A day of successes and painful realizations…with cake!

Spent most of my day just getting to all the bits and bobs of routine stuff I couldn’t get to yesterday because I was so busy saving a world’s worth of academically at-risk children single-handedly, one spreadsheet at a time. Ended up with two of yesterday’s matches unraveling, but re-placed the volunteer with two different kids and then placed two more to go with it, so overall I’m ahead. 14 kids placed with tutors and counting – woohoo!

On a less cheerful note, one thing is becoming crystal clear from my walk to work, and that’s that I’ve got to find a doctor and an alternative to toting my stuff between sites in a backpack. NOW.

My right shoulder, which has been sketchy for the last few years due to the repetitive strain of keyboarding and mousing, but in a low-grade and merely annoying sort of way, is now seriously and painfully degrading at a frightening pace, although it may be related to an injury sustained while moving stuff around during homework club setup rather than the older, slightly differently placed soreness. During the walk today, it came to a head as I was carrying all those backpack-ensconced pounds of lunch, Americorps binder o’doom, purse, just-in-case rain gear (lightweight packables) and umbrella (hey, they’ve come in real handy on a few of those days that were shiny going in, but Noahic coming out), a water bottle and small book (for lunchtime reading). Dunno how much it amounts to in pounds, but today it amounted to a mile plus of pure agony broken up by repeated flare-ups of an intense, burning desire to fling my worldly belongings into the nearest culvert. Only I couldn’t. Because I throw with my right arm and at this mo, the only thing I’m capable of throwing any distance with that arm is the bird.

Looks like it’s doctor time for me, ’cause I need to know what I’m dealing with – arthritis or something soft-tissue related. Not that there’s a lot you can do either way, but I need to know how not to make it worse. For soft-tissue, you gotta take anti-inflammatories and hold still. For arthritis, you gotta take anti-inflammatories and move it or lose it, pain or no pain. The sucky thing is, they tend to feel the same but the wrong action makes both worse. So I gotta know. Which means doctors, meds and X-rays – and the cash to pay for them (or, at least, for the deductible of our gratefully appreciated, but thinly spread, insurance). Crap.

Coming back up from the valley of despair and back onto the bright side again, though, after homework club (during which I nursed about 2/3 of a migraine, the remaining third of which was all the paltry, single generic naproxin sodium I had on me would cover), we had to stay late for a meeting. Only, after all the other Americorps folks got there, it turned out that it wasn’t a meeting. It was cake. Specifically birthday cake. More specifically, MY birthday cake! (38, in case you’re wondering)

Cooness!

I was so easily deceived it’s not even funny. I had no clue. Well, I guessed the part about the kids making me cards, which I got earlier during the day (they’re not exactly opaque in their secrets). But not the party. Totally oblivious.

Anyway, S (my homework club partner) brought carrot cake with cream-cheese icing (one of my favorites!) and everyone engaged in copyright infringement by merrily singing me the Happy Birthday song in an open-to-the-public building. And then we had cake and ice cream and chatted about our respective weeks. One of our members couldn’t be there because the version of the October Death Plague she wound up with is bad enough that it could result in tonsilectomy (ouchie!), which seriously sucks, and a few of the others were AWOL for as-yet-undisclosed reasons, but otherwise it was a real full-on Americorps blast filled with jokes, tales of the week, jovial jocularity and much random goofiness. I am so blessed.

I finally started what I’ve been planning to do with my birthdays from here on out, which is that instead of looking back and celebrating all the years that are in the past, I have decided to “clear the books” and start over each birthday by closing out my “personal accounts” for the year (unfinished business, regrets, missed things, etc), have a wake for the year that was and start fresh on the year to come. So I stood up, asked anyone in the room if I had unfinished business with them, required forgiveness to be given or accepted or otherwise had any “open accounts” pending. No one had anything to offer, so I toasted out the last year and opened up the new one.

I got the idea from a thought process that began with the realization that every day we face the possibility of death, and I didn’t want to die with regrets. So I make an effort every day to make sure I leave nothing undone that I would regret if I were to die and releasing the things undone I can’t do anything about. Following that train of thought, it occured to me that birthdays were the perfect opportunity to make that gesture on a grander, and more celebratory scale. So over this weekend, I will meditate on what I have accomplished and what I didn’t, how I feel about that and how to let go of any lingering issues that still tie me to the past, mentally, physically or emotionally. Sorta like having a wake for the dead past and clearing the room for the future aborning. Or, as I put it to hubby, casting off from the pier of the past so I can sail unfettered into the future. Very liberating.

So, here’s to the old year – may it rest in peace, literally. And here’s to the new year – may it be everything I hope it to be, unfettered by regrets, nagging concerns and unfinished business from the past. Onward ho!

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