Home again, home again #SOL21 4/31

I woke up with a tiny bit of a sore throat and a foggy sort of headache. I hadn’t slept particularly well (possibly because I literally dreamed up a really great assessment for next week – it’s going to be excellent!), so I was sure that everything would be better after a cup of tea and a shower.

Downstairs, I turned on the kettle and fed the cats. While I waited for the water to boil, I closed my eyes and put my head on the cool kitchen counter. I was tired. Once the water was hot, I tried to bustle around the kitchen, getting the morning set up, but my bustle was more of a shuffle. Time for that tea.

By the time the rest of the family was in the kitchen, I knew the truth: “I have a tiny sore throat and I’m a little tired.” Meaningful glances ricocheted around the table. The messages were clear if cacophonous You need to get a test – you’re not allowed go to work if you have even one symptom – she’s not going work – hey, that means we can’t go to school – oh no, we can’t go to school – oh no, now they are ALL going to be home while I try to work. Only my partner spoke, “You need to schedule a test.” Which means we would all need to stay home. This was not how I had envisioned my day. I groaned, but I knew he was right.

While I made an appointment – plenty were available – the ten year old slithered out of the kitchen and slyly installed himself in front of the computer, volume turned down. “I’m checking my Google classroom,” he said when I found him, “but there’s nothing for me to do.” A pathetic attempt to justify Minecraft at 9am; I found several unfinished assignments to keep him busy. The twelve year old, already dressed and ready to go, texted his walking buddy to say he was staying home, opened his laptop, and pulled up a project. “I’ll go ahead and finish that slide show I’ve been working on.” My partner checked on everyone then went to work in what was the guest bedroom but is now his office.

And me? Well, I got a covid test with no waiting – and realized that I haven’t been tested since early November, which means I haven’t felt sick at all since then, so I’m trying to feel lucky. If I can’t muster up “lucky” I can at least fall back on “fine.” I’m giving it a 99% chance that the test comes back negative, hopefully in time to send both kids to school tomorrow, but this is what it means to be part of keeping the community safe. (Update: negative & the kids are off to school.)

355 days. It’s been 355 days of watching for symptoms, of staying distant, of reminding each other of what it means to work together. I’m tired – and it’s not just from a poor night’s sleep. I really hope that my next visit will be for the vaccine. Until then, I’m hoping for lots of early bedtimes and lessons that plan themselves when I’m not trying to sleep.

Thanks to https://twowritingteachers.org for hosting this annual challenge

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Crossword #SOL21 3/31

When all else fails, there’s the crossword. In the world of the crossword, everything fits: every letter has its place; every word interlocks. The grid is clear even when the clues are not, the perfect combination of word thinking and pattern thinking. Even if I can’t solve a crossword, I’m comforted by its self-contained certainty.

I do the New York Times crossword. Weekdays, the puzzles are published at 10pm. I should be going to bed by ten, but lately I’ve found myself up, puzzling. What body part name comes from the Latin for “little mouse”? No idea, but – wait – I can almost capture it. I think I knew this once. It will come once I get one of the letters. When will I get the vaccine? I cannot know this; I will not think about it. Metaphor from Homer’s Odyssey, “wine dark ___”? I know that one. I keep going.

Sometimes the puzzles feel like old friends: clues I half recognize, names I dredge up from the past, facts I can place without batting an eye. Sometimes they delight me with their cleverness. Sometimes I am disgusted by their cleverness

Tonight, I told myself that I would be upstairs by 10, but when the time came my mind was jumpy. Monkey mind, I’ve heard it called, and these days I’ve got it. I need to settle my monkey down; racing thoughts will do me no favours as I try to fall asleep. If I just turn on the computer… there, laid out in orderly black and white squares, the reassurance that the world is, ultimately, knowable, that if I can make the right connections, I can complete something. Anything.

I do the crossword, even though I know that in the morning, I will regret having finished it tonight. Ah, well, the morning will have to provide its own reassurances. Sudoku has a lovely grid, too.

Thanks to https://twowritingteachers.org for hosting this annual challenge