Keeping Chaos at Bay

Things are wacky in the home of Apt. 11D right now. I had a 1,700 word article on special ed that had to be totally rejiggered after Betsy DeVos opened her trap in the Senate this week. We’re supposed to leave for our first weekend ski trip at 3:00 today, but Jonah told us yesterday that he has a mandatory track meet down at the Jersey shore on Saturday morning. So, we’re going to have to leave him alone in the house on a Friday night (ugh!), where he’ll have to drive to the meet on his own and then drive two hours to the ski resort after the race. We don’t have ski gloves yet. We haven’t packed. The laundry isn’t done. My insomnia flared up this week again, because I haven’t gotten enough exercise this month. There’s a nest of little animals in the attic. I don’t have shampoo.

And the country has elected a totally insane individual to run the country. Who knows what’s going to happen to healthcare, education, taxes, foreign relations? I’m assuming the answer is nothing good.

My facebook page is scary. Too much emotion. Too much tension. I’ve never seen anything like this.

At the same time, it doesn’t do anyone any good to panic. I’m managing my own chaos with lists and deep breaths. We need to handle the new presidency in the same way. As grown ups.

Poor Hillary.

(I’ll keep adding to this post throughout the day.)

It’s Friday

Alright, the kids are on a broad spectrum antibiotic to battle strep throat plus a mysterious virus. They are both at school. I have an actual list of things to do today, instead of just putting out fires as they come up. I’m working on an article on this Supreme Court case. I even made it to the gym this morning, where I did a couple of miles while watching HGTV. Win!

I have some random bits and pieces of good things to share this morning.

I really loved this quote in Megan McArdle’s article about divorce.

But more recent research suggests a very different truth about happiness. As Daniel Gilbert argues in the brilliant book “Stumbling on Happiness,” unless our circumstances are truly unbearable, our brains will seek to find their natural level of happiness, like floodwater evening out across a plain. Whatever we are stuck with … whatever we commit to … we will find ways to make it work — and we will be just as happy with it as we would have been with any other outcome.

I’m fascinated by Ayelet Waldman’s LSD trips.

Two state legislatures are debated getting rid of tenure.  Well, most colleges have already gotten rid of tenure informally by hiring adjuncts in higher and higher numbers.

Do you believe that intelligence report on DT?

Ice and Ill

We’re encased in ice. The driveway, which wasn’t shoveled in time, is a fine sheet of black ice. I might try to hack away at it with a corner of a shovel in an hour or two, when we are supposed to briefly go above freezing. I would rather that the postman didn’t wipe out on our front steps.

I’m working for a bit. Waiting for some return e-mails, and keeping up with the news. But mostly, I’m monitoring a sick kid upstairs. Strep throat again. He’s watching a movie wrapped in a purple blanket. A glass of ginger ale with a bent straw and bite-sized carbs on a green napkin.

There are certain rituals that MUST happen when you’re sick in this house. Mommy and boy movie time is one thing that always happens. A few years back, Jonah got a five-day stomach virus. We watched all the Marvel movies, from XMen to the Avengers, that week. I’ll go upstairs and join Ian on his movie binge in a moment.

Since I’m sealed in this tomb of ice and illness, I’m cleaning the tomb. I put away the Christmas ornaments and manger. I can only deal with Christmas clutter for two weeks. I think my OCD is getting worse, as I get older. Today’s plan is to purge all the random plates and bowls from the kitchen. One green plate and one small blue bowl will get packed up for the Good Will.

And I have to read every article about Trump’s secretary of education pick. I’ll have to do some school choice articles soon, and I’m trying to choose the best angle.


SL 682

I’m strangely fascinated by the diet and exercise regime of “The Rock.”

Cuomo proposes free tuition for middle and low-income students to CUNY and SUNY.

I haven’t tried Korean saunas yet, but here in Northern New Jersey, we’re immersed in Korean culture. Along with our Italian food, Jersey people devour Korean tacos, Korean barbecued beef and short rib, and bibimbap.

The early champions of 401Ks regret their decisions.

Does It Matter if Barron Has Autism?

Joe Scarborough has a big article in the Wash Post about how he and Mika have been attacked for socializing with DT. He says that the media are hypocrites, because they all hung out with Obama.

Whatever. Talk about that if you like. My attention was drawn to one small paragraph in the middle.

At 7:30 p.m., Mika and I were guided by security through a sea of tuxedos and evening gowns, were introduced to a 10-year-old boy by PEOTUS, and quickly made our way upstairs. The topic for Sunday night’s discussion was intended to involve an interview we wanted to conduct before the inauguration, but personal topics came up, as they do in many such meetings we have with public officials. Mika and I have known Trump for more than a decade, so we caught up on each other’s families and we asked how his son was adapting to the big changes happening all around him. Without getting into personal details, the entire family is nonplussed by the transition process and is taking most things in stride, other than the relentless media glare that exasperates every presidential family.

So, I’ve been participating in some whispered conversations with journalists and some UUMC parents in New York City, who have kids with autism. They all swear that Barron has autism and that Milania has turned their apartment into a huge ABA therapy zone for Barron. I was dissmissive of these rumors at first, but some pretty good sources made me rethink things.

Well, if Barron does have autism, does it matter? On a personal level, I have to admit that it makes me slighly less hateful of DT, because I’m irrationally protective of any parent of an autistic kid. It’s going to make the transition to DC more difficult for the family, and I feel very badly for Barron and Melania for having to deal with the spotlight. My guess is that they’ll never really move to Washington, and we’ll have a president that commutes between DC and NYC for four years.

On a policy level, it might make a difference for other families of autistic kids, if DT listens to the right people. If he listens to the anti-Vaxxers, then we’re all screwed. Here comes a measles epidemic! If he listens to the scientists, then we’re going to just get more research on the causes of autism and little funding for existing children and adults with autism. If he listens to families — the sane, rational families – then we might get more funding for special education, more housing and job training for adults, and more insurance coverage for outside therapies.

I hope he listens to the right people.

How Weird Will 2017 Be?

We’re off to weird start to the new year. Mariah Carey has a lipsync disaster. Trump is a Russian hacking denier. The current president and the president elect are simultaneously running the country and in rather opposite directions. Josh Marshall seems to have tweeted a link to PornHub.

Half of my friends are heading down to DC in a couple of weeks to protest. I have a couch to sleep on, if I go. My friend Sue’s sofa about the only place in town left in town. But I probably won’t go. I want to wait until DT does something particularly vile before I protest. It seems pointless to protest potential vileness, when there will be probably a real vile statement or proposal a week or two later.

I’ve been away from the computer for the past week, so I’m catching up. Some things that I’ve read today:

If you think your kid is going to get a scholarship for sports, think again.  The Myth of the Sports Scholarship.

From Brookings — “For higher education, a major factor driving up costs has been a growth in the number of highly-paid non-teaching professionals. In 1988, for every 100 full-time equivalent students, there were on average 23 college employees. By 2012, that number had increased to 31 employees, with a shift toward the highest paying non-teaching occupations. Managers and professionals now outnumber faculty, who comprise just a third of the higher education workforce.”

How do you become a superager? Learn a second language and use lots of sunscreen.