Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Dig

As I was getting D ready for school this morning, she grabbed my arm being silly and just about jumped through the roof.  What was that?  Then I look down at the crook of my arm...Ah, that's right.

The City is having a wellness screening for all of its employees - blood work and an interview with a nurse practitioner, in exchange for $1500 off your insurance per year per couple.  So, of course we do it.  It is a fasting blood draw, so my firefighter and I go in as soon as he gets off shift on Saturday - before the rest of the chaos of the day begins.  Now, I hear we picked the right lab.  The other one on our side of town was out the door and down the hall for these three vials of blood.  So that was a plus in our favor.  It all goes down hill from there.

After a screaming tween (I felt for that mom) and a few other fire couples get blood drawn, it is our turn.  I warn our oh-so competent phlebotomist that my veins roll.  We discuss the horror stories I have about waking up on the floor after someone did not listen.  My last request before she stabs me, "Please don't dig."  Her response - "Oh no.  I would much rather pull out and try again, then dig around in there."  So, she takes a stab...misses...and...begins to dig...and dig...and dig some more.  My ears start ringing as I watch in horror. I begin breathing as slowly and deeply as I can.  The purple curtain starts to invade my vision.  My firefighter recognizes this and stands in front of me, just in case.

And she finally found one.  I suppose, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Imagine if I had not warned her!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Secret Password

Now, I know I have been critical of the traditions and rituals when it comes to cubs.  The flour and water seems so silly to me.  Makes no sense and perhaps, it simply never will.  I guess that is okay with me.  I don't know if "E2 on the Blue" club has a password or a secret knock.  I don't know if they shared it with J, or not, yet.  But he has seen the inside of the clubhouse now.

One of the guys has taken J under his wing, a bit, throughout this whole process.  Which is rather ironic - from the outside looking in, as he is probably the most outwardly immature guy on the crew!  :D  He, too has a heart of gold, but unlike J, his mouth has NO filter.  What he thinks, he says.  At the Falcon's game it made me laugh, but his wife cringe.  Anyway, J's personal time - to study and workout, doesn't begin until after popcorn is made and the other guys are settled in to their recliners - 8/9pm.  He is not a 21 year-old spring chick and does not seem to find a way to get to both.  So, one of the guys asked the Lt. if my FF could study in the afternoon and workout when they workout.  What an awesome gesture!

We are going out on St. Paddy's Day and now I have a crew of FFs to hangout with.  We got invited to go along with them.  The cub on the truck, no one has done anything for.   Even at the football party, you could see he was on the outside. J could call everyone by their first name, the other cub was not afforded such luxury.  I feel bad for him, but at the same time, I am so glad to see that the work J has put into this has been recognized.  J has a heart of gold and a work ethic to match.  He knows when to keep his mouth shut (better than I do!) and when/how to speak up.  I am so happy for my husband.  He is becoming one of the guys.  Now, I can breathe a little deeper.  He is one of them and they will do whatever is in their power, no matter what, to make sure he comes home to me.  For that, I will forever be grateful.

And he is happy.  Is there anything else I could ask for?


This whole teachers vs. Scott Walker has put me in the middle of both friends and colleagues alike.  My friends, family and co-workers all have an opinion and many seem to assume they know mine.  There was quite a lengthy discussion at our niece's 2nd birthday party yesterday - mind you J was a teacher, one of his sisters is a teacher, his dad was a principal and his mom was a teacher turned educational assistant.  And you throw me into the mix.  On the other side of the debate is J's uncle who is an independent contractor for the federal courthouse.  I think that debate got the guilt juices flowing.

On our drive home, I think I needed to cleanse my soul.  Not about the teachers in Madison, but about the fact that I am teaching in a private school.  This was never in my plans.  And, if I was to be honest with myself, I was probably a bit condescending, in my mind, towards private school teachers.  And here I find myself - one of them. 

I have never mentioned this guilt to anyone and here it was the topic of discussion for at least 45 minutes of our drive and continued to weigh on my mind throughout the night - to the point where I was dreaming about it.  I feel so horribly guilty.  I feel as though I have abandoned my kids.  My kids now, at a private school, do indeed need me, but not like in the past.  They need my input on which private college would best serve them in the quest to be the most influential social worker of their time.  They need me to take a look at their papers and check citations before they submit it for AP Lit.  They do need me.  But in the past, for some of my kids, school was the only sense of stability the kids had.  You don't know how many trips I took to Wal-mart or Target over the years for school supplies, clothes, food, etc for my kids at work.  How many long hours spent agonizing over what was best for these guys, when no one else really even thought twice. I know most of them have graduated or are about to graduate.  And many of my 'babies' know how to get a hold of me and have done so.  But what about the next classes coming up?  What if they need me and I am not there?  Have I failed my mission?  Have I become a sell-out and taken the easy route?

So, I return to my final exam grading.  With my helicopter parents, who question every grade in my grade book - why it was a A- rather than an A, and think about the kids I have left behind.  The kids who could not get their parents in for conferences, much less check my grade book on a daily basis. I watch the happenings at the capital, with baited breath, look at the pictures posted by my friends and co-workers and wonder.  I am only two terms into my stint as a private school teacher.  J assures me that I am making a difference and that these kids need strong teachers as well.  I am hoping that my guilt subsides.  Some days it feels as though it will just consume me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wish me luck

Our second trimester has come and gone, I have the stack of papers from yesterday's exams to prove it. I will be teaching two totally new, never seen by me subjects before, during this final term.  This weekend I have a TON of last minute touches to put on EVERYTHING for this new term.  Everything seems to be "almost" done. And I have to do it as a single mom.

Remember how I said "Here is where I fall in love with the fire department"I still stand by that. But, this is the moment when I lose my mind because of the firefighter's schedule.  

Last weekend J worked a 48.  He switched with one of the guys on the red shift, in order to be able to stay home with the girls during our H1N1 micro-pandemic.  He also had a city-owed trade that he is paying back PLUS the teacher in him caused him to HAVE to go on an over night field trip to the EAA.  This was the trip he was in charge of for 10 years.  So here is our schedule over the course of 2 weeks:
  • Last week - Saturday, Sunday -  on.  Monday off.  Tuesday/Wednesday EAA trip in Oshkosh, Thursday off, Friday on.
  • This week - Saturday off - our niece's birthday party in Manitowoc.  Sunday, Monday- on.  Tuesday off, Wednesday,  Thursday - on.  Friday resume some form of normalcy.
Light at the end of the tunnel - After these CRAZY stretch, I am one week away from Spring Break - which J is home for the WHOLE time!  YEAH!  And the icing on the cake - I am home for St. Patrick's Day which is also the opening day of March Madness.  BONUS!  Indeed the luck o' the Irish is upon me this year! We have made arrangements for the kids so we can go out on St. Paddy's - something silly I have always wanted to do, but always had to work.  

AND...we have been totally in UNDIES with Obabya since we came home from the hospital.  No Pull-ups, except at night.  And every Pull-up has been dry in the morning. (Don't ask me about the ONE time I get brave and leave her in undies at night, however.)  Never thought I would be discussing undies in such a manner.  So funny how Mommyhood changes things!

So, I take a deep breath today - listening to the chaos break out upstairs along with the dawn.  My firefighter will be home in a few hours and our 24 hours together will begin with our fasting blood draw for his insurance - and may I say, I AM STARVING!  Followed by an hour and  a half trip up north for a fun party with family.  He leaves for a 48 tomorrow and I need to finish correcting some papers that were "forgotten" about by my seniors, along with yesterday's exams, finish writing my curriculum map and syllabus for my new sophomore class, shore up my second go round with this junior class for their part-deux  (They have missed me so much since November, that I have not been able to get them out of my room all week!  Think it will last?)  and figure out what the heck I am going to do with the little teeny-tiny 7th graders they sent my way this term.  

Peace, love and Coco Puffs from the loony-bin!  

Enjoy your weekend, kiss your firefighters, hug your kids and thank your teachers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Teachers and the Unions

Okay - I have kept quiet on this issue long enough.  This is an issue that is dividing families and friends.  You should have read some of the horrible emails and FB messages I have gotten - from both sides of this discussion.  So here is my stance...well, it is more of a request.  PLEASE STOP BASHING TEACHERS!  Yes, I know. We only work 10 months out of the year, have all of our holidays off and we are done at 3pm and yada yada yada.  I KNOW!

Please also note that the teachers are PEOPLE!  These are people who hold the lives and futures in the very palms of their hands NOW.  What they do today, impacts your child FOREVER!  You have no kids?  Guess, what we do will impact your caregivers, and therefore your life -  forever!

I am no longer in the public world.  I am teaching for a much reduced salary in a private school in order to afford private school education for my 4 kids. (Ironic all the way around, isn't it!)  It is a trade off the has been wonderful so far.  My class sizes run from 11-27. My boys are in true 15 student classes, as opposed to the 30:2 classes SAGE provided.   Last year, my classes at MHSA were 40-48, with the exception of my AP class which "only" had 16.  We did not have enough books, ever, in the 12 years I taught in MPS, to allow all kids to take a book back and forth.  That meant I had to create assignments that did not rely on the text or the internet - because not all kids have regular access to the web, either.   Aside from those restrictions, we were limited to ONE case of paper per day for 45 staff members and 950 students, in order to cut costs.  SO, no textbook or textbook created materials were used - unless we provided our own paper.  And from what I have heard, copies are being limited, regardless of who bought the paper.  For instructional purposes, I have almost always created ALL my own materials.  I have 2 flash drives FULL of PowerPoints, projects, assignments, rubrics - all created by ME - during the wee hours of the morning when my house is finally quiet enough to work or while sitting on the deck during the summer watching my kids play in the backyard.  I don't get paid for that.

Especially in urban districts, the teachers are often the only advocates for the children, sadly.  Breakfast commonly consists of Flamin' Hots and Hawaiian Punch, with maybe a Honey Bun to boot.  We buy clothes and supplies for our kids, students, as well as our classrooms.  I created a "SmartBoard" out of a Wii Mote, a Bluetooth dongle and an IR pen.  I created a document camera out of a ring stand and old camcorder.  We know how to make do with little to no supplies.  Many of our kids are written off by society - forgotten or left for hopeless.  I have lost 18 kids in 13 years - YES, EIGHTEEN!  I have gone to 15 of their funerals.  My  heart has broken with each and every one of those losses.  The guilt is enormous.  What could I have done differently?  What didn't I see?  Why didn't I suggest something different? I have been called Mom by more kids than I can ever count - sometimes by accident and sometimes by affection.  I am touched deeply by that compliment.  These are MY KIDS.  I am here in spite of all the issues, because of the kids. Don't you dare tell me that I am in this for the money!

As for the issues being debated, we in the education world know that there are sacrifices that must be made.  WE GET THAT!  Please don't lecture us about the private world, we understand that as well.  But when Gov. Walker wants to dissolve the unions, there are bigger issues at hand.  We have - for years - forgone pay raises in order to keep our health insurance, so we have indeed made sacrifices all along.  We began paying into our insurance several years ago and knew that trend would continue.  Now, we as teachers know that there are more cuts to be made and are okay with that - believe it or not.  But you have to realize that there are work conditions that the union ensures are safe and productive.

I have a student I can think of at this very moment - from 1999.  (At 150-200+ kids per year, you can do the math on how many kids ago that was.) I can picture him and remember his name just as clear as though it was yesterday.  BB had "that look" in his eyes, a ticking time bomb.  One day in my social studies class, he got upset because I would not give him my colored pencils during my instructional time.  He literally threw a table at me.  Kicker to this - I was 5 1/2 months pregnant.  The school board required me to keep him.  It was part of his disability - I needed to be more understanding.  The union stepped in and had him removed from my classroom.  They also ensure that we have something as simple as adequate parking, security guards for our halls and comp time when we stay until 9pm to ensure all parents have the opportunity to speak with us regarding their children's progress (after coming in to teach a zero hour class - FOR FREE at 6:50 AM). The positives of the union definitely outweigh the negatives.  I can go on and on.

I am not a Union Lackey.  I think there are some teachers who should not be in this profession and are protected by the union simply because they have put in three years and achieved tenure.  BUT, had administration, college education faculty or mentors stepped in during the early years of their education/careers, perhaps these sub-par teachers could have gotten the guidance they needed - either to improve their teaching  and/or classroom management style or to continue looking for their true vocations.  Unions, aside from negotiating our salaries and benefits, also ensure our working conditions are safe and secure.

Until you have spent any amount of time in the classroom, please don't bash teachers.  Most of us work long and hard to make sure our kids are educated - both academically and socially.  We work with little to no supplies or support - sometimes from homes, administration or the community at large.  We are


N.B - Didja know that teachers in the public schools often only get paid for 9 of the 10 days of their pay period?  This allows a paycheck to be sent to us on our breaks.  The days are "banked" for us and distributed over Winter and Spring Breaks, etc.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sign number 364 that you are cub

When there is a massive snow storm hitting the city....

and everyone else's car looks like this...
and this...
and your car looks like this...
    while you are doing this.

Welcome to the Picky Eaters Club

I have got the pickiest eaters in the world.  My husband does not each cheese.  My youngest is not a fan of bread or starches - much preferring plain old meat, in any form.  My princess would be happy eating PB&J for all of eternity.  Me, I fit in to this bunch as well.  I inherited my father's taste (or lack there of) for veggies and have a weird texture aversion - don't ask, I have no idea.  We are impossible to cook for.  If it isn't breakfast, not everyone agrees on the meal plan.

I am looking for help with food ideas.  Dishes that can be made on Sunday, frozen and thrown in the oven on Wednesday.  Sounds easy, right.  I also need to have the muppets eat them.  Ahhhh, that is where things get tricky!  I am not against making two - one with cheese and one without, for example.  I have been doing that for the last 14 years, I have grown comfortable with it. Life is getting crazy and during the week, especially when my hubby is pulling a 48, I need things as streamlines as possible.  I bought two casserole recipe books off of Amazon, I have scoured the web looking for ideas and I am continuing to search.   I am looking for your "kid tested, mother approved" suggestions and recipes.

So, I will start, although this is not something I have found a way to do ahead of time - sooo yummy.

Sherry Apple Pork Chops - Serves 6


    Sherry Apple Pork Chops Recipe
  • 7-1/4 pork chops
  • 3-1/2 large apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons and 1-1/4 teaspoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • Directions

    This recipe's Ingredients were scaled to yield a new amount. The directions below still refer to the original recipe yield of 5 to 6 servings.
    1. In a large skillet, brown chops, about 2 minutes each side; reserve.
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    3. Arrange apple slices in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter or margarine. Top with browned pork chops and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sherry over all, cover and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until tender and internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Must Be the Blue Shift

But, lo and behold, it is not.  It is indeed the Red Shift.  But, none-the-less, Jeff is working to make up one of the days he took off to help me with the girls.  So, what does that mean?  Snow of course.  

Forecast: 3 to 5 inches of snow before noon

Updated: Feb. 20, 2011 9:56 a.m. | The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for all of southeastern Wisconsin from 8 a.m. Sunday through 6 p.m. Monday, but the snowfall will be especially heavy this morning, according to WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) meteorologist Lance Hill.
And we are double booked today - David Seebach and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at 2pm - with the three stooges, followed by a jaunt up to Sheboygan  to Blue Harbor Resort for the Boys to hang out with J's Uncle and his grandson.  I can't disappoint the boys, but this is going to royally suck.  I was planning on hanging out with Desi in the Splash pad for a bit, but with the roads as bad as they will be, I think I will be simply dropping them off.  I may also swing by my dad's and drop off D - since he will already have Obabia.  I prefer to have as few children in the car as possible.

Happy Sunday.  Wish me luck.  Ughhhh, and I still have one final yet to write tonight!  Gotta love it!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Visit We Hope We Never Receive

As I was perusing the boards at, I came  a posting from menagirl.
"I am so sad about the death of Los Angeles Fire Dept. Firefighter Glenn Allen today...does anybody on this board know of, or know how to get in touch with his wife...I know she must need support...even if we dont know her, can you imagine if that call was for you? I cant."
The next posting said there were seven firefighter/police deaths in the last two days.  My heart  just sank.  We all know that knock could be coming at any time.  None of us want to think about it, but we all do in the quiet dark of night.  The "what ifs" creep in when the distractions and chaos of the day have come to rest.  We all take a deep breath and push those thoughts from our minds.  And, in reality, these tragic deaths don't occur "all that often."

Los Angeles Firefigher Glenn L. AllenBut now there is a family that can't.  They can no longer dismiss those thoughts as silly.  They can no longer take a deep breath or check on their kids and know that everything is just fine.  Life will never be the same.  There is a baby about to join the family.  Even though it is a joyous occasion, no matter what, it will be veiled in the fact that a Grandfather is not there to welcome his first grandchild.  Life will go on, but it will never be the same.  Grandpa will be a collection of stories, a helmet on the mantle, a picture, a hero.

My Graffiti on my FF's helmet.
Please take a moment and say a prayer for  Firefighter Glenn L. Allen and his family - both at home and at LAFD Station 97.  If you know the family, please also let the know that there are other fire wives and fire families mourning their loss.  We are all here for support - both near and far.  Just an email or board post away.  If you are part of a fire family, be sure to kiss your firefighter as they leave for every shift.  It is a noble, heroic, thankless occupation that carries a very real and very frightening possibility of loss, no matter how infrequent.  Also know that you and your family are never alone.  We are all here for one another.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My turn

I swear to you...we all got our flu vaccines.  Truly we did.  There are 3 different school buildings, a home daycare and whatever myriad of creepy crawlies my husband brings home.  And yet, here we are.  Liv was hospitalized, her big sister did not want to miss out on the fun, and now it is my turn.  

Today was Superhero Day at work.  There is a  spirit week to celebrate the winter formal this weekend.  I dressed, you guessed it, as a firefighter.  Complete with that heavy helmet.  Mind you, I left the bunker gear at home and there is no way I am sticking my feet in J's boots, so truthfully - I wore his polo and grabbed his helmet.  Anyway, there was a point here, one of my seniors was being funny about the helmet and touched my neck.  He complained that I was HOT!  I began to scold him, again, for this senior has a bit of a MILF complex going on - complete with flowers being brought to my class everyday for 3 months.  He protested and said, "No, Mrs. H.  I mean you are really hot - you are burning up."  Hmmmm, I feel fine - then the light goes on.  Oh no!  Not again!

Hill, JoAnne L MDSo, I talk to J on the way home.  He decides it is time to call the doc, even though it is after hours.  By the time I get home, he is waiting for a call back from the on-call doc.  I check my temp 102.1, not good.  Phone rings, it is Dr. Hill, who say she is not surprised to her from me.  She does not like my fever.  I run 97.3 like clockwork, so 102.1 = 103.4 for everyone else.  As we are chatting I bark in her ear, again not good.  I tell her, but I feel fine.  Her response, "And when J has to work this whole weekend to make up for this week, what happens when you no longer feel 'fine'?"  Touché, Dr. Hill, touché .  How did she know about the Blue Shift??

So, J is off to Walgreen's to grab my Tamiflu and coughdrops.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Valentine's Day

I officially HATE the Blue Shift.  It is known as the holiday shift - it seems to hit a disproportionate number of holidays, regardless of the year.  Aside from the interruptions of festivities, it seems as though my family waits for things to happen on the Blue Shift.  On my last post from Sunday, I told you O was sick - some stomach bug.  By the time that 4 in the afternoon rolled around she developed a croupy cough, her fever was back - creeping up to nearly 105, her vomiting has worsened and  I felt we needed to get into the ER.  

I got everyone, including myself, dressed.  The boys and D were already good to go, but due to the issues of  the day, O and I were still in our jammies.  I called my dad, asked him to take the three stooges, while I took O in to the ER.  She looked so sad and pitiful with her bucket in her lap.  After my eldest muppets were hanging out with Grandpa, I had to try and get in touch with Jeff.  His phone was turned off and I had not transfered the number for E2 to my new phone - that'll teach me!  So, I called 411 - after convincing Sprint's operator that this was NOT a 911 emergency, I got the main number, since he is house at the main office, telling me to call back Monday during normal business hours.  Through the rationalization of MFD's numbering system, I figured out the number to the office.  When I got in contact with someone, I found out that the engine was out on a run - OF COURSE!  I left a message, letting the Lt. know we were headed to Children's, if he would be so kind as to let my firefighter know.
For the first time in my 11 years experience as a parent, we need did not get brushed off by the ER at Children's, but that is a tale for another day.  We were taken straight to triage and into a room.  At first you could see that the tired, overloaded resident was not in to mood to be bothered by a mere virus.  That was all that it was, give her some juice and send her home.  That was our first round.  Then he felt it might have been pneumonia, until we had a clear chest x-ray.  Perhaps there is something with her stomach, so we did an x-ray of her tummy, just to find out the obvious - she had to poop, but was too pooped to poop.  After some Zofran, they were going to send us on our way.  We took a few sips of some juice, headed off to the bathroom to leave a sample for a u/a, so they could check her sugars and see if she was spilling proteins - just to have her puke up the Zofran and apple juice.  This is 7pm.  Liv is now SICK of EVERYONE - even sniping at me, which NEVER happens.
Hanging out in the ER
Playing with the pony from the
x-ray tech.

Finally, they have a pow-wow to discuss my little trooper.  They still believe it is one of the myriad of viruses, probably combined with Influenza-A.  They hang a bag of fluids  and discuss what to do next.  While the nurses are getting her IV in, I point out the obvious - she's cyanotic.  We get a pulse/ox monitor on her and lo and behold, her O2 sats are in 70s and 80s.  I know I am just a mommy, but I am not an easily freaked out mom.  I was not going to have my girl blown off.  They give her a steroid to reduce the swelling in her throat, thereby reducing the cough and increasing her O2 sats.  Her fever was NOT going down, her nausea and vomiting was NOT subsiding and she was dehydrated.  She was obviously really sick, and if they did not treat her now, we would simply be back and I would be a bear to deal with at that point.

Around 9pm they decide Liv needed to be their guest and by 1:45am we were on our way to her room, after meeting with the ER attending and the 1st year intern that would be on her case.  We had a lovely, albeit chatty, night nurse to get us settled.  Liv did not agree that we should be sticking "pipe cleaners" up her nose - flu test or not.  She was done with nurses "hugging her leg", done with things being stuck in her armpits - she was just plain done.  Her pitiful cry was hoarse and she wanted to go home.  Liv did not want Mommy, she did not want to drink, she just wanted to go home.

Daddy stopped in on his way home - around 8am.  He hung out for a bit, then rescued Grandpa from the stooges.  When he came back, Liv was nibbling on her breakfast and looking quasi human.  I requested to be part of the rounds when they came to our room, which was a nice experience.  It was a bit like Grey's Anatomy and I had to squash a giggle when the attending pointed out an obvious oversight on the intern who bugged me a bit the night before.  I was glad that we got to be part and have a say in her medical plan.

As the day, went on, she slept, nibbled on her dinner for 2 hours, still refusing to drink.  Later one of her residents comes in to chat, we find O has H1N1.  Even after the vaccines.  GREAT!

Daddy brought D in for a visit, as she was whoa-fully missing her Babiya.  So, D came in, as the center of the universe with a mask and all. :D Our little patient lit up when she saw her big sister.  I, even though it was for the best, found myself a bit crestfallen when they said they wanted to keep her another night.
Daddy working to change
around shifts

Here is where I fall in love with the fire department.  We have to keep O home for the rest of the week after she is released from the hospital.  My firefighter was able to shift everything around and make it happen that I do not have to miss more than this past Monday to care for our sick little gal.  This is especially good, seeing as D has now developed a 102 fever.  When Daddy took O in to the doc, he had her look at D.  She too, is more than likely infected with H1N1, especially considering how close they are.  So, D will also have to stay home for the rest of the week.  His new Capt. helped him get a city-owed trade and one of the guys on the red shift took his other shift this week - clearing up Daddy's schedule for the remainder of the week.  The cherry on the sundae - his Captain called yesterday, just to check.  To check on O, to see how I was doing with all of the chaos and reminded us that we are indeed family now.  That is the first time I have truly seen it.  In all of our years of education, never once has a principal called to check on us - not once.  Now, just six months in, with a captain that has worked with my husband for only a few shifts, he calls on his off day, just to check on us.  It was such a nice feeling.

So, I have still yet to get my Valentine's Day dinner.  If he thinks me running down to the hospital cafeteria for a burger to bring up counts, he has another thing coming.  But, my girls are home.  And that is the only Valentine I truly need.
The Valentine's delivered to O's room throughout the day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not Just a Hallmark Holiday

I was always the one grumbling about Valentine's Day and Sweetest Day.  My poor boyfriends, always trying to impress me - nothing ever quite did.  But now, all these years (and boyfriends later - hehe) I have seen the light.
Today is the Blue Shift, so my Firefighter is off keeping the city safe and healthy.  And, because it is indeed the Blue Shift, his own poor house is a mess of germs.  It seems that we only get to go a few days without someone being sick - and those seem to be the days that Daddy is home.  Our children are gracious enough to spare him the stress of sick children, and I think that is just so sweet!  As we speak - O came out of her bedroom, threw up all over the floor and returned to her bed.  I am gracious that it is on hardwood versus her bed - I hate changing puke soaked linens!  But none-the-less, it is the dreaded Blue Shift.  J is home tomorrow and then gone the next 48 hours.  He traded with one of the guys so he could go on the overnight field trip to the EAA with his former students the following week.  I knew he couldn't truly stay away from the classroom.
Which means tomorrow, Valentine's Day is the only day we will have to spend together for 96 hours.  J has a nice dinner planned for us after the kids go to bed.  He is also planning on being gracious and doing the grocery shopping for me tomorrow.  Notice I say planning.  Liv being sick, will most assuredly place that duty back on my shoulders.

But, sick kids and everything, Valentine's Day does serve a purpose.  Aside from lining the pockets of the candy, flower and card industries' executives, it reminds us to spend time with our loved ones and to enjoy those moments.  For moms and dads to stop being parents and return for a brief moment to being a couple.  For friends to remember how grateful they really are to have each other, even when there is no significant other at that moment.  For families to remember that love really does start at home.  Valentine's Day reminds us to love each other and appreciate and be open to that love.

So, I will leave you with that.  Go back to my sick little gal, hopefully find her sleeping and anxiously await the passing of time until my firefighter is home to cuddle his Littlest Love and enjoy our few moments as a couple at the ends of the day.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Metal and carbon

Metal and Carbon.  That is all it is.  J has been telling me that for years.  The hunk of metal and carbon on my left hand, as well as his, is just a symbol it is nothing more than that.  But why does its absence bug me?  Ahh, wedding rings.

I am not too girly about much, but this is definitely an issue that brings me in touch with my inner-femininity. I am all mushy and gushy about those rings.  Mine NEVER comes off.  I even got sappy when J wanted to buy me a bigger diamond for my engagement ring.  I don't set it on the night stand, take it off to shower or ANYTHING.  It comes off for surgery and for inspections and that is it!!  J on the other hand, can take it or leave it.  He tells me he knows he's married, his guys know he's married, so the ring is not that important.    And I KNOW he can't wear it while he works.  So, that doesn't bother me - much.

But when he comes home, he never thinks of it.  It sits, right where he left it, looking so sad and lonely.  I would feel so naked! It usually sits where he left it, until I break down and take it to him.  And it bothers me.  Ah well - this is officially the small stuff, as in "Don't sweat the..." and I will indeed get over it.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt within the heart.

~Helen Keller~
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