Day 31-How Did We Get Here?

A lot can happen in 31 days. Let’s face it, a lot can happen in 31 seconds. But I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that March is over.

March 2020 was painful. The world changed that month. March 2021 was painful. I suffered a cruel injustice at the hands of someone I respected and trusted. I fought that battle and won, but it was one of the longest months of my life. March 2022 flew in and out before I even had a chance to register it. But this, this March was a good one.

Oh sure, this month had its trials. It had its share of stress at work and the ultimate stress of any adult’s life: what to make for dinner every single night. Some sad things happened to friends, but some good things are happening to friends, too. My family is healthy (Boy’s current bout of Covid notwithstanding…), and I’ve played a lot of Wordle. And Quordle. And Octordle. And Sedecordle. Yikes.

I’ve enjoyed some Netflix/Hulu/Prime series and read 12 books. I could finish another one before the night is over. I started a running challenge and I’m trying, oh I’m trying, to purge so much of the THINGS in my house I just don’t need. I saw one of my brothers, whom I haven’t seen in 6 1/2 years. I’ve paid down some bills and just found out I am NINE payments away from the Public Student Loan Forgiveness on my master’s loans.

Oh, and I wrote. I came here every single day for 31 days and I wrote. And I read, and commented, and laughed, and even cried. Thank you for reading, thank you for writing, and thank you for commenting. I always say I’m going to keep writing, but that hasn’t happened yet. So. I’ll see you next year. Happy April.

Day 30-March Plans

So here we are, the penultimate day of March, of the Slice of Life. I set out to accomplish some things this month. How am I doing?

I’m in week 3 of my Nike running challenge and beta shoe-testing. I’ve been doing it! I’m running 3 days a week. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t been entirely fun, but I’m proud of myself for doing something I know is and will continue to be challenging. My calves are sore, I have shin splints, and my legs are tired. But I am determined to finish this 12-week challenge. And the shoes I’m testing are pretty cool.

I was working on the whole 40 days/40 bags thing for Lent. I don’t recall how many bags I set out to do because I didn’t think I was going to shoot for 40. As of today, I’ve got 8 bags of stuff I’m giving away or selling (I do a pretty good business on Mercari!). Perhaps I can fill 2 more bags before the month is over.

There is one more day left in the Slice of Life writing challenge. I have not missed one day of posting or commenting on others’ posts. I’ve read some of the same people over the years and also started following some new people. I love to read about people’s lives and take in their writing styles. I’m proud of myself for making this a priority and glad I took part again.

I’m looking forward to April and the new goals and challenges I will attempt. Also the warmth and sunshine. I need that.

Day 29-Grandma’s House

  • Sunday dinners
  • Making cookies
  • Drying dishes
  • Bumper pool
  • Gardening
  • Sleepovers
  • Scary movies
  • Holidays
  • Liver sausage on rye
  • Ramen noodle soup
  • Bulk bags of candy
  • Vacations
  • Washing cars
  • The scary dog next door
  • Parent-free time
  • Bakery doughnuts
  • Coffee
  • Overflowing Easter baskets
  • Books
  • Desserts, so many desserts
  • Dairy Queen
  • Fish fry
  • Watermelon
  • 4th of July
  • Babushkas
  • Walks to the mailbox
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Airplanes
  • Love

Day 28-Day 1 of My Captivity

Okay, okay, so I’m being dramatic. A little. But here I am, official day 1 of my spring break, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not supposed to be here. I was going to spend the last few days of this challenge reflecting on how soul-recharging the beach and sun and sand and palm trees were. How being in my home away from home with my fiance for 5 glorious days is just the best. But I’m at home. In cold Chicagoland. With my covid-sick soon-to-be 20-year-old Jake (aka BOY).

I know I did the right thing. He has hardly gotten out of bed in the last 36 hours and if I didn’t force it on him, he probably wouldn’t eat or drink anything. Not to mention we have an 8-month-old puppy and boy is in no shape to take care of her. I spent most of yesterday and this morning mourning the plans I had made for break and resigning myself to the downright crappy Chicago weather I would be experiencing the rest of this week. I have finished one book, am almost finished with another, and I’m going to make chicken noodle soup for dinner.

I wasn’t supposed to have to cook dinner this week. I should be dining out on the water, drinking tropical drinks and salivating over seafood. I should be living in a swimsuit and cover-up, then curling up on the couch later with a blanket because the air conditioning is cold. I should be getting ready for a day out on the boat. I should be…I should be…I should…

BUT…I GET TO be home with boy. I GET TO take care of him while he is sick. I GET TO look forward to another trip to my Florida home in a few months. I GET TO lounge on the couch all day and read as many books as possible while snuggling with my puppy. I GET TO see my brother for dinner this week while he is in town for 2 days; I haven’t seen him in almost 7 years.

Day 1 of my captivity probably isn’t so bad after all.

Day 28-Unfortunate Change of Plans

Today is the Sunday before 5 glorious recharging days of spring break in Florida. My bags are packed, my Kindle is loaded with books, my flip-flops are ready. Flight leaves at 1:35pm!

My son Jake–my 20-year-old baby, the last of my three kids living at home, my night owl–texted me at 6:45 this morning. Before I opened his text, I knew something was wrong. He is NEVER up at this hour.

“I think I might have covid.”

Our house has managed to stay covid-free since the start of the whole pandemic. Jake works at a restaurant. In the past 2 weeks, 3 people at his work have tested positive. They have been out of work and Jake has been picking up extra shifts to cover for them. As of last night, everyone was back to work, covid-free. And Jake came home last night not feeling well.

I texted Jake back and told him to meet me in the kitchen. I’d bring the covid test. We opened all the little containers and envelopes and took out the pieces. He swabbed and we mixed and poured then waited. It was positive as soon as the liquid moved past the “positive” point. Shit.

I gave him some ibuprofen for the fever. But he’s on meds for SVT (heart issue) and shouldn’t take cold meds with those meds. So now we wait to hear back from the doctor. And then I began the agonizing mom game of should-I-shouldn’t-I. My gut said stay home. My heart and soul have been looking forward to this trip for months. The sun and palm trees and warmth recharge me for the rest of the school year. But the thought of leaving him alone just didn’t feel right.

So here I am. Flight is canceled. Shivering under a blanket, the beach and 90 degrees in the rearview mirror. I’m so sad I won’t be taking my trip, but I’m glad I’ll be home if my boy needs me. You’re never too old to need your mom.

Day 26-Are They Judging Me?

I went to Walgreens today to pick up a prescription and it got me thinking…are the pharmacy workers judging me?

There are a lot of stigmas attached to certain medications. Like, if you’re taking something for anxiety or depression are they feeling sorry for you? Empathizing? If you take pain meds, are you being scrutinized? Today I picked up a prescription for a sedative. At least that’s why it’s given to me: for the sedative nature of the side effects in order to give me some relief in my jaw pain and to relax me while I sleep so I don’t clench my jaw. It’s actually an anti-seizure med. Last week it was steroids because again, my jaw. I also got some pain meds in there too. For my jaw.

I’ve been prescribed muscle relaxers, over-the-counter super duper ibuprofen, and antidepressants for the treatment of my jaw. I’ve taken antibiotics for one thing or another over the years. But one time…one time it was Valtrex. Which is for the treatment of herpes. I’ve never had herpes. I don’t have herpes. No judgment if you do. But I felt like I was being judged for where I MIGHT have herpes when I picked up the prescription when my doctor was trying to treat me for Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

The point of my post is mostly meant to be humorous. But a tiny bit of me really does think this way. Your pharmacist knows a lot about you for not actually knowing you. Now think about how well your mail carrier probably knows you……

Day 25-Deep Breath

We made it. Today is the last day before spring break. A student came up to me a couple days ago and asked how long spring break was. I told him a week. He made a face and said, “A week? All this hype for just a week off?” Oh, child.

That week will bring us time with our friends and families, without the stress of deadlines and work. It will bring us books and peace on the beach under the sunshine. It will bring sleeping in and eating breakfast at 11am. 9 days of no school work or meetings or the frustration of not being able to do enough or have enough time. It will bring relaxed laughs and dinners out, pajamas all day, and later bedtimes.

Spring break is so much more than a week. It’s the unplugging yet recharging in order to be the best we can be for the last 2 months of school. So, child, cherish these next 9 days. Find the good and enjoy the freedom.

See you on the other side…………

Day 24-Is it Cake??

Oh my gosh, so my students introduce me to many things. Some things I do not want kids this age to know about. Some things are funny. Some are just silly and definitely kid humor. But today…today they introduced me to IS IT CAKE?

This is a series on Netflix where bakers have to make a cake that looks like food. I mean, this is right up my alley. I love food. And I love cake. Cake that looks like food is just the frosting on top! Pun intended. Today it was tacos, a croissant sandwich, and a cheeseburger with all the fixings. These artists are amazing! This show is a far cry from the show we were watching earlier this year–Nailed It–where the people are NOT bakers and do NOT know how to make fancy cakes. And the results are usually hilarious. But this show…wow!

I’m super impressed with how artistry comes in all forms. Other people have to guess which of the “foods” at the end is the cake, and let me tell you, it’s not easy. If the judges do not guess the cake, the baker wins $5000! I’m not sure what cake made to look like tacos would actually taste like (I mean, your brain sees tacos but tastes cake? I see a culinary paradox here… taco-flavored cake? Cake flavored tacos? Taco cake? Cake tacos?)

Thanks, kids. I can’t wait to watch more of this show!

Day 23-Live Music

As my daughter and I were getting family night dinner ready, we turned on Alexa and asked to play Bad Suns. We recently saw them in concert together so we are still enjoying the memories of hearing them live. That got me to thinking…who all have I seen live? (in no particular order)

Bad Suns, Foo Fighters, Sara Bareilles, Sarah McLachlan, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Soundgarden, TMBG, Naked Raygun, Tesla, Aerosmith, Lynrd Skynrd, Midnight Oil, Stone Temple Pilots, The Cure, 1991 and 1992 Lollapalooza (Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, Fishbone, Violent Femmes, Ice-T’s Body Count, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, RHCP, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and more) Blues Traveler, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Daughtry, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Bob Dylan, Plant and Page, Matchbox Twenty, Extreme, Allman Brothers, Alanis Morissette, U2, Steve Miller Band, Bon Jovi, Rick Springfield, Cory Hart, Huey Lewis and the News, Phil Vassar, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Indigo Girls, Live, Bruce Springsteen.

I’m sure I’m missing some. A few I’ve seen more than once. I’ve got Foo Fighters in Denver on the docket for this August and hope to continue experiencing the joy of live music in both big and small venues.

Day 22-My Sweet Boy

11 1/2 years ago I got my very own first dog. I always loved animals and always wanted a dog of my own. Back in the early 2000s, my brother-in-law brought us a puppy as a surprise, but we had a new baby and we just could never give the puppy the home and attention she deserved. So we re-homed her. When I met Panda in the summer of 2010, I bonded with him immediately.

Panda was special. The breeder was going to put him down because he had a pretty drastic physical anomaly. His boy part was not formed properly. But he was perfect. He ate and drank and did all the things a healthy puppy should do. His coloring was beautiful and his face…oh his cute little puppy face melted my heart and bled into my soul. I loved him.

Panda is the naughtiest dog that ever was. He would bite. Growl. Refuse. Eat everything. Fight with his brother. But he was also the most lovable, sweet little cuddle bug that ever lived. He snored loud enough to wake the dead and his farts would clear a Catholic church on Easter Sunday. He loved blankets and tennis balls, and couldn’t get enough of walks. He had weird habits and maybe some OCD, and definitely anxiety. But boy, was he loved, and did he love back.

Last May, Panda went for a teeth cleaning. Blood tests showed some levels that were concerning. Suddenly, odd little things that had been happening with Panda started to make sense. More tests were run. Panda had Cushing’s Syndrome. Within 2 months, Panda had lost 15 pounds. He formed sores and lost fur. He developed muscle weakness and major incontinence. He wouldn’t tolerate the medicine. His brother died a month later and Panda’s condition worsened. He developed an ulcerated cornea and within a week required an enucleation. He stopped eating. We had to carry him downstairs to use the bathroom and hold his little body up while he relieved himself. We knew it was time to let him go and made the difficult decision to say goodbye. And that’s what we did on October 6th.

It’s been 5 months and I miss his big, soft potato body every day. I got a new puppy right before we lost Panda, and I love her to death. But Panda will always be my first puppy love. My daughter and I send each other pictures of Panda every day. Sometimes we talk about him together and we cry. I didn’t get long enough with him, but I’m so thankful for getting the time we had. Miss you, sweet Panda.