On a hazy, 114-degree Friday afternoon—while hiding away in the house with blinds pulled and fans blowing on full-blast—one can still experience so much of life and learn a few lessons along the way. Here’s what I learned today:
A perfect Friday afternoon can be simple. It can mean work is slow, Netflix has a good limited series, and there’s plenty of Diet Coke in the fridge. #LetsRockThisSummer
Naps are sacred in our house…so when we were ALL awakened from a mid-afternoon nap only to discover that our mini American Eskimo had dragged a pigeon into the house for a late lunch buffet, the sacred silence was broken by maniacal, shrill barking. Certain “talking” breeds are not conducive to peace…or naps.
No vacuum is meant to handle pigeon feathers. It wasn’t pretty. Nothing more to add to this one.
Bonus learning: Always block the doggie door before any sleeping occasion—or you, too, could discover random wildlife in your home at the most unexpected time.
I’ve recently discovered that you can tell a whole lot about a person—and a family—simply by reaching your hand down into the side of their sofa and rooting around for treasure. Now, you have to be brave and reach really, really deep…like up to the elbow, so if there are kids OF ANY AGE in the home, say a little prayer and cross your fingers that there’s nothing alive in the crevices.
We Are a Clean People
I feel like I need to put that out there, because what I’m about to tell you might land us on an episode of Hoarders or, at a bare minimum, on some sort of shameful internet list mocking families who find pizza crust in weird places.
That being said, it’s become clear that the contents stuffed into the depths of your sofa can say a WHOLE LOT about what’s going on in the house. We have two teenage boys at home. Here’s are 3 things I found in our sofa today:
17 mismatched socks. Contrary to popular belief, we DO have a laundry room with a fully functioning washer and dryer. However, our teenage sons seem to have either forgotten its location and/or how to work the very complicated machines.
Miscellaneous snack wrappers and 3 plastic drink bottles. And a whole LOT of crumbs. I can’t adequately describe the sensation of reaching deep into the sofa only to have your fingernails impacted with stray (and likely weeks-old) crumbs that were left wholly for my enjoyment. It was a special moment.
4 dead batteries…and the wrapper from the new package of batteries. We could have zero food or drinks in this house, and as long as we have batteries, the boys would be happy. Especially in the summertime, batteries are the lifeblood of existence. Games must be powered at ALL times.
I have questions. So many questions.
When did our sofa turn into a trash can? And do my kids have some sort of disorder that prevents them from walking from the living room to the kitchen to throw away their trash? Should we see a physician about this troubling inability to…ummm…physically MOVE during the summer?
Is it wrong to throw all couch-debris into their beds? Can I volunteer them for some sort of neighborhood cleanup?
Mostly though…HOW LONG is this summer vacation going to last??
3 Totally (Not) Legit Reasons My Kid Flunked Geometry
Please note these are NOT legitimate reasons for failing any class, so this is me throwing the bullshit flag on my teenager. Yeah, I know, my kid is 15 and like totally cool, but here’s the thing:
Ain’t no trick he’s tryin’ to pull that I ain’t tried before.
(That’s me, Mom Dude, with my best gangster line. It’s usually good for an eyeroll or two.)
In other words, been there, done that. Know what’s worse than the boat my kid’s in? My mom was a teacher in the small high school where I attended. Most of the time, she knew how I did on tests before I did. Now, that’s rough.
Apparently (unbeknownst to me), my kid had it very rough time in geometry this school year. I had no idea! You’ll probably be shocked to read about the 3 things his teacher did that MADE him flunk the first semester…resulting in his attendance at summer school.
Shocking classroom incidents that led to my son getting BELOW a 50% for the first semester include:
The teacher graded all the packets—except for his. Of course he turned it in, he assured me. And he absolutely completed the entire packet. He had ZERO idea why the teacher might overlook his packet. Hmmmm… #Sus #ISmellARat
The teacher won’t put anything in the gradebook. So it just shows up as a zero, which is why his grade looks so low…but it really isn’t…it’s just that darned lazy teacher. #ItsGettingDeep
The teacher hasn’t given any extra credit yet. But, like, she totally does…that’s what everyone says, so if you just scrape together 500 extra points from the imaginary homework fairy, you might have a chance in hell of passing. #Reassuring
I don’t even know where to start. First of all what is WRONG with this teacher? What is she even DOING? I mean, aside from getting carpal tunnel from red-marking all the crappy, half-assed work that crosses her desk. Aside from that, what is she up to? Because…wow, she seems kinda lazy, right?
(Disclaimer: It’s unfortunate that this needs to be a disclaimer, but here goes. It must be said. In NO way do I think that my child’s teacher is lazy. I was being sarcastic.)
So, if your kid is in summer school—or just barely missed the distinction—be on the lookout for a few of the hidden signs. Is the teacher overlooking all the hard work your kid is putting in? Is your child a prodigy who merely forgets to put his name on ALL of his papers?
I’ve learned from my 15-year-old that there are so many ways one can fall through the cracks, so be alert, parents. Be alert.
I once had a boss in marketing who told me, “You know, I can always tell the writers in my group. Whenever I call them and leave a message, they respond back with an email.”
There’s truth in the words he spoke. We write for a lot of reasons—one of them being it gets us out of having to talk to people.
I’ve heard this observation multiple times since then, stated in a variety of ways. For the most part, however, the gist is always something about the preferred method of communication for writers being…well…writing. Go figure.
This isn’t an issue when working with other creative sorts. They just “get” it. Problems occasionally arise when trying to explain this particular phenomenon to more unilaterally-focused, one-way-to-do-things individuals.
Whether it’s a memo, a daily interaction, or a passing thought, I always gravitate toward the written word, and there are several reasons for that:
Peopleing is hard. I’m an introvert who has learned how to function in polite society where adults must occasionally speak to each other. But deep down, I’m more comfortable with a book (or a pen and paper).
Memory is tricky. Email is a nice way to CYA—and it’s also a great way to ensure that you’ve followed through on tasks. It can keep you out of a lot of potential pickles that can crop up if you forget to do things. You can easily look up past messages to ensure tasks are on track and everyone’s taking care of the things they committed to.
Email has an end point. If you don’t exactly gravitate toward extended conversation, email is a great way to gracefully dip your toe in, say what needs to be said, and then get the heck out. Say it and retreat: it’s that easy. For introverts, there’s EVERYTHING to love about that.
Talking is a workout. You know how you feel after a really intense workout? Energy zapped and muscles turned to jelly? That’s how introverts feel after talking and interacting for a long time. Afterward, they need to recover from their ordeal by hiding in a closet with a book and a blankie for the weekend. It’s so much better to just avoid all that and send an email.
Don’t get me wrong. Talkers are lovely. I have many of them in my family. Extroverts are wonderful, vivacious people with access to seemingly endless energy that’s constantly replenished with fairy dust and unicorn magic, and they spread that energy far and wide across the land in the hope of converting every quilt-covered bridge troll into a brilliant conversationalist. Their liveliness and positive attitudes are admirable; enviable even.
But it comes down to this. Introverts gonna introvert. And extroverts gonna extrovert.
We’ve heard for a whole long time that we need to embrace different work styles and personalities. Usually that is code for, “Hey, all you quiet people, it’s time to adapt and learn to do team projects with the rest of us while we trade stories about traffic jams and new coffee flavors.”
But maybe, just maybe, there’s another approach. Maybe there’s a way to combine the BEST of the INTROs with the BEST of the EXTROs. (Brilliant, right? Corporate America should have totally thought of this!) And if we did that, we’d end up with an alliance as powerful as that of Captain America and Iron Man. Can you even imagine?
C’mon, SpaceX is planning human spaceflight, yet we haven’t figured out how to combine the super powers of introverts and extroverts and use them for the good of all mankind? I feel like we’re missing out here.
Corporate America, you can do this. We’re counting on you. Do something more than trust falls and obstacle courses; you’re better than that. Think about your workforce as a whole and think about the talent that’s driving you. There’s a way to be inclusive of every work style…but we’re just not there yet.