Yesterday morning my voice was no better, and my throat was just as bad as it had been Tuesday when I was all but sobbing on the way to the doctor's office. Mick called, and because I had just been seen, they were able to call in a prescription steroid to reduce the swelling. (Side note: I always seem to end up with the "if this doesn't work, another option is" step! Even when I was pregnant I ended up on the "if it doesn't get better, the other option is ..." anti-nausea meds. Weird. Maybe that's my penance for being otherwise typically healthy!) It is strange for me to see a mini pharmacy on the kitchen counter, especially when the entirety of the pharmacy has my name on it, but everything is already on the less-than-half-is-left side, so that's encouraging.
I spent most of yesterday in bed, but I was actually able to sleep last night and I woke up this morning with the beginnings of a voice! I still feel like an elephant is on my chest (that was a new one yesterday), it still isn't quite comfortable to swallow, and I still get winded just going upstairs and downstairs to rotate the laundry. But I definitely feel progress. And I can, if I have to, answer the phone -- even if I wouldn't quite want to have a conversation.
Hooray! Seriously, hooray! I am not yet well but I feel it coming, and this is wonderful!
I really and truly never understood how strep could knock a person down. I have a whole new respect for adults who get strep. I suppose I understood "being super sick" in a vague sense, but now I get it. My poor friends who have had things far worse ... I can't imagine. I have no illusions that I suffered greatly this week or that I was the first person to go through this. It was crummy and I couldn't swallow and had two migraines in a week, but in the end it was, and I knew it was, "just" strep. (Could it get worse? Yes. Were we on it? Yes.) Chemo, the flu, pneumonia, and countless other awful things my friends have had lately? Maybe next time I will pause a little longer to offer more than just a well-intentioned, but still-too-hollow, "feel better, what can I do?"
In a burst of feeling well enough to be awake and cogent, also wrote a cover letter that I actually didn't hate. I'm at a bit of a crossroads -- back to thinking I love teaching (minus the inevitable b.s., but that's anywhere), and for the first time in maybe EVER, I find myself genuinely enthusiastic about my school's leader. (So why, you ask, did I write the cover letter?! That's the crossroads. Keep reading. Point is, I hate cover letters, and this one wasn't too bad, which made me content.)
I was thinking about this last night, and can't recall a time when I was actually excited about my principal. The principal has always been someone who was there, either to be avoided for fear of unwanted attention, or as a resource when issues came up, but never someone who -- ouch, this isn't quite what I mean to say, but for lack of a better word, mattered. Most of the time (other than, perhaps for administrative stuff or routine observations) the relationships I've had with principals were to leave each other alone to do our work. No interactions meant nothing was wrong. So, to say I am excited about our leader is a new feeling for me, and there's a part of me sad to be thinking I need to go elsewhere. (I also have a pretty good teaching load right now and were I to come back in August to find it all had changed, I might feel otherwise, in addition to feeling perhaps tricked or betrayed. So I am mindful, still, that what is wine and roses today may not be the same tomorrow, good leadership not withstanding.) But, of course, the bottom line is that I simply don't get paid enough to make staying feasible for much longer. Another year, perhaps. Beyond that? Probably not possible. Isn't that awful?!
Ugh. It's so gauche to talk money. Mick will fuss at me. (Then he will fuss at me for calling him out about fussing at me. It's lose-lose so I may as well eat it, right?!) I won't talk numbers at all here, just the fact that the salary I make is inadequate to support our family in the manner we prefer, including the non-negotiable requirement of private school for our own kids. And sending our parents on much-deserved, long-overdue vacations! You know, something other than coming up to Maine to play nursemaid to one or the other of us!
With the idea that I need to better my salary firmly established, I ask myself constantly: do I want to go somewhere else to teach, since I feel inspired again? Or do I want to go be an attorney, finally, even if the pay is essentially a lateral move, at least at first? Yes. The answer to both questions is YES. And no sooner do I think that I am going to leave teaching, then the idea of giving up my summer days with CAM and WHM turns my stomach. And it happens every time I think about it (even here as I write this). This is a good problem to have: theoretically, anyway, I have too many options. (I haven't even applied for a job, so let's keep this in perspective: I have one option right now, which is to stay put, assuming they'll invite me back. But I have potential for opportunity. Is that fair to say?) And yet if Mick were to get a job to bring us back to "the good old days," I'd be very happy being a stay-at-home Mom and trying to start my own business of some sort, running my own ship.
These are good problems, I try to remind myself ... good problems. Not that they don't wake me up and/or keep me up at night.
It's Lent! For the first time ever, we decided as a family what we will give up. I am really excited about this, because we never did this in my family growing up (we each picked our own sacrifices), but now that CAM and WHM are old enough -- and of course, both go to Catholic school -- Mick and I think it's important we do this together. After a family discussion, we settled on: cookies (no baking cookies, no Oreos ... yikes!), Capri Suns and chocolate milk (the latter being a REALLY big deal), fast food for Mick, and restaurant/subs food runs for weekday lunches for me.
I think that's it. I was supposed to go to a really cool "unconference" tomorrow, called EdCamp, but since I am just now entering the upswing after having missed essentially a week of work, I don't think it's wise. I've got all the grading in the universe to do, grades are due (naturally), and I don't think running my weakened body relatively hard at a conference (with all of the new germs from a new location and new people!) is quite the wisest idea. In fact, I'm pretty solidly convinced it would be one of my stupider decisions, so I am being the grown-up and keeping myself home tomorrow.
Oops, one last thing: I whine all the time about our lack of instructional time with our students, and at every opportunity I voice my (strong and unwavering) opinion that we need everyday scheduling. But being absent like this, for four days in a row, I am at least partially thankful for the every-other-day scheduling. I have only missed two classes with each of my courses. Of course, for my "blue day" kids, I have also missed a full week, so it depends on how you look at it. But certainly two days *should* be easier to overcome than 4. And it's been much easier to "plan" for, especially since my classes were ALL at turning points and this week's ill-timed bout with strep has meant scrambling for holding-pattern reviews that could be meaningful without being busy-work... a very (very!) tough challenge I am not sure I succeeded in meeting.