I didn’t get all of my packing done last night.  I worked until I was so punch drunk I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing.  I finally decided — with some prompting from OC (on the phone) – to get some sleep and hit it fresh in the morning.  I slept.  No, I over slept . So I came charging from my room ready to do battle … and for some reason I had left the vacuum cleaner right at the end of the hallway.  I whacked it with my little toe and neatly — okay, bloodily — removed the toenail.  Not a good start.

I finished packing in very good time. Then I went to the post office to mail several of the boxes to my sister – and the line stretched from breakfast to lunch.  Finally, packages mailed, I charged home to pack the car.  I figured that would take a lifetime, but the neighbor guy came over and did it in minutes.  After the car was packed I showered, put on clean clothes, turned in my keys, and hit the open road.  It was 1 p.m. — much later then I had planned to leave.

I made up a bit of time in the vast flatness that is Arizona.  The road is straight from horizon the horizon, so I just stepped down on the gas pedal.  There was another fellow in an even bigger hurry than I.  I was going 90 m.p.h. and he shot past me like I was standing still.  His haste made me rethink mine and I slowed down.  Even so, I passed him a couple of miles later and he was standing still — he’d stopped to look at some pretty blue flashing lights. 

 Right now I am in a motel just outside Salt Lake City, Utah — halfway to Spokane.  It was a long drive — 7.5 hours — and much of the route was being repaved, so we were routed to single file lines rolling too slow.  For a goodly portion of the drive into Salt Lake we actually traveled on the shoulder of the road.  Mile after mile — over an hour — of driving on the “wake up” strip.  My hands tingled from all the vibration in the steering wheel — and we won’t even talk about the noise …..   Driving in Salt Lake itself is actually a joy.  Even during rush hour the 10 lane freeway doesn’t get crowded.  The drivers were very courteous, too.  It was almost surreal.

After I checked into the motel — even before I unpacked the car –I went down the block to Applebee’s and had my only bite of food in almost 9 hours.  I ordered a steak, and ate like a vacuum cleaner.  I am not certain I didn’t munch the napkin.

Now I’m going to bed.


Too Much

At the end of each work day I am so tired, it is all I can do to drag myself into the house and package the eBay products that sold during the day. Then I list a few more — and suddenly the evening is shot and I am crawling into bed for a few hours sleep before something jerks me awake.

Sunday afternoon I stumbled into my room for a nap. My head hurt. My eyes burned. I needed sleep.

I fell across my bed and collapsed. Fifteen minutes later I heard shouting and cursing. It sounded close. Too close. In my yard close. I rolled off the bed and looked out the window. Some dude was trying to climb the chain-link fence that surrounds my backyard. It’s a low fence and I think he would have made it easily if it weren’t for the two cops holding on to him.

They lifted the guy off the fence and spread him across the hood of my car. Lovely. They spent about an hour in my driveway before they tucked him in their car and rolled away. After that I couldn’t get to sleep. Every little noise would jerk me to wakefulness, and I had terrifying dreams.

Monday at school we had the annual 5th grade barbecue. Hot dogs, sodas, kickball and 104F heat. I drug my butt home to a huge number of sales — that’s not a complaint, but I had to work rather then rest — and no air conditioning. I called the office and they had someone here within 20 minutes. He looked at the swamp cooler and told me it was an easy fix. All it needed was a new drive belt. That was the good news. The bad news was, he didn’t have one and since it was after 5, he couldn’t get one until morning.

So, I suffered through packaging and listing in 104F temps with no air. Luckily I do have a small unit in my bedroom window and it kept my bedroom cool enough that I could sleep — but again I had those horrid dreams. Cops, sirens, screaming, guns — I don’t need to watch TV, it’s all right there behind my eye-lids.

I need sleep. I need rest. I need school to be over.

Today we had the practice culmination ceremony. Traditionally at the end of the program I take the mic and introduce the outgoing students to their parents as next year’s sixth graders, and the graduating class of ____ (add seven to the current date). Today — at practice — I stepped up to the mic, had the kids stand and face where the audience will be — and couldn’t speak. My throat closed up. Tears filmed my eyes. I realized there is no way I am going to be able to do this for real on Thursday without seriously crying.

Usually the year end ceremony makes me a bit misty, but this is for real. This is good-bye. They won’t be bopping into my room next year to sit on the table and tell me about life in sixth grade. I won’t be there.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am looking very much forward to the next phase in my life, but while looking so earnestly ahead, I forgot how very much I hate saying good-bye.


Yesterday as my second Parent-Teacher Conference was coming to an end, I rose from my chair and froze, half in and half out, with a catch in my back.   I could not finish standing.  I could not sit.  The pain was like a needle in my lower spine.  I put my hands flat on the table and used my arms to straighten me out.

After that I had 6 more Parent-Teacher Conferences, then I came home to do my back stretching exercises.  They require me getting down on the floor.  This is all good and well if the exercises take the kink out.  It is not so good when they don’t.  Yesterday they didn’t.  Getting up off the floor wasn’t pretty.

I took an Aleve and put myself to bed.  One Aleve only took the edge off the pain.  Twinges and spasms woke me every time I moved.  Add to that a couple dozen bad dreams, probably pain induced, and you get a picture of a very bad night.   About 5 a.m. I shifted just a millimeter to ease the pain, and my back popped.  Now the pain is a residual ebbing tide as my muscles relax.

Pain is a wearing sort of thing.  It saps energy.  That is why I didn’t post yesterday.  Plus, this chair is not particularly comfortable when I am in fine form.  Already it is warning me to get up and move.

Looong Night

I am sucking down a venti Starbucks Mocha and wondering why I didn’t stick to my first reaction when OC announced he was going to be in town for about 16 hours on his way to Hawaii — I told him I hoped he’d like the plastic chairs at the airport. Of course, I didn’t mean it, but for a few moments this morning I wondered if I should have. Then I realized my mistake wasn’t in picking OC up yesterday afternoon, it was in taking him back to the airport this morning.

Now, at 6:10 a.m., having been awake for three hours (after sleeping only 4) and having driven to the airport and back already this morning, all I want is to curl up in my nice warm bed and go to sleep. Isn’t going to happen. In about 30 minutes I have to go to work — plus it’s day ten of the instruction cycle and a Tuesday — so I have a hectic day ahead. Today I teach teachers, teach students and tutor afterschool. I am also supposed to go to my weight-loss class tonight, but that is going to depend on how I feel about driving at the end of this work day. I might just roll home to bed.

Update: 6:40 a.m.

For those of you bouncing back and forth between the comments on OC’s blog and mine, he just phoned me from the airport.  He was on the plane, and said they’d ask him to hang up the phone any second, but he just wanted to let me know he is house broken, he just doesn’t know his way around my house yet.  I assured him I’d introduce him to the sink and the garbage can when he comes back this way.  Pft.


One of our vocabulary words this week is options.  I asked the students if anyone knew what it meant.  Ty raised his hand.  “Choices,” he said.  “Like on my video game button. I can choose what weapon I carry.”

“Right,” I said.  “Or like a buffet — lot’s of options on what to eat.”

“Not in our cafeteria,” Ty answered.

“Uh-huh, they always give two choices,” Rick said.

Ty nodded his head.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Bad.  And worse.”