Thursday, June 22, 2017

My kids' last day of school

Today was my kids’ last day of school. They got out of school late this year because we had so many snow days and ice days in the winter.  Trevor was a tiny bit concerned about the late release from school because, technically, hir first job started a week ago. But, fortunately, hir boss was very understanding so ze’ll start tomorrow.

Before this week, I was aware that Jesse’s last day would have a different schedule. Mainly, he would get out of school early. On this particular last day of the year, it was a different “early release” time (one year, it was 10:30), so I made a note of this on my phone calendar.

With Trevor, however, I was not sure what the schedule was. The school sends out a weekly newsletter every Friday, and they usually do alert the families if there are schedule changes. But I was not entirely clear about the schedule change for Trev’s last day of school. I knew that all students at the school had finals on the last two days of school, but I did not get info about a different schedule. So I just assumed it was regular hours!

Well, this was true for Wednesday. The students all had regular hours for finals. But today’s schedule was different. I was informed of this when I asked Trev about it last week and was told the last day’s schedule would be different. I made a note to check the latest school newsletter that I had received as well as the school calendar that is on their website.

When I finally did get around to digging up the latest school newsletter (I save them all for just such a situation!), I was dismayed to see that it didn’t exactly give the schedule for Thursday. Nuts! So I went to the school website to look for their calendar. Thankfully, the schedule for today was on there and I copied it then sent it to Trevor yesterday, asking if this was the schedule ze would need to follow. I did say in that email to get back to me “ASAP” so that I could plan my morning schedule accordingly.

But Trevor forgot to answer the email yesterday. So when I checked my email in the early hours of this morning, I was frustrated not to have that information. And Trev didn’t say anything about it in the note that was left for me about breakfast/lunch.

I was really upset about this. I started fuming and wondering WHY I even went to the trouble of sending the damn email if Trev thinks it’s not important enough to answer. I did remind Trevor about it twice before I went to bed last night.

Anyway, I finally got the info from Trevor when I was busy getting Jesse ready for school. And, because I got so upset over the unanswered email, THEN Trevor took the time to answer it! But I was so mad, I didn’t bother to read it. Since Trev wanted to tell me in person, I decided, Trevor will tell me in person. So I ASKED Trevor in person about the changed schedule. Surprise! I got an answer! (This is not the only time this has happened. My husband has also either forgotten about emails I have sent him or he ignores them. Pretty much why I feel like I shouldn’t even bother with those anymore, either.)

So, yeah. I got both of the kids at their schools at the time they needed to be there. And since Jesse was having a field day today, and was going to be outside all morning, I made sure he put on sunscreen before we left. And when I dropped Jesse off at his school, I went into the office to pick up his meds from the nurse’s office. The office was really busy, though, so I had to wait to be seen. I was sure glad Trevor started school later this morning, because I had to wait a while! After I got the meds, I said goodbye to the office staff, thanked them for everything, and wished them all a happy summer before I left.

Then I had to take care of things with Trevor. Since it was a late start this morning, I grabbed the opportunity to take a shower. (The new schedule calls for my shower to be at 11 instead of at 6 a.m., which it was before! I get up at 4 now and since I have to wake Trev up at 4:30 and leave at 5:15, there’s no time for me to grab a shower! But I MIGHT volunteer this summer and, if so, that time will be moved earlier.) After that, I made Trev’s lunch, and I was feeling kinda sad about it. This would be the last time I make Trevor lunch for school for a while! It might be hard getting used to that no longer being a part of my weekday morning routine for a while.

So I got Trevor to school. On the way there, Trevor let me know ze had forgotten a textbook, so I said I’d bring it and Trev let me know when it would be a good time to do that. It was shortly after Jesse’s release from school. So I got Trev to school then I went to grab some breakfast on the way home. Shortly after I finally had my breakfast and took my allergy medicine AND my antibiotics (for my throat infection), I had to leave again to get Jesse. But then I realized I’d forgotten the textbook. Ugh! I picked up Jesse, took him home, made him lunch, grabbed the textbook and headed out the door again. I took Trev the textbook. While I was there, I asked about what time Trev gets out today and Trev checked the schedule and said “2.”  But when I got there later at 1:50 and hung out in the library, reading a couple of pages in a book, I noticed not much was going on at 2. I decided to check the hallway. On my way out of the library, I double-checked to make sure there weren’t any unpaid fines or dues that needed to be taken care of and was told it was all clear.

Back in the hallway, I texted Trev to let hir know I was there. But I didn’t get an answer. I started walking around and I noticed there were not a lot of students coming out of their classrooms. Was school still in session? I double-checked the schedule, read Trev’s email (there wasn’t a note about any changes), and was confused. The schedule said 2:20 but Trev said 2. Did Trev just need more time? Or were all students to stay in classrooms until the bell rang at 2:20?

Whatever it was, I decided to just hang out and wait. So I walked among the halls of the school. It’s a big school! I checked out the athletic department and read all the names of Track & Field events and some of the names of students who won those events and I checked out the trophies and other awards. Wow, this school had an awesome assortment of gifted athletes! I was impressed.

So I walked around some more until it was 2:20. Then I hung around near the freshmen’s locker, waiting for Trevor. But Trevor texted me that ze was at the main office so I headed over there. Once I told Trev where I had been, I was informed that the students can’t use their lockers today. All of them were cleared out and not accessible to students. Oh well!

So we left the high school and I drove Trev home. On the way, I patted Trev on the back and congratulated hir on making it through the first year of high school in one piece. Yay! Freshman year is over with! Woo-hoo! And with straight “A’s” too. I am very proud of my teen.

I am happy both of my kids had good last days of school. Our summer is going to be a little bit different this year – no late-night movies every night and going to bed when it's not very dark out – but it’s only for THIS summer. We have LOTS of activities and classes planned and we look forward to it still being a great and fun summer all the same.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The test day and test drive

This summer is going to be a little bit different for us this year. My oldest has hir first job! It is a summer job, but it is still hir FIRST REAL JOB! Yay!

We are all really excited and happy for Trevor. And I am proud of Trev, too. This is an awesome thing to happen and I hope this will be a good experience for hir.

But one thing we learned about this first job is that it is actually not all that close to us. It’s actually in another city. It’s in Blue River – and that’s about an hourish away.

And because Trev needs to be there at a certain time Monday through Friday, we have been spending weeks deciding on a new schedule as well as planning out the route. I had some trouble figuring out the new schedule. I knew certain things had to happen at certain times, but couldn’t figure out the times for the other things.

Yesterday was the “test day” for the new schedule. And, since some things were not accounted for in my NOTES for this new schedule, I filled in the blanks as I went about the day. I went through the day as though I was on this new schedule – got up at 4:30, got Trev up at 5, was “away” from computer and unable to text on my phone at the times I’d be driving and not home, and leaving at certain times that I’d need to for certain things. Jesse got up earlier than I expected – and when I would not have been at home – so I reminded him that next week, we’ll be on a new schedule and sometimes when he wakes up in the morning, I might not be here. I explained to him if that happens, it means I’ll be either taking Trevor to work or on my way home. It was a good opportunity for us to go over this sort of scenario, so he knows what to expect. I made a mental note to leave a note on the table for him just in case he forgets. There is a 2-hour window of time set aside for “Jesse’s sports” (since he’ll be busy with gymnastics and swimming this summer at those times), but that day he was feeling too sick for it. No problem! I spent this time with him camped out on the couch, watching TV with him. I went through the rest of the day figuring out when other things will happen and, voila! I had my schedule all figured out.

Now we had the test drive to do. It was slated for this weekend. I was going to go by myself but my husband didn’t like that idea. So we all ended up going on the test drive! Good thing all of us went, too. Because we ended up being gone for 5 hours! The problem was, we got lost and, on top of that, could not get a signal, so we couldn’t use Google Maps. (And, no, we hadn’t printed out the mapped route before leaving. I guess we should have!) So at one point, my husband turned around and started driving back the other way to try and find a cell tower. But it was a very long drive. So, instead, he stopped at a store and asked for directions. He got the directions and we were on our way! On the way there, I saw that a city was named “Nimrod.” That made me laugh. Wow, that would be an interesting conversation!

“Where are ya from?”
“What did you call me?”

Well, we did FINALLY get to Trevor’s work. It was closed but we got a good look at the place. I was glad it had a huge sign out front. It would be hard to miss!

We never did get a signal for our phones. And when we DID finally get somewhere where we could get a signal – when we were closer back to Eugene – my phone had died. So had the tablet (which has Twitter on there).  I made a mental note about this.

So I timed the drive back and it’s actually an hour and 15 minutes long. On our way back, we stopped for dinner at IHOP (it was almost 10 at this point!). At dinner, I talked with Trev about the length of the route and we decided to calculate an hour and a half drive instead. That would mean we would have to go to bed earlier because we’d have to get up earlier! I was also concerned about there being no signal there. Actually, we both were a little nervous. Trev assured me that they could call someone in the event of an emergency and ze let me know who were on hir emergency contacts list. That set me at ease but I’d want them to call my voicemail, too, and leave a message.

The drive to Trev’s job is a long one but, really, it’s easy to get there and back. Yes, I have to take two highways, but it’s an easy route. Not a lot of turns or anything like that. I am glad for that!

I’ll be driving Trev there to the job in the mornings, but Jesse comes along when I pick Trev up in the afternoon. Since he complained about being hungry on the trip, I made a mental note to pack snacks as well as bottled water. I’d also bring along his blanket and some books to make him more comfortable and entertained.

Another issue, though, is gas. I am hoping we can figure that out.

I am glad we were able to test out the new schedule and the drive to Trev’s place of employment. I may do one more test drive just to make sure I have the route down pat.

I do enjoy driving long distances, but wow! This one is pretty long. The route is also VERY scenic: We saw trees, mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. It was just BEAUTIFUL! I am glad to be driving this route because I love seeing all of that stuff!

And I’m looking forward to greeting the sun from the road, too. I’ll just have to be sure to have some extra coffee with me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The signing stranger

Because I am deaf, I usually don’t participate in social activities. Of course, I also decline these invitations because I have social anxiety. By nature, I’m a loner. I don’t like being in crowds. Being surrounded by people I don’t know. I prefer to be alone. So I don’t really socialize with people. Or communicate with people. When I am out and about, I say hello to familiar faces. I nod in recognition of others who reach out to me. But I am not attempting to be social with people. I don’t seek new friendships or to commiserate with people.

My son, however, is another story. He does like to talk to people. And while I tolerate communicating with people HE knows through his school, anybody else is pretty much off of my radar.

See, I have had years of experience of people tuning me out because of my deafness. With many, many people, they stop talking to me, or trying to communicate with me, once they learn I am deaf. They pretty much start talking to someone who is with me who can hear. And I am forgotten about.

For this reason, I don’t even TRY to talk to people anymore. I have shut people out. I am not a part of the hearing world and I probably never will be.

And after almost 12 years of living in Oregon, I have had enough exposure to people to know there are not many deaf or hard-of-hearing people in my area. And I know very few who can sign.

And it’s always a surprise when I meet someone who can sign. It’s very rare, but it happens.

It happened not too long ago when I met a Facebook friend IRL (she lives in the neighborhood). And it happened again today.

After Jesse’s gymnastics class was over, I took him to the nearby Dari Mart. I usually do this after his gymnastics class. It’s his weekly treat. Well, while we were there, I noticed Jesse getting into a conversation with someone. I figured this was a person who volunteers at his school, because we often run into such people there, so I didn’t really pay much mind to it. I did, however, keep Jesse close, and kept a watchful eye on him. Not so much on the person he was talking to.

But the person he was talking to was trying to get my attention. Finally, I looked at him, ready with the whole “I’m deaf” announcement and the typical response from him of ignoring me. But when I looked at him and nodded my hello, I was surprised to notice something: He was SIGNING!

What? Had my ignoring him tipped him off that I am deaf? Did it tell him that I had no clue what anybody was saying and therefore didn’t bother to try to keep up?

Whatever it was, he somehow knew I was deaf. I was really surprised that he knew how to sign. All of a sudden, I was interested in communicating with this person. In TALKING with this person. This person knew my language!

This person introduced himself as Erik and he said he knew how to sign because he has a daughter who is deaf. (Where IS this daughter?? How come I haven’t seen her??) Then he talked about his father, grandfather, his son and grandson. I was really intrigued. It was no nice to be able to communicate with someone who I could understand. He was a very nice person, very communicative and knowledgeable in ASL, and very friendly. And as he was leaving, he signed “I love you” to us and then he turned and was gone.

This whole experience made me smile. And it made me think: Maybe I shouldn’t shut out people so much. I always expect the worst. I always expect a person to not care, not want to communicate or anything. But this experience right here was a pleasant eye-opener. It made me realize that maybe I should give people a chance. Who knows? There might be someone out there who can sign – and who actually wants to communicate with me in a way that I can understand.