Checking Off That To Do List

The last several days have been hectic. There have been so many different things I’ve been dealing with or trying to get done, it has been a kind of musical chairs of tasks and trying to shift everything in a way to actually get any of it done.

My room is completely finished except for the last 5 doors and building the drawers. I’ve spent the last several days working on another project with a deadline, but I’ve done it in that space. Can I tell you how utterly blissful it is to actually work in there now? I have almost everything moved in and put where I want it outside of what will need to go in the closet (I’m counting that as a separate project from the room itself as it still needs to be finished out with shelves).

Just being able to work and find what I needed in a place I knew it was without having to dig through bins to find it or shuffle things all over the place because there wasn’t room for everything was the most wonderful feeling. I have a feeling I’m going to be living in my new room for the foreseeable future. I won’t be posting more photos until I have it entirely done, doors and drawers and all, but it is everything I’d hoped for and more.

That project I’ve been working on is making another massive pile of masks. BG will be needing a bunch since she will be in person at school this year (which is a whole other rant/post as online isn’t even being discussed as an option right now even though the situation is more dire for the younger group now than it was a year ago) and she will be at her dance studio for at least a couple more days a week this year. I also wanted to get another one or two for myself and one to give to MCG with the school logo on it like I did for MC since she will be doing student ambassador things as part of her scholarship. In all I’ve made another 36 masks. It took me several days, but that was me having to work around all the other things that needed to get done.

My new stove finally got delivered yesterday. After all the craziness and headaches and complications, it was a ridiculously easy and problem free event. It showed up in perfect condition. No dents. No issues with hooking it up. No issues hauling off the old one. The damn thing works. And it looks really nice. It was such a relief to finally have that stress over and done with.

Now, I just have to relearn how to cook. It may seem like a joke, but it also kind of isn’t. An electric cook top is different than gas in several ways and I have to learn how to make adjustments in how I cook to work with those differences. I also have to learn the temperature settings for each burner. Not only are they different than gas, but they are different than any other electric I’ve used in the past (well over 17 years ago).

Then I have to get used to the new oven. Each oven cooks a little differently. Most are close enough that it doesn’t really matter, but everyone that spends any time cooking at all learns the little quirks of how their ovens work and how to cook to make use of those quirks. I have no clue what kinds of quirks I’m going to run into. AND I have to learn it for 2 because this is a double oven (which I cannot wait to play around with when I need to bake a cake or do huge batches of cookies or thanksgiving dinner!!) and each one is most likely going to be just a little different. I did see in my owner’s manual that there is the ability to tweak your oven temp settings if you think it cooks “too hot” or “a little cool” so you can fit it a bit better to what you are used to, which was really interesting to discover.

Just having that done has been such a weight off. I’m so done with all the BS that went with this. I’ll  take the learning curve and a few slightly overdone, crispy fried eggs until I can get it all figured out, even if it kind of sucks to feel like I can’t cook well right now.

Yesterday, I also started my massive senior photo project for BG. She very much loved how I did things with MC, where I did several shoots throughout the year. She really likes the idea of having a bunch of seasonal photos as part of her final package, so we will be doing a lot of both casual outdoor shots and nicer, studio style shots. We did an initial round of studio style shots yesterday, getting us off to a very good start. So much so, I’m worried about having enough space for them all on my computer by the time it is done.

While I had my backdrop and lighting set up, I offered to do a shoot with MC and MCG. They never got their prom because of Covid, which means they never got prom photos. Hell, with they way they met and how their relationship has progressed, they’ve only really had one kind of crappy snapshot of them together at all. So, they both got all prettied up in their prom finery and we did some really fun shots of them. Finally!

I still have to go through all the photos from both shoots and do some editing, but I think I got quite a few really good ones. It was awesome to get those checked off my list.

This week kicks off back to school for MC and MCG. Things are going to get simultaneously really busy, but also really quiet at the same time. It’s only another week and BG will be off as well. It is all going to be so strange. I’ve had BG home for a year and a half and MC was mostly home for that same year and a half. There are even going to be weeks when Hubby has to go work in the office again and those days are going to be complete silence around here.

I guess it’s good in a way that even though I’ve checked so much off that to do list that the list is still massive and I’m going to have plenty of things to keep me occupied.

Curled Edges

I managed move in day without any tears. A day later and things are still dry. I’m thinking that it will hit when I least expect it.

MC is settled in, but I don’t think he is all that comfortable yet. So far, he can’t get into his room without an RA because there is something wrong with the scanner that allows access to their room, discovered that the fridge wasn’t plugged in hours after we’d moved him in (and put things in there) and has taken a cold shower because there is also an issue with the hot water (potentially).

I can tell he isn’t comfortable, but isn’t willing to just say so by the fact that Hubby, BG and I have all received multiple texts from him and it has been less than 24 hours.

Of all the things I didn’t really think about or consider is how this is going to impact BG. Her and her brother are extremely close, so not having him around all the time is going to be really hard on her (her more than him, though I think). She has been overjoyed that he has already started what we are calling the cat scavenger hunt, sending her off to get pictures of our cats to send to him. It is kind of silly and sweet and totally how the two of them are together.

I know this level of communication isn’t going to last. Once he gets into a routine, things will settle down, but it is going to be really odd for a while. For all of us.

I’ll take those little nonsense texts with a photo of his breakfast any day, though.

Almost Done

As I get closer to Friday, I get closer to coming to terms with the fact that MC is moving out and will be at college.

I’ve been slowly getting all the things he needs to be able move in comfortably. He doesn’t make it easy as he is either in a bit of denial himself or just stubbornly thinks he really doesn’t need anything. It doesn’t help that he will be so close and he knows he can just run home if there is something he needs and doesn’t have.

It grates a little on my need to plan and organize this particular aspect.

Also not helping one bit is the fact that it is nearly impossible to get things like isopropyl alcohol around here. That is one of the things that are on my critical sanitizing routine. Not being able to get that is ratcheting up my already high worry levels.

Its hard enough to send your kid off to college for the first time under normal circumstances. There is nothing resembling normal about anything right now.

I’m  stressing about making sure he has the ability to keep himself safe while also stressing over the fact that it isn’t mentioned anywhere about whether certain items are provided for in the dorms, like toilet paper (because he has a private bathroom that he doesn’t share with anyone it is a legitimate question). Some days I have the strangest worries.

We joke around about taking over his spot at the table or letting BG use his room for her video meetings when she starts back to class. Then we laugh at the fact that it is going to be so peaceful and quiet when we don’t have to listen to him yelling at whatever game he is playing. Things that predictably get a response, but that we can all laugh about.

The closer we get to Friday, though, the more stressed and emotional I get. Because each day we get closer, the whole thing just gets a little bit more real.

I have to remind myself that he is only living on campus for his first year, basically 9 months, and then he will be back home, and quite possibly adding MCG into the mix if she can get accepted to a school around here as well. Then I have to remind myself that he is 20 minutes away, not hours, and will most likely still come around often.

Those reminders still can’t manage to trick my brain into not being weird about it all. Said brain decided to express how much it was all bothering me (I’m sure also pulling from the family BS of the other day as well) by giving me a lovely dream about being abandoned and forgotten, one of my lovely one’s that are so exceptionally emotional it is still hanging around days later.

I feel like I need to just go sit on a quiet beach somewhere and watch the water. For like a month.

 

 

Reconciling Choices

It is nearly impossible to be a parent of school age children, even those in college, and not be dealing with all the tough choices and situations facing us right now with back to school looming.

I thought that everything was made easier for me when BG’s school district allowed for an online only option for students. I was relieved. I wasn’t being forced into a position where the only option was to send her to an in person classroom environment or to try and figure out an alternative on my own.

Sadly, it really isn’t that easy.

There is a chance, potentially a big chance, that by going the online only route, some of BG’s higher level classes won’t be available to her and she will be forced to take other classes. I seriously doubt there are going to be many options to work her classes in a way that would meet her high school goals if those aren’t available. It was hard enough to make her schedule work in normal years and this is so far from normal.

Then add in the fact that she was supposed to be a part of the mentoring program this year, something that I don’t know if she can still be a part of if she is going the online route. We still haven’t heard anything on that front yet.

Another stressor, at least for me, is dance. It was such a relief to get past recital and feel like we were finally done with it, but we aren’t. Enrollment starts soon and dance isn’t being offered online at this point. It is in person only. This is not a required activity, but it is BG’s only real social interaction and where her group of friends exist rather than at school.

This is problematic on many levels. I’ve already seen the lax attitude towards some safety guidelines, especially surrounding masks. That gets amplified because the studio isn’t just attended by students from a single school or even district. If I had to count the districts and schools I’m already aware of (and I know I don’t know them all), there are at least 4 different districts and possibly upwards of at least 6 individual schools represented just in BG’s main class alone. That doesn’t even begin to account for all the lower level grade schools for the classes she assists.

Deciding how she is going to move forward with both school and dance is such a struggle for me as a parent. There are so many factors involved and things to consider. Seeing experts saying that the virus is airborne but not seeing practices and policies that fit that reality makes it even harder to make those decisions.

I say all of this as a parent, but I cannot imagine being in the position of a teacher at this point. As a parent, I’m only trying to make decisions that protect my children and in turn the rest of our family to the best of my ability. Teachers are being asked to make so many, even more complex decisions.

Go to work and potentially bring home the virus to your own children and family or even take it to work and spread it to your students. Or just as awful an option, do what you may feel is right to protect your own family from the virus and not work, but then not have the money to protect them in other ways.

I saw something written by a teacher (sorry, I don’t have the link for that one) where they said they were not only expected to take a bullet for their students, but were now being asked to bring that bullet home and aim it at their families.

Our teachers are already tasked with so many roles outside of just being an educator, but we continually ask them to take on more and more roles. It seems that each one is just more difficult, even more dangerous, than the last. This situation just shines a neon spotlight on that fact.

As a parent, you have to think about all of those aspects and filter them down into something you can work with to make the right choices for you children, but there isn’t a lot of consistent information to help you filter it down.

And in the middle of trying to filter all of that, I hear how a friend of MC went to a graduation party where someone had later tested positive. Said friend had also had a test done, but only because their boss required it (they work in a restaurant) and even then this person was still going about their day as if nothing had happened, interacting with people all before they even got the results back from their test.

This is followed shortly after by finding out that a coworker of Hubby’s (they are all still on a work from home mandate, thankfully!!) has been in quarantine for almost 2 weeks because his kids’ daycare was shutdown after an outbreak. Let me repeat that. A place specifically for young children was shut down because of an outbreak.

But we are STILL trying to force in person classes. What are parents and teachers supposed to do with all that information when none of it fits together in any kind of rational manner?!

One of the most driving forces in being a parent is to protect our children to the best of our ability. Right now, it feels like we are being forced to do the exact opposite.

I am grateful that BG will be able to do her classes online, at least for her first semester. I hate that she may not be able to get the classes she really wants because of that, but in the balance of things, I’ll take that little loss. I have a lot of thinking to do about dance because that is a very different beast, one that falls squarely in the mental wellness category for her.

I am also being forced to consider asking MC to not come home from college as he wants in an effort to keep everyone safe. How do you tell your child who is leaving to go to college for the first time to not come home when you live 20 minutes away? All because The Powers That BE demanded he live on campus and attend some in person classes.

To say that there is a whole lot of frustration and anger tied up in this is the understatement of the century.

 

 

Rainy Day

It’s a rainy, dreary day today making it difficult to get motivated to work on much. At least I’m moving mostly pain free today, so that is definitely a win.

I might just have to take advantage of the overcast day and work on getting the only cap and gown photos I’m going to get from MC. I only have a couple of weeks left to get them before he moves into his dorm.

Yesterday he spent the day cleaning the hell out of his spaces, including the bathroom. I think he is in a college version of nesting mode. Is that even a thing?

With so many things feeling so unreal, the concept that he is actually going to be moving out of the house really hasn’t felt that real. It is starting to hit now, though. Between his impromptu cleaning session and the lists and purchases we’ve been doing to get him ready, there is no way to not have it feel real.

I guess I was still mostly expecting the school to not force him to live in a dorm. At least for this first semester.

It is all so very weird. Having a kid going off to college for the first time is bad enough. To have it happening with everything else, it is incredibly difficult to get my brain to work it all out.

What’s even more odd is knowing that he will only be doing this for one year. He fully intends to move back home after his required year on campus so he can save money. My brain knows this is temporary, so it keeps putting it into a category similar to an overnight stay at a friend’s or something.

Granted, that is still a year away and there is so much that could change his thoughts on that, especially if MCG’s plans for college drift this direction. What she decides to do will have a big impact on what he decides to do and when.

None of that helps my brain to put any of this into any kind of definite, reality based plan.

See, I’ve always had this thing. It’s kind of a little quirk I guess. I tend to visualize how things will potentially play out in future situations. Almost always, if I haven’t been able to visualize something, it never ends up happening. I struggled for the last couple of years being able to visualize MC walking at graduation, but have never had an issue visualizing BG doing the same (and yes, that kind of terrified me) and MC isn’t walking at graduation by choice.

Now, I’m really struggling to visualize this set of future events. I think that is part of why my brain refuses to make this all feel more real. I keep expecting to turn into an emotional mess, but so far I’m good. I can only hope it stays that way. I’m certain it will all hit eventually and I’ll be a sobbing, blubbery disaster when it does.

Surreal Back To School Mode

Things are starting to enter back to school mode around here even though I’m still not certain what exactly that is going to look like yet.

MC will be moving into a dorm in about a month, barring any changes that are still incredibly likely. Because of his dorm set up, there is actually very little he is going to need. It will be almost like packing for vacation instead of him actually moving out. That is also in part because he will only be 20 minutes from home and it is easy enough for him to run by and grab something if he needs it. It really isn’t anything at all like I expected him going off to college would be like.

We found out that over half of his classes will be online and the other half will be a blend of online and in person with the in person portion being limited. Even with that set up, he is still required to live on campus.

It is hard enough to see your kid off to college for the first time, but dumping that together with the current mess with the pandemic and I know I’m going to be a stressed out mess over the next several weeks. I just started breathing easier after the recital stress, so I’m not a complete mess just yet, but that reprieve isn’t going to last long.

There still isn’t a solid plan yet for BG’s school. The one thing that has been decided is that if they opt for in person or blended online and in person classes, students can opt out of in person and do online only. That was such a massive relief to me to know that she wouldn’t be forced to physically go to school.

She has some concerns about potentially missing out on important information in her AP or higher level classes if they have in person classes, that a teacher would fail to pass on the same info to the online students as was shared during a physical class. Even with that concern, she is solid in her stance on doing online.

The online option for her means I don’t have to make another dozen or so masks to get her through a school week. I do have to make a bunch for MC as he has left the house maybe 3 or 4 times since March and only has 1.

This is the oddest back to school season. I knew it would be anyway because of MC heading to college and not high school, but… yeah.

It’s doubtful that once we hit the point where they are both in school that my stress levels are going to drop. Having MC going back and forth from school to home could be a problem. Not by increasing his exposure, but by increasing BG’s, Hubby’s, and mine. That and I’m going to be normal-worried-mom times a thousand the second he is dropped off.

I’m not sure how we are going to work all the logistics of this yet. At this point, I’m still certain that something major is going to change between now and then.

The one worry I don’t have at the moment is with Hubby. He is still on an indefinite work from home order that will most likely last until at least the end of this year. I’ll take whatever wins I can get at this point.

 

 

Another Day, New Chaos

The last couple of weeks have felt like I’ve been going constantly. Between projects I needed to get done, like the garage, and all the running to get BG to the studio and all the things that are wrapped up in nearing recital time, it seems like I’ve had very little down time. Doesn’t look like that is changing for at least a little while.

The new mask mandate from the city means that masks are required for BG’s dance recital. I’m still not 100% how exactly that is going to work, though it should seem very straight forward. I knew that the studio staff was going to be stressing about it, especially the visual of masks on stage.

I’ve offered to make masks for all the girls in opening tap that match their costumes. That is about 55 additional masks. I’d love to do enough for all the staff and assistants for the assistants dance as well, but I just won’t have the time for that many. I’ll be pushing the time frame as it is to get these done.

The teacher was a little stunned by my offer and more the willing to take it. It will give them at least one performance, their big one, where everyone on stage has the same look, something that will be impossible to pull off for every single other performance. Even though they will match the costume for that performance, they will still be basic enough to look really good with all their other costumes as well.

As with the masks I made for the staff earlier, it is kind of a selfish motivation. If I can get as many of these kids wearing masks as I can, it helps to protect my own kid and also helps to make her not feel like she stands out as the only one.

There is apparently still some question, despite the mask mandate, as to whether they are required while the dancers are on stage. The audience and everyone backstage, absolutely. On stage? There is some belief that it isn’t. I’m not sure how that works out as far as justification goes. Because of that, there is a chance that my efforts will be for nothing as the dancers will then be allowed a choice. If the classes I’ve seen over the last couple of weeks are any indication, I doubt there will be anyone on stage with a mask.

I’m still doing it anyway. Just in case. And as an encouragement. Anything at all to try and help.

Besides, everything could change in another week. Or day.

We’ve also got the official word that MC will be staying on campus this fall. They’ve made changes to the housing plans so that he will have his own bedroom and bathroom, but will still be sharing a living space with another student.

He has to follow a plan for a couple of weeks before going to campus to monitor his health and then he has to be tested before being allowed in his room. I have no idea what that means once he is on campus. Will they not be allowing students to leave at all once they are there? I don’t really know how they can control that or ensure that students don’t do something that could expose them and bring it back to campus.

I’m really surprised by it all. This school already has a large online presence, so I’m a little baffled by their push for not only in person classes but the requirement to stay on campus. Unfortunately, we don’t have a choice in the matter as MC’s scholarship has a requirement that he live on campus his freshman year.

I’m really not taking anything as definitive at this point, but I’m trying to think ahead, just in case.

The upside to finding out MC will be on campus is that he has already gotten the name and contact information of his roommate and has already reached out. So far, they don’t have a lot in common other than they both play a particular video game. MC was a little surprised they paired him with a nursing student and not another computer science student, but he doesn’t seem too bothered by it.

As of right now, we’ve gotten no communication from BG’s school with regards to going back in the fall, so that one is still very much an unknown. Even with all of this, I know that tomorrow may change it all, so whatever plans are in place are far from concrete.

I guess the big downside to living in an area that still has really low case numbers is that so many things still want to move forward like nothing is going on. It gives people a false sense of security or feeling of immunity. That doesn’t even take into account the anti-mask crowd and their attitudes.

I have no clue what it is actually going to look like in two weeks when we attempt to have this recital. The social distancing plan for the audience is still very much in place as is the dressing room assignments, though masks are now also required. For that, I’m hugely relieved, though I would not want to be in the position to have to attempt to enforce that rule.

For now, I’m back in mask making mode and thinking ahead to what kinds of things I will need to have in place if MC does actually end up on campus this fall.