Pampered Day 15 #SOL22

He carried my beach chair every day on our short walk from our apartment to the beach while we were on spring break last week. He didn’t need to as I’m quite capable and he knows it but he did it anyway. He pampers me. He always has but it’s been even more so since I became a pandemic teacher. Evident in my SOL21 slice Who Stood Behind You This Year?

The years of pampering have not gone unnoticed by others nor have they been unappreciated despite my independent streak. A streak that was born from the need to grow up quickly when I was the oldest child at home when my stay-at-home mom suddenly found her self divorced and a single parent. While that was a difficult time, it lead me to my university 8 hours from home where I met him.

The years of pampering have not gone unnoticed by our sons either. I’ve seen them carry out the example he set in the few short years they’ve been married. Our oldest pledged to always feed his bride in his vows and our youngest promised to always seek adventure with his. They’ve kept the promises they made.

Sometimes the three of them pamper the three of us in silly ways. I recently learned that a giant bottle of Kraft Parmesan Cheese sparked feelings of gratitude and love in one of my DILs. The gifting of a plant or the presentation of just the right cup of tea brings a beautiful smile to the other. For myself, a new set of Flair pens was the perfect Valentine.

He carried my beach chair every day last week. He often lugs my school bag to and from the car. He does way more dishes than I ever do these days. He makes the bed daily and can make a decent cup of coffee despite being a tea drinker. Our sons can’t go wrong if they continue to follow his example.

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!


A Tale of Two Spring Breaks Day 13 #SOL22

Just like my last spring break two years ago this one did not end as I expected.

Two years ago . . .on the Thursday before break ended I received a phone call informing me school would be closed the following week for students. Faculty and staff would not report on Monday and would receive more information in the near future.

This year . . .on the Thursday before spring break ended I was enjoying a tour of Little Havana.

Two years ago . . .on the Friday before spring break ended we had dinner at a restaurant. We didn’t realize it would be over a year before we ate in another restaurant.

This year . . .on the Friday before spring break ended I sat on the beach reading my latest knitting mystery (a slice about that will be coming;) keenly aware that our travel home could be disrupted by weather at our destination airport.

Two years ago . . .on the Saturday before spring break ended I didn’t know it would be two years before I had another spring break. We arrived at the airport ready to fly home having no idea what the future would hold. I had the toilet paper we bought for our rental packed in my suitcase because the news said it was in short supply. Toilet paper, really? I recall seeing several older people completely covered in protective gear. It seemed like something out of a Sci-Fi novel or the movie Outbreak. Our departing and arriving airports were eerily deserted. Security was no problem, our plane had empty seats there were no crowds at the baggage claim. The world had changed completely while I sat on the beach for a week. On our drive home my son called me to tell me my soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s bridal shower was cancelled. I was looking forward to a girls weekend with my sisters and nieces the following weekend. That was the first of many disappointments.

This year . . .on the Saturday before spring break ended I woke up early grabbed my phone and checked the weather. Nothing had changed. I flipped to my airline app and saw our flight was still on time. I made my coffee, posted my slice and read several other slices. I settled in front of my cereal while my husband showered and then I heard the familiar ding of my flight tracker app. I grabbed my phone and saw our flight was delayed until the evening. We’ll get in much later than we wanted to but maybe the snow at home will have stopped by the time we get there. Minutes later my phone chimed again and I read the word CANCELLED on a bright red banner. No flights on Sunday, no flights on Monday, no flights from any nearby airports until TUESDAY! As much as I wouldn’t mind extending my spring break there’s much to do back home. I’m behind on assessments from being sick last week and the report card deadline is looming. The hunt for the rental car began.

Two years ago . . .on the Sunday spring break ended I woke up at home not knowing what to expect. When will we return to school? How late will the school year be extended? How long will it take this Covid thing to go away? There were so many unknowns that Sunday morning. I had no idea I wouldn’t return to my classroom or see my second graders in person again. I had no idea I would soon become a virtual teacher and a master of Zoom meetings. I had no idea the May wedding we were planning would actually be a June wedding with only the immediate family.

This year . . .on the Sunday spring break ended I woke up in a hotel not too far from the Virginia state line driving to an airport three and half hours from home to pick up my car. I’m writing my slice in the car using my phone as a hotspot because I’m a technology pro now. Once I’m done, I plan to enjoy the sunshine streaming through the windows as I take in the scenery and enjoy the adventure that’s ahead for the rest of the day. I look forward to our reunion with our dog, Milo. I’m trying not to think about the week ahead. I’m ready to teach Monday but a bag full of writing assessments awaits me at home and those report cards aren’t going to finish themselves. As difficult as the last two years have been, I have somehow managed to have a better work/life balance. It’s too bad it took a pandemic for me to learn that life lesson.

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

My Adventure Companions Day 12 #SOL22

My Keens have been with me almost 5 years now. We’ve been on many adventures together. Our relationship didn’t start out as comfortable as it is today.

Our first trip together was to Italy in the heat of July in 2017, a 30th anniversary trip of a lifetime. We started our journey in the fishing village of Sorrento. We traveled many miles up and down hills in the quaint village with the most unbelievable street traffic. My pinkie toes registered their complaints by the end of our first day there.

Despite our troublesome start my Keens remained my go to shoe as we traversed through Italy. They accompanied me to Pompeii, on a hot air balloon ride over Tuscany and even to stand in awe at the foot of David in Florence. Once home, they made their way to the bottom of the shoe pile in my closet eagerly awaiting our next adventure.

There have been many adventures since that first amazing trip. Most of them have included sand and sun. We’ve even had some pandemic adventures my Keens and I. We’ve attended my son’s wedding, an anniversary getaway and now a spring break beach trip. Last summer we trekked through The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park with my sons and their wives. We had a joyous reunion. I’m happy to report that my Keens and my pinkie toes get along quite well now.

My adventure companions are safely tucked into my suitcase this morning. They are awaiting our trip home. The wether reports for the airport aren’t great and the three and a half hour drive home promises to be filled with snow. I’m not looking forward to what might lie ahead today but all great adventures must come to an end otherwise the next one can’t begin.

I am participating in the 15th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my fourth year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

The Start of Pandemic Life Day 14 #SOL21

Saturday, March 14, 2020 was the day pandemic life started for me. We were boarding a plane to fly home from a spring break week in Florida. I already knew I wasn’t going back to work on Monday and I was traveling home with the extra toilet paper we had bought for our cottage. Normally, I would leave the extras behind but by all accounts on social media I wasn’t going to find any toilet paper in the grocery store when I got home. Those accounts were true, I couldn’t find it for weeks.

The Pittsburgh airport was eerily quiet and practically deserted when we landed. We made our way easily through the airport. We gathered our suitcases and headed to retrieve our car to make the three hour drive home. We haven’t been in an airport since.

We had an early flight so we were going to need to stop for lunch on the way home. We often like to find local restaurants when we travel so I started searching the GPS. We decided on a burger place not too far from the highway. That was the last restaurant we visited until sometime in the summer of 2020.

As we pulled into the parking spot at the restaurant my phone started to ring. It was Son Two calling from the west coast. He was to be married in 8 weeks and was due to come home the next week for his bride’s wedding shower. I would be gathering with my sisters and nieces for the shower and the guys would be playing golf. The shower was cancelled, the wedding postponed to October but then rescheduled to June with only immediate family.

These are just a few of the ways life has been altered since Saturday, March 14, 2020. It’s been a year today since we started this pandemic life. While there have been many losses this year there have been blessings too. We had a beautiful intimate wedding in June. Our immediate family of six has remained healthy. We regularly connect with friends and family through video chats. We have learned to appreciate time together with others. We’ve learned the people are more important than the traditions of holidays. We’ve slowed down, taken more walks and played lots of games. Most importantly, we’ve grown to appreciate things we used to take for granted.

I’m hoping Day 14 #SOL22 on Monday, March 14, 2022 tells a story of post-pandemic life gratitude and appreciation.

I am participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my third year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!