Today was one of those days

Sometimes life is just funny. Yesterday when I didn’t have the homeschool lesson plan all planned out, I was stressed out because I felt like I was winging it. Ugh. Hate that feeling. So last night I made a point of staying up to plan out a great day of lessons for today. I went to bed feeling very proud of myself….I figured out a way to nicely transition from the Caddie Woodlawn novel we’ve been reading and the Civil War and Native American studies of the past couple of weeks, to the unit on “Cultivated Crops” that our Charlotte Mason homeschool group will be studying this Fall. I decided to make the transition with crops of the South that were very significant to a lot of the reasons behind the Civil War: the production and harvesting of cotton. Found great information about George Washington Carver who was a slave himself and made significant contributions to the crop industry after the Civil War. It was perfect. I had primary source letters from the Civil War that the kids could read and analyze….I had artwork portraying slaves picking cotton…I had a map of the U.S. with data on which states produce the most cotton….I had BrainPop and YouTube links on who George Washington Carver was and the contributions he made. He was very famous for his study of all the uses of peanuts. And how significant it was to introduce ‘crop rotation’, since cotton depleted the soil of so many nutrients. It was important to alternate the crops- one year cotton, one year peanuts, or one year sweet potatoes. This was going to be perfect! I was even able to link it back to the Civil War re-enactment we went to last weekend, where one of the soldiers sang a song to Natalie called “Eating Goober peas” I had no idea that peanuts were called goober peas in the South. So many rich connections and yet also moving forward with new topics. Oh I went to bed so satisfied and happy with my planning. I had fought a good fight with my printer last night and even had math problems printed and ready for the morning. It was going to be a great day. A productive school day. The best.

So this morning I started to roll it all out…..

The kids were at the kitchen counter eating their oatmeal as I read aloud from the Caddie Woodlawn novel. They were sooooo into it, that they pleaded for me to read more than our typical one chapter a day. We moved out onto the deck, the kids each swinging away to their heart’s content on our swings while I read two additional chapters. Then just as we were about to move back into the house to continue with the fine lessons I had ready and waiting….

Jacob said “Mom, look at Charlie’s leg!!” I turned my head and looked down at Charlie. Oh me oh my. There he was with a patch of raw skin. Ohhhhhhhh Charlie. He had been biting, scratching, who knows what…..and a patch of his leg was fur-less. All the fur gone and just raw, red, little bit of bloody skin. As I examined him, there was another spot on his leg that was all raw from having been scratched to nothing. Ugh. I could see my day of intact, creative lesson plans dissolving and in their place a trip to the vet taking place. A couple of weeks ago he had a spot on his back that he had been scratching, we put some Neosporin on it for a few days and then we noticed he itched it less. But now clearly it was obvious that something was making poor Charlie uncomfortable and super itchy. 

So we all piled into the car, drove to Daddy’s work, exchanged our new Sienna for the old, green van. Drove back home, picked up Charlie and then went to the vet. But the vet was jam-packed full. So full that all the parking spots were taken and cars were waiting in the parking lot for any spaces to clear. Well, we needed to deliver a birthday present to a dear friend in Lomita….so we continued on to our friend’s house…thinking it was better to be productive and get something accomplished instead of waiting for an hour in a really full doctor’s office. When we returned half hour later, the vet’s parking lot had one open space. I quickly drove down to the signal to make a u-turn and claim the spot. Nope- too late. Someone else had grabbed it. Today was just going to be one of those days.

Altogether, 2 1/2 hours later, a cortisone shot administered, antibiotics in hand, $135 charged on my credit card….we were headed back home. We made it back just in time for the kids to inhale some pb&j sandwiches and put some tennis shoes on so I could take them to their 12noon enrichment classes. 

Oh.but wait. The 3 local schools we need to drive by to get to their school, all had minimum day today. Noooooooooooo. Seriously?! So now there we were stuck in traffic. Lots of traffic. 

Okay….breathe Marina breathe…..just.let.go. Consider it success that you had math sheets ready so that you could throw them on a clipboard and have them work on their math in the car. Consider it a success that you had their spiral notebook journals ready and the topics for reflective writing already pre-printed in them. You can say this day was a school day. You read 3 chapters of a novel to them, had conversations about new vocabulary words, discussed character traits as you read, had them make predictions and interpretations of the text as you stopped and discuss the readings. They did lots of math problems. They even wrote today! They wrote lots. It’s okay. Breathe. Yes, you only did the first 3 of the 11 amazing things you had planned and prepared for. Yes, yesterday you were stressed out because you didn’t have anything planned. Yes, today you are stressed because everything was planned and yet it all went awry with the unexpected itchy problem that Charlie had. It’s okay. 

Oh did I mention that while the kids were eating their pb&j sandwiches for lunch, I tried to continue some of the lessons I had prepped? I won’t name who….but a certain someone accidentally knocked a tall glass of water on the counter….and water was pooling, running, scurrying across the counter everywhere. I hurriedly picked up the pile of all my precious lesson plans for today before they were drenched. That would have been misery beyond misery- to not have gotten to complete any of the planned work and to have it all doused with spilled water. Alas I was spared that heart attack.

So while the kids had their hour-long enrichment classes, I drove to Trader Joe’s to try to unwind as I did some grocery shopping. I perused the aisles feeling like an exhausted zombie. Can I have a nap already? Please.

Perhaps it’s because I’m sad that I had to let go of what would have been a great, successful homeschool day…..but when I rounded the corner of our block and I saw men taking down the street’s huge magnolia trees, I just felt sad. Really, really sad. One tree had already been reduced to a stump. Now they were working on my neighbor’s tree. Huge, big branches that took decades of growth now being chopped to mulch in one of those great, big, loud tree-chomping machines. The huge tree reduced to a tall, vertical, thick pole. And then the giant thud as it fell to the ground, with all of its chainsaw cuts. Oh the sadness. All the magnolia trees being removed on our street. All the streets. All being taken away because some lame head years ago didn’t think through the fact that these trees have roots that lift sidewalks. I seriously don’t understand why it is that city planners don’t have 20+ year plans for the type of trees and vegetation they plant. Perhaps city planning didn’t exist back then. Who knows. I don’t know. But today I’m feeling frustrated, depleted and now sad.

Hoping the rest of the day gets better.

I’m ready for a better day tomorrow.

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