Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Week in the Life - Day 8

Mark's Version


Today is trash day and we are also attending a very fascinating presentation at the college, so I need to get up a bit early to make sure I get done with the hospital in time. It's cold so I work quickly with the trash, but it's not as bad as it was yesterday. Things go pretty smoothly and I'm out the door without a hitch.

7:40 AM

I arrive in the exam room ready to work. It looks like a pretty light Tuesday so I shouldn't have any problems getting out in plenty of time. For once my initial thoughts are entirely correct. I didn't have any major issues. I didn't have anyone complaining about anything. I just did my work and got out. I've learned not to question days like these. It's like the universe is throwing me a freebie. I hope this is a repayment and not a prepayment.

8:30 AM

I make it to the gym in record time and I'm so early it's a different crowd than usual. Today there are a lot of third shift workers just getting off and hitting the gym before going home. There are also a lot of retired folks exercising. It's not too crowded so I get my first pick of equipment and use the treadmill for an hour.

9:40 AM

Before heading home I hit the store for a few things we need. Everyone is finishing up breakfast and making sure we are ready for a presentation at the college. While I make some phone calls and catch up on some emails, Stacy shows the kids some of "The Goldbergs." It's the Halloween episode, complete with quotes from our own Halloween evening. The funny thing is, just in recounting how things were "when we were kids," we hit all the highlights--examining candy for razor blades, crazy people who injected candy with drugs, x-raying your candy at the hospital on November 1. The kids thought it was hysterical.

After the show is over I show everyone a short video highlighting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, starting with Abraham and finishing with the U.N. establishment of the physical country of Israel. The kids have heard all of this before in some form, but it's a good reminder before leaving.

10:30 AM

What can I say about the presentation? I will say that we are so incredibly fortunate to have a gem like this college in our town. The population of our township cannot be more than a few thousand people, but we have a great liberal arts college that brings a lot of outstanding lectures and presentations throughout the year. This one is put on by a religion class studying Judaism. There is a middle-eastern lunch followed by students sharing stories about six individuals, 3 Jews and 3 Palestinians, highlighting the human side to the conflict in Israel.
Before leaving we compare heights. Max is catching up!

First of all, lunch is fantastic. Chicken kebabs, hummus, na'an, dolmas, tabouli, chickpea salad, tzaziki sauce, baklava (which I don't eat because it's way too sweet), and other stuff I'm forgetting. The nice things about these posts is that Stacy and I recount slightly different details of the exact same thing, so somewhere in all of this you'll get the total details. Anyway, we load up our plates and head in to the chapel where the presentation will be.

A full plate

Oooh! Surprises in layer 2!
As we're sitting there eating, music is playing while slides are projected with images of Israel. There are pictures of Jews praying at the Wailing Wall and Muslims at a mosque. We see the Dome of the Rock and pictures of Solomon's original temple in Jerusalem. Pictures are shown of the lush green hills outside the walls juxtaposed against the ancient city. It's very relaxing to eat and prepare for what should be a very good presentation.

All of the presentations are done by students in the class and are very interesting. Each one of the individuals they discuss have dedicated themselves to peace in one way or another. There is an Israeli soldier who has united veterans on both sides of the conflict. Another ex-combatant has joined those injured through the years, whatever country they support. There are mothers who fight for peace after losing children. The stories are very touching and our kids have things that they take away from each of them. We all marvel that people who are descended from the same ancestor can continue such hatred, all in the name of religion. It's sad on so many levels.

12:15 PM

We get home and jump into a flurry of activities, mostly relating to being ready for our afternoon write-in. Max has some computer issues that I attend to; Kate writes furiously like her fingers are possessed by some unseen force, guiding her process; Stacy realizes that since I'll be working when the write-ins starts it would be more economical to get a ride from the Johnsons rather than pay the meter twice when I get there, so she hurries to arrange the ride; and I help everyone individually take the General Orientation Test for the Special Olympics.

 1:30 PM

I start in the office with my smoking patient, who is finally done smoking. It took most of the two weeks to do it, but she did it. This is especially gratifying for both of us because she recently had a mastectomy for breast cancer and really didn't want to add lung cancer to the list of things she'll deal with in life. I also take care of some routine aches and pains, which in the end represents the vast majority of what I treat with acupuncture.

2:00 PM

While one patient is on the table I bathe the dog. Scout is not happy.

2:30 PM

While my last patient is on the table I clean the bathroom after bathing the dog. That's the usual routine.

3:00 PM or so

I gather my things and head downtown to the write-in. This one is at a different coffee shop, partly to change things up, but also to accommodate one of our NaNos who lives downtown. This place isn't quite so conducive to writing, so we mostly talk, write a little, talk, brainstorm more story specifics, grab some dinner, and talk. Christie is working tonight so we take the Johnsons home afterward. Tonight is the first night for the Special Olympics bowling activities and we really want to go, but we also are feeling a bit overwhelmed and over-stimulated right now. We decide that we could go for one game, just so we can meet the coach and athletes. We really do love being with all of the Special Olympics athletes.

At the write-in. Nice photography, Max!

5:45 PM

It's off to bowling for us. It is a flurry of activity when we get there. We recognize some of the athletes from going to volleyball a couple of weeks ago, but there are a TON of people there. We eventually meet the coach and he tells us to jump right in and encourage the athletes. Max and I stick together and Kate and Stacy head over to a group of girls. It's a lot of fun to cheer them on and joke with them and help them get up at the right time. One of the athletes really takes a liking to Max and even headlocks him and gives him noogies now and then. It is really cute.

7:00 PM

We get home and settle in to do some writing, but end up not getting to much. Stacy is feeling really tired and allergy-ridden. I'm feeling a bit off myself, almost like I'm on the verge of getting sick. We decide to have a low-key night and watch a couple of shows before bed. "The Goldbergs" warms us up and then we watch the newest episode of "New Girl." Then it's off to bed at a reasonable time.

Stacy's Version

7:00 AM

I wake up. Our stupid neighbor puts his dogs out at all hours and then does who knows what while he leaves them outside and they bark nonstop. They were at it this morning. 7AM isn’t too ridiculous, but he’s done this at 4AM as well.

I can tell my sleep is shifting earlier – I told you those hours we were writing about in the first few posts were really, really odd! I mean we’re night owls, but that got ridiculous. Also, it should be noted that I hate naps. I know that most people love them, but I don’t enjoy them at all – I don’t like sleeping in the day and I don’t like how I feel afterward when I do. It is very rare for me to take a nap.

I cuddle with Scout for a bit – I love, love, LOVE cuddling with her. She is super sweet and super snuggly and warm. She’s a sweetie – we love her! I read a bit and get up and get ready.

I think about these posts and all the little things we do all day that we don’t always document – putting dishes away, answering the door, getting packages, running upstairs and downstairs to get stuff or put stuff away, dealing with allergies, filling the dog’s kibble and water, getting water, reading, errands, exchanging texts, etc. There are so many little things that make up portions of our days.

9:00 AM

Kate is up. She got herself up and ready. She usually volunteers on these mornings, but she called the library yesterday to let them know we had something going on. We both got breakfast and talked and wrote. Max got up and ready. I showed the kids an episode of The Goldbergs, because it was the Halloween episode and made jokes about stuff we just told them regarding candy in the 80s. I’m enjoying that show more and more. It’s got nostalgia, details, fashion, humor, and heart. They get a kick out of it – probably not as much as Mark and I do, but they enjoy it.

We then watch a video about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We’ve discussed this before, so this is a refresher. We get our things together and head over to the college. It’s about 5 minutes from our house, if that. I love college towns and walking around campus!

10:45 AM

We arrive at the chapel and there is a big, beautiful spread of Middle Eastern foods – falafel, tabouleh salad, balela (garbanzo bean salad), an amazing red pepper hummus, delicious tzaziki sauce, seasoned pita bread with sea salt, chicken kabobs, stuffed grape leaves, spanikopita, baklava (we all passed on that), water, and iced tea. I might even be forgetting something. It was a fabulous and delicious lunch – honestly some of the best Middle Eastern food I’ve eaten. And yes, I’ve eaten it several times before this. If it’s ethnic food, we’re all over it.

The Chaplain greeted us and we took our loaded plates into the chapel and ate while we enjoyed student lectures about stories of 6 people – both Israeli and Palestinian and both male and female – who have been directly impacted by the crisis there. Every presentation has a power point presentation along with it with visuals and quotes. There was a Q&A afterward as well.

The stories are all amazing and several are quite touching. During one of them, I was struck by how a mother opened her mind as the result of seeing what her child was doing with his life. She changed her beliefs and ways for the greater good. It made me think of older generations who are so set in their ways and believe that they are right and that they automatically know more than their children do, not even opening their minds to the possibility that their children may very well know more.

It also made me think of myself as a mother and my relationship with my children. I learn from my kids all the time. I listen to them. I often change my opinions based on their thoughts and what they say and what they teach me. Who am I to think that I know more than they do?

I love homeschooling. This is just one of many reasons why. It’s mid-morning in the middle of a week and we can take our kids to a great college presentation, complete with an amazing spread of food, and learn more there than we could in weeks of textbooks or classroom work. I love, love, love it!

One of the slides from one presentation

12:15 PM

We get back and check our messages. Because we were one of the first 10 people to sign up for our CSA (community-supported agriculture) again, we have won a $20 gift card to use at the organic farm for produce or meat from their grass-fed animals.

There is also a message on the machine from this morning – a buddy of Max’s called to invite him over to play. That’s another thing – there is a misconception that home-educated kids are lonely and unsocialized. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are with friends almost all the time! Remember, other homeschooled kids are also home during the day. We get together to play and learn and do stuff . . . A LOT.

Max calls his friend, who is in a chatty mood. Another stereotype bucked. Max and his buddies talk more on the phone than Kate and hers. He is setting up a D&D afternoon for this week with 4 other kids. It sounds like they can all come, so it looks like we’ll have a house full of boys later this week having grand adventures!

Max is a GREAT storyteller and adventure leader. He is almost constantly playing adventure games, doing choose-your-own-adventure stories, playing D&D, etc. He often has an entourage of boys all around him all laughing and yelling out ideas and choosing adventure paths. It’s so fun to see.

I play with Scout and write a bit more. We have another write-in today, so I figure if I can get caught up on this, I can work on my novels at the write-in. Mark and I are behind on our word counts. The kids are not. Go figure.

Oh, the kids started keeping gratitude posts for the month of November. They’re really fun/cute. Be sure to check out their blogs!

1:00 PM

Mark is handling a call from the hospital. He gets off the phone and we all take more tests for our background checks/approval to work with the kids in Special Olympics. Our family started volunteering with them this summer. We did a whole slew of background checks and safety quizzes and reading about ways to help keep the athletes (and us) safe. The organization has added even more safety quizzes and things – a big, recent overhaul (I suspect the Penn State scandal has something to do with that), so they’ve asked us to do one more test online.

We unload the dishwasher and clean up a bit. I read more. Kate practices violin. Max reads a Lego magazine. I think about what we’re doing this afternoon and figure out it makes more sense for us to catch a ride with the Johnsons to the coffee shop (a different one this time) than to take two cars since Mark is working for half the write-in. They readily agree to take us. Whee! THEY LIVE HERE NOW.

2:05 PM

The Johnsons arrive and the kids and I pile into their car. With Mark working this afternoon for half the write-in, us going with them allows us to not have to feed the meters for two cars. Christie is going to eat and leave us there to go to an appointment and then work. Mark is working and then meeting us at the coffeeshop more than halfway through the write-in. We wave at Scout who is watching us at her window. She is so cute!!

2:20 PM

We arrive at the coffeeshop and our friend Roselle greets us animatedly. She’s happy we’ve arrived and we’re happy to see her, too. Christie has lunch while she’s there and then she’s off to an appointment and then to work.

Theoretically, the rest of us are staying to write. All of us write some. Some of us write a lot (Kate). We’re all highly distracted. The food is good, though, as is the company. Just not the best writing session for most of us. The internet wasn’t working – in a way, that’s good (less distraction).

5:00 PM

We pack up and talk with Roselle a bit and then take the Johnsons home. We get back to our house and have about 15 minutes to see Scout and catch our breath before we’re off again to the next thing.

6:00 PM

We arrive at the bowling alley to volunteer with the Special Olympics. We’ve already helped out with volleyball. Now it’s bowling season. It is a PACKED house and the athletes are always a lot of fun. Kate and I work with a team of three girls – one is the self-appointed leader, another sort of does her own thing, and a third is the leader’s sister – she is unhappy tonight and keeps crying. French fries make her happy and seem to motivate her. At one point she is so mad that she bites her own hand really hard and then spends the next 20 minutes or so pointing at it to let us know that it hurts. We help all the girls fill out forms. And in between all this, they bowl.

There is a LOT of high-fiving at all Special Olympics events. LOTS. Mark and Max work with some of the athletes we got to know at volleyball. They’re all so happy to see us and we’re happy to see them. You can’t help but feel happy around them all. There is lots of teasing, smiling, laughter, cheers, and high fives. They’re such great people.

At one point, during the one girl’s second meltdown, her sister and I went over to get their “brother” – a caregiver and college student that helps out their family. He came over and helped her calm down and then I saw his eye catch Kate and he suddenly became very interested in her, asking her name and becoming seemingly unaware of me standing right next to her or anyone else around us. I interjected and said, “I’m Stacy,” but he didn’t hear or see me at all. He asked Kate if she’s in school and she responded that she homeschools. He then asked what grade she’s in. “8th,” she replied. He seemed surprised and suddenly remembered to go back to his own bowling lane. Aaaaaacccckkkkkkkk!! I tell Mark that story when we get home and he swears.

After volunteering there, we come home. I was feeling overstimulated even before we went bowling, so I really was desperate for some quiet now.

7:30 PM

I change into comfy clothes and settle in for a quiet evening of reading and writing. I’m having wicked fall allergies these days – moldy leaves? And sudden movements make my nose itchy or cause an all-out sneezing fit. I try to read and write, but my head is super fuzzy from all the sneezing, itchiness, watery eyes, tissues, and generally trying to breathe.

I’m fuzzy on what happened the rest of the night, since my allergies were so horrible. I tried writing for a while, but gave up at some point. We got the kids to bed, watched an episode of the Goldbergs (this show is really growing on me, plus they played a cool Run DMC song at the end), watched the new New Girl, and hit the hay early. I read for a bit and slept hard.

***I think we’re going to take a break now from doing these, since we’re behind on our NaNoWriMo word count. These have been SUPER fun to write. And we’ve loved hearing from so many of you.

This morning, I woke up between 7 and 8 and got up and ready for the day. I feel pretty fuzzy – one of those mornings where I’m allergy-ridden, exhausted, out of it. I ran out of hot water, the toilet clogged, and everything is messy and I’m too out of it to care. We have a lot of full days ahead:

Today, we have a presentation we’re attending all about the middle east puzzle. Coincidence that it’s around the same time as yesterday’s presentation. This one is being offered by a completely different university.

Tomorrow is a full day of violin, tae kwon do, friends, “Run, Jump, Play” class, delivering dinner, and more.

Friday, Max has a D&D group meeting here in the afternoon and then at night, we’re hosting 4 more couples for a Newlywed Game Night! We’re all super excited for that.

And this weekend is the kid-literature festival. We've been waiting for that for months!

So in between all that I’ve listed, we’ll be reading, watching documentaries, studying,  and, of course, writing our NaNoWriMo books.

Mark and I are doing some gratitude posts as well as some other things here, so we’ll be posting!***


Boquinha said...

Very similar accounts! Go figure. A good day, yes? And your Tuesday! WOW! Very light morning indeed. Love days like that. :)

Dr. Mark said...

Yeah, go figure. Even though I took phone calls from the hospital all day long, I spent more time with you than I did working. No wonder our accounts are so alike! No complaining here.

It is so cute to watch you enjoy "The Goldbergs." You love the 80s so much. I'm glad the show has been worth it.

The Magic Violinist said...

Poor Lilly. When she showed one of the other coaches her hand, the coach said, "Lilly, again? You've got to stop biting yourself, sweetie! It hurts!"

LMW said...

I love that you all volunteer and enjoy volunteering for the Special Olympics!! Your kids are compassionate people, because that's what they know to be by watching their parents' enthusiasm for compassion.:)

The lecture sounds interesting, but I won't lie, the food sounds the most amazing! We love ethnic food too.

Now, Stacy, we've found something that we don't match on--your love of things eighties.:) I particularly dislike eighties music/production.:( It's okay though, I feel that we can get past this difference.:)

I'm sad tat these posts are going to end, but I completely understand! Way to go for keeping them going this long. Crazy undertaking that I totally enjoyed. I'm looking forward to those Grattitude posts!

Boquinha said...

Wow. Thanks, LMW. That's so nice of you to say that!

Not going to lie - the food was a big initial draw for us, too!

Oh no! No love for the 80s?!? The music, the cheesy videos, the simple, yet overly-dramatic movies? It's okay. We can get past this (I think!). I grew up in the 80s so I kind of can't help but love it - Back to the Future, Men at Work, Short Circuit, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Goonies, Pretty in Pink, Madonna, The Breakfast Club, aaaahhhhhh. I love the 80s!

Thanks so much, LMW! You've helped make these extra fun!!

Emily Foley said...

I just really like her sing about your day. Also, the Goldbergs. I loved The Wonder Years but I didn't live then, so it never held nostalgia for me, but the Goldbergs! I hate the gross stuff but the 80s stuff, I just love. My favorite part is always the end when they show the actual footage. So funny.

I did my senior capstone paper in college on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It just makes me SO sad. The whole thing.

Are you seriously doing everything you do AND volunteering for special Olympics? Yowza.

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Emily! Such a good point about The Wonder Years. You HAVE to find that Halloween episode. Classic! Yes, the actual footage! So so funny!! And I love the songs at the end of all the episodes - a different one every time!!

You're nice. I guess I think of volunteering as part of what we're doing, not as an additional thing. :P Plus, we all enjoy it a lot, so it doesn't feel like a burden.