Happy Not-Independence Day

I have been struggling to put into words all of the things swirling around in my brain, so I've been putting it off. It's the 4th of July, which in the U.S. is a celebration of Independence Day, which is a holiday with not the most inclusive history (for a long time, just Independence for landowning white men) but feels particularly un-celebrate-able with recent moves by the Supreme Court that make me feel like we are just hurtling toward Gideon and I should practice saying "Blessed be the fruit" and "Under His eye" and "We've been sent good weather" because Margaret Atwood was a soothsayer. 

Overreacting? Maybe a tiny bit, but when the Supreme Court rules that women are no longer constitutionally guaranteed the right to make decisions about their OWN bodies for their OWN health and their OWN wellbeing, and it's harder to restrict guns, and now the doors are wide open for prayer in public school (bye-bye separation of Church and State)... kind of hard not to feel like the U.S.A. today is sliding backwards into something unrecognizable. 

It burns my britches that the same people who had signs that said "my body my choice" when it came to vaccines, a PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURE that impacts everyone, have now made choice over bodily autonomy not a thing anymore for women. I know that this decision impacts men, too, but it's WOMEN who carry pregnancies, WOMEN who assume all of the risks, WOMEN who lose time from work due to pregnancy-related things like birth, C-Section recovery, IVF procedures, bed rest, complications, WOMEN who face our dire maternal death statistics in the U.S., WOMEN who have no choice but to be left with the bodily consequences of any number of awful situations because men are depositors. That doesn't mean that all men choose to just spurt and run, but there are no maternity tests (obvious) but there are entire shows dedicated to paternity tests and men trying to prove that they are/they are not the father. 

It fills me with absolute fury. I have a wonderful man who did everything possible to support me through all the indignities, pain, and lost time due to IVF when he really only had to be there to provide material in a cup. I chose to try to have a baby and it was HARD, so hard, and I lost two of them -- one to an early miscarriage that completed on its own so I did not need a D&C (which now is something people may not have access to in states that decide that's abortion), and one to an ectopic pregnancy that once identified as such when there was nothing in my uterus but a big old bulge in a fancy ultrasound of my tube, resulted in a swift ER admission to the hospital and surgery that showed that the tube was starting to rupture. I have never considered that surgery that took the embryo growing abnormally in my tube and the busted tube a TERMINATION, even though effectively it ended what was never going to be a viable pregnancy, it saved my life. I saw a picture of my tube and the mass post-surgery, and it was more like a tumor than the tiny half-formed babies people love to put on their anti-abortion posts and signs. Bryce was afraid for me though all of these experiences, but he was afraid FOR me because it was only ever my body that was at risk. 

I am angry that so many people who claim to be about the sanctity of life don't seem to care once that baby is born, or care about the care for the pregnant woman pre- and post-partum. There's not funding for social programs that would help young children and families and the WOMEN who more often than not become caregivers. There's defunding of organizations like Planned Parenthood, which actually do a whole lot more for contraception, health screenings, and cancer screenings than abortion, but oh please, let's start restricting CONTRACEPTION too. People realize that contraception keeps pregnancy from happening (most of the time) which prevents abortions, right? 

I remember years ago, when I was in the IUI part of my journey, I worked with a devout religious person who saw that part of my medical treatment to try to have a shot at having a baby and said, "doesn't it just make you so angry that all those people are having abortions when you're going through this?" 

The answer was no. No, because pregnancies are not interchangeable. They aren't aborting "my" possible baby. Someone else's situation is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. If someone decides to have an abortion, that is between them and their healthcare provider. Just like there are people we knew who did not approve of our decision to do IVF and donor gametes, and who when we were deciding what to do with our embryos that I could no longer transfer, said "well I would never put myself in that situation," YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE THE SAME DECISION AS SOMEONE ELSE. We made decisions that were right for us. Many of those decisions were ones we never, ever, EVER thought we'd be in the position to make. But, we wanted a baby, and the harder it is to have one "naturally," the more of an ethical morass it becomes. But you know what? We made the decisions that are right for us, and no one, NO ONE has ever been in our unique situation. We have never been in anyone else's unique situation. Someone else may have decided to destroy their embryos that they could not transfer themselves. We did not. IT DOES NOT MATTER, because everyone has their reasons. The phrases "I've been in your shoes" or "Been there, done that" fill me with fury because NO, NO YOU HAVE NOT. Everyone's situation is predicated on everything that they've experienced up until that time. Decisions are made based on all those permutations that make your situation unique, and every situation is unique. So would I have chosen to have an abortion had I gotten pregnant due to a circumstance where it was not an outcome that was welcome? I don't know, and I don't presume to know, because I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN THAT SITUATION. Maybe I would have. Maybe I wouldn't have. But what I do know is I would never tell someone else that that is the WRONG decision because of my beliefs. (PS, my beliefs are MY BODY MY CHOICE and if you are facing the risk, you get to make the decision, and it is healthcare and between a woman and her provider to decide.) 

Also, it's interesting to see the shirts that say things like, "No uterus no opinion" and realize that THERE IS A WOMAN JUSTICE WHO VOTED FOR THIS. There are many women who have uteruses and also seek to control other people's uteruses (uteri?) in the name of religion. Also, I feel like I do not have a uterus anymore (but I did have one) and I most definitely have an opinion. I do not want this next reproductively-able generation(s) to be shackled to their ovulation and ability to become pregnant, no matter the situation. I can't get pregnant anymore, I really never had the ability to have a baby, but I would never ever ever force that on someone else. 

Okay, so this is soooo far from a Microblog and I've basically just gone off on a rant that has been building for a while now. But, I guess the upshot is, when the government says they care about the unborn but not the 51% of the population who is physically tied to the unborn, when the actual real life children are shot in their classrooms or at 4th of July parades or we don't fund CPS appropriately and children die at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them, I feel like THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE "SANCTITY OF LIFE." This is about controlling women. This is about disenfranchising women. This is about blaming women for a situation that is FIFTY PERCENT PENIS, but no penis carries an embryo so I guess it's HER fault? This is about caring about the idea of a person but not an actual living person or the consequences of forced pregnancy and birth. This is about telling a woman with a life threatening situation that an unborn life is worth more than hers. 

It sucks. And it makes me feel very much like not celebrating freaking Independence Day. 

Sorry, so not a #Microblog Mondays, but if you want to read others, go here and enjoy! 

Hello, Summer!

Oh, glory hallelujah, it's summer! 

I saw a meme that said, "Teachers don't work only 10 months. Teachers do 12 months of work in 10 months." I am FEELING that right now! The exhaustion is real. 

This year was unusual for a few reasons -- my principal is retiring as of this Thursday and so there is transition to a new principal, which meant lots of work on scheduling earlier than usual, the IEP meeting season for me stretched from March to June (usually it's closer together but I had one of the earlier dates and then the last date for meetings), there was a situation where our assistant principal was no longer in the building in March (and now he will not be back) and so my performance review process got pushed into June, I had the most students with emotional disabilities ever, and this year was supposed to be something resembling "normal" but I don't think "normal" exists. 

That said, I made some really great connections with kids, as evidenced by this photo of me, totally soaked at the 8th grade Luau because several of my students decided to spend their last hurrah time playing cornhole with me and another teacher and then dumping icy water bottles and water balloons on my head (did I mention the heat index was into 100F?).


That's trust and love right there. 

Basically, I feel like today is the first day I have bandwidth. I'm looking forward to having summer plans of... NO PLANS. We're not traveling because Bryce has his research review in July and is in the dissertation stage, with defense in the fall. I am 100% okay with that. (Full disclosure, I signed up for a conference in Ithaca in July with a couple of teacher friends, and there is also a little summer work, but I am NOT SIGNING UP FOR A TON OF STUFF! NOOOOO SIRREEEE BOB!) 

I am coming back to this space to read, to comment, and to try to grapple with all the things that have happened in the past few weeks that I just can't wrap my head around. 

But for now, cheers to summer in all its empty-calendar glory! 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 

Pronatalism and Homebuying

I was at my physical therapy appointment today (in the final stretches of getting my shoulder back to a semblance of normal), and we were talking about the housing market. I'm not sure if this is a global thing, but right now in many parts of the U.S. competition is FIERCE if you are trying to buy a home. Selling a home is amazing, lots of above-asking bidding wars and the like, but if you are trying to buy a home? You are facing up to 30 other offers including cash-only and non-contingent, and so people are devising ways to edge out competition. 

My therapist said that she heard that writing a letter to the seller can be effective, that there are people who have gotten their offers chosen even when not as monetarily attractive because they appeal to the seller's emotions. I could see that -- I started imagining going to open houses and promising a seller I'd take real good care of their garden. 

But, no. 

"In your letter, you can say why you're the best person for the house, like, don't you want to sell to a family?'" 

Wait, having a family makes you a better buyer? Only families deserve houses? What the WHAT? 

I didn't say anything. I don't know her very well and didn't feel like getting into it, but it has burrowed into my subconsciousness because it's just...so....wrong. 

I'm glad that the house we bought is actually not very family friendly. I'm glad that not having kids is actually what this house seems to want. I'm also glad that the people who bought our last house was a nice family and they seem to be really enjoying the house, yard, and neighborhood. But it wasn't BECAUSE they were a family with kids. And it smarted when we came back for the neighborhood 4th of July celebration the following year and a neighbor said, "yeah, it's great to have kids in the neighborhood again, really breathe some life into the house!" Wow, thanks. Just a zombie ghost over here, sucking the life out of the neighborhood with my barrenness. 

Fun Fact: our neighborhood now with our kickass house was actually originally DESIGNED for people without kids, and then they couldn't execute it because you can't discriminate and say "you can't buy here because blahblahblah," so families moved in anyway and challenged the right to say you couldn't have kids and live here. There are so many neighborhoods that are clearly made with families in mind (borderless backyards in developments with 8 billion playsets), I don't really get how you can't have a small neighborhood (read: 2 dead end streets in the middle of nowhere) meant to attract people without children so you can build a community, kind of like a retirement community of sorts. 

But to say "I'm a more desirable offer and more worthy of your house because I have kids/a family?" It didn't sit right with me today. 

Go here to enjoy #Microblog Mondays

Negative!

Well, I was out sick all (short) week, and used up literally ALL of my home tests and had a PCR, and I am negative, negative, negative! Huzzah! Thank you for all the crossables! 

Still feel like crap though and my lungs are involved, so not sure what other respiratory ilk I inhaled but I am COVID free. 

I hate the home tests. They make me sneeze every single time, and watching for a second line never got less icky. For once though, I was happy to just have the one control line! 

I think the tree pollen is not helping, either. CLOUDS of it went by this morning, and our black deck furniture is currently sporting green polka dots. 

It is crazy to think there are only 11 days of school left with kids, and 14 total until it is summer. Can't miss any more!



Testing, Testing, 123

I'm playing a fun game right now: 

Head cold?     or    Cottonwood allergies?   or   COVID? 

I have made it three Mays (hopefully) without getting COVID. I have masked diligently, and watched the numbers to see when I could let up on restrictions. I always mask in public places like grocery stores (even though practically NO ONE is masking anymore) and limit going out.

I may still not have COVID -- I have tested twice since yesterday (last night and this morning) and am so far negative. I have a stuffy nose, a sore throat, a headache, and I'm utterly exhausted. Like, have spent an inordinate amount of time in bed or on the couch, out cold. No fever though. 

A teacher friend I share a room with let me know she has COVID yesterday evening. We don't sit near each other, but we do eat lunch, in the room, unmasked. After the kids are gone on Friday I took my mask off because it was like, NINETY DEGREES in my room (ah, no air conditioning), and we were both in my room. It's the most exposure risk I've ever had. Does it matter that the window was open and fans were going? I guess we'll find out.

So now I test, and test, and try to convince myself that it's cottonwood fluff that's flying through the air or a sinus cold. I really, really hate the tests and how they remind me of pregnancy nonsense. The waiting, the looking for even the faintest of lines (although I don't want that line this time). The mixing of the vials, the flicking of the solution in the tube. It's all letting unwelcome memories seep forward. 

Cross your fingers and toes that I don't have it. And that I don't give it to Bryce in a very busy time for both his work and his PhD endgame. (Masks, masks, so much masking.) I'm calling in for tomorrow because I feel like crap, but the rules are you can come to school as long as you are testing negative, which is bananapants. You can test negative for days and be contagious! 

Anyway, wish me luck. 


Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 

Ooof, May Is a Doozy

May has been crazy. Absolutely bananas. But, I am finally feeling like I am on the other side of the madness, or at least I have a foot and 2/3 of my body on the sane side. 

Upshot: in May, the following happened: 

- I celebrated my 46th birthday

- I wrote and compiled my National Board Teacher Certification renewal (yikes, in about a week and a half, procrastinate much?)

- I completed my National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) New Leader's Training that started in February and ended May 15th. Woo hoo, I am a new SEED leader! 

- I finished co-facilitating my first district SEED I seminar with a colleague and friend last week

- My beautiful little Pumpkin was officially totaled, and I placed an order for my new Crosstrek, which should be here in, ummmm, SEPTEMBER. Thank you, global supply chain crisis. Also, they don't freaking make it in Sunshine Orange anymore, so now I'm stuck with boring Horizon Blue Pearl, although I've named it Bluebird. Except today I found out that I might have to settle for white, which I think looks like a Storm Trooper but then I could call it Hedwig, too. Which I guess is a good consolation prize. 

Bye, little pumpkin. I hugged it. They would have had to rebuild the whole back half. :(

- I went on a field trip May 12th for the kids who did not go on the 8th grade D.C. trip, to our local zoo. First, zoos leave me conflicted. But second, I made it all the way until the end of the trip when we were walking to the bus through the gravel playground/construction site without incident. Unfortunately as we walked through the multiple kindergarten classes waiting for THEIR bus, I hit uneven pavement and a rock and my ankle buckled, launching me into one of those horrible slow forward-falls that you are CONVINCED you can catch yourself and recover from, but ultimately ends with you falling on your knees on sharp gravel, yelling SONOFABITCH! in front of so many 6-year-olds and rolling around on your back while your knees start to bleed, laughing and crying hysterically because it's so crazy. And painful. And you're never going to live it down. Fun fact: I did not know until this May that if you get a big bruise on your leg that the blood will actually run down your leg INSIDE YOUR SKIN and pool in your ankle/foot. Yummmmmm. 

The day of the fall. 

a couple days later

Over the weekend, with pretty blood foot

NEVER BORING. 

I feel somewhat cursed, but then again I remember that there is psychic energy around May. May is when we packed up our nursery and donated it and officially made the call to end our adoption journey. May is when we knew, without a doubt, that we would never be parents. And it's crazy to think, but National Board Certification renews every 5 years, and 5 years ago I madly wrote all my papers and compiled my stuff for my original certification over Mother's Day weekend, because I hadn't had time thanks to, you know, a medical and mental health crisis. But I achieved, and I hope I renew okay with this year's mad dash to get everything together. Memorial Day is this coming weekend and I am going to do everything possible to a) stay in one piece and b) not think too much about the long holiday weekend 5 years ago, when I loaded our nursery and physical representation of our dream into a lady's car and my car and drove it to her house where she kept donation things for women who had unplanned pregnancies and needed material support. Packing up your alternate reality is a heavy, heavy grief. It makes sense that I'm having a rough time this May given that anniversary. 

BUT, all in all, things are good, I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I've made it through (almost) all of the crazy responsibilities I've piled on top of myself this year. 

One more week of May! 


Want to read some #Microblog Mondays that are actually micro? Go here and enjoy! 

My Poor Little Pumpkin

Well, one reason why I've been away for a couple weeks is that I got into a car accident over break. Nothing too crazy, I was rear-ended while STOPPED at a STOPLIGHT in my bright ORANGE car, but it has caused me one hell of a headache. 

1) My poor little orange pumpkin-mobile, my beautiful 2020 Subaru Crosstrek that was MY FIRST BRAND NEW CAR, is smooshed. It is in the collision shop and they estimated at least 2 months of repair time. Apparently she hit me so hard that my back frame rails are crushed and my rear doors are buckled because the floor got pushed forward which made a mess of everything. I have a horrible feeling it's going to be a ton but not totaled, because the car is (was?) actually worth something, but I am so pissed that the value of my car is going to be impacted. (On the other hand, if it got totaled the car market is a mess due to supply chain issues, so who knows what's the better choice? And they don't make it in Sunshine Orange anymore. Grrrr) They aren't done with the estimate and the inspection and it's already up to over $13,000. The pictures don't look so terribly bad but the mechanics keep telling me "do you realize how hard you were hit?" and the damage you can't see is unbelievable. Smoosh, smoosh, smoosh little pumpkin. :(

2) I am so lucky I didn't see her coming, because I was looking ahead at the STOPLIGHT like a normal human, but even so when she hit me it hurt my left arm. You know, the one with the partially torn rotator cuff from my fall over the cat and into my desk edge in November? The one that I've been doing physical therapy for and have made such amazing progress that my PT was going to release me? WELL GUESS WHAT. Now my range of motion is back to where it was in December and it hurt to the point that sleeping is difficult. The good news is my PT had just done a progress assessment days before the accident, so there's a record of where I was vs. where I am now. It is getting a little better every day, but my elbow is involved now and it's just so, so frustrating.

I am lucky I wasn't more seriously hurt. I am lucky that Bryce could drive me into work when it took a WEEK to get a rental car. I am lucky that I have no one to drive around to school or sports or activities, just myself. I am lucky that I can afford to pay for my rental car since apparently Allstate (her insurance) now has a policy that claimant's rentals are reimbursement-only. What do people do who do not have support of a partner or the money to pay for the rental? It's going to be hundreds of dollars, possibly more than a thousand (and they only cover 30 days, which I will be fighting since the damage means 2 months in the shop). 

It is so frustrating to be so inconvenienced, stressed, and hurt because someone simply wasn't paying attention. The kicker? She was a physical therapist. In a Chevy Malibu. You know what the first rental car they gave me was? A CHEVY MALIBU. But it looked like perhaps someone was murdered in it or peed in the backseat and the Oh Shit Handle on the driver's side was literally ripped out and every time I turned left there was a hideous grinding sound that was definitely not safe-sounding, so I got to trade it for a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which is much better and closer to my Crosstrek (but boring black and not zippy orange). 

Sigh. 

The worse side. The wheel well is touching my tire. 

My trailer hitch that Bryce got me for my birthday was pushed all the way under the car.


Hahaha this picture was fun to show my students. The police officer was lovely and gave me a ride to a Starbucks so I could wait somewhere with chairs while Bryce came to pick me up.

Bye bye little pumpkin!