The Chaos After the Storm

I’m getting real fucking tired of saying this, but here we go, “The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm somewhere over Alabama and it got us. It got us good.” I didn’t sleep a wink. Right before bed I got the alert that said it was headed our way. Now mind you, I knew it made landfall in New Orleans, but New Orleans is a good eight hours from us so I wasn’t too worried. Then I started to get weather alerts from DeKalb County all, “Y’all, some shit fittin’ to go down tonight. Pull ya umbrellas out ya tables, pick the pinecones up out ya yard, and remember to vote. The election is six days away!” They also “closed” school, but not really because we are still going virtually on account of the Covid, but essentially they said don’t worry if you can’t log on in case you lose power “cause you will probably lose power.” Seems to be some infrastructure problems they could be working on, rather than sending me salty texts at midnight, but whateves.

So early yesterday morning, right around the time I was falling into a good sleep, Lady Winifred Beesly of Atlanta started up on her barking at random noises she heard, only it wasn’t so random. It was pinecones hitting the roof and the windows at speeds no pinecone should travel. Then the creaking of the pines started. I don’t know if you have ever watched a pine tree sway in downgraded hurricane winds, but Imma tell you it’s spooky.

Pine trees are so tall, and their roots are so far into the ground, that they are flexible trees by nature. But that doesn’t stop you from looking out your window, watching the swaying trees, wondering if you would be safer if you woke up the whole family at three am and herded them into the guest room in the basement.

The good news is we made it through the night unscathed. Relatively. The street looks like it vomited pine needles, the plants are all a little wonky, and our old windows took a beating, but the worst part was when the doorbell rang at 8:45 am and our neighbor Dale was standing at the carport with Sir Duke Motherfucking Barkington of Charlotte on a leash. What?! How did that happen?

Turns out the wind was so strong, it knocked open our wooden gate. It didn’t unlatch, just opened it up wide enough for a petite standard poodle, who hates me, to slip out undetected and romp through the neighborhood until Dale and Cookie came outside and found him running around the empty lot by their house. “Looking like he was chasing butterflies.” Yeah, that fucking checks out.

Listen, it’s been a week. And I need these storms to be over and I need this damn election to be over and I need to incorporate more gin into my life.

Hope you are all unscathed these days.

M.

Angry Today

I’m trying to stave off anger today. I’m so tired of seeing these Covid-19 outbreaks all over the country. I want to scream, “Did you learn nothing from us?!” Like, hello?! Did y’all learn nothing from Georgia, from Atlanta back in March and April when we exploded and our trash governor opened up too soon and it spread like wildfire? Do you even watch the news? We, the people, had to make changes. My county had to make a mask mandate, because our state leaders wouldn’t. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had to hold Atlantians accountable to stop the spread, and it worked but it was hard. Meanwhile my family and friends in the midwest and the west were like, “Well it won’t happen here.” And now it’s happened there and still, still like yesterday, I saw pics of family and friends celebrating in bars and restaurants. What gives you guys?

STOP IT!

PLEASE.

And yes, I know that was an aggressive please.

And yes I know that you are over “this Covid stuff,” but this “Covid stuff” isn’t done with us. It doesn’t how much you wish it away, it’s here. So start acting responsibly.

PLEASE.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

VOTE!

Homegood’s Art

Listen, I like to collect art from every state we live in. Local art, fan art, and yes corporate, stuffy art from big box stores, essentially whatever tickles my fancy, though to be fair I’m partial to the homemade kind. Still, whenever I come across state art I stop and take a gander. There’s flea market finds, yard sale finds, Etsy artists, Instagram artists, printmakers at art fairs, and Homegoods. This is a story about Homegoods art and the city of Atlanta.

We moved to Georgia last April. April first to be exact. And by April 10th, we were completely unpacked, thanks to the help of my mother-in-law and some very handy movers. So by the end of April I was already shopping around for home accents. My first stop was Homegood’s. Duh.

While there I came across an adorable work of art, complete with the artist’s note on the back to try to make me think the artist was getting some sort of compensation for their work. Listen, I’m not going to pretend to know how the art world operates, but I’m pretty sure Homegoods/TJ Maxx is not offering artist in residence. Anywho, there I was face to face with something I thought would look adorable in my dining room:

Here’s why it caught my eye: The framing job. Perfect! And the cute paper. The signed work. The pastel colors (that were bound to match the new curtains I’d just bought). So I paid what I paid, maybe $40, and took my cute art home.

It took exactly one year of looking at this picture, of learning about our city and state, of having guests comment on how adorable it was before I realized it was racist as hell.

What’s that, you ask. Yeah, I said it, racist as hell.

Check it. From looking at this art you would have no idea that Martin’s Luther King Jr. was such an integral part of the city. There’s no John Lewis. No Civil Rights Museum. But, as Jackson pointed out to me one day, there are four golf courses, two of which I’m pretty sure we’re “Whites Only” well into the 1980s.

There’s also Stone Mountain. Fun. I wonder why they left the KKK hoods out? Artist discretion, I suppose.

There’s also the Tophat Soccer Club. Gee, thanks. And the airport. Really? There’s the airport and some white-ass soccer club, but you had nowhere to stick The King Center? We’re gonna go ‘head and celebrate Six Flags, but pretend like President Jimmy Carter ain’t from ‘round here? Okay, cool, cool, cool. I see you.

Hmpf. So there it’s been. Hanging on my wall. Until this week wherein I replaced it, finally, with something we can all get behind:

Now granted, this was an impulse buy. Just something to get on my wall until I wait for an artist’s rendering of Georgia or Atlanta (preferably a Black artist) to sweep me off my feet. But, the price was good and it matched my new blanket and I feel less gross about the whole thing. Even though I bought it at Homegood’s.

Oh, leave me alone.

M.

Ps… Don’t be a racist asshole.

Vote

Have you voted yet? I have. Jerimiah and I mailed our ballots in at the end of September. Then we used Georgia’s “My Voter Page” to ensure they were received and approved. We used the USPS and guess what?! Nothing catastrophic happened! All is well over here. Very well, in fact. I just read 538’s new report that turns Georgia into a “True Toss Up,” which I don’t have to tell you, is amazing.

Meanwhile, I’ve reminded all my close friends and family to have a voting plan. I’ve shared the shit out of voting “Cheat Sheets” like this one:

And if you’ll remember I sent my junior senator a nasty little email detailing how I’ll be doing my best to vote her ass out of office. Crossing my fingers for a run-off.

So yeah, things are busy, busy here in Georgia. People are amped up to vote from Marietta, down to Peachtree City over the Perimeter to Stone Mountain, the ATL is turning out, y’all! We are striving for a government, local, state, and federal that looks, thinks, and loves more like us. So I guess watch yourselves, Georgia and the rest of you. Would hate to see y’all left behind.

Vote.

M.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Today is a day to celebrate America’s Indigenous People, and while I support today as that day, I implore y’all to not forget about Indigenous people tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after. In fact, too little is said about Indigenous people, the way our country has treated them, the reparations they are owed, and how the colonization of their lands has negatively impacted them, and if this isn’t on the forefront of your mind most days, you will miss an opportunity to help.

For starts you can follow accounts on social media like: @IndigenousPeoplesMovement, @IndigenousRising, and @DecolonizeMyself, as well as @ChiefLadyBird for starters. You can also follow hashtags like: #IndigenousPeople or #IndigenousArt or #DakotaPipeline which can be a good way to start getting more recommendations for pages and accounts to follow so you can learn more about the struggle Indigenous People live through in “The land of the free.”

Please educate yourself on Indigenous People. Please vote with them in mind. Please respect and honor those before us, and those still struggling.

M.

Wear A Mask

Happy Saturday! I’m sitting here remembering what Saturdays used to be like. It’s the perfect fall day to ride the MARTA into downtown and maybe go on a history tour, or visit a museum, or hit up a cool restaurant we haven’t tried. Maybe walk Oakland or the Beltway? Instead, I’m sitting on my back porch enjoying the nice weather. Because Covid-19 is fucking real, and I’m not a moron.

Wear. A. Mask.

Stop eating at restaurants.

Don’t go into large crowds.

I know this sucks. But guess what sucks worse? Yeah, Covid-19.

Dr. Fauci says to buck up for a big wave this fall and winter. Donald Trump, while in quarantine for testing positive, said “The Chinese Virus is all but gone.”

I don’t know about y’all, but Imma go with Fauci on this one.

Be safe.

M.

Ps… Wear a mask! And remember, Karma is only a little bitch if you are. Just ask our president.

Voter Suppression: A Stacey Abrams Fantasy

I live with Stacey Abrams. Well, I don’t technically “live” with Stacey Abrams. Man, that would be sweet. To be Stacey Abrams’ roommate. Or BFF. Or wife. Whatever, I’d take any of the above. Anyway, I live in DeKalb County, Georgia and I’m always on the lookout for her. Down at the Corner Cup, or over yonder at the Target. I keep waiting to bump into her so I can scream, “OH MY GOODNESS, YOU’RE STACEY ABRAMS!” Then in my mind, we’d sort of run toward each other and embrace. Except, Covid, so we’d probably just awkwardly stand there and she’d be all, “Hi, nice to meet you,” then I’d run here and tell you all about it.

I’m off topic.

Voter suppression is real and rampant. Yes here in Georgia, but in other places too. Like: Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma which are the three states that require you to notarize your absentee ballot.

You may not know, but a couple of months ago I became a Notary Public. I did it for one reason: My husband consistently needs a Notary for his work and we have one friend who does it and we were probably running her nuts (even though we were keeping her in a steady supply of wine) and so he suggested I just become one so I can sign his work “shit.” Don’t worry, it’s totes legal. It would be illegal for me to notarize like, his will, or something else personal, but if he is signing on behalf of a company, I can notarize it for him.

That’s all to tell you that I took the oath at the DeKalb County Courthouse to do all the things and then was automatically signed up to receive these weird newsletters from the “Notary of America” or some shit like that. I promise we are getting to the point. It’s about to come full circle. Wait for it… wait for it…

Yesterday I got once such newsletter that was to help us notaries when it comes to notarizing ballots. Of which is required in those three states and I was like, well sonofabitch, that seems like voter suppression, ya dig?

I think Stacey would agree. She’d tell me I was correct over a glass of wine on our back porch, as our mini poodles ran around chasing a squirrel and I would laugh and say, “I know, honey. You’re so smart. Why don’t we go into the bedroom and…” Hold up, my husband just came into my office and he has something important to tell me.

Okay, I’m back and it wasn’t important enough to take me from a Stacey Abrams fantasy, and honestly he should be ashamed of himself.

Anyway, notarizing a ballot is serious business, according to the notary newsletter. First, you can’t charge anyone to do it. It is just part of your public service. We took an oath, remember? To protect and serve. Oh, no wait, just to serve. Anyway, it also talked logistics, all about checking ID’s, how to tell the real ones from the fake ones, where to find your state’s laws, etc, etc. Boring shit. But! Important shit.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, should need to get their damn absentee ballot notarized. That simply puts a barrier in place for people. Plus, what if you don’t even know? And do you even know a Notary? Right now pick two notaries you know, in your state, one to do it and then one to be a back up if the other can’t. Got them? No, I didn’t think so.

Hmpf.

I’d love to talk more about this but I think Imma head over to the courthouse to turn in my absentee ballot today. I’ve heard, if you linger around the absentee ballot boxes long enough Stacey Abrams just sort of appears, kind of like the Tooth Fairy. I gotta go put some make up on.

Vote. However you can, Honey.

M.

Civic Engagement Platforms

Listen, I’m not an idiot, but my junior state senator Kelly Loeffler assumes I am, which really sorta pisses me off. Hmm, let me back up. I use what are known as “Civic Engagement Platforms” to reach out to my public officials here in the great state of Georgia, because walking out on my front porch and screaming, “Brian MotherFucking Kemp is a piece of shit!” toward I-285 seems to not get me very far. So instead, when I get a text from a Civic Engagement Group like, “Black Lives Matter” or “Move On” in relation to something I feel passionate about, I use those platforms to send emails because it is much easier for me to do than to find each public figure and send a separate email. Like when I sent Rep. Lucy McBath an email from a “Civic Engagement Platform” last month to ask her to support the #BlackLivesMatter Movement and she wrote a lovely letter back about how she plans to do all she can for #BLM. Thanks, Rep. McBath. Then Kelly Loeffler’s racist-ass office sent me a note back this week.

In her letter she thanked me for letting her work for me. No need to thank me, Kelly. I didn’t give you that job. Governor Kemp did. I didn’t vote for you. Matter of fact, no one did. You were governor-appointed.

Then she said, “While she treats all correspondence equally and with the utmost urgency,” she just wanted me to know that my communication had been sent through a “Civic Engagement Platform” and those tend to “reach out to officials on your behalf, with your information, but not your consent.”

Bitch. I know how this works.

I also know fear mongering when I see it. Turn off Fox News, Kelly! You’ve been brainwashed.

Now this happened to be on Friday, at the same moment that I got an alert to tell me that Trump was in town. Again. STOP COMING TO ATLANTA! You’re literally wasting your money and your time, and you’re wearing us out, man. I went to Kelly’s Twitter page to see what was up and I saw this tweet:

Ugh. She’s the worst y’all.

In her email she suggested that I contact her office directly if I had concerns. So I sent ANOTHER email, to explain that I didn’t need her to explain “Civic Engagement Platforms” to me, instead I needed her to talk about the real issue with me, which was that the Senate should wait to confirm a new justice to replace #TheLateGreatRBG until after the election. But, I don’t think she wants to discuss that cause she already discussed it on Twitter, so like, why would she need to talk to her constituents about it?

The. Worst.

She isn’t a politician, obvi. She’s a business owner. But you know how that goes, money begets money. That’s how she landed her job. Money. Speaking of:

Oh, what about this?

This?

This is real life in Georgia, y’all. And this isn’t even the “CRAZY FEMALE GEORGIA POLITICIAN!” The “Crazy Female Georgia Politician” is Marjorie Taylor Greene, the qanon quack. No shit. Google, “Crazy Female Georgia Politician.”

I can’t y’all.

Please vote in November.

M.

Post Office

A weird thing happened at the post office the other day. I stopped in to mail a package to a friend, when I noticed a guy in front of me with a stack of flyers to be mailed. He had what looked to be small (just bigger than a postcard) stacks of the flyer separated into bundles most likely by zip code. I don’t know what the flyers were for, but they looked very organized, as did he, and they were nice looking. They appeared to be, from what I could see from six feet away, printed on thick, glossy paper. Some money had went into them. Maybe it was a lawn service, I wondered.

When he was called to the next plexiglass station, he said he needed to get these out, and pushed the stack across the desk to her. It seemed to be a normal transaction. It never occurred to me before, but I suspect when businesses send out mass mail this is how they do it.

The postal clerk smiled and said no problem. She kept them all bundled together and weighed them. After she weighed them she started asking him a series of questions. The questions were asked in that standard post office kind of way. Like when you’re shipping a box and they rattle off a list of questions they have memorized while they click through screens. I don’t remember them because they seemed inconsequential and repetitive, then she asked, “Are these political in nature?”

She stopped. He looked confused, and said they weren’t. They were for his business. She never took her eyes off her screen and said, “That’s weird. Has anyone ever asked you that before?” The man shook his head no. “I’ve never seen that before,” she mumbled, then she frowned and clicked away.

The man paid, they exchanged pleasantries and he walked out. She took the stacks and set them in a bin next to her and yelled, “I can help the next person,” and I walked up.

“That was so weird,” she said, as I approached. I sent her a quizzical look. Then she smiled as I slid my package over and she asked, “Any explosives, liquids, fragile materials…”

M.

Never Forget

I’ve been unofficially off of Facebook for a week now. I didn’t do anything drastic or dramatic like suspend my account, or deactivate or anything like that. I just stopped logging in and the world didn’t blow up. Of course, this has been a long time coming. Y’all remember back in January when I started limiting myself to fifteen minutes a day? That’s paid off. Really set me up for success for this part. But I did log in yesterday. It was my birthday and I knew my page would be flooded with well wishes, so I logged in last night to comment and thank everyone, and that was about the time the Chiefs’ game started. About the time the “Never Forget” people came out in full force. Then I remembered why I hadn’t logged in for a week. Then I wrote a status and went to bed, sorta full up on birthday wishes, sorta let down by humans again. Life’s a crapshoot these days. Anyway, I’ll share below what I signed off with, but if you do one thing today, please make it be checking your voter registration status. Do it for me. Won’t you?

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

My FB status for 9/11:

I’m heading to bed tonight already being asked to remember that horrific day 19 years ago when thousands of Americans lost their lives on 9/11. Begging me to never forget.

I’m seeing this in between white people complaining that the NFL supports “racial equality” and they “just can’t” support the NFL. I’m seeing true colors shine tonight, and those colors aren’t pretty.

I’m seeing that while I read nearly 200,000 Americans have lost their lives on American soil to COVID-19 in six months.

I’m seeing that the week Homeland Security named white, American, right-wing men the number one terrorist threat to our country.

I’m seeing that as I read 1,100 Black men are murdered by the police in our country every year.

That American police murder 3 people a day, on average.

That thousands of soldiers have lost their lives in the last 19 years. That many thousands more will become wounded and develop such horrific PTSD that they will end their own lives, or the lives of those they love.

I’m seeing all that. Are you?

You’re asking me to never forget. I’m asking you, as I head to bed tonight, to remember too. Every day. Always. All of this. I’m asking you to be a better citizen, a better American, a better human being.

Four Days of Protests

I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but every time I sit down to write it I get upset and I can’t find the words. The thing is, we are not new to protesting. We are not new to marching for what we think is right, for having counter-protesters scream horrible things at us, but for some reason this time it was harder than before and I couldn’t pinpoint what made it so difficult to stomach.

Last month Jerimiah, Jackson, and I took part in socially-distanced, peaceful protests in our suburban Atlanta town with our friends Kelley and Bella, and it was exactly what we needed to be doing. We met Kelley and Bella through school (Jackson and Bella were in the same class) and immediately felt connected to them. They are cool, too cool for us. They are kind. They are smart, and funny, and socially conscious. We feel so proud to call them friends, which is why the day we drove by (after getting ice cream) and saw them standing on the corner of Lavista and Main Streets with signs supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, along with about 20 other people, we were like SIGN US UP! That sparked three days in a row of us standing on the same corner with our friends holding homemade signs (that we hastily made from material from The Dollar Tree), as well as taking part in a much larger protest on Saturday, June 6th with about 300 people. It was an amazing learning experience for the kids, for both good reasons and not so good ones.

Of course protests, especially ones in small towns like ours, are sure to bring out the counter-protesters, or simply the mean people who are mad at your very existence. They see protestors as “unsightly,” and of course they feel guilty when they see you out with your “Silence is violence” signs. But I honestly didn’t expect it on that first night we were out there with our signs, and if it weren’t for seeing it with my own eyes I would have not believed how horrible people could be. How filled with hate people are. How angry and afraid full-grown men are, that they feel called to lash out at people, even women and children. I’m not going to talk about them here, because it detracts from what we accomplished, but just know that grown men and women flipped us off, screamed things back at us, and even walked up and down along with us trying to push white supremacy agendas. It was sad and gross, and yes, we let the children watch them, because they need to know that there are people like this in the world.

Meanwhile our kids, our smart, strong, funny, rising 6th graders, smiled at everyone, held their fists up in solidarity, took a knee, not once but twice, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on hot, crowded streets to show their solidarity with George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and people who are like them, and not like them. We were so incredibly proud. They even made up their own chants, and taught them to the other kids. Then they separated themselves in front of what will one day be their high school and chanted IN THE RAIN. For real. Look.

But this was on the second night of protests, the first night was very hot, and a little more crowded, and somewhat chaotic.

The first night of protests (for us) we met with the Mayor who, although I am not a fan, was very polite. He thanked us for what we were doing, and gave the kids a token of appreciation to remember the occasion. It was a coin with out town’s logo on it, and Jackson thought it was pretty cool.

The second night we were rained on a bit, but didn’t mind, it felt nice after the heat. We had police escorts at all protests, thank you DeKalb County Police, and we had city council members, and supporters who honked, honked, honked all night at us in solidarity. Some screamed “Black Lives Matter” out the window, some threw their fists in the air, some just smiled and waved.

The Essentials: Masks, hand sani, signs, and water. Thank goodness for the other protesters who shared with us that first night. We were not prepared!

At one point Kelley and I saw an older man walking his dog in front of the high school. We were a little worried at first, he looked like a lot of the people who were flipping us off, but he walked up behind us smiling and meandered toward us sort of unsure. Kelley, being the outgoing and friendly person she is, said hi to him and told him that his dog was so cute. He smiled and walked a bit closer. He introduced himself as Joe and said that he loved that we were out there. Then he told us to look straight down Main Street. He asked if we knew that yellow building, the one that was a Halal restaurant. “Sure,” we said, “it is called Bombay.” It’s an old building that sits on the corner or Main and Lawrenceville Highway, about half a block from our kids new middle school.

“Well,” said Joe, “did you know that used to be the office of the Grand Wizard of the KKK?” Kelley and I were stunned. No, we didn’t know that. We didn’t realize how close we were to KKK territory. He said this sight, our children protesting on this corner, was just, well, perfect. He told us to keep on keeping on, then Joe and his old doggy walked back home.

The next day Kelley confirmed the story. She had researched it when she went home and found that along with our town once being an epicenter for the KKK, Stone Mountain, yes that Stone Mountain, was also. I mean it makes sense if you’ve ever visited Stone Mountain, but it was new to us since we are still fairly new to this area. If you’d like to read more, check out this article about Stone Mountain, our town is about ten minutes from the mountain.

We protested on this street corner for a few more nights, then we met up on a Saturday for the bigger protest. For a couple of city blocks, people were standing six-feet apart, masked up, with signs, chanting and raising fists. Ten minutes before we left we took a knee. Three hundred or so people taking a knee on the city streets as cars whizzed by honking and waving and yelling, “Thank you!” That was my favorite.

After the protest I asked Jackson what he learned. What new information he gathered from his days of protesting. “Not much,” he said. “I already knew that most people are good, and some people aren’t, and those people will probably never change.” Man, he’s right. I told him so. Then I added that those people aren’t worth your energy to try to change. I reminded him to start with the people who want to listen and work your way out. I told him to always vote. Always speak goodness into existence. Always, always do what is right and true. He shook his head and said, “That’s what we did.” We sure did. I told him more that day, but I think he learned more from my actions than my words.

Thanks, Kelley, and Bella, and Jackson, and Jerimiah. Thanks to those of you all over the world who are striving to do what is true and what is right. We have your back. Always.

M.

The Upcoming School Year

Man, I know as parents we are worried about what this upcoming school year will look like, but I gotta say, some of y’all need to take a step back, do some deep breathing exercises, and maybe take a nip of gin, ya dig? We are going to be okay. Your kids will be okay. This world will be okay. And listen, if it’s not okay, if this world of ours implodes, then let’s be real we will be dead and won’t know what happened anyway, so I mean… Bonus? Okay, this might not be helping. Let me start over.

I know that there are some parents that are totally upset with how the end of last year happened. Count me as one of them! I had a fifth grader in his most favorite class, in his most favorite school, with his most favorite teacher ever. It was a bummer to do a virtual graduation. But that is what needed to happen to keep our kids safe. I had, and still have, faith in the educators, in the administrators, and in the school district. If you live in a place where you don’t have that kind of faith, I’d recommend either finding a new place or getting more involved. Those two things can do wonders for how your child’s education goes, and how you feel about your school district.

I had so many friends with kids who were seniors last year. I was so sad for them, but let’s be real: It’s high school, y’all. Now I get it, if you peaked in high school you might have been extra sad. But most of these kids are going off to college, will get another graduation, more dances, more friends, etc. Cry, be sad for a moment, then realize this situation, this place we find ourselves in today is so much bigger than you, and whether or not your daughter got to go to prom, that you have to know how silly you look. If not, consider this your wake up call. It’s over, stop talking about it. Let’s instead turn our sights on how to help for the upcoming school year, and the first step is to calm the fuck down.

You calm now? No? You just hate me? Cool, stop reading, it won’t change things, but if it makes you feel better I understand. But what can change things is your ability to trust the professionals, understand and communicate with your child about their comfort levels, stay current on the CDC recommendations, talk to other parents in your community, and gin. Did I mention gin before? You should drink more gin.

I already have parents emailing me about homeschooling, and while I appreciate their concern, I have to say, I don’t even know what DeKalb County has decided on yet so I won’t be investigating homeschool until I know that is my last option. In case you don’t know me, or somehow have be pegged wrong, I will NOT be sending my child back to school full-time in the fall. I won’t. So I am crossing my fingers for a virtual option, at least until there is a reputable vaccine. I am tentatively okay with an A/B schedule, but there has to be many precautions put in place, that I can see with my own eyes, before that is to happen.

Some parents are screaming, “Kids need to be back!” Some are parents who need to get back to work because their companies are not taking this seriously either. Some are stay-at-home parents who are just tired. I get it. I do. But is risking the teacher’s lives, livelihood, their families, and most importantly ALL THE KIDS, worth you getting a day of silence? No. That is the only answer. No. Hire a babysitter. Hire a tutor to help.

The thing I can’t get my mind around is that everyone is saying, “Kids are not affected.” Meanwhile, have you seen all the summer camps and daycares that have opened up and have kids that got Covid-19? I have. I’ve been keeping track. Plus, what the hell is Covid Toes?! It’s a thing, Google it. Kids are getting it. They probably just have it a lot less because we STOPPED SCHOOL VERY QUICKLY! Now, when the numbers are skyrocketing you suddenly want school to go back in session. I’m just gonna say it, that’s a bad idea. And I hope against all hope that I am so very wrong, and kids really don’t get it, and teachers won’t pass it around like the damn flu, and have to be out for weeks and infect each other, and students, and their own damn families. Not to mention that I hope teachers are given more sick days, because if they get Covid they have to isolate for at least 14 days, which is ALL the time off they have. Did you know this? Now you do.

I saw a meme the other day that said, “You want schools to control Covid-19? Sure, no problem. Look how well they control head lice outbreaks…”

Take some deep breathes. This will be over one day, but now is not the time to go back to school. It just isn’t. Sorry you don’t want to hear that, but I’ve been listening to you say things like, “Teachers are so lucky they get all summer off…” and other whacked-out shit for too long. Y’all need to get on better terms with some teachers so they can throw some truth at you. I have a few close friends I can send your way if you need a damn wake-up call.

M.

PS… ALWAYS VOTE FOR SCHOOLS AND TEACHER PAY INCREASES, YOU ASSHOLES

News Alert

I‘ve been struggling to stay away from the news lately. Struggling because it’s important to stay informed, but I also know what the news does to me, and I know that the way people respond to news is even worse. It’s one thing to get an alert that says our president is threatening to cut funding to schools if we don’t go back full time in August, it’s another thing altogether to see family and friends share his sentiment in agreement. Like really?! Weren’t you just saying three months ago how awesome teachers are, and how important school is for your kids, and how everyone should have more money?! It’s disheartening to say the least.

The news alerts I get on my phone are usually the worst, and they have been coming fast and furious over the last few months. The ones that tell me another child was murdered. Or police killed another Black man, or that the cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed. Shit man. It’s like we can’t catch a break.

I know I’m not alone in this. There are a million memes about how fucked up 2020 has been, about how we wish we could just wish it all away. But the thing is, we can’t. And maybe that’s good. Maybe it’s time we face the news. So much has come to light over the last few months. How much we have realized about how disgusting, and backwards, and ridiculous our country really is. How gross we treat each other. How one minute we say things like, “Teachers are saints who should be paid more!” Then the next minute we say, “I don’t care if teachers get COVID, the economy needs to get back to work!” Wow. Just wow.

That’s where I find myself today. At the crossroads of wanting to be informed and wanting to crawl into a hole and never come out. How about you?

Be safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Teaching Cursive

Jackson and I were going through his registration packet for middle school yesterday and we got to a page he needed to sign. It was about attendance, being on time for school and each class. He read over it, then grabbed the pen. He stopped short of signing and said, “Can I print?” My instinct was to say no, it asks for your signature. So that’s what I said. Then I offered to write his name in cursive so he could see, and he could copy what I did. I immediately thought those thoughts many people have. Why have they not taught our kids cursive?! Then he said, “Mommy, I just don’t understand why when it says to ‘sign’ your name, it has to be cursive. Why is it that way?” Then I answered the answer I hate, “That’s how it’s always been.” He shook his head and signed a very long, careful signature that, in all honesty, doesn’t have shit to do with literally anything. Literally. Whether or not my rising-sixth grader can sign his name in cursive matters not to a damn person. To a damn thing. And why is it even a thing? And why are people so bent out of shape that learning cursive is not a priority anymore. I would have much rather not learned cursive as a third grader, and instead been pushed to actually learn how fractions work. Or how to play a musical instrument, or how to speak Spanish. I could give two shits that I know how to write just one language in two different ways. Why wasn’t I instead taught how to write in two different languages?!

Okay, whew. I didn’t realize I was so mad about this, but the truth of the matter is, it’s ridiculous what we put on our teachers. It’s ridiculous how little they are paid, how much they do, and now how they will LITERALLY be putting their lives at risk to help you “get back to work” and yet people still have the audacity to say shit like, “Well my kid isn’t learning cursive!” Get your shit together, y’all. Our kids are learning how to hide in closets in case masked gunman storm their classrooms. They are listening to a man run our country into the ground while he says things like, “I like to grab ‘em by the pussy.” They are watching their angry adults say hurtful things like, “All lives matter,” deciding if they can deal with the stress of wearing masks at schools or virtual learning, meanwhile you’re mad that our teachers are pushing back. That our local and state officials want to get this all right the first time so it’s taking longer to get answers to you, and yeah, some of y’all are still mad your kid or grandkid isn’t learning cursive. Get the fuck outta here with that. If you want your kids to learn cursive, teach them. You have no problem teaching them how to hunt or fish, which is as useless today as writing in cursive. You have no problem teaching them how to shoot a gun, how to hate someone not like them, how to go sit in a church pew. Teach them cursive. And give the teachers a fucking break, you couldn’t do their job if your life depended on it, meanwhile our lives do depend on teachers. Because without them, who knows where your kid would be. Where you would be. So shut up, sit down, and vote for schools, for teachers, for education, every, single time.

M.

Shit or Get Off the Pot

Things are a hot mess in Atlanta right now. We had a deadly Fourth of July weekend, several children have been shot in the last week, and Covid-19 never really left. But yesterday morning our governor decided to be a real governor and say something about the violence. I mean, God forbid he take action to help save us from the global pandemic that is sweeping our state, or listen to what the people in Atlanta (the largest municipality and the capital of the state) are angry about, but “extra” violence in Atlanta, that warrants a stern talking to. Matter of fact he said, “While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace and maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.” Well, hold up, let me rephrase, he Tweeted that. So he didn’t actually address the problem on a public stage, he didn’t actually do anything, he just sat at his desk and Tweeted his ideas. Sound like anyone else we know?

The problem isn’t so much the fact that he threatened the city, it’s that once again he didn’t do shit about a problem until a domestic spotlight was shone upon us, then he threatened. Remember how we have talked about leadership coming from the top down? Atlanta, like all other large municipalities, has a very particular set of problems, and because of it’s shear size, it makes it difficult to fix many of these problems, especially when you want to just fix them overnight. Listen, I’ve only been here a little over a year, but I can already see that the way things have been going, are not helping. This is an instance where, “But it’s always been done that way,” isn’t working and things need to be changed, and I know I sound like a broken record here, but it starts with voting. Then it moves out from there. Volunteering. Donating. Sharing knowledge you gain. Educating people.

When we moved to Atlanta a year ago we were nervous. We had heard horrible things about the city we have come to love. The horrible things were mainly racist bullshit that out-of-towners don’t feel comfortable talking about. That was our first lesson. Because when you really strip Atlanta down, down to its roots, it isn’t pretty, but it’s important. Vital, even. Like did you know Atlanta and the Black vote was the single biggest game-changer in getting John F. Kennedy elected back in 1960? I didn’t either, until I came here and had a history lesson.

Say what you will about Atlanta, but until you are here, living in it, taking the Marta to historical places, reading about the culture and society (which by the way some people who have lived here for 20 years don’t even do or know about) then I won’t listen to you anymore. I can’t. I won’t listen to our racist, hypocritical governor either. I can’t. Too many people are dying here. Too many people need help. And I’ve been waxing for a year now about how I can help. Saying I can’t, or I shouldn’t, it isn’t my place. But the fact is, this is my place. This is my home. I don’t know how long it will be, but it is now and that is all that matters. I’m a Georgian now. I live in a suburban town just steps outside the perimeter and I have two choices: I can tell people I live in Tucker, where the schools are sweet and the people are all wonderful, and the houses are big and there is opportunity for growth, or I can say I live in the Atlanta Metro and we need help. A lot of fucking help.

When I was little and I needed to make a decision about one thing or another, about what my actions needed to be, and I was stuck and so very afraid my mom would say, “Welp Missy, it’s shit or get off the pot time,” and I’m finally feeling that here in Atlanta. It’s time to either dig in and help, put in the time, and the effort, and the heart, or it’s time to leave. Stay my happy-ass in the comfortable parts of life. I’ll give you one guess what I’m about to do…

It’s time to shit or get off the pot, y’all. What are you gonna do?

M.