Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting Sick

I find the world we live in to be absolutely amazing.  And here's how I know: I got strep. Now, the average person would not necessarily equate getting sick with this great world we live in, but I've recently seen two sick people, and the differences between their illnesses has really struck me.

On Friday, after getting home from the ball-games, I found Amy with a grumpy look on her face and a need for sleep.

Saturday, while I was feeling good, Amy got sicker. Her temperature jumped to over a hundred, and she couldn't really get out of bed, and she didn't eat, and her tonsils were swollen. Now, if we were state-side, she could go to a regular doctor, and get treatment, but we were in Bush Alaska, and the clinic wasn't open, so she just suffered through it. 

Same thing on Sunday, where her fever jumped to over 102, and I had to come get her socks out of the dresser for her. 

Monday was Presidents day, so no clinic. I woke up with a tickle, but that may have been due to a stuffy nose and sleeping with my mouth open. I didn't feel bad, so I got on a plane, and headed in to Nome. I was overly tired that evening, but that may have been because of the travel, and the 20 kids we were chaperoning, etc.

Tuesday was a different story. I was sick. Like, really sick. The length of time we were required to stand up for the national anthem about did me in. So I headed to the clinic, waited two hours, got a shot of penicillin, and went back to bed. I slept most of the afternoon, and drank my fluids. 

I woke up this morning feeling tired, but not really sick. However, I'm still here in Nome, because the planes are not flying. And since I'm not contagious starting at about  noon today, I'll be back on duty this afternoon. 

The idea that I could go from a tickle to fully recovered in 48 hours just blows my mind. I mean, how long does it take to get over the chicken pox? 

It boggles my mind to think of people getting strep throat before we'd figured out antibiotics. Being as sick as I was for a week or two until my own natural defenses fought back would have been bearable, but could have killed me, if it had gotten bad enough.  

I feel really bad that Amy was sick for three days before she could even get to a clinic, and i was only sick for a day. 

And now I sit, or lay, as the case may be, a day after my shot, and I'm no longer contagious, just REALLY tired. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


When I was younger, like 15, I got sick at school. I was too young to have my own car there and too far from home to walk, so I had to call my mom to come get me. But she wasn't home. I racked my brain, and called our family emergency contact person. After all, that's what they're for, right?

She came and got me, drove me home, and made sure I was safe inside.

But what does that have to do with living in Alaska, you may ask? Today we are experiencing a white-out.  It's not as bad as the one we had that caused us to cancel school, but it is bad enough that one cannot see 50  yards out.

The preschool has to sign their kids out to parents every day, but today, because of this storm, every kid in the elementary side had to have a parent come get them. They all called home, and parent poured in by the truckload. Okay, so we don't actually have enough parents to "pour" them, and there aren't really any trucks on the island besides the ones owned by the school and store. But you get my drift.

Elementary school gets out at 3:30, and at 4:10, there were still two kids sitting in the office, waiting for a mom. I feel for them, I really do. That is a feeling of abandonment that I never want to live through again.

But that's exactly what's going on. A grandpa came to the preschool and picked up one of the kids, and an hour later, they still hadn't made it home.  The cop was called, and a search party was sent out. Now we sit and wait. And this is the part where we wait. And hope. And pray.

UPDATE: They're home!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cop out

Okay it once again time for. . . WEIRD STUFF MY KIDS SAY!!

Today we have two contestants, let's meet them now:

Zander is a 16 year old boy from Shishmaref who's on the leadership team, the basketball team, and is adored by most of the middle school girls. 

And our contender, Austin, a 16 year old boy from Shishmaref who's on the leadership team, the basketball team, and is . . . wait. Haven't we already read this intro? Oh, They're also best friends. Good to know.

With no further ado, boys, give us your best lines. Zander, since you're, umm, taller, you get to go first:

Me: "If you could metamorphosis into anything what would it be? Would you go into your cocoon and come out with wings? Or 8 feet tall? Or breathing fire?"
Zander: "Yeah, twice."

Okay, that's very funny, Austin, you're going to have to bring the heat to beat this:

Discussing hyperbole: "Like when I open a cupboard, and a notebook falls out, and I yell, 'I could have been killed!' Could I really have been killed?"  
Austin: If it had a knife in it.

Oh, good one Austin. I'm going to have to vote for your quip. 

How about the rest of you. Go ahead and vote in the comments for the ridiculous statement you like the most!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working on my masters.

Last week, I was working late, and Amy asked me to come home and play, instead of work. I told her I would if she could answer me one question, and she agreed. So I gave her the prompt for the paper: ·      "Compare Grendel’s encounters with Hrothgar to Beowulf’s encounters with Hrothgar." Her response:

Well, I think it’s complicated on both fronts, but more complicated for Beowulf, since he had a thing for Hagar, and wanted to get him into bed, but really, it was bad on all fronts. Okay, you’re done, let’s go home.

I remember a time before  I started working on my masters. I just don't remember it well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

So, it's Superbowl day. Facebook is all abuzz with news of the football game. I, however, don't care.


And that's probably a good thing, since we don't have cable here in our house. This was mentioned a couple times during Sacrament meeting today at church, and how people were just as happy without it.

Now, I'm not saying I don't watch "my stories." I'm just saying I can't flip between them. Between Amy and myself, we probably own close to 30 seasons of TV on DVD. Everything from Big Bang Theory to Law and Order.

One of the things I like most about having TV on DVD is watching the extras, and directors commentaries. Also, I can hit "stop" and pick it up again later. Missing the commercials doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mirrors are not our friends

Okay, so occasionally, I like a mirror. Like if I feel like putting make-up on, or when I brush my hair, so I don't hear my mother's voice in my head saying: "Brush your hair, people will think you're an orphan."

Today, however, I noticed something in the mirror I never had before: the beginnings of CROWS FEET. Of course, I was smiling when I saw them, so I chalked them up to laugh lines. Then I relaxed my face, and they were STILL THERE!!

My mom turned 30 when I was 4, so I have little memory of just what it was she looked like. I can tell you this: I don't remember her looking old when I was tiny.

When I was in 8th grade, one of the possible electives was walking over to the elementary school we shared a field with, and TA-ing in one of the classrooms. I couldn't have been more than 13 when I was walking with a friend one day. We were discussing my great-great-aunt who had just passed away at 93 years old. (This is how the memory goes. If the math is wrong, blame it on my soon-to-be advanced years.) I remember thinking that to live to 93 would be quite the undertaking, and what would one even do with all that time.

Then I tried to think about doubling my life, and making it to 30. The thought was almost unfathomable. It's sort of like the flying cars we were promised. That's never going to happen. Or like the year 2015. Like that's a real year. I could just not imagine making it to 30. Or, if I did, I wouldn't be where I am now. I had plans, goals, things to accomplish.

Sure, I've done some of them. I have a degree, a career, and I've seen some pretty cool stuff. But I'm sleeping in a rented bed, in a rented house, far, far from Washington. And I'm sleeping here alone.