Sunday, March 27, 2022


 Last week I caught Hamslice screwing off during his homeschool classes, switching between class and online video reels of anime and cartoons. I got pretty codependent to the point where he was listening for me to wheel my chair backwards and then when he heard that he would flip to his schoolwork. I spent half of my time during the day trying to silently stand to catch him in the act. I caught him probably 4 times out of 20, but I saw him flip the screen each time. 

Obviously I lost my temper with this and started shouting. I may have also whopped him up side the head. While this was not a healthy setup, my resulting guilt did open a channel of communication where we started talking about what made life worth living. We decided that videos were not the thing that makes life worth living (although Hamslice is still unconvinced), but that things in line with a future career that were fun would receive 100% of our support. 

To this end, Hamslice said that for entertainment, he would like to go back to Magic on Friday nights (the card game, not the trickery) and that he wanted to focus on physics.

I immediately hired an online tutor, and just a few minutes ago he finished his first tutoring session. 


And, the tutor worked with Hamslice for an hour, with Hamslice keeping up with the tutor. I am skeptical that he is at AP college physics level, but will continue to watch the tutoring sessions to see what this looks like over time.

Friday, March 25, 2022

So, Homeschool.

 After returning to school, Little Ham was able to re-assimilate and is back to his friends and social circle, and doing well in school. 

Meanwhile, Hamslice entered highschool as Grade 9 after 1.5 (ish) years out for the pandemic... initially he did OK but then we noticed that his sense of self was eroding. His depression flared up and he was nearly unresponsive. He walked around slouched over, he was unable to look people in the eye, and his face was a mask without emotion. 

In January, after agonizing over how to help him, and realizing that the HS was unable to provide support because they were dealing with the vestiges of the pandemic (teacher absences, COVID protocols, so many students out sick or quarantined) that he was left to fend for himself in classes with little to no content and a student body that was un-socialized and savage to someone who is not neurotypical.

Hamslice described students following him throughout the school day purposefully bumping into him over and over, and teasing him.  

We were at a critical junction, and realized this may be a life or death situation. At this point we decided to try homeschooling. 

We withdrew Hamslice in January 2022 and he is now with Mom in the loft above the garage working through Khan Academy with additional tutoring support through 

Hamslice's immediate response to homeschool was to sit next to Mom and watch cartoons overlaid on top of his lessons. He put in headphones and was lost to the Internet entertainment machine for about a month. 

Mom noticed that his demeanor was not improving, which was both concerning and aggravating, because she was well aware that he was watching cartoons all day. At a breaking point, she tore the ear phones out of his ears and there was a lot of shouting and threatening to return him to school if he didn't stop watching entertainment videos. There was punishment, and he was put under extreme supervision to ensure that he did not watch non-educational videos. 

His reaction was surprising -- he was grateful.  He described the online entertainment content as "like cocaine" and he didn't want to be so addicted but didn't know how to stop. He said "I needed help"

Fast forward a month, and he is back to watching cartoons over his educational videos, but now they are tiny in the corner of the screen. Mom hit another breaking point yesterday and chased him around the workspace, swatting him in the head. Today his screen is mirrored onto a large screen TV so Mom can see everything he sees. all day. No surprises. 

Reaction: More gratitude. 


Friday, June 18, 2021

The Great Maturation

After the boys were both vaccinated, they returned to in-person school 4 days/week. Wednesdays inexplicably remained "asynchronous days" where they were required to stay home each week. We were very surprised to learn how much both boys had matured  in contrast with their classmates. Not only did they each grow about a foot, and their voices changed while in quarantine, but their minds and attitudes grew up so much as well.

The difference upon returning to school was dramatic. Hamslice, who has historically not been a great student, started excelling! He raised his grades so much that he won awards for 'most improved' in English and Math. Hambone and I are gobsmacked.

Meanwhile, Little Ham rebounded from being caught plagiarizing most of his English and Math homework from the Internet during virtual school. He managed to recover well, and is registered for "algebra camp" over the summer. he learned a lot during COVID, but not about his school subjects.

As of now, school has ended for all intents and purposes, there are just a few 'makeup' days that are half-days consisting of movies and busy work. We are headed out to Michigan soon to stay at our new beach house. 

Everything is reopened now, and we feel very much like we are on the other side of the crisis, and we could not be more relieved.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


 While the pandemic does not really seem to be over, every state and person seems to be moving on anyway. Schools have reopened, businesses are reopening... and the rapidly increasing case load of COVID doesn't seem to bother anyone. 

And so we emerge, battered and blinded by the sun, inch by inch back into real life. It was delightful in our cocoon of TV and telling time by the abrupt start of the robot vacuums every day at 2 (upstairs) and 5 (main floor).  At this point we have all had our first dose of vaccine and are becoming more brave. 

In an outright flagrant display of vaccination boldness, I registered the boys for sleep away camp this summer -- two weeks of independence might be just what the doctor ordered for these teenagers. 

I've noticed that I am unclenching a bit myself as well. I have started using different purses and learning Spanish again, and am becoming just that much more flexible now that it doesn't feel like the world is actively ending.

Life is good.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Beautiful Snowstorm

 We have had some lovely snowstorms roll through this winter. Last week was a snow hurricane and today is a nor'easter, each of which brought a few inches of snow. 

With schools closed down to virtual learning and office attendance optional, the snow has moved to its rightful place as a thing of beauty, instead an annoyance. I like this much better!

It has been interesting to see the details of life changing. For instance, this morning I spent some time putting movie titles on our family calendar so we can have quality movies to watch on Fri and Sat nights. We have watched so many shows that it is becoming a challenge to find something interesting to watch.  Good movie titles are like currency now.

I mark time by how many cosmetics I have used. Yesterday I noticed that I am coming to the end of my second compact of foundation since this all started. Yet... At the beginning of Covid I thought it was stupid to wear makeup at all while being quarantined. 

Tonight is the super bowl, and we are all in, primarily for the snacks. We are not sure who is playing. 

The goats are well, but because there has been so many rain and snowy days, their hooves are pretty rotted. I trimmed them yesterday and am a little worried about Charlie and Delilah. Hopefully some dry days are ahead. 

The boys are getting so independent these days, it's unnerving. They don't want to hang out all the time anymore and are trying to take charge of their own responsibilities. I am constantly amazed by them.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Where's all the Food?

 On Sunday, I ordered some groceries through a delivery service like we're supposed to do in quarantine. The person doing the shopping asked me if I really wanted as much chicken, and she sent me a photo of the chicken she bought. However, when she put the delivery on the doorstep, no chicken was in there. When I called the delivery service, they said "How about your $30 back. There was no explanation about where my chicken was.

We figured that the delivery person may have just needed the chicken more than we did. 

Then our vegetable delivery came -- this service has been spotty for a while, for instance last week they delivered 30 carrots and some spoiled blueberries along with 6 moldy cucumbers. Yesterday's delivery had one half of one carrot, one half of one sweet potato, spoiled lettuce, blueberries and some pears and avocados that were so unripe you could use them for baseballs.

While nobody is talking about food shortages, we suspect something is afoot again. In response, we cancelled the vegetable delivery service. We just aren't sure that we need to take that much food out of the system for just us. 

Our household has devolved to a few standard meals and some baking, but the early pandemic culinary adventures have sort of petered out. And now we wait. The vaccine was approved yesterday, so hopefully we won't be stuck in here for too many more months.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Reminders of our Old Life

 We are so settled in with Covid quarantine that we hardly notice Anymore, except for some times when we can't help but compare...

For instance yesterday was Thanksgiving Day and I wanted to cook the full, traditional meal, complete with pie, homemade gravy, homemade stuffing and yam casserole. I figured since no one was coming over, I would relax and take my time...the meal would be ready when it was ready. forward to 10 am and literally everything was done and we were sitting down to eat.

This morning I wanted to take the day to decorate for Christmas. Wanted to take my time and really do it right.

Here it is right now at 11:24 and we are all done, packed up and watching a movie.

It reminds me how much speed we used to need all the time because we were so busy all the time.

Hm. Well, Merry Xmas 😁