I am on spring break with the kids. We headed down to Tennessee to visit with family. The drive was mostly uneventful. It rained and then cleared up and then got cloudy and cold again. We spent the night on the road and fell asleep watching tv (or at least I did).
We arrived early-ish for us and since my dad was off at work, we decided to go entertain ourselves. So I took the kids to the mall. To the arcade. Because that’s basically what there is to do around here. Which is exactly what there was to do around here when I was their age. They’re tired of hearing me talk about that though. I keep saying, “Wow. There was nothing here when I was a kid. And that used to be . . .” They’ve already told me to quit at least once.
Today, we’re planning to stop by my future sister-in-law’s house and help paint or clean and/or other manual labor. She closed on it on Monday and they start the process of moving at the end of April. She, too, is on spring break, spending her time scraping wallpaper. She says she keeps seeing other things she wants to do. I said that never ends. We are also going to go play mini-golf while my dad plays real golf. It’s supposed to be in the mid-70s this afternoon. I also need to buy some shoes at some point and one nice thing about the development around here is there is at least some decent shopping.
Geeky Boy got a new phone just before our trip and it includes unlimited texting. So guess what he’s been doing a lot of? Last night, however, he was playing around with the security settings and locked himself out and now we have to go buy him a new sim card. Sigh. We don’t need to go to exotic places to have interesting adventures. Not when you have a teenager with you.
More reports from the trip to follow. If small town life doesn’t interest you, come back next week.
Geeky Girl: I need someone to help me.
Mr. Geeky: With what?
GG: Well, there’s something in the hallway. I think it might be throwup.
MG: Well, clean it up.
GG: I can’t.
MG: Yes, you can. Just get a rag or something and scoop it up.
GG: I don’t think I can scoop it up.
MG: What do you mean? Of course you can.
GG: I don’t think it’s scoopable. It’s liquid.
GG: And it’s purple.
At this point, I just doubled over laughing. These are words you do not want to hear just before bedtime.
GG: Mom? Mom? Are you okay?
After I recovered from laughing, I went upstairs to investigate the alien vomit. Turns out, it was a splash of berry yoghurt from smoothies Geeky Boy has been drinking. Yes, I smelled it.
GG: Mom, I have never seen you laugh that hard.
Me: Well, I’ve never been told that I needed to help clean up something liquid and purple before.
Parenting. Always full of new levels of grossness.
I’m on a million job lists. When I started planning to quit, I had already looked for and even interviewed for some jobs in my field–English professorships and/or instructional technology. So I had those lists/searches and still do. After I quit, though I decided that doing my own thing was the way to go for the foreseeable future, I didn’t want to close off any options. So I subscribed to different lists–things coming from craigslist, a local cultural jobs site, and a general search that included words like “writing,” “technology,” and “blogs.” I see a lot of interesting and sad things. Some observations:
- Jobs in my field are increasingly more like A/V tech than anything to do with education
- Part-time jobs are available if you want to work the desk at a museum or theatre or be a juggler/clown
- There are plenty of jobs for technical/medical writers
- There are plenty of jobs writing proposals of various kinds–sales, grants, etc.
- There are jobs writing curriculum that pay less than minimum wage
- Blogging jobs, ditto. ($2/500 wds.)
- Crappy programming jobs are plentiful and pay well, but probably suck the life force out of you.
- Most of the faculty jobs I see are in the medical field.
- I often see lots of the same positions offered by the same company–big red flag.
If I were really looking for employment seriously, I’d be more focused about my search and probably use good old-fashioned networking in addition to these lists. It’s been interesting to see at least a slice of both where the jobs are and what jobs actually pay a decent salary.
I’m not alone, apparently, in feeling the pressure to put my kids through the paces to get them into a good school. This article explains that much of the increase in childcare over the last 20 years despite a decrease in the amount of time most women can dedicate to childcare is about college admissions. While the number of students eligible to attend college has increased, the number of slots available has not increased at the same rate, and likely at an even lesser rate at elite schools, who often don’t want to increase enrollments or risk losing the quality of education. Thus, there’s an increase in competition among students qualified for those elite schools. And that competition begins early.
Apparently, though, the pressure only applies to the parents. Geeky Boy says he knows no one who’s overly concerned about getting into college. Keeping their grades up, sure. Building their portfolios, not so much.
I’ve actually not played WoW for a few days. Life’s been busy and I just haven’t gotten back to the game. I’ve been tanking more lately due, in part, to a lack of tanks in the guild. In fact, when it came time to buy a shiny new piece of gear, I opted to get a tank piece rather than a dps piece. I still feel pretty awkward at it most of the time, but I’m getting a lot better. I was telling someone the other day that I felt like I was better at raid tanking than dungeon tanking and shortly thereafter, proceeded to fail pretty badly as a tank in a raid. It was my fault mostly as I forgot to set some things up for tanking (frost presence, for example). But, in general, I usually do slightly better tanking a raid.
In a raid, there are generally fewer groups of mobs the way there are in dungeons. Groups are my nemesis as I sometimes have a hard time getting them all to attack me instead of the other members of the party. This is especially hard when there are people in the group with super fantastic gear and dps numbers. Mobs tend to want to attack those people immediately. In raids, too, you get another tank, someone to help with all of that, so that when you do have groups, each tank has a task to accomplish, keeping mobs under control. Raids tend to focus on single, hard to kill mobs, and those, I’m pretty good at, most of the time. The difficulty for me comes when there’s a strategy involving moving around a lot or other special tasks. It just takes me a bit longer to get the coordination and the timing down. I’m 42, remember. So, three tries into a hard boss that requires kiting in a circle or taunting off of the other tank, I’ll get it. And I’ll get it the next time also, once I’ve figured out the strategy. I have to actually do it to understand it, get that physical memory in my fingers. Watching a video or reading a strategy helps, for sure, but I’m not going to be able to do anything the first try. That may frustrate the teenagers, but it’s fine by me and my guildies most of the time.
I like being able to help out the guild, and I as get better and get better gear, I am enjoying tanking more. It has definitely stretched many of my abilities, both in game and out of game.
I’m single parenting this week on the heels of a very busy weekend. And for whatever reason, it’s really wearing me out. I just feel like I have no energy at all. I’m getting plenty of sleep, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I tried to do some reading yesterday and nearly fell asleep after just a couple of pages. Maybe it’s the weather. It was so nice this weekend and we were outside basking in the sunny goodness, and then the rain hit yesterday and it was a downpour. Today, there were brief glimpses of sun, but now it’s cloudy and threatening to rain again. Rain makes me want to curl up in bed with a hot cup of tea and watch bad tv. Also, I’ve had all these errands to run on top of regular stuff like walking the dog, doing laundry (of which we have a ton because of losing the use of the washer/dryer while simultaneously deciding that all the blankets and sheets in the house needed to be washed). I had to take the dog to the vet (in the rain). Yesterday afternoon, I had plans to go to the grocery store with Geeky Boy, but then he decided he needed a haircut and we decided we were too tired to do both. We’re doing the grocery store visit today. This morning, Geeky Girl forgot her violin, so after a long walk with the dog, I showered and drove it over to the school. I put in a load of laundry, took out another and am now staring down at least three loads that need to be folded. And it makes me tired thinking about it. But I’ll do it after lunch.
Luckily, spring break is next week and I’m taking the kids down to my dad’s. We’re staying in a hotel on the way with an indoor pool and we might make some side trips that involve woods and trails. We’re definitely going to see a movie. I’m ready. I think I need a break from the routine, the grind I put myself in every day.
Speaking of which, I haven’t been writing this week. Sigh. I’ve decided I need to take it elsewhere. So I think I’ll head to Starbucks tomorrow, mid-morning and work there for a change. I’m too distracted here by the dog, the laundry, Facebook. And maybe extra coffee will help!
We run with a crowd of people who have high expectations for their kids. They don’t just want them to go to college. They want them to go to one of the best colleges in the country. As our friends’ kids get further along in high school, conversation naturally turns to college ambitions. Recently, we’ve heard from friends with straight A kids and fabulous SAT scores that they can’t get into the likes of MIT, Harvard, or other highly reputable schools. And some of those kids, I know, chose this route for themselves. It was their decision to work for A’s, to do well on the SATs and to aspire to Harvard. But we also know people where I’m not really sure who’s driving the car. Is the kid who wants those things, or the parents? I struggle with this myself. If I’m honest, I know that I would really love it if both my kids ended up at a school that opened lots of doors for them and that gave my friends a slight twinge of jealousy. I try to focus on the former rather than the latter, but I’m being honest. I wouldn’t have those thoughts if I didn’t think both my kids were capable of achieving those goals. But I’m also trying to find a balance between pushing my kids toward those goals and letting them find their own way. I worry, like many parents, that the way they would choose on their own will keep them from achieving success and maybe even lead to unhappiness. But, here in the Northeast, it’s not uncommon to find parents who push too much, who have their kids in millions of activities from a young age, all with college admissions as the guiding force behind them.
I don’t want to be the pushy mom. But I also don’t want to be the pushover mom. Figuring out the right balance is proving one of the most difficult parenting challenges. Readers, what’s your strategy for motivating kids toward goals, academic or otherwise?
I had wanted to do this on Monday, but life intervened, what with the basement flooding and all. So, I’m going to do it today. I can’t give over the whole day to reading, but I can dedicate a good chunk to it. I joined PaperBack Swap a few weeks ago and now have a nice pile of books that I’ve always wanted to read, plus one that I’m reviewing (almost done with it). I have What’s the Matter with Kansas, Eat, Pray, Love, and Teacher Man. Honestly, I’m not sure where to start!
Sadly, writing has been almost non-existent this week and I’m okay with that. I figure reading will be inspirational and motivational and I’ll be ready to dig in next week. There’s just been too much disruption this week to get anything done.
I actually received WoW as a Valentine’s gift and a couple of years ago, my kids got me all kinds of WoW books, so gifts associated with WoW are tradition around here. This year, I got knives and Tivo, but the card–well, just look for yourself:
Birthday Card: Front
Birthday Card: Inside