What is Happening? No really, what IS Happening?

**Warning ahead of time, if the existence of runons and lack of punctuation puts the fear of God in you, be forewarned, this happened below in order to reproduce the speed of all events happening in a given day as today. It could be worse ….:) **

Pandemic. I never really had thought much about this word until obviously the past year and if we are on the “same page”, I will never dread the day where I can gently push this word to the back of my shelf memory. Without going into the craziness that has become our lives due to this word, let’s take a look at one day.

Just one.

Thursday, April 1st – April Fool’s Day- no, no purple hair mistakes (sorry!) – but today for me, one little microcosm example, as I am sure each of you have similar stories to tell – that define what the pandemic has brought to your doorstep and how it feels.

With my Mom recovering from hip surgery and some slight complications along the way – I knew this morning – despite visiting hours not happening for hours and my need to be at school at 7:20 – I was able to get out the door after feeding and walking /running the hounds- dash over to her house – grab items I knew she was wanting (chargers for devices, clothes, things that will ease your mind when you are in the middle of a smorgasboard of events) – managed to get over to the hospital and find a GREAT indvidual who enabled me to get the items to the security guard who in turn made sure those items were on their way to Mom – Thank you Tidal Health staff at before 7:00 AM!

Okay – so rescuing family trauma – checked off my list – we are navigating the health arena to have it all operate smoothly somehow and I am grateful for the ways it is working out despite what seem bumps and roadblocks in the way, when you stop, you realize how much worse things could be and grateful for how good they are in the middle of such a crazy time.

Making it to work in the nick of time, grabbing the temperature thermometer for the students, dropping my bookbags off in the library, students arriving into school for this Thursday, and we all have smirks and looks of relief knowing, THIS IS THE last DAAAAAYYY before Spring Break, yes, DARN, cold but we will take it even if there is HAIL coming down šŸ™‚

As we are finishing and students are in from the buses, Leon announces as he comes in from assisting the buses,”Cake! I’ve got cake – appreciating you for supporting me!” We stop, he said the magic word. What? Cake, ? “In the main office, cake!” As IF we had not been snacking on so much unhealthy food as of late, and yet, not being able to refuse – ever been there? We were and to hear him describe this treasure on a Thursday, and it sounded beyond anything you could IMAGINE – and the last day before Spring Break? Really? Walking back to the Media Center all I could think of was CAKE – that is SO AMAZING! –

Yes, I slid into the office right away DESPITE eating a whole Birthday Cake filled Easter Egg from Sweet Serenity shoppe the day before (a large one- stress does that) – despite knocking off at least 10+ boxes of Girls Scout cookies in the last week (Thank you Ms Jen Leonard) – in spite of taking out cookies, sugar nuggets of every candy and concoction we have had brought into school the last few days, the equation of healthy versus not healthy was HEAVILY on the side of the NOT HEALTHY – and when I saw the way that cake look, Leon’s magic cake- and no knife, well of COURSE I headed to the library, remarked to Leon how amazing it looks, took the knife back, and despite it being before 8:30 AM, that corner piece of Chocolate Turtle cake with caramel and probably more chocolate known to Willy Wonka? I could barely swallow a piece it was that THICK – it celebrated the fact we had made it to the LAST DAY before Spring Break it was a GREAT start to this day –

Tackling the 3D printer and getting id badges and book stands started, tackling the signouts of Chromebooks needed delved out, tackling a shelf full of books that had been hiding in a storage drawer and getting them shelved, weeded, or otherwise donated due to duplicates, a call to the hospital to check on the transfer of Mom to a new facility, receiving a call back confirming the transfer and aproximate time this would occur (figuring in my head the time needed to catch Mom before she made this transfer from the hospital) – looking down – DARN- 12:07 already?

12:15 marked the production of out FIRST podcast from the Runner’s High podcast segment from WHS Library Media Center with Jay Diaz, Sussex County Cross Country Coach and we are online in less than 8 minutes (STAY TUNED!) – I got this. – Hooked the mike up to the desktop, arrived at the live feed site Anchor to capture the audio, set up the camera as a backup for Zoom JUST IN CASE audio dropped from one source, and there is Coach Diaz waiting in the room – here we goooo-

An amazing and soul-filled interview that when it comes out in a day or so , you will be amazed HOW MUCH comes out of it when you hear it – halfway through it – what? Tanner Hollis and Amanda Roth with a bag in front of me- I was deer in the headlight and not expecting – “Coach Diaz- can I pause you for a minute?” – Zoom still recording, and the conversation of receiving a complimentary gift as a thanks for pushing Kudos for the Troy Haynes Foundation unfolding in front of Coach Diaz – perfectly recorded and my surprise as receiving SUCH A COOL GIFT BAG gift – from this amazing initiative – things are happening SO FAST! – just like like – Ms Roth and Tanner disappear!- – back where we left off – recording, Q & A-ing, and now , students coming in mass rush returning the Chrome books for the day, me interviewing and motioning with my hands to just drop off the Chromies on the desktop –

(BREATH taken here)

Just as we get through the last student successfully dropping of the Chrome book without an extra sound made, the loud speaker announcements come on overpowering parts of pur interview- BUT WE KEEP PLOWING THROUGH – and we will NOT be stopped! – not able to avoid the side remark of the various dismissals – and a student coming in for direction – at the front desk, me answering/repsonding to the interview while scrawling and directing that student silently upstairs to the Math instructor waiting for him – while completing such an amazing and enlightening side of XC from this collaborative Q & A podcast, that memory still fresh in my mind – a call from the case worker representing my Mom’s transfer to a new rehab facility and answering those questions to the best of my abaility

– disinfecting the returned Chromebooks, surfaces used for the day, grabbing as much as I could to close the library down for the Easter Break,

-refreshing the fact I would be going over outstanding invoices for books and determining which books did get shipped and which did not- with Ms Margaret Workman, and her coming across an Oriental Trading coupon in the middle of asking if I was interested in 20.00 from Priental Trading and then realizing that offer only came with an order of so much being bought and her remark – this was the PERFECT remark at the BEST time-

“Nothing is easy is it?”

and I almost collapsed right there – without a beat, with the perfect amount of sarcasm and disbelief, it was perhaps one of the funniest remarks made in the middle of a freight train of events unfolding in RAPID fire motion –

Needless to say, revisiting the hospital to go over a checklist of to do’s in 30 minutes, realizing I parked at an angle in the hospital parking lot and that I ran the vehicle low on gas and because it is at an angle, the gas not making it to the gas tank on an angle – (lol) walking home to get my Mom’s vehicle to get home to get the gas can to go back and fill up the gas can to out gas into MY vehicle to start it up but NOT doing so because well, I can only drive one vehicle at a time (really?!) – at home a little before 5:00 to feed the dogs, walk the dogs and get back in the house before the 5:30 PM meeting with Classic Upward Bound for the parent town hall meeting, (and having had talked to a few friends from Bridgeville to Harrington on a plane to get a vehicle back to my house and Mom’s house šŸ™‚ – whew- 6:30 and meeting is over- out the door to a former student’s (Thanks Colton!) to be my second driver- dropping Mom’s car at her house, dropping Colton back home after a successful pick up the car that I could not drive while driving my own car from the TidalHealth parking lot, back to Mom’s to gather items she needs for the next few days as a new rehab, back home –

and yes. April 1st is my Dad’s, Harry B Brake , (not Harry Randall Brake my brother, and not myself Harry R Brake) but my Dad’s and the one thing sticks out in my mind.

Despite that craziness above – which if you really tried to recreate and confirm – we ALL have had days thanks to this out of joint schedule of life we have been handed that rin fast forward – despite all of that above, I kept thinking how lucky I was able to have my Dad’s cool headed-ness to get throgh such days as this. No he might not be physically here when I call him up on the phone, but there was no doubt he had been with me all day to get me through all of – THAT above and be able to celebrate and appreciate it. He defined the story that I never could quite explain – that formed the Rings Around Us – no matter how crazy and how without a stop our days are – we carry something inside each of us that makes every day an aamazing day – it is worth every amount in the world to realize this, whether we stop to do so, or whether we keep motoring through rapidfire event after event, as often happens, we each have moments where we can be so thankful for the events forward rather than that can take us 20 steps back, which has happened as well in so many lives today. All of our lives.

In an offhand sort of way, the largest reunion known to any living being happened today and I felt this. Every single individual that contributed and contributes to my day – is a part of who my father was and is – a reflection of how my father always strived, no matter where, when, or how, to help someone, and be a part of what was going in in their world as well. I realized I had been celebrating his birthday all day with the very events – people – and generosity I had been receiving with them all day. That is what I always think about on April Fool’s Day, – can I pull off a prank in the smallest way as he did every day in the grandest way, while still remembering how amazing a spirit of helping others he held all throughout the day. I witnessed, again, as I have on prior April 1st days, a day full of the motivation and satisfaction of having those that are making the best of the hand they have been dealt, and moving forward.

Happy Birthday Dad!

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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