In which I give up

My nephew is here, having arrived into the world at around 5:15 yesterday evening; he is of normal size and proportion and in possession of all of the various bits he is supposed to be in possession of. Mom and Dad are also fine, if perhaps slightly dazed. They live much closer to her family than to ours; it’s going to be a couple of weeks before we’re able to go up there and meet him, and I spent a good chunk of last night fighting off a wave of surprisingly intense jealousy that her people were getting to see the new arrival so much earlier than us until I talked to my brother on the phone and he pointed out that, because of Covid, they weren’t allowed any visitors at the hospital, and so nobody other than my brother and sister-in-law are going to get to interact with him until they go home, which should be tomorrow.

My first thought when I saw him was that he got his nose from our side of the family, and then I looked more carefully at my brother’s nose and decided that I didn’t have any idea what the hell I was talking about. I’ve always halfway suspected people just pick a facial feature and a relative when they say things like that, and it entertained me how fast the reaction was on my part and how utterly nonsensical it was when I thought about it. He has the same baby nose as every baby.


Today was exhausting. It’s the first really warm day of the year around here, topping off at around 82 degrees, and my building does not do ventilation all that well; the windows open but it does a lot less good than you might think, and I spent basically the whole damn day sweating. On top of that, the math portion of the ILEARN started today, and my group was quite clearly Over It by the end of the test, despite the fact that every time I walked around and read questions over people’s shoulders it was stuff we had covered recently. Like, this quarter, if not actually in the three weeks I’ve been back.

Insert every rant I’ve ever ranted about how the fuck do you not remember this and what are you people doing that you can know how to do something on Tuesday and act like you’ve never seen it before on Wednesday. By the time we got to eighth hour I was so sweaty and crabby and hot that I actually gave them the period off, because however I was explaining my shit to them today it wasn’t sinking in; my kids were, no shit, having trouble with questions like is this line going up or down all day, and I just cannot right now, at all.

Then in between the bell ringing at the end of the day and getting out of the building I had to deal with two entirely different situations in which a student was bawling and inconsolable and figure out what the hell was wrong and what I could do to fix it, one of which involved a quick parent phone call because the kid was convinced his parents wouldn’t believe him about what had just happened.

I’m in my sleep shorts and a tank top right now, and I don’t wear tank tops. That’s how Goddamned tired I am. Thank God I don’t have any kids tomorrow; I need to get my equilibrium back.

Pictured: not my nephew

Or maybe it is. How would you know? There’s no way to know, they all look alike.

I am, in fact, rather impatiently awaiting the birth of my first nephew and first nibling; he is not here yet, but from what I hear he and his mother have been working on it since about 7:30 this morning. While I’m sure I’m not remotely as excited as my brother and my sister-in-law, I have thought of little else all day. There hasn’t been an update in a little while (and I made it clear to each and every one of my classes that I would be checking my phone constantly and basically dared them to have anything to say about it) so hopefully that means everybody got busy real quick. 🙂

The new parents aren’t wild about pictures of lil’ dude being spread all over the internet so I probably won’t post any pictures of him once he’s here, but I might post pictures of somebody else’s kid so y’all can pretend.

Who else is excited about something right now?

Sunday doldrums

I have accomplished nothing this weekend, which has been spent mostly reading books I wasn’t really enjoying and lazing about and moaning.

On the plus side, I expect to find out that I have a new nephew sometime tomorrow. So that’s all good.

(They won’t let me post pictures, so I’ll have to find one of a similar newborn. Y’all won’t know the difference.)

On masking up

Some good news: the mask panic attacks, after four days at school where I had to have one on for hours, appear to be subsiding. I have ended up landing on this one as my preferred mask, and the only complaint I have about it is that it rides up on my eyes a little more than I’d like it to, so I’m probably touching it and adjusting it more than I would like to.

I’ve been thinking more lately about what it’s going to mean to be “done” with Covid. It’s been made pretty clear that there’s a certain subset of the population who are going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming into vaccination, and to the best of my knowledge there is as of yet no shot that has been approved for use with middle school kids. So masking up at school is likely to remain a thing for a fair bit of time longer than masking up in general is going to be, especially since I live in a red state.

Thing is, it’s not like the masks are doing my kids any good, because as I suspected they cannot be convinced to wear them properly. Four days of in-person instruction in, I have reminded kids to cover their noses or their mouths with their masks approximately 123,425,208 times. And I’m probably still not doing it as often as I should, because there is literally someone without their mask on properly in my classroom 100% of the time, even with our current seriously-reduced number of students. I think I’ve been pretty consistent about this from the beginning: I hate wearing a mask, and wearing a mask genuinely fucks with me, but I’m going to do it anyway for as long as it’s necessary to do it. But hell if it’s not difficult to conclude that it’s safest for me to keep wearing one at work when I’m fully vaccinated and the kids around me are wearing theirs in a way that is literally not doing any good at all.

In general, I’m trying to be attentive to how much of my current behavior is reasonable and how much of it is basically quarantine-driven paranoia and, frankly, claustrophobia. I think it’s reasonable at this point to say that if you’re outside, unless you’re having a conversation in close quarters, you’re probably all good, and even in the building I tend to not put my mask on until I actually see another human being– if I can make it from my car to my classroom without wearing it, and frequently I can, I don’t put it on. But how long is it going to be until I feel okay going into a restaurant again? Like, I don’t even really have a guideline for what might make me decide “okay, this is all right now.” I got invited out for a drink with a couple of other teachers after work on Friday and turned it down. I’ve turned down multiple other such invitations over the course of the year. And I don’t even know what the plan is for when I might decide that sort of thing is okay again.

Actually, I do know one thing that would help: I don’t think there’s a solid consensus yet on whether vaccinated people can spread the virus easily. I know I’m not immune to catching Covid, it’s mostly just that if I do get it it is much, much more likely to be a minor case. But that doesn’t mean I can’t spread it to my father-in-law if I end up asymptomatic, and I’d prefer not to spread it to any strangers, either. But, like, if I spend the next six or seven weeks in a poorly-ventilated classroom and in near-constant contact with middle school kids who aren’t wearing their masks right (because, again, none of them wear their masks right) and don’t catch it, I feel like that’s pretty good evidence that I can at least, like, go to the store without having to wear one. Sitting in a restaurant? I dunno. Going into the gas station to buy a candy bar and pay for my gas and leave? When there’s plexiglass between me and the dude behind the counter? Is that okay?

I dunno. I’m kind of talking in circles about that, but that’s because I’m thinking in circles about it too. I need the people who are making this a political issue to walk into the ocean so that the rest of us can come up with a reasonable set of standards for when we let our guard down a little bit, and if they’re not going to walk into the ocean, the least we should be doing is employing government snipers with dart guns to vaccinate these idiots so they can stop fucking things up for the rest of us.

Biden should put that in the jobs plan, as a matter of fact.

Aaaaand I’m out

Well, that didn’t last long: I had planned on spending most of the day sitting on my computer in the office working my way through the course I was supposed to complete for the IU thing, and instead I lost patience with it immediately and quit the IU thing. I suspect, but cannot prove, that there has been a massive hemorrhage of people they’d hired for this this week once everyone looked around and realized what they’d signed up for, and I’d rather just quit now than get two or three weeks in and either bail after I’d spent actual time and effort on it or fall for the sunk cost fallacy and stick around just for the stipend. The $2500 would have been nice, but I have always valued my time far more than my money, and this simply wasn’t worth my time.

Y’all, I’m tech-savvy. I’ve had jobs recently where explaining tech to people was basically all I was being paid for. But what made me hit the brakes on this thing was hitting a point in this course where they wanted me to do the following:

  • Acquire (somehow) a Canvas account that allowed me to create courses;
  • Use that account (that I don’t have) to create a course that
  • Used my teacher account (that I also don’t have) on another site called Perusall so that I can
  • Copy material from the Canvas course I’m in right now in order to
  • Create assignments from the material already posted in that class which
  • No one, anywhere, will ever look at and then
  • Reflect on what the assignment has taught me.

Adding insult to injury, this entire process was labelled “optional,” but it was made clear at the beginning of the class that if you wanted any PGP points (useful for license renewal) for this process you had to do all the optional parts.

Could I do all of this? Absolutely. Maybe. I don’t actually have a way to create a teacher account in Canvas, at least not without using my work Canvas account for it, which I’m not going to do. So that could have been challenging. Am I going to jump through all of these hoops– the instructions were three screens long– to create an assignment that isn’t going to do me any good at all? On Saturday? Nope. I’m not. And most people are not remotely as good as I am with tech stuff, and the dizzying array of different accounts we were supposed to be creating and monitoring for this thing was too much for me.

So, yeah. Looks like I’ve got a bit more free time than I’d counted on for the next nine weeks. I almost wish I could watch this thing from a distance, fly-on-the-wall style, because as I said I think I’m far from the only person to look around and bail on the spot, and I think the whole thing is going to end up messily imploding in short order. I removed myself from the Google Chat room we were supposed to be doing all of our team communication in (yet another account I had to create) so I can’t keep an eye out, leaving only a GBCW post in my wake letting them know I was done. Good luck, y’all.