Wednesday, September 13, 2017

All Hail

I stopped dead in the doorway, suppressing surprise and giggles but letting the smile right out.  My coworker's eyebrows arched, asking a question that needed no verbalization.

Why did all your students just fall out of their seats as though they are worshiping a king?

I called on a student who confidently explained that as part of our discussion regarding the Aztec king Moctezuma II, we had learned that no one was allowed to look him in the eyes and that even his highest nobles fell on their faces when he entered a room.

A very valid POINT A, to be sure, but I could tell my colleague needed a little more guidance to get her to the point where all my students were on the floor.

I took over, letting the words tumble like they do when I am excited - an overwhelming occurrence I have recently learned is a gift from the ADHD gods.  Although I am certain my syntax was littered with prepositional phrases and transitions and whatnot, I image she caught only a fraction of it.  The students wanted to hail the principal like she was the king.  I thought it unlikely the principal would happen upon our lesson.  I extended their idea to include any adult who walked in.  I didn't think anyone would walk in.

And then ADHD gift number two: I had forgotten entirely that we'd had this conversation, left the classroom to grab said coworker for a consult on a classroom issue, then walked back in - accidentally satisfying all the conditions of the deal to which I had just agreed.

And so I had twenty-six proud, quiet students, all-hailing-the-king in the general direction of the doorway and an incredible, albeit accidental, object lesson they won't likely forget.

I bet that somehow makes it into the answers on the essay test!

Thursday, May 11, 2017


I got the official diagnosis 10 days ago: combined type ADHD.  Today is my ninth day using medication to make my brain function a little more neuro-typical.  Grateful to have a lot of control over how much I am taking and when, I have felt an awful lot like Dr. Jekyll as I take copious notes about the changes I observe in my own mind.

Some things are leveling out.  Being on the medication doesn't feel as alien anymore.  I am getting used to the calmer focus, the quieter mind, the more linear processes.  I now know what it is like to teach medicated.  To go to church medicated.  To attend a social event medicated.  If you're interested to know more, set aside a whole afternoon and ask me.  I'll happily word vomit all over you about it.  

But even as I acclimate, there are still lots of firsts.

Tonight I browsed Facebook for the first time medicated.  Oh, sure, I've checked it in the last nine days.  But this time I had a few minutes to actually read some posts.  Some comment threads.  Click some articles.

And I am baffled.  

read comment threads.  All the comments.  In order.

I read an article I was interested in, clicked back, and continued scrolling.  

It's like that awesome day when you come out of the eye doctor wearing your once-again-accurate prescription contacts and the trees seem to have so many more leaves than you ever knew.

- - - - - - 

This is also the first time I have written medicated.  And it is just like I feared.  

I tilt my head as if somehow willing the thoughts to flow from brain to fingers to screen as they generally so effortlessly do.

But I hear nothing but quiet.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's Only Awkward...

separate (v) - to keep apart or divide, as by an intervening barrier or space

Even for those with a front row seat to our lives, it has come as quite a shock that Kirk and I have decided to separate.  To be honest, it even came as a shock to us.  It's not that we were unaware of the problems we need to work on.  Rather, the realization that we each need some space to become stronger individuals came seemingly out of nowhere.

As has always been the pattern in our marriage, the decision was confirmed as things quickly fell into place.  I was able to find a basement apartment only five minutes from home with a separate entrance and a private bathroom.  The landlord allowed me to paint, and I was able to turn my room into a home of sorts -- at least a home base that gives Kirk and me the division we have decided is best for now.

So why the public announcement?  Well, Kirk and I are already confusing our friends and family: attending parties together, sitting together in church, eating dinner together as a family most nights.  As we know it will become increasingly obvious to others that I am not living at home, we decided it was best to deal with the common questions up front.

Q: "If you are separated, why do you spend so much time together?"
A: Well, because we like each other.  Neither of us are angry about the problems we are working on.  What we have essentially done is taken a step back to something like the dating stage where we want to spend the time together that we can, but then go back to our own houses at the conclusion of the date.

Q: "Why did Andrea move out?"
A: This one is a little more complicated.  First, I'm the one who suggested that a separation might punctuate the importance of our need to make some adjustments before moving forward as a couple.  But mostly, we are putting our kids first.  This is the best way to minimize the logistical impact on the kids.  In fact, in the two weeks since our separation, we have been able to successfully maintain the kids' routine with very minor adjustments.

Q: "How are the kids?"
A: While I admit that it is too early to determine long-term effects, they appear stable and confident in the situation as it now stands.  We are encouraging honest communication on all sides and have tried to be as upfront with them as is appropriate.  Their well-being is at the forefront of every decision we make.

Q: "What is your plan?"
A: Our plan is to acknowledge honestly that we, like all couple, have problems.  We are going to start working individually on those issues that require personal attention and together on what we can.  We will seek help and support from friends, family, church leaders, and professionals as needed.  And we will mostly continue to do it quietly and privately as is our style.

Q: "How can I help?"
A: Treat us like a family, because we are one.  Treat us like a couple, because we are one.  Ask us questions if you need to know something.  Let us keep our lives private if you don't.  And remember what our friend Skyler says, "It's only awkward if you make it awkward."

Yes, we've separated.
Yes, it is really hard sometimes.
Yes, we'll reach out if we need it.

And yes, we're okay.

Also... Kirk says I am supposed to say he's awesome.  So...

Kirk's awesome.  :)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cry Uncle

"Thank you for letting me borrow your kids," Jack said.  "Putting together this marble track with them was a lot more fun than it would have been as a twenty-three year old man in his parents' basement."

Maybe the best part was the debriefing Jack led me through after the project was completed.

  • Adam and Alex really enjoyed it; Dylan was bored to tears.
  • Adam frequently pointed out that Jack was wrong.  According to Jack, this was because his ideas were different than Adam's and so Adam deemed them wrong.
  • Alex frequently pointed out that Jack was wrong.  This was because Alex had checked the instructions, and Jack was wrong.  According to Jack, Alex is a Casdorph.

Or maybe it was the two hours of quiet I got to myself to work on Empress marketing projects while they worked in the game room.

Or maybe it was looking through the pictures Elise took of the boys hard at work.

I guess I don't really have to choose an exact favorite moment, but rather just appreciate that the night happened completely without my involvement.

Thanks, Uncle Jack and Aunt Elise!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Rest of my Keys?

"Um, excuse me?" I ventured, not entirely certain where to take my statement next.  "Can I possibly get the rest of my keys?"  I giggled uncomfortably, shrugged, and held out the key fob in the general direction of the Discount Tire employee.  

He looked back at me, panicking.  "You gave us more than just the fob?"

"Yeah, I handed the first guy my whole key ring.  It has a carabiner, a small Eiffel Tower, a USB drive, and a few assorted keys?"

He was already moving toward his nearest associate, seeking out immediate backup.  "Hey, do you know where this lady's keys might be?"  I could immediately see the answer dawn on the poor guy's face, and he had not choice but to admit it.

"I think they got tangled up in the customer's before her.  The Montero."

I laughed, knowing something they didn't know.

"Would that happen to have been the gentleman in the grey slacks and maroon button up?" I asked.  "Because if so, I actually know him.  He lives in the neighborhood across from mine, and it really wouldn't be that big of a deal to get them back from him."

And so it was that I left Discount Tire with a slightly lighter load (although I guess I technically traded it for the burden of the tire's diagnosis) and an odd text message to send.

"Brother Hatch, Discount Tire thinks they may have given my keys to you.  Any chance you received an extra set?"
"Sure did!  Just noticed as you said that."
 No harm, no foul.  Now I have my keys back and a pretty funny story to tell.

Monday, June 13, 2016


To preface this post, let me clearly state that I do not enjoy being alone.  All those internet memes and posts that explain how extroverts draw their energy from being around others while these same interactions drain an introvert?  Clear evidence of my extroverted nature.  Solitude is not only draining, but honestly frightening for me.  Beyond the fact that I just don't enjoy it, there's also the whole social-perception aspect.  And so I've never so much as attended the movie theater alone.

And yet...

Last weekend, I spent the most amazing 24 hours all. by. myself.  I mean, people were around.  But not people I knew.  I spoke only to strangers (a feat generally so terrifying that I struggle to ask a question at Home Depot) for 24 hours.  To be fair, Kirk had to endure a two hour steady stream of words that flowed out of me like an unstopped dam when I returned home.  But still.  24 hours alone.  And I loved it.

I headed to Bear Lake to check out the Pickleville Playhouse and review a show for UTBA.  I could easily have driven back home after the production, but I decided I would rather just camp out in the back of my car and drive home fresh the next morning.  But then the more I thought about it (and checked out area attractions on my phone), the more I wanted to tack on extras to make the drive even more worth it.  A museum.  A cave.  I had no real obligations on Saturday, so why not?

And so it came to be that I woke naturally to the sunrise over Bear Lake.

That I drove an hour away to explore a cave full of ice simply because I was awake and bored, and the diner didn't open for another hour.

That I spent two delicious hours picking at my pancakes, sipping hot chocolate, and feeling way more important than I really am while I used my phone as a wireless hot spot and submitted my review.

That I traveled back to 1852 and got a one-on-one tour (and a million good teaching ideas) at the Oregon Trail museum.

That I enjoyed a 90-minute hike inside a cave... without having to worry about one of my kids destroying the natural formations.

And that I ended the day wishing that I could intentionally achieve the loose curls that resulted from sleeping in my car and hiking in the rain!

Of course, now all I want to do is take my family back to each of those spots and enjoy it all over again with them. 

And find another adventure to try... alone.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Don't Like You

"Are we having spaghetti for dinner?" Adam asked, the spaghetti noodles sticking out of the pan in his clear visual path.

In unison, Kirk and I responded, "No."

"Then what is for dinner?" he asked.  As we chuckled, he rolled his eyes.  Then he flatly proclaimed, "I don't like you."

Honestly, I don't blame him.  This sort of a response is an every day occurrence, not just from parent to child but in adult to adult interactions as well.

For example:

A few weeks ago, Kirk came up the stairs after kissing the boys goodnight.  "The kids have requested your presence."

He stood in the middle of the kitchen, Michelle and I forming two opposing points on a straight line cutting through his location.  Standing equidistant from his point, we could not see each other.  That didn't prevent us from speaking in precise unison, however, as we responded chorally, "I don't even have any presents."

I guess this is why Adam can accurately define words like "sarcastic," "facetious," and "rhetorical."  And why I sometimes find his insistence that I speak with accurate consideration of the varied connotations of each word every bit as annoying in him as it is in his father.

It's a wonder we manage to get anything done around here.  As I just mentioned that perhaps I will list the organ that is just taking up space in my music room and wonder aloud whether anyone else has organs listed on KSL, Kirk answers back, "I don't know... maybe kidneys?"

Just give it a few years, and I will have cultivated an entire army of soldiers who wield words as swords.  And it will probably be me stuck with no comeback other than, "I don't like you, either."