Welp, yesterday we all learned a valuable lesson about fire safety 😬
Now please let me emphasise:
WE ARE ALL FINE
Nobody was hurt, and the house is still in one piece. However, in a stunning and probably preventable turn of events? I accidentally set fire to our kitchen by making my kids dinner. For today, to add insult to injury. I wasn’t even making them dinner for consumption at the time.
But yes, in attempting to make mini toad in the holes for the offspring? There was accidental ignification. Though fortunately only of the second tray! Thank the gods for small mercies 🤣😉
Now, as I am calmly writing and sharing this you can assume we are all fine.
We are. But that’s not to say it wasn’t traumatising. Because we (the hus-creature and myself) realised that we are woefully, abysmally, underprepared for this type of emergency.
See, I put a hot pan onto a hot hob. I was trying to keep the oil hot because that is *key* to successful Yorkshire Pudding. But either it took too long or the pan was too hot or…
I was using the last of the Christmas goose fat, which it appears has a lower point of ignition than canola or sunflower oil and it went up.
It was a small fire. I stayed calm. I shouted “FIRE” and I also remembered what not to do for an oil-based fire.
You never, ever, throw water on an oil fire. No ifs. No buts. No coconuts.
However there were no fire blanket or fire extinguishers to hand. There may have been an extinguisher in the basement. This is NOT good. And has been rectified.
Reluctant praise to Overlord Bezos is forced to be extended here.
So in tackling the (small) blaze I lost a couple of teatowels, the pair of oven gloves, and I had to mop up the floor a bit.
The hus-creature is actually beating himself up far more than is even remotely reasonable considering he is not the one who inadvertently caused a fire. Once everything was safe, secured, and aired out (because even a small amount of oil fire = big smoke) we all went and had a lie down.
And immediately there was Emotional Support Cat ❤️
She leapt up onto the bed, briefly booped me, then settled her full weight onto her daddy’s chest and did her best train impression:
So, I have ADHD. That is completely and blatantly obvious to everyone. Myself included. However, mine has yet to be confirmed by the medical profession.
But Fliss, you are a firm proponent of getting help and support. You’ve fought like a tiger to get #1 Son diagnosed and supported. Why won’t you do this for yourself?
And that is a very good question.
Especially as several persons in my close circle have recently been both diagnosed and put on the relevant medications.
Well, I have a few reasons. They are mostly practical in nature. I’m already on multiple medications:
Estrogen – HRT (to deal with my hysterectomy).
Amlodipine/Valsartan – Blood Pressure (so I don’t stroke out and die).
Pantoprazole – a seriously high dose GI med (it has healed some esophageal damage and seems to be dealing with some of my endometriosis related issues).
Fluconazole – I’ve been having issues with recurrent yeast infections since a misdiagnosed infection so I’m on a standing prescription for the rest of the year.
I also take a number of supplements to try and deal with other issues. I basically rattle. So the idea of adding more medications to the rotation doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.
In addition, I live in the USA. So I rely heavily on the insurance gods – and they have a tendency to either refuse to cover treatment, or to decide (with zero medical knowledge) that you don’t need the dosage level that your actual doctor prescribed for you. My pantoprazole costs circa $200 a month with insurance! So, I’d really rather not be in the position of getting reliant on a medication that could be yanked out from under me at any moment because someone who ‘doesn’t believe in ADHD’ doesn’t feel like I deserve my medication.
I might change my mind in one of two situations.
When I have to come off of HRT – menopause really makes ADHD symptoms worse.
If/when I go “back to work” as I know from bitter experience that I do not cope well with an office environment, but there’s no way I’m going back into the work system in a customer service role.
And certainly not while the pandemic rages on – essential workers have been shafted on both sides of the Atlantic – and I can’t do that.
I’ve developed coping mechanisms that work. Now, admittedly, quite a large number of them have either been newly developed or refined since the pandemic started, but realizing why I’m not ‘normal’ and how my specific neurodivergence works has enabled me to work with my brain, instead of constantly fighting it.
That doesn’t mean I’m cured. Far from it. I never will be. This is permanent. But now I understand.
Why I listen to the same songs/audiobooks over and over again.
Why I space out.
Why I ‘squirrel’ even while spaced out.
Why I get so uncomfortable if I get interrupted (by anything) whilst I am mid task.
Why I can be happily enjoying a TV show/series/video game one day and then the next just think “nope, I just don’t want to watch/play this ever again”.
Why I obsess and why I hyper-fixate on things.
Why I hate change, and need routines.
Why I never ever stop talking, especially if I’m hyper-fixated on the subject.
Why I speak so fucking fast – especially if I’m excited – it’s my superpower bitches!
I’ve learned about dopamine – and the fact my brain doesn’t make it. So it finds it elsewhere. But that the supplies of dopamine can suddenly just… stop. And will they come back? Who knows. Which can often be more than a little distressing.
And perhaps most importantly? I’ve learned about executive dysfunction – and how mine works. There are days, sometimes over a week, when I cannot do ‘stuff’. That fortunately is nowhere near as common as it once was – and it usually coincides with a depression or anxiety flare up.
Why am I writing this? Because today has been a bad one. It took me over 30 minutes to decide to complete the getting of the dressed. Then a further 30 minutes to actually do it.
Then I was attempting to do my usual housework. I have discovered that if I leave the dishwasher ‘for the morning’, it’s the worst thing I can do for myself. Because if I walk into the kitchen and see that? It just kills me mentally for the rest of the day. I can’t. So last night I filled and ran the dishwasher, so I just had to empty it. But I also needed to start my cleaning. And that? That took over two hours to complete. Not because the rooms were dirty, but because I just couldn’t even. Mopping each room only takes five minutes, but I had to prepare the relevant things… and I just couldn’t.
So today? A bad day. But I managed to clean my kitchen and my dining room, which are the two highest traffic rooms in the house. So, I managed to get shit done today. But that’s it now. I’m not fighting my brain anymore. Laundry day is tomorrow, so I’m not going to quibble over that today.
And that’s another bugbear. I hate laundry. And I’ve had to change laundry day due to outside factors. It used to be Monday, now it’s mostly Wednesdays. Did you know that children keep growing? Now I no longer have one whites/lights and one darks/colors load a week. Nope, now both kids are big enough that it’s a minimum of three loads a week. Also, because of cloth masks, I’m also laundering all the towels every week. I used to be able to get away with it every week and a half to two weeks because our machine is ludicrously oversized! Not anymore, nope. Sigh.
So now I’m going to veg on the sofa with my heated froggy slippers, a drink and a streaming service – IF my brain will let me focus on any one thing this afternoon.
Of two further positive COVID-19 cases in my kids’ school.
Fortunately (and I cannot believe I’m typing this) these individuals had been previously identified as close contacts of one of the preceding cases.
So no new infection right? Especially as they hadn’t been in school since they were notified.
Except that Massachussetts is running a fucking ludicrous “Test and Stay” programme which means if you remain symptom free after an exposure and agree to daily tests you get to stay in school.
So yet again my anxiety is spiking and I await the news on the test reports for my children – as they are tested every Monday..
No, they aren’t impressed by this. Especially #1 Son – he hates it. But they both understand why they have to do it.
But I have overcome one level of anxiety and have agreed to sign #1 Son up for Choir after school every Thursday from next week. This technicallycounts as an “out of school” extracurricular so we shall see how we go on this. I’m telling myself it’s only an extra 30 minutes – but it’s with the entire 4th and 5th grades. Or at least all those that want to sing – there’s no auditions. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not.
But it’s still an additional level of exposure. I hope to God that they let the kids keep their masks on, else I will be yanking him out faster than you can say Jack Robinson.
That’s right ladies – we should just keep our legs crossed.
Which, you know, won’t backfire on us at all will it now? That won’t increase risk of rape – by strangers or by someone we know at all right?
I have an idea. If pregnancy is God’s will? So is erectile disfunction. So no abortion for people who need them? No Viagra for men who need it.
I’m done arguing about this.
There were marches today across the whole country. As I still have kiddos who are too young to get vaccinated, I couldn’t risk marching. But I’ve campaigned. I’ve supported. I’m keeping my information current.
The DOJ is actually suing Texas thankfully but this is the thin edge of the wedge. Other states agree. And the Supreme Court desperately wants to try and overturn Roe vs. Wade.
We cannot allow this to happen!
Because make no mistake. Banning abortion doesn’t stop abortion. It just prevents safe abortions.
Women. Will. Die.
And all those Republican men whose wives, mistresses and unwed teenagers (daughter’s or otherwise) will still be able to obtain them.
This is a disgusting piece of legislation designed to target and punish poor women and BIPOC women and other uterus possessors.
I’m angry and I firmly believe that we should all be.
The Rose of Sharon (hibiscus) tree – I have a slight sad about this, but she couldn’t really be saved.
The full berry patch – which, as it turns out, contained a LOT of poison oak and poison ivy 😬😬😬.
The goddamn monkey fudging grape vines 🎊🎉🎊🎉.
The pool deck – which, as it turns out was not based on anything. There was no structure, support or concrete underneath it at all.
No more hog weed or haunted bamboo!
The chipmunks and *skunks are almost certainly fully evicted as they were living in the pine tree and berry patch respectively.
The hideous side of the house which was, quite frankly, dangerous has now been ripped out. They did discover an awful retaining wall that has just been made of poured concrete and shale stucco**. That’s going to add another $3000+ to the bill, as it needs to be dealt with else all our new work could be destroyed. Repair work will buy us 3-5 years before it needs to be replaced so 🤷🏻♀️.
*Yes. Skunks. I have seen them wombling through a few times, and a week or so ago I spotted two …Cavorting in the neighbours garden.
**It’s cracked to pieces, full of holes and has a bloody triffid living in it.
The front is a separate part of the same main job. They have:
Ripped out all the bushes.
Grass all dug out – will be installing new sod*
They will be:
Installing a new kerb.
**Installing an underground drain.
*The back yard is simply going to be grass seeded rather than sod, in order to save some $$$$
**Both of these projects will, in theory, deal with the major flooding issues in our basement – or at any rate a decent part of them. We will still look to install a sump pump. Hopefully next year.
There’s other things happening too. It does turn out that the neighbour’s grandkids had occasionally developed signs of poison ivy/oak and they hadn’t been able to work out from where as there’s none in their yard. I apologised of course, but as I’ve witnessed said (teenage) grandchildren crashing over our fence into the berry patch with very little regard for my property? I don’t feel too guilty and their grandma said pretty much the same thing!
Obviously if it had been the little ones I would be far more concerned! I’m not a monster!
So yes, this year’s major house project is the backyard.
We are attempting to budget one project per year. Last year we had to get the chimney done. Then the A/C happened. Then the plumbing disaster. So this is the first time we’ve been in a position to choose what we do.
House ownership of something that is 120+ years old is… Fun 😬😬😬
That’s two in the school since the start of the year. Which may not sound like a whole lot, but the first one was Day 2 and was a staff member!!!
This next one is in #1 Son’s grade!
Though fortunately not in his class!
And so round and round we go again. I’ve told both kiddos and reinforced my masking rules again. Fortunately they are part of the pooled testing programme so get tested every Monday morning anyway but it does not help my anxiety.
I simply feel like we are just waiting for it to hit again. And please allow me to explain just what it is I fear – exactly.
It’s not that I’ll lose my kids. Statistically I’m aware that’s improbable. They’ve had a version of the virus before. Though over 8 months ago and not Delta.
It’s the long term effects on their health and overall well being I’m terrified for.
For example, #1 Son still has his cough. And there’s little data on long hauler syndrome in children. But we’ve seen the effects on previously star athletes and similar.
Forgive me for not wanting that for my children.
So just at the point I was beginning to contemplate relaxing my grip on my anxiety, the midden has hit the windmill again.
However tomorrow I will probably begin discussions on one of the highlights of my year:
I disappeared. I know I did. I’m aware. The Instagram kept me on the social media radar, as has The TikTok to a lesser extent.
Though my work there is veering more into feminist/political content far more than I ever intended this blog to do.
I also completely hate, and I mean truly loathe and despise the new WordPress interface. I used to simply compose posts on my phone, add gifs and photos practically instantly, then post up. Now? I can’t do it. And with everything that has gone down in the last 20+ months? I just didn’t have the head space for it at all.
Now? I need something more to focus on. There’s been so much anxiety and fear, and despair and depression. I’m coping – I have kids, I have to cope – but the Black Dog is definitely nipping at my heels, and in a way that isn’t usual for me.
I usually simply shut down. Climb into my box without even being aware that it’s what I’m doing, but right now, it’s sheer exhaustion. On a weekday I am crashing out regularly for a minimum of an hour, sometimes two, long nap. Usually after the afternoon school run, but not exclusively. Today it was after – from 2:50ish til about 4:20ish. I can’t help it – I try so hard to keep my eyes open, but it just… stops. And although I am walking to and from the Elementary school twice a day most days (on rainy/stormy days the hus-creature tends to take pity on us and agrees to take the car) it’s only a 40 minute walk in total, and we are already speeding up.
It is uphill in both directions though – and yes that is possible 🥺🙄🥺🙄
So, let’s divide this post up into some things of note that have occurred since I was last here. The first obvious one would be:
Yessiree Bob, both kiddos are now proud Winthrop Wild Cats. And while I can’t believe that #1 Son is now in Fourth Grade, I find it even harder to credit that TT is now a KINDERGARTENER.
Those of you who followed me purely on the Book of Faces know that #1 Son basically rocked out Third Grade entirely remotely. We did an entire full school year via Zoom and associated technological processes. And for a kiddo with ADHD and related issues? I truly, truly, could not be more proud of him. He met his academic expectations in 99% of all subjects and areas within them. And the areas he didn’t? I truly don’t remember where those are.
And he learned to play the violin entirely remotely. And the kid has TALENT he really does! He’s agreed to keep it as his ‘in-school extra curricular activity’ for this year, so watch this space to see how that goes. I can’t wait to see how his skill expands with proper 1:1 in-person learning. There’s serious musical talent on his dad’s side of the family, so I know it’s not just the usual parental bias of ‘oh, my kid is just amazing’ – begone Roald Dahl, thou hast no power here!
TT? Well her last year home with me was not what I had planned. I mean, she shared me with her brother – he was around 100% of the time. And he was her only source of social interaction for 95% of the time. We kept her in her Dance Class, but that was remote for most of 2020 and early 2021. The girl has suffered. She has always been my social butterfly and this has become more and more painfully obvious since the start of school.
She runs in every day – she doesn’t even glance back. In fact, 3 days out of 5 she tells us both very specifically:
Mommy/Daddy don’t follow me in!
TT – aged 5
I mean, we get a hug and a “see you after school” but she’s completely independent!
For any of the audience who remembers the year that was #1 Son’s adventures in Kindergarten it already couldn’t be more different. I mean, she’s sassed the Superintendent (Day 1) and the Principal (Day -1 – the week before school started!) but honestly? She’s happy. She’s learning and she’s thriving.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve already had to sign and return a “home – school behaviour form”, but it’s still so much better overall.
It’s not what I wanted for her, it’s not. I fully expected the complete William Wallace effect.
Instead, I’m stuck on the side lines, praying (to a God I don’t believe in – don’t @ me) that masks, hand washing/sanitizer, social distancing (of only 3ft), assigned seating and eating outside (weather permitting) is enough to keep them both safe. But what else can I do? Massachusetts beloved Governor has decreed that schools are safe. That the virus will, of course, respect all of the rules laid out above, and of course will take weekends off.
Believe me, I’ve seen the back of my own skull so many times since the option of remote learning was taken off the tablefor the 2021/22 School Year.
But what else is open to me beyond de-registering them then attempting to homeschool them both? By myself. With no classroom support. I mean, I did manage to teach TT to both read and write her letters, the short version of her name, and read 1,000 books before Kindergarten.
But that’s basic skills only. Social Studies? Science? Art? Music? Digital Literacy? I can’t do those. So, I take all the precautions I can, and pray. And count down the days until the end of the school year 🤬😬🤦🏼♀️
And believe me, my own rules? Draconian compared to those of the District.
Masks are worn at all times – NO mask breaks.
This includes eating – they raise the mask, take a bite/sip, then lower it, chew and swallow.
We wear our masks on the walks to and from school – I am allowing us all to not have to wear them whilst schlepping up the big hill on the way home.
If anyone tries to tell them they don’t need to wear them? I’ve told them to tell them that “these are our family rules and my mom says I have to.” And then to tell me, whereupon I will rain true hellfire and damnation down. I have already sent multiple emails to the school over lack of rule enforcement and policy weakness. I do not give a flying fuck what they think of me – I am keeping my children safe. Every other person can fuck right off.
In case it wasn’t obvious? I AM TIRED. So tired. Once my kiddos are fully vaccinated, I will have nothing left.
And that is looking like being possible from October (plus 5 weeks to full vaccination status)
For every other utter moron who wants to claim their Darwin/Herman Caine Award? Please do so. I’m done arguing with you. Get the vaccine or don’t. I no longer care. But you are not taking my family with you. And if you are unvaccinated? You are not coming into my house. End of. I’m not even thinking about boosters yet – though as I am J&J I am desperate for one – but no needle? No visit. I’m not even joking.
This segues me in a little to the topic of:
Yep, as of next week they both have the dreaded homework.
TT’s is, fortunately, currently nothing more than reading for 20 minutes a day. Which can be in numerous formats:
Reading with someone
Having someone read to them.
Closed captions on streamed programmes – which I have as standard on all my own accounts anyway.
So she has a 5-10 minute bedtime story every night, so adding in additional minutes shouldn’t be too difficult right?
Well, what about #1 Son?
Well, the expectation for homework is: Grade level times 10 for number of minutes. A night. So, for him that’s 40 minutes a night. For a child with ADHD. Oh deep joy. At least it’s being divided into 20 minutes Math – which is a major area of strength for him, and 20 minutes reading. Which again, everything listed above counts, plus:
Reading silently (in his own head)
Now, as I have zero desire to play the ‘let me test you on what you’ve read’ game, option two is out. However has anyone else spotted what I have?
He can read aloud to his sister for 20 minutes, and that covers BOTH of their reading homework.
And yes, I checked with his teacher, reading books at her level rather than his own will count. Especially if he does the voices. Which he does. She’s already noticed that, and she finds it just as adorable as I do!
So he started that tonight and it seems to be acceptable for both of them… For now 😬😬😬
I was going to write more, but I’m hitting a wall, so dear audience?
I finally managed to get my retest for the COVIDs today after trying for three days straight.
We arrived at 12:45, the testing centre didn’t even open until 14:00, but if we had arrived even five minutes later? We wouldn’t have gotten in!!!
I would be a lot less salty if I wasn’t convinced that the majority of those people waiting ahead of us in the queue weren’t trying for last-ditch tests to allow them to leave the state for Christmas trips.
We were then waiting in the car, all of us, for four hours! The kids did really well overall. I did have to pull #1 Son out of school early to do it, which annoys me, but there’s only 2.5 days in total this week, so it could be worse.
Unfortunately, that time in the car really did a number on the hus-creature’s back. It took him over 10 minutes to get out of the car into the house when we got back. It was serious enough that when I caught him trying to bring in some of the packages that had been delivered in our absence? He got the full on Mom Voice.
To the extent that #1 Son asked me:
Mom? What did dad do to get that?
Now we wait. I’m in the unenviable position of wishing for a positive test so that there is an end date to the first part of this nightmare.
Hus-creature – December 21st
#1 Son – December 25th
TT – December 27th
In theory my dates match with #1 Son’s, but without the confirmation of the positive test, I’m merely what they consider a “presumed positive” which is complicated and irritating.
The cat was not impressed with how long we were gone – and we are fairly sure she has contracted it too so she’s not overly impressed with us anyway.
But we snuggled down for a cuddle which is unusual, as the hus-creature is her preferred human.
And to top it off? Tonight is December 21st, the Winter Solstice, the shortest night of the year. There is also a Great Conjunction.
I hate everyone and everything that conspired towards this.
TT is starting to show some symptoms and I’ve been showing some of them since Tuesday/Wednesday.
We can’t be certain until we get our results, but according to the school nurse who is acting as our liaison, positives take longer to return than negatives.
The hus-creature can come out of isolation if we have more infestation in the main house so I’ll/he’ll confirm that tomorrow and he can come back and join us. Which is good because I’m getting more tired by the day and could do with the rest without worrying about the kiddos being completely unsupervised.
In slightly nicer news #1 Son had a snow day today, but obviously I can’t let them play outside in it.
So please, please wear the goddamn fucking masks dear audience. Because this sucks.
Yep. It’s here. It’s in the house. Yes he’s isolated – thank the gods for a basement granny flat with our old bed in it. His symptoms are, at the moment comparatively mild.
He isolates for 10 days then, as long as the symptoms are gone? He can rejoin the rest of us.
As for us? Well, we are under quarantine for 14 days. Today being Day 1. Unless anyone else shows symptoms – which resets the 14-day clock. Also at that point said hus-creature may as well come out of the bloody basement because the kiddos can’t be left unsupervised.
So now begins the over analysis of every little cough, snort or sneeze. Couple with daily temperature checks. Which tell us nothing because while with us the hus-creature’s temperature was normal.
The kids are handling this like troopers. Thank all the gods we were already remote schooling, and TT can do dance by Zoom but I’m angry.
Don’t get me wrong, I was devastated all day yesterday when we got the news but now? ANGRY.
Sheer She-Hulk levels of rage. I hate every single fucker who did not and will not wear a mask. I’m way beyond my usual benign levels of cursing. I want them all to know what we are going through.
I wish no-one death. I wish no-one hospitalised. But I want them to know this fear. I want them to know this worry.
Because it’s their fault. Every. Single. Anti-mask. Fucker. Caused. This.
And I hate them. I loathe and despise them.
But I still want their families spared.
Wear the fucking masks people. It’s not hard and you could spare someone pain, fear and anguish.