Eve’s birthday is coming right up so we had a tiny little birthday party. It has been so long since we’ve had company. It was a beautiful day so I set up the tables outside and the kids had a great time running around, laughing, painting, chatting, giggling, and talking about teenage stuff. It was awesome! My heart was very happy.
It is sunny, and warm, and the first day of spring, and I got VACCINATED! Whoo hoo! It has been a long year full of worry and isolation. It feels so good to know that there is hope for the future!
Today was a good day. I drove to Boston for a follow-up appointment and steroid injection for my subglottic stenosis issue. I discovered a different, way more convenient parking area and I got to the doctor’s office just in time. I was pretty proud of myself. But then the doctor was called into an emergency surgery and I had to wait an hour and twenty minutes. But Alan was at my house with the kids and I had a book and the internet, so I had no problem waiting. When it was my turn to see the doctor I told him that my symptoms are very mild and I’ve only just started noticing them in the past few weeks. He put the scope down my nose/throat and said it looks great in there! He said he sees very little scar tissue build up and saw no need for steroid injections this time! Yay!! Yay that there wasn’t much scar tissue buildup and yay for no needles in the neck and yay that maybe we have found a treatment that will finally work so I don’t need annual throat surgery! Yay all around!
I had my fourth surgery and first round of steroid injections in October (at the same time), then a second round of injections in December. Today was going to be the third round of injections. The doctor said he wants to see me back this summer for another check, which is good because I don’t think I’m totally in the clear yet, but not needing the steroids today is a great thing!
Since Alan was with the kids I didn’t feel stressed to get home quickly, so I stopped to charge the car for a bit and get lunch at Starbucks. Then later stopped at the highway rest area to pee and happened across a fun Easter display at the country store, so I browsed for a bit and stocked up on Easter basket items. Easter baskets times three equals a lot of candy! :) I also got a little “thinking of you” gift for my coworker/friend with breast cancer. It was nice to have the time to browse and not feel rushed. Of course, shopping options are limited in these Covid-days, but even browsing the country store at the highway rest area was nice.
Back at home we ordered pizza for dinner and played cards for awhile. Then Alan headed home and I took the boys for haircuts. While I was waiting in the car, I got a call from a friend who normally calls me in tears, but this time called me in laughter after having a great day herself. It was nice to compare happy notes and catch up for a bit.
I hope the great day was spread far and wide. <3
One year has passed since COVID-19 took over my world, shut down my school, and threw everything up in the air. What a year it has been!
School closed for Covid on March 17th and didn’t reopen again until fall. BUT, we did reopen in the fall, unlike many other schools. During the course of this corona-crazy year a lot has happened!
- Eve turned thirteen. No more kids in the house, just teenagers! We had to cancel our awesome girls’ trip to Quebec and celebrate in quarantine instead. Not quite the same. :/
- We planted hostas, a white rose bush, and a cherry tree. The neighborhood is looking a little nicer these days.
- I dyed my hair purple! (I should do that again soon)
- Alan and I separated (NOT covid related!)
- We (teachers) organized a car parade around town to wave to all our quarantined kiddos. It was way more fun than I even thought it would be. Then later in the summer we did a drive-by retirement celebration for two amazing teachers.
- I checked out 120+ Chromebooks and 444 books in two days. Plus a bunch more books through Covid-safe home deliveries.
- Lex turned 15 and had a cool Minecraft party.
- We went to a Black Lives Matter rally and did some anti-racism reading. It’s good to have a summer reading list!
- We took a summer trip to Franklin and did some hiking with the Kirkwood girls.
- Lex got his permit and started driving!!
- We spent our summer watching numbers (infection rates, deaths, closures), checking what’s open and what’s not, figuring out masking and distancing requirements, and talking about racism.
- We had an AMAZING family vacation/anniversary/birthday celebration on Lake Champlain. Hopefully the beginning of a new family tradition.
- Returned to school IN A PANDEMIC! Masks, thermometers, tick tweezers, social distancing, plastic barriers, sanitizer, hand washing, the list goes on and on.
- I was named the Teacher of the Year for DBS!! The award ceremony was virtual this year, but here’s what the program said:
Tessa Johnson is the Dothan Brook School’s Employee of the Year. When DBS closed in mid-March, Tessa was tasked with guiding the technical aspects of this transition. She helped teachers create Google Classrooms, provided opportunities for kids to go home with an armful of books (444 books were checked out in 2 days!), and created guiding documents for parents. Over the closure, she spent countless hours online with families solving tech issues. When personal devices were not working, she delivered Chromebooks directly to families. At a town hall forum parents gave Tessa many accolades saying that they could not have done online learning without her. She also took the time to create videos for the students, build an enrichment classroom, and maintain resources on the district website. She must be a superhero, because I cannot imagine how a mere mortal would do all of this.
- I had my fourth Subglottic Stenosis Balloon Dilation (throat procedure). This time it was in Boston and involves follow up steroid injections — through my neck! I’m going back on Thursday to get another round of neck injections.
- Lex got his wisdom teeth out and we discovered a weird “hole” in Eve’s jaw. The dental surgeon figured it out and she’s fine.
- We got a frog. Actually we got two, but one buried itself after a few weeks. :( The other is alive and well. Eve takes it out to play once or twice a day. Out of the tank, not outside! :)
- I took in two foster kids. It has been a HUGE learning experience! One kiddo is still with us, the other has moved to a new foster home.
- We had quarantined holidays all year.
- We got a new couch.
Wow, for a year in quarantine we really did a lot! The house is down one adult and up one kid.
Two three pets still happy and relatively healthy. I feel super fortunate that we all came through the year safe, healthy, and employed.
I’m scheduled to get my Covid vaccine this Saturday, which feels like an appropriate way to mark the one year anniversary since COVID-19 took over my world, shut down my school, and threw everything up in the air.
It is a beautiful day and it’s Friday and I’m in the mood to post a few pictures. :)
We are all still in school, though the high school seems to have given up so starting next week Lex will have no more assignments, while Eve and I will continue plugging away for three more weeks. :(
His birthday is Monday. The world was nice enough to give us all the day off. We have plans to continue socially isolating at home. There might also be a birthday world being built in Minecraft. I think Eve has been working on that the past few days. We were joking (kind of) about having a birthday party in Minecraft. It would be fun if that worked out.
Today the Vermont National Guard did a fly-over with four fighter jets. It was part of an event honoring “essential employees” and first responders in the state. The flew over all of the hospitals in the state, plus, I think, that big one right over the border. :)
We forgot until we heard a rumble in the sky, then we ran outside to see. It was still a few minutes before their scheduled time, so we hung out outside for a little while, hoping that we hadn’t missed them. Apparently we were too late though. :( We did enjoy some time in the sunshine at least! I figured I should take a few pictures to prove that we do leave the house on occasion. :)
The karate dojo has been doing Zoom lessons (like everyone else in these quarantine times) and the also post challenges or special activities sometimes too. This week they posted the SHOE-do-in challenge. Eve saw it and said, “That’s easy!” Then proceeded to do it successfully on her second try! She was super proud of herself! Not because she worked hard at it, but because she’s naturally flexible. :)
We sent it right off to the dojo for bragging rights. :)
Finally, I started with the cat so I’ll end with the dog.
In these COVID-19 times we spent most of the days at home, socially isoalting. Usually a big day is a trip to the grocery store.
Today we had a legit busy day!
It started with a visit from the Geek Squad because our microwave has been broken for a week. We have living like pioneers, cooking our food over an open flame in the woods… or something like that. Finally the repair guys came. They spread a moving blanket over the stove, removed the microwave and went to work. Alan was in the office and the kids and I were at the dining room table, all trying to do proper social distancing. After a few minutes we started to notice an awful chemical smell that grew stronger and stronger. I thought they were using sort of chemical cleaner or something. Eventually we opened the windows. Alan came out and asked if something blew a fuse. The Geek Squad guys had no idea what was causing the smell. We all endured. Awhile later one of the guys said, “Oh no!” and they realized that they had accidentally turned the stove on!! The moving blanket, squished between the stove and microwave, was melting and on fire! He bundled it up and rushed it outside, where it continued to simmer. The house smelled AWFUL!! We open the windows, Alan brought out all the fans from the old house, the guys tried to clean the stove. It was awful. Eve went outside to keep doing her school work. After awhile she came back in and said that it was smokier outside than inside. What?! Alan went to look and found the blanket still smoldering, and smoking like crazy! He broke out the hose and went to work while the Geek Squad guys continued to clean up. Sigh. Needless to say, they needed a part they didn’t have, so our microwave still doesn’t work! They ordered the new part and will be back next week to fix it. We will continue living in the dark ages. I don’t know why anyone, ANYONE, chooses to live without a microwave! :)
After that adventure we taped some signs on the car and headed down to DBS to join the HSD parade! In all honesty, I was dreading this. The forecast called for 100% chance of rain today and I was just imagining wet cars, windows up, kids huddled under umbrellas, etc. It seemed awful. Mother Nature, however, cut us a break today! The weather was PERFECT!! We had decorated cars, students and families came out with big signs and even bigger smiles. I felt like a celebrity! Alan came along to drive so I could wave. It was so awesome. I had a huge smile!
When we got back to school, Alan and I sent up the donated tent and got ready for book checkout. After being out of school for two full months, we organized a book exchange for this week. On Monday and Tuesday we accepted book returns. The principal and secretary took turns sitting outside to accept books on Monday and Tuesday. All week I took email “orders” for books. Last night I went in to school and checked in all the books, then “filled” all of the book orders. This afternoon I sat out front and handed out books to the 20 families who had requested new books. It might not seem like a lot, but it was great! So many parents and kids were thrilled. One family, with three avid readers, were arguing over who got to open the bag. Their mom said that book checkout was the highlight of their day. I said, “really? We had the parade today.” She said, “yes, the liked the parade, but they kept asking when they could get their new books.” :) In another car I handed the kindergartner his bag of books and he tore right in to it. He immediately told his mom about all the great books, then handed one to his 2yr old sister in the car seat next to him. I chatted with mom for a few minutes, then said goodbye to kiddo who, nose in book, completely ignored me. Mom apologized. I told her I LOVE seeing kids with noses in books! No need to apologize!
The weather all week has been iffy, so the director of the parks department, who also has a kid at DBS, offered to let us borrow a tent for our book exchange this week. It was awesome! It kept the rain off the principal and books earlier in the week, and it kept the sun off of me this afternoon! The forecast still said rain, the clouds were dark, but the sun was strong and kept breaking through. I felt very fortunate to have a tent over my head as I sat at a picnic table covered in books!
By the time I got home the forecast had changed from rain to hail, with a tornado warning! I showered (COVID germs all day!) and then sent the kids up for early showers. Then we all watched UP as the storm rolled in. (It has since passed and we didn’t get hail OR a tornado! We did get lots of heavy rain though!)
After months of little to nothing going on outside the house, today felt like a real whirlwind of people and excitement! Last summer this would have been just another Saturday. But on a Friday. It’s a weird world.
We are looking forward to a sunny, no plans Saturday!
I was walking Huxley the other day and got really nostalgic. Our neighborhood is lovely, but it’s so new and bare. Our old street was so established and all the trees were fully grown and all the flowers bloomed and so much history. Our new place will get there, eventually. Now it’s bare. Eve wants a tree to climb. She wants trees for her hammock. Our house was so cozy and had a swing set. Eve was happy there and wore colorful clothes and had friends. I was smaller and cuter. Less gray. Less old.
We have a 3yr old on the street and one neighbor babysits three other little kids, so our street is often covered in chalk and littered with bikes and balls. I miss my kids being that little. Or even smaller than me! I miss doing craft projects with them and reading stories with them. I miss gardening together. The neighbor was wheeling his 3yr old around in a wheelbarrow yesterday and it reminded me of this day and others like it.
Also, Alan and I have been watching That 70’s Show again. I LOVE that show. It’s so funny. But also it’s a show we watched together when it first came out and it’s a show about teenagers falling in love and parents still very much in love. For as often as I literally laugh out loud, there are just as many awkward moments.
I realize, OF COURSE, that it wasn’t all peachy-keen “back in the day.” The house was too small, not right, leaky. The yard took a lot of work. Parenting was hard and marriage was hard. There are as many “goods” today as there were back then, they’re just different “goods.” Goods that I sometimes miss.
I dyed my hair purple. Eve has been wanting me to do it for awhile. I kept promising to to do it when my hair was sufficiently gray. We had an appointment scheduled in the “before time” but then COVID-19 hit and the world closed down. We eventually got tired of waiting, so today we took matters into our own hands.
Easter this year was a little different, but also a lot the same. I debated for awhile about Easter baskets because I can’t really go shopping and didn’t want to buy stuff on Amazon and it’s all just too much right now. We never even got out the decorations. Two nights ago I asked the kids at bedtime if they would be sad if the Easter Bunny didn’t come. Eve said, “Of course the bunny can’t come, otherwise he’d be spreading coronavirus germs to all the houses!” I know she’s totally in on the Easter Bunny secret, but I really appreciated the response. I told them I had some Cadbury Mini Eggs (the best Easter candy!) and they could still color eggs if they wanted to, and they were happy. So this morning started like any other Sunday, with sleeping in and Sunday comics. Then Eve went outside to help our neighbor decorate the driveways on our street for the 3yr old who lives at the end of the street. This kid has a neighborhood of grandparents loving his every move! While she was out decorating with sidewalk chalk, I set up the Easter Egg coloring station.
It was such a beautiful day that Alan did his CrossFit WOD outside, then I went out for a run. Ha! I decided to try running again. It’s been a very long time! I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do it at all. I’ll keep practicing. :) When I got back our little neighbor was outside and all the elderly neighbors were standing in their driveways watching him. It was a weird little scene. One of the ladies said that they are all missing their own quarantined grandkids so much and it was nice to have him as a stand-in. He’s a cutie, but I guess I’m just not there yet. :)
After showers and lunch we decided to have some family outdoor times ourselves. Starting on the roof, of course! Eve has been asking to walk on the roof for awhile now and I keep telling her to ask dad. Today he said he was putting in the screens, so she jumped at the chance to ask before that happened! Out they went. For a girl who claims to be afraid of heights, she sure liked being on the roof. :)
Then the kids wanted to find Easter Eggs. So Alan and I hid them a few times and the kids had fun finding them. Then Alan and Eve hid them and Lex and I had no fun finding them. Those two are competitive and us two are not!
After that we were all tired and ready for some alone time… until it was time to ZOOM with the extended family! How fun is that?! I didn’t take a picture, but you can imagine it. I know we have ALL seen our share of video conferencing these days. :P
Happy (quarantined) Easter to all. I hope you enjoyed your day. I wonder if the Bunny will return next year. Hmmm…..
With all the crazy in the world right now, Eve and I decided to do something grounding… literally! Over the weekend I put out a request to the universe (via Facebook, of course) asking for hostas to plant in front of the house. Lots of people replied, offering to let me dig up hostsas from their yards, but one super kind friend dug them up herself and delivered them! How awesome is that?! Another friend from the old neighborhood texted saying she’d just dug up some rose bushes and did we want them too. Um, yes! We walked over to our old street to pick them up. Yesterday the weather was perfects, so Eve and I did some planting.
We planted five hosta plants in front of the house. There are three different kinds and the goal as an ABCBA pattern, but neither of us are really sure if that worked out. We’ll have to wait and see! On the corner of the house we put the rose bush. I hope at least something grows! :)
I’m happy that we now officially own our neighborhood and are able start prettying up the place. In a few years it will look much more lush and colorful and less barren and new. That will be nice.
Hey, we had a birthday around here. Someone turned 13!! Craziness! Everyone kept asking “what are you going to do to celebrate?” but with social isolation and COVID-19 in the air, what could we do?! We took a hike last weekend and celebrated the big day with birthday presents and waffles and “home school.” She seemed to enjoy it though!
We started the morning as we usually do on birthdays. A pile of presents on the table!
Eve opened presents and drank seltzer from her new favorite mug!
Eve had a very specific gift list, so she got very specific items. She was happy. :)
We had to take a short break so I could make waffles and she could do her Advisory Check-in for school. But soon enough we were back to presents!
The rest of the day was spent “at school,” in other words, sitting at the table in front of our computers. It was a rainy day, so we did dog walks, but nothing else too exciting. We are still working on the home/school balance now that they are one and the same.
Around dinner time we had a family “gathering” for cake and singing.
Quarantines = Video chat birthday parties. It’s a weird world we’re living in, but I’m glad the tech is there to support it! I wish we were all together in person, but at least we got to see faces and hear voices. <3
We measured her on the wall at bedtime. She’s exactly the same height Lex was on his 14th birthday, which is actually a slow down in her growth spurt. We had fun looking at all the heights over the years. Then off to bed!
We now have two teenagers in the house. Yay and boo. She is an amazing girl, full of confidence and silliness and creativity. I look forward to seeing the person she is becoming, but I also miss the smiley, bald little girl she used to be. Fortunately she’s still smiley at home and still loves to snuggle!