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Covid Mom-School

My alarm sounds at 7:45am. Still dark outside, I remind myself I am doing this for my children. The pitter-patter of rain in the gutters makes me want to roll over and snuggle in, freeing myself of parental responsibility today. I imagine it would be easier if unlimited screen time weren’t an April Fools' joke. I shove my feet into cold fuzzy slippers and mentally prepare for Covid Mom-School.

What really gets to me is the lack of order. Our days blend together without a semblance of schedule. Is it taco Tuesday or take-out Thursday? Without my iPhone I'd never know. Now there's Covid homeschool. My four children, 4th grade, 7th grade, 9th grade and 11th are my educational responsibility. It's telling what happens to public education when left to the states to decide. On week three of our endless 'spring break', frustrated teachers assure us Portland Public Schools is working on a plan for online learning but have been given 'very little information' on…

Supermarket Sweep - Corona Style

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My alarm scared me awake at 6:00am. Grabbing my ball cap and brushing my teeth, I snuck out into darkness sacrificing caffeine for the sake of my family. The 'Mission Impossible' I chose to accept was a Supermarket Sweep of Safeway in the wee hours of the morning for my family of six, Corona Style.

The empty parking lot at 6:20am was like the Twilight Zone. I breathed a sigh of relief, grabbed my grocery bags and headed for the door with the big yellow sign that read 'Due to Coronavirus, Safeway has revised store hours from 7am to midnight'. Damn! Even Starbucks was locked inside.

Reading the headlines of the day back in my warm car, car headlights heightened my sense of urgency. People were lining up at the north entrance sporting facemasks and surgical gloves. It looked like a scene from Contagion. I quickly grabbed my reusable totes and headed for the south door, feeling naked and exposed with only my iPhone in hand. Without a Clorox wipe in sight, I pulled my coat …

Gaming Control

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I don't know what's worse, fist pounding thumps on the dinner table that make flickering candles jump while my heart skips a beat, or the stubborn silence he punishes me with for days, my heart aching for a word of peace or flicker of hope in my child's smirk. Numbness forcing back tears reminds me I have become that parent. "I hate you, you are the worst mom ever…" Slam! An exclamation point door slam on the challenging life I created when I became a mother four times over. Now Coronavirus lock-down. I'm left questioning my every move as a parent, a gaming battle of screen-time vs. stubborn silence. My 7th grade son is desperate for control that gaming rewards him.

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The shouts of ear piercing anger mixed with cuss words. I hardly recognized my soon to be thirteen-year-old son in the deep voice declaring, "You control f*&%ing everything." Throwing his Ipad at me amidst his blood curdling screams and F-bomb, the consequence…

Banana Slugs and Other Lunchbox Delicacies

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The security light brightened our porch as I mounted the front steps. It was now dark by 4:00pm, a typical dreary December in Portland. I spied the elusive lunchbox open on the wicker chair. I was not surprised he forgot to unpack it in the kitchen. At least it's in the vicinity of our house! It took the entire semester and a bit of mom nagging for my 14-year-old son to bring the frickin lunchbox home before winter break. Hallelujah! There is hope for this child.

Holy hell! Is that a banana slug? Stepping closer I wondered how a slug had climbed inside the lunchbox with lightning speed. It's the Pacific Northwest and during the rainy season slugs are everywhere. Slugs sliming the pavement meet death by foot traffic, while slugs nestled on trees disguise themselves in the thick forest canopy.

I once picked this slug from my carpeted stairs thinking it was sock lint:


My husband was feeding the dogs yesterday when I spotted this little beauty sliming his slippers!


I imagined this …

Always Use Protection

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Porn Hub dot com. I was blindsided by the images I found searching my web browser history. We had not used protection! The graphic nature of the moving ads alone burned my retinas with disproportionate images that hardly made physical sense.

Logging into my computer I found the first clue. A computer hastily closed raised my suspicion. My intuition to search its web browser was a virtual a gold mine.

December 28th, for an entire six minutes someone watched 'Dirty Little Stepsister'.

Who knew 'Walking the Dog' was as perverse as Spanking the Monkey or Choking the Chicken?

On November 8th, I found an explicit title that made my jaw hit the floor. The history in between deleted, thanks to my stealthy Christmas shopping savvy, always erasing my purchases for snooping teens, along with my red-hot trail of evidence. How much porn had been digested by virgin eyes?

Sick to my stomach, I screamed for my husband upstairs. I knew it wasn't him. A computer expert would never b…

Escape From Reality

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No sooner had we escaped our household zoo for a brief two-night getaway alone, than my daughter's text brought us back to reality. "Awkward," the message read with the following picture attached:


Our tattered overnight bag from my college years abandoned on our front porch, stared back at me like an erect middle finger to the face. Sipping a glass of overpriced cabernet I flipped my phone for my husband to read as the server walked away with our order. "Probably safe on our stoop without an Amazon package label," I muttered.
I inventoried the contents of the bag in my head... contact case, toothbrush, swimsuit, clothing... what else? I laughed, hoping Bruce would not take the news hard. Who could blame him for leaving the black zippered duffel on our front porch? We had to get the hell outta Dodge before Grandma, tough as nails, changed her mind! 
Shaking his head in frustration, "It's only a two hour drive there and back. I'll go home first thing…

Unplugged

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All my children over the age of twelve are pissed. That's how I know we're back to school. Stacks of paperwork, times four, thrown on my desk needing signatures, fees paid, calendar updates, and child assessments leaving me as empty as the checkbook and empathizing with their need for one last week of summer vacation. My fourth grader might be agreeable, if not for his siblings cursing homework assignments; after all, he's dismissed by 2:15pm daily and has at least two outdoor recesses!

With three days of back-to-school torture under our belts we packed up the minivan, Griswold-style, and set off for a Labor Day camping weekend unplugged to recharge. Off the grid without a Snapchat or video game in sight, we exhaled and embraced the Forced Family Fun outdoor recess we all needed at the foot of Mt. Hood.

Tent camping requires as much prep and patience as back-to-school shopping, minus the sharpened Ticonderoga pencils and damned college-ruled graph paper always out of stock…