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?

No, not that way

I ended up accepting $50 from my brother yesterday, enough to pay for a tank of gas and my tolls for the trip, and he bought lunch. When I checked the votes upon arriving at his place yesterday they were pretty overwhelmingly in favor of not charging him, and I apparently phrased the entire thing as more of a fraught decision than it actually was, although I did manage to get him to admit that he didn’t actually expect me to jump at the offer the way I did. I figure we both came out fine; the drive to northern Illinois (what we used to refer to as “north Northytown” when I lived in Actual Chicago all those years ago) is not exciting, but it was definitely nice to get out of the house and it was a fine day to take a long drive one way or another. So all good regardless.

I also got to find out my new nephew’s name, which was surprising but acceptable, which is a nice combination. He’s due in about a month. I’m not sure when we’ll actually get to see the little bugger (although my wife gets her first shot on Tuesday and I get my second one on Thursday, so by the time he’s here we should both be good(*)) but I’m sure it’ll happen soon enough.


I had been tentatively planning on returning to in-person teaching after Spring Break, which is in two weeks. It was “tentative” because me returning means my son also needs to return to in-person instruction at his school, and that’s not a decision I can just cavalierly make on my own, obviously. A week or two ago we got notification from the district that any teachers who were working exclusively from home, all of whom had to provide a doctors’ note to achieve said status, would have to provide a second doctor’s note releasing us to return to work before we’d be allowed back in the buildings.

Okay, cool. Kind of an annoying hoop to have to jump through but my doctor didn’t throw up any roadblocks about the first letter so there’s no reason she’s going to get stubborn about the second one. I mentally filed it away on my List of Adulting To Accomplish and decided to ignore it for the time being.

Then, on Friday, at 4:30– so after everybody would have left the buildings and gone home for the day– we all got a letter from the district informing us that everyone was being “recalled to campuses” after Spring Break, no mention of doctors’ notes made. There was a snotty addendum that if your doctor still doesn’t think you should be on campus to contact Human Resources, but no mention of what had been described to us as a requirement just a couple of weeks before.

And, like, it’s okay to be pissed about this, right? I mean, I was gonna go back that day anyway, but it’s both deeply annoying and entirely in line with the typical way this district operates that we were first told we had to have our doctors clear us to return into a viral hot zone and then in less than two weeks that requirement was summarily tossed out in favor of an affirmative requirement that we return to school. This after not remotely enough time to collect any data about how things are going in the small handful of buildings that are piloting the four-day returns in the first place.

So, which is it? Did the lawyers decide the district didn’t need their butts covered after all? Was the initial requirement just HR deciding to create a minor pain-in-the-ass task for those of us planning to return just because they could? How much fight is the district planning on putting up when teachers who were allowed to stay home when there were fewer students in-building to be exposed to balk at returning with twice as many students in place?

Has anybody thought about any of this? At all? Bueller?

I don’t understand how we’ve cycled through multiple superintendents, multiple HR directors, multiple School Boards, multiple everything in the time I’ve been working for this district and this pervasive sense of poorly-communicated halfassedness continues no matter what else changes.

But yeah. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks regardless. So will my son, I guess.

(*) I am still unclear as to whether the shots confer any degree of noncontagiousness or simply that they keep the effects of the disease from being that big of a deal if it’s contracted. I know to keep wearing masks and such, and that’s not a problem, but I need to look into whether we’re safe to be around a newborn even if all the adults, at least, are properly vaccinated, and I bet there’s not a ton of data available about that. So it could be a while before we see him in any way other than over Zoom, and I’m not about to try and talk the parents into anything they’re not 100% comfortable with.

Dear Luther

What the hell, let’s advice column this shit and see what happens: I am feeling much more human today. My brother and his wife are expecting their first child in April, and it has long been the plan to give them the crib we used for our son. He texted me earlier this week and offered me $100 and lunch if I bring him the crib rather than the original plan of them coming to get it at some point; they live north of Chicago, so maybe 2-2 1/2 hours away. I am taking a day trip to bring him the crib.

(Also: I work from home, they both work from home, my dad is coming along for company and he’s retired; everyone involved except maybe my sister-in-law has had at least one shot. None of us really go anywhere, and we’re all religious about masks when we do. Covid risk is therefore minimal.)

(Also also: It’s possible, but not super likely, that my brother will see this; he gets a vote just like everybody else if he does.)

Giving me $100 will not break his bank account and receiving $100 will not change my life. He’s definitely buying me lunch, but do I take the money? Defend your answer in comments.

Thirteen years and one year

This is not, objectively speaking, that great of a picture. Bek has pretty clearly just emerged from the shower, I don’t even look like I have showered– my beard is an utter Goddamned abomination– and none of us are looking at the camera for some reason, which is odd because I seem to be holding it, so you’d think I’d know where to look. I like it anyway.

Roughly thirteen years ago, I got married to that lady on the right there. Why roughly? Our anniversary is February 29, meaning that for three out of every four years I correctly celebrate our anniversary on the 28th of February and my wife incorrectly insists that our anniversary is March 1st. I finally won this argument free and clear this year, when she fucked up and accidentally advocated my position for a few minutes, forgetting that she has always been the March person. I will never, ever allow her to forget it, either.

At any rate, asking her to marry me remains the best decision I’ve ever made, as I Married Up in every conceivable fashion. The jury may still be out on her decision to marry me, but I’d like to think it’s worked out okay.

We aren’t doing anything for our anniversary this year. Last year we went to C2E2 on our anniversary. Covid-19 was a concern already, but at the time there were less than 60 cases nationwide and we figured it was as safe as it ever was. I tried my damnedest to keep my hands in my pockets as much as I possibly could and we washed our hands whenever we had a chance to. We had dinner with a friend at a Potbellies in Hyde Park and then came home.

And then I was sick for a month anyway, not quite “as sick as I’ve ever been” levels but I literally was trashed for the entire month of March, and by the time that was done we were in lockdown. That Potbellies dinner was the last time I had dinner in a restaurant. That dinner was the last time we made plans with anybody to do anything fun. And 500,000 people are dead in the United States alone, with another two million gone worldwide.

So, yeah, this year we’re staying home. We’re having Hamburger Helper for dinner. Why? Because Bek used to make it all the time and has stopped in the last couple of years for some reason, and I’m so Goddamn starved for novelty that having Hamburger Helper for the first time in probably seven or eight months seemed like something worth getting excited about. None of us have had shots yet; we’re too young to qualify yet, and Indiana is explicitly hoping at least a few more teachers die of this thing before they vaccinate any of us.

Maybe next year, if we’re able to, we’ll celebrate on the 28th and the 1st.

A possibly relevant anecdote

A note: I am writing this immediately after the post from last night, and the way things are going it is entirely possible that events will have rendered this post out of date by the time it pops. Today is my mother’s first birthday since she passed away in January, and the immediate family is getting together, so I won’t be around, thus the pre-written post. Which at this point is going to be shorter than the disclaimer.

Further, if something does happen and I suddenly start talking about having converted to some major world religion or another, you know why.

I have been thinking about this story for a good chunk of the day: A good friend’s stepfather passed away several years ago. I feel like it was Parkinson’s, but if it wasn’t it was something similar; one of those terrible wasting sorts of diseases that always come with a life expectancy, sometimes expressed in months and sometimes in years, and sometimes can be managed, and sometimes cannot. I remember finding out he had this disease, and asking my friend how long the doctors had said he had.

My friend gave me a number, and then paused, thinking about it. “He’s not got that long,” he said. “There’s no fight in him.” And, indeed, he was gone fairly quickly after the diagnosis.

And, honestly, I can’t think of anyone with less fight in them than the person in the White House Walter Reed Hospital.