SL 840

June was a terrible month for blogging or surfing or any quasi-work. If I wasn’t getting a paycheck for a task, then I just couldn’t do it.

If I didn’t have a pressing work task, I was unearthing boys’ dusty dinner jackets, taking the jackets to the dry cleaners, sending in checks for the high school yearbook, locating the guest pillows and sheets for the daybed in the office, organizing a family dinner at fancy restaurant in honor of Ian, planning dinner menus for guests, helping Jonah pack for a trip to Alaska, filling out paperwork for Ian’s jobs program, driving him to the school for more evaluations, buying new light fixtures for the outside of the house, and so on. And that Huff Post article still requires follow up emails and chasing down good opportunities for my book project and for Ian’s future employment. All excellent real life stuff, which I’m privileged to have in my life.

Things should be much more normal now, except for a certain mandatory mid-life procedure on Thursday, that will require a great deal of “prep” on Wednesday. Well, I hope to be five pounds closer to my goal weight on Thursday.

Our house is under construction. We’re getting new siding, doors, and windows. The old girl is sixty years old, so she needs a face lift. I’ll write about it. There are pictures of the before and Day One on Instagram. 

Ian graduated from high school on Tuesday. Today, his grandparents from NC just drove here and will stay for the weekend. Cousins from Florida also came into town. We had a big dinner to celebrate at a local Italian restaurant on Saturday.

I’m fascinated with Post-COVID luxury spending. The Washington Post has a good article on it, and referred to education spending. I wrote a newsletter post that touched on this topic. Education entrepreneurs are going to do well this year.

I taught college for years and loved it. But all the students wanted to be there. They PAID to be there. I’m not sure that I could teach kids that were being FORCED to be there and hated it. Fun day-in-the-life of a high school teacher by Cafeteria Duty.

I’m in the Emily Oster fan club.

Shopping: For our anniversary, Steve surprised me with a leather purse with a wide canvas strap from Madewell. I’ve been using it all month.

Dieting: High Noons and Cherries

Picture: New front door.

29 thoughts on “SL 840

    1. Thank you! The poor kid is completely discombobulated. He loved high school with its routines and academics. Everything is a little loose-goosey right now, and it’s weirding him out. We also had two weeks with lots of socializing and parties. He did fine, but it was overwhelming. He sort of shutdown over the weekend. Poor kid needs a couple of weeks to get used to this new life.

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  1. Love the restaurant picture. It looks so restuaranty! Wine bottles on the table, bread, . . . . Hope it was a super celebration.

    The menu made me hungry. I choose the burrata and the scallops.

    I too would require a couple of weeks to recover after the schedule you’ve described. Had to come home and hibernate for a few hours after just one in person gathering.

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  2. “100K/person, 24 days, group size of 74.”

    Good gravy! For a glorified bus tour!

    Not that I’m a snob (I actually kind of love the idea of a package tour for Russia or Western Europe with my kids so as to not have to fret about improvising transportation, lodging and feeding), but there’s a bit of a disparity between the price tag and the likely quality of life on the tour.

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    1. Yeah, I hate bus tours and am not particularly eager to check sites off my list. There might be a few places worth seeing but not exploring (Mount Rushmore & Uluru come to mind). But for most places I’d want to explore. I have done a dash and skip to the Grand Canyon (by plane) because I a not a hiker.

      We took a “nutshell” trip in Norway. It wasn’t a bus tour, but it was packing a visit to the west coast where the fjords were in two days. Not at all the way I want see that part of Norway.

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      1. bj wrote, ” I have done a dash and skip to the Grand Canyon (by plane) because I a not a hiker.”

        I got taken on a car tour of the Grand Canyon by my grandparents as a somewhat sulky college student. So much driving! So much stopping at virtually identical scenic vistas! So much reek of rental car!

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      2. We heard teens in Kashmir (in a window when it was open to tourists) saying to their parents, “gardens and temples, gardens and temples, . . . “. And boy was it a glorious place.

        I feel that way the Grand Canyon was glorious, too, but the key is seeing it in different light and seasons (and, for me, with no hiking).

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      3. bj said, “We heard teens in Kashmir (in a window when it was open to tourists) saying to their parents, “gardens and temples, gardens and temples, . . . “. ”

        Hee!

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      4. I do think that a lot of travel is pretty much wasted on the young.
        We got dragged on car and caravan trips around NZ when we were kids and early teens – and pretty much hated it.

        That said, My Dad’s idea of an ideal holiday was to sit in the car and drive for 8 hours – admittedly through ‘scenery’ – and then go to a camp ground or motel (inevitably far away from anything actually interesting for kids) for the night. Then repeat the next day. He wanted to ‘see’ stuff or family – we have a lot of relatives around NZ. And, absolutely no consideration for what children might like or not like….

        The worst experience was driving around the East Coast of the North Island – mile after mile of
        wonderful swimming beaches – and hot, hot weather (no air-con in the car in those days) – and not being allowed to stop for a swim. When we got to the camp ground that evening, the beach wasn’t safe for swimming, and the only pool was the slimy green one at the local school (no one chlorinating it over summer).

        On one, glorious, occasion – when I was about 8 – he got given a week at a beach-side time-share apartment. We stayed at the same place, right on the beach, in glorious weather for the *whole week*!
        We kids (and I think my Mum) loved it. He absolutely hated it….

        Of the 3 of us. I hate camping, and only like to travel to cities – and perhaps on day trips outside. My sister loves to travel – and does lots. And my brother does one-off destinations (sort of 3 days in Berlin, and then home to London). None of us like camping…..

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      5. Ann said, “We got dragged on car and caravan trips around NZ when we were kids and early teens – and pretty much hated it.”

        We did multi-day back country hiking trips and it was a much-anticipated high point of the year…but a) we did it with another family and b) I don’t have any amazing memories of multi-day car trips far from home. We also did big extended family ski trips with half a dozen of us cousins in ski school together that were greatly enjoyed by us kids.

        My mom (for reasons that have become ever clearer now that I am 40-something and I have three children of my own) preferred to stay home and let my dad do camping trips all by himself.

        “That said, My Dad’s idea of an ideal holiday was to sit in the car and drive for 8 hours – admittedly through ‘scenery’ – and then go to a camp ground or motel (inevitably far away from anything actually interesting for kids) for the night.”

        No motel swimming pool? When I was a kid, we lived for motel swimming pools.

        “Of the 3 of us. I hate camping, and only like to travel to cities – and perhaps on day trips outside. My sister loves to travel – and does lots. And my brother does one-off destinations (sort of 3 days in Berlin, and then home to London). None of us like camping…..”

        I liked camping a lot as a kid, but as an adult, thinking of all the STUFF you need and MUST NOT FORGET gives me hives, not to mention the idea of cleaning it all up and storing it on return. Our kids get to go on school-run camping trips (*harps*) and the shopping and packing list for those trips for just one kid is unbelievable–and then they tell you to pack light!

        We haven’t been able to do a lot of family travel (aside from just going to see family on the West Coast and little day trips from there), but I’ve been trying to sell my husband on the idea of morning activities combined with “free play” in the afternoon. People get really crabby from all having to do the same thing together all day for several days.

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    2. I’m guessing its for older people, but also potentially right now for older people who don’t want to travel in commercial airplanes & to do all the planning & who think they might not be able to just wait until next year or the next.

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  3. Laura tweeted, “Colleges see staggering drop in enrollment, with community colleges hit hardest.”

    Here’s a less negative partial explanation:

    There’s an amazing labor market now for teens and young adults, with temptingly high wage levels for relatively low-skill, low-experience jobs.

    It wouldn’t be crazy to ride that wave right now, and get back to school later, when wages and the labor market aren’t so hot.

    (That said, it is going to be hard for a lot of young adults to get back to school later on, especially if they missed more than a year.)

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    1. My thought was similar, but less specific. The pandemic wasn’t a recession, in the traditional sense. It wasn’t a business cycle event. There was a lot of unevenness about who lost out and who benefited, and instincts based on old style economics (i.e. colleges are a refuge during high unemployment) are shouldn’t limit the analysis. The weird stock market, the limits on spending (no travel, which is a big part of our budget), the government spending in extended benefits, eviction bans, . . . .

      I don’t know how all of these features will play out in the long run and also don’t know our level of detail of the data (for example, is it really true that young people are working at higher rates & for higher wages? or is that an anecdote that plays out in limited areas?). My 17yo is saying that many people seem to be working, but when asked for specifics, he mentioned only two friends.

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    2. bj said, ” …it really true that young people are working at higher rates & for higher wages? or is that an anecdote that plays out in limited areas?). My 17yo is saying that many people seem to be working, but when asked for specifics, he mentioned only two friends.”

      Anecdotally, my 16-year-old seems to have a number of classmates who are working.

      Statistically, there is a boom in teen employment–it’s not just our imagination:

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/teen-employment-summer-best-1953/

      “Teens between 16 to 19 years old are enjoying their lowest jobless rate since November 1953.”

      There’s a chart showing 70 years of teen unemployment. A lot of teens got shoved out of the job market because of the 2008 recession, but they’ve been gradually coming back, but with a big spike in teen unemployment in 2020.

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      1. The graph is definitely data — unemployment rates for teens being in the range of the 50’s is pretty big, if it holds up. But it is only one data point (May 2021). Also think that teen unemployment rates are probably even more tied to what else there is to do and in our neck of the spectrum of teens, my guess is that the lack of anything else to do is playing a role.

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      2. bj said, “Also think that teen unemployment rates are probably even more tied to what else there is to do and in our neck of the spectrum of teens, my guess is that the lack of anything else to do is playing a role.”

        That is a good point.

        My rising 3rd grader went to an art camp today and I was surprised (and a bit displeased) to discover that it was absolutely packed–dozens of tweens at a little ceramics painting place. But on reflection, I realized that there weren’t that many camps available locally this year, so kids are going to wind up packed into the handful of camps and activities that are open and running. We have a number of memberships and we run into people we know ALL THE TIME now when we go there. It feels like this is happening a lot more than it happened in previous summers. (I haven’t done a full survey, but I know that at least two kid-oriented businesses that we used to go to closed during the pandemic.)

        Also, come to think of it, there may not be a lot of “teen” jobs available this year working at summer camps.

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  4. The road trip vacations seem to be a serious commonality of the 70’s childhood (among 70s immigrants as well as native born). We were never campers (motel’s was our style). I liked the road trips, but it was not the vacation I’d design. I think expense but with free time played a big role. I remember when airplane tickets first started non-budget breaking, probably in the 80s (I know it has something to do with regulations, but have never explored). I had friends in college who had never been on an airplane. And, bigger families — my middle-class spouse, who was an only raised by a single father traveled extensively as a young’un (those National Geographic vacations, though not the 100K versions, but ones in Kenya, Sudan, Nepal, . . . .). those vacations would have cost 2.5x as much in my family.

    I saw a poll that said that travel is highest on everyone’s to do list as we come out of the pandemic.

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    1. The airports are horrible now. Every flight is full but the staffing at the terminals is still down. Harder to eat or sit even. Water fountains are often shut but it’s 10 minutes in line to get bottled water. No alcohol on the plane. Rental cars costing hundreds a day.

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    2. Yes, so I’ve heard. A reason why I’m not planning a plane trip anytime soon though I’m trying to keep it from becoming a trend.

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      1. Here in NZ, we’ve also had the on-again, off-again travel bubble with Australia. Free travel (with no quarantine) between the 2 countries *except* when there’s a Covid outbreak – when the travel gates are shut (you can’t get a flight – and quarantine is full with international travellers).

        This is the 2nd time that the travel bubble has been ‘paused’ (covid outbreak in Sydney, now spread to multiple cities/states) – trapping NZ and Aussie travellers on the wrong side of the ‘ditch’ when they’ve taken a short trip (mostly to see family).
        And, despite repeated reminders from the Government that you travel at your own risk, and that scheduled return isn’t guaranteed; we still get newspaper articles about people in dire straits because they’re stuck in hotel rooms they can’t afford (or can’t get a hotel room, as the hotel is closing), and that the government should ‘rescue’ them.

        The risk of this happening is putting a dampener on any overseas travel plans I might have – though my boss has been back and forward multiple times (our business operates both in NZ and Australia) – managing to miss lockdowns and quarantine every time (some people just have the knack)

        But, anecdotally, there are plenty of people who *are* planning on travelling – until this Aussie lockdown, our ski-resorts were booked out for the Australian school holidays (starting next week – they’re off-set from the NZ ones for the benefit of the travel industry).

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      2. Ann,

        Are NZers starting to get restive about the fact that you guys are getting lapped with regard to COVID vaccinations by a lot of much poorer countries?

        Is there a plan to ramp up vaccination in NZ soon?

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      3. Amy P asked
        “Are NZers starting to get restive about the fact that you guys are getting lapped with regard to COVID vaccinations by a lot of much poorer countries?

        Is there a plan to ramp up vaccination in NZ soon?”

        Yeah, the vaccine roll out in NZ has been …. poor … at best. And people are starting to get a bit restive about it.

        It has been (somewhat) justifi9ed by the fact that we *don’t* have community transmission – so it’s greedy of us to demand vaccine over countries which still have thousands of deaths a day.

        But the rationalization is wearing thin…..

        National trust in the vaccine roll-out is coming off the back of a government which has a strong (thanks to Covid) reputation for crisis management (making urgent decisions, effectively); but a very weak reputation for program delivery (massive failures in just about every program they’ve announced over the last 4 years). [The phrase “Couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery” could have been developed for these guys]
        So, I think people are a bit whipsawed – and don’t know how to react.

        I think that *if* we’d had a Covid outbreak in Wellington – looks as though we dodged the bullet on that one — that there would have been a lot more condemnation of the vaccination situation.

        It’s not helped by the current political opposition basically imploding, and spending their time and energy in-fighting, rather than effectively pointing up the areas where the government could improve…

        The ‘plan’ (such as it is) is for vaccinations to limp along at much the current rate for the next few months, followed by high levels of vaccine availability from October/November. We’ll see…

        Given that we’re still having unvaccinated people working in border areas (potentially direct contact with arrivals with Covid), and untested people working in quarantine (they’re all supposed to be on a regular testing schedule), the fact that we don’t have community Covid cases can only be attributed to the fact that God is defending NZ [In joke, that’s the name of our national anthem]

        The most recent newspaper coverage seems to be trying to soften us up to the situation that we won’t be fully vaccinated/protected for some time (if ever) – and that masks and potential lockdowns are with us for the long term….
        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/125589173/covid19-new-data-suggests-herd-immunity-unachievable-in-new-zealand

        Quite frankly, I think that it’s entirely unreasonable to expect people to be masking/isolating/locking-down over the long term. People quite simply won’t do it. We’ve already seen that here, where it is a requirement to mask on public transport, but 80-90% of people (including bus-drivers) simply don’t do it. We’re also seeing from Australia and Britain, that repeated lockdowns are less and less effective, as people simply refuse to comply with them.

        I find the Singapore approach interesting. They’ve basically said that Covid is here to stay, and that they’ll just treat it like the flu. With basic immunity (either through having had it, or vaccination), followed by annual booster shots for the most vulnerable, or people who want the added level of protection. Very much like the way that we all currently treat the flu

        https://www.deseret.com/coronavirus/2021/6/24/22548920/singapore-covid-19-reopening-plan

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      4. Ann,

        My impression is that it’s hard to point to a country that is good at every aspect of COVID management. There are a number of countries that have been good at defense (NPIs) but poor at offense (vaccination), and a number that have been bad at defense and good at offense. The one doesn’t seem to predict the other, except maybe negatively. (I still can’t believe that Japan is going to run an Olympics with only 22% of their population having had 1st shots.)

        “Given that we’re still having unvaccinated people working in border areas (potentially direct contact with arrivals with Covid), and untested people working in quarantine (they’re all supposed to be on a regular testing schedule)…”

        Wow.

        “I find the Singapore approach interesting. They’ve basically said that Covid is here to stay, and that they’ll just treat it like the flu.”

        If you’ve been following UK COVID, their COVID case count and deaths now seem to be on completely different tracks. *tfoo tfoo*

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  5. Some unsurprising test results from Texas:

    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/06/28/texas-staar-test-results/

    “In districts where fewer than a quarter of classes were held in person, the number of students who met math test expectations dropped by 32 percentage points, and the number of students who met reading expectations dropped by 9 percentage points compared to 2019, the last time the test was administered. In districts with more than three-quarters in-person instruction, the number of students meeting math expectations only dropped by 9 percentage points and those who met reading expectations by 1 percentage point. Students of color and lower-income students saw greater gaps as well, although those gaps were smaller than the one between remote and in-person instruction.”

    It seems like reading was a lot more resilient. These are tests for grades 3-8, though, so it might be that younger kids have seen more impact on reading.

    “While many districts expected remote learning to continue as an option moving into next year, a bill that would have funded it died during the final days of the Texas Legislature’s regular session.”

    “The federal government has set aside $18 billion in relief funds for public schools in Texas, although its distribution was delayed for months. Two months ago the state began distributing $11.2 billion of the funds.”

    “Around 15,000 Fort Worth students are enrolled in summer school this year, which is three times the usual enrollment. The district is also ramping up its tutoring program and the presence of counselors and social workers on its campuses, as well as providing a quarter of its families with broadband access to assist with homework needs.”

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    1. Our state did not do testing this year. Absent evidence to the contrary, I can only assume we did as poorly with remote as Texas.

      The remote learning pandemic dip is noticeable, but so is the multi year improvement since 2012 — would like to understand that as well.

      Our district is currently planning an opt in remote option. I do wonder how that will play out.

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