Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Our school secretary, Nina, is retiring after 46 years of service- at the same school! Having only held a record of four years of service at the same school- that amazes me! I hope in 34 years no one blogs about me saying, "That old Mrs. Fairfield, she is FINALLY retiring after 46 years of service. We all think she lost her mind 34 years ago when she had that one class, but she held on. Rumor has it, she still visits those kids from 34 years ago in jail and she is STILL trying to teach them to read..." Seriously though, Nina is a super wonderful lady. She is not just a good secretary, she is on the ball and keeps us organized and calls all of my student's parents for me (a lot of secretaries say, "call your own damn parents Sara!"), but she is a great mom/grandma type of lady. When I found out she was retiring, I was truly hurt. I was in the office and asked Nina (in a how dare you? tone) "How dare you? Who will take care of me- I mean us?" Nina answered sweetly in her Southern Belle Accent, "Well, sweetie, I'll make sure whoever replaces me will take good care of you. I'll personally see to it." That didn't make me feel better, because I know no one will take care of me. I like having someone take care of me. I had a principal who took care of me. She kept me organized, gave me many reminders of what is coming up, prioritized my to-do's for me, and even told me (gently) to clean my desk. Others saw it as intrusive and rude. I saw it as a way to show she loved us. I have been using a lot of the office motrin lately because I have these headaches and they just won't go away (I send them home at 3:00- then they show up the next morning at 8:15). Nina unpacked a shipment of medical supplies and said, "Sara, I got more of that pain reliever you like. Do you also want some Tums?" What other secretary would think of the teachers while stocking the medicine cabinet? She is like one of those perfect moms from those shows in the 60's. She is always dressed up. Her hair is perfect and she always wears lipstick- she can even put it on perfectly without a mirror- I've seen it. I am quite sure she wrote articles for the Ladies Home Journal back when they let random people write their articles. She knows where EVERYTHING is. "Nina, where is the whiteout?"- "Door one honey." Nina, where are manila envelopes?" "Door three, dear." Most secretaries would say, "If I tell you, you won't remember. If you find it yourself, you won't ask me again." I know because I've had secretaries tell me that. Nina doesn't care how many times she has to tell you. I went in a week later and asked again, "Nina, where are the manila envelopes?" "Door three hon," as she's putting on her lipstick. She lets me whine and complain all I want without getting sick of me, she agrees with me no matter what I am saying, and treats the students like they are her grandchildren. Nina types everything on the typewriter because she can't trust the computer, "that thing doesn't work when the weather is bad." When I started school this year, I had to come in early to unpack my room. Nina welcomed me with a big old Southern welcome and told me, "this time of year is my favorite. I can't wait to get back to school. I get so bored in the summer." I looked at her blankly and thought, I love summer. I didn't get bored at all. I guess that's how you end up putting in 46 years of service. Today I went into the office singing, "now we have only 9 days left, 9 days left, 9 days left, now we only have 9 days left until they set me free!!" Nina informed me that the end of the year is always sad because the fifth graders leave and she tries to keep track of them all but she never sees a few of them. She takes pride in having "taken care of" two generations. Half of my student's parents grew up with Nina. I will miss Nina dearly. I am sure I will bawl at the retirement party tomorrow after school. I usually do, even if I don't really like the person that much. Part of it is because they say they'll visit, but you know it won't be the same, and the other part is because I am not the one retiring. This time, I know I'll cry because I know no one can replace Nina in the office, or in my heart.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Poor Ethan

On Thursday I was all excited because it was the only evening we didn't have baseball or soccer. In fact I planned on making stuffed pork chops and a cheesecake for dessert. When we all got home from school, the kids wanted a snack, I told them "no, because we are having a big supper." Ethan went over to the neighbor's house to play and Noah went to the park with Scott. While I was making supper, there was an urgent knocking at my door. Through the window I saw Ethan, and thought it was weird that he didn't just walk in. I opened the door and Mark, the (dad) neighbor came in with Ethan saying, "I think Ethan broke his arm." It was in the shape of an S. These are the thoughts that raced through my mind and a few of course slipped out my mouth, "oh my God, I'm gonna throw up, thank God it's his right arm, where are my shoes? I am wearing a tank top with sweatpants. My hair is sweated to my head because I walked/ran on the tread mill. That teaches me to exercise. At least it happened at the neighbor's house who is a social worker, so when the social workers ask me what happened, she'll have my back. " After I announce my impending vomit and that we are headed to the hospital, Ethan holds up his arm and says, "I think it's better" and his arm flops over at a 45 degree angle. Mark asks if I want his wife, Gail, to go to the hospital with me. I tell him no and usher Ethan to the garage. Not thinking I let Ethan climb into his carseat alone, which resulted in him using his arm to boost himself up and it bending at a 90 degree angle. Quite sure I am going to be sick, I started to back out onto the driveway and Gail came running across our yard (thank God). I've never been very good about asking for help, but I am so glad they just took over and helped. I got out and let her drive, and climbed into the back seat with Ethan. I tried to call Scott, but since his ears don't pick up my ringtone, he didn't answer. I tried three more times, thought I should have left a note, but then left a message telling him, "you may notice we aren't at home. That is because Ethan broke his arm and we are at the hospital." We get to Meritcare at 6:00. Gail thought to call Mark and have him go to the park to get Scott. Genius idea! I never thought of that! We check in with the receptionist and it is sooo obvious that Ethan's arm is broke. There are exactly 6 people in the waiting room. Two groups of three. Only two people ahead of us, and by the looks of it, I couldn't see any distress or what is wrong with them, I was SURE we'd go right in. An HOUR later, we saw the triage nurse. She determined in fact we are at the right place, but does not usher us back. We go BACK to the waiting room AGAIN. Another half hour later we get a room. I ask for pain meds for him, but they said not until he sees the doctor. At that point I think Ethan went into shock. He started shaking. I told the nurse and she gave him a blanket. He immediately fell into a deep sleep. An hour later they came in to take him to x-ray. It was next to impossible to wake him up. The only real time he screamed or cried was during the x-rays. After the x-rays I asked for pain meds- for Ethan not me. Still, no. It's been three hours since we came in. Finally my cousin (who works at the ER) brought Noah and Scott back to Ethan's room. I asked Noah if he was hungry and he burst into tears because he was starving. Scott took him to the cafeteria to get food and he called his mom to come and get Noah. Finally the nurses came in to give Ethan pain meds through an IV. While the nurses were setting him up, the doctor came in and said, "we are waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to call back and let us know if he needs surgery or if we can set it." Surgery never even entered my mind until then. He ended up not having surgery, but had to have it set twice (which means being sedated twice) to get it set correctly. Right before the first time they were going to set it, I left the room to call my mother-in-law to tell her they were going to set it and not have surgery. Noah answered the phone. I told him what was happening, then I said I had to go because they were about to put Ethan asleep. Noah instantly got hysterical and asked if they were going to put Ethan asleep. I told him yes, it's OK. He informed me that when they put kitty asleep... I felt so bad for scaring my little boy. I explained that it's different for people and it's just so Ethan doesn't feel the pain while they move his arm around. I tried to talk him down and tell him to get some sleep. To make a long story short, we FINALLY got out five hours after we arrived. Ethan is really a tough cookie. He hardly cried or complained at all. Today he had his follow up appointment to find out if he had to have surgery and it's healing perfectly! So perfectly, in fact, that they didn't want to take the "soft cast" off yet because it's healing so straight. If they did, they'd move his arm around and that could wreck the alignment, so they are waiting another week to put the hard cast on. He'll have it on for a month. When we got in the car after his appointment today, Ethan said, "Did you know when you poop and have a broken arm it makes your arm stop hurting? So when my arm hurts a little, I just go poop." Who knew? Certainly not me, but I've only broken my pinkie finger, and I can't recall a correlation.
I also included a photo of Max because he is so damn cute.