26 April 2007

the strangest direction

I thought I had my future figured out. I was going to dual-enroll in two community colleges here in NC, get my AS in Dietetics mostly through online classes, put my kids in a great private school (dependent upon scholarship) and work part-time there doing something or another. After I got my degree, I would go ahead and move somewhere or another. Life was going to be great but I had NO peace. So then I thought we'd homeschool and travel a bit, and I'd continue my classes online while doing so. Somehow I could scrape up enough cash for a popup camper, eh?

But you know, something strange has happened over the past few weeks. I have been helping my one local friend care for her dying father. I was able to be there during his final week and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed just being there to comfort him in his last days. I also loved speaking with each hospice person and each caregiver who visited him. And I realized death doesn't bother me.

People have been suggesting I go into nursing since I started pondering getting a college degree. I have balked. When it came up #1 for my career choices after three separate tests, I began to think those darned tests were faulty. I had seen my own mother go through nursing school -- and eventually drop out-- during my childhood. Nursing, to me, seemed like the LAST thing I wanted to do.

But you know, sometimes the last thing we want to do is the best thing for us. Yesterday I walked into the college and changed my intended major to nursing. A local organization has agreed to pay for my school costs if I don't manage to get a grant. So far, reaction from most people has been amazingly supportive. My dad has agreed that nursing school will indeed be stressful and he has promised that he and my mother will care for my children when I can't. My former employer encouraged me, explaining that she went through nursing school when she was a single mom of two little ones. She says it can be done. It will be stressful, but it can be done.

I have had a HUGE burden taken from my shoulders. I have such peace about my future now. RN's are in high demand everywhere. If I want to leave this podunk mayberry world, I should be able to find a position anywhere. RN's have many different kinds of shifts. Some work office hours. Some work nights. I will be able to schedule my job around the needs of my family. And best of all, I will eventually be able to support myself and my children - possibly even help them get through college.

I'm not sure how it's all going to work out. The community college is actually about 30 minutes away, 45 minutes from the kids' schools. I'm hoping that maybe I can get them into a charter school closer to where I'll be hitting the books. I applied a couple of months ago but won't know until June. Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to find a house for rent towards there, and my kids can just go to regular schools. Then I won't be paying ginormous gas bills.

Oh, and I just can't wait to get that spiffy nurse's hat. Yay.

22 April 2007

it's all in your head, part 1

Before I post, I'm going to link you to one of my favorite videos. Yes it's Napoleon Dynamite-esque at first but just keep watching.

OK, so it's time to tell y'all about something nutty that's happened to us. Read on and you will probably think I'm making it up.

My older kids, Tater and Bean, were "selected" for an outreach program. The principal of the school came to me herself and said she thought the girls would benefit from the program as it would teach them "coping skills" or something like that. They would also do equine (horse) therapy. Given that said program gave them four days worth of excused absences from school (they do hate school), I signed the permission slip and that was that.

Tater attended the first four-day session. Kids were shipped off by van at the beginning of the school day to another facility off-campus and returned at the end of the school day. Tater had no comments about her stint other than "It was OK."

So Bean went. Bean is my tough kid so I was surprised to find her crying when I picked her up from school on the third day. "Please don't send me back there!" she begged. I finally got out of her that she had been groped by another student. When I asked if she'd told the person in charge, I was told, "The same thing happened to 'Laura' but when she told the teacher, she was told to handle it herself."

To get her mind off of her distress, I asked how the horses were that day. She replied, "Oh, they were fine but we weren't allowed to touch them." Given that equine therapy usually involves touching, I was a bit surprised so I asked, "Really?!" Bean clarified, "Oh we WERE allowed to touch them. But only after we'd asked them in our MINDS."

This has since been confirmed with other children that they were told to stand there and say nothing but hold their fingers to their temples (as in concentrating hard) and say nothing. They were to use their thoughts to ask the horses something like, "Can I enter your space and touch you?" and if the horse turned around, they could pet it. Bean, of course, just faked it.

Then came the alarming revelation (since confirmed with other children): The kids were told to tell NO ONE what happened at the center.

More tomorrow otherwise this'll be too long. Besides, I've got a Mates of State video to watch again. Cause it's allllll in my head.

things that pop into my head

You know that old saying about women with dyed hair? the one "Do the drapes match the carpet?"

If a woman has a Brazilian wax, what would be the answer? She has linoleum?

(if the woman has a crew-cut, I suggest she refer to the hair on her head as mini-blinds)

17 April 2007

Lessons Learned

Things I learned on my big vacation:

Norwich, Connecticut has the largest number of "Slow Children" according to the amount of signs we saw.

Enfield, Connecticut has way too many road signs declaring "Drug free zone!"

Every driveway in Chelmsford, Massachusetts is a "blind drive." (The poor drives! Can't something be done? seeing-eye drives?)

If you must be stuck in traffic in New York, it will be for hours through the Bronx and at least one person in your car will vomit. Twice. At least once, it will be on someone else.

People in New York are very nice. Their subways are efficient but dirty.

People in DC aren't nice at all. Their subways are very clean but expensive and hard to find.

More later.

10 April 2007

goodbyes stink

You know how you see someone and you have this big imagined happy goodbye in your head?

But then when it comes time, you never even get out what you wanted to say in the first place, and the last image they get of you is your ugly about-to-cry face?

Oh, you don't? Forget it, then.

goodbyes suck, especially when nothing is ever resolved before you say them.

...and sometimes things go wrong, but they're good anyway

Things that have gone wrong in the past day, and how they're OK:

1. My cellphone stopped working, which is just awful on a roadtrip when it's my ONLY way to get in touch with people. Add to that Alltel doesn't exist in this part of the country so there's no way to get it fixed. How this is OK: Dinner with Thresher friends would've been canceled if they'd been able to contact me. As it was, we went ahead with plans and had a great time. I'm not sure how the lack of phone will affect things in the future, though. I did go ahead and get some SkypeOut credits so at least I can find wifi and make calls.

2. Our newest hobby, Letterboxing, started with two duds. Both boxes were planted by the same folks and I have no idea if the boxes disappeared or we don't know how to read a compass or what. BUT, and this is a big but, we had a GREAT time looking! We learned some interesting things, like tree roots will eventually knock down gravestones and break them in half. And that Punkin doesn't need to be afraid of cemeteries. And that sometimes it really is fun to just go for a walk in a field in 40 degree weather. We had a lot of fun as a family, no complaints except that we weren't very good mystery-solvers. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a box to us at last!

3. Our dear host here in Mass. was unable to return to us as planned so that makes a whopping one day we got to spend together (the day we arrived and I slept a good portion of the afternoon). It makes me sad because I don't get to hang around with one of my best friends. But on the plus side, it means I can feel a little less guilty for using every bed in the place.

4. One of the Threshers flaked big time. How this is OK: It enabled the other Thresher and I to have a cheap dinner with almost 3 hours spent together, mainly relaxed and conversing, while the kids played. I really enjoyed my time with her (was a bit nervous we'd have naught to talk about, I admit) and we took some extra-special pics of Salzilla. Sadly, we ran out of film before we could do a LARP pic, reenacting some in-game moments with props from McDonald's. I had a lego hammer (Marah's hammer of tapping, as Sebboe refers to her pathetic spiritual hammer) and she had a coffee-stirrer scalpel. Oh, and we were trying to get some McDonald's promo stuff for her tome. Oh well. Fun was had, and a friendship was cemented. I think.

So there you have it. Sometimes life hands you lemons and you remember how good lemon bars are, and you make them, and you eat them, and then you're happy.

08 April 2007

Sometimes things go right

I'm typing this from a friend's house in Massachusetts, where the kids and I have been spending the day. We arrived yesterday after a busy and stressful time trying to get through Charlotte airport. I was starting to question my decision about taking this vacation, but once we got settled into our seats on the plane, I felt I did the right thing.

Yay to US Air for employing possibly the best, most considerate flight attendants I've ever met. They were a HUGE blessing to me. I wasn't having any major catastrophes or anything but I'd stayed up the entire night before. I was exhausted and they were super nice and proactive with the children.

Yay to understanding friends who, when I conk out asleep in the middle of the afternoon, simply supervise my kids and let me nap. I <3 you for it.

We've had pretty much two whole days in Mass. and have done very little except rest, watch TV, play around on computers. That is EXACTLY what we needed to do, what with our normal life being so hectic lately. We did go out to IHOP and the grocery store yesterday, and the kids & I went to Chili's this evening. It's Easter Sunday and not much is open, so we went with what we could find.

Anyway, we get to go visit a few people tomorrow: my uncle and then dinner with two Threshers. I'm excited!