Blogger Ellen Fannon is stuck at home with a rebellious teenager.
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I have good news and bad news about COVID-19. First the good news.
This pandemic has taken the focus off the November elections, and I, for one, am grateful. There is nothing more stressful than the constant hype, political ads, mud-slinging, endless news, social media rants, and bickering among family and friends leading up to a major election – with possibly the exception of a pandemic. But anything that shifts the attention away from politics is a welcome relief.
Now the bad news. I predict the death toll will be much higher than anticipated, not directly due to the virus, but because families who are forced to stay at home together for extended periods of time are going to start killing each other. And it’s not just because someone took the last square of toilet paper. Put pressured parents and bored kids in a confined area for an unspecified length of time and it’s only a matter of time before something has to give. It’s simply unnatural to have to be together so much and I find myself needing to strangle someone (like a teenager). So far, I have refrained.
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When I think back to the days when I actually wanted kids, I have to wonder what the heck was I thinking? With Darion being schooled remotely, the nightly meltdowns are becoming routine. In fact, I am so tired of his screaming at us how much he “hates” us, I have assigned him to find synonyms for the word hate. We could mix things up a little with he despises us, loathes us, abhors us, detests us, reviles us, finds us odious, revolting, despicable, a basket of deplorables, etc. That’s what he gets for being unimaginative in his predictable tirades and having a mother who is a frustrated writer. Is there a way to expel a child who is schooling from home?
One of my friends posted on Facebook that if we see her kids locked outside the house that they are practicing a fire drill and to mind our own business. I like that idea. Maybe we need multiple daily fire drills in our home. Or perhaps a bomb drill. Only we baby boomers will remember the bomb drills, where we hunkered under our desks. (Never mind that a wooden desk would hardly protect us from an atomic bomb; it gave us a false sense of security in taking charge of a potentially catastrophic situation.) I propose bomb drills lasting for six hours. I will tell Darion he can’t talk during that time or it will cause the bomb to hone in on us. Unfortunately, he’s 14 and will probably see through this ruse.
Having to constantly make sure our son is on the Zoom school sessions and not watching TV is becoming burdensome. We can’t depend on him to actually log in and check to see if his class is up. If the class doesn’t come up right away, he assumes they are not meeting, and happily goes off to pursue something more interesting, such as video games. (Yesterday, he actually asked if he could make spaghetti in the middle of his math class!) Of course we can’t do anything noisy around the house while he is “in school,” such as vacuum, run the garbage disposal, mow the grass, or scream at the dogs when we catch them pooping on the carpet. And we have to watch our language because he attends a Christian school and our outbursts will be picked up on the online class. But now the latest crisis is that Zoom is down until the school can get a secure Zoom number to prevent hacking. It’s bad enough that we parents have to listen to these classes while quietly going about our daily, household routines. It’s like being plunged back into junior high all over again. Who in their right mind would be deliberately hacking into a middle school history class?
So, here we are, for better or worse. For richer or poorer, in sickness and health ... wait, this does not apply to children. As this forced confinement wears on, my patience wears thin. But I’m sure if I finally crack and succumb to the need to strangle someone (like a teenager), I can make a pretty good defense for temporary insanity.
See more of Ellen Fannon’s blogs.