Tag Archives: Slice of Life Story

Tooth or consequences

1 Oct

I have been blessed with excellent dental health.

When I chipped my tooth two weeks ago, I was concerned and got into the dentist asap. Expecting a crown, he repaired it like a filling.

Last Tuesday, while eating my lunch, the filling popped off. I called the dentist right away and got an appointment. I also got a better sub than the week before.

The dentist I go to is new to me. My insurance changed and I switched dentists. I’d had my previous dentist for over 20 years and I was accustomed to his ways. I guess that’s why I assumed both times I’d be getting a crown. Dental work was serious and drastic.

My new dentist looked again at the chipped area and surprised me by still opting for no crown. He repaired it using a different material. and then he talked me off the ledge I hadn’t realized I’d been standing on.

“If it breaks while you are away next weekend, it won’t be an emergency,” he told me, eyes sparkling above his surgical mask. “The tooth is still very sound.”

I had told him about an upcoming trip to Vancouver, BC and I think he could tell there were an awful lot of what ifs swirling around in my head.

“If this does fall off, come in when it is convenient. We could do a crown if you want, but we could also just smooth down the rough edges.”

Whoa. My mind was blown.

What I’d thought of as a dental emergency was really not. As educators, we hear about serious dental issues can make it hard for kids to learn. They are having dental emergencies and not getting the care they need. My dental owie, though it could have been worse, was nothing compared to what some students experience daily.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the dental bus that used to come to the school I taught at for over a decade. It’s not that far from my current school, but it is miles away on the socio-economic scale. Kids were get their teeth checked for free. They could have sealants applied and a few had to have some serious dental work done and looked woozy when they returned. A few had teeth so bad they had extra, still free, visits to the dental school.  I had no idea some of these kids had such terrible teeth. They must have been in terrible pain and yet they carried on.

I am taking care to ensure this filling holds. I hope the dental care those former students received years ago holds.

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School’s out…there was some drama

18 Jun

Act 1

INT. Classroom – Last Day of school

Sixth graders are sitting on floor. Two girls are singing in front of room. Three teachers are huddled on one side of room. One stands alone on the other side. One of the three teachers is mouthing words to the lone teacher. She cannot understand so walks over to the group.

ME THE TEACHER: My lip-reading sucks. What’s up?

TEACHER 1: We are moving to Orange Hall.

ME THE TEACHER: What??? Are you joking?

TEACHER 2: No. Go check your email.

As Me the Teacher weaves through the mass of 6th grade bodies, Teacher 3 paces and mutters to himself.

Act 2

EXT. Later the same day on the playing field

Sixth graders are gathered on the field in various groups. Some are running. Some are signing yearbooks. A group is sitting in the grass playing with their Magic cards. A lone boy wanders, playing a harmonica.

ME THE TEACHER: The timing is bad, but there might be some perks to the move.

TEACHER 3: The locker room is bigger in Orange hall and, because we will be on the first floor, we will have direct outside access.

TEACHERS 1 & 2: I was thinking the same thing.

Act 3

INT. Classroom – Teacher’s Last Day of school

Me the Teacher is frantically packing. She is disheveled and her face is very red.

Act 4

INT. Classroom – Teacher’s Last Day of school

CUSTODIAN: Are you ready?

ME THE TEACHER: Yes. I didn’t think it was possible,  but I got it all packed up.

CUSTODIAN: This move means a lot of extra work for us.

ME THE TEACHER: I know and I am sorry, but have a great summer.

Custodian exits.

Me the Teacher does one last sweep of the classroom, turns off the lights and exits the room, closing the door behind her.

FADE OUT

 

 

 

 

Some lasts

14 May

With only five weeks of school left, my mind has begun looking for lasts. In addition to this being the end of another school year, this is my last year as our union secretary, a post I’ve held for the last three years. There are some aspects of the job I won’t miss, especially late Monday nights. But there are several I will.

Last weekend we had the last union board retreat. Every year we spend a weekend in Hood River, a lovely little town along the Columbia River. It’s work, but there is always a little play time. This year, during the scavenger hunt, our mission was to find something  Red for Ed. What my team found in the Goodwill had us laughing.

Yesterday, I said farewell to one of my favorite jobs: reading the letters from graduating students who applied for the scholarships we offer. The scholarships were established in the name of a man who was a great volunteer, so students are asked to write about their volunteer experiences. The team meets at a coffee shop and it makes for a really lovely couple of hours.

There are still lots of thing on my “last ____ of the year list”, but I am a little sad that these two won’t be on next year’s list.

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Tied up in knots

7 May

“Ms. Gillespie, I tied my shoes together.”

So said the 6th grade boy standing before me. He should have been on his way back to his seat from the meeting area, where I had just taught a fabulous lesson, but he couldn’t walk. I knelt to take a closer look. He hadn’t tied shoe laces together – he had braided bungee laces around the clips. Maybe my lesson hadn’t been that fabulous after all.

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“You’d better take a seat and take off your shoes,’ I said as I stood up. “I’ll see what I can do while you work,” I replied.

I poked a bit with a pencil before channeling my inner MacGyver. I took a paperclip from a dispenser, unbent one end, and began loosening the laces. While they should have been working, a few students came up to offer assistance.

“I have long fingernails.”

“I’m a Boy Scout.”

“My little sister does this ALL the time!”

I declined all offers of assistance. My strategy was proving successful. I loosened one strand enough to loop it over the clip, loosening even more. My MacGyvering was working and before too long, I laid two, separated shoes on the student’s desk. He felt a little foolish, but I felt fabulous.

 

 

Finally!

26 Feb

My dog, Lucy, got me up for a potty break around 4 Monday morning. I am always a little bleary at these moments, shuffling to the kitchen to get her harness. I lean out the back door, holding onto the leash, eyes barely open and  whispering words of encouragement to get her to do her business quickly. This day, I was a little more alert, on the lookout for the snow that Portland forecasters had promised yet again. Seeing none, I went back to bed and got up at my usual time.

I turned in the coffee pot before I showered and dressed. Once dressed, I went to get my first of my two morning cups. Of course, a two-hour delay had been called while I showered. I look outside. There was very little snow on the ground at home, but school is 30 minutes away and at a higher elevation. I puttered at the computer, drinking my coffee, then sat down to knit a bit. When the coffee ran out, I checked the closures: still a two-hour delay, so I wouldn’t make a pot of tea, I’d make a second round of coffee while I packed my lunch, thinking about what time I should leave.

About a half hour later, Beaverton schools were closed – Portland Public Schools maintained their two-hour delay. My streets were still clear, but apparently the storm had veered West and my school district’s higher elevation mattered.

I dumped the last of the coffee and put the kettle on for tea.

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Helping Howard

19 Feb

The message from the Oregon Basset Hound Rescue president  came Friday night: Could someone get to the Humane Society on Saturday to take a look at a dog? Howard had been returned to OHS a second time and they were asking for OBHR’s help finding him a new home.

I’d been planning to do my taxes Saturday morning, then spending the rest of the day knitting. But, I live closest to OHS, so I said I’d do it. I was told to wear black (Howard was reported to be afraid of people in black) and  arrive before OHS opened. I was to go right in once the doors opened  and let them know who I was – they’d be expecting me.

There were two small crowds out front when I arrived. The crowd closest to the doors were clearly potential adopters, eager to find their furry soulmate. They were older that the crowd further back. I initially assumed these were volunteers, but, using my excellent powers of eavesdropping, I learned they were veterinary students coming for a tour.

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When the doors opened, I queued up and waited my turn. they were expecting me and before I knew it I was being escorted to a meeting room. It wasn’t the sort of meeting room you might imagine. this was a room designed for an intimate meet and greet.

When Howard came in he showed no fear of my black clothes. In fact he was sweet and curious, sniffing all over to get to know this new room.

He came when called and demonstrated how well he could sit (and wait) for a treat. he also demonstrated his excellent climbing skills.

Howard came to Oregon from a kill shelter in California in the Second Chance program. He had been picked up as a stray a few times and the last time, his owners declined to come and get him. The shelter thought he might be adoptable in Oregon so he was sent here.  Apparently, Howard is such a devoted family member he is very vocal if left alone, and so he was adopted and  returned to OHs. Twice.

Despite his sad early life,  Howard is a lover. He is such a lover that he has a big old heart on his side. He is a model canine and OHS staff use him to model leash-walking for new arrivals. Maybe that’s why he has a gold star beside his heart.

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If I didn’t have to work, and if Lucy were friendlier to other dogs, I’d have taken him home myself.

I was a little sad to see him go, but hopeful we could spread the news about Howard to the OBHR community.

I am hopeful that Howard will soon be in a home with a retiree or a new friend works from home. Maybe I’ll have a good news update during our March Slice of Life Challenge.

 

Praying for a snow day

5 Feb

The message came just after 5 this morning.

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The paltry inch of snow makes my inner Canadian roar with laughter at our unpreparedness. My inner Beaverton School District teacher is praying for a full on cancellation.

And so, here I sit, showered and drinking coffee, checking again and again to see if there has been an update.

The wondering starts spinning in my head.

  • If Portland Public has closed, why haven’t we?
  • What is the latest time they’d change the late start to full closure?
  • An email form one of our administrators has our modified schedule for the day. What is the best way to modify the day I have planned?
  • Last night, I brought in the manual to my new car to learn how to activate the seat warmers. I also wanted to read up on driving AWD and how to activate the X-mode for severe driving conditions. I am a little worried about icy roads, as the last third of my drive to work is uphill.

As time passes, my hopes dash and I get on with the routine of my morning muttering a little prayer under my breath that we will get a full snow day.

 

 

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