Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lost and Found

Around the end of September my teaching assistant had a doctor's appointment one Friday right before the end of the school day. She left about fifteen minutes before school ended. While I was teaching she said bye, I gave her a glance and a wave and off she went.

That Sunday I went into my classroom to drop-off snacks for the next few weeks. I found her shirt laying on the counter by the microwave. Now I thought that was interesting. Did she go to the doctor's shirtless? Now those that know my assistant know that would not necessarily be out of the realm of possibilities. Anyway, I folded the shirt like a good nurturer and placed it on her desk.

When we arrived at work Monday she asked about her shirt laying on her desk. I told her where I found it and wondered why she left without it. Her claim was she wanted to change her clothes before going to the doctor and a child was in our classroom bathroom. Therefore she changed in the kitchen area. She then asked if I found her pants. Evidently she changed and left those behind too.

She could not find those pants. Soon they became her most comfortable favorite pants. She searched her car then remembered she drove her daughter's car. So she searched that too. She searched the bedroom at her house to no avail.

We began asking around at school if anyone had seen her lost pants. No one ever believes us at school especially when we tell them that we've lost something. We have to clarify this loss with this is REALLY true and try not to laugh as we describe the missing pants.

Searching for the Traveling Pants: They are capri blue jeans, size 4 that look like a size 14. If found please return to the kindergarten room. These pants were missing for about two weeks.

One morning, before school, we are telling the story of the lost pants to a colleague. Mimi who spends the before school time in my room is lounging on the couch with her two friends. While my assistant and I are entertaining our friend with the woeful tale of the lost pants, Mimi calls out, "Are these your pants?" There Mimi stands across the room holding the jean capris. We scream and begin laughing. Mimi and her friends had seen them in the housekeeping dress-up basket and wondered why the kindergartners had such BIG dress-up pants. Don't know how those pants go in the basket but they are found now!

More Lost Items

On, Thursday, October 9th our class went to the apple orchard, an annual field trip. It happened to be two days after my toe surgeries. I wasn't sure how things would go walking for an extended period of time over uneven terrain. It also turned out to be a drizzly hazy day with a rainy downpour for a portion of the trip. When I left my house in the morning to go to school I bandaged my toes, put on some thin but support style running socks and my running shoes. I also put my USF crocs in my backpack with an addition pair of socks in case my toes began to hurt in the tennis shoes. I really did not know how I would fair on this field trip.

I made it through the day. I had to skip the teacher pumpkin picking contest. The bus driver was my designated pumpkin picker. I did get to take some pictures of the race. Our guide claimed to the other adults that my "condition" was a ruse to take pictures and not get wet. ( I still got wet, soaking wet.) Here is my assistant with her big pumpkin and long stalk. The winner was the one with the biggest, nicest pumpkin and longest stalk.
When we returned back to school exhausted and muddy, my feet were throbbing really bad. I took off my tennis shoes and socks, replaced the bandages, put my socks back on and reached in my backpack for my crocs. I only found one!! I could not believe it. My only crocs and USF ones to boot and one was gone. I'll never find USF crocs again. My assistant tried to lift my aching spirits by suggesting that I left the one croc at home. Right!

I went home and search but no croc. I know it must have gotten lost while at the apple orchard. I called the orchard people talked to out guide (who knows us pretty well after four years of us requesting him as a guide and harassing him). He tells me fat change of finding my shoe there after their busiest weekend of the year. It's probably buried in mud in the orchard.

I give up all hope of getting my croc back. As my toes are still sore I appropriate my daughter's USF crocs and wear those to school for our teacher work day Tuesday the 13th. It's just not the same those. I have bulls and American flags on mine and she has bulls and ballet slippers on hers.

In the afternoon on Tuesday my assistant comes in the room with a box and says that the front office says I had a delivery. Now I've spent all my school supply money and everything I ordered arrived a long time ago. I'm thinking this is some mistake. As I open the box I see my croc! Evidently someone found it on the school property and left it sitting on a window sill in the teacher work room. My assistant found it and decided to wrap it up as a gift. Whatever, my crocs and I are reunited.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Big Toe Saga Continues

Do you remember that at the beginning of the year I decided to fix my ingrown toe nail? If you don't remember here's the link: big toe.

My ingrown toe nail problem returned, same right foot. I had been ignoring it for a while thinking that it might just go away. It didn't. So on September 30th I tried to trim the edge of the nail to release the pressure and pain of the nail sticking into my skin. I did avoid pulling out all the dig in the skin tools I used last time. I didn't want to make it worse and embarrass myself at the doctor's office (should I have to make a return trip). I gently began clipping the edge of my nail. It quickly became painful and clear that the nail was deeply embedded into my skin not would not be easy to remove. As I tried to trim just a little bit more of the nail puss all of a sudden oozed out. Good sense prevailed this time and I quit digging and bandaged my toe. Of course this event took place in the evening so first thing in the morning I called the podiatrist's office and scheduled an appointment. The first available appointment wasn't for six more days.

The Tuesday after Columbus Day I limped in and showed off my sad toe. The nurse asked if I had any other problems for the doctor. I was in a very forthcoming mood so I spilled it all. I told her my other big toe felt like it had an ingrown toe nail too. So maybe the doctor could look at it. I also said my heel hurts really bad and I sometimes have to limp a lot. As long as he's checking out my feet he might as well check it all.

The doctor diagnoses my heel problem as plantar fasciitis. He gave me some stretching activities to do three times a day and recommended that I wear shoes that have instep support all the time. I'm thinking the cute summer flip flops with the bows on them that a kindergartner gave me causes the problem to occur.

Then he strongly recommended minor surgery for each toe. This surgery would kill a sliver of the nail bed thus preventing growth of the nail near the edge of my cuticle. I deferred to his expertise and agreed to the surgery. The doctor could do the surgery in the office right then. He said something about the time being good and I started to make some silly time remark when I remembered how precious and fleeting time is and proceeded to begin crying.

I might have scared him a bit. I don't know how many people cry in the podiatrist office. I assured him that I wasn't trying about the surgery and wanted to get my toes taken care of. This time I grabbed a magazine as soon as he grabbed the syringes and did not watch a bit of the procedure. I did chat incessantly from behind the magazine.

Anyway the surgery was completed. My left toe has been rather uncomfortable and my right toe that was causing the terrible pain had very minor discomfort. I was back to wearing my USF crocs until my feet quit aching when enclosed in shoes.

As I headed back home with bandaged toes, ointment, and post-op instructions I remembered two things, one I had the visitation of Dugger's friend to attend that night, and two my class was going to the apple orchard the next day on an all day walking outdoor field trip). Luckily my toes were numb from the shots so I squeezed my feet into a pair of dress shoes for the visitation. Then the next day I wore my Nike's and carried my crocs in my backpack for when my feet became too painful in the tennis shoes. My toes held up O.K. and I've had one successful follow-up appointment and will have one more soon.

I've saved the best for last, a picture of both toes. They look worse than they feel for the most part.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heart Ache

A week ago today we had a tragic car accident here, a head-on collision. Two students at my school lost their mother. The driver of the other car turned out to be a Jr. High friend of Dugger's. This young man and Dugger were friends in 7th and 8th grade. The young man visited and spent the night many times at our house and Dugger at his. This was a child that had circumstances in his life where I think he needed Dugger's and our friendship. He was a very kind and somewhat quiet child and I felt that Dugger also benefited from this friendship. When they started high school they lost touch with each other.

During their eighth grade school year, I went on a couple of field trips with Dugger's class. I don't think too many people want to chaperon 8th graders because I clearly remember Dugger coming home and saying that his science/homeroom teacher wanted me to go on their spring trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. I had previously gone on their outdoor hiking trip earlier in the year. Doug chaperoned at their end of the year picnic. I'm pretty sure one of us went on every field trip they had that eighth grade year. Daniel's core group of friends included this child and he was in my assigned group for both field trips that year. For me going on the field trips was a chance to be a part of Dugger's school life at a school event. I got to be a parent and not the teacher. Dugger was the only one of my three children that never went to a school where I taught, so the opportunity to see him daily at school and capture the occasional school moments on film eluded me. This field trip was one of the few times that I had a chance to share his school day and capture a few memories. Here is Dugger and his friend chilling out.

I dug up this picture and another after the visitation and funeral announcements were made. I had given the photos to the boy's mom the year that I took them but wondered if they still had them and thought she might like to have them now. I took Dugger to the visitation. I felt strongly that we pay our respects to his mom, for her son had been a special person in our lives. Dugger didn't particularly want to go but I explained that this was not about us. It was about letting his mom know that we care about her and her son.

I wasn't sure if his mom would remember us, since it had been a good four years since we had seen each other. Yet when Dugger walked up to her at the funeral home her face lit up with a big smile and she said I didn't know you would come. She commented on how grown up Daniel had become. She and I hugged each other for a long time. How easily our roles could have been reversed. Two boys, one month's age difference, attending the same college, and driving on a rainy day. Graduation pictures sat on display by the coffin with her son in an open casket dressed a concert t-shirt and jeans. This picture I had given her all those years ago was in the DVD show that was playing in the back of the room.

My heart aches for my child who at his young age has yet again lost a classmate and friend. My heart aches for this mom who has lost her oldest child in a tragic accident. And my heart selfishly aches because I know that it could easily be one of my children. I think of all the times when I am in a rush and don't stop to say good-bye or I love you, or really look at them as they or I go out that door. A tragedy like this makes me hold them a little more tighter in spite of the fact that they are almost 19, 17, and 12. I hope it is something I never loose touch with again. That I always make that personal contact with them every day as they go out into the world.

I really appreciate my daughter who almost always runs after her dad or I, when we leave the house, and yells "bye, love you." She was compulsive about doing this when she was younger. She almost had a desperateness as she'd yell out from the far reaches of the house, "WAIT!" and would come running into the kitchen to say "Bye, love you" as we headed out to the garage. It use to drive me crazy until I finally thought about why it bothered me so much. Her behavior always brought up another tragic loss and my need to cling to my children with a desperate I Love You. For a long time it literally hurt to see them walk out the front door to go to school or walk down the sidewalk and disappear into the school building. Acknowledging why my daughter's behavior bothered me allowed me to let that painful association go and just accept her action as a gift.

Now days she doesn't have that desperate tone and doesn't always say bye but as you pull out from the garage and look toward the house she has her knees buried in our big comfy chair by the front window with her body facing the back of the chair as she waves and blows kisses to the driver. Often the dog is right beside her. I'm not sure why she started these behaviors but I've come to cherish and appreciate it.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter and cherish all the moment you have with them (even those frustrating, sad, or angry moments). Just think at least I have them with me today.