Why I Don’t Look Forward to Back to School

You probably opened this post thinking I was going to be like “Oh, I will just miss all the time I get to spend with my kids!”. That’s actually true, I do miss them when they’re gone, but that’s not why I don’t look forward to back to school.  Here are a few of the reasons that back to school has me filled with dread.

My kids are night owls.  They have been since they were wee little babies.  They both stopped napping around age one,  and seem to be naturally programmed to stay up until 11 PM and then sleep late.  Super-Dad doesn’t usually get home from work until after 7, which means we don’t eat dinner until almost 8 most nights, which many of you will recognize as a second grader’s typical bed time.  Even when I enforce an earlier bedtime, my kids are not getting enough sleep. Cranky, sleep deprived kids make for miserable mornings. I homeschooled Nate for a year and a half many years back and while I won’t say that it was a successful experiment, I will say that starting school at noon, working until 4 and then picking up again after our late dinner was really nice.

Homework is such a struggle.  My kids hate it, which I get because I hated it when I was in school, too.  Of course, now I understand its importance, but my goodness I hate the nightly struggle.  I also hate the mess it brings.  The “homework  shelf” in my dining room, where all the school supplies live looks okay now, but two days after school starts it’s going to be a disaster, and it won’t recover until the end of June.

Summer is a nice time to have a break from the soul-crushing bureaucracy of Seattle Public Schools. Every single parent has to deal with the onslaught of nine thousand hand-filled in forms (seriously, why can’t I do this digitally?).  Kit’s school has one that requires you to fill out the same form twice with contact info for like, nine emergency backup people.  I KNOW the district has the info, why can’t they print it out and give it to the school? Last year the “welcome packet” had over 25 pieces of paper, 11 of which were forms. Ridiculous.

If your Precious Little Snowflakes have Special Ed or Disability needs like mine do, you know that navigating that system is a special hell all its own.  We were holding steady with only a few accommodations in their 504 plan at a school where the teachers and staff were amazing advocates for all kids. Kit will still be there this year, but Nate has graduated to High School, and I’m stuck dealing with the District again. The 504 Coordinator at the District level seems nice enough, but she has her own set of red tape to deal with. I’m confident he’ll get the services he needs, but I know I will be stressed out until it’s all finalized.

Lunches. If I can get my shit together enough to make lunches, there is no guarantee that the kids will eat them.  So what do they do instead? They purchase a lunch using Seattle Public School’s PIN system, which will let them overdraft their lunch account by THIRTY DOLLARS before I get a robocall.  Then (because ADD) it’s usually another few days before I get a check into the school, and by that point I’m getting calls that they will only be able to serve them cold cheese sandwiches, and a Free and Reduced Lunch application makes its way home in Kit’s backpack.  To make matters worse, she takes meds that suppress her appetite, so I’m frequently on the deadbeat list for the 3 chocolate milks and an apple that she actually ate.  Remember, 90 percent of the time I packed her a lunch.


I will appreciate that my house will stay relatively clean between the hours of 9 and 4, though.

Is it Worth Your Allowance? Save Up Special: Star Wars: Battlefront

Is it Worth Your Allowance? Is a column written by 15 year old Nate. Nate reviews inexpensive games and lets your geeklings know if it’s worth spending their hard earned allowance on. Have a game to suggest? You can email Nate here.  My parental perspective appears at the end of the article.

Star Wars Battlefront (3) – Closed Alpha Access

Genre: Action, First person shooter, Third person shooter, sci fi

Developers: EA, DiceStarWars

The Star Wars Battlefront series started 2004 and there is now a new title in the series with improved graphics, and new gameplay, but it differs a little bit from the series. The game is currently in alpha so its not completely finished, but so far it has 4 weapons, two classes and obviously the empire and the rebels. If you were to peruse this page https://www.yesgamers.com/info/top-11-diablo-2-builds-ladder-reset/, you’d know that the game draws concepts from Diablo 2 and overlaps a lot of gameplays. The two classes, one being a more maneuverable scout class wielding a  jetpack and burst fire grenade launcher, and a shield carrying heavy class that has a lock on missile launcher and they can both choose from a sharedarsenal of weapons from the light blaster to the heavy machine gun blaster (its star wars so… its all blasters and sometimes a rocket). There are lots of vehicles for there only being one map; so far there are x-wings, tie fighters, AT-ATs, snowspeeders, and AT-STs. My favorite vehicle is the AT-ST, because it’s a walker like the giant AT-AT but faster and more mobile and you can actually control it unlike the AT-AT where you can only control the head and shoot.

The graphics are beautiful and very life like, the detail is amazing from things like AT-ATs leaving foot prints that can be used as fox holes to the sounds of blasters, x-wings, tie fighters, and the walkers being the same from the movies. When i first booted it up i was amazed at how beautiful it was, it is like you’re really on Hoth and you really are fighting the “rebel scum”. I think that game could be good for everyone because there is no gore, there is violence but nothing horrible.

Though at least for now I think that the first game is the best.  I miss being able to be a stormtrooper and steal an x-wing, because in this game instead of actually getting into a vehicle you can pick up special battlefield pickups.  However they are team specific and you call them in. In the case of the first game, with the map Kashyyyk docks, if you play clone wars, the C.I.S (confederacy of independant systems, or droids) have an island where all there vehicles spawn and if you’re playing as a clone and manage to get to it, there is a free supply of droid tanks and speeders. The space battles from battlefront 2 were amazing, but I don’t think they will be include them in this game. I would love it if they did include space battles, Being able to fly through space it was very original for a first/third person shooter to have space battles in a full 3d environment, and I think the game could have really benefited from adding details like this that have been implemented in the older titles of the series. (Editor’s Note: They have since added space battles. They were not part of the closed Alpha, but footage has since surfaced, see the Update at the end of this article to see video)

This game will probably be about $60, but since it comes out on November 17, 2015 you have time to save up. I think it will be worth your allowance.

So far I think that this game gets a 5/8, but it’s still in alpha so changes are to come.

Parent’s Perspective:  This is a hotly anticipated game, and we were fortunate to get into the closed Alpha last month.  While not all the features were available or fleshed out, it was already an immersive experience that should excite all Star Wars fans.  This is an online shooter, but I appreciated the lack of blood and gore.  All in all, I think it’s appropriate for ages 10 and up with supervision, and ages 14 and up solo – because of the interactive, online nature.

Update: New footage shows Fighter Squadron Mode.  Yay!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjqqwZGNHPg

Giveaway: Lifeproof FrePower iPhone 6 Battery Case


Thanks to my friends at AT&T Seattle, I’m giving away a sweet Lifeproof FrePower battery case.  I had a battery case  for my previous phone and I LOVED it.  This one is even better, because it’s not just the battery extender (2 times more battery!) but it’s also got the protection you expect from Lifeproof.  This thing makes your phone dirtproof, snow proof, drop proof and WATERPROOF!  I’m giving one away, just use the form below.  You can get one for $129.99 at your local AT&T store!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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