Long days, longer nights

Some week.

I realize I said that about last week, too. But this week was crazier yet.

Throughout last weekend, Phoebe complained her mouth hurt. But mostly she was acting like her same energetic self, and she didn't have a fever. So Kates and I dismissed it as teething, and we began are week -- despite Phoebe not sleeping well and keeping us awake nearly all of Monday's early morning hours -- as normal.

Then Kates got a call from the daycare Monday morning that Phoebe was running a fever and her caretakers believed she'd caught the strep throat that's going around The 'Ville. ... Kates contacted me and I retrieved Phoebe to take her home for the rest of the day. Staying with our procedure for the days when Phoebe is sick, I stayed home with her in the morning; then, Kates came home for the afternoon round while I went into work.

Monday afternoon, Kates took Phoebe to the doctor, who officially handed down the diagnosis: strep throat. The doctor gave Kates the choice of a giving Phoebe a shot or prescribing medicine, which we'd have to give routinely for as long as 10 days. The one-time shot sounded better to Kates -- though Phoebe, who took it on her bottom, absolutely screamed. On the other hand, Phoebe was extremely proud of the Band-Aid on butt.

The diagnosis meant Phoebe had to stay home for at least 24 hours, thus missing daycare Tuesday and forcing one of us to stay home with her. Kates accepted the calling.

Have I mentioned we're both feeling swamped with work responsibilities? Kates headed to her school around 6:30 Monday night to do the preparation and planning for her substitute teacher. Meanwhile, I played with Phoebe at home and had her in bed at 7:30 ... Then, I dove into my work, staying up until about 2 a.m. ... At 3:30 a.m., a crying Phoebe found her way up to our bedroom; I calmed her down and she ended up in bed with me ... Kates arrived home from school at about 4 a.m. ... I was awake again at 6:30 a.m. getting myself ready and heading back to work at 7:30.

I love this thing we call life.

Wednesday, Phoebe returned to daycare and Kates returned to school. During my morning drive to work I made a phone call to my good friend Stephen in New Jersey, who I hadn't spoken to in months, to wish him a happy birthday. It was much-needed phone call, we caught up, and all was well for the day.

Except I was burning the midnight oil again Wednesday night. Another aspect of the week: I said yes to lecturing in four classes. I spoke to two journalism classes Monday, and I was scheduled to speak to a public relations course and a journalism course Thursday. ... I was up until past midnight working on projects and preparing for the class discussions.

But on Thursday, my preparation for the public relations course went to waste because of a scheduling snafu, which was my fault. And I felt awful when I had to make that call to the course's instructor Thursday morning to tell him I couldn't participate. As much as I'd like to do it all, I have to keep reminding myself: You can't do everything, and that's ok.

Still, when things do work out, the rewards are enormously uplifting. I received wonderful compliments for a couple pieces I wrote this week. But the best compliment of my draining week came when I ran into a student who was in one of the journalism classes I spoke to. "I just wanted to say thank you for coming to our class yesterday," she told me. "It really means a lot when we have people like you come speak to our class and we really appreciate it."

That's what it's all about.

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