Archive | November, 2022


29 Nov

The phone rang at 2:45.

“Oh, good, you’re still here,” said the school secretary. She continued, “How late will you be here? Someone wants to deliver something to you.”

I stumbled out a reply, lying a bit when I said, “I was planning on leaving at 3:15.”

Whoever thought to give us a PD day on the Monday after Thanksgiving was a genius. After a morning working on unit plans with the ELA team, my afternoon brain was mush. I’d been planning to leave by 3, but I’d been ready to leave for a while and was just doing busy work. Oh, there was a lot of work to do, I just couldn’t focus. Now my brain had a purpose as I wondered who had something to drop off for me.

The phone rang again just after 3:00 and I was asked to come to the office. As I walked the length of my hall towards the main staircase, I suddenly wondered if I was in trouble. It’s an old habit, not unlike the “OOOOOO” that rises when a student is called down.

Descending the steps, I turned towards the office and saw two strangers in the dark room: a tall man with a bouquet and a short woman. As soon as I entered the room I knew who it was.

A few weeks ago, the mother of a former student had reached out to me. I taught her son in the 2017-18 school year. She said she wanted to create a general academic/character profile for him and hoped to have letters from his Elementary, Middle and High School teachers. I distinctly remembered him and happily agreed, asking for a deadline.

As the dead line approached, I wasn’t happy with the prose I had written, so decided to shake things up. I wrote a poem that referred to two specific moments in 6th grade and my reflections as I saw him in the halls as a 7th and 8th grader. It’s not exactly what she asked for, I thought, but it captures my impressions of him. I sent it and offered to rewrite it if she wanted something more formal. Her effusive response was heart-warming.

I entered the office and knew exactly who these people were.

“You’re N, aren’t you?” I asked, knowing full well I was right.

We spent a few minutes chatting and catching up on his plans for the future and what had become of his other teachers. And they left me with this:

A Good News/Bad News Sort of Week

15 Nov

Monday arrived and with it, the anticipation of three days with kids, a grading day on Thursday, and no school Friday.We were all ready for the mini-break.

Tuesday morning, you could hear a chorus of “Have you seen the news?” echoing down the halls of our school as news broke that teachers would be allowed to work from home on Thursday. The validation that we were being treated like professionals, and the prospect of working on the sofa on comfy clothes, buoyed my mood..

I had mixed feelings Wednesday. I was very excited about working from home Thursday, but I was worried about a package I had mailed to my sister in Canada. We send each other an Advent calendar each year. I mailed mine on Tuesday, November 2 from a post office I don’t usually use. I’d been tracking the package and was concerned when it went through US customs. Weird, I thought, Is this a new step before sending it to Canada to pass through Canadian customs? It seemed to be stuck in Los Angeles.

Thursday morning, I received frustrating news: a vet appointment with a specialist I had booked for Veteran’s day was cancelled because the vet was sick. I’d deliberately chosen that day to avoid the stress of trying to find a sub. I called the office and managed to reschedule to Monday. Between planning and finalizing my grades for the quarter, I tried contacting my favorite subs. None were available. I put it out for pot luck.

By Friday, it was clear that the Advent package was on its way back to me. Could the postal clerk have written the wrong address on the form, I wondered. Fortunately, my job had been picked up by a sub who frequents our building.

I tracked the package all day Saturday. It was delivered around 6 pm, and yes, the clerk had erred. She folded the customs form to fit the plastic sleeve that attached to the package, but she put it in backwards. My address was face up. The receiving address was hidden. Fortunately, I managed to peel off all the stickers and made a plan to visit a Postal Annex on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, USPS said the package was still on its way to me. It was a beautiful Fall day, so I walked over to the shop, which is less than a mile away. I have always been a huge fan of the postal system, but I decided to ask about sending the package by Fed Ex when I got to the Postal Annex shop. I opted to send it USPS. Having told the clerk my story, she showed me that the correct address was clearly visible.

Monday‘s vet appointment gave me the news I expected: Richard has the heart of an old dog – a little leaky, but no enlargement or other issues.

I am hopeful that the rest of this week will be a little less up and down.


1 Nov

My new driver’s license arrived in the mail today and I laughed at the “new” old photo. It’s the same photo I took eight years ago. For whatever COVID-related reason, I was able to renew online. This license is still good for eight years and it made me laugh to think that in 2030, when I turn 66, the photo will still be 50 year old me. I wonder how much reality will differ from the photo?

I also received a renewal from Multnomah County Animal Control. As I opened it, I was puzzled because I thought Richard’s license expired next year. It does. This was a renewal for Lucy, who I lost two years ago. I got teary-eyed.

It’s funny how two pieces of mail can arrive on the same day and bring up two very different emotions. Here’s a photo of Lucy on her last birthday. She passed away three months later.

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