I’ve found myself unexpectedly alone in the house with nothing I immediately need to do, so I’m writing this to let people know that, Yes, I’m still alive, but I really HAVE been too busy to get in touch and catch up. The calendars for April and May look like this:
First: after watching the checkbook numbers get smaller and smaller in recent months, and our finances get tighter and tighter, I finally found a way to get some extra money. I happened to check the TSCPL job page and found they were looking for a shelver, an 18-hour a week position. Now, I lost count long ago of the number of times I’d applied to work at TSCPL, and even the number of times I was actually interviewed. I know the first time I applied there was before I was pregnant with Kyle, so it was at least 13 years ago! But never before had I tried to get a job where I was so obviously overqualified, which also suited my particular talents so well. I actually wrote a cover letter to go along with my application and resume, explaining that I have always loved putting books and other media in order, and that I’d recently rearranged a section of F. Scott Fitzgerald right there at TSCPL! (Sort of like, I’m willing to put your books in order anyway, so it would be awesome if you’d pay me to do it. No, that’s not actually what I said, but it’s how I felt.)
So, long story short, they were really hiring two shelvers, and incredibly, 13+ years after my first attempt, I finally became an employee of TSCPL! I just got my first real paycheck yesterday, and thank heavens, the extra money is going to be a huge help for us. I’m working 58 hours a week, but we need the money, and shelving books and DVDs feels less like work than any other second job. Don’t get me wrong, it IS work, and there are moments when I don’t love it, but mostly I enjoy it, I like the people, and I’m still amazed that I’m finally working there.
As for my full-time job, I just learned this past week that a decision has been made to “downsize” my library, and to relocate it — though it might only be moving to a room adjacent to its current location but much smaller. I expect to get more concrete information this week, but my colleague Becky and I have already starting some initial planning about what to have in the new location (if there’s room), and what we’ll add to our existing “library annex,” back in the basement of the lab, in the “old library.” I’m trying to stay as positive as I can about it; for one, there hasn’t been any talk of actually eliminating the library and/or my position, so priority number one, remaining employed and with health insurance, seems to be secure. Yay!
Between the lack of finances, the workload at my day job, and the potential second job, I wavered about whether to attend the Special Libraries Association conference in Chicago this July. After getting the shelving job, I decided to skip the conference this year, and just plan to go to the MTKN and pooled fund meetings this coming fall. Now, knowing that I could be moving my library in early or mid-July, it’s definitely for the best that I didn’t make those plans and register for SLA, since I really need to be here to move my library.
The boys have been busy, and have kept us busy, with the usual sports and school activities. Ryan’s new baseball team has practices and games, but they’re more competitive, and playing in tournaments — two so far, both in KC (though the second one had games on Saturday but was rained out on the Sunday). I think we’ll be in two more before the season ends, but I admit, I lose track. Both boys’ basketball season ended in mid-March, but then Kyle signed up for a 5-week spring basketball league, which just ended three days ago. This past week has actually seen the end of the boys’ spring after-school running club, which met two days a week, and Kyle’s bridge club, which was held before school three or four days a week for the past five weeks. The bridge club ended on Thursday morning with a tournament, and on Thursday afternoon, almost 90 kids in the running club participated in a 5K run-walk. Ryan made fourth place in the 5K, and Kyle came in tenth.
Finally, this past Wednesday, Ryan had his first appointment with the dermatologist, who confirmed what we’d suspected for the past couple of months: the areas of “hypopigmentation” on Ryan’s face and neck are caused by vitiligo. It was nearly invisible last fall and winter, but with the warm days and baseball practices came the early spring tan, and not only were the patches more visible, but as weeks went by, we could see they were getting larger. And of course, it took a long time to get to the dermatologist: I called his regular doctor at the start of spring break for a referral, so we got in six to eight weeks later than we would have liked.
It’s not known exactly what causes vitiligo, but it’s thought to be an autoimmune disorder, where the immune system attacks or suppresses the cells that cause skin pigment. There’s no cure, but there are some different treatments available. We’re starting with an ointment that works to suppress the immune system in those small areas, so the skin might repigment. It will be weeks before we’ll know if it’s working. We made a follow-up appointment for mid-August. When I asked the doctor if it’s likely to spread further, he said, “It can do whatever it wants.”
|Ryan, posing for me a few weeks ago|
|Kyle and Ryan (not fighting, that’s unusual)|
I hate that Ryan has to deal with this, but so far, he’s been good about it, and he hasn’t been teased. Because he’s been going to school with most of the same kids for years, and the school year was maybe 3/4 over before it started really showing, I hope most of the kids in school will just think, “That’s still the same smart, fast, goofy Ryan, his face just looks a little different.” And, although we’ll need to be even more vigilant with the sunscreen, vitiligo itself doesn’t cause him any pain or itching, and there’s no health danger directly connected with it. So far, it seems the thing that annoys him the most is that “the kids who ask me what happened to my face, they’re usually the same ones I’ve already told a million times but they keep asking me.” The doctor gave us the option of no treatment or start with the ointment, and I asked Ryan to decide. Since he chose the ointment, I hope it helps.