Sunday, September 20, 2009


Flew to PA this weekend for 36 hours of Mom's birthday, hurried visits to grandparents, and a lovely cousin's wedding. Felt a little sickly, but wrote it off to traveling and teaching exhaustion and the presence of 600-odd adorable little kids generously contributing their adorable little germs to my classroom. Walked through airport security early this morning on my way back home and read the H1N1 warning billboard. Cough. Sore throat. Headache. Damn. Spent the entire afternoon flipping back and forth between the CDC website and my half-finished substitute lesson plans, analyzing my potential as a health hazard. Decided on better safe than sorry. Watched my temp drop from 98.7 to 98.5 to 98.0. Curious. Will sleep long and hard and reevaluate tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I had my first lost tooth in Spanish class today. And my first pants-wetting incident, because I told a kid to wait five minutes until the end of class. In the same class period. And it was a fourth-grade class. And I had several kids start crying throughout the day, because I didn't call on them, or because they answered a question wrong, or because they missed their moms. Sheesh. Blood, sweat, and tears. And urine. The nurse took care of the blood, and our heroic custodian came and mopped up the puddle of pee from my floor. I did my share of tear-drying. The sweat is mine. No sign of that letting up soon. Welcome to elementary school, maestra.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This morning I started the usual commute to work along the bike trail as the sun was rising. Beautiful chilly September morning. I was still trying to wake up after another night of not enough sleep when I saw the two bikers coming toward me suddenly collide and fly over their handlebars, crashing onto the pavement in front of me. I threw down my bike and ran over to find a man with a scraped-up leg rushing over to a woman who was lying on the trail between bicycles and making terrible moaning noises. There was also a high-pitched squealing sound, which I thought was coming from her as well until I looked down at her bike on the ground by my feet and saw a squirrel with its head and front leg wedged between the front tire and the bike frame, clearly in great pain, but still very much alive and squealing its head off. My attention snapped back to the injured biker as another man rode up, asking if he should call 911, just as the woman, who had been starting to talk, suddenly lost consciousness and dropped her face into the pavement. He called. She made frightening noises on the ground with the first man kneeling beside her. The squirrel screeched in pain. And I just stood there, terrified, mind racing through CPR training and first-aid lessons, coming up with absolutely nothing I could do, feeling entirely helpless. He got an ambulance on its way. She opened her eyes. The squirrel somehow freed itself and ran zigzagging into the woods on three legs. She told us that her back and neck were hurt (and her head would have been, too, had it not been for the now-cracked helmet she was wearing), and asked me to find her phone and call her husband, which I did. Within minutes, we heard sirens and saw the ambulance come flashing down the trail to where we were waiting. The paramedics asked a few questions and bundled her onto a stretcher, leaving the rest of us, still somewhat in shock, to pedal off to work and never know the end of her story. Had I left my house two seconds earlier, it could've been mine.