COVID Updates

You know that saying, "we're in this together?" Well, Bryce and I sure are, because yesterday he also tested positive. Good news, now we can see each other again, bad news...we both have COVID. Luckily Bryce's case seems pretty mild, so far. Today he said, "I'll take this over a cold, I'm sorry to say." 

He's sorry to say because I am a disaster. I am nebulizing multiple times per day and STILL struggling to breathe. I'm on the benzo pearls (which don't touch the cough). I'm guzzling Gatorade, after discovering that Pedialyte is absolutely repugnant. (Bryce likes it though, which is great, because it made me gag.) I'm a couple days into Paxlovid. 

Oh, Paxlovid. Fun fact -- it makes your mouth absolutely disgusting. Everything tastes bitter and like you're sucking on a rock made of copper. Hot Tamales apparently help, so now I'm going to have cavities AND COVID. Ha. I also find that ginger anything masks it. It's horrific when you wake up. Imagine morning breath, x100000. I am pleased though that the other symptoms that were awful -- awful headache, body aches, fever -- are pretty much gone. I still get chills though and I am super duper tired. I got winded getting our Hello Fresh package from the front door. I had to stop twice going up the stairs to catch my breath. 

If the breathing doesn't get better I have to get back in touch with my doctor and get put on a Prednisone taper regimen. Gross. I absolutely hate Prednisone. The good news is that it won't be anywhere near the amount I had with my eye issue in 2017, so I should avoid having a breakdown this time. Ha. Ha. 

Otherwise, I'm sleeping, popping in on my work computer too much, reading, watching TV, and doing puzzles while I nebulize. I have to make it entertaining somehow! I am catching up on The Handmaid's Tale (new episode today!). 

I am seriously hoping that I will be able to come back to work on Monday. I was real proud of myself for calling in for the whole week instead of a bit at a time, but now I am hoping that this week is all I need. I have a bit of a squirrelly group (I feel like I say that every year) and apparently they are terrorizing the subs. Which, because LOTS of people are sick, many with COVID, has been a different sub each day and even each period. Not great. 

I am eternally grateful that I don't have to be primary care for anyone else right now. I am not grateful for parenthood not working out, but in times like these I am very much at peace with having no children to take care of while feeling this way! 

SOOOO attractive! I can pretend it's the world's worst hookah.

First COVID puzzle, I got to do it twice because the cat got startled and knocked it on the floor when it was 5/6 done. 

PS - I typed this on my laptop, so there will be no more hilarious and naughty typos! 

Attack of the COVID

Remember when I had a very faint line and a mild case of COVID in July? Well, that is about 1/1000 of the case I've got now. Booooo, hissss. 

Friday I felt fine, just a little wheezy (my asthma always kicks up in the fall). Saturday I woke up and felt crappy, achy, chills, headache. I was supposed to go visit with my sister who was in town, so I tested. Negative. Thankfully, I felt crappy enough to cancel because I honestly didn't feel comfortable driving. I went downhill fast.

I thought I had an early flu case. I got a fever, my lungs continued to decline, my joints and muscles were on fire, I couldn't stay awake. The chills had me shivering and teeth chattering. Bryce set up the downstairs bedroom on the off chance it was COVID. 

Aaaaand, Sunday morning when I retested, it lit up immediately. Like before the control line. Bright dark blue. Boom. SO glad I didn't go up, my parents are flying to Ireland. Not the parting gift they'd want.

Holy hell this is awful. I'm better today, fever broke, but my hips and knees are so angry and I can't stay upright for long. I'm eternally grateful that the headache has lessened... It was so bad Saturday and Sunday that I could not read. I. COULD. NOT. READ! I also had no appetite, which for me is a sure sign of illness. This girl can eat in the weirdest of circumstances! It's a little better now.  I sound like a dinosaur when I cough and I can stay upright for maybe an hour (improvement).

So, uh, watch out for the COVID. Just because the government says the pandemic is over doesn't mean it's done with us.

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

Do I Know How You Feel?

I had a conversation about grief recently, which made me think about how we talk about grief in groups of people who have experienced it. and how often there's a statement like, "we all know how this feels, we've all dealt with it before." 

I agree to some extent. I think that if you have experienced grief and loss, and you process and deal (of course ongoing) with that grief and loss, there is a collective wisdom and solidarity there. You can see someone else who has experienced grief and know that you have both had a loss of some kind and there are probably similarities to how you felt.  

BUT, and this goes back to fifty billion posts I've done about "we're all in the same boat" and "I've been in your shoes," I know MY grief. I know what feels right to me in moments where I am deep in the pit. I can offer that to someone else, but it might not work for them. 

While I have experienced losses and that gives me heightened empathy (in theory), I haven't experienced your particular brand of loss. I know what it is like to have parents divorce, to have a parent that you don't see more than 2 weeks per year, to have a bad marriage, to go through a divorce of my own, to lose my identity and remake it, to lose the idea that I could have a baby unassisted, to lose pregnancies, to lose genetic connection, to lose pregnancy as an experience, to lose parenthood as an experience, to lose a grandparent, to lose so many things. 

I do not know what it is like to lose a baby to stillbirth. I do not know what it is like to lose a pregnancy after a heartbeat has been detected. I do not know what it is like to lose a parent, a child, a friend, a sibling. I do not know what it is like to lose someone I love very suddenly. I do not know what it is like to be estranged from family. I do not know what it is like to be in someone else's proverbial shoes, because even if we've had a similar loss, our feet have traveled different paths which make it not. the. same. 

This is not to make it Pain Olympics. It's to say that there is a huge difference between "I know what it is experience loss, and I feel for you in your loss" and "I've experienced loss, so I know EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL." I don't. No one does. 

But, we can gather in our collective wisdom and experiences to offer empathy, and support, and a listening ear. We can use our experiences to be there for someone else in their experience. 

A Step Back or a Step Forward?

I am back to school, which means I am in that first-couple-of-weeks exhaustion. I need to make a video message for myself that shows me, in my eye -bagged September glory, saying, "THIS HAPPENS EVERY YEAR. IT IS NORMAL. AND TEMPORARY." 

Unfortunately, this year is one of transitions -- new building leadership, three new special education teachers, many new processes... Which makes it much more, to quote the kids, extra. 

So I missed much of World Childless Week this year in live terms due to first-full-week exhaustion, but the good news is it all lives in perpetuity on -- just click "Menu" and you can see everything for this year's and previous. Stephanie Joy Phillips is amazing and it is free (although donations help keep it going!). 

Otherwise school starting was lovely -- we don't have the slideshow anymore (do not miss that!) and there was no speech that put parenthood as "your most important job." Win! 

But then... I got an invite to a baby shower for a coworker who is due in November. Which I can do! I'm all good with work showers now! So well -adjusted! I opened it and the invite was adorable -- an old fashioned pickup truck filled with pumpkins that said "a little pumpkin is arriving in November!" Awww. So sweet. I was like, "cool, this is cute and I don't feel sad! WIN!"

And then...

A smaller piece of paper fell out of the envelope with the same image. And it said something along the lines of, "instead of bringing a card, bring a book for baby and write your message in it." 


I teared up at my desk IMMEDIATELY. Do you know how many books I still have that have book plates made out to "Baby T____" with a message of joy and anticipation? SO MANY. I don't know how to donate books that have personal messages in them. It was a wonderful idea but ended up extraordinarily painful. And seeing this idea again, for an event that will involve opening and reading and admiring books for baby, it sent that pain right back to the surface. 

I can get books for my coworker's baby. I can get presents. I CANNOT be there for that part. 

And you know what? It's okay. It's okay that it hit me like a sock full of quarters swinging at my head. It fell on the heels of going to a local bookstore and seeing little board books with finger puppets, and they had Halloween ones like Little Ghostie, and a Little Octopus. We used to have the bat and the black cat. That was a little stabby, but then the echo of our own baby shower for a baby that never turned out to exist... It all culminated in a very sad moment that caught me off guard. 

But also, a realization. I can feel that sadness, and not torture myself with going into a situation I know will make me very sad. I'll go, and then leave. Because no one wants a sad crying lady at a baby shower.

And I don't have to "be brave" and prove myself by staying and shoving my split-open grief deep down so it can erupt later. 

What felt like a step back in the moment I saw that smaller paper slip that took my breath away, is actually a step forward. 

Summer Highlights by the Numbers

It's Labor Day, which means summer is over (yeah yeah, it goes until September 22nd or something, but when you're on a school calendar, it's over now). It was glorious and recharging and I did an AMAZING job of keeping July pretty sacred, and then August was pretty much school stuff from the start. But, I feel excited, and rejuvenated, and ready. 

Books: 22 (summer is defined by time out of school, so 6/26 - Labor Day)

My absolute favorite was The Book of Delights, which I wrote about here. Lots of great books, only a couple that were stinkers in my mind (but books are very personal! my stinker might be your ooooolala!). And a wide range of nonfiction, realistic fiction, twisty/murdery, fantasy, young adult, romance, essays...lots of variety. 

Puzzles: 6

Kind of appropriate that I ended on the Summer one. Hand in hand with puzzles is podcasts -- I zone out completely when I puzzle and listen to podcasts. The three I listened to most were My Favorite Murder (Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff's true crime/comedy podcast), Outrageous Love (Dr. Sharokky Hollie's Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Teaching podcast), and The Daily (NY Times). 

Adventures: 4

First adventure: my very first conference as a teacher leader where I got to stay in a hotel, in Ithaca, NY for the Diversity Symposium of Thought Leaders and travel with three other awesome women in my district. We had an amazing time and I left energized and excited (albeit with a mild case of COVID around 5 days later. Not counting COVID as an adventure.)

Second adventure: Stand-Up Paddleboarding in a water trail area of Bay Creek with my friend. So much fun I bought an inflatable board so now I can go any time. Also, I learned that if you must choose between a flock of swans and geese that could nip you and steering into reeds, choosing the reeds puts you in the water with the birds and they just fly away. So, um, yeah. 

Third adventure: I went to a football game. A real, live, SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS adventure with tailgating. I was invited by my newly retired principal (who has season Bills tickets) to go to a preseason game with another teacher I work with, and the game started at 1 but for some reason we left at 8. Apparently there is tailgating in the parking lot and you drink and play cornhole for hours before you watch men in tight pants throw a ball and throw each other to the ground. It was HOT, and SUNNY, and I had way more hard seltzer than water, and my shorts were pretty much soaked in sweat by the time we left, but man it was fun and the Bills won over the Colorado Horses by a landslide. YAY SPORTS! I'm not sure this is the life for me but I was proud of myself for doing something not in my comfort zone. Definitely an adventure! 

Fourth adventure: Driving 1000 miles round trip to southeastern Indiana and back. I drove through Western NY, a corner of Pennsylvania, pretty much the length (height?) of Ohio, a little swerve of Kentucky and into Indiana. By myself. I did not mind (more podcasts!), and Bryce had to work, so off on an adventure I went. I saw a lot of family and enjoyed my new car very much. 

New Car: 1

Helloooooo, Bluebird! Finally! Accident April 22nd, car arrived around August 3rd. Thank goodness for my mom letting me borrow her Subaru in the meantime. I was real glad to have a backup camera again and all the fun bells and whistles, and I've gotten used to the nice middle blue color. Ahhhh, glad to put that behind me (knock on all the wood ever). 

Pretty, no? I also put my Ravenclaw sticker on the opposite window from the magnet on the gas cap that says "Not to spoil the end, but everything's going to be okay." Yay. 

Actual Vacations: 0

This is okay, because Bryce is in the FINAL STRETCH of his PhD and he completed his Research Review this summer. So he worked and worked and worked and we basically staycationed and I went on my fun adventures and homebody times and it was just fine. I am looking forward to having a PhD-Moon when this is all over, which should be before the end of this year! 

And that's a wrap! Off to a new school year, last teacher onboarding day tomorrow and then the kids come on in on Wednesday. Here we go!