More Frozen Fog Spikes

Today starts MC’s second semester in college. While almost all of his classes are from home, he is going to be spending a large chunk of time almost every day at the school for his eSports practice.

It does make me nervous, but there are protocols in place. Everyone on the team had to take a Covid test before they could participate and they have the space in their gaming zone for plenty of spacing and distancing.

The amount of time he has to be there for practice also means that he won’t be home at dinner time most of the week. While that isn’t different than when he was on campus last semester, it is still going to feel a little weird. It is also throwing one hell of a wrench in the car situation as there are conflicts between when he needs it and when BG needs it for dance. It is possible I’m going to have to go back to taking her and sitting in the car for the entire time she’s there.

It may be that things get a little crazy around here until we can settle into a new routine. At least the contractors should be done this week, removing that mess and stress from the mix.

3 days.

I’m counting.

And planning.

Finally!

We finally got word that MC is NOT required to live on campus next semester to meet his scholarship requirements. We do still have to pay half the tuition, which I’m not a fan of, but I honestly do not care if it means he can be at home with less risk.

I never understood their absolute demand in the current environment that these students that didn’t need to still had to live in the dorms. Even though there were out of town/out of state students needing housing that couldn’t get it. I’ve never liked the idea of taking something I didn’t need when it took away from those that were in need, so this bothered me on all kinds of levels.

So, I am a happy momma today. I have to take him to the school so he can officially check out of his dorm and he is home for the rest of the school year. There are no requirements of on campus living past the first year, so he is home for the rest of his time in college.

Now, if we can just convince them that MCG doesn’t need to live on campus next year when she comes, I’ll have a major houseful as she will be bringing her fur baby with her.

Bug Bitten

I’m taking advantage of what might be my last no contractor day before Christmas that isn’t a weekend and getting the last little bit of needed shopping done today. I’d rather not, but there are a few things I need to get that aren’t easy to order and that Hubby can’t get for me, so I’m making what will hopefully be a very quick run.

How sad is it that even though the head guy at the contracting company said two days when I talked to him the other day, that I can’t actually count on that? I did ask him specifically to keep me updated on the timing because of needing to contain the cats, so we will see if I actually hear anything today or not.

MC has two finals left, one tomorrow and one Saturday, and he is done with his first semester of college. We are STILL waiting to hear if he is allowed to live off campus next semester, which is beyond frustrating.

Fun fact? eSports, even though it is all computer games and doesn’t require any kind of fitness ability at all, still requires you get a physical before being able to participate. I now have to help MC navigate that process because it seems to be a little bit complicated for something that should be simple.

They also have a few interesting rules about participating as a team member. One is that you are required to spend so much time each week doing actual physical activity. I think it is a great requirement, I just think it is kind of funny, and not entirely surprising, that they have to have that rule.

I do wonder if those requirements get waived for someone that has physical limitations. I’d think the world of eSports would be ideal for those that aren’t able to participate in physical sports.

This photo reminds me of how my brain feels most days. Full of holes. I’ve joked for years that it is a swiss cheese brain because I tend to forget stuff all the time. This week, I got to learn that I can turn a white boxed cake mix into chocolate, because apparently I had one of those moments. I’d asked Hubby to pick up the white mix at the store even thought I KNEW I was using it for my chocolate cupcakes. Imagine my shock when I pull it out to make them and realize what I’d done. At least I learned a nifty new trick!

I’m having way too many of those swiss cheese moments lately.

Not To Brag…

Okay. I’m totally going to brag because I need to focus on something awesome.

I’ve mentioned that MC was invited to become a TA for his computer programing teacher. Originally, he couldn’t and get paid because of financial rules, but he is going to be able to do it as a volunteer next semester instead even though he is only a freshman.

He was also recommended to become a tutor (pretty sure this is for math), again as a freshman, which looks like is also going to happen next semester and will count towards his service requirements for his honors scholarship program.

He is trying out for his eSports team this weekend at the request of other team members and looks to have a great shot at making the team. This will be a major time commitment because of the number of hours a week he is required to practice with the team, but he is stoked to add this to his list of things he is doing in college.

THEN… he had his communications teacher ask him to join the speech team this last week. This one makes me not just brag, but laugh my butt off because MC is SO not one to enjoy doing speeches. He is REALLY good at them, but he doesn’t like it. Even though they asked, I think he might turn this one down as it just isn’t his deal, but it is amazingly cool that he was asked.

He isn’t even out of his first semester of college as a freshman and he is being requested or recommended for so many things he never would have even remotely considered before starting college. As a mostly introverted guy, this is kind of huge.

Oh, and he doesn’t have lower than a 97% in ANY of his classes, with a bulk of them currently sitting at over 100% (because he is too ambitious to ignore any extra credit chances). My mind is absolutely blown.

So, yeah. I’m going to take a moment and brag on my kid because he is apparently well liked and amazing. Well, I KNOW he is amazing, but now I get to see that others are noticing as well.

Home For The Holidays

I was given this year’s nutcracker last night! Hubby had started giving them to me early so I could enjoy them the whole season. Some years I get them earlier than others because he cannot stand to hang on to it after he gets it. This showed up on the porch yesterday afternoon and it was sitting in my spot at the table for dinner last night. I loved what he picked for the theme this year.

So much is going to be different this holiday season, but I’m good with that.

I won’t be doing bake sale baking this year because there won’t be a bake sale. The organizers are still taking donations to be able to support the families they provide for through the holidays, but no one is in the office right now, so a bake sale isn’t feasible. Instead, we are going to donate what they normally make off my baked goodies to help make up the difference of what they’d get from the sale.

We are also holing up and not leaving again after this week. I have one more errand I have to take care of, then I’m going to do my best to not leave the house again until after the first of the year. Hubby will still take care of our essential shopping, but I won’t be leaving. I’m not taking any chances with a lowered or suppressed immune system.

We got all the pieces I need for my craft room project yesterday to paint the walls and install the floor. I figure that after the contractors are done, that is about all I’d be able to get done until after the first of the year and will keep me from needing to leave to get any supplies.

I have my fingers crossed that our local government actually implements the health department recommendations of no gatherings larger than 10 as that will mean I don’t have to make the decision to keep BG from participating in her Christmas dance performances. The studio has put us in another awkward position as parents because they said they were going to make masks optional for the performances. They are live streaming them instead of having families come to the studio, but I think making it mask optional is recklessly stupid and I’m leaning towards keeping BG out because of that (and many other factors as well).

The last piece that is up in the air on our total stay at home for the holidays plan is what MC’s school is going to do. We know that they are not required to come back to campus after the Thanksgiving break, but they still have not answered questions about his requirements to live on campus next semester, so I have no clue if we are moving him out of the dorms in the next couple of weeks or not.

Staying home also means no big meal with Hubby’s dad and sister. For either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We haven’t seen either one of them since February other than Hubby taking care of a few critical appointments with my FIL, but we are all in agreement that we need to do this.

I am planning on fixing a full Thanksgiving dinner to take out and drop off with them the day before. The whole family will go, but we will only stay outside and just long enough to drop it off and leave. I will probably also do something similar for Christmas. At least he will get a nice, home cooked meal that way even if we can’t spend any time together. That is the best we can do right now. It helps to make sure that EVERYONE is still around for next holiday season.

And just to give you a visual reminder….

Intubation Graphic
Intubation Graphic

 

School Heading Into Fall And Winter

Up until recently, I’ve been mostly happy with the school situation with both BG doing her junior year remotely and MC being nearly all remote for his freshman year of college, but still being required to be in his dorm.

Ideally, I’d still prefer MC do be able to do his part from home, but I’ve been really pleased with how his school has handled things. So far, there have not been any cases on campus, which is kind of shocking. They are being told that they are not required to come back to campus after their Thanksgiving break because of concerns of students getting together with families over the holidays.

I think there are plans to go full virtual after the new year, but I don’t think they’ve confirmed those plans yet or how that will impact those students like MC that have the campus requirement for their scholarships.

With BG, I’ve been more than thrilled with her being virtual. She mostly prefers it that way, but has run into a few bumps and frustrations, mostly with a less than organized teacher that has extremely poor communication skills and never answers emails. There is most likely going to be the option to choose virtual again for next semester and she will absolutely be taking that option when it finally comes up.

The problem I am having is that she is still required to go to the school for some of her tests since they are for her AP classes and have to be monitored. This wouldn’t bother me nearly so much if I weren’t now getting a daily email of yet another positive test case at the school and I wasn’t also aware that it is absolutely possible to proctor an exam virtually as MC has done that for all of his online only courses.

We had reasons to choose the online only option. We made that decision after carefully considering all the different pieces and risk factors involved and determined it would be better for all of us if BG did the online only option. Yes, she has a risk through dance, but those factors were less of a risk than the school (fewer contact points, less time, better environmental factors) and some social interaction is important.

I strongly dislike the fact that she is still required to increase her exposure risk by going into the school building and sitting in a classroom with other students and a teacher going between two different classrooms of different students in the process when there are other options. I am even more upset now that there are beginning to be so many cases in our district, yet they are still requiring this in person testing.

It is already becoming a problem as some students that were in person and may have been in contact with a positive test case are forced to quarantine and cannot be in the school at all until they are out of quarantine, so they can’t take those tests until later, which kind of goes against some of the protections and reasons they require these tests be proctored.

I get it. This is unprecedented and these teachers and administrators are treading brand new ground and don’t have any kind of playbook to follow. I do think that some of these teachers have done a stellar job, going above and beyond to educate these kids (BG has a couple that she absolutely adores and so does MC). I do understand that we are probably more fortunate than a lot of others as I’ve seen some really awful stories about other people’s experiences. At the same time, sometimes I really wonder if some are ever actually thinking or if they just truly don’t have a clue.

Sadly, I think we are at a point here, or at least very close to it, where more and more students are going to be forced to go online (possibly even completely), so it is only going to get worse and I don’t know that our district or teachers are actually prepared for that.

Popping Color

Popping Color

This is my only mum that is opening enough to show color yet, but it is just loaded. I’m still on edge hoping we don’t get an early freeze and I get plenty of time to enjoy these this year.

MC is breezing through his first semester at college. For some reason, his history class was a shorter one than a regular class and he is already taking his final for that one next week. It will leave the last half of his semester more open.

It shouldn’t surprise me that he is doing so well because he always has when it comes to school, but I guess I still expected it to be a bit more challenging for him than this has seemed. Maybe it is just these earlier, more basic classes and next semester will be different, but I’m really happy for him that it is going so well.

He has impressed his computer programing teacher enough to get recommended for a work study program even though he isn’t even finished with his first class. He, unfortunately, can’t take it as a paid position because of the rules around family income, but they are looking into the possibility he can still do it on a volunteer/unpaid basis.

I think it was either from the same teacher or a math teacher, but MC was told he should become a tutor, but he can’t do that one until he passes a class he is currently taking with a certain grade (that won’t be an issue at this point). Apparently, he is making a good impression on at least some of his teachers.

While he loves that these are going to be things he gets to do, he is also excited that he has the chance to put these, plus his work with the videos for the eSports teams, on his resume. With his complete lack of any kind of work experience going into college (long story about bad timing and circumstances), he has been worried that he isn’t going to have much of anything to put down when he needs it and this is a relief for him.

I’m just glad that he is finding his space and the things he enjoys. It is exciting to see him get involved and enjoying what he is doing. I was a little worried the first couple of weeks in that he was struggling, but seeing all this makes me feel so much better. I really love that his college choice seems to be the perfect fit for him.

Now, BG is a whole other ball of wax. She is too much like me in not knowing what direction she wants to go when she gets out of high school. MC always knew he wanted to go into programming, but BG is all over the place in interests, so she doesn’t even know where to begin in her college search. I have a feeling her ride is going to be a lot bumpier than MC’s has been, but she is going to have to start making some decisions soon.

Driving Force

When you live in an area like mine with lots of distance between school and home and the stores along with almost no public transport, getting your driver’s license is one of those major milestones for a teenager. Both MC and BG had circumstances that pushed back their ability to take their test on or near their 16th birthdays, but they did finally get them.

Yesterday afternoon, I had to watch as BG drove off on her own for the first time, driving herself to her first assistant class of the year. Even though it was well past when she should have been able to do this (by the end of last winter), I still wasn’t quite ready for it.

I’m relieved that I no longer have to sit for an hour or more in my car in the parking lot while she does her dance classes. At the same time, I’m really going to miss the time we spent together along the way. It is just one more step towards her being grown up and gone.

It has been hard enough with MC off to college, even though he comes home almost every weekend. He is finding his feet there and settling in more comfortably. He’s volunteered to do the intro videos for all the esports teams, something he really loves and is excited about. He even played in an intramural tournament for one of the games over the weekend.

With BG driving now, she isn’t all that far behind him in stretching her own wings of independence.

Even though this is something that does make me sad, I’m still really happy for her. I remember what it was like to finally get to that point and it is something that both Hubby and I have worked really hard to make sure she got there. I was adamant that our kids would be able to drive as soon as possible and we would do whatever needed to be done to make that happen.

A big part of that is because when I needed to learn, I didn’t have that support and teaching. At least, not from my parents.

For me to get my license, I had to have my boyfriend at the time and his best friend taking me out and teaching me. Having someone that wasn’t yet even 18 teaching someone to drive is not really a great idea, but it is all I had.

This is something that I still, to this day, don’t fully understand. My older brother was learning before he was 16 (something that wasn’t even entirely legal at the time) and my dad took time off work and my brother out of school (a huge thing as my parents NEVER took us out of school) on his 16th birthday to take the test. But me? I had to have that boyfriend take me to get my permit so I could even learn, but it was the only test I could take without a parent. The driving test piece I had to wait until one my parents could find a convenient time (pretty sure it was a day off they had already planned) and a day where I wouldn’t miss school.

Now that I’m on the other end of things, I still don’t understand the mindset. I get that my family has a couple of freighters worth of issues, but I have seen and heard similar things in others. Yes, money is always going to be a factor because driving isn’t cheap, but I’m talking outside of that.

Whether it is teaching them to drive, or hobbling them when it comes to going off to college or really anything where kids are learning to follow their path to their future and happiness, I will never understand parents that try to clip their kid’s wings rather than helping them to fly.

Do parents not get that once those kids finally do learn to fly, and there is no stopping it, that they may choose to never come back if the damage is bad enough?

I’ve now got one that isn’t quite gone, but has one foot out the door and the other is standing behind the first waiting for her turn. It makes me sad to see that we are here already, but I won’t do anything to stand in their way.

The Daisy’s In The Details

You can tell that MC is finally starting to settle in because the number of texts to one of us at home have dwindled. At least one of us still hears something every day, but they are much fewer than in the first couple of days he was there.

It helps tremendously that he finally got his door and shower fixed. Who would have thought that having hot water and being able to get into your room without help would make things comfortable for a first time college student?! That and having to attend classes kept him from going stir crazy in his quiet dorm.

He is coming home this weekend to do some laundry and hang out. I’m not sure how long he plans to stay, overnight or the whole weekend, but I’m glad he felt comfortable enough to ask. He is a stubborn shit sometimes and refused my offer earlier in the week when it looked like the shower situation wasn’t going to get resolved quickly. It did show how determined he was to make it all work no matter how out of sorts and uncomfortable he was.

It is such a huge relief to see him getting comfortable. Just in time for me to start stressing about how BG’s back to school start is going to look.

 

So Not Helping!

We all know that this whole going off to college thing for the first time is hard enough on a normal basis. For both the student and the parent. Throw a little pandemic into the mix and it is an ugly, stressful mix of WTF.

So why in the hell, with all of that going on would a school, or anyone at a school make that even harder?

I mentioned that MC had an issue with the scanner on his dorm door. This means that he cannot get in without someone letting him in. Over the weekend, it was an RA. Today, since classes have started, he needed campus security to do so.

And they didn’t.

Not right away. Why? Because they apparently couldn’t verify his identity. Even though he called them from his phone, which they have on file connected to his account. Even though he called on this issue several times on Friday when they were trying to sort it all out. Even though this has been ongoing and they supposedly have it on schedule to get the issue fixed today.

That lead to him being late for his first zoom meeting for one of his classes. Do you have any idea how much this stresses him out? He is that straight A, always on time, never missed a day of school kind of student and he is late to his first class because he couldn’t get into his damn room.

MC has already had a really rough weekend being his first there and with all of this stress hanging over his head, making him really not want to leave his dorm, even to go get something to eat, because he didn’t want to have to bother someone every time he needed to get back into his room.

Did I mention that he moved in mid-day on Friday? A work day for most people? But apparently, they didn’t deem the door issue something important enough to get someone out to fix it right away, during working hours. It got pushed off until today.

So, yeah, I’m a little pissed today.

I really don’t want to be forced to be that annoying parent, but I will if I have to. Especially considering we really didn’t choose for him to live on campus. It was required by the school and the conditions of his scholarship. A scholarship that does not pay for that room and board.

I’m so tempted to just tell him to come stay at home until they can get the damn door fixed. I honestly just might if it doesn’t get taken care of today.

Why in the world is this even an issue?!

I get it. Shit happens and you just have to deal with it sometimes, but damn! It kind of feels like it has been non-stop shit going on with him. Most of it has been little, but it all adds up and builds on top of an already stressful situation.

Just as an example of how horrible this is for him: My kid finally asked for something, which he absolutely refused to do before he left (and almost universally NEVER asks for anything. EVER.) I’m talking it was like pulling teeth to get him to take the little bit he took in the first place.

What does he ask for? A fan for his room because the silence is unbearable.

That was the moment when my waterworks wanted to break free. Not because my kid is off in college, but because he is miserable. And because I know that and he knows that and he didn’t ask to come home. He asked for a fan so he could stick it out.

Sadly, I know he is going to be just fine once things calm down and he gets into a routine. I was looking forward to today for him because of that. Hoping that him starting classes would begin to help him settle. But, no. He just has to have it be an even more difficult day than the ones before.

The start of his “college experience” has not made it something he will look back on fondly.