Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I just need to vent a little...

I normally stick to topics about teaching on this blog, but I need to vent just a little bit tonight. Actually this is related to teaching in a roundabout way....

I have three children, ages 13, 8, and 2. My husband is away on active duty with the Army, so I am halfway through my two-year stint as a single mom. It is not as bad as it could be because he is only a couple of hours away from us. We get to see him on a pretty regular basis, and he is not doing anything dangerous.

This week my two older children went away to church camp. The oldest left Saturday, and we took the middle one down Sunday afternoon. My husband went back to Birmingham Monday morning, and that left me with one other person in the house instead of four others! I must say I was looking forward to the peace and quiet. No arguing, no aggravating, no fussing over what music to listen to in the car or what television show to watch or whose turn it is to sit by mom or pick where we eat. Just me and the toddler...

I have to go back to work on Friday. Now I always need more workdays than they give us, so I really wanted to get in my classroom and get some things done. I had somewhat major surgery three weeks ago, and the doctor has cleared me for almost all activities. I ended up going to a workshop all last week, so I couldn't work in my classroom then. So here I have four whole days stretching before me...I can send my youngest child to day care (I have to pay for it all week because he has to go Friday); my oldest two are at camp, so I can work in peace and quiet; my husband is not here to find projects around the house for me to do. I have been looking forward to this week all summer! I can go to school, piddle to my heart's content, and be ready to start on time without stressing out!

Well...my husband thinks this would be a perfect time to bring the little one and come stay in his apartment (remember - he is on active duty with the Army). We are not going to be able to see each other for the next three weeks, we can shop for furniture, he's going to cook dinner, the baby and I can swim while he is at work, we won't be trying to crowd five people into a two-bedroom apartment.

I check my calendar... I have to get a cavity filled. I can't postpone it because I cancelled once already when my oldest fell ice skating and I had to take him to the doctor to have his head glued together. I'll never have time to go once school starts, and my tooth hurts when I eat something sweet. I have a checkup with my allergy doctor on Thursday, and I don't need to miss it either. I reschedule for Tuesday, tell my husband I'll be there Tuesday afternoon, stay Wednesday, and leave first thing Thursday morning. That gives me Monday and Thursday to work in my classroom, and maybe an hour or so Tuesday. I still have two whole days to myself! This will work.

I went to school yesterday. I didn't get a whole lot done. I straightened furniture, pulled things that I had put up so the floors could be waxed, and put myself in the right frame of mind for school. I stayed up late last night working on lesson plans. It was a good day...not stressful...I still had Thursday to accomplish a lot.

At 7:10 this morning, the telephone rings. It's the camp nurse. He has my daughter with him, and he thinks she has pink eye! He says he can take her to the emergency room to get medicine and she can stay at camp, or I can come get her. When I ask him what she wants to do, he puts her on the phone and she cries, "I want to come home!" Wait! This wasn't part of my plan! It's going to take an hour and a half to get there, so she is going to have to wait for me. I decide to keep my dental appointment, and I tell the nurse I will be there around lunch time.

I spend the morning being tortured by the dentist, then I head off to the middle of nowhere to get my daughter. I keep thinking of the time I was called by the school nurse because she thought this same child had chicken pox. It turned out to be flea bites, and she was able to go back to school. Maybe this will be a similar story! Nope! When I finally get there, she looks like she has been in a fight. Her eye is swollen, and it is red all the way up to her eyebrow and down to her cheek. She also managed to trip over a tree root this morning and skin her knee pretty badly. She definitely needs to go to her doctor and spend the night at home. A good bath wouldn't hurt, either. The camp director seems to think she might be able to come back, so I decide to leave her things there. If she doesn't come, we can get them when we pick up her brother on Saturday. Or the youth director from church can bring them home.

We head to the doctor with 15 minutes to spare. (By the way, I hate to drive!) It's the end of the day, so we have to wait a while at the doctor's office. Now, we have been using this pediatrician for twelve years. With three children, we see them a lot. I wasn't really worried about my daughter until I saw the doctor's reaction. She is normally very unflappable (I can't really find the word I want), but she seemed concerned, surprised, worried...She put my daughter on antibiotic eye drops three times a day and an oral antibiotic that has to be refrigerated. Doesn't sound like that will be easy to administer at camp. Then she says she can't go back to camp until at least Friday! Uh, oh! I knew my dream week was too good to be true!

She has been a little trooper. In spite of seeing the nurse four times in two days at camp, she is neither whining nor complaining. At one point on the drive home she says, "It may seem like I feel fine, but it really hurts." I tell her she is very brave (she is only 8, but she sounds like she is 30). I rethink my week. There is no way I am packing and then driving two more hours this evening, so I ask my husband if he wants to risk being around pink eye. Apparently love conquers germs, and he reminds me that it will be three weeks before we can see each other again, and he thought we would go furniture shopping. I guess I am still going to Birmingham.

I will still have Thursday to get my classroom ready, but now I will will have a contagious chatterbox with me who likes to make a mess and who doesn't like to help! I can't take her back to camp on Friday like the doctor suggested because it is a teacher workday. I guess we will go Saturday morning so she can see the awards ceremony and get her things.

This is my life! My mother gets frustrated with me because I don't like to make plans too far in advance. This is why! Something always comes up with my kids, and they rate pretty high on my list of priorities.

Thanks for listening. I feel better now. I didn't need advice...I just needed to vent a little.

1. Thank you for being a military wife. Your husband is an American hero. Be strong.

2. Kudos to you for integrating blogging into your class! You are way ahead of most instructors -- good job!
Thanks, David! You made my day!
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