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Updates

Several times in the past week I’ve opened up the page to post to One Cobble and not had enough brain to find words. There has been a lot to track between wedding preparations, running a Kickstarter, finishing off home improvements, and shifting kids further into adulthood. So this morning, I’m tackling blogging first before any of those other things uses up my brain. I’m also giving myself permission to talk about all the things in scattered pieces instead of expecting myself to pull it all together into some sort of narrative whole.

Wedding planning is alternating between “this isn’t so bad” and “wow this is a lot.” We’ve decided to solve a lot of the logistical problems by finding local family-run wedding businesses and handing them money. This means we won’t be scrambling on wedding day the manage decorations (the venue is pretty enough it doesn’t need them,) food, or photography. Even with hiring professionals and eliminating some of the time-consuming traditions that have no emotional resonance for us, there is still a lot to handle. Much of the “things to handle” have more to do with the physical and emotional readjustments to switch into being spouses. They’ve been remodeling spaces so they can move in together after the wedding, discussing bank accounts and finances, etc. I’m part of all the wedding logistics, but much of this more important foundational work takes place between them where I can’t see. Which is as it should be.

We launched our most recent Kickstarter earlier than we would have preferred. We like to have the book completely ready for print before the launch so that we can deliver to backers more quickly after the Kickstarter closes. Financially, we needed to run this Kickstarter in June or July. Instead we spent the summer in massive upheaval where all my time went into home improvement projects and Howard struggled to find enough normality to keep up with the daily comic. Then in October I did the math and realized that if we wanted our Kickstarter to conclude before the onset of the holidays, we had to launch right away. (The holiday season between Thanskgiving and New Years is a terrible time to run a Kickstarter. There is so much else going on that Kickstarters get lost and don’t fund as well.) Now we’re in the last week of the funding period, and I’ve been spending a lot of time making noise on social media to bring attention to the project.

I finally reached a point in home restoration where I can declare it done. I gathered all the receipts and photos then submitted them to the insurance company. A small additional amount of money will be coming our way. I’d hoped for more, but noticed a phrase in the contract “additional money available if incurred” I was pretty frugal in my approach to replacing things, so I don’t think we incurred enough expenses to get some of that additional money. Which is a wash anyway. If I got that money it would only mean that I’d pre-spent that money, not that I could use the money to fill our financial hole. I have pictures of the restoration on our stairs, but that is a post all by itself.

A month ago one of my kids made the hard decision to drop out of college and focus on their mental health instead. Today we’re going to the school to make that official. Depression is like that, it can take weeks to follow through on a decision because each step feels daunting or impossible. Around the same time my son decided to move back home and also drop out of college so he could focus on working and personal projects. So we’ve gone from two college students to zero. Me scrambling to help them try out college was the right thing. They both learned important things about themselves and about how college works. Now I’m helping with the paperwork clean up after the fact. The next time either of these kids wants to try college, they’ll get to own the process more fully. I will do less scrambling because I’m learning that scrambling on their behalf deprives them of the opportunity to rise to the challenge of scrambling for themselves.

On that note, my high school junior is no longer on track to graduate. He’s pared back his schedule to what he thinks he can handle without my help. So passing the few classes he has is all on him. I no longer track his grades or assignments. This is on the advice of his therapist who says he needs to learn how to track his own things. Instead of me coming at him with lists and schedules, I am standing back and having conversations about how if he wants to graduate, he needs to do the calculations to figure out how many packets he needs to do and how quickly. If this kid graduates it will be because he decided to scramble and work hard. Graduation will be his triumph, rather than because he was slid under the wire by well-meaning adults who don’t want him to fail. I have a whole series of thoughts on the public school system and the societal pressure to keep kids “on track.” Perhaps I’ll be able to collect those thoughts into a cohesive post sometime soon.

Later this week I’ll be heading out to California to visit my parents. The plan is to help them with some household projects that they don’t have the strength or energy to do by themselves. My daughter and son-in-law-to-be are both coming as well. We’ve frequently joked about how we’re taking a vacation from all the things-to-do and renovation by traveling 12 hours to do different things-to-do and renovation. We do plan to take a day off and go tidepooling. They may also run off and see Muir Woods. It is going to be a good trip, after which we’ll come back and dive into the holidays.

That hits the highlights for now. Hopefully the trip away will give me new thoughts and some time to process them in writing.

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