There is a vaccine epidemic in my district. Which is better than a covid pandemic but it still presents its own problems. People have been getting vaccinated in groups and they are mostly in the same school. A principal will send out an email to his or her staff with a sign up for vaccinations. So of course multiple people sign up. Which sounds good until you think it through. They all go on the same day so we have to make sure there is enough coverage while they are all gone. Wednesday is still a remote day for us so many people go on that day. Which sounds good until you think it through. Many people get side effects and if they are sick enough they need to take the next day off. Then of course they need a second vaccine 3 or 4 weeks later. Which sounds good until you think it through. People are much more likely to get side effects the second time around. So now we need coverage for the day they get the vaccine and for many, the day after. And we have almost no subs because who wants to do that job for what it pays and risk getting Covid? Tomorrow is going to be interesting. I made a plan for several teacher aides I knew would be out getting a shot. Then I found out that a whole group of people in the same department received their vaccines today. One has already started running a fever and is out tomorrow. So now I have a plan B. If the dominoes keep falling tonight I guess it’s Plan C, (whatever that is….)
My friend turned 50 last weekend. She and three of her friends went to Top Golf. One of the friends asked me to come and surprise the birthday girl there. So of course I went. I waited until they were settled in and then I sort of sidled up to their group and said “Don’t I know you?” My friend went crazy; crying, hugging, screeching (yes, she’s a screecher) and Oh my gosh it felt so good to be swept up in that kind of emotion. And we all sat in our “bay” and talked and drank and ate and laughed, laughed, laughed. With the exception of putting on a mask to go to the restroom it felt like a completely normal evening. I had been feeling a little down before I went; pandemic burn out, Zoom exhaustion, lock down listlessness, call it what you will. But the look of joy on my friend’s face wiped it all away in an instant.
So I guess the moral of the story is no matter how bad the circumstances in your life, someone who loves you (preferably a screecher) makes it better.
I have two Polish cleaning ladies who come every other week. They don’t speak much English; one is passable but communicating with the other one necessitates a rousing game of charades. They are both so sweet though and that comes through no matter the language. I work from home sometimes and occasionally it coincides with their visit. When they walk into the house my husband will tell them (loudly, because that’s how you speak to English language learners….) that they do not need to clean my office because I’m working in there. And they seem to understand. But about an hour after they start, I go downstairs to get a cup of coffee. I return and one of them is down on her hands and knees in my office cleaning the baseboards. She leaves, I work. About 20 minutes later I go to the bathroom. I return and she is wet mopping the floor under my desk. She leaves, I work. About a half hour later she comes in with the vacuum cleaner and nods at the area rug in the middle of the room. I nod my head. Sure, why not?
There is no keeping a good cleaning woman down!
I have always enjoyed baking but being stuck in the house for so long has moved this activity into the obsession territory. Every week I have to bake something. I start on Monday perusing websites and cookbooks (yes, I still have some.) I also have this photo album that I use as a recipe book. It contains recipes that I have found online and cut out, but more valuable to me are the recipes in there that have been given to me by friends. It’s a little like a scrapbook because I remember the person who gave me the recipe when I look through the book. But I digress. The baking obsession is something that has saved me in many ways. It gives me a focus. What am I going to make? What ingredients do I need? When will I bake? And most importantly, who is going to eat all of these baked goods? (Sometimes just us, other times it is shared with others.) There is a great satisfaction from putting ingredients together and getting an end result that is nice to look at and enjoyable to eat. I think it gives me a sense of control, to be honest. It also satisfies a creative outlet.
It’s a great hobby until you eat all the product and can’t fit into your summer clothes!
Baseball is my favorite sport. I used to love to play it and now I just love to watch it. Last year was a tough year to be a baseball fan. I waited so long for the season to start because it was delayed, and then when it did start it was almost unrecognizable. There were no fans, no hotdog vendors, no beer, no crowds wandering around Wrigleyville. It was sad. And as much as I tried I could not get into the games. Those empty stands, the fake crowd noises. It looked like a kids’ game where no one shows up because the team is so bad. And in my opinion the 60 game schedule de-legitimized the whole season. How do you crown a World Series winner (and the Dodgers of all teams…..) if you only play a little more than a third of the games? Anyway, I have high hopes that this year will bring back a more traditional season for my beloved sport.
I went for a walk today. It was early and still chilly but the promise of spring was definitely in the air and it felt good to be outside. As I walked I saw a woman and her dog ahead of me. The dog stopped to do her business and as she did she caught sight of me. She kept looking back at me and straining at her leash to walk towards me instead of walking ahead with her owner. As I got closer the woman looked back and saw what the dog was doing. I laughed and said “I’m not that interesting”! She replied “She just lost her partner.” I said “Oh she must be lonely!” And the woman responded “Yes, she sure is.”
And we both went on our way. And I started thinking about that little dog. She was mourning the loss of her partner. She was looking back at her old life, where she had someone she loved. She was struggling to move forward, although with a little encouragement she eventually did. Not unlike we humans when we suffer a loss or some kind of trauma. We look back and wish we had the life we used to have, or to see if someone or something is there to replace it. And then we realize that the only way out of our grief is forward. So we take that first step.
I have a thing about clothes. It is really important to me to get it right, especially in a professional setting. I also have some sensory issues and need to make sure that the clothes are somewhat comfortable. And then there’s the weather, both outside and inside. It may be cold outside but I need to consider where I will be. Usually my office is cold but we have moved this year and it’s actually quite warm in my new space. My new space is in the district administrative building so there are a lot of bigwigs wandering around. So that’s a new consideration. I don’t want the superintendent to think I just rolled out of bed. But then there’s the pandemic, a factor I never foresaw in my clothing dilemma. When we were in remote learning everyone dressed down because there were no students in the building. Now kids are back. So I feel like I should up my game a little bit. But there is a feeling of casualness and unpredictability to this year that makes me less inclined to really dress up. I think spending so much time at home has contributed to this mindset and I am kind of digging it. But I have a lot of clothes that I bought so that I would be able to look professional at all times without repeating outfits too often and now I’m not wearing them as much. So I look in my closet and think, “I should be wearing all this stuff.” When I take into consideration the weather, my mood and these “unprecedented times”, I sometimes end up changing 2 or 3 times in the morning.
And some people think they have problems.
I told my husband the other day that the TV show Dexter is returning after several years for a 9th season. We watched every episode of that series in complete and utter horror and fascination. I thought he would be excited. He gave me a skeptical look and said “I don’t know if we need to watch it. There is so much other content out there now.” Oh, excuse me. Although he does make a good point. A show that was exciting to us a few years ago might now seem tame in light of all the other options out there. And a few years ago the shows that were out there seemed exciting in light of the limited options that had come before it. I know we’ve basically been in lock down for a year but you couldn’t even come close to scratching the surface of the shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV and Disney Plus, never mind the actual networks. It’s a common topic to discuss these days; what are you watching and what “platform” is it on? Too much TV? Perhaps, but it has probably saved a lot of us from certain insanity and anything that gives us a common topic to chat about and rally around can’t be all bad.
One of my favorite times of day is at around 8:00, at least in the winter. I have finished a day of work, made and eaten dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, made my lunch for the next day and completed any other chores I need to do. Then, it’s time for my bathrobe. I love my bathrobe. The softer and more comfortable the better. I have had many incarnations of the bathrobe. I have light weight ones for summer, medium weight ones for fall and spring and of course warm, cozy ones for winter. I usually have more than one in each weight so that if one is being washed I don’t have to worry about not having one ready to go at night. My husband calls it my “onesie” because I prefer the ones that zip up the front instead of the ones that tie. (They don’t gape open when I sit down.) During the pandemic I have come to appreciate my bathrobe even more. There is a sense of comfort that I derive from slipping into something familiar, something that I know will be there waiting for me, that will envelope me in softness and do its job, no matter what else is going in the world. I can count on it and that is saying something these days.
So just when you begin to despair of the pandemic you run across a video of the Redemptoristine nuns performing a dance in their monastery. What makes this video especially enjoyable is that these nuns are the real deal. They restrict their access to the outside world and devote their lives to prayer. They made this video as a way to “cheer people up” and it certainly worked for me. You can’t help but smile when these plain, often portly women wearing habits, crosses and sensible black shoes start dancing in the hallways of their monastery in the backwoods of Ireland. There are even a few priests who get in on the action. It’s heartwarming and adorable. And then there’s the cat lawyer. An attorney from Texas who was in virtual court and had a cat filter on his screen. He couldn’t figure out how it got there or how to get it off. He kept telling the judge “I’m not a cat”, as if the judge couldn’t figure that out. It was hysterical. And the cat kept moving its eyes and mouth when the guy talked.
Humor will get us through.