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But it is beyond wonderful and amazing to see so many of our legislators occupying Congress, expressing how unacceptable the current level of gun violence in our country is,  and the desperate need for more gun control. Maybe, just maybe, something good and something productive can finally come out of Congress, for the first time in years. 

And seeing them start to hold up papers with names of victims was especially poignant. Because there were plenty of papers to pass around, and every single paper had a different name…

M: If a burner is making a hissing noise could that be a gas leak? 

Me: No, because we have an electric stove.

Office decor 

A dead potted plant is pretty pathetic. 

A foam rhinoceros-shaped stress toy is also not terribly appealing. 

But when you combine them, suddenly you get a desert-oasis-under-the-palm-trees scene that is actually rather entertaining. 

   

Or maybe someone just wanted to condense random stuff on an unassigned desk.  But I like to think there was an artistic impulse behind it – perhaps inspired by diorama assignments in elementary school. 

Politicians sent out thoughts and prayers after Sandy Hook. Politicians sent out thoughts and prayers after Aurora Colorado. Politicians sent out thoughts and prayers after Charleston SC.  

SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.  THEY’RE NOT STOPPING THESE MASS KILLINGS. 

You weren’t elected to be clergy. You were elected to be legislators. Go turn down NRA money and implement meaningful gun control. 

And then you won’t have to spend as much time praying for gay Latinos, or Batman fans, or African-American churchgoers, or young children, or all the people who love and mourn them. 

Act 1

E called her mom to find out how a medical appointment went. The cat started yowling, so I decided to take him outside and give E some peace and quiet for her discussion. I called the cat over to the back door and opened it. Three things happened simultaneously:

1) I realized that a garter snake had gotten under the storm door and was curled up in between the storm door and back door.

2) The snake realized it now had an opportunity to slither into the house.

3) The cat realized he now had an opportunity to catch a snake without even going outside.

Fortunately, my reflexes were the fastest of the three of us, and I got the back door closed again with the snake still outside and the cat still inside. Unfortunately for E’s phone call, there was some screaming involved at this point.

Act 2

I wanted to make sure the snake was not still waiting to slither inside, so the cat and I headed out the front door, and I hurried around to the back. I confirmed that the snake was gone from the doorway, then backtracked to the side yard just as the cat caught a shrew. The cat was quite proud of this feat, as usually it takes a lot of patient waiting to catch a rodent, and he nabbed this one in under 2 minutes. Unfortunately, “quite proud” also meant that he wanted to bring it inside the house, and when I refused that option, he wanted to trot around the yard with it for a while before crouching down to eat it. I finally had to resort to picking the cat up by his back haunches, letting him hang head-down, then jiggling him up and down gently until he dropped the rodent.

Act 3

I turned the cat upright and carried him up to the house. Just as I shoved him in the back door, I saw a tick crawling on his chest. That’s got to be a record: two minutes outside to get both a shrew and a tick. So I grabbed a paper towel and then the cat and I darted back outside. I scooped up the rodent, flung it in the woods, dropped the towel in the compost bin, then tried to catch the cat. At this point, he didn’t know why I wanted to catch him. He just knew I was a killjoy who’d deprived him of both a snake and a shrew. So I had to chase him around the rose garden for a while (his go-to spot to elude me, since he’s  willing to step on flowers but I’m not), before I could nab him and pluck off the tick. 

At that point, we could finally get on with my original plan, which involved him quietly sitting outside and staring at a rustling bush, while I sat on the back stoop watching him and reading my book. 

Phew!

The End

Raised by wolves

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Over the years, there has been a lot of arguing and many studies about how kids raised by LGBTQ parents turn out. I’m pleased that, by 2016, the many reputable studies have mostly managed to drown out the biased flawed ones, and a majority of people have stopped seeing this as a point worth debating. Nevertheless, as someone whose child is now 18 and a legal adult, I thought I’d like to share how this child raised by 2 lesbians has turned out.

Drum roll please…

On the plus side, he is:
– Compassionate
– Intelligent
– Hard-working
– Creative
– Helpful
– Loving

On the minus side, he has:
– Hygiene habits that would make strangers suspect he’d been raised by wolves

Let’s elaborate on that last item a little bit. It became fully apparent when we helped him move home from the dorm last month, at the end of freshman year. The mouthwash was still as carefully wrapped up as when he’d moved there in August. The 8-pack of bar soap and 4-pack of washcloths were still neatly packaged. The 32-load jug of laundry detergent lasted him all year and was still 2/3 full. He’d discarded his fitted sheet after a nasty bout of stomach flu in late winter, then spent the rest of the year sleeping on a mattress pad rather than put on the spare fitted sheet. And while he’d washed his clothes prior to packing them, it was 400 miles and 24 hours later that we discovered he’d packed his damp dirty bath towel in with them.

We really did spend many years teaching this kid about cleanliness and hygiene. But clearly, we might as well have been a couple of howling wolves.

However, we mostly focus on the plus side, where I suspect our parenting was vastly superior to the wolves. After all, how many wolves have a kid who was accepted as a transfer student at an Ivy League college, due to things like stellar academics and an essay about 10 years of volunteering at the local soup kitchen? How many wolves have a kid who was named “counselor of the year” at camp one summer, then hired to be counselor-coordinator the next?

And how many wolves have a kid who, when he comes home from a late night out with friends, leaves a really sweet note for his moms to find the next morning on the kitchen table, saying that he loves us and that he hopes we have a good day at work?

These lesbian wolves are very, very happy with how he’s turned out.

While M has enjoyed many social and extracurricular aspects of his first year of college, he has been disappointed in regards to the department he’s majoring in, both the classes he’s taken and related opportunities available.

He muttered briefly about wanting to transfer when he was home at Thanksgiving. We couldn’t tell if it was general freshman transitional angst or not. He muttered again briefly at Christmas. Again, hard to tell how serious he was. And then, in late February, a week before most transfer applications were due, he decided to go for it. 

Let me inject some parental irony here. When he applied to colleges as a high school senior, he had copious amounts of help to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. E and I drove him to countless tours and info sessions and several interviews. We kept a spreadsheet on the fridge to make sure everything got done in a timely fashion. A family friend worked with him to hone his long essay. His guidance counselor made sure transcript and recommendations all went through electronically. And ultimately he got into 3 good colleges, but not either of the Ivies he’d really been hoping for.

This time around, the entire process was on him, and was a lot more complex and problematic. One college misplaced his mailed transcript; another misplaced his mailed midterm report. One professor forgot to write a recommendation for a month. He drove himself to tour and interview at one school.

And the end result? M was accepted at 4 colleges, including 2 of the Ivies he applied to. Wow! That extra year of maturity, and actual college experience, clearly made him much better able to articulate who he is, and what he aspires to, and why a top-tier college should want to help him get there.  

And ultimately it came down to a choice between Columbia and Brown.

We took a whirlwind day trip to NYC since he’d never visited Columbia before, and they had a special visit day for accepted transfer students. He traveled to Brown by himself for a revisit, since he hadn’t seen that campus in almost 3 years. 

And after much thought, he finally made what is probably the toughest choice he’s ever had to make. 

Columbia, here he comes!

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