Hello and happy Sunday! Thanks for stopping by for a bit of catching up over a delicious cup of coffee.
Today feels more like a Saturday in early September than a Sunday in late December. The cold and clouds have given way to sunshine and far milder temperatures than the seasonal average. I’m too tired to get out and enjoy it but I’ve opened windows all over the house to let the warm air in. Despite my fatigue, I’m feeling cheerful too. My winter break away from work starts tomorrow so I don’t feel the usual panic at the approaching work week. There is less to do, more time to do it in, a rare gift for a Sunday. I’m soaking it up, taking advantage of it, and daring to enjoy every minute.
So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. It’s so warm I almost wish I had a carafe of cold brew steeping in the fridge for us but at I have a fresh bag of blond roast on hand and the French press warmed and ready to go. I have coconut milk on hand if you’d rather something lighter still than the vanilla soy. Let’s talk about last week!
“Nothing is equal to the smell of good coffee when one is real tired.”
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my health continues to bounce wildly from well to worrying day by day. This was the first time I had to miss two days in a workweek and I felt incredibly guilty about it, especially because I knew it was the week before the district closes for the holidays. It’s one of the times of the year we need people to show up the most.
Every day I am grateful to have a job where I can take a day to rest when I need to which only makes me feel even more guilty somehow. The only thing getting me through this is knowing that eventually, I will be healthy again and back to my old productive and dedicated self. No matter what this is just for now, not forever.
I have a phone appointment with my doctor tomorrow to talk about how I am doing. Last week I got a message from her advising me to go back to a higher dose of steroids and to stay on it for the next few weeks to give my body a better chance to heal and my maintenance medication a better chance of working again. As much as I hate the long-term side effects of the steroids I was relieved to get her recommendation. I can’t deny how much better they make me feel and I am desperate for any improvement to my quality of life right now.
Tomorrow will probably just be another check-in and an evaluation of the severity of my symptoms. The overall theme is that I am improving just so much slower than I have in the past. I’d like to know what we will do if the maintenance medication I am on fails again to keep me in remission and I may even broach the subject of surgery, or perhaps I’ll save that for a future conversation. She’s already asked through email that I make another phone appointment in two weeks’ time.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I missed two of my five work weeks I still felt the stress of it. I didn’t have a lot on my plate but all around me I could see nothing but chaos and burnout. I spent most of my work hours hiding from the rest of the staff and making a show of being absorbed in my own work just to keep from getting sucked up in the emotional frenzy.
There was some good news too though. I found out that my district is sending me to a large 5-day conference in Texas on transporting students with special needs next March! This conference happens every year and every year I hope I’ll be among the lucky few asked to go but my low position in the office hierarchy has always prevented me from being selected. But this year things have changed. My job duties have expanded and I am working hard toward a promotion. This year I’ve made my value impossible to ignore.
In addition, though my wife now works for a much smaller district nearby there is a chance they may send her as well. We both will get to go down there, stay together, and get not just a bit of a vacation but a chance to learn something new, network, and further our professional development.
I’m excited and proud of us both! I love that we both take our jobs so seriously and that though our work might be quite niche and unimportant to the general public we both play our own vital roles in the lives of the children in our community.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though there was disorder and flared tempers all around me I was able to find moments of peace and quiet to get a little reading done and make some new cut out poems. I used my days off started back up using Khan Academy for learning all the math I missed in high school and returning my little Spanish lessons on Duolingo. I’m just trying to keep my mind active or at least use my phone for something more useful rather than downloading games and losing hours on social media when I’m bored.
It wasn’t a very good writing week, but that’s ok. With the unpredictability of my health and the near-constant fatigue clouding my mind and hampering my productivity I didn’t think it would be. I’m taking it easy and working out a schedule and getting my ideas down onto paper and into the drafts folder. I’m still working on using “Bradbury lists” and word association to get the wheels turning. It’s working but there’s not been anything worth sharing yet. I’m hoping to begin 2020 with a more rigorous schedule and produce pieces that thought they may not be good are at least finished.
From now through the end of the year I plan to just keep on doing what I have been, plugging away little by little. I do have to work for a few of those days and make time to see my family for the holiday but outside of that, I’d like to make more time for writing. Even on my days off I have been getting up early and spending an hour at least in the “creativity room”. I’m not always focused though but with practice, I know it will get easier.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can hardly believe that Christmas is just a few short days away! I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas, nor of the holiday season as a whole, so it isn’t like I’ve been counting down or anxiously awaiting the day. I get why others might enjoy it but for me, every aspect is only another kind of stress. The shopping, planning time with family, cooking, even receiving gifts stresses me out! What I’m looking forward to most of all is waking up early on December 26th and knowing I am the furthest away from the next Christmas and possible.
I know that may sound cynical and sad but I promise that my dislike of the season does not stem from a place of bitterness or anger. I’d simply rather stay home because it’s cold and because I’m tired and I’d rather us all save our money or buy ourselves exactly what we want instead. I think I’d be able to slip more easily into the Christmas spirit is the holidays were held over the summer. Can you imagine a warm Christmas dinner out on the patio or a Thanksgiving spent around a campfire? That’s the kind of holiday that would cheer me.
At least this year the weather will be well above freezing and by all forecasts free from snow. This will probably be one of the most summer-like Christmases I’ve ever experienced. I can say I’m happy about that but the rest of it still feels overwhelming and unnecessary.
I’m proud of myself for not avoid and procrastinating this year the way I usually do. My wife and I were able to get all of our shopping done and we were even able to ship packages to our out-of-state loved ones in just enough time to surprise them all on Christmas day. This year our plan is to spend Christmas Eve with my wife’s family and Christmas morning with mine. For dinner, it will be just the two of us, my preferred way to spend all my holidays if I could. I’m still working out the details of our meal.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this chat lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. The sun has gone down, and the coffee has long run out. I can feel my discomfort and fatigue returning and I know it will be another early night for me.
I hope you had a good week. I hope you have had a stress free shopping season and that you feel surrounded by love and warmth this holiday season. I hope you don’t overdo it too much, that you get something nice from someone who cares for you, and that you make time to care for yourself too.
Until next time.
Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up.