working women

A Day in the Life (These Days)

People sometimes ask me if I like my job.

My answer used to be an enthusiastic “yes!” How can I not love a job filled with reading to kids, writing with kids, doing research and helping them grow into readers and learners?

These days my answer is different. Lukewarm, at best. I get up and go to my school every required day. But I am not excited about it right now. What used to be a positive, welcoming place is now filled with “spread out!” and “don’t touch!” Books turned in are quarantined in a special room on carts until they’re safe to touch.

Instead of kids drifting in and out of my classroom throughout the day, they can only come to the media center once a week during their assigned time slots. They come in, stay in line, sit down in the distanced chairs.

They watch my whole, real face tell them a story on video while they browse tables of books with their eyes, not hands. (I no longer have a clerk to assist me, so I “clone myself” with a video screen.) If students want me to open a book, I prop it on a random page then keep moving. When they have their selections they head to the desk. I scan a barcode instead of them typing their own numbers. No touching! Then they return to the exact same seat.

Instead of laughter, the most prevalent sound is the *psst* *psst* *psst* of food contact surface spray. I scrub. I shuffle books. Gloves on. Mask on. Smiling with my eyes as best I can.

I miss my job. I miss spontaneity. I miss special projects. I miss idle chat that leads to great ideas. A few fewer rules. A few more smiles.

A highlight of the week is when I do carside book delivery to the digital learners. Some drop by twice a week. Sometimes I get to wave to the kids in the back seat and tell them I miss them. Last week a parent held up her phone so I could Facetime with her son, waiting at home for more books. I’m not the only one who is missing something.

Or the other afternoon when I had a spur-of-the-moment takeout picnic with my daughter at the park. As I was leaving I heard a girl’s voice scream in excitement “YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER! YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER!” Then her little sister, a new kindergarten student, joined in the hollering. We waved excitedly. From a distance. Even with the mask, they still see me and I still see them.

I’m determined to stay positive and try to keep connecting to kids at a time when everything is about separation. When the kids watch me tell a story and laugh at the right parts, I know I am still reaching them through all the rules and rigamarole.

The Roaring 20s, I tell myself. The Roaring 20s.

challenges

A New Wall

I hit a new wall today. A mentally exhausting wall. One I didn’t initially bounce off and spring ahead like normal.

This wall was different. It started out as me being tired. Then it shifted to me being irritable. Then technology flipped a few switches that set me off kilter.

Moving on to mid-day a teenager rattled my cage. Then the rain hit. All the while work was super busy. It’s the end of the month. The end of the fiscal year. Emergencies by phone and mail.

I wanted to dish out numbers like they do at the meat counter but that’s not reality. It all needs to get done. You need to be four places at one time. It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring rain let alone if you are tired. 

When you are in the hot seat. The driver’s seat. The most relied upon seat, nothing matters. You are just expected to balance it all. But what happens when you hit the wall and don’t bounce back?

For some it may take one into a dark place in mind and body. Luckily for me I have some friends who can crack me up during the day with a funny text to lighten the load. I have some go-to gals who can be a listening ear when I want to punch everyone.

And then I can always change my scenery. For me, today I took a car ride. Got a coffee. Drank it away from people. Talked to a friend by phone. Took some deep breaths. Ordered dinner to-go. Planned an early bedtime to mentally let my brain rest.

I took to writing. This blog of course. Writing is a therapeutic outlet for me for many reasons but sharing stories of walls is important for people to read. It’s life. It’s real. It’s not filtered. There are no amazing pictures.

My wall is the beginning of what may be a long road of walls. It’s midlife womanly adjustments. The yucky m word. The one you want to be over so your cycle is history but the one you dread because of its uncertainty.

Let me just type the damn word. Menopause. Menopausal. Resident psycho to some. Bitch to others. I’m sure I’m missing a few descriptions but owning the word and its side effects is step one. One of God only knows how many steps.

Pray for me. Think of me. Lift me up in spirits if you see me against the wall. Plastered to the wall. Mentioning the wall. Or anything resembled the wall symptoms. Baggy eyes. Disheveled look. Short fuse.

The worst thing you can do is ignore my hot mess as that will make me want to isolate you. As a giver and doer I help many. Unfortunately many won’t see that need for help. That struggle at that damn wall. 

Is there a magic tea for menopause? And why the hell is the word “men” embedded in the word itself. That is just crazy because they are clueless when it comes to dealing with a menopausal woman. Just sayin’.

mEn-oh-PAuse: your lady friend is about to go batshit crazy. Clear the fuck out now. Don’t pause. Run. Hide. It’s safer that way.
If the DICtionary doesn’t say that it really should. Fun fact!

challenges

When the Call Comes…

The phone rings and orders are assigned. No choice you are under contract by the military to do the job you have trained for. It doesn’t matter if you have a civilian job. It doesn’t matter if your closing on a house. It doesn’t matter if you have an exam in college. It doesn’t matter if you have pets. It doesn’t matter if you have a newborn.

You have orders to serve. Less than 48 hours to arrive fully packed and ready to go. You need to hit pause on your life and report for duty. Pandemic or not, you have to go. No excuses. This is the life in the fast lane as a soldier called up on orders.

Final destination may be unknown. Total timeframe may be extended. The unit is ready. Now it’s time to see the execution of the practice plans. 

The above is a snapshot of a whirlwind experience with a loved one. The many pieces that need to be handled while the soldier is serving. Mock missions or real missions, they are all the same. Time away. Unknowns. Feeling like a government-issued piece of property.

Some love the life. Some hate the life. Some get bored over time but a contract is a contract and those who commit to serve must honor their commitment even if it means being ripped from normal life in the blink of an eye. Soldier boots are not for the faint at heart.

Deployed is the official word to some. Active orders to others. It’s all time you miss your loved one and wonder when they will return and if they will return safely. Add in a pandemic and stress levels elevate. How does a military unit assemble and socially or physically distance? How do soldiers adapt and modify field training? Is travel safe for soldiers but not the public? Is there a quarantine period upon return?

For me I’ve been fortunate with my experiences over the past 10 years. My loved one however has lost close friends while serving. It’s never easy in my mind to adjust but there is always a worse situation aside from yours.

For now I wait. For now I cover the home front until said return. Luckily we have technology for the times when it’s available.

Keep my soldier in your thoughts. The final stretch is nearing and any extended cycle would not be fun at this point in the military career. Military life extends beyond the solider. It includes the support system. As I said before a mother’s worry never ends. Some days are just harder than others.

perspective

Eyes on You

How does it feel to have eyes on you?

Maybe it’s the person across the room attempting to flirt with you.

Maybe it’s the professor in class with a puzzled looked from a distance.

Maybe it’s your boss peeping your professional online profile?

Maybe it’s your coworker snooping on you on Facebook?

Or maybe it’s that nosy neighbor watching your comings and goings?

How does it feel to have eyes on you? Does it make you paranoid? Does it make you wonder why? Are you even remotely interested and do you have the audacity to ask why? Or do you just sit back and say have at it. It’s public information. I’m aware of that. Interpret how you wish. Your perception may not be my reality but I encourage one to peep anytime.

For me I’m the latter. If I’m so interesting that somebody needs to seek out my daily doings good for them and good for me. I’m relevant. I sparked curiosity. I piqued another’s interest. I saw the post below when I wrote this post and thought how funny and applicable it was.

I left a carrot for the taking. Did somebody bite or did many? That’s the mystery. It’s also the puzzle of how many times one bites.

I love life and writing about the ins and outs of people, places, things and situations. Life provides an abundance of writing inspiration. Thank you to all near and far who inspire me to write and do me, my way.

My adventures continue. Follow along as much or as little as you wish. As a writer I invite you into my world. How you perceive me, my value and my stories are completely at your discretion. Enjoy.

3Splitz Farm, working women

City Girl 2 Farm Girl

The title says it all. How do you take a city girl and drop her in the country and get her doing stuff? Farm stuff to be exact. Chores, using a knife, hauling trash and other non-city-girl things.

The easiest way to get her to produce is tell her she can’t and she will do everything in her power to prove you wrong. So to those who said you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, it’s not for you, it’s hard work, and so on I’m toasting you right now. I am ever so thankful for your encouragement and motivation. 

The new flavor of this girl is country. It might be country on the weekend and city on the weekday but that’s okay. It’s what works right now. In life we all make sacrifices. If you have a dream and you want to put it into action you need to sacrifice, hustle and do what needs to be done.

That’s where progress and growth comes. You grow when you test your limits. You gain confidence when you push yourself beyond what you think you can do. Some things may take more practice than others but you will never know until you try. Try as much as you can as often as you can until you find what you love.

For me I’m one month into my new farm girl role. Oddly I found out I enjoy mowing the lawn. Mowing acres upon acres. It’s a mindless task but one that is physical, especially if your tool is a push mower. I guess I just drift away when mowing. No time clocks. No requirements to report to anyone. Just me and the mower having some quality time. I may also be daydreaming about getting abs from all my farm chores. A girl can dream, right?

I also enjoy the task of making trash hauls to the dumpster or burn pile. Maybe it’s that I get to hook up different trailers or wagons to my four wheeler and zoom off. Who knows. I just enjoy being a little worker bee. 

Speaking of quality time there isn’t anything much more rewarding than enjoying the outdoors, spending time with family / friends and just experiencing the great outdoors in many different ways. I’ve been an avid boater for years. One could say I enjoyed the same quality time but it’s lounge time which is not the same as creating, working and living on your homestead.

Arts / crafts, game nights, home cooking, barbecuing, and so much more. I even have a new farm chick shirt to honor the farm girl and author in me. I have the best of both worlds right now. I get to experience farming and tell the world about right here on this blog. My kids are seeing my shift and challenge of myself. It is my hope that it will inspire them to venture out in their own ways as they adult. The serene views of wildlife and historic barn will never get old because each day brings a different view. On most days it seems we have our own little climate in the mountains.

And for those of you out there who think farming is a lost skill, think again. Meat, veggies and other things are produced by farmers. Having direct access to farm items to my table is a compliment to my fitness and health journey. Fresh, quality and affordability. 

Hope you enjoy my farm sampling one month in. I even met some new critters this weekend. A skink, a snake and a giant spider. No picture of the snake because I was screaming while kicking my feet up as it slithered by. It was a black snake not venomous so the screams were not needed but seemed applicable at the time. There were many other creatures but those are just a few that had me on my toes.

Until next time, picture me honing my farming skills in one way or another.