Day 22 – Tired

I am tired today. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I stayed up well past my “teacher bedtime” the last two nights. Otherwise, I really have no other reason. It’s not as though I’m dashing around my classroom encouraging, entertaining, and extinguishing “fires” all day long. This group of students drains me both physically and mentally.

Today’s tired feels mental. The anxiousness, the uncertainty of all of this makes me want to curl up in bed and sleep. This is all so different from what we are familiar with. I have not set up a “schedule” for myself at home. Maybe I need to do that. I am “available” as required, but find myself jumping from task to task, not really completing much of anything. I am obsessively checking my email, and Class Dojo messages. I record and send a morning video greeting each day. I am recording myself doing a chapter book read aloud. I want to make sure my students are “doing” something, but at the same time, don’t want to overwhelm the parents.

So – I took a nap. I participated in a Facebook Live “Friends” Trivia game. Now, I am going to make dinner, and I figure we will finish watching Toy Story 4 tonight. Hang in there, everyone!

(as I read over this again before submitting, my writing/thoughts seem so disjointed. Sorry if it doesn’t make sense. I guess that’s another way to describe my feelings today. Disjointed.)

Day 21 – I Don’t Wanna

I was struggling with what to write about today – until just now. Just now I received a text from my hubby asking what’s for dinner (!)… he’s over at a friend’s house right now… “Leftovers.” I reply. “Chili, corned beef, or we can have frozen pizza.” He responds back, “Cool.” Then, the words I really didn’t want to read: “I wanna go to Mike & Lauren’s tonight.”

I felt like a four year old as I said to myself, “But I don’t wanna go there! I want to stay home!” Now, don’t get me wrong, I like these friends of ours. In fact, we were there last night, hanging out, playing darts, and Cards Against Humanity. Until 3 a.m. I am NOT a night person. I don’t mind hanging out with friends, but I am an introvert at heart, I think. My husband is definitely an extrovert. And more of a night person than I am, that’s for sure.

So, I will finish this Slice, then prepare my opening argument. How will I get out of this?!

Day 20 – Distraction

Yesterday, hubby hurt his elbow. I came home to him on the couch with an ice pack on his left arm. Oh geez, what now?! Apparently, he heard a “pop” when lifting something at work, and now does not have full range of motion in his elbow, nor can he rotate his wrist. There is no bruising, but a quick trip to Dr. Google suggests his bicep tendon has torn off the bone. Lovely.

When he went to bed last night, he said he would see how he feels in the morning to determine if he went to work today. So, his alarm goes off at the normal time (3:45 a.m.), and he gets out of bed. About 45 minutes later, he is back in bed texting, then his phone rings. His ringer, always on full volume, is the sound of the buzzer when the Blackhawks score. So it’s loud. VERY loud.

I have gotten used to sleeping past 7:00 a.m. pretty quickly, and I was more than a little annoyed that someone was calling him so early. His boss. They have the conversation. “Yes, it’s pretty painful.” Pause. “Yeah, I heard it pop.” Long pause. “I’ll head to the doctor today.” The word doctor made me realize I was changing my plans today.

He makes a phone call later in the morning. The doctor won’t take him. I start looking for orthopedic doctors in the area. Find one, call, talk to the receptionist, explain the situation. She states they are doing triage over the phone (??), so she is putting me through to a nurse. A few minutes later, hubby is on the phone with the nurse. He explains everything, and then he listens. “Okay, thank you.” Apparently, due to the “current health crisis”, they are not taking in any patients unless it is an emergency. They recommended he NOT go to the ER (duh!).

So after the governor’s speech and “stay at home” order, I went to Walgreens and bought him a sling. I guess we will just have to hope for the best for now. Wish me luck!

Day 19 – Projects

When I found out we were going to be out of school for three weeks, I made a list. A list of projects. “I will have ALL this TIME! I am going to get stuff done!” This is my list:

  1. Clean out/organize pantry
  2. Go through my closet/donate clothes
  3. Go through son’s closet/donate clothes
  4. Go through son’s toys/donate
  5. Clean out trunk picked up from parents’ house
  6. Wash windows
  7. Clean baseboards
  8. Get flower pots ready for flowers
  9. Dig out old tomato plants
  10. Organize son’s school keepsake box

“What have you finished?” you may ask. Number 3. That’s it. And really, I only half-finished it. The clothes are still sitting on his bedroom floor. Need to grab a bag, and at least get that into the car. I’m not sure why I’m not getting stuff done… as I read other’s posts, though, I see that I am not alone. Well, maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. As I sit here at the dining room table, though, I need to add another item – #11. Clean off dining room table. The struggle is real.

Day 18 – One of the Crazies

As I scroll back on my posts from just a week ago, I am amazed at how much things have changed already. Bars and restaurants have closed their dining rooms, stores have cut their operating hours, and it looks as though we may be sheltering in place soon. Entire cities have already shut down, and the Governor of Kansas has shut down schools for the remainder of the school year. Whoa.

I did not panic buy last week. I did my normal grocery shopping. I didn’t get TP. Mainly, because we didn’t need it, second to the fact that there was none to be found anywhere. I thought for sure I’d have no problem getting some this week. WRONG!

As our supply at home is dwindling, I stopped at a couple store when I was out this week. Of course, I saw nothing but empty shelves. Yesterday, I called my local Jewel. “No, we don’t have any. Your best bet is to be here with the crazies when we open at 6.” The crazies??!! The woman who answered the phone went on the explain that the employees are now doing all restocking overnight when the store is closed.

So… last night, I set my alarm for 5:15 a.m. This morning, I got up, threw on some clothes, made myself a cup of tea, and jumped in the car. As I pulled into the parking lot, there were quite a few cars. This particular store is remodeling, and construction workers were already busy inside. I didn’t see anyone looking as though they were waiting for the store to open, though. “Okay,” I thought to myself. Maybe I’ll get lucky. A couple more cars pulled into the lot, and two or three people got out of their cars to wait by the doors. I followed.

Doors open.

Grab a cart (wipe it down).

Head to the far right side of the store.

Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Okay, I decide to grab a few other things, then head to the checkout. On my way out, I talk to the service desk clerk. Apparently, their truck didn’t come. She thought it would come today, but had no idea what would be on it. Check again tomorrow.

Next move, down the street a bit to Menard’s. I pull into the parking lot, noticing they don’t open until 6:30. I still have a few minutes. I park the car, and get on Menard’s website to see if they are showing it in stock. THEY ARE! Okay, let’s hope the website is correct! A few more cars pull in the parking lot, and we all congregate at the doors. “I never thought I’d be standing at Menard’s doors waiting to buy toilet paper.” remarks one older gentleman. “Right??” I reply. As I look through the glass-front store, I see “the goods”. I had already checked the store’s map online to see where to find it, but seeing it in there brought me a surge of adrenaline.

The doors open, and half a dozen adults speed walk to retrieve the elusive goods. I grab one package of 24 rolls (limit 2), and also two rolls of paper towels, just in case. While I’m there, I grab some air freshener. Then I turn around and grab one more package of TP. I guess I am “one of the crazies” after all!

Day 17 – Leave it

I love my town. We weren’t too sure about moving 30 miles west of where I work, but we looked and looked, and looked… we couldn’t find anything we really loved. We decided to rent first to see if we really liked it, and to see if the commute was going to prove to be too much.

Well, here we are seven years later, and we still love it! We bought a house three years ago this week. I am enjoying seeing pictures on Timehop of us having our first drink on our “new” deck in our new house. Pictures of piles of boxes and cluttered countertops pop up and I have to smile. Buying a new house is so exciting – but stressful!

Clearly, the drive doesn’t bother me. On a good day, I can make it to work in 45 minutes. The longest it has taken me is over 2 hours (snow!). Most days, it’s 50 minutes. On my way in, I usually listen to a local Chicago morning show. On the way home, it’s typically satellite radio (country music), or an audio book. Both the drive in and the drive home allow me to reflect. In the morning, I mentally go through my lesson plans, and I often think about how to best reach my most difficult students. In the afternoon, I like to think about what went well that day. I find this time allows me to decompress before getting home. Sometimes, a particularly bad day may affect my mood at home, as much as I try to avoid this. I truly want to leave the bad days at work, my family deserves this. When friends and colleagues remark, “I don’t know how you do that drive every day!” I just smile, and think, “It’s worth it!”

Day 16 – Non-routine

I’m anxious this morning. Bouncing from one thing to another. Laundry, TV news, email, Facebook, text messages. I have made myself a list of projects for the week(s) – but I can’t stay focused on any one thing right now. I think many of us are in the same boat. We are out of our normal routine, and that’s unsettling. Even school breaks and summer, with their “non-routines”, have routines! Vacations, extended family dinners and visits, sports, summer camps – that is all part of the non-routine.

My son’s school hasn’t sent anything yet for him in terms of homework, so he is enjoying playing Xbox online with his cousins in Colorado. I did make him read this morning, and he WILL practice his clarinet and saxophone today. Tomorrow, his day will look different. My husband chided me this morning, “Don’t go all nazi-teacher on him, let him relax a bit.” So for today, he’s got it easy.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue to check my email and Class Dojo page for messages from my students. I am going to eat lunch, comment on Slices, and pick a project. My son’s closet sounds like a good place to start.

Day 15 – Peace

As I got into my car this morning, I felt a bit uneasy. Maybe I shouldn’t be going out? No, no… it’s fine. Where I’m going, there will be less than ten people, and 99% of the time I will be more than six feet away. So I drove. As I passed the grocery stores on my way, I noticed how crowded the parking lots were. Still. I need to pick up a few things later, hope they have what I want (no TP needed!).

As I got closer to my destination, I felt calmer. Pulling into the parking area, there were only two other cars. Two other cars = two people. I got my supplies from the back of my car and walked in the building. Not a soul to be seen. Yet. I set down my things, and walked out back to retrieve the most important “supply” of the day. A big, chunky, grey speckled horse, Vee.

I walked right up to him, gave him a neck scratch as he sniffed my pockets for treats. “Yes Vee, I brought you a carrot. Just a piece, though. You’ll get the rest later.” After snapping the lead rope to Vee’s halter, I gave him the bit of carrot, and we slowly and quietly navigated through the mud back to the barn.

After clipping Vee into the cross-ties and removing his blanket, I got to work. It’s shedding season, and after just a few seconds of brushing, I was grey speckled as well! I finished brushing, then went to work on his wildly overgrown mane, then to picking the packed mud out of his hooves.

Time to tack up. Saddle pad, riser pad, saddle. Martingale, girth. Put on my helmet, spurs and gloves. Finally, the bridle. Make sure my phone is on silent, then head to the arena. In the arena, walk a bit, stop, tighten the girth. Walk a bit more, tighten the girth once more. Step on the mounting block, and I’m on! We walk for several laps, and I enjoy the peace and quiet. There is another horse and rider in the arena, we say hello, then retreat into our own routines.

As I ride, putting Vee through circles, transitions, and other exercises, all thoughts are on him. I can’t worry about anything but what we are doing, what we are trying to accomplish. I’m not over-thinking my shopping list (should I have shopped sooner? Do I really need TP? Should I buy more pasta?), worrying about how many germs I may have picked up last night as we went out with friends for St. Patrick’s Day, or worrying about whether or not I have enough meds in the house in case one of us does get sick. I am truly in the moment. And it brings me peace. For a little while, anyway.

Day 14 – Still the uncertainty

It’s Saturday. It’s 10:35 a.m. I slept until after 8… a luxury for me. I feel as though I’m supposed to be doing something, I must be forgetting something. Well, I am supposed to be doing something. I am supposed to be volunteering at my son’s Fine Arts Festival, and then watching him perform in the Jazz Band and the 7th Grade Band. Nope. Not this year. I feel out of sorts. I’m disappointed for my son and all the other students in the district who don’t get to show off their amazing skills they’ve worked so hard on all year. So I Slice.

My mind wanders, though. I check Facebook. Again. I seriously need to stop. Every time I do, I think, “Maybe I should go to the store.” My stomach flips. No. We’re fine. We will be fine. I did not panic shop, I will not panic shop. Things will be better next week, and we have enough of everything to last beyond that.

We are spending time with friends this afternoon. It is after all, St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The local parade was cancelled, but the local bars are still holding their festivities. We are going. Am I nervous? Maybe just a bit. I don’t want to become a hermit, though. We have been planning this for a month. Nervous? Yeah, but a green beer should take care of that!

Day 13 – Just…off

Daylight saving time, full moon, Friday the 13th, COVID-19… the week has been pretty weird, but to be honest, my students weren’t too terrible. Today, though… they were “off”. The district sent home “COVID packets” yesterday in anticipation of a shutdown. Teachers were on edge, too. For me, I think it’s the uncertainty of it all. The kids feel it, too. Figuring we’d be shut down, I didn’t do much in the way of “higher learning”. Instead, we did a fun math activity. We got lots of good books from the library. We watched a video about how germs get into our bodies, and we worked on the finishing touches of our class book, getting it ready to be sent out for publishing after spring break. We got in our IReady minutes. After all, I needed a little quiet time, too! In the afternoon, though, I gave each student a piece of construction paper. I told them to write their name on it, in large letters. We then circulated around the room writing positive things about every student on their paper. I put on some KidzBop, and off they went! I really enjoyed watching my students stand for a few moments at a classmate’s desk, and then say “Oh!” to themselves, and quickly write helpful or kind or funny or caring. When students made it back to their own seats, it got quiet as they read. Some students even came up to me, “Mrs. Van Horn, someone wrote that I’m always happy on mine!” “Mine says smart 10 times!” On it went for a few more minutes, with students sharing with each other the positive messages from their classmates. I think it was a good way to end the day. I hope when my students are at home over the next few weeks, they look at their paper, and smile, knowing how their classmates feel about them.