Archive | October, 2022

Conference sing-along

25 Oct

It was my last conference before I was planning to dart out of school so I could run home to walk and feed my dog. We’d given families the option to join in-person or by Zoom. I was a little surprised that so many families had opted for Zoom, but this conference was in person.

The family arrived on time and the student was well organized and well-prepared for the presentation she was about to begin. We’d opted for student-led and a building wide plan had been put into place to ensure every student had a slide in their slide deck for each class and some overall reflection.

By this point in the process, I knew most of what students would talk about for each of their classes. I could predict which assignments they’d share as soon as I saw the teacher name at the top of the slide deck. Tech with X: paper bag project. Language Arts with Y: hero archetype presentation. 

When this student arrived at her elective slides, I knew she really enjoyed choir because, as she spoke, her hands started making the solfege hand signs. She began explaining them, but her her dad interrupted.

“Hey, I know those,” he said, grinning. “They’re from The Sound of Music!”

Like a naughty schoolgirl, I leaned over and whispered, “I bet you were singing it in your head!”

Dad started laughing. Mom joined in and we had a ten-second sing-along. Then, their daughter refocused the silly adults in the room and carried on with her presentation. 

I hate the two twelve hour days we have to work during conferences, but it is moments like this one that make them enjoyable. 


18 Oct

“Here’s a neat view,” the veterinary dentist said as she grabbed what looked like a small flashlight.

Richard and I were in her office to look at options for repairing the fistula he had developed. About 18 months ago our regular vet discovered an abscess and removed the tooth. The abscess extended into his sinus. She stitched over the hole, but it did not heal. On his dental cleaning a year later the vet tried to close it again – and again it did not take. That brought us to this doggie dentist visit.

She pulled out the flashlight after giving Richard’s mouth a once over after asking about how often I brush his teeth. I was a little embarrassed to say only once a week and only since the abscess, but she seemed unperturbed by my answer.

“It’s a UV light that will show us if he has plaque,” she explained.

“Oh, like the little red tablets we chewed when we were kids,” I commented. She and I were in a similar age bracket and I assumed she had also had to endure school-based brushing lessons.

As she shone the light, I could see I’d actually been doing a pretty good job. The teeth on the left side showed little plaque, excpet on the bottom. The left was a lot redder.

“I don’t brush as much on that side,” I said sheepishly but truthfully. “I’m afraid of hitting the fistula.”

The appointment continued and a plan was made. In a few weeks, Richard will have a small flap of skin taken from inside his lip and grafted onto his gums to cover the hole. For now, though, I want to get one of those little UV flashlights to see how well I am brushing my own teeth.

Me, in the bathroom, with a clogged pipe

4 Oct

The sound of water running into a sink where water had backed up greeted me in the opening seconds of the YouTube DIY video. A very ordinary voice began speaking.

“Today we’re gonna take a look at unclogging a drain,” the narrator began, then proceeded to describe my problem perfectly, “ So if you have a bathroom sink drain that the water is backing up, it can be a pretty easy thing to fix.” 

After watching his clear explanation and demonstration, I felt reassured, but still skeptical. So many what ifs swirled in my head.  What if it’s a bigger problem than this? What if i get things apart, but can’t out them back together? What if my little hands are too weak? I decided to sleep on it and make a decision Saturday morning.

After taking RIchard for his morning constitutional, I decided to take a peak at the pipes to ensure they looked the same as those in the video. Well, looking turned to touching, then it became a full on grab the bull by the horns moment. 

I laid out some towels and containers, then I followed his instructions to loosen the rings on the goose neck and it came off just like he said it would. Yeah me!

Then, I disconnected the rod that held the stopper in place so I could pull out the stopper and see down the pipe. With the stopper out I was shocked to realize I could not see down the pipe at all. It was thoroughly plugged. Again, the video explained how to get the goo out. The narrator suggested an extra long screwdriver that would reach all the way through the pipe. Of course I didn’t have one, but I had the perfect knitting needle, more that long enough to reach all the way down and come out the other end. A couple of passes with some paper towel and I could see the towels and pan below.

Reassembling was even quicker than disassembling. A quick run of the tap assured me that I had tightened everything sufficiently and no leaks were imminent. I cleaned up the bathroom and washed my hands. Three times. 

On my next walk with Richard, I wanted to turn to every neighbor I saw and tell them,”I fixed my own plumbing!” Of course, I didn’t, but my heart swelled with pride in my accomplishment as I walked past them.

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