Friday, June 15, 2018

Last day of school, zip-lining.

Last day of school for my kids.  One child went to school, one child played hooky.   I said goodbye to Edda's middle school bus driver, Susan & her aide, Miriam in the early morning.  Thank you for getting Edda to school safely all these years.

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Once Edda was in school, we (me, Ben, Vince, Felix and Ruben) went to Sandy Spring Adventure Park which is a aerial obstacle course/zip lining adventure.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, I didn't want to spend it inside at the mall or Dave & Busters (Vince's suggestions).  I love the adventure park but I so rarely get a chance to do it.  I'm always, always looking for a reason to go.  It's a splurge, so I feel like I have to have a special occasion, I never want to do it by myself and it's hard to schedule because Edda can't participate.  I loved the outing today, the boys are just the right age for it, they have the right fearlessness for it and it was fun all around.  We started at 10 am and I thought we'd last only until noon, but we kept going until our passes expired at 2 pm.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ice cream, wheelchair, swedes.

Vince got free ice cream today.

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Edda got new orthotics and kicks.

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She also got a new wheelchair.

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And we picked up some Swedes from Dulles.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lobbying, Edda's 8th grade graduation.

We dropped Kiki off at the Metro early in the morning so she could make her way to her 11 am flight.  She had a nice day lobbying in DC, I told her I was glad someone was lobbying because I have no time to lobby and that she was welcome to come lobby as much as she wants to.

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Today was Edda's 8th grade graduation.  I invited Ning (Edda's morning caregiver) and Adriana (Edda's M & T night caregiver) to come celebrate because Jeremy's out of town and I needed support.  Adriana also brought her beau to the celebration.  I was quite touched that these folks came, though I still missed having Jeremy with me.  Vince initially resisted coming today, but he proposed a deal.  He wanted a boxed sushi lunch he could take to school in exchange for attending.  I said - sold!  He also, after some cajoling, agreed to accompany Edda onto the stage to help her get her awards and diploma.  It was a mixed morning regarding my feelings.  I didn't realize that this was a special needs graduation, I thought it was the entire 8th grade graduation (the school must have hundreds of typical 8th graders).  On the one hand, the special needs graduation was kind of lovely, they spent five minutes talking about each student and giving awards and everyone cheered for each kid.  This would have not been possible at a typical graduation with hundreds of students.  On the other hand, I was fully expecting a total 8th grade graduation with the special needs kids tucked into the procession.  Would that have been better?  I dunno.  I'm also trying to decide if the wording of the speeches at the beginning and the end of the ceremony changed ever so slightly from a typical graduation or if the words aren't really different but they take on different shades of meaning when presented in this situation.  What does it mean that they are now ready to have a "successful high school experience"?

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Edda was quite charming on stage, though she was skeptical of the photographing afterwards.  I'm forever grateful for Mr. Twigg who taught Edda all three years at Cabin John.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Interview, morning routine, Kiki.

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I had yet another job interview this morning from 7 - noon.  I no longer understand my ability or, I guess, lack of ability to get hired.  I think I give a good interview and I make people feel comfortable and I know all the answers to all the general interview questions to where I have a manager (usually) sitting in front of me at the end of the interview asking when I can start and telling me that I'll hear from HR (actually, these days it's talent acquisition) and then never hearing from them again.  Honestly, the general consensus that turnover is high in hospitals and nurses are in short supply just makes me feel bad.  Getting a nursing job will complicate my life in 10,000 ways, maybe this is the world telling me that this is not the right path.  Unlike most other job interviews, nursing interviews always start at shift change which means I have to be on the floor at 6:45 am.  This presented a logistical problem for me as Jeremy is out of town and the kids are not at school yet.  Christine perceptively asked at Sunday dinner last night - so who's going to look after Edda?  Here was the plan that we executed:  I wanted to leave the house at 6 am, I woke Vince up as I was leaving, he sprung up out of bed (We wished each other good luck.  He had a big day at school today - a lot of final presentations.) and was awake when our morning caregiver arrived at 6:30 am.  I told Vince that, if for whatever reason, the morning caregiver couldn't come or was late or whatever, to do his best to get Edda onto her bus at 7:30 am and be a little late for school.  Vince gave me a thumbs up.  Everything went smoothly, I thought.  I got no texts, I got no calls.  Then when Vince and I reconnected later in the afternoon, he said that he woke up and made sure that Ning had gotten Edda downstairs and prepped for school. And then he accidentally fell asleep and woke up at 8 am and then was 45 minutes late for school himself.

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Look who is in town!  Kiki.  I picked her up from the Rockville Metro at 8:45pm.  She has been up since 3 am, we made her do our evening ritual of watching a couple of youtube videos - corgis and cooking. 

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Weeds, chemistry, woods.

Edda's morning plait:

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Vince and I tackled my parents' weed patch.  Got cited by the HOA this past week.

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I'm not sure it looks better.

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Vince's final grades care coming in for the spring term.  I will tell you what gave me an Asian mom heart attack this term, the thing that I had to step completely away from and enforce peace and tranquility upon myself.  The spring term is made up of two quarters, the general set up is that if you get two adjacent grades in either quarter, you get the higher grade.  Hence A going to B is an A for the semester and B going to A is also an A.    The quarter grades do not go to colleges, only the semester grades.  My personality would be to work hard the first half of the semester, ensure the A and then you don't have to worry about the 2nd half of the semester.  Vince does not have my personality.  He's a little more cowboy which just kills me.  He says he wants to be a chemical engineer (which I have kind of felt both pleased because he thinks what his parents do is kinda cool, and also kind of horrified because chemical engineers tend to live near big factories full of vats of chemicals that smell bad.  I think he has talent in creative writing (well, he needs some help with spelling and capitalization and grammar (as do I)), but am I going to push the writerly life? uhhh, no, I don't think so).  Anyways, this year he took his first chemistry course.  Cool!  Easy! is what I heard from him.  Fine, I love chemistry.  Avogadro's number, the beauty of the periodic table, acid/bases, etc.  All fun things.  So he heads into the final big exam of the first quarter in spring semester.  He tells me he has a solid A - like a 92 or something (I have long, long abandoned checking his grades electronically, I philosophically believe it's his own deal.  But really, it would just drive me crazy to check every day - I know myself.) and that he knows everything on the review packet.  He comes home from the exam - smiles and says it was easy peazy and I congratulate him and promptly forget about it.  I mean, it's chemistry.  It should be easy for him.  Two days later, he comes to me and tells me he failed the exam, thus plunging his grade into the mid 80s - a B. (Privately I'm baffled, at the height of my academic capabilities I could, to within +/- three points, predict how well I did on an exam as I was doing the exam.  Ask any earnest, diligent student and they will tell you how a 96 feels different than a 92 feels different than an 88 - (though I never knew what an 18 felt like until I took statistical mechanics at C*lt*ch with Jeremy as my TA.  awkward.  we were not yet in love then, I didn't even speak to him (although clearly evidenced from the 18, I should have gone to office hours) Regarding that era, Jeremy always fondly remembers how beautiful my handwriting was on the problem sets.  He never mentions the how well I did on the problem sets, lol.).  How can Vince possibly not differentiate the feeling between doing well on an exam and failing an exam?)  I'm like - dude, if a test is worth 20% of the grade, that's a lot!  A lot!  If you want to go to a good ChemE program, you can not possibly get a B in the intro to chemistry course.  It might not have been my finest parenting moment.  So, to get the A in the semester, he needed to get an A the 2nd half.  Fast forward to the 75% point in the semester, he gets a C on the mid-quarter exam, (also with the same attitude, super easy, I know all the stuff, I got the review packet, etc.)  I stand there like - OMG, he's going to get a B in chemistry.  The subject in which both parents have advanced degrees from very reputable colleges and have spent a lifetime studying and working on. The subject in which he says he wants to major in.   Everyday I look at things that talk chemical structures/formulas, hydrophobicity, catalysts, acid numbers.  Everyday I refer to the periodic table (well, in my head, I don't actually look at the periodic table very much anymore because it is almost like the fingerprints on my fingers). This is when I decide to let it go - I actually had to decide to physically leave the room if I was about to say anything about chemistry class.  I let him take care of it - no yelling, checking, freaking out or demands from me.  No frantic tutoring about how to do logs to find the pH of a solution. This was supremely not easy for me - I did freak out a lot to Jeremy who told me not to freak out (insert long discussions about how he got Cs in chemistry in high school and now he's like the super expert on biofuels with nice shiny degrees, to affirmative action (both gender and race), to white/asian privilege, to my own very mixed feelings about how hard I worked in high school/college and had 100% focus on grades, to discussions about what the most important things are to accomplish as a parent - what is our role exactly?, to honestly can we afford $70K a year anyways?)  What's the worst that can happen from getting a B in chemistry?  Really, not much, I guess.  (one would think that having a child like Edda would promptly relieve me of demanding any As from any of my other children, but somehow this isn't true (you know when babies are thought of in the ether as mystical, cute amorphous blobs of people and and one gets asked do you want a boy or a girl? and the right answer is it doesn't matter as long as it's healthy?  yeah, that and one that gets and A in chemistry, lol.) - maybe the exact opposite is true. So he rides into the big final exam yesterday, with, I swear, an 89 in the class.  I can not believe that this is going to have to come down to the last exam on the last day.   But to his credit, he pulled it off, got 100 on the final exam - pulled it up to an A.  He woke up this morning, a Saturday, and walked into my bedroom told me about it after seeing the grade posted online and I gave him a high five.  He walked back to his room.  I sighed a long sigh.

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This was the last woods orienteering of the season, Vince didn't go last week - he promised to go this week.  I know he doesn't want to do this, but he indulges me.  I had to arrange for Kitachi to come and care for Edda.  Initially, I was going to take Edda and have her do the beginner course with me, but the beginner course had some stairs in it and I didn't think Edda & I could manage that.  And, it was pouring, pouring rain which I can't subject Edda to.  Vince and I were going to do different courses - him an easier one, me a harder one.  But it was almost a mile of hiking to the start of both courses on a trail that had turned, in the downpour, into a minor river and he was flagging.  Complaining about not feeling well, of his back hurting, etc.  Saying that he just wanted to go back to the car and wait there for me.  I urged him to start his course, that I would help him find his first control.  We walked around for 20 minutes and couldn't find it.  It was slippery, still raining and his heart/head wasn't in it.  It was clear then to me that no one was going to complete any course and that we should just try to keep the mood light and the outing happy.  We had different maps, but we decided to stick together and use the maps in an overlapping manner to try and find a hodge-podge of controls, all out of order, but in the order that we might stumble on them.  We at many points asked each other - you're navigating, right?  I have no idea where we are and then the other person would say - no, I'm not navigating.  I thought you were navigating.  And then we'd stop and look at each other and then try to look at the map and figure out where we were.

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Jeremy, on the other coast, is enjoying absolutely perfect weather on a bike ride up Mt. Diablo.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Luggage, bubble tea, graveyard party.

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We used to own two pieces of rolling luggage, one from Land's End and one from LL Bean.  The Land's End one broke down the last trip we took (the zipper pulled out of its track) and so I told Jeremy to go spend some time and buy a new one.  I suggested the hip Away luggage (suggested by Lifehacker), but he picked TravelPro, the ones flight attendants use.  While he was packing this morning, he was using the LLBean one and getting all frustrated that all his stuff wouldn't fit into the rolling suitcase and I asked - you aren't going to use the new one?  So he pulled the new one out (dorky as it is) and managed to stuff all of his gear into the the TravelPro one (there is extensive compression strapping going on in there).  He is not a light packer.  Of course he would fit all his stuff into this new rolling bag because he looks exactly like the guy on the attached tag.  We don't compromise on anything here in the Lee-Martin household.  It's only the best in here. 

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I asked if he needed a ride to the Metro - given that that carry on bag must weigh at least 40 pounds.  He said - it's the last day of bike-to-work month, I gotta at least try to bike to the metro.  So I watched him bungee cord his luggage to his commuter bike and didn't hear from him again.  I guess he made it to work.

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I went to see Vickey today in Fairfax.  This was the day we decided to see On Chesil Beach the movie before it exited the theaters. It was a delightful afternoon which started with lunch and ended with bubble tea and ice cream. 

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I came home and then picked up Edda from aftercare.  I fed her some dinner and tucked her into bed and ducked out of the house for about an hour (asking Vince to "watch" over Edda basically meaning if the house caught on fire, please haul her out of the house) to go to a housewarming party at the Rockville cemetery.  I recently ran into some nursing friends at the climbing gym and they are renting the caretakers house at the cemetery.  I couldn't resist going and seeing them and checking the place out.  Lots of climbers at the party, talking about crimp strength. 

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