bernie. I guess the Aspergery, Reddit dudes love Bernie, too.
There’s a lot of people who have no interest in another Clinton or another Bush. Hence, Bernie and Trump. We’ll probably still end up with Clinton and Bush in the end, but at least right now, everybody wants a little fun.