Archive | October, 2020

There Might Be A New Man in My Life

27 Oct

I gave away the food, first.

I had neighbors with dogs and figured they might be able to use what I no longer needed after Lucy passed away.

Next, it was the wooden boxes I’d kept covered with towels and used as steps to help her up to the sofa and the bed. I left those on the street corner. it’s what we do on my SE Portland neighborhood. They were gone within an hour, as I suspected they might be.

I left the toys and her bed on the floor for a couple of weeks, not yet ready to see them go. Eventually, I got the courage to bundle them up and put them in the trash. They only had value to me.

I kept her fleece blankets, unwashed, on the sofa longer. I knew I’d wash them eventually and put them away in a cupboard. I just didn’t know that day would come so quickly.

Late last week an email came from the president of Oregon Basset Hound Rescue, asking for a foster family for Richard, a 10-year-old basset with severe ear and allergy issues. Well, for years I’d said that once I had no dog of my own, I’d foster. I had to walk my talk. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but Richard is probably coming to stay with me.

He has some pretty strict care protocols that his family couldn’t maintain. And they were struggling to afford the care of the specialist he was seeing. His issues sounded a lot like Fiona’s, who saw an ear and allergy Specialist for years. I am very familiar with ear care – in fact, my old vet said I was probably the best cleaner of dog ears she’d ever met.

I am now waiting to find out if this family is really ready to give up their dog. Given the nature of this year, I am worried I might be disappointed and they’ll change their minds. Despite the endless stream of bad news this year, I am looking forward to something positive in 2020.

#Vote2020

20 Oct

The morning was chillier than I expected. As I took the first steps on my journey I considered turning around to get a hat and mitts. It was sunny, despite the nip in the air, so I decided to keep walking.

As I neared the end of the street, I saw my neighbor walking her dog. I pulled my ballot from my pocket and waved it at her.

“On my way to drop this off!” I called from across the street.

Bear, her dog, jumped for joy. I crossed the street to share in his delight at the day. When Lucy was with me, we always said hello from a distance. My heart ached with missing her, but it was refreshing to finally get to greet him. His owner and I chatted for a bit before I recommenced my journey.

For as long as I can remember, I have dropped my ballot off at the public library. Although libraries are only open for pickups, they are still collecting ballots.

But dropping in the book return wasn’t going to have the same feel as sliding my envelope into the ballot box that used to sit in the library. It seemed to lack the gravitas that came with having a special place for ballots, so I looked into my options.

I knew there was an official drop box a the Macdonalds across the street from the library, but that too seemed to lack the gravity that this election holds.

Continuing my research, I discovered that the Multnomah County Elections Office was a mere 1.4 miles from my house, one-tenth of a mile closer than the library. My plan began to form.

Autumn is my favorite season, and a cool, sunny morning is an invitation to celebrate, so, ballot in hand, I set off before school, to walk to drop my ballot off at the Multnomah County Elections Office. The crisp air helped keep my pace brisk and before I knew it, I had arrived. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who wanted to get their ballot n as soon as possible. A masked woman arrived with her ballot as I turned. A camera crew stood in front of the building, recording a different woman in a red mask, as she dropped her ballot. Cars pulled up and people leaned out to drop their ballots in the curbside box. I felt inspired. I felt hope, too.

On the walk home I was buoyed as much by those feelings as by the beauty of the day.

Back to School Night 2020

13 Oct

Despite the fact that I was home, I was still nervous for last night’s BTSN. It was going to be a weird one.

Two weeks ago, we had to make a video to send to our Admins – a virtual version of our in-class presentation. This was the week that Lucy was failing and then passed and I was in no frame of mind to make a video. I put it off til the last minute and did a couple of run throughs before changing my shirt and recording the final cut. I sent it in without previewing it. The kids get me unedited, the parents should see the real me, I thought.

We were scheduled to meet with parents last night, from 7:25-7:55. We’d set up the Zoom meeting, but my teammates and I, worried we’d be inundated with questions from the parents of the gifted students we teach, sent out a question form last week along with links to our videos and the Zoom link. We figured we could sort through the questions and address the top ones first. By 7 p.m. we had only one question. It presaged the evening.

Like students in a Zoom meeting, the 60+ parents were remarkably quiet. The flood of questions never arrived. It was, in fact, more like a trickle. And there were more than a few awkward silences. We let some stretch. We filled a few.

As we ended the meeting, we reminded parents that, if they had any other questions, to send us an email. So far, I don’t have any. I wonder if the Math teacher can say the same.

Fourteen

6 Oct

Thirteen is supposed to be a harbinger of bad luck. I’ve never had much trouble with it, though. My unlucky number is 14. All my dogs have died the year they turned fourteen. Although Lucy seemed like she might escape the 14-year curse, she didn’t. I lost her on Wednesday.

The house feels pretty empty now and I find myself at loose ends with no one to take out for a potty break between Zoom classes. I catch myself talking to her, saying the funny sayings and singing the funny songs that were our norm. I walk into a room and look around to find her, then I remember.

Yesterday morning, the vets office called to let me know that her remains had arrived and I could pick them up whenever I felt ready. I walked over after my last class ended. The box with her ashes seemed so small and it came with a flat box that contained a clay cast of her paw. I felt the tears well as I was handed the package. I didn’t dare open the package until I was home

Lucy has joined Clara, Louie, and Fiona on the shelf in the living room. Her scent still permeates her spots in the house. In a few weeks, I might wash her blankets, but I’m not quite ready to do that yet. I need to let it linger in the house a little longer and take some solace from it.

Randy Ribay

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