Saturday, July 10, 2010

1200 + Miles Later

Musings and random thoughts about a long, yet quick trip

Thursday, I drove 600+ miles south to get my daughter from an extended visit with her grandparents. Friday, she and I drove 600+ miles north to home.

I'm PooPed. I've never traveled there in one day and traveled back the next. Driving the entire time means I can't switch positions, can't cross my legs, uncross them, recross them the other way. My driving leg, foot, and heel became very tired at points. Cruise control is a help, but not in heavy traffic where speeds vary from minute to minute.

I almost always score a find for my homeschooler in a Cracker Barrel gift shop that we can use for fun, learning, and "therapy". During this trip, I found a new-to-me coloring book by Dover, with a "what's wrong with the picture?" theme.

My mom gave me another cool item that fits the fun, learning, and "therapy" category: jumbo straws from the Big Lots store. These neon colored plastic drinking straws are 20" tall, great for the HANDLE crazy straw activity, for blowing feathers or cotton balls across a table, or for drinking from a glass on the floor (while we are outdoors).

A spider bite (likely a brown recluse) at the base of an index finger is painful to the person bitten and scary to everyone close to that person. My mother's index finger was apparently bitten by a spider, which involved a midnight trip to the ER and a trip to the doctor in the following daytime hours. The multiple medications she was given seem to be controlling the reaction and the pain.

Inclusion body myositis stinks. Watching my dad's condition decline from a distance is difficult. One one hand, I'm spared the day-to-day challenges that my sister and mom see. On the other hand, the changes are more dramatic when I don't see him as often. One of the disadvantages to being a day's drive away is that I can't be there to help very often. How will my mom care for my dad while her hand is healing? She's a wonder woman, that's for sure.

I had never made the day-long drive alone before Thursday. My younger daughter, the one whom I homeschool, the one with an autism spectrum disorder, has been whiny and dysregulated lately. Getting a break from her was good. Sort of. She was sick and feverish when I left her at home with her dad and brother, though, and leaving her was difficult for me. (Now that I'm back home, she's not sleeping through the night, is even more dysregulated, both indications that she's still sick, and I'm ready to take another drive because her whiny-ness and dysregulation is almost on my last nerve already.)

I wish I'd burned more Schoolhouse Expo sessions onto CD to listen to on that long drive. I could have easily listened to nine or 10 of them. I'm kicking myself because I didn't get more of them burned onto CD. I listened to Diana Waring's session about learning styles on the way down and Rebecca Keller's session about critical thinking on the way home with my daughter. Now I want to read Waring's books about teaching, homeschooling, learning styles and am looking at Keller's science programs on-line. Keller introduces chemistry and physics from the get-go, at Pre-K levels. I'm intrigued.

I saw a jaw-dropping first on the trip back home. Outside of Dayton, Ohio, in a traffic jam during afteroon rush hour, big clear drops of what I thought were raindrops plopped onto my windshield. Except no one else on either side of me was getting the drops on their windshields. Could rain be falling on just my windshield, I wondered? And then I realized something. The drops weren't rain at all. The plops were PooP. Bird PooP. A bird was Pooping on just my windshield. Pooping. Again and again. I've never seen anything like it, so many hits in such a short period of time. Here's one of the photographs my daughter captured in the aftermath. We had to stop at a gas station and scrub the windshield because the marks from the PooP bombs were too annoying.

I ate a lot of wheat during the two days. I had foods I haven't had in ages while I was on the road. Now, I'm thinkin' I made some really poor choices and feel the consequences of my choices right now. You see, I completely eliminated gluten for six weeks beginning May 1st, and have occasionally had a hamburger on a bun or bowl of wheat-free cereal (but not gluten free) while maintaining an almost-gluten-free diet. Two days of gluten at every meal has my eye inflamed and eczema worsened. I feel sluggish and my limbs feel heavy, and losing sleep with a sleepless girl last night did not help the situation.

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