The Moscato Challenge

It’s pretty safe to say that this week in particular has been taxing on us all. Spring is in the air and allergy season becomes more and more debilitating to my sinuses every year. 

When I take a step back to see why we have been feeling overwhelmed, the list goes on and on. Uncertainty about full-time work the next school year. Lack of exercise. Dietary habits which could be and should be improved. The more I dwell, the more I feel anxious.

But this is life.

It’s hard to accept that sometimes, especially when you are knee deep in it.

Eventually you get to a point where you can catch your breath and see the next part of life in all of its imperfect and unwavering form.

Is it another challenge ahead, waiting to crush and destroy my spirit? Is it another bump in the road? Am I cursed to go through such hardship?

No. I’m human and this is how we live. 

Both my husband R and the middle child have been very ill this past week due to (we’re guessing) a sinus infection and a bladder infection, respectively. Also guess which one did not want to see a doctor. Wait, I take that back. Both did not want to see a doctor but one of them is an adult and did not want to see his doctor. Yeah, guess which one. 

R has begun his finals while I’m still worried about work. In fact, I shared with my husband that I was walking around the drug store and actually thought, I COULD USE A DRINK THIS EVENING.

My escape mechanism has not been alcohol in quite sometime; I prefer the sugar route myself.

Still, this is life. Stuff happens.

No, I didn’t have that drink tonight but had a good laugh with R about needing a drink. We agreed to have a drink… After his finals and again after I sign a contract! 

And life will go on. 

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The Time After Time Insufficiency

I am typing this post on my phone at 4 in the morning. My husband R is awake to begin his commute to school in San Francisco. Usually I sleep right through his morning routine.

Usually.

In the midst of going full time next school year, I’m sometimes struck with waves of emotion. This morning is no exception.

I don’t know what grade I’ll have nor where my classroom will be. I don’t know my schedule. I have not signed a contract.

The anxiety of not knowing is sometimes overshadowed by the excitement of it all. While I have almost seven years of classroom experience, the years are relatively far and few between. I’m grateful for the years that span almost twenty years but also realize that it feels like starting over each time.

I thought I would be one of those teachers who spent decades in the same grade in the same classroom but little did I know that would be a fleeting thought once I married the navy. And it’s only now at 4 in the morning that I realize this is not just another job assignment, but a chance to prove to myself that I can still be that teacher.

Time is and is not on my side. True, the decades of teaching in front of me are limited to two depending on retirement restrictions. But in the golden age of R’s retirement, of the years of living apart, and of the foresight to buy a house while the housing market was at rock bottom, time is finally on my side.

Unfortunately a good night’s sleep is not.

The Hernia Recovery

Last week marked another surgery for my husband R. He had a significant hernia on the right side of his lower abdomen that until recently did not cause him any discomfort or pain.

That day did not begin well… but it ended with a surprise.

We were getting ready to leave for the VA hospital at 6:30 am. My mother arrived early to help the kids get ready for school and then drop them off. We didn’t need to be there until 8:00 am so we were fine… until we got a call from the reception area saying he was a half hour late!

R was supposed to get a phone call a few days before and when none came, an answering service told him that he didn’t have to be there until 8.

On the way there, R was hungry and cranky and highly annoyed. As much pain as he was in, as exhausted he was after having been through what he’s been through for the past four years, I needed to gently remind him that it was not the fault of the hospital workers who were about to check him in. It was not their fault nor the nurses who would scramble to get him prepped for surgery. It was not the fault of the doctors who were still able to fit him in. Rather the blame lies in an ineffective system that has frustrated and continued to frustrate thousands of veterans around the country.

When we were attached to a base and active duty, R’s medical needs and ours as a family were met so easily and without any hitch. Any questions I had were directed to his command or that of his command’s personal physicians or even the ombudsman. Hell, if I even had a question in the middle of shopping at the commissary, I’m pretty sure there would be an aisle full of stay-at-home moms and spouses of veterans who could answer it right on the spot.

Today? If R had a question, he wouldn’t know who to ask let alone who to ask about asking. I can’t tell you how many times he’s called the VA only to hang up in frustration because he’s been transferred to so many people and so many departments. No one knows the answer to these questions.

After he got settled in, I settled in to the Starbucks with a soy caramel frappuccino. When I returned, the surgeon was surprised to meet me. “He’s never brought you to any of his appointments.”

I wanted to say, “Well, he’s a strong, independent woman and can do things without me.”

But I didn’t. I said something similar though without the joke.

I do, after all, have a job and career I am trying to restart. In fact, this is what I was doing all morning.

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It’s funny how when I insist on doing everything myself, I call it being INDEPENDENT yet when he insists on doing everything himself, I call it being STUBBORN. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think it’s funny.

His surgery went well and they could fix it without (pardon the visualization) slicing him open. Even more awesome is that he came home on the same day!

I don’t think that was expressed to the rest of the hospital as when I went to pick up his meds, the pharmacist insisted he was recovering on the third floor! Luckily we both had a sense of humor about it and he cleared it with a phone call.

Cross your fingers that that surgery will be the last!