“I’ll tell you what…” What, Missy? That’s what my Mom says, she says, “I’ll tell you what…” usually followed by something Dr. Phil said on t.v. or how mad she is at Trump. (My Mom’s a secret Democrat, shh, don’t tell anyone. She voted for Hillary.) My Mom also says things like, “Shit! Ope! I didn’t mean to say that.” Cause she’s a Baptist. But when I was a kid she used to say things like, “Well fuck me runnin’,” and “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” I don’t know about that last one. What are you even talking about today, Missy? I don’t know. Listen, I don’t know you guys. I just got off the phone with my mom and she said “I’ll tell you what, Dr. Phil said mothers should be paid $100,000 a year salary, and if that ain’t the truth.” That’s another of Mom’s lines, “If that ain’t the truth…well then I don’t know what is.”
I think what you are seeing now is a small glimpse inside my brain and how it is functioning nowadays. It’s off kilter. To say the least. I think probably everyone’s is. My husband’s is. My son’s is. My Mom’s is. It’s mainly stress-induced, yeah? And we are all battling it. If you aren’t battling it right now, then you just aren’t paying attention. This is a trying time. A chaotic, miserable, traumatic time, and if you are getting up everyday, opening up the blinds, reaching out by telephone or text to someone, saying hello to a neighbor when you check the mail, actually walking to the end of the driveway or the end of the porch to check the mail, well then, you’re doing it! Look at you! You’re making it work. Because this sucks, y’all. There’s no way around it. And if that ain’t the truth…
Yesterday Jackson painted small birdhouses that I had bought eons ago and stashed away for a rainy-day art project. He painted them and rode his scooter around the neighborhood sticking them on front porches to brighten up our neighbors’ days. We hope it worked to put a smile on their faces, but what it really did was brighten up our day. Then I shared pictures of him doing it on Instagram to hopefully brighten up friends’ days. I hope that worked too. I’ll share them now with you guys too.
We also started painting rocks to hide for kids to find on our walks, because we have been walking everyday and everyday we see families out and about with small ones, burning off energy. Today we started another family art project. Because art seems to bring us back to center. I think it does a lot of people, if you let it.
Our governor finally did the right thing this week, and he announced a shelter-in-place order, and he announced that we won’t be going back to school this year. And I know, man I know, it’s tough for kids, espeically my kid. My kid, who’s been to three elementary schools and who really wanted to finish strong at this one, with the best teacher, and the coolest, smartest, kindest classmates anyone could ask for. But we are making it work, and we know it’s sad that they won’t have a fifth-grade graduation or a fifth-grade day ‘o’ fun, but it’s okay. It’s one more way we are learning about selfless acts, and helping the greater good. Fifth grade is turning out to be a massive learning experience.
So that’s the bright side, yeah? The one I’m looking at anyway. The learning, the loving, the community that is going on around us. I’ll tell you what, we are watching our world change, in real time, and it’s scary, and sad, and traumatizing on the bad days. But on the good days, it’s an exercise in patience, in kindness, and in love. Geez, if that ain’t the truth.
I wrote a few posts last week, like last Monday, back, way back, before Covid-19 turned out to be so bad. Or before I was paying a lot of attention to it. Back when I thought I would still travel to Kansas City and back. I am sharing them today for two reasons: 1. To show how naive I was and 2. To allow you to laugh at me. Cause I think you probably need to laugh today. So here you go, one post for when I was flying to Kansas City and one for the way back home, when I thought all was still normal. Enjoy.
If you’re reading this, I’m nonstop from Atlanta to Kansas City, on what is most likely a Delta Airbus, maybe a Boeing. I’m trying desperately not to get the Coronavirus, by keeping just enough alcohol in my system for the entirety of the flight. I’ll let you know, in about two weeks, if my plan has been successful. My husband’s probably not supportive of this plan. He’s probably already made a comment about ordering gin on an airplane very early in the morning. He’s probably reminded me that I shouldn’t drink with the Klonopin I washed down with said gin, as the plane ascended.
My son is probably ignoring the whole situation with YouTube videos and his earbuds, while peering out the window since beating me to the window seat, of which I actually allowed him to have on account of my motherly niceness. Also because people have probably sneezed on that window and he’s the least likely to die from the Coronavirus, if it in fact breezes through our household. Lest I remind you what I’ve just been told: Put on your own oxygen mask, before assisting others.
I’m headed back on another plane, bound for Atlanta from Kansas City, and I’m assuming that the Delta Goddess has given me enough leg room to stretch my legs to nap on the way home. I’m hoping. I’m assuming that I have not contacted Covid-19, that my son has not licked his way across the Midwest, and that my husband has given up on me trying to drink any virus away. I’m hopeful and assuming today.
When we land we have to get back to our car. Then we have to pick up the dog from the sitter’s. Then we have to unload the dog and the bags and book it to band practice, then from band practice to baseball practice. We have to eat dinner at some point. We have to unpack. Take a shower. Gather ourselves for the rest of the week at home.
But for now, I’m going to sleep on a plane. A Delta plane bound for Atlanta from Kansas City.
Listen, I’m not usually one to worry about pandemics. I know this goes against all I have ever said about myself. I am a worrier. I have hella anxiety, particularly when it comes to my kid, but generally speaking, I don’t give much thought to like, the flu. We get flu shots every year, and Jesus I’m not here to debate whether or not you should. I mean, you should, but if you honestly believe that you didn’t get the flu because you didn’t get the shot, I can’t help you with that. Your problematic way of thinking is beyond my capacity. But, I am flying next Friday. In fact, the three of us are hauling ass (via the MARTA) in the early morn, and flying out of the busiest airport in the world, so I’ve been a little worried about this here Covid-19.
Like, what do I need to do? Face masks? Rubber gloves? Those Lisa Frank-looking windbreakers from the 80s that seemed to keep us safe from any and all harm? I don’t know if it’s because we live 20 miles from the CDC, but for the last week or so Jackson has been coming home from school with papers from DeKalb County regarding their escalating fear of the Coronavirus. Which makes sense, since our actual president just blamed our old president for the pandemic. Jesus. Someone has to take this seriously, and well, I guess the CDC is. But where does leave people like me?
There are confirmed cases in the ATL. In fact, the confirmed cases came through Hartsfield-Jackson. So when I looked at my husband last night and said, “Should we worry?” and he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Maybe,” that’s all it took. Cause he’s the logical one, y’all. Not me.
Now I’m worried. So is Jerimiah. And so is Jackson. In fact, Jackson has been worried since the beginning. He’s the most knowledgeable on the topic. It probably has something to do with the fact that his teacher’s wife works for the CDC. He’s the first person to refer to it as “Novel Covid-19” and explain to me, and a table full of our dinner guests, that we probably need to take it a bit more seriously than say, our federal government. My 11-year-old said the Coronavirus spreads like negativity, and it’s true.
So here’s my current plan: Buy some fresh hand sani, if there is any left at Target. Wear clothes we don’t mind burning if we need to. And make sure no one licks anything. It’s harder than you think with a kid. And I guess if we get Covid-19 on public transportation, or the plane, or the airport, well, then watch out Kansas City, cause we’re bringing it to you. And by the time you figure out that we brought it, we’ll be gone.
About six months ago I started checking out MFA programs. I know, I know, Missy you’ve already been to grad school, what the hell woman? Here’s the thing. I have always secretly wanted to earn my MFA in Creative Writing. Even years ago when I went into grad school at UNC Charlotte for a totally different concentration, I assumed I’d leave there and one day attempt to get into an MFA program. I wanted to do a full-residency program and sort of always assumed I would, one day. Then life changed, as it sometimes does. I earned my MA in Creative Writing and thought for a few months that was enough, but I was lying to myself.
So when we moved to Georgia I started scouting local programs, but didn’t find any that fit my life. Georgia State University has a solid, high-res program, and it’s right down the street. But, they didn’t offer Creative Non-fiction which is sorta my jam. Georgia College also offers a great program and it’s Flannery O’Conner’s old stomping grounds. But it is a full-res program and it’s a little over two hours away. Which means I would not get the experience I wanted. That’s when I started looking at low-res programs, and I stumbled on some really good ones. “Good” for me, anyway. But that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about how the rules have changed at colleges and universities since I was last in school and now they require all students to show proof of immunizations, and the school I am applying to quite specifically wants my proof of MMR vaccinations. This would appear to be no big deal. That’s how it appeared to me, anyway. Even when the director of the program was all, “This might be hard to track down, there are options if you can’t find your records.” I was all, “Thanks for the advice, but I should be fine.” Y’all. I was not fine.
First I called my mom who swore to me two things: 1. I had all my vaccines. She remembers because I cried each time and it broke her heart. And she had to show that little piece of paper to each school I went to in the 80s and 90s. 2. She gave that little piece of paper to me over a decade ago upon my request. Sweet.
Over the next two days I ravaged my house looking for a piece of paper that I have no recollection of, and no idea where it would be. I found my baby book. I found multiple photo albums that had survived since 1981. I even found a rattle of mine, and what I think might be a lock of my hair, or the leftovers of some sort of rodent. But I did not find a small piece of paper that said I was fully vaccinated. So I called Mom back and asked her again. This is when she went into a tirade about how the school just needs to call her and she will verify. I explained that it doesn’t work like that, and I started to get a little suspicious.
That’s when I called Missouri State and UNC Charlotte to make sure they didn’t have anything on file for me. If I had the paper at some point, maybe it was because one of my previous schools needed it? They were both like, “Nah, dawg.” MSU didn’t require them when I went and UNC Charlotte didn’t require them for grad students taking evening classes the year I enrolled. They suggested I call my high school. That’s when shit got interesting.
I called Leavenworth High School and talked to the nurse. He was a friendly dude, who told me he would have no problem pulling up my records. He put me on a brief hold and came back on to tell me this: “I’m having problems pulling up your records.” . . .
It wasn’t my academic records that were the problem. In fact, he could tell me all about my time at LHS. He knew for instance that “Math is not your best subject,” but he couldn’t find proof of my immunization. But he was friendly and helpful, as I stated, so he told me that he would just look in the Kansas Database and I should pop right up. So I waited while he logged in. We chatted about Leavenworth, about where I was, and what I was doing. Good guy, really. Then he said, “Well that’s weird…”
The weird thing is that I am not in the Kansas Database. Not as Melissa Goodnight, not with my maiden name, not anywhere. There is no “Melissa” who graduated from LHS, who was born on my birthdate in the system. I simply don’t exist. I asked him how that could be. He told me that it’s possible that my doctor never submitted the paperwork when I was younger. He said it was all done on microfilm back then and sometimes the doctor’s office didn’t want to mess with it, so they were just like, “Ehh, it’ll work itself out.” Cool. Cool. Cool.
I called Mom. Mom screeched, “Did you tell him to call me?!” This was not registering. She did tell me that my doctor, who had done all my shots as a child, was now an 84-years-old retiree living in relative isolation. BUT she knew someone who knew someone who could get me his phone number and I could call him. Le sigh. She then suggested I call the hospital I was born at. Then she said, “Ope, you know what? They closed that place down a few months back. It was pretty bad.”
That’s when I started doing research into all the things that could be done. And I came across a blood test that they give all pregnant women. They test all pregnant women for Rubella antibodies. I felt a twinge of excitement and I contacted the hospital that I gave birth in and requested me records of vaccination and blood work. They obliged, and two days later I had a test that verified I tested positive for Rubella antibodies, but that was it. If I had given that small piece of paper to that hospital it never made it into my records. But this did mean that ten years ago I had enough antibodies in my system to fight Rubella, which had to mean I had my MMR when I was a kid. Then I contacted my insurance for any and all medical records they had and they said it would “take some time,” so I threw my head back, ate all the words I had said to the director of the program, and emailed him in despair.
He was quite comical in his response and we had it worked out pretty quickly that all I needed to do was either have an MMR titer done to show that I had antibodies to all three diseases, or get another vaccination. No big deal. Until the day I tried to do it.
Are you guys even still with me here? I mean I know. This is redunk. At this point I have no idea if I will even be admitted into the program, and I’m driving myself nuts trying to figure out what the hell an MMR titer is, whether my insurance will pay for it, who to see, etc. My insurance told me to just go to a lab place (they suggested one) show up, tell them what I need, and whamo. I’d be good to go. My insurance would pay 80% of whatever and that’s that.
So I showed up to the lab place (after the first two I Googled had been shut down) and told them I needed an MMR titer and they were all cool beans. We just need the order from your doctor. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
So a couple days ago I went to my doctor and told her all this. My lovely doctor was all, “Dude, you should have just called me.” Then she explained that because of the recent measles outbreaks she has been doing a lot of these MMR titers and people my age and older are coming back positive, yes, but with low numbers. So she suggested I get a dose of the vaccine regardless, then if we want to do a titer okay, but it wouldn’t hurt to be extra sure. So here I am, at my Target CVS about to get my MMR vaccine, which is probably my third or fourth dose of it but who fucking knows.
Turns out my insurance pays 100% for all vaccines, and my FAVORITE Pharmacist Rahul (whom I promised I would only ever write good things about) shot me up after telling me how this shot hurts, but not nearly as much as the Cholera one and I should be lucky I don’t live in India and have to get the Cholera one and can I please do him a solid and not look at the side effects because I’ll probably just think I’m dying. Geez. Rahul just gets me, you guys.
And here I am today. The day after. Tired as shit and with a fever. Which Rahul said would probably happen since it’s a live vaccine and my body is trying to attack it. Cool. Cool. Cool.
So there you have it. I was inoculated. Again. And when I shared this on FB today, my mom was the first one to comment…
The other day I watched Taylor Swift’s Americana and then I spent about three hours tracing her past relationships, trying to figure out who she’s dating now, and just generally online stalking Taylor Swift. This was just after I listened to another Dolly Parton’s America podcast and went online to find Dolly’s fourth cousin, you know, the one who’s a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution? I couldn’t find her. I didn’t look too hard, I got sidetracked by other important questions. Questions like…
Who is Taylor Swift’s friend from high school who came over and ate dinner with her in her lonely, weird house?
Are they really remaking Supermarket Sweep with Leslie Jones?
What are Simon and Garfunkel’s real names?
When did the WWE form? What about the WWF? Does the WWF know there is a WWF that saves pandas and shit? Which one was Macho Man Randy Savage part of? I know he didn’t save pandas.
How many miles are in a 10k?
Did Barbara Hershey and Bette Middler like each other in real life? They had great chemistry in Beaches.
What about The Golden Girls? I’ve heard Bea was a bitch to Betty. You heard that too?
How to record players work? Like for real. How is the sound trapped inside the record?
Would I survive if forced to live in Florida?
Why does my dog hate me?
In short, I needed to be distracted by all the actual shit I’m supposed to be doing, so I thought about these things instead. I hope you are more productive these days than I am.
Come again another day. I mean I know you will, because it’s Georgia for fuck’s sake and apparently Georgia needs rain in order to survive. Why else would it rain EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. in the wintertime? What’s that? Gulf Stream weather patterns? No, I don’t believe you. I’m claiming ignorance on that one. Sticking on a red hat and saying, “But I’m cold, so Global Warming is just a liberal hoax.” Side note: Did you see that it was 70 degrees in Antartica the other day and the penguin babies had to roll around in mud to keep themselves cool?” No? Look.
Okay, I don’t feel so bad about the rain now, this baby penguin has it much worse.
Seriously. Nothing to report, other than I’ve been very busy and struggling to write everyday. A road block I felt coming, but kept just pushing away. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. On the contrary, I have so many things to write about. I have our awesome long weekend where we took a couple walking tours around Atlanta and learned a ton of history. I have this MFA application process I’m currently in the middle of. There’s Jackson’s middle school trip this week, and the trip we’re planning for next month. There’s new friends. Planning my charcuterie board for book club night. Jackson’s fun music lessons, geez, there’s a lot. But this is all I can muster. A post about nothing.
We did go to trivia night last night. That’s fun. We always try to beat our last score, and so far so good. We’ve been 8th place, 7th place, 6th place, and last night we came in 4th! We actually knew the grand finale question this time! It was which two countries (out of eight) do not have Spanish as their official language? Do you know? Okay, here’s the list: Nicaragua, Morocco, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuatorial Guinea, and Honduras. Which two don’t speak Spanish as their official language?
Don’t cheat! You know it!
Yes, you’re right! Morocco (they speak Arabic) and Belize (they speak English). Jerimiah was 100% sure of Morocco, meanwhile I worked in a restaurant with a woman from Belize and she couldn’t understand the cooks. Haha, that’s how I knew Belize! She had a proper English accent because Belize was formally British Honduras, because colonialism. Wasn’t that fun?! Here’s a few more questions we randomly pulled the answer to out of our arses last night. Try your hand at them. Answers at the bottom of post.
1. What is the capital city of the African country of Seychelles?
2. What 13th century empire was ruled by Osman?
3. If supersonic speed is approx. one times the speed of sound, how many times more is hypersonic speed?
So, hmpf, there it is. I’m busy again today you guys, but I guess never too busy to boast about random knowledge. And if you ever find yourself round my parts (no, not those parts you perverts) if you ever find yourself around The ATL, then come play trivia with us. It’s fun and nerdy. Like us.
Until tomorrow when I’m SURE I’ll have something important to say!
2. Ottoman Empire
Bonus question we didn’t get right: When President Jefferson died, which former president and Jefferson BFF, did he leave his cane to?
We guessed John Adams because Samuel Adams because beer list because we don’t know American history. But it was James Madison. Which made me slap my leg and yell, “Oh Dolly! I should have known!” 🙂 But you knew, you smarty-pants!