What’s Up Here

Hi all. I’m working on an article that was put on the back burner for six months. It didn’t happen at the venue that I usually write for, so I had to find it a new home. And that’s worked out just fine though the move did delay efforts quite a bit.

I’ll be happy when the thing finally gets published, so I can talk about it. It’s really a good story, I think. I’ve been telling people IRL about it for months, so I’ll be happy to spew in print and online. And I’m only publishing Part 1 this month. Part 2 will happen after I transcribe hours of tape, which is the worst part of my job. Transcribing in journalism is to paper grading in academia.

For the past couple of weeks, I wrestled a behemoth of information into a more reasonable 2,000 – 3,000 words. I worked when I was at the beach last week.  After I completely rework the last section this afternoon, I’ll edit all weekend. I don’t mind editing my own work. It’s like picking the dead skin off a sunburn. It’s weirdly satisfying.

Ian is at a social skills camp for three weeks. He’s outgrown activities aimed at special ed kids. He’s too smart, old, and high functioning. But sometimes I have to put him in special ed activities, because I don’t know what else to do with him. I’m tucking away that package of guilt in the closet with the other boxes and suitcases of mental health issues.

Jonah’s still bussing tables at the local fancy Italian place. We’re learning about the world of restaurant work from him. He works with one guy who travels around the country staying for a year or two before moving on. On Sunday mornings, Jonah plays soccer with the Guatemalans who get paid off the books. He’s on a weird schedule — 4-12 on weekdays, 12-12 on weekends, Mondays off — which means that he rarely sees my husband and is out of sync with the rest of the civilized world.

But I like that he’s earning his own money for burritos and crap when he’s at college. Jonah isn’t exactly sure what he’s getting paid, because he never asked. But he gets these random piles of money, which will add up to a nice sized pile for school.

He’s working hard, too. It’s a pretentious place, where he has to know the Italian word for mushroom and hover around replacing people’s plates constantly. He can uncork a $50 bottle of wine without a morsel of cork floating on the wine.

I like that he has a skill that he can fall back upon, if there’s a political meltdown. I suppose his skills aren’t zombie apocalypse sort of skills, but they are skills that would be needed if mom and dad were incarcerated for crimes against the state and all assets were frozen. Could happen.

And my hubby is doing just fine as always. I’ve got a new dress and shoes for a date night tonight. Yay! We haven’t done enough date nights, because I feel guilty leaving Ian alone for the night. Hello, boxes of guilt in the closet! I mean, he’s just fine on his own. He’s not going to burn the place down. I just don’t like him to feel lonely.

Once I finish this article, I’m going to hire a companion for him for date nights, not a babysitter, just someone to hang out with him and play video games for a couple of hours, so Steve and I can guiltlessly get away for a bit.

Do you have regular date nights with your partner?

24 thoughts on “What’s Up Here

  1. No regular date nights here. But we are alone for a few nights while the kids are in NY hanging out with their cousins, aunts, and grandmother.
    I’ve had a horrible few weeks. In the last 3 weeks, three people close to me have been diagnosed with cancer, one had a recurrence of cancer, and one died of a heart attack. These 5 people are all ages 44 to 57. I’ve been pretty down, so a friend of mine made me go to the NE Aquarium today and we saw the seals do tricks and the penguins get fed, touched the rays, and ate soft pretzels while we watched an IMAX-3D movie. It was a nice break.


    1. So sorry to hear of your friends’ troubles. Giving them support is a great help. People who have good social contacts have much better odds in surviving illness. Doing mundane things like walking their dogs or bringing casseroles are very helpful.

      Cancer treatments have gotten much better. There is hope.

      And yes, it is very stressful when bad things are happening to friends, but not to you.


      1. Cranberry said,

        “So sorry to hear of your friends’ troubles. Giving them support is a great help. People who have good social contacts have much better odds in surviving illness. Doing mundane things like walking their dogs or bringing casseroles are very helpful.”



      2. Thanks, guys. I’m calling August the “sit at home and hope people don’t die” month, but so far the treatments are going well. My friend with tongue cancer has surgery next Thursday, so think positive thoughts.


      3. Agree about being there for people, in whatever way you can. Also know 4 survivors of breast cancer & 1 of tongue cancer who are thriving. Three of them were young — early 40’s– when diagnosed are back to living fully active lives. The other two were older, but are doing well for their ages.


      4. bj, talk to me about your friend with tongue cancer. One of my people with cancer has tongue cancer. The worst part is that she is a teacher and she talks for a living. She also loves food, drink, and socializing. This is breaking my heart, but I am hopeful she will bounce back.

        The other 2 are breast cancer (my sister had a hot spot pop up in her leg after 5 years of clean scans), but my BIL had kidney cancer. Had. They did surgery last week and took out part of his kidney and are pleased with the “margins.” Apparently, kidney cancer is not uncommon among those with Sicilian ancestry. Who knew.


      5. Wendy — my friend with tongue cancer is a university prof, and is doing everything now. She is able to speak clearly, maybe a bit of what I would call an accent, but nothing more. But I do think prognosis can depend on the precise location of the cancer.


      6. Wendy — I don’t remember the precise details, but I know that it wasn’t *more* than 3 years out before she was back to full speed.


    2. Sorry to hear about this, Wendy. Middle age is tough. You may not need any more inspiring stories, but I just got my annual “Race for the Cure” email from my college roommate, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed ten years ago. She and one of her daughters do the race every year and the email always makes me cry (with happiness).

      For worse news, yes, nature is always a good relief. Just got back from New England where I spent a lot of time on lakes. I recommend it.


  2. Awww.

    We started doing date nights again last year, as our oldest is a convenient sitter. We had been going a couple years at a time without going out.


    1. Our pattern is, we go on a date night. We have a swell time, and we swear we will do it again soon. Then six months or a year pass. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s not good.


      1. We had a stretch where we’d go a couple years, see a move, then a couple more years before we went out again by ourselves.

        But our kids are now all in 5-day school, so we can start lunching again. We’re doing that today, actually.


  3. This article from the Chronicle of Higher education struck me as discussing a growing trend on the requirement for self promotion in everything, including academia. The article talks of the interference being required to do your own sales/marketing can have on the “higher” goals of the profession. I feel like we’ve had a taste from Laura on the role of self marketing in journalism and book publishing.



    1. I’ve been impressed by the academics who have very effectively used blogs to climb the greasy pole – Tyler Cowen is an example, as is Glenn Reynolds – becoming national figures. McMegan, too, shouldered her way into being a national figure with her blog.


  4. My sophomore year, I lived with even guys in a rented house with only one shower. It did have two other bathrooms, if you count the toilet that was on the landing for the stairs and didn’t have a door. We all graduated but the one guy who dropped out because he couldn’t play football anymore. Nobody died and only one person got arrested.


    1. “.. I lived with even guys in a rented..” yah, but if you’d lived with odd guys things would not have gone so well for you.


    1. My friend had her tongue surgery today and had some good news: she’d had immunotherapy for a few weeks and it shrank the tumor enough so that she doesn’t need to have her tongue reconstructed. She will be so happy about that when she wakes up.


      1. I had about a dime’s worth of skin cut off my forehead for basal cell carcinoma couple days ago, they got everything and sent me home with a spectacular bandage and pretty sore. So, Jim Crow is gone, they say, but I haven’t been in a public gathering place as lily white as the skin cancer clinic waiting room in YEARS. Just saying.


      2. I just bought $70 of sunscreen. Our children have finally figured out that they don’t tan. It took awhile.


  5. We certainly don’t have anything we would call a “date night,” but maybe that is due to a joint refusal to use any locution invented after 1960. So we didn’t have “time outs,” but we did have “being sent to your room,” which I think is the same thing. Likewise, we sometimes go out, just the two of us, to dinner or to a movie or play–hiring a babysitter back when that was necessary–which I think is the same thing as a date night. But I might be missing some element of what makes it a date night.


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