Wednesday, March 23, 2022

E's Journey of Tourette's Syndrome

 

I think the last time I wrote about E having Tourette's Syndrome was a brief mention of when he was diagnosed, finally, at the end of 2016, I wrote a blip about it in a January 2017 blog entry. Just to catch you up, after having gone through six years of twenty three doctors in approximately eight different specialties, being misdiagnosed and mis-medicated for ailments and syndromes he didn't have, I finally got to the neurologist who said, Oh, of course he has Tourette's. I knew from reading all the paperwork you sent in, but I needed to see him in person. But yes, he has Tourette's Syndrome. 

E was seven or and in second grade when I finally got that diagnosis and I could have made out with that doctor when he told me. Why? Because as a parent, you can't imagine just knowing something is wrong with your kid for SIX YEARS, but no one being able to figure it out. Then, having different doctors just throwing out what could be some of the most scary possible diagnoses there are, poking and prodding, still getting no answers, no relief, putting your kid through endless tests, medications, appointments, and getting nowhere. It was exhausting. I went big pharma, little pharma, holistic, you name it. I was ready to take him to a sweat lodge or a Salem witch.

Luckily, I knew someone who had a neurosurgeon husband at the time who recommended this particular pediatric neurologist who was the person to see. You want to know what made him different than the other three neurologists I saw before him? His office sent forty-minutes worth of paperwork I had to fill out prior to going to the appointment. Then he actually READ it before we went there. That's all. I didn't feel rushed, or like I had to quickly give him a timeline in five minutes and remember everything that had gone on in six years. He already knew. He was well versed in our history BEFORE I GOT THERE. You have NO IDEA how important that is when diagnosing a problem.

This neurologist is still like that- he takes his time. Granted, I've waited there a half hour or more to see him for our appointment. I understand though. I've been in there for our appointment for forty-five minutes. However long it takes, that's how long he spends with you. There's no just looking you over and sending you on your way. 

Back to E. When E was diagnosed in second grade, he didn't fit the criteria to medicate and we weren't looking to medicate. We just wanted to know what was going on with him. His tics weren't that bad at the time. He wasn't suffering academically, socially and the tics didn't bother him- all three of which are the criteria to medicate. He didn't really have any of the comorbidities that can go along with Tourette's, or anything we really noticed or affecting him, so medication was not on the table. Many time with Tourette's, there is ADHD, OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, and other things. He wasn't exhibiting any of these other things so we left him be. The neurologist said that Tourette's often ramps up during puberty so just to keep an eye on it and if it gets worse, to come back. 

 He still had tics, and they'd wax and wane. None of the tics really impacted him negatively and nothing was so visible that anyone bothered him about it. His standard response to us was just, these are my tics and they're just part of me. That was that. 

Until around the summer of 2020. Maybe it was the combination of puberty, Covid, the consequences of Covid, I don't know, but 2020 was rough. I don't remember if he was exhibiting more tics during quarantine but he definitely had more irritation and anger from having to quarantine and losing the second half of his fifth grade year in school. He lost all the special things that the fifth graders were supposed to get to do as the culmination of their elementary school time. However, his sleepaway camp, in Maine, was one of the few sleepaway camps that decided to open that summer. He was so happy and we were happy to let him go, even though we were nervous about Covid. They had extensive Covid protocols in place, and he'd been in quarantine so long, we were happy to let him go. 

However, due to so many camps being closed, there were a lot of kids there who were just using his camp as a place-holder and going there because their camps were not opening. There were a lot of new kids and a decent amount of those kids were not respectful of the rules and traditions of his camp. He found this to be stressful and I don't know if this exacerbated his tics or if it was just puberty or both. When he came off that bus at the end of the five weeks away, we could see tics immediately. He was blinking like crazy. He said it was bad the whole time he was there. 

We thought maybe it would just slow down in time at home. We didn't really know what to do. He never really had a visible tic like that. So we just let him be and it did slow down a bit being home. Other tics came and went but they were stronger. Middle school was starting though, which was new, and it was starting in this whole weird hybrid system with him being home every other day doing school virtually. We had a whole Covid protocol school thing to deal with and the tics weren't terrible. Being home half the time actually wasn't terrible for him. He did really well academically, not having to be sitting at a desk all day. He wasn't physically in school with his close friends because they were separated alphabetically, so he didn't even really want to be there in person. The tics took a backseat to everything going on with school and Covid. 

The end of the school year came and it was time for camp again. For the 2021 summer, they were able to go back to the normal seven week session and Ethan was back to full-time. His three close friends were also joining him there for the second three and a half week session so he was really excited. They all went and had the BEST time ever. But when he came home, he was blinking and he'd added a shoulder tic and some others. 

School started, normally. No more Covid protocols except the masking. He had the shoulder tic that with his heavy backpack was now hurting his neck and back. He wanted to go to the neurologist and talk about medication. I made an appointment. 

We went to the neurologist in October and he'd put E first on Guanfacine, which seems to be where most kids start. Of course, for E, it was a no-go. The biggest thing we were concerned about was that it would change his personality. This was horrible. It made him like a zombie. He was so tired, it was like he was sleepwalking through the day. It lessened the tics at first, but it was just exhausting him. Being tired makes his eyes blink more. So we had to take him off it. 

Then he put him on Trokendi XR starting the second week of December. That's basically time-release Topiramate. He started on 25 mg and it started to work. Less blinking. We went to 50 mg per the dosing instructions and thought it was great. We were on a roll! Shoulder tic stops. We're happy! 

Except, cue, just after the new year, his face started to break out to where he looked like he either had some kind of extreme allergic reaction or extreme acne. This is a kid who had almost perfect skin, with maybe a few blemishes in the t-zone here and there, only to look like he literally had a DISEASE on his face. It was devastating. I was besides myself. I bought him a medical grade Dr Gross LED face mask for four hundred dollars that I'll be paying off for the next six months.

E, to his credit, rolled with it. He didn't complain. He was still wearing a mask to school, via state mandate, so it was mostly covered. He just wanted to know that it would eventually go away. We didn't know what it was, whether it had to do with the medication or just unlucky pubescent acne coming on. I was up every night until the wee hours researching what could be going on. We took him to a dermatologist. The doctor didn't know exactly what it was but said it needed to be treated from the inside out, so he put him on a conservative dose of Minocycline. I told the neurologist I was taking him off the Trokendi XR because I saw a photo online of a reaction to Topiramate that looked just like what was on E's face. The neurologist didn't think the Trokendi XR caused it but he said it was fine to take him off to see if anything changed. 

As soon as I took him off the Trokendi XR, of course the tics came back full force. The Minocycline was doing nothing for his face. After two more weeks, we took him to another dermatologist for a second opinion. The new dermatologist took him off the Minocycline and put him on Bactrum. But it's a sulfa drug. B has sulfa allergy. We just had to hope E didn't also. But you wouldn't know for about two weeks on the drug to see a reaction. The doctor also shot E's face up with cortisone wherever he could. E was a trooper. He looked like a horror show and still had to go back to school. 

The mask mandate ended just as E started the Bactrum. I think having the mask off is probably good for his skin too. The Bactrum started working within a few days! We were so happy. We put him back on the Trokendi XR also because the tics were too much for him and we determined that it didn't seem to be an allergy to it. Whatever is on his face didn't go away in the three weeks he was off the Trokendi XR. With the Bactrum, he was finally starting to look like himself again after about a week and a half. We felt like with the face getting under control, we wanted to get the tics under control too, if we could. 

The Trokendi XR though, is not without it's own problems. E started the Trokendi in December and he'd had a bit of an attitude problem. Again, I chalked this up to puberty and being a thirteen year old boy. We'd spoken to him about it at one point, around when we took him off it, and he'd been better. We didn't put two and two together. When we put him back on, he'd gotten irritable again and had some surprising issues with some of his teachers. All of a sudden, I realized, I'm on the same medication, basically, for migraines. I'm kind of irritable. Maybe the Trokendi XR makes him more irritable and that's why he is more emotional and irritable and it isn't simply just puberty and hormones.

I'll take the irritability but now we're at two weeks with the Bactrum, clearing his face up, which is my main issue right now, and E said, oh, but I have this rash....

This past Sunday, the day before I'm supposed to take him for a follow up at the new dermatologist, he shows us the sulfa rash he has all over his arms and chest. It just looks like heat rash, not hives. So we say, ok, just take a Benedryl and we'll show the doctor. Of course, the Bactrum was actually working so B and I are devastated. 

I took him to the dermatologist this past Monday and he said that as long as it wasn't hives, it wasn't dangerous, and if he could push through it with antihistimines, it would be okay. But, of course, as of today, the rash was worse, and he can't. He has to stop the Bactrum. He'll stop the Bactrum, wait a week and then go back on a stronger dose of Minocycline. I'm just so afraid that if he stops the Bactrum, his face will get worse instead of better. I'm so nervous for him to be on nothing for the next week.

This whole thing- Tourette's, puberty, acne or whatever it is- it's all a dance. It's exhausting. It's like having a hose with a hundred tiny leaks and having to figure out where they are and how to fix them without making more or worse leaks. I don't know what's really interacting with what. I clear up tics, I maybe make acne. I clear up acne, I make a rash. He's on pills and he's irritable. I can't just let him tic because the tics can be painful. Or kids bother him about the tics, or the acne. I can't just have him be irritable and be an asshole to his teachers.  

It's a lot. But I wanted to share where we're at right now. People are always surprised when I tell them that E has Tourette's. Most haven't noticed. It's funny, when it's your kid, you notice every tic. Just like when it's your baby, you feel like your baby has the loudest cry of all. He has it, it's just part of his story, and most of the time, he doesn't even care. It probably makes him more empathetic to other people who have stuff out of the norm going on with them that makes them different or unique. I just wish it didn't have to impact him negatively in middle school- because we all know how middle school can suck without having differences like Tourette's and acne. 


Dr Gross LED mask


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Ethan's Sock Drive for the Homeless

Ethan is doing a sock drive for his Bar Mitzvah service project. I said I'd post it here since there is a link to an amazon wish list if anyone wants to donate socks by purchasing that way. Here is the flyer he is giving out door to door and the link to the wish list- 

Ethan's Sock Drive on Amazon

So, if you'd like to donate and you're local, you can donate in the bin at our house, or you can have them sent directly from Amazon to us and he will bring them to CUMAC the week before his Bar Mitzvah.  THANK YOU!

CUMAC (if you want to read more about it, click the link- it's an amazing organization)



Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Bad News and Empathy

 

Our plates are pretty full these days with bad news. It's everywhere we turn. 

Ukraine civilians are being bombed out of their country by a madman. It's the largest refugee crisis since World War II. You can't turn on the news without seeing the atrocities going on there.Which also means, it's here. It's not just there. We have Ukranian people here. Friends, family, people who have friends and family. And what happens there doesn't just stay there. It affects us here. You can try to stay in your bubble and ignore it if you so choose, because that's what people are good at these days, but everyone will be touched in some way or another by what goes on globally.

We also have plenty of our own bad news going on here in the United States besides for what is global adjacent. Covid is still here. People are still getting sick. While Omicron might be a lighter form of it, I'm literally watching on the news right now how there are long term effects of getting any form of Covid that are coming out now. 

Then, we have Texas and Florida who are fighting each other for the worst states for the LGBTQia population and those who love them. My husband and son can joke all they want but when I say that these are two of the worst places on the planet, where everything bad happens, I'm not kidding in the least. You couldn't give me a free house in either state. I certainly wouldn't raise a kid in either one.

I'm horrified and disgusted to say that yesterday, the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which prohibits any discussion about sexual orientation or gender identification in the state's primary schools, passed in the Florida legislature, which means it gets to Governor Death-santis's desk, and he's expected to sign it. (He may have already- I don't know) Probably with glee. 

And in Texas, there is just an unrelenting assault on trans rights. I personally know parents with gofundme accounts and social media pages dedicated to getting their families out of the state before possibly facing persecution just for living. 

This doesn't sound much different to me than having to flee countries for simply being Jewish. 

Make no mistake, if you still vote GOP in any election, you're saying you don't give any F's about anyone but yourself. There is no such thing as fiscally conservative when people are fighting for their lives. When kids die from this law being passed, just know, and you've voted GOP anywhere, for any reason, you have their blood on your hands. So if you like to fancy yourself pro-life, just be aware, that won't be the case. Those who are truly pro-life actually care about the lives already in existence. Not just those of the unborn.

I also have to laugh, or cry, about all these people who have been going on and on about how disgusting it was to make kids wear masks all this time. How abusive it was, how unfair it is that they couldn't be a spectator at their kids sporting events, and maskless on top of it, when people are literally fighting for their lives. In Ukraine, in Florida, in Texas. People mocked kids and adults over a thin piece of cloth, they bitched and complained, when others are sleeping on concrete, with only what they could carry, wondering if they'll ever see their spouse or kids again. As their homes, school, livelihoods, friends, and families, have been bombed into oblivion. People bitched about freeing the smiles when others won't or don't have the freedom now to even discuss who they are, or live as whom they are. 

Please, with your masks. Seems pretty stupid, the absolute outrage, over masks, when there seems to be much bigger problems in the world. If you think masks were abusive, disgusting, & taking away freedoms, I certainly hope you're never in the position to have to flee a country on a moments notice. Or fear legal retribution and the detonation of your family, just because you support your kid's gender rights.

I read an article this morning about the correlation between teens feeling the pressure for perfection and dying by suicide. One of the things mentioned was teenagers being required to do hundreds of hours of community service, where the author noted, quite sarcastically, that obviously forcing kids to do all that service must produce empathetic adults. 

So I wonder, seriously, how DO we produce actual empaths. It seems that's what we're lacking. How did we get here? We have entitled adults care more about kids being freed from masks than we do about kindergartens being bombed. There are parents who care more about a kid possibly reading about rape in a book than someone actually BEING raped. Some people care more about what pronouns people use than how kids are feeling, whether they're suicidal, or whether they're comfortable in their own skin. I don't see how the parenting from humans like this is going to create any wealth of caring or empathy. All I see is people looking for a fight over control- how to control others. I don't see people caring how to best look out for all the greater good, I see people only looking out for themselves and only caring about what affects them.

How do we get adults to take their puritanical blinders off and stop trying to drive us straight into the Handmaid's Tale? What are these people afraid of? Why are we going backwards? I'll tell you one big reason. Because when there is too much progress, white supremacy and bigotry have too much to lose. They're going to hold on with everything they've got. 

Donate: Nova Ukraine

Monday, February 14, 2022

Pretty Woman

 

We all know that scene in Pretty Woman, where Julia Roberts goes into the store on Rodeo Drive, in her whole hooker get-up, to spend the money for a dress, and the snooty ladies don't think she had the money to purchase in their boutique so they shun her. 

I had a moment like that this past week, while shopping for a dress for a milestone event coming up. The whole experience of dress shopping is humbling to begin with. The whole harsh light of the dressing room, wiggling into things, not being able to get out of things. That moment when you get that dress on just a hair past the place where you get the feeling you may not be able to get it off. Then you have Carrie Bradshaw-trapped-in-the-wedding-dress-hives-moment where she just rips it off, except you don't rip it off, you just see your life flash before your eyes as you somehow manage to get that godforsaken dress of your now sweating body. 

One might think that bathing suit shopping is more humbling. The difference is, with bathing suits, you can buy a bathing suit, and wear it to a pool or beach, but never actually HAVE to be seen in it. You could wear a cover up the whole time. The bathing suit doesn't need to be a focal point. It's there in case you need to get wet. 

A dress though, a dress is the main event. Everyone is looking for the dress. B keeps asking me goofy questions like, if he's supposed to match my dress. What color suit is he supposed to wear? My answer is going to be the same every time. NO ONE CARES. Not because it's B, but because no one cares what guys are wearing! Suits are suits are suits! Yeah, there are some differences and whatnot, but for the most part, it's a suit and no one really gives a hoot. 

I didn't know I was going to go into Neiman Marcus when I did. I stopped into the mall because I was driving home from somewhere else, passing it, and figured I'd pop in to see what dress stores were in there these days. I haven't been in Garden State Plaza in forever. Since Covid, I'm just rarely in the mall. If we're not going to Grand Lux then I really have no reason to be in there. 

I don't get dressed to go to the mall. Or anywhere. I have many reasons. I like to be incognito on the daily. I think I've said before, I have this odd ability to be so dressed down that no one recognizes me. Or maybe there is just such a huge contrast between how I look during the day to how I could look to go out in the evening. Or, my neurologist has changed my face so much with my Botox for migraine I'm pretty much anonymous. At any rate, I was wearing a hoodie, leggings, sneakers, and a beanie with all my hair in it. I don't like hair fly-aways so I just tucked all my hair in there. Being it was Garden State Plaza on a Monday, if I wasn't wearing pants I could've been Orthodox. I choose to go out like this also because I don't WANT to be approached by sales staff. I don't want help, I don't want questions. I just want to move along as if I was invisible.

There's this brand of high end dresses, I don't even remember the name off-hand, but I saw some online, secondhand, because I'd never pay retail for these, but I needed to know how the brand fits first. It has Italian sizing so in my mind, that could mean it runs small. Sometimes the brand is on Rue La La, so I wanted to know what size I'd be. I knew the brand is sold at Neiman's so I walked in. 

I found the brand and a dress in that brand in the right size. A saleswoman came toward me. I got looked up and down with disdain like I'd never seen. She asked me if I wanted a fitting room. I said sure but I'm going to come in right then. She looked pained. When we got to the dressing room she proceeded to tell me that I needed to step into the dress because there were no zippers. I looked at her curiously like she was a zoo animal. Did this woman think that just because I may have forgone one shower in over twenty-four hours that I also forgot how to put clothes on? That I couldn't recognize the absence of any zipper apparatus? 

The dress fit, so now I knew my size in this brand if I ever see it secondhand somewhere. But I didn't love the fabric these dresses are often made of, so I was glad I saw, felt and tried it on in person. 

I went to like eight stores that day. I went to Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Bou Bou, Bloomingdales Outlet, Nordstrom Rack, Marshall's, Burlington, and Saks Off Fifth. The next day I went to Bloomingdales and some other store in another mall. Every night for weeks I'd been scouring the internet. I knew the style and color I want. It just didn't to exist in real life. Finally, I ordered like eight hundred dollars worth of dresses from Nordstrom because I knew I could at least return whatever didn't fit. AND I ordered something for under seventy dollars from the UK. That one, I'll just have to keep. But if it fits, I can wear it to something else. 

But damn. Trying on dresses sucks. The clothes on and off. Nothing looks good in those dressing rooms.  Carrying around shoes. Spanx. Strapless bras. It's a scene, alright. In Saks Off Fifth, I saw a cute IRO dress that was marked down to around two hundred dollars from a thousand. It was small but it seemed to have some give to it, and in my mind, I figured I'd just try it on for the hell of it. I didn't even really want it but I wanted to see what a thousand dollar dress would look like. 

What did you think I was going to say happened?? Of course I got stuck in that sucker. The second it got just past the point of no return. I was thinking, what do I do? Do I call someone? Could I even tell someone this? Does the store ever have something like this happens??

It took me some extra time but I managed to get myself out of that nightmare. And into the fresh hell of a different store in a different mall. 

In the end, I actually did somehow, magically find a dress, AND a back up. I even found shoes and a bag. I'm actually most impressed by bargain finding. I found E a shirt and shoes in person, and I ordered him a suit. Fingers crossed that the suit fits. I'm so glad the process is over because if I never have to see the inside of a dressing room again, I'll take it. 




Thursday, August 19, 2021

Wekeela 2021: They Did It Again

 

E has been home from sleepaway camp for about ten days now. It's been a whirlwind of chaos, Axe-bombing and laundry. I would've written sooner, but if you've read my previous blogs about the return home from camp, it's sort of like having a newborn and going from zero to one again. The first year his bags consisted of twigs, dirt, rocks, a ton of crap that wasn't his and much of his stuff gone missing. Last year was somewhat better after I looked like that Taylor Armstrong meme with the cat the first time. This time was leaps and bounds above the past two times but still involved wet towels and foul smells. 

Enough about me and how I'm affected by his return. I'm focused on the negative aspect of his return because there's so much positive about what goes on there are camp for him. People who don't get camp always ask if I'm ready for him to come home. If I miss him. If I'm excited for him to come home. I don't really know how to answer truthfully without them thinking I'm a sociopath. I know they don't get it but the real answer is a big fat no. Why? For WHAT? What is he coming back to? 

Should he come back to roam around downtown, going to CVS to buy candy to shove in his face? Can't do that at Wekeela. They don't allow packages and don't allow parents to send candy. Even though parents decided to just do their own thing this year, trying to hide candy contraband in tampon boxes and pillows. Too bad they got caught, candy confiscated, life threatening allergies of other campers they weren't thinking about, avoided. I'm happy to have a camp that doesn't allow packages. One less thing to think about and less garbage for him to put into his body. He does that enough for the ten months he's here.

Should he have come back to endless news of the Delta variant of Covid raging, things shutting down again, and people getting sick, when they had a lovely little bubble of wellness, not even having to think about Covid? I loved not having to think about where he was, what he was doing, who he was with, and the possibility of any virus transmitted.

Or, should he have come back to the wettest, grossest July in NJ since like the early 1900s, where I couldn't even go to the town pool? Although now, he's come back to pretty much the same weather in August that we had in July. 

He left on the last day of school, June 24. We don't start school until September 9th. When people say to me- "I can't believe you send your kid away for the whole summer", they clearly have no idea what they're talking about. He comes home generally around August 10-12th. That means he basically has another whole MONTH of summer before school starts here. He basically gets TWO summers. An awesome time at camp, then a whole month to be bored enough here to be so grateful he gets to go to camp. So for anyone in NJ on the fence about sending your kid, which you don't even have to do for the full seven weeks, but they STILL have SO. MUCH. TIME. to...summer with you. Trust me, I have plenty of time to tell him to pick up his stuff, be home by a certain time, be a chauffeur, etc,

So far, he's been back ten days. He's been in a theater camp this week, thank goodness, from early morning until mid-afternoon. Then he comes home and if I don't tell him to go do something, where do I find him? On his phone. There are no phones, no video games, and no internet access at Wekeela! I didn't have to read texts, receives FaceTime calls to my phone (don't ask), and hear the pinging of group texts all day and night. 

He has rules for screen time and phone use when he's home. But for seven glorious weeks I didn't have to even look at that thing. It could've been a deck of cards. He didn't look at it. We all ignored it. He was seven weeks phone free and better for it. I have the screen time thing set on his phone but I haven't gotten around to changing it from when he was in school. Like I said above, he left for camp on the last day of school. I never had to set it for during the school day hours. I don't have time to police him all day. If I don't think about it or he's not in front of me, like today, he gets away with more time than I'd like until I get to changing it. It's just an annoyance I wish I didn't have to deal with. 

Back to camp. This was a crazy summer. There were employee shortages everywhere. I know restaurants had that problem and then I heard about camps. A friend of a friend had to pick her kid up after six days at sleepaway camp in New Hampshire because they didn't have the staff to keep the camp running. I read an article in the New York Times that said there were numerous camps that had to close because of staff shortages. Camp is not somewhere you want them getting by on bare bones. Another camp I know with what I thought was an impeccable reputation had like thirty-five cases of Covid run through the camp. All I know is that Wekeela went on for the seven weeks with enough staff to stay open, fully operational, and no Covid. 

This summer was the first time E had any of his friends from town come as campers. Three of his friends came for the three and a half week second session. I was a little nervous how that would be since this is his place. However, it turned out great. Two of the boys are his closest friends. He was friendly with the third boy but they weren't close. It turned out they became very bonded after being there together and now that boy is going for the full seven weeks next summer. And he was the one whose mom was the most unsure he'd want to go back because he'd never gone to sleepaway camp, wasn't that keen on going in the first place, and just doesn't get that excited about much. But, he LOVED it and had the best time. 

Especially, in this weird time of Covid, I feel like sleepaway camp is one of the best, most important gifts you could give your child. After a year and a half of virtual or hybrid learning, fear of getting sick, possibly losing friends and loved ones, political fighting, etc, kids don't even know how to relate to each other. It's like in Footloose at the dance when the kids are all just sitting there until Wren gets everyone up. Kids who used to be somewhat normal, or whatever is normal for tweens and teens, don't even know how to talk to each other! They've barely been in the same room for eighteen months or so. It's really sad. There has been a huge uptick in anxiety, depression, anger, lack of confidence, etc. They need a win. The win can simply come in the form of normalized socialization. Now that we're going back to uncertainty in what school will look like AGAIN this year, they are going to need camp more than ever.

If you're going to send your kid to sleepaway camp, you want to send them to a place who has managed to do it really well over basically two Covid summers. Kids are really messed up emotionally from being schooled virtually, being home with their families almost full time. Who knows what they've been dealing with since this mess started in 2020. To be able to send your kid away to some kind of normalcy, where they can re-learn how to interact with their peers of both their own gender and the opposite, is priceless. It's something we'd have taken for granted in the past, but so needed more than ever now. 

Every summer my son comes home there is more and more personal growth. This summer was no different. He said he had a great time. He wishes he was still there. Three out of three of his friends had a great time. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. All four boys are bonded in a different, better, stronger way than before they left that only comes from living together for that time, in that special camp way. Sharing their inside jokes, color war, and of course, wearing each others clothes, much to my chagrin.

Every time someone says to me- "I could never send my kid away. I'd miss him/her too much...". My answer is always- "It's not about you". And it isn't. Sure. I miss him. But I also know what I'm doing for him. Giving him. It's a gift of independence and maturity that I couldn't replicate in any other way. It's also the only time in his entire life, I know he's fully taken care of, and I have absolutely nothing to do with it. And being able to grow at Wekeela, where they teach and believe in becoming better people- I couldn't be sending him to a more amazing place. 

The only thing I hope for in the future, is being able to return to having visiting day. Since Covid, B sort of became adept at using the hair clippers and E could definitely use a mid-camp haircut. Plus, I LIKE TO GO THERE. B thinks foregoing the trip to Maine is totally fine. I LIKE IT and I WANT TO GO. It's our one chance to see him in his element and I enjoy it. 

If you're ready for your kid to have the summer of their lives, and then by extension you to have the same, I'll be happy to talk your ear off about all things sleepaway camp, Wekeela, and E would be more than eager to hook up with your kid to do the same. Psst- Earlybird enrollment is now open - I know you probably think it's really soon to be thinking about next summer, but it certainly isn't. Before you know it, you'll be wondering what your kids are going to be doing and it will be too late. I'll never forget learning this lesson in pre-school. Signing E up for only three days going into the 2's class because "he seems so little". Only to get there and he totally could've done all five days. Except I was shut out by then. I had to scramble to figure out what to do with him for those other two days a week because he wasn't a "sit around" kind of child, ever. Grab your kid's spot now! Camp Wekeela

Thank you Cafluns, Wekeela, and Maine, for yet another amazing summer! 






Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Life Lessons

 


I consider myself fairly educated. I have a high school diploma. I would say it's from what was I would consider a mediocre school in Bergen County NJ school district in the nineties. New Jersey has always ranked pretty high as far as public schools go, and Bergen County even higher, so even mediocre is probably pretty good in comparison to other places. I also have a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Rider University, with minors in Women's Studies (not sure if that's still a thing) & Social Work. Notice though, none of those say doctor. I am not a doctor. Of anything. So I don't try to play one. 

When I was pregnant with E, I had been on message boards for ages already. I was already reading too much. And you actually CAN read too much. The internet is a double edged sword as we've learned. I chose a pediatrician based on not wanting someone old-school, that would push off any concerns I might have.

I chose a holistic pediatrician or something like that. I thought I had chosen the best. At first, it was great. Until it wasn't. My kid had real problems and his doctor was more interested in being on Good Morning America than being available. Then they thought they'd just solve everything with some tea tree oil and massage. Yeah, no, that wasn't going to cut it. But while I was still with them, it was also the height of the MMR shot = autism panic. And I remember those of us in the more holistic camp being in the "we'll do our own research" camp and being with this kind of practice because they spread out vaccines and weren't all gung ho about vaccines in the first place. I think they even took non-vaccinated kids. I don't know because I wasn't all that knowledgeable about the whole anti-vax movement at the time. I was only concerned about the MMR. 

It's funny though, back then, those of us going to the holistic practice thought we were doing so much more, with our research bullshit, and being so careful, when it probably didn't do anything and it was just more money spent in co-pays. Back then, at least of people I knew, it were the more politically conservative/registered Republicans going to the old-school doctors and the more crunchy Dems going to the holistic guys. Funny how the tables have turned and it's the right wingnuts who are anti-vax now. Not particularly people I know, but in general. I don't associate with wingnuts of any kind as my social media friends list gets smaller and smaller....

All I can remember is that by the time E needed the MMR, the pharmaceutical companies weren't breaking up the shots anymore and he just had to get whatever he had to get. Maybe he got it a little delayed but he got it, and he was fine. I was nervous but it was what it was and it had to get done, probably for school. He was in preschool at the time. I left that practice shortly after because he had something wrong with him that they weren't figuring out or curing with tea tree oil or some other holistic measure, I could never see his doctor, and I was fed up with the whole scene. 

Back to our own research. I learned a valuable life lesson. What research was I going to do, and where? The internet? The internet chock full of false information, information on any side of an argument I want to find? I realized- I'm not a doctor. I pick a doctor for a reason. I have to trust that doctor. Do doctors make mistakes? Sure. But generally speaking, they have more knowledge in their field than I do. And definitely more knowledge than the average person I went to high school with, that has ZERO higher education, who has spoken to NO doctors they actually know and trust, but getting their medical info from Dr. Internet. Or getting info from question quack doctors with shady reputations from the internet. Or from self appointed clergy somehow passing themselves off as some kind of medical gurus as well. 

Even if you don't trust doctors as a general rule- We're still in a freaking global pandemic. Even if you think people who are dying under the diagnosis of Covid had underlying causes that ultimately made the Covid more deadly to them or whatever conspiracy you're swallowing, you still can't dispute that 4.41 MILLION PEOPLE ARE DEAD worldwide and it's COVID RELATED. Covid adjacent. In some way, Covid responsible. Covid is in there SOMEWHERE. So wouldn't it stand to reason that you might trust science a little more than a pastor, priest, Candace Owens, Dr. Google, your chiropractor (NOT A DOCTOR. By the way, notice chiropractors are notoriously anti-vax for years. Might it be…because THEY CAN'T PRESCRIBE MEDS?? I love a good adjustment, but still not an infectious disease expert in any way, shape or form. #sorrynotsorry)? Dr. Google told my son his stomachache last month was cancer, so.... #itwasnt

It wasn't bad enough my son had to lose all the special things of fifth grade. Which, by extension, we lost as parents. Then, sixth grade had to suck. Now, we're going to go into seventh grade, which I thought was going to be more normal, only to have the Delta variant of the virus and who know what other mutation, because people had to do their own research or none at all. We have people not getting the vaccine AND refusing to mask. Hundreds of thousands of people are DEAD, but they're still calling it a hoax, not that bad, a government created scam, and I don't know what. As it's still decimating businesses, filling hospitals, and killing people. 

B and I got vaccinated in April. E is twelve and got vaccinated in June. We did what we were asked to do. What we felt was our civic duty to do. What was for us to be safe and for the greater good of all the people. I'm not mad that the vaccine didn't work. I'm angry that people have been so selfish, stupid, and short sighted that they didn't get it and now this thing has mutated and mutated to where what we did could possibly be practically useless. So, when I say, I don't care what happens to the unvaccinated, it seems callous and cold, but if everyone who could have gotten vaccinated did, as soon as they could have, we wouldn't be back to square one now. If they want to pissed at anyone that we're back to being asked or told to mask or being told to stay home again, they only have themselves to blame.

Speaking to those angry at being told or asked to mask again. I'm baffled by these people. I just watch their arguments. I don't feel I even need to get into it. I'm vaccinated. My kid is vaccinated. I have had two vaccinated friends who have tested positive recently. Breakthrough cases, as they're called. They've been sick, but they didn't need to go to the hospital and obviously haven't died. I feel like B, E and Me- we're vax'd - we won't die. So while I don't enjoy a mask, I've enjoyed not being sick of any kind until about three weeks ago, so if a mask kept sickness at bay, whatever, it's fine. We follow directions. If we're told to mask, we mask. If we don't have to, we don't. It's NOT THAT BIG A DEAL. I'd bet anyone, the KIDS don't care about wearing the masks. It's just the weirdo vigilante parents who have made it their pet cause.

However- when I'm watching their anti-mask crazy on social media, first, I want to ask when and where they got their doctorate. I don't know any of them to be any brighter than anyone else so I'm curious where the pulled this "it's their choice" out of their bunghole. No, no. It isn't really a choice. It's putting you, your kids, and other people at risk. I guess it's a choice, but it's a choice that affects others. Like smoking. Not like, it's my body, my choice, in terms of abortion which really only affects you and your family. Actually, NOT having abortions affects us all adversely. Because that's just more people, bigger carbon footprint, more money for resources needed, blah blah. But whatever. I'll stop on that one.

Second, for those with kids too young to vaccinate but still are anti-mask, you see the news, you see kids on ventilators. You see hospitals packed with kids now. Do you not believe your own eyes or ears? Do you just think your kids will magically escape it? Not get that sick? Not sure what the motivation is here. Like, what is worse about the mask than your kid on a vent in a hospital? Or with an illness that has unknown long term effects.

Lastly, some of these people I've seen all of a sudden vehemently anti-mask have never been political, or have opinions about anything of substance, at least publicly. I wouldn't even know if they vote because they've never posted or said anything either way. I'm fascinated, with all of the atrocities of the world- this, THIS, is the cause they decide to take up? One that doesn't even make any sense? I could see if they wanted to get all up in arms about Afghanistan....

The ones on Facebook though, putting up their lawn signs- At least give the reasons to back up why they're anti-mask. I haven't seen one good reason yet, that makes medical, parental, scientific, etc sense. I've seen "free the smiles" which is cute and all I guess. But I'm not really into freeing smiles at the expense of life. And again, I don't really care for my kid, personally. He's vaccinated! He's not going to die. He might get sick, which would suck. But he's most likely not going to end up on a vent in a hospital. At least at the moment, that we know. He has, from the medical information I've received, pretty decent protection. 

The rest of these kids- little ones and the ones his age with no vaccine- they have NOTHING. Except what they do have- parents who believe stuff like microchipping, magnetization, and other conspiracies putting them in harms way, on some kind of farkakte dipshit mission to free the freakin' smiles. Oh, I think I read one of the reasons was some BS about breathing their own carbon dioxide? #debunked #stillnotadoctor #noideawhaturtalkingabout

*I just scrolled by a Facebook article or newsbreak that they're protesting in Wayne, NJ. That it's not about the mask, it's about being forced, choices being taken away... I've also heard parents use the argument that the government doesn't know better than parents. Uh, yes, yes they do. Clearly. Just being a parent doesn't magically make you smart. I can tick off a list longer than most kids Christmas lists of dumb parents I know. Parents that shouldn't be able to decide what to give their kids for lunch let alone make medical decisions that affect their kids and other people's kids. It's a piece of cloth. Get over it.

This mega-maga-moron I know, who IS political online, let's call her Eva Braun, because that's who I picture when I see her write anything, literally wrote on someone else's Facebook page: "There is going to be such an increase in depression and social issues in all these kids who don't see smiles at all during the day. It's no joke". Well, asshat, guess what would REALLY cause an increase in depression in kids?? DEAD FRIENDS, FAMILY, TEACHERS!! JFC, I can't.

You know what? If your kid needs to see smiles so badly, send them to sleepaway camp. If you need a recommendation for one where they manage to make a maskless, Covid-free bubble for seven weeks, I have a great one for you...they can openly smile to their heart's content in another ten months. *Unlike the ones that had to CLOSE or after days or weeks due to staff shortages from the ripple effect of Covid or had COVID itself running through. 

The governor of NJ had to be responsible, as Covid cases are ramping up, and mandate masks for the start of school. People are furious and I've seen people I know ready to home school. They're angry and starting riots over keeping your children safe. Bye girl bye. You're on the wrong side of the debate. Someone is trying to keep your unvaccinated kids SAFE. Trying to keep immunocompromised kids safe. Immunocompromised parents safe.

Does someone need to hypnotize you with that information? Speak it in tongues? Get Tucker Carlson tied up and say it? WHAT??? What will get through to you? 

This isn't like trying to get you to like liver and onions. No one should like that. No one LIKES masks. It's just a necessary evil thanks you people in the first place who want to do your own research.  If you'd have gotten vaccinated in the first place - WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS MESS. 

But please, go ahead and homeschool! I'm thrilled for you to take your unvaccinated kids out of the schools. And for you to have to see how very f'ing difficult it actually is to TEACH CHILDREN. You know you can't just hand them an iPad and call it a day, right? RIGHT?? Good luck to you. I'm sure your homeschool pod will be very bright considering this brain trust you're getting your information from.

Then there are the ones threatening to move out of Jersey to Florida - to DeathSantis's state. BYE. Don't let the door hit you in the ass. I mean, personally, I think Florida should fall into the ocean, but whatever. Feel free to move to that maskless bastion of stupid any time you're ready. We can use less congestion.

I JUST saw on Twitter some other putz write something like- I didn't get vaccinated because we don't know the long term effects of the vaccine. This was in response to a story about some unvaccinated conservative radio host in grave condition, asking for people to pray for a miracle.  *Update* He's dead now. No thoughts and prayers needed.

Well. Let's see. WE KNOW THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF COVID CLEARLY COULD BE DEATH. So, which are you gambling with? I had the vaccine. So far, so good. No third boob. No extra horns outside the ones I was born with. 

So why did I write this? I don't know. I know I'm not changing any minds. I just had to get it out I guess. Instead of yelling at people in the shower. Or yelling at them on Facebook. I get to say whatever I want here and I don't have to take any comments.  Darwinism will take care of the rest. 

And if instead, you need someone to be nice and stroke your hair as an appeal to you, which I apparently can't do, listen to this lady. She's nicer than I am. 

Or you can read this one and see how doctors are feeling at this point - because this is how they deserve to feel.

Sure, if you don't want to get vaccinated, wear a mask, or have your kids wear masks, that's your "right". Just don't cite science, FOX News talking heads, Facebook research, and freeing the smiles as why. Come up with something....real.

 



Read here what scared Governor Abbott, who consistently downplayed Covid did once HE tested positive. Oh the hypocrisy…

Read here about South Carolina Republican leader who spread coronavirus conspiracy theories. He's dead now. 

Texas GOP leader- he's dead too. 

Young, unvaccinated father- 36, dead, with no underlying conditions. #waytogoAlabama

A horror scene....



Sunday, August 8, 2021

Ladies Who Lunch

 

Lunching is such a funny concept to me. I'm sure most people don't even think much about lunch. Yet, it's been a huge topic in our house. From it causing a problematic work dynamic in family business to sheer impatience on in both B and my lives, it never seems to be just lunch or just food, which, luckily, he and I wish it WOULD be. 

Let me explain. B for work related reasons never felt he had time to "take a lunch". He was working. That meant real work. He worked with men of a certain age though, who were used to the whole leisurely lunch regime. The whole daily, out to lunch at a fine restaurant thing. It made him crazy. He just wanted to shove something down, in his own words, and get back to doing what he had to do. 

Before I got engaged/married, I'd worked in offices where you had to take a "lunch hour" but I wasn't going to restaurants. I was never a huge lunch eater. I was a pb&j girl. Or when I worked in the city, I'd get a salad and eat by myself in Union Square just to get out of the office. I didn't really have friends at work because it was a bizarre place, so lunch wasn't a social thing. At least for me, it wasn't.

When I went to work with B, it was in retail. In retail, you don't know when someone is coming in. There is no lunch hour. You graze. You eat when you have a minute. Guaranteed, the second you put anything in your mouth, someone walks in anyway. You learn to eat fast. On the go. 

I also have a mindset where the day is for doing. Maybe living in unpredictable-short-window-of-good-outdoor-weather-NJ has done this to me, my general inherent demeanor of impatience, and personal priority list also accounts for this. I'm just not taking time out of the day to be a lady who lunches. I do not want to sit somewhere eating, in the middle of the day. It also feels....heavy to me. I know that's backwards because in other countries they eat their big meal of the day at lunch and eat heavy at dinner but I don't know. I don't want to eat MEALS during the day. 

Not that I have to explain this. These thoughts about lunches just stem from the entirely craptastic weather we've had here almost all of July, when it was supposed to be Summer of Tara. When I would typically be at the town pool for as many hours as possible, and I felt trapped in my house due to heavy clouds, stifling humidity and near torrential rain for weeks on end. Any day the sun has peeked through I've pretty much dropped everything to be at the pool. I mean literally. If that means, left kitchen cabinets open, blueberries open on the counter, and mail strewn about like someone ransacked our house, then so be it. 

My friend sent her kid to sleepaway camp with mine for the second session. I imagined three weeks filled with pool days while her other kid was at day camp. However, she lined up a ton of lunches. She asked me if she could take me to lunch for my birthday. I was like, no, thanks, love ya, but I don't want to go lunching anywhere, I just want to casually hang at the pool. I'll graze some food throughout the day and I'm all good.

It got me thinking though, B and I always talk about the lunches and how we're probably the only people who aren't into lunching. My friend says she lunches in the summer because she teaches and can't ever do it during the school year. It's her way of catching up. I think for B and I, if we were to be psychoanalyzed or something, there's something confining about an organized lunch that we don't like. 

Now that I'm sitting here ruminating on it, this is what I'm coming up with. Even if it's a friend and we really like the person. I don't know why, but walking with someone and catching up or sitting at the pool with them is so much more appealing to me than making a lunch date. I can't imagine being busy, stopping what I'm doing to go somewhere for lunch, then having to go back to what I was doing. For him, it's probably more about work and all the things he's not getting done. For me, that's probably true also. At least during winter months, when I'm doing work, I don't want to have to be pinned down to a time to eat when I'm probably not even hungry. 

We don't do a family meal, of which I don't even really understand the concept. Well, I do understand why people do it. People don't want to be the whole short order cook thing. And eating together is a nice Leave it Beaver moment if you can do it. There are only three of us, so it's not like I'm doing six different meals or whatever. It's not even like I'm the responsible for everyone's food. We may eat all together, and we do sometimes. More like E and I, because we like to or have to eat early and we watch General Hospital. I just don't know what I want to eat until it's around dinnertime. E eats like five things. I can't imagine just choosing something for all three of us and being like- well, this is what we're eating, whether you want it or not, because I made it. I make and freeze things individually for E. I buy pre-made or frozen sides. He can put his own meal together from what's there. I have my own things to choose from. B doesn't like to eat as early as we do though, nor should he be forced to do so. He has his own foods he likes that E and I don't. So we're all eating, sometimes together, sometimes not, just also not the same things. Again- not wanting to be pinned down to something. 

I also don't want to make lunch plans to go to a restaurant with you at one o'clock on a Tuesday because it feels like a huge commitment to just sit there. I guess when I'm walking and talking or sitting at the pool, I'm multitasking. I'm either getting exercise and socializing or tanning and socializing in. It's like talking on the phone- I don't want to do that either. I can't do anything else if I'm talking. I can watch TV and text, work and text. Sitting for lunch I think feels like a trap. B gets it. Luckily, no one is asking me to lunch. It just means I'm probably sitting alone at the pool until Kate and everyone else is done with their lunching. 

My favorite days, hands down, are when I get to the pool at eleven, and different groups of my people come in and out all day, and next thing I know, it's five o'clock and we don't know where the time went. We've had great conversation and belly laughs and it's as B called it to friends last night, my version of still being on the college quad. Probably because I know, all too soon, we'll all be back in our houses, in the cold of our autumn, winter, spring, under gray skies, where hanging out isn't just organic. Where you have to make the plans to see the people. Where you can't just drive by the pool and come in, fall into the K-Hole when you only meant to stay for a few minutes, because you saw my car in the parking lot. For three seasons out of our year here, school, work, and our kids schedules keep us so busy it's hard to even see anyone ever. I know I don't see most people I know in town until Memorial Day weekend at the town pool.

Summer is that special time, in this special place, where no one has to make the plans.We all just sort of, end up here, and don't need a plan. And I guess that's what I like about it. This little window of unscheduled time in an overscheduled life. Where no one is responsible for the planning or execution of ANYTHING. And it's just such a short time we get, I'm willing to drop everything, at any given moment to grab even an hour of it. 



Saturday, July 31, 2021

Boho Chic

 


You know when you see someone and you're like, "I totally want to look like her"? Not, necessarily like, be her twin or whatever, but you see someone and they always just look, put together? Or not just one person but you see people, and they're dressed. In actual outfits. Not just leggings and hoodies, or whatever mishmash came off the floor in a rush to do whatever errand had to be done. They're doing errands too, or just dropping kids off at school, and they aren't necessarily dressed UP, but they have a look. Somehow, they look like they curated their look vs playing eenie meenie miney moe with their eyes closed. They also don't look like they're always possibly headed to a gym, but not.

For example, the mom of the kids E babysits for. She has that look. If you asked her, she'd shoo you away and say you're crazy, this old thing, she just threw it together. But she never LOOKS LIKE SHE MEANS THAT. She doesn't look like she spent hours thinking about it, at all, but she never looks like a slob. What she looks like, is someone who literally walked off the pages of the Free People catalog. I'll get a picture with her permission sometime. You'll see what I mean.

Now, that Free People boho chic may not be your taste, or even mine. I don't know know if that is my style. I look at it and I like it, but I also feel like you have to have a certain body type to carry it off, like anything else. I don't have a style. That's the point. B did see glittery, platform, sort of ridiculous, Alexander McQueen sneakers the other night in the mall, that he had no idea were probably around $700, and said, in mock horror, "You're going to be wearing those when we're eighty and at the 4:30 dinner special, aren't you?". And I can't say that he's totally wrong. I mean, I won't be wearing $700 sneakers, ever. I may be wearing some brand of glittery platforms though. I know I have the potential for that style. The more glitter, the better. That's my motto. That's probably also a Leo thing.

 


In my mind, I'm a style covet-er. I see styles and I want to inhabit them. I just can't see that they're all wrong for me until I'm knee deep in receipts for stuff I should've never purchased in the first place. Then I'm yelling at myself because I should know better. 

This is also why I sell on Poshmark. Because over the years, I see someone like Kara, the mom of the kids E babysits for, and I'm like, "ooh, that's such a cool look". I buy stuff that looks similar, and it's all wrong for me. Or, remember when scarves were a big thing in the early 2000's. Everyone was wearing scarves. I was working in NYC on Park Ave then. I thought I would get in on that scarf thing. Guess what? Scarves are f'ing itchy. All of them. Bulky. Just a giant pain. I would see a tall gazelle-like woman wearing a pea coat, scarf, tall boots. Picture Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Or...Gisele Bundchen. Except I'm not them. I don't have a sleek, chic, sophisticated bun. I have a messy Jew-fro where I can't tame the sides and look like I haven't washed it in a week. And maybe I haven't. #dontjudge 

 

 

Then, I end up having a closet full of ridiculous things, or not ridiculous things, but things that look ridiculous on me. I saw my friend Julie wearing the cutest James Perse jumpsuit with low top Converse sneakers. She looked adorable. I get a similar jumpsuit and look like a baby elephant. I'm not saying I'm even huge or anything. It's just that I can't seem to see the difference between appreciating these looks on someone else and realizing before buying they aren't for me. If I could, I'd be saving a lot of money and disappointment. 

Hats- same thing. Kara comes into the pool with her big floppy hat. Adorable. My friend Alex has a cool Fedora type hat to shield her from the sun on the beach. Jen- I'm pretty sure she likes a snazzy visor. I got a hat. Well. Lets just say, I tried to drive with it on. When you're not used to a wide brim floppy hat, you SHOULD NOT DRIVE WITH IT ON. I'm lucky I didn't kill anyone. I turned my head, the hat fell over my eyes and it was mayhem. Driving with no eyes is not recommended. Also, like the scarves- the hats are hot. Head = sweaty. Not good! It doesn't feel natural! Hats are bullshit! 

You'd think by my late forties I'd know what looks good and just stick to that. I just can't seem to have style envy though. I still have the will and desire to try things out that I know are going to go right to my for sale pile. I guess I should just be thankful I have an avenue to recoup my losses. 

For the record, now that I'm not physically going into a place of business daily, I think my style coveting days may really be over. I'm still never going to own anything beige. There's going to be color and fun in my everyday look. I just bought a bunch of sweatshirts at PINK with matching leggings. THAT, my friends, might be the style I've settled into for my middle age years. 



Friday, July 30, 2021

Summer of Tara

 


Summer of Tara, as I like to call all of summer...was supposed to begin, you know, when school ends, the pool opens, and life can slow down a bit. Oh, and I can get a tan. Yet, Summer of Tara was difficult to begin when we had the worst weather since like 1907 or something like that. Now, you might say- well, in light of all the sickness and death over the past year, is a little rain a real hardship? Well, yeah. Considering all we've been through? I want to say, why yes, it wasn't just a little rain. It was just more shit not to be smiling about. 

I don't want to be a downer so we'll talk about some good stuff. 

E had a banner academic year amidst this crap sandwich of an introduction to middle school. We sort of expect middle school to suck, right? It had it's suck factor, of typical middle school BS, coupled with Covid protocol. But we didn't get sick, he didn't get sick. And really if I have to be honest, academically, for a kid that isn't the best at sitting at a desk for hours on end every day, being home every other day to work at his own pace, wasn't the worst thing. He'd work, drum a little, work, piano a bit, work, ukulele some, work watch Dawson's Creek. I'm pretty proud that not only did he end up on the honor roll for three out four marking periods but he also watched almost all six seasons of Dawson's Creek. He only didn't finish because he said the last season started to get boring. I can't even argue with him because I didn't even watch the whole last season myself. His pop culture education is SPOT THE F ON though.

E also counted down the days to getting to Maine for his seven weeks at Camp Wekeela. We were able to get three of his local friends to go for the second session. Which, considering being locked in the house, on screens for months, not being ideal for any parents or kids, wasn't really that difficult to convince the parents that these kids needed time away, with no internet, gaming, texting, etc. They're all still there now for about another week and a half. 

Unfortunately, I'm not really looking forward to him coming home. Not because I don't miss him. More so because Covid is ramping up AGAIN. While HE is has been vaccinated since June, and B and I have been vaccinated since April, the Delta variant is no joke. My friend who is vaccinated recently got it and said it was awful. She said she's thankful she's vaccinated because it could've been so much worse, but she still was scared, really sick. and worried for her kids who are too young to be vaccinated, and her PETS, who she was told that also could get it. It was a really difficult time. 

Of course, I'm worried and I'm angry that we've done what we were supposed to do, but other people are refusing, this shit is still spreading, yet, they still want to unmask everyone like it's over or like they're just over it. Now. if only the virus would attack the stupid, defiant, and selfish, that would be fine. Except, it isn't. It's random. And that sucks. I'm just not going to go on about that in this entry. I'm going to actually write a list of the stupidity I've seen and then debunk it all in another one.

We haven't been down the shore much at all, mostly because of the weather. Usually we'd go down one day a weekend, but, rain. We've really just stayed close to home. It's just easier and we're just tired. B has had to run around a lot because we have a an Extreme Karen neighbor who ratted him out for working at home during the pandemic. Apparently that's not allowed in our town, well, when someone complains. Meaning, people do it to the point of advertising in our local Facebook groups, HOWEVER, if someone complains, you're SOL, and you're shut down or fined. We obviously opted to shut down because we weren't in the position to pay fines, DURING A PANDEMIC, so B opted for plan Z, and found an outside space to work from. It just means a lot more running around. There were some positives of Extreme Karen having nothing better to do, one of which being, E getting creative. He wrote a song, Queen of the Boulevard about her and the situation. Since I'm his Momager, I will have him play it on our front lawn when he gets back from camp. Especially considering Karen likes to walk in front of my house on her Starbucks route. 

We'll go back down the shore when E gets home. It's just a lot more fun when we can take a friend of his with us. He's at that age that he isn't that interested in being with just us, and we're not that interested in hanging with a kid that doesn't want to hang with us. I remember being twelve and only wanting to hang with my friends. He also is doing a short theater camp at Curtain Up, the company he did Aladdin through. They're doing The Addams Family. He has so long between Wekeela and school starting, I wasn't having him sit around for a month. 

I have no other real news. This was more just an update to get myself back here. I also didn't want to start with a giant rant. Because you know, I've said, that's partially why I stopped writing. I was ranting all the time. Or I wanted to rant. I also don't really have the time. I'm not at a desk anymore. I used to write when I sat at a desk. Today. I actually took my laptop to the POOL. But I can barely see because of the glare. Not because I'm turning a year older on Monday. Although, I'm thinking I may need to see an eye doctor too. 

It's a gorgeous, perfect ten day today though and I feel like I'm making weird tan lines on my legs with the laptop on them. I'll end here, being thankful AF that the town pool is open this summer. I was clearly the angriest person in Glen Rock last summer without my favorite spot. I'm thankful for the Wednesday late night here. Thankful that I ran into mom friends and acquaintances I haven't seen in two summers, one new old friend or old new friend that I haven't seen in like fifteen years, and that I'm back at my perch at the second umbrella, usually surrounded by my people. You know who you are.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Impeachment Groundhog Day

 


It's impeachment Groundhog Day. Except this time with ten republicans on board. Nice to see there's some kind of needle move on decency. Sad there's only ten, but I'll take ten over none.

I don't want to write about politics. But I chose to start writing again before January 20th, when Joe Biden is going to be sworn in as the 46th POTUS, and of course, there's still insanity and lunacy going on in the last days of 45's presidency. I feel like I have to say something. I can't just ignore it and write about pies and cakes.

I don't know why I thought things would calm down in the last days. It must have just been wishful thinking. Now we have to worry about about more violence and insurrection. Insurrection, a word I never even thought we'd have to utter in this lifetime, yet, that's where we are. 

Whether I wanted to or not, I listened to almost the whole House of Representatives debate and vote of whether to impeach 45 for a second time. I was watching something, as I was working, and next thing I know, that was interrupted for the debate. I listed to all the speeches, for better or worse. 

I'll say this. I was doing work, so I couldn't just watch, eyes glued to the TV. Weirdly, at least on ABC, while these politicians were speaking, with masks on, at the bottom, they only posted the name of who was speaking for like a hot second, then, it just said, something like "House speeches for impeachment". So I'd hear some complete lie or lunacy, look up, and have no idea who was speaking. So when I say, "some guy from somewhere", it's not because I'm a moron, it's because, I couldn't tell who was speaking. 

I will say- there was one republican from North Carolina, I think, who made the most honest and noteworthy statement of every single word said. He said something like- What the president did was wrong. I am voting against impeachment because I have to go home and appeal to my base. Democrats, you're going to vote for impeachment because you have to go home and appeal to your base. But we all need to start working together. Or something like that. At least he was telling his truth- he was basically saying- we all do what we have to do to stay in office. He didn't just stand up there and make stuff up like some of these other people. I would have respected any of them more if they just even said- Hey, I'm not here to talk about my personal feelings. I'm a representative. I'm representing the people of XYZ. I know what they want and they don't support impeachment. Therefore I'm voting against impeachment.

I was going to quote Tod from Parenthood, when he goes into that whole thing about needing a license for a car, boat, etc. but any asshole could be a father, and just change it to be an elected politician. Which is all true, but the actual quote is now a little politically incorrect, so I'm leaving it out. You can get the gist of what I mean. My point is, listening to some of these representatives speak, it's clear that you don't even have to be particularly bright to be a representative for your state. You don't even have to be truthful. You can just full on stand up and lie.

That's why, here we are, regular people, wondering during the past four years, where are the parents, or just the adults, or the people smarter than the rest of us average Joe's, expecting something of these elected officials that they just....aren't. They are just regular people. Regular people, some of which who don't even know the definition of current buzzwords or phrases like defund the police. One representative, Old White Man, I can't tell you who, masked up and no name I could see, started yelling about how the democrats in there didn't want to defund the police when they were scared on January 6th. Well, duh. Because defund the police NEVER MEANT GET RID OF THE POLICE. If you're going to rail against something, publicly, shouldn't you know what it means? 

The House voted for impeachment, 232 to 197. It's amazing that it wasn't unanimous. The really amazing thing to me were some of the speeches in the debate. I wish I knew who some of these people were. These are supposed to be the adults in charge and they were just making things up. We heard 45 with our own ears and saw him with our own eyes. Not just the day before or the day of the violence on January 6th. We heard Giuliani, Don Jr, and the rest of his cronies. We saw the tweets. We heard the lies. We heard 45 continue to say he won the election when he didn't. We know he didn't call for help when the domestic terrorists infiltrated the Capitol building. We know he didn't say a word to stop it. We know he still hasn't said a word about the death about fallen police officer Brian Sicnick at the hands of those insurrectionists, who happens to have also been a Trump supporter. He did his job that day, to safeguard the representatives in the Capitol building, no matter his personal politics, and he got killed for it. We know 45 hasn't reached out to the family. 

So for all the reTrumpliclowns in the House indignantly crying hypocrisy or the people on social media crying hypocrisy and conspiracy, I haven't heard a word against him for him not acknowledging the officer's death. I thought this was the party of law and order. Of respecting law enforcement. Most of the republicans in the House yelling about the "whataboutness" of BLM vs the disgrace of January 6th, needing a new "whataboutheremails" don't see any difference in comparing protest over murder and oppression vs the violence perpetrated due to the cult mentality for the purpose of supporting false allegations about a stolen election. They were pledging allegiance to a man over country. I don't know how many times I have to say that. THAT, is a huge problem. It's not the what, it's the WHY. No, violence is never a "good" thing. But you can't compare people protesting years murder and oppression to our PRESIDENT, the highest position in all of the world, inciting violence against our OWN COUNTRY. 

Sure, that's what they were debating. Whether his words were the catalyst for the behavior. They were trying to play semantics, being literal, saying that this was planned by the insurrectionists, before 45's speech. Does it need to be explained that it was a cumulative effect? That all the tweets, all the rallies, all the speeches, all the rhetoric, over the past four years, were just inches on a long wick to a bomb, and the words that day, was the actual detonation. He riled, riled, riled, and then set them free with the last words. Yes, it was planned. But he stoked the flamed and then threw the final logs on the fire. Bin Laden DIDN'T ACTUALLY FLY THE PLANES EITHER. Those standing up for him in the House were just being deliberately obtuse, stupid, and/or pandering to their bases. I think it's actually all three. 

I wish I knew exactly who was speaking every time - at least who I was yelling at on the TV. There was one guy from Florida, I just saw on the news it was Matt Gaetz, who definitely doesn't belong representing anything except a number behind bars. Because if he rises up in politics in any real way, he'll be just as horrifying as 45. Maybe worse because he has that beguiling good head of hair and doesn’t look like he eats chicken by the bucket on a daily basis. He can get votes on the superficial. That guy is unhinged, dangerous, and a straight up history rewriter. I loathe that guy. 

GOP Rep Doug LaMalfa just spewed crazy after crazy. He might have been the one where I looked up because I heard him tout the president as pro-life. Like that's really a thing. I mean, if you're going to use made up stuff about him, pick something that's not totally laughable. It's like calling him a Christian and expecting someone to take you seriously. 

There were so many adamant liars up there. I could only tell that most of them were either old and white or young and white guys. You know, the country club, frat boy bystanders in The Accused kind of look. 

It's embarrassing how many representatives were too afraid to stand up for what is right and vote for impeachment. Or just doubled down to pander to their, or 45's base. They'll have to live with that. We all saw it and we'll all remember.

I just don't know how anyone can still defend his doing NOTHING on and since January 6th. Nevermind doing NOTHING about the coronavirus for months, when every single day, on World News Tonight, it's been the deadliest day yet. I don't CARE if you don't BELIEVE it has been. There are FACTS and what you believe. And all 45 has cared about is himself. It's so bizarre to me to still support the guy who clearly only cares about himself. I GET why the elected politicians are afraid to break with him. They have careers to think about. They have death threats to contend with. But the average person, still having to worry about Covid, the economy a mess, and the threat of violence looming all over the country with no one seeming to take the wheel, has absolutely NO REASON whatsoever to still support him besides brainwashing. 

If you're about to excuse 45 at all, keep repeating to yourself: The POTUS did not thing to stop what happened on January 6th. He did nothing to help during it. He did nothing while insurrectionists chanted to HANG his vice president. Can you imagine this having happened between Obama and Biden??? It took him days to lower flags for a fallen officer. He still refuses to concede. He's not sorry for anything he said against the insurrection and the people who committed it. 

That's it. E asked me during dinner- When Biden takes office, are we still going to have to watch the news every night? We have a lot of General Hospital to watch." 

I hope not, E. I hope not.