The Berkshires

At last, I'm back in the saddle and buckled down at my computer. M left this morning, and while I'd blog surfed a bit I was more focused on spending time with him. It was harder to say goodbye this time than last, as I know know what it will be like more or less, and it's a week longer this time. We'll survive, I know that too, but I still don't look forward to it much. Thankfully, they got the phone put in while he was away!!! So I can call him, tho he doesn't have long distance. Makes a big difference knowing I can reach him.

So, the week up there ... as someone predicted, it was good and hard both. It was a reasonably easy trip up, though following back roads directions in the pitch dark with finally-sleeping-boys (we got away at 6pm on Saturday) was a trip until I realized I could use my cell phone to illuminate the directions. The car had no front-seat light and trying to drive, read, and shield the backseat light from the boys' faces wasn't the safest route. I couldn't figure out which was his building when we got there, gave up and parked in frustration after circling several apts with a crying/whining back seat, but he walked out just as I started to get out of the car and we'd managed to park in the right spot anyhow.

Walking in to his apartment was a bit of a jolt, just in it being so 'his' and not ours. Not the same as a hotel room, it felt more like his home, which it is for now, and that hurt. Of course my penchant for fully 'moving in' no matter where I'm staying meant I went to town moving a couple things around so I had a place for clothes, etc, and M watched with amusement. I felt a bit like a cat marking territory to be honest, but didn't much care. The building is well over 100 years old but totally nondescript inside except for a few scary closets (and there are LOTS of closets and cubbies everywhere). Drop-ceiling, doors that don't fit, bare bulbs (tho i think M removed the covers as he likes the brightest light possible) and beds, a couple chairs, a formica kitchen table, and linoleum. Lots of space and the feeling you could do anything in it, which was nice. There was a little front porch overlooking the street, river (which is concrete-channeled thru town) and MASS MoCA. He can leave 10 min before he has to be at work and be on time.

The area is really depressed economically, since the factory shut down in 98. One in three businesses is operating again thanks to the museum, but it's still pretty depressing, and overall the view of most seems to be "small town is small town, and I have no thoughts that go beyond the edge of town unless they come from my TV". Harsh maybe, overgeneralized for sure, but the feel of the kids in the playground was that they weren't ever taught to dream.

More to come, I'm crashing hard after an emotional week, and a long call with other parents who are considering sending their kids to NEST next year, a "Gifted and Talented" only school in Manhattan. There are 3 citywide, and all in Manhattan of course. I'm surprised I'm even considering it, but the fact that D is eligible is entirely an accident, and so I'm going with the option for now and will see what happens. I didn't know I didn't have to reapply to his current G&T class this year, and so he ended up getting tested, they've changed all the rules this year on how that works, and he's eligible if there's a spot free for him. If he gets in then I'll worry about getting him there by 8:20 every morning!