There’s a lot going on around here. I mean beyond the roomful of foster kittens who learned how to leap on my desk and mew for snuggles. Naughty kitties!
Jonah’s home and working at the gourmet pizza restaurant, where the waiters ask if you would like a formaggio board or the insalata. A plate of pasta will set you back $24. Good tips for the kid, so he’s happy. And after his first shift, the workers, who remembered him from two summers ago, started handing him shots of a mysterious liquor right after the dinner shift. There was a tell-tale garbage pail by the side of his bed in the morning. I think it was some sort of Italian initiation ritual.
Beyond shots of unknown liquor and nice tips, the kid is just so thrilled to be done with remote college education. It’s been brutal. Unthinkably awful. While his friends at small private schools carried on like usual. Journalists have written a lot about inequities in COVID K-12 education, but not enough on the inequities in higher education. Jonah’s not entirely sure if he’ll go back full time in the fall, but he can’t manage to think about that now. He’s looking forward to visiting his girlfriend tomorrow and booking a trip in June to Alaska to stay with his former roommate. It’s great to see him happy.
I typed up a to-do list to keep track of Ian’s end of high school events, like prom and graduation, and post-graduation plans. There’s a lot of unknowns, but I think he’ll do a two-week summer remote camp in August with Exceptional Minds, the arts technology program for autistic kids. The program combines instruction about real skills, like green screen technology and computer animation, with social activities for oddballs.
[As I’m typing this, two kittens are attacking my fingers on the keyboard. I just tossed one to the ground.]
Last month, we booked a week at the Jersey shore towards the end of August. The Jersey shore isn’t terribly exciting, but it was a safe option for a COVID summer. Yesterday, we got a very apologetic phone call from the homeowner who accidentally doubled booked the house. We got bumped. To make it up to us, he gave us a free week in September. Steve should still be able to work remotely, so he’ll process contracts with the view of the ocean. Ian and I can work there, too. And it’s free.
We decided to use that shore house money for another trip. We’re feeling more confident about lifting travel restrictions and lowering COVID risk, so suddenly the world is in play. I spent the morning looking at plane flights to Dublin and Madrid and Paris. Because we don’t have a ton of vacation time, and there are still a lot of unknowns about COVID, we decided to play it somewhat safe. After Steve finishes feeding the kitties, we’re going to push all the buttons for a five-day trip to Bermuda. Yay!
We’ll do a bunch of weekend adventures, too, to various campsites. When I reserved a campsite for June in the Catskills, I kept wondering if the worker was one of the nomads from Nomadland. I still need to write about that book. According to Nomadland, many of the campsite workers are roaming homeless seniors.
I’m not quite sure what else we’ll be doing this summer. Steve’s working. I’ll keep plugging away at the book and other projects. Jonah will be healing and working. I hope that we can keep Ian busy. I hope that worrying about Ian won’t keep me from concentrating on my projects.
I wonder if people without children have weathered this pandemic better than parents. I’ve had constant low-key stress for 16 months. Jonah has been miserable with his remote college classes. With all that time in his dark dorm room, he doesn’t even look physically healthy. I’ve written ad nauseam about Ian’s isolation; kids like Ian have been totally screwed this year. Knowing that kids elsewhere have had it even worse, I’m worried about them, too. I have a constant pit of fear in my stomach.
I spent the entire day making plans. Plans for vacations and opportunities for Ian. I watched Jonah make his own plans. And I hoped. I hope that a few months of carrying $20 personal pizzas out to diners, who are still enjoying tables out on the sunny street, will hopefully bring Jonah back to life. I hope that Ian will thrive with at a job supported by a job coach and at his tech program.
These plans are more than just regular vacation planning. They are plans for recovery.
And now here’s a kitten video.