every summer has a story: mine is titled "Blessing in Disguise"

I have written, but not decently. Mostly, my writing practice takes place in the form of sporadic, long-winded Facebook status updates. Because when Life poops down poopy poop on me, this is what happens: (1) I crawl into a cave of self-pity grief and moping. The End. (There is no (2)...when I started making this list, I thought there would be a (2), but then I realized, nope. There is no (2). Just self-pity grief and moping.)

Since I last posted about genre-finding, I've experienced a series of unfortunate events, as Lemony Snicket would posit (there will be a more comprehensive list for this part):

1- After 12 years of classroom trailer teaching, I asked for--and was granted, thank you thank you thank you--a move into the building. But this also meant I had to pack up an entire classroom of stuff in a mere 5 hours (for those who think a mere 5 hours is plenty of time to pack up one little ol' classroom, let me laugh wildly here and suggest knowingly, "One does not simply....pack up...an entire elementary classroom in a mere 5 hours." Show me someone who thinks this is an easy human possibility, and I will show you someone who works closely with or for Michelle Rhee and her Corporate Education Reformer Friends, and/or someone who has spent minimal (MINIMAL) time doing actual classroom teaching as a legitimate job. One does not simply...pack up...an entire elementary classroom in mere hours and certainly not if they're doing it on their own, all by themselves.

Or, in my case, when they do, they end up breaking something. See below:

2-In my packing furor, I lost track of time (and also, you know, maybe ignored the softly suggested "get out!!" announcement over the PA system at 6:45 pm) and got locked out of the school but into Classroom Trailer Land...thus, I could not get out of the back part of school due to the locked outside gates and also could not get through the school to ultimate freedom due to the locked building doors.

3-I'd heard urban legends of certain teachers successfully climbing one area of the back lot chain link gate and decided if THOSE gals could do it, I could do it. I mean, who cares that I hadn't been to a gym in over 9 months and am pushing 42 with very little upper body strength?? SHE climbed that gate?? Oh snap, this is easy peasy. I immediately summoned my inner movie stunt woman/Spiderman super hero (who lacks a certain sense of danger and common sense, all at once) and climbed. And I made it! I made it over! Friends, I was over that gate, on the other side, minutes from getting into my car all triumphant and strong. I was thisclose to being An Official Urban Legend(tm).

4-Here's the problem (every good plot has one): (a) I was wearing flip flops and (b) I lost my grip just as I was about to make it off the fence. I landed, rolled my left ankle, and landed smack on top of the left top side of my left foot. My fifth metatarsal decided it wasn't up for full weight bearing on top of it that day and cracked (wimp). Yesterday, I found out via an update x-ray my 4th metatarsal decided to crack a little as well. Had I just cracked my fourth metatarsal, this would have been a minor inconvenience. It was that 5th one that has caused all the problems (wimp). Because, heh, who knew? If you're going to break a foot bone, you'll probably break the 5th one, and the 5th one is the one you have to stay off of if you fracture it in just the right (wimpy) spot. Which I did.

And thus the grief process began: 6-8 weeks of my summer gone...okay, not totally gone, but extremely reduced and limited. No big trips, no pool time, a cancellation of my plans to start Being a Runner again, all summarized by a rather large break down/freak about on being physically able/ready to get my new classroom ready before my teaching contract officially requires my presence and begins again.

And can I just interject here with a big dose of reality: Isn't that sad? My first thoughts were not: Woo! Lots of time to rest! Just what I needed after this crazy year! No, no. My first thoughts were: What if I can't get back to work in time??? (Though, in my defense, please note: I need to be at least back to 80-90% by mid-July, because ha! Teachers don't simply...get their classrooms ready for a new school year the week they're required to come back. That week in elementary school is unofficially known as Meetings Week, which is kind of like Shark Week only bloodier.)

Still, I think it's clear: SOMEbody needs an intervention....please keep reading, because I did get one.

Fortunately, while I do not possess tremendous good sense when it comes to assessing my own physical abilities and limitations in regards to tackling 6 foot chain link gates, I do possess a fair amount of good sense when it comes to who to surround myself with in regards to people and friends. Carol, one of my dearest friends, intervened and reminded me that these things, while upsetting and frustrating, are often the Universe's way of sending us a Big Message that we were probably ignoring over and over when It was attempting to communicate to us in the form of little subtle message. My Big Message appears to be: Slow Down, Rest, and Go Pin a Butt Load of Crap on Pinterest. Also, Read and Write.

So I have given myself 2 weeks of Slow Down and Rest. For the next 4 weeks, I will focus on Read and Write. And this will be a blessing in disguise kind of summer. I will have lots of time to focus on helping my little girl do some reading and writing (which I did NOT have time for this past August-May), and I will have lots of time to focus on doing some reading and writing for myself (which I did NOT have time for this past August-May). And maybe, along the way, I will train myself to notice when I'm going too fast. I am certain I will train myself to listen to messages on the school intercom that are telling me to leave (except, can I gently suggest that the "Time to Leave Now" soft, subtle alert would be more effective if done in an ominously threatening and very loud evil, deep and gravelly ghost-like voice that goes something like: GET OUUUUUUTTTT NOOOOOOWWWW!!!! DANGER IS IMMINENT!!!! ? I think something like that would have lit a fire under my butt 2 weeks ago...or not, because I'm notoriously obtuse when existing in my own little world).

In addition to all of that, I feel this may help jump-start my freelance writing career. I have been accepted as a writer at Blog Mutt, but have done zero writing due to time constraints (of which I have few to none, now) and initial shock at how long broken bones actually take to heal. I fully intend to hop over to Blog Mutt and see how many websites need an expert on broken fifth metatarsal bones--I feel that, due to the extensive Google research I have done over the last 2 weeks, I have enough information to start a new career as a fifth metatarsal bone knowledge doctor. I couldn't do surgery on your fifth metatarsal, but I can give you more information than you actually asked for or originally even wanted (it's a trait I inherited quite honestly from my father). I hear Blog Mutt pays $8 per article, and I figure if I can find enough bone-centric articles to concentrate on over the next 4 weeks, I can accrue at least enough money for a new pair of orthotic shoes just in time for School Year 2013-14.

And I had good news at the orthopedist's office yesterday after my update x-ray. Bones, which take a notoriously long time to heal (4 weeks for soft callous formation + 2 weeks for hard callous), can be tricky...every bone heals differently, and every person has DNA factors that contribute to bone healing time. I appear to have been fortunate with bone healing DNA (thanks, mom! thanks, dad! thanks, other ancestors who also contributed!), and my bones are already showing signs of being on the mend. And so I have relaxed a bit, and have decided to stop shaking my fists at the Universe, my poor gauge of physical fitness/decision-making under crisis, and my wimpy left foot bones for being such girlie men. I will take the next 4 weeks I've been ordered to stay off my left foot and read, write, and write some more.

I will also look at the positive side of things (another message I think the Universe was using both hand to yank on my face to look at, just like my only child daughter does when she needs me to focus): I can still drive, I will have a slightly bionic right foot/calf/thigh in another 4 weeks, amazing upper body strength (ironic, since that's exactly what I needed 2 weeks ago when I was on top of the gate), and my brain still works (most days, but never on Mondays and not while climbing gates).

And, when not out and about with my 90 year old woman walker (complete with tennis ball feet for easier sliding mobility), my mom and stepfather brought me a cool, ergonomic office chair to wheel myself around the house with (until you can't balance on both feet, you never think about needing feet to use your hands...it's an interdependent relationship most people with full feet use just don't consider--I've been out in public since the accident, and I am painfully observant of this. In fact, I spend a lot of time watching able-bodied adults rush about and I just want to grab them and go, "Do you know?! Do you even KNOW?! You have no idea how easily your whole world can change just by one foot! Say THANK YOU!). And, of course, I have, once again, become aware of how stupendously helpful and giving other human beings around me and in my life are when the going gets tough.

Grace and Thanksgiving, much like feet and hands, just seem to work best together. And that's probably on purpose, via some type of Universal Law of Physics.

I remain convinced my left foot is a wimp, though I'm being much kinder to it now during our heart to heart conversations about wellness and healing. I'm sure the Universe broke it to teach it some sort of lesson as well.

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