What happened to summer? How can it be Labor Day already? The “official” end of summer. I don’t even felt like there was a summer this year. We were lucky to have avoided the heat and humidity that New Jersey is famous for. That was actually a blessing! Yesterday and today have been most humid days of the summer but because of that, it really felt like summer never arrived.
Since I work for most of the summer, I don’t get the “summers off” like many people believe teachers get every year. Working through the first week of August and then having this procedure that has kept me off my foot, (well it was supposed to keep me off my foot,) took up the whole summer! This kept me from the pool. It has been three weeks since I went there. That may also be a part of why summer didn’t seem “real” this year. We used to call our pool the bargain of the summer because we were there nearly everyday. Now, I have to drag my kids to come along!
This happens to me every year. I think I am going to get soooooo much done, but don’t. Yet, now, as I sit back and recap the summer, we may not have traveled much, but we did do quite a bit. College tours, summer baseball for Drew, concerts in the park, get together with friends and lots of photography work filled our days. It was our first summer without The Newark Bears around. Unfortunately that organization folded during the year. Drew had been a batboy for them for several years. Many, many of our summer nights were spent at the ball park. I missed that more than I realized. We did take in a few minor leagues games at other fields though. That was fun. It is always something the boys love to do.
One thing we didn’t get the time to do was visit the Poconos or go down the shore. Hopefully, September will stay warm enough for us to maybe get a day on the beach before it gets too cold. We live so close and never took advantage of it this year.
The sleeping in and going to bed late has been nice though. My boys are going to have the toughest time readjusting to that. There are always conflicting feelings at this time of year. Not feeling ready to go back to work, but excited at the same time because I get to start a new school year with a fresh bunch of children. Even Drew said that today at breakfast. He told me how “weird” it felt to be excited and disappointed at the same time. He wants to go back to school and meet his new teachers and see his friends, but isn’t quite ready for the school work and rigor to begin.
So, since we can’t stop time… bring on the new school year!!
This morning, I found that I had a new follower to my blog. “MySportswritingporfolio” Whenever I get a follower, or a like, I check out the blog of the person who liked it. This one brought me to a blog written by my brother. My older brother Chip. None of us, my dad included, had any idea that Chip had been writing for a website called, “Double G Sports.” Apparently, he’s been writing for them since May and he decided to compile his writing into one place and share it in his new blog.
The thing about Chip is, he’s a bit of an introvert. He doesn’t say much. To anyone. Family, friends, customers… so this came as quite a surprise. His writing is much more expressive than his speech is! I wasn’t sure if I was reading something that he wrote, or perhaps an article he found and shared, but sure enough, the articles are authored by him.
If you like sports, hockey in particular, you should check it out and give it a like. I am sure he’d appreciate it.
Today is opening day for college football and our family cheers on The Iowa Hawkeyes! How did a New Jersey family wind up as Iowa fans you might wonder!?!? A friend of Dave’s went to college in Iowa and got hooked and he reeled Dave right in. We’ve been following the Hawkeyes for over twenty years now. For years, we’d meet up every weekend to watch the games. All of us owned special football packages so that we could get the games on television. His friend’s brother is also a fan so we rotated between the three homes to watch the games. All of our kids are huge fans as well.
Then, the kids grew up and life got in the way. It has been a long time since we got together to watch a game. Probably since last year around this time! A few days ago, when DJ realized that there was a game this weekend and that none of the kids had any of their own games because of the holiday weekend, he took it upon himself to text my best friend Kelly – who just happens to be married to Dave’s friend – and we finally made it happen.
We live so close to each other, less than fifteen minutes away, but it has been months since both of our families got together. We have all seen each other here and there, but for months none of us were all of us were able to get together in the same place at the same time. Other than the fact that DJ has grown about a foot and could drive himself there, not much has changed. We all fell back into our regular Hawkeye routine.
Sadly, we know it won’t last. Sports start up for everyone next week and between all of the kids, there is not much of a chance of a Saturday being free. If we do get lucky and it does happen, you can be sure that we will make the time. At least I’ll know that DJ will be on top of it!
It is Five Minute Friday and today Kate has posted the word REACH. The objective is to write for five minutes about the suggested word. As I read through other blogs, I often find that one word can mean so many different things to others. Here is my take on REACH.
I have just about reached the end of “back to school preparedness.” My classroom is almost ready for the twenty-three new faces that will greet me next week. I have never been the most organized person and one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to become more orderly in order to keep my classroom running efficiently. Just about every bin is labeled and organized. Name tags and cubbies are labeled. Bulletin boards are almost complete. I feel like I am just within in reach of the finish line. My problem is that I save everything. Too much actually. I need to start purging and I have. In doing so, I was able to give some unused supplies that I bought over the past years and donate them to a collection of school supplies for needy children.
I sometimes feel like clutter overtakes me. When I get myself organized, I am a calmer person. I have almost reached that point at school. My home….well that is another story!
I have been called to Jury Duty three times. The first time, I was twenty-three. It was the summer that I was getting married. I was chosen to serve on Grand Jury. I had deliberately chosen not to work that summer so that I could get all the wedding plans finalized. I remember the judge so clearly asking me if there was any reason that I couldn’t serve and I told him that I was getting married on August 14th. He told me, “Good. You will be done on the 6th.” Grand Jury was different back then. I had to serve every day for six weeks. Full days. It was a good thing I didn’t have a “real job” because I don’t know what I would have done! I learned a lot while serving on it though and true to his words, I was done on the sixth and had the week before my wedding to finish up all the little details.
The second time I was called to serve, Drew was seven months old. I remember getting the summons in the mail and seeing the date 8/23. Drew was a tough baby. He didn’t sleep well at all and I was clearly sleep deprived. I asked my mom to watch the boys and figured I’d do my civic duty, serve my time and be done with it. I headed to the court house and found it remarkably empty. I went in and as I walked through the metal detectors and checked in the woman at the desk asked to see my summons. She looked at me and politely said, “Honey, it is July. The 8th month is August.” I nearly cried with embarrassment and told her that I had a baby at home and without needing to say another word, she stamped my summons “excused” and told me I didn’t even need to come back in August.
The third time, was fairly recently. It was in December. I tried to use the “teacher pass,”(which by the way doesn’t work,) and promised to serve in the summer but to no avail. I was asked all sorts of questions and was actually chosen as “Juror 13,” an alternate. I was told that the case could last up to two weeks. TWO WEEKS?? How could I leave my Kindergarteners for two weeks? We were given a break for lunch and I called my principal to tell her and then called Dave. I was crying because sub plans for one day are difficult enough. How was I going to plan for two weeks before the holiday break? I went back to the court room, sat in my chair and was asked to stand. I did, they said, “Juror 13, you are released.” I still have no idea what did it. Was it the tear stained face showing an unstable person? Did they not like some of my answers? Whatever it was, I nearly skipped out of the courtroom and out the door!
I am sharing these stories today because today in the mail, my mother received a summons to report to Jury Duty. My mom died nearly a year and a half ago. My brother Chip sent me a picture of the summons. We were all laughing about it. Even when she was alive, I don’t think my mom ever served. Back then “housewives” were often excused due to their stay at home status and then, when she was called a few years ago, she was already on oxygen 24 hours a day so she had a medical excuse. Chip joked, “Well at least she has a good excuse this time!”
I was looking forward to today for over a week now! The stitches were coming out of my foot! Finally, I’d be able to walk flat-footed again. My toes hurt from all the tip toeing around! I got to my appointment a few minutes early and was taken in without even having to wait even though the waiting room was filled with other patients. The nurse took a look at the sutures and decided the doctor needed to take a look before she could take them out. I had a feeling this would happen. They weren’t ready to come out. Eight more days of stitches and hobbling around. The worst part is that they still hurt. My foot aches.
I feel guilty even complaining about it. After what I have seen Zach go through this summer and the rehab my dad has been going through, a few weeks of discomfort should not be making me so disappointed. But it is. I have so much to do to get ready for the beginning of the school year. I figured my timing was perfect. I scheduled the procedure for right after camp ended figuring I’d be up and at it just in time for school to begin.
The issue could be that I am doing too much. I don’t really have a choice though. It could also be that Neurofibromas are so unpredictable. They are basically benign tumors that attach to the nervous system. Of course there is a much more complex definition of what they are, but that is the basic explanation. Because of them being a bundle of nerves, they don’t all heal the same way. A perfect example of this happened when I was twenty-one. I had my wisdom teeth extracted and a nerve that was nicked during the procedure caused a part of my chin to be numb for years. Not completely numb, and no one could tell by looking at me, but Dave and I had a secret little signal for him to let me know when I had food dripping from my mouth since I couldn’t feel it!! I guess I knew even then he was a keeper :)
So with my foot, there is still some pain. Possibly because it is just in a place where I need to be standing on all of the time. Maybe because the nerves are affected differently. Whatever the reason, it is another week or so until we see how it heals. The doctor wants me to begin to try to put more pressure while standing on it so I will try. As for work, I will keep doing what I need to do to get my room ready. The kids arrive on Thursday. If all goes well, I will get my stitches out after school that day. That would mean only one day hobbling around with students there and by then, maybe my foot will be feeling well enough for me to wear a real shoe!
Today, we saw a message on Facebook that brought happy tears to my eyes. Zach is home! I cannot even begin to imagine the joy that they are feeling today. He has come so far in his recovery from MRSA and unknowingly, he brought a community together. A community that rallied behind him and his family supporting them every step of the way. He spent weeks in the pediatric ICU and then months in a rehabilitation facility. Not a good way to spend a summer that’s for sure!
He and his family have been through so much. It has been a journey that no one would ever wish to take and I know that this incredibly strong family has become even stronger because of it.
A few days ago, Drew and I were out shopping for school supplies and he saw one of those Coca Cola bottles with the names on them. It said “Zach”. He couldn’t find one with his own name on one, but right beside it was one that said “Friend.” We bought them both knowing that he be home soon. Today, we made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for him. We just got back from dropping them off to their house while they were still warm. I can’t even begin to explain what a wonderful feeling it was to see the smile on Zach’s face when we saw him. We had no intention of staying – just dropping of the treats and leaving but we stayed for about five minutes. Everyone seemed so happy. They were actually headed out which was even more exciting to hear! He is getting around and although he still has a long journey ahead of him, we are so happy that he is home and hopefully, it will make the recovery that much quicker for him! We love you Doubek Familly <3