Is There Any Sense Here?


The world is in a pandemic. My husband is a microbiologist and he’s been following this virus since mid-December. 7 days ago he texted our family and told us that it’s time to start paying attention. He was not wrong.

Supplies are low in our little town. They will be replenished–and if someone runs out of something, neighbors will share.

I talked to my mom yesterday. They have limited visitors at her assisted living. They are still serving lunch in the club house. She has 16 people in her pod and they are sitting 2 persons to a table. It pissed her off because they gave her an ‘assigned seat’. My guess is that it is someone that she doesn’t like.

I live in the one state that said….The End. We will not be returning to in-person schooling this spring. School is not canceled–it’s simply going to look different.

Today our state rolled out this plan.

We are having a district wide zoom session on Monday at 9 am. We will be allowed to go into our classrooms on Monday for a quick grab of items but aren’t to camp out in the room. So I have been thinking all day about what I need to get when I go…Other than my plants–I am just not sure what I need to bring home. Got any ideas?

I get sucked right into the rabbit hole of hell so I have spent today tv news and social media free. I feel human again. I did not even turn the TV on until tonight.

Several parents have reached out to me via email letting me know that they are sad that the year has ended. Several texted me with prayers. One mom sent this text: ‘A little girl was listening to the press conference with me and is very sad thinking about not seeing you in your classroom. 😥 and tape diagrams, and free time and math. I told her I’m sure Mrs Hays won’t let math and tape diagrams go away. 😉’

Those tape diagrams, tho. #justsayin’


Spring Break '20

So here we are.

Made it home from school 5 days ago and today I feel like a human. I’m not saying this feeling is going to last, though.

Friday night I thought….I should write.


Saturday night I thought….I should write.


Sunday….more of the same.



Today….there are so many stories in me. Choosing which one to get out is hard.

Some things:

There is not one roll of toilet paper to be found for purchase in our little town. NOT ONE.

Mass is canceled until further notice.

And then….our governor closed school buildings for the remainder of the school year. Whoa….what just happened?

Tonight there is no milk or eggs at one store and a limited supply at the other.

What is happening right now? I can only watch CNN for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Social media? Small doses.

So much right now. So much. #justsayin’

Made It

…home from night 2 of PTC.

…to the store while there was still bread and milk available.

…through a really weird week.

…to tonight.


Toilet Paper

The pictures floating around of empty shelves are intriguing. Toilet paper? When I first saw them, I laughed. OUT LOUD. Seriously, friends? That’s what you’re worried about?

So much conversation about it at school today among the adults. Toilet paper? I mean, why not Dr. Pepper? Or popcorn? Or candy bars? Those are the things I would need on quarantine. Those things save lives.

After I arrived home, more conversation took place. Toilet paper? None of us could figure it out. We talked about what we might need–milk, bread, and anything we are low on. So just regular stuff.

Colleges are closing. Our daughter’s parish removed all the holy water from the fonts and banned the shaking of hands during Mass. Schools are making contingency plans in the event they need to close for an extended time.

Toilet paper? Pretty sure there are some other materials that could be used, if necessary, in my home. Also, feel pretty good about my stash of toilet paper because I just restocked it on Saturday,

Then the announcement came from the NCAA–no fans at tournament games. Toilet paper? Bet they have enough….#justsayin’


Last week I had a student move. I really wanted to celebrate this little human before he headed out. He had only been with us about 8 weeks, which we knew would be the case when he arrived.

‘I would really like to have a special snack to celebrate you before you leave us. What would you like? It can be ANYTHING I can buy at the store’

‘Mmmm. Ehhhh. Nothing, thanks.’

Ugh. He was leaving that day. He had found out the night before that they were going home.

‘Are you sure? It can be anything. Little Debbie’s, Oreo’s, candy bars, chips, ice cream bars, popsicles, whatever is your favorite thing–I will get that thing for you.’

‘Well. I’d like graham crackers.’

Wow. Most kids would have jumped on the junk food festival I was offering and this little guy wants graham crackers.

Later in the day I checked in with him to make sure that graham crackers were, indeed, what he desired.

‘I would take ice cream sandwiches if you wanted to get some.’

‘Dude, you got it!’

I haven’t been rewarded with many smiles from him in the eight weeks he’s been with us–but I got one that day.

So I delivered them to the library and headed off to the store. I bought three kinds of ice cream sandwiches–regular flavor, chocolate lovers and Neapolitan.

Imagine my surprise when I discover that these kids do not know about Neapolitan ice cream. As I enlighten them to it’s greatness, I tell them the story of my brother and I who thought Neapolitan was a ‘naughty’ word. We would say it behind our mothers back and whisper it to each other. When we would go for an ice cream treat, we would get Neapolitan just we could say the ‘bad’ word. Whenever we heard it, we would be like ‘oooooooooooooooo that’s a bad word!’ I have no idea why we thought that, but we thought that for years. Boy, we were dumb.

Those kids cracked up at that story. And then they went home and told their parents the story of ‘Neapolitan’ and how I thought it was a bad word. And then parents cracked up as well.

Be still my heart. #justsayin’


Ugh. Seriously.

At 4:00 I got an email from a caregiver requesting a conference time. Conferences began today at 4. The link to sign up has been at the top of my newsletter for 5 weeks.

5 weeks.

Yeah. I lost my bananas. LOST. MY. BANANAS.

I cannot even squeeze her in. I am booked solid–and I hate it when I am booked solid–I am never on time.

I had the sense enough to shut my computer and walk away. I visited with a few people, ranted to my good friend and grabbed a snack. Then, and only then, could I begin to work on this situation.

Do I really want to see this caregiver? Yep. Do I need to see this caregiver? Yep. Is this going to be a fun conference? Nope. Is is worth it? Yep.

After I looked over the schedule, I could see a way to solve the situation. Lucky for me, I have a person in my class whose caregiver teaches in the building. She had already spoken to me about how she was flexible in her scheduling and how her spouse wasn’t driving into town for the conference.

So I down the hall I went. I explained the situation to her. She generously agreed to change her conference time to tonight in order to accommodate the late comer. This in no way, shape or form was her emergency. Nor was it mine.

I am tired. This is the kind of stuff that is just so draining. This caregiver totally and completely expected me to accommodate her late request. Then she expected me to adhere to her scheduling needs. She expected me to ‘find’ her an appointment–which I did. But she was completely willing to have me stay later than necessary or meet on another day in order to accommodate her schedule with no regards to my time.

When did we get so incredibly selfish? And can it be fixed? #justsayin’

Right Now

Right now there are about 500 pieces of paper in my book bag that MUST be dealt with before I return to school on Monday.

Right now I am dead dog tired.

Right now I would really like to eat all the stuff that I shall not name.

Right now I am not even close to being ready for parent teacher conferences that will happen on Monday night.

Right now I am thinking of going to bed.

Right now I have no laundry soap and I just can’t make myself drive to the store to buy some.

Right now we have one roll of toilet paper. ONE.

Right now I am hoping that one of my little humans had supper tonight.

Right now I am wondering if I can make it through the weekend without going to the store. But….laundry soap.

Right now I am 5 school days from spring break.

Right now I am not going to worry about anything.


The Eff Word

Yep. THAT eff word. The queen mother of all curse words.

I have a little human in my classroom this year who has some, well, some issues. He is very sensitive to sounds and wears headphones most of the day.

When he is dysregulated, he often yells out a phrase that includes the eff word. This was a new development for him this year. It’s puzzling and we usually escort him from the room. Ignoring him seems to escalate the eff bombing.

He does use the eff bomb in appropriate context. For example, one day I sneezed a terrible sneeze and he yelled out, ‘you effing sl*t’.

Another day, a student coughed a horrible cough and he yelled out, ‘you little effer’.

And so on. And so on. And so on.

I just look at him. He always knows after he has said it that he should not have used ‘those farmer words’–that is what he calls the bad words.

We have been working on other ways to let someone know he needs something. Last week I hear, ‘OH NO. Don’t let the teacher see that!’

I am at the small group table and I side eye him. He has his hands on his math journal covering something up. He repeats his first phrase again.

This time I mosey on over to his space and ask if he needs anything. Nope. Nope. Still not moving his hands.

‘Would now be a good time for me to look at your math journal?’

‘Mmmmmm. Yes.’ Still not moving his hands. So I check out his math journal. I thank him for showing me what he knows.

‘Is there anything else I need to see?’

‘Well. Um. Yes. I wrote a bad word. BUT I ERASED IT.’

I almost say out loud–‘what did you write…’ but I regain my brain and stop before it shoots out of my mouth. Instead I say, ‘Could you move your hands so I can see what you wrote?’ A small victory occurs when he complies.

He has, indeed, written the eff word. And he has erased it. I look at him. I look at his paper. And I use my purple smelly marker to make a very large star right over the top of that erased eff word.

He lets out his breath and gives me a small smile. I whisper in his ear to thank him for WRITING the eff word instead of blurting it out.

I am counting this as a win. #justsayin’

Truth Telling

I have been out of my classroom the past two day because I did a thing. A thing that I thought I would NEVER do….I presented at a conference in our state that’s kind of big deal.

This morning I was so excited to see my kids. I truly missed them. And I planned to tell them until…..I lost my bananas and did something dumb.

It’s Suess Spirit Week. I am not a fan. We don’t do Suess in my room.

Today was ‘wear your comfy clothes day’ a.k.a. pajama day. Kids love pajama day. They beg for pajama day. It’s so weird to me. Wearing my pajamas to school really doesn’t appeal to me in any way. Needless to say–I also missed the memo that we were having Suess Spirit Week and was completely whacked by it this morning when I arrived at school.

I had a little girl who brought her blanket and pillow to use all day. Uhhhhh. NO. Another little girl wore a ginormous sweatshirt snuggy thingy. Uhhhhh. NO and NO. Of course, both little humans thought they were hilarious.

Cue me losing my bananas.

I said, ‘We’re not doing this (waving my arms around them like Medusa on crack) today! Please put anything extra you may have in your cubby for the day!!’

Yep. 100% should not have said a word and it would have taken care of itself. But no. I have to go all bananas and be THE BOSS.

And that’s when I forgot that I was going to tell them that I missed them, that I loved them and I was so glad to be back.

It worked out that both girls were able to forgive me for going all crazy town on them. And I was able to forgive myself.

It also worked out that I was able to talk with each little human one-on-one today to let them know that I was glad to be back with them, that I missed them and that I loved them. It was way better than what I had originally planned.

Truth telling. #justsayin’


As a kid, we had a jigsaw puzzle on a card table all winter long. Those long winter nights would be punctuated by our ‘puzzling’. We could sit for an hour or a minute to work on the puzzle. Once it was put together, we took it apart, stored it in its box and chose another puzzle to begin puzzling.

As a parent, I passed this tradition on to my children.

Well…..winter got away from me this year and I just now got out a puzzle.

The puzzle I chose was brand new. It quickly became evident that it was missing some pieces. Which really made the outside edges a challenge to put together.

Now I am wondering how many pieces are missing as I begin to work on the center portion of the puzzle.

As I was working on the puzzle for a few minutes today, I began to think about how this puzzle is like life.

The pieces might be all there. I have to work to put the pieces together–and sometimes….those pieces don’t work.

I have turn the pieces in order to make them fit. Sometimes life takes a turn and I have to take a different path.

The pieces are missing from my puzzle. I have had everyone that has crossed my puzzle path check to see if the missing pieces are somewhere that my eyes cannot see.

Life is the same…I have to be open to taking help from others when my ‘puzzle’ takes a turn. #justsayin’