Thursday, May 21, 2015


Looks like Summer is pretty well planned at this point! Tinkerbelle (for the uninitiated - my much younger half sister, lives in Chicago, I never met her until she was 7 and I was 24) has secured herself a full-time job as a camp counselor, which means that she is coming to live with us when she gets out of school!

It all came together really quickly because she really dove into it. She called and emails a bunch of places from home, lined up three different meetings for last Friday afternoon, and came out here to go to those and then visit for a couple days. I picked her up at the airport at about 10:00, she had her interviews at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:00, and she got a call from her first choice at about 8:00 offering her the job!

She is going to be a camp counselor for kids ages 8-12, although the exact specifics will be determined later on. Most likely she will rotate between a couple of different facilities in the city, all of which are easily accessible from the T. She's going to be working from 7:30-3:30, Monday to Friday, making $9/hr...pretty awesome first job, if you ask me.

This will be a big deal for her. Living in a new place, away from her Mom, with a lot more freedom than she is used to. She's gonna have a boss and responsibilities and she is going to have to get herself to work on time and handle all of that by herself. I am not her Mom, and I'm not going to do that for her. But, I think she will do well with the extra leash, I think she will benefit from meeting a bunch of co-workers her own age, and she will certainly enjoy earning some money on her own (right now, it seems like a veritable fortune to will seem less so when she finds out how taxes work:-)).

I think she will benefit from the break from home, too. She's not really a "troubled" kid in the normal sense, but she's had some social issues at school this year that have impacted her grades and her behavior. Kids at that age, especially girls, can be really tough...and she naturally kinda marches to the beat of her own drummer, so I think that leads to some tension with other kids. The good news is that two months is a lifetime when you are 15, so simply going away for a while might create something of a reset. I hope, at least.

It will diminish my own ability to take too many three day weekends at the beach, but that's ok...I can manage for one summer:-). I'll gladly trade that for some uninterrupted sister time!

In other sister news - there is a new tattoo in the works. I'll give you the details some other time when we finalize it:-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Making Plans

It looks like we have school figured out for the girls, and not surprisingly they are going to go to the same school that Munchkin went to. While that means a lot of years of a lot of tuition bills, it made the most sense and it is a place that I know we'll be comfortable with and the girls will do great.

As I mentioned, the public schools in Boston are terrible, and they are not neighborhood don't go to a school based on where you live. Incoming students fill out a preference form and then get assigned based on requests, a lottery and very squishy rules around "fairness". Most kids get one of their there top choices, but many do not, and many end up with really, really inconvenient assignments.

There were two elementary schools that we would have considered sending the girls to. One is in the South End (pretty much right on the other side of Boston Common from us) that is one of the very few truly excellent elementary schools in the city and would be pretty convenient for us, and one in the North End (pretty much right across Government Center/Fanueil Hall from us) that is also quite good but would be less convenient.

The good news is that they got assigned to the one in the North End. In that sense we were really lucky...those are both highly demanded schools, and the girls were really fortunate to get into one of them. Being twins helps, since they always keeps siblings together, so they both essentially get whichever lottery number is lowest among the two of them.

Now, the bad news. The quality of individual public city schools is very fluid. Because of the way the students get assigned, there are very few of the inherent advantages that tend to make schools good year over year (read: consistently committed parents). The North End is relatively insulated because the universe of people who want to go there every day is kind of limited, but there is really no way to be sure that the school will remain a high-achiever for the next 8, 10 or 12 years. It is a naturally transient population, even among families, and that worries me. I guess it wouldn't be the biggest deal to have to pull them out in a couple of years if the circumstances change, but I'd rather not go through with it.

Also, anyone who has ever been to Boston's North End will quickly remember how difficult it is to get anywhere with any regularity. While the school is just about one mile from our condo, it is a VERY LONG mile. There's a bunch of one-way streets and an awful lot of traffic. It's too long for the girls to walk, at least for a couple years, but there is no easy way to drive there. On a good morning, it is a 15 minute drive. My guess is that there were days this winter that it took nearly an hour and a half. On any morning, it's highly unpredictable, which means allotting at least a half hour for the trip to school and spending a lot of time waiting because we are there early. But still being late some days. In short, it makes just getting to school every day a huge frustration.

So, in the end, we are going to send them to private school, which I am not totally thrilled about and which will cost a whole bunch of money. But, I know the school, I know the teachers and the staff and I am very comfortable with them. Plus, I get to go back to walking to school on my way to work:-)