Wednesday, June 22, 2022

So excited!

There are some exciting developments happening at my job!

First of all, we have a new principal! The school board and a panel of parents, community members, and teachers interviewed a whole bunch of candidates at the end of May and narrowed the choice down to two individuals. Then the two final candidates gave presentations to our staff, and we got a chance to ask questions and give the district office some feedback on them. Well, the woman I would have chosen got the job! And just by chance, this past Monday I was at the school (with Gregg, because it was his day to service the aquariums and I go along to keep him company in the summer) and I was the first person to individually meet her when she showed up for her first day. No one knew until later that afternoon that she was the chosen candidate. Gregg and I both got to chat with her for a little while, and we agreed that she seems like a breath of fresh air for our school. I like her already and I'm actually looking forward to what I think is going to be a much, much better year. How nice is that?

But there's more! Remember the school secretary, one of the horrible women who made me so miserable last year? I got the news a couple of weeks ago that she accepted a new job elsewhere and is leaving at the end of this month. That's going to be a really, really good thing for our school, and for me personally, obviously. Well, today I went up to the school again to feed the fish and to add chemicals to the planted aquarium in the library. There's no one working through the summer that will do it for us, and I live just down the road so it isn't much trouble. I stopped in to say a quick hi to the new principal (she's hit the ground running and is working hard already to prepare for next year) and she asked me if I might be interested in the secretary's position! Am I?!!

 That position would mean a promotion for me, a private office, more responsibility, and of course a nice increase in salary. I would become a year round employee, so no more whole summers off, but I'd get two weeks of vacation time each year to use whenever I want along with all the regular time off for holidays that everyone gets. 

Of course I told her that yes, I'm definitely interested! She told me to reach out next week and we could set up a time to sit down and discuss it. Of course this is all preliminary and it may not work out, but I'm so excited about the possibility! The extra money would be very, very welcome and would help my family a lot. 

Please wish me luck! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Solstice garden update

 Happy Solstice, everyone! There's been a short spell of fabulous weather here, with lower temperatures and much lower humidity that has everyone saying, "If only it could be this way all summer!" Today is the last day before another run of record-breaking heat begins, so we'd best enjoy it while we can.

I'm feeling 100% better. I had a follow up with the doctor yesterday morning and my lungs were clear. I have a new medication I'm trying for allergies/asthma while I wait for a call from the allergist to set up a consultation. Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and kindness! Here's hoping I'm done with being sick for a good long time.

My garden is looking great! I've been out there working on it as much as possible. There's always something to do, and I've found that the key to success (besides the stuff that's just dumb luck, like weather conditions) is spending some time every single day seeing to it. Timely watering, pruning for air flow, tying up drooping vines, looking for the first signs of pests or disease to address any problems early--this kind of careful attention pays dividends. Of course, I still have a lot to learn about gardening, but that's one of the joys of it all. Being out there working in the dirt and sunshine is like meditation for me!

As you can see, we really need to weed around the raised bed and cut the grass. Look how tall the banana plants (on the left) are, though!


The cucumber plants are looking good so far.


We'll have peppers very soon.


Now if the tomatoes would just start to ripen!


Just before I snapped this last picture, I watched the dragonfly devour a tiny white moth-looking insect. Dragonflies are friendly little garden buddies--to humans, anyway.



Thursday, June 16, 2022

Worse than I thought

It's the middle of another sleepless night. I almost went to the emergency room last night, I was struggling so to breathe. I managed to hold out until my doctor's appointment yesterday, and it turns out I'm sicker than I thought. My oxygen levels were low, not dangerously so, but low enough to cause serious discomfort. The doctor was slightly appalled at how long I had waited to get help. She gave me a breathing treatment right away, and although it made me feel a little better, it didn't improve my oxygen level much at all. The wheezing and congestion in my lungs was terrible. 

I have a chest x-ray scheduled later this morning to check for pneumonia. In the meantime, she sent me home with 5 different prescriptions to begin taking. If I have pneumonia I may end up being admitted to the hospital. I certainly hope that won't happen. I feel awful, though, and I'll do whatever I need to do to get better. 

Thanks to everyone for your good wishes and kind words. It means a lot to me. I'll try to update again later today. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Swelter

 It's ridiculously hot here today. Dangerously hot, as a matter of fact, especially if you add in the high humidity. Walking outside is like putting a steaming hot wet towel over your face and trying to breathe through it. All of the weather sites are putting out excessive heat warnings, as the heat index (which combines the actual temperature with the humidity to get a "real feel") will go as high as 108F today and for the rest of the week. A couple of days next week the actual temperature is supposed to reach 107F so who knows how high that heat index will be! It's unbearable. We're dealing with it by keeping the blinds drawn and the a/c set around 78F during the day, which feels super cool and comfortable considering how hot it is outside. When the temperature goes up past 100F we plan to move the thermostat up to 80F or even 82F. Although our unit is less than 3 years old, it's working hard on days like this and we're trying to lessen the strain on it. And let's not forget next month's power bill! It's going to be a scorcher just like temperatures.

I'm worried about my garden. I can water frequently, but I can't imagine my tomatoes setting much fruit with temperatures this high. It's frustrating to do so much work in a garden, only to be at the mercy of whatever Mother Nature decides to send. I looked into buying some shade cloth to drape over the trellis of the raised bed, but honestly, I've been feeling too bad to go out and shop for it--and I'm not sure how much good it would do anyway. 

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, not a minute too soon. I'm still struggling with a cough and shortness of breath and just generally feeling bad. I did have one good day when I felt normal again--this past Sunday, which happened to be our 16th wedding anniversary! I'm grateful that, for whatever reason, I felt good all day. Good enough to work outside for several hours, cook a nice meal, and drink a bottle of champagne after supper. We had fun. But I paid for it yesterday, when I woke up feeling worse than ever. I wonder if being outside for a long time (and possibly inhaling allergens) made things worse? If so, there's no danger of me repeating that mistake anytime soon. Not with temperatures this high!

 Thank goodness for my appointment tomorrow. I'm tired of feeling bad. It's not been a great start to summer vacation, and I need this break to relax from the work stress of last year before the new year begins. I also have a trip to look forward to with my girlfriends in early July, and if I'm this asthmatic I won't be able to enjoy myself. If the trip were today I wouldn't even feel like going at all. So I hope the doctor can help me.

How is the weather where you live? I saw on Cro's blog that the temperatures in France at the moment are just as bad as here, and I know that the Midwest states are experiencing a terrible heat wave, too. Every summer I find myself daydreaming about moving well north of here.


         Poppy has discovered the joy of draping herself over one of the a/c vents.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Breathless

 Something is wrong with me. I'm beginning to wonder if I've had Covid in the recent past and just didn't know it. I did a couple of at-home tests, both of which were negative, but I still wonder. Since April, off and on, I've been having a lot of trouble with asthma flares. Lately it's been mostly "on". 

I've been short of breath and wheezing almost continuously for about two weeks now, despite (over) using the inhaler the doctor prescribed. I have a dry cough that's keeping me up at night and making my days slightly miserable. Walking the dogs in the heat and humidity has been nearly impossible. I wheeze deep in my chest every time I exhale, and the urge to cough is always there. It's driving me crazy. 

I have a doctor's appointment next Wednesday and I'm trying to hold out until then, but if I have another bad night like I had last night, I'll be going to Urgent Care. I honestly think my oxygen levels are fine, but the wheezing and coughing are keeping me awake most of the night and I can't really enjoy anything when I feel like this. I haven't felt totally normal in a couple of months now.

Could this be the result of an undiagnosed Covid infection? What do you think? I haven't had this kind of trouble with asthma in years and years. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Around the house

It's really good to be at home right now, at the beginning of June and the beginning of my summer vacation. When I sat down and tried to decide what to write about today, I kept thinking of things going on around the house. Here's a bullet list of random stuff on my radar at the moment.

  •  Poppy is growing fast and has assimilated into our household really well. I think she's about housebroken, too, as there hasn't been an accident inside in almost two weeks. (Knock wood). George is like a puppy again now that he's decided he likes her. They play hard all day, with frequent naps in between bouts of pretend-fighting.
  • Speaking of growing, my garden is getting big and lush! I've ended up with a total of 14 heirloom tomatoes, 14 peppers (sweet banana, cayenne, and jalapeno), 3 cucumbers, two snow pea vines, and I'm still getting carrots. The lettuce was wonderful but it's gone now.
  • I harvested my container of potato plants the other day. When I finally tipped it over, I wasn't expecting much. Imagine my surprise when 7 pounds of beautiful Yukon Gold potatoes rolled out! We ate a few the other night, steamed with butter and sea salt. Oh, were they delicious! I'll be planting a lot more potatoes next spring now that this year's experiment went so well.
  • We saw a snake last night. It was a small one, curled up in the street in front of our house, and we gave it a wide berth when we walked the dogs past it. It was gone when we returned from the walk, thank goodness. It looked like a young copperhead but we didn't get close enough to inspect it very well. It's definitely snake season around here and we're careful to keep George and Poppy away from bushes and piles of vegetation when we're out and about. I know snakes have their place in the ecosystem, and I respect that, but I don't want to see them!
  • There was also a big doe standing in our neighbor's yard last night when we walked past, and we see rabbits almost every night, too. 
  • Bluebirds are once again nesting in the box in the backyard. Yesterday the pair were so busy, flying back and forth with nesting materials. There should be eggs in there any day now.


Poppy figured out how to get up in the hammock, and she thinks it's a good place to nap.


Potato harvest!


Purple Dragon carrots.


So far, so good with the garden.


And finally, my zinnias are starting to bloom. They're so pretty and cheerful!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Year five, done!

It's really hard to believe, but as of today I've finished five years at my "new" job. I guess I need to quit calling it "new"! 

This was, without a doubt, the worst year I've had yet, but I'm hopeful that next year will be better. We'll have an almost totally new staff. We'll be getting a new principal, one new assistant principal, one new guidance counselor (Little P.'s mom is leaving due to being treated terribly, and has accepted a job in another city about 20 miles away), head librarian, library assistant, and head custodian. At least a dozen teachers are leaving, too, and must be replaced. I keep hearing that the secretary won't be back, either. She's one of the rude and awful office women that helped make me miserable all year, so I haven't confirmed if that's true or not. (We don't speak unless it's necessary). Of course I hope it's true, we'll be better off without her. And finally, my favorite of the two school nurses told me this morning that she's leaving, too. It's very telling that we're losing over half of our staff; it shows what a terrible year it's been for us all. Hopefully some new blood will make a big difference going forward. If it doesn't, I plan to find a new school to transfer to next year.

But all that is for another day....for now, I am free! Free for seven whole weeks and I'm so glad! Having summers off is one of the best perks of working in the school district. It never gets old, leaving for two months at the beginning of June and then starting fresh in early August. The prospect of the summer off makes me feel a little like a kid again!

Hooray for summer vacation!


When we got the announcement at 2:30 today that we could leave, this is what we looked like! One of the teachers said, on the way out the door, "Good God! It looks like someone pulled the fire alarm!" Haha.