The Known Unknown

‪This is the worst game of six degrees of separation ever. Number One Daughter had class with someone who tested positive for COVID-19‬ virus. She has yet to hear if she is to be tested as well. In the meantime, we wait.

She came home from college over the past weekend so that she could be near her people if anything happened. That was joyful. She’s seen and hugged all of her siblings, her mother, me. Made dinner for her siblings and me the first night she was back; a delicious bowl of rice and beans. She’s now at her mother’s house.

What next? Does she quarantine herself in a room far away like a normal teenager, texting for deliveries of food between naps, or mingle with the rest of the households and everybody else with whom she’s already come into contact?

Do I next see her and the others in two weeks, barring any additional symptoms?

It seems prudent, as I mentioned in a post earlier this month, to take precautions in the face of ignorance, not unlike Pascal’s wager on God: We don’t know and the risks are immeasurable. How is this known unknown so much more terrifying than the previously unknown unknown?

Skipping the Skip-nows

My children and I have been indulging in Screen-Free Week. We have read books, played games, and talked together. A week earlier they were binge-watching something or other in separate rooms on separate devices.

Screen-Free Week

Some days I regret being in this field–my life is defined by screens–but it has given me what one friend calls an Advanced Lifestyle. It helps to remember that there were reasons I chose a field where I could work from anywhere. Being a parent was one of them.

More important than being screen-free is spending time connecting with other people and in being, in some small way, the master of your fate. Taste life rather than submit to gavage. You are more than a consumer.

Translation

My daughter told me I should get some face lotion for my dry skin. I thought she would ask why I was crying, but the dry salt of my tears hid among the rough flakes of skin. I can feel them yet there, crusted on my swollen face.

This is how a sixteen year-old says I love you: Use lotion, Dad.

THIS IS THE TITLE CENTERED

This, then, is the first line
Of this poem, my first submission
For your brief, kind, consideration.

You can see from this line what I’ve read:
Your requirements for spacing and such.
You exceed expectations, asking so much.

I’ve heard from others
—Libertines and scoundrels and cads—
That they sent you scads

Written, colored pencil and crayon, on
Construction paper and lace hearts,
With easy rhymes such as “Daddy’s farts.”

All accepted!
Not a rejection in the pile!

So please accept this pome,
Though it may not scan (whatever that is),
Or fall pleasingly from the lips,

Because I’ve adoring children
Who think the world of their dad.
Do you want them sad?

Math Hatred: A Systemic Problem

If you put a kid who’s teaching himself to read so he can play his favorite games, who can do simple sums, and who can count well past 200, in full-day Kindergarten, and he comes home saying he hates math and reading, you’ve done something tragically wrong.

If you take a kid who’s been proficient in math since before Kindergarten, and whose favorite subject was math until this year, and now he says he hates it, you’ve done something tragically wrong.

If you take a kid who loves math as much as she loves reading, who tells you she can’t wait for 4th grade so she can learn division, and who now thinks she’s bad at math, even though she scores high on tests, you’ve done something tragically wrong.

If you take a kid who loved math and science as much as she loves reading, but who left 4th grade thinking that she’s bad at math and science and is about to enter high school still thinking that — even though she’s grasping concepts faster than every one else in her class and is pulling up the school averages on standardized tests — then you’re still doing something horribly, tragically wrong.

You Missed a Spot

In housework, as in any field primarily concerned with the reduction of chaos, the work itself is not noticed; only the failures are.

Take a few moments today to thank your spouse, your domestic help, your secretary, your department of public works, your firefighter, your sysadmin for keeping chaos at bay.

A Rainy Day

Rain falling from the sky
Slowly sliding off the roof
Dripping down the window panes
Glittering on the spider webs
Gently slipping down the leaves
Making puddles on the ground
The sun shows its royal presence
It pushes the clouds away
The rainbow makes me smile

© 2009, Emily Cox

Grandmother’s Fruit Cobbler

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 qt. fruit, sweetened

Heat sweetened fruit in saucepan. Melt butter in deep baking dish (at least a 2 qt. size). Mix sugar, flour, milk and baking powder. Pour batter into hot, melted butter, then add hot fruit.

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.

Serve from the oven, topped with ice cream.

recipe from Leta Bell Cox, published in the Beverly Presbyterian Church Cookbook (2002)