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


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). 


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!

Officially Childless Mother's Day #6

This is my 6th Mother's Day where I knew I would never have children. Looking back in time, there were so many hopeful Mother's Days, and devastating Mother's Days, but I can tell you honestly -- it really does get better. There were so many times when I didn't believe that could ever happen. 

I mean, I do still have self-care around the day. My guidelines are pretty similar as when I was in the raw times: 

1) No social media. I mean it. NONE. You can think that you'll be okay but it is way too easy to go down a voyeuristic sad spiral and it is overwhelming. No thank you. I probably won't go back on until a few days pass because the spiral keeps on spinning for days. 

2) Do something nice for yourself. We had our requisite Sunday blueberry pancakes and bacon, and then I finished an IEP that I've been behind on for my second to last meeting of the year, we had tuna melts for lunch, a zoom with Bryce's mom and stepfather, and then took a really long walk. I tried to plant things, but I'm not 100% in both arms (more on that later) and the blackflies were literally swarming my head and feasting on me, so nope. I felt like I had a good balance of getting stuff done and restorative things. 

3) Go for a walk somewhere you won't be bombarded by families. Easy in my neighborhood, where a walk around the block looks like this: 

and a longer walk looks like this: 

Even so, as we were heading home and had two choices, we looked down one way and saw a family with a dog and a small child on someone's shoulders, and chose to go the other way. Why face that if we don't have to?

And that is basically it! I celebrated with my mom yesterday in the driveway (with tons of uninvited blackflies), a combo my-birthday and her-Mother's Day. Oh yes, that was key in the before times -- celebrate with your family on a different day if you can. It makes a difference. 

That's the other thing -- some years my birthday is immediately followed by Mother's Day. It felt like a one-two punch for so long. Reminders that I was getting older (either even less fertile or less appealing in the adoption process), paired with reminders that I wasn't a mom (and eventually would NEVER be a mom) seemed a cruel combination. But my birthday didn't bother me either this year -- other than that I can't say I'm half of 90 anymore. Half of 92 just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

We actually went to a fancy restaurant, but on a Thursday (less busy) and in a little side room with no other people, and even when we went to the bathroom we went away from the bar and so NEVER PASSED A SINGLE OTHER PERSON. Which is good, because this is my 3rd Pandemic Birthday and my county in NY is a High Transmission area and the CDC is "urging" people to mask but do most people mask? NOPE. But we do, and hopefully I continue to avoid it. Ugh. Whoa. Major sidebar. Here is my birthday dinner pic: 

This is 46! (Well, Bryce is 48)

I guess what I want you to know is that this day can be so, so awful when you don't know if you'll ever be a parent, and devastating in the early days of KNOWING you'll never be a parent. But it really does get better. Not in a "everything's awesome and it doesn't hurt at all" kind of way, but in a "this used to feel like a horrific injury and now it's just the little lingering ache of arthritis and only when the conditions are just right." Which is a great place to be, actually. 

Here are my resolved without parenting Mother's Day posts, going back to the very first: 

2021: How I Spent My Mother's Day

2020: Soothing the Mother's Day Ache (this and earlier are from My Path to Mommyhood)

2019: Mother's Day Past, Mother's Day Present

2018: #Microblog Mondays: My Un-Mother's Day and Coming Up On Mother's Day

2017: Huh, actually I never wrote a dedicated Mother's Day post this year of crisis. Probably because a) May 8th Bryce called the adoption agency to say we were done and we officially ended our journey, and I spent Mother's Day frantically writing all my stuff for National Board Teacher Certification. Mother's Day was sandwiched between making the final call and packing up our nursery, so I guess I decided to write about other things. 

The last thing I want to leave you with is that I've noticed a lot more sensitivity around the day, at least in the public radio classical stations we tend to listen to. We heard a lot of "honoring the mothers, physical and spiritual" and other caveats that acknowledge that not all women are physical mothers. The opt-outs for emails about Mother's Day seem to be decent, although they go to my "promotions" folder in my inbox to die most of the time so I didn't see them firsthand, only heard about them from others. And then, on Friday, the evening custodian came by to chat when I was still there at 5:45 (Friday evenings are actually a great time to get shit done, no one's there), and asked about weekend plans and then said, "Are you a mom?" and when I paused and said, "Well, no. No I'm not." HE then paused and said, "That's okay, I'm not a dad either." It was a lovely moment of connection and I appreciated that there was no assumption made. 

So, Officially Childless Mother's Day #6 is almost over and I'm just so grateful to be in the place I am today. I hope that brings you hope if you're still deep in the swamp of sadness. And if it was a pretty good Mother's Day for you, too -- well cheers to us!