This Would Be A Sweet April Fools. But It Isn't.

Ah,  American health care.   Truly, you are an admirable foe.  One of your many mysteries in the Flex Spending Account.  Supposedly at the beginning of the year we intuit how much money we will spend on health care the following year, and if we predict correctly, we get to use  it tax-free.  If we guess incorrectly, the money is gone.  You, my friend,  are like a Japanese game show. My Flex Spending Year was winding down, yet money remained.  A lot of money.  Which begged the question, which part of me to fix?  I made a list of what was wrong with me and then played MASH until one thing remained.  Which is how I ended up in physical therapy.

My first day of PT I filled out a  questionnaire and I swear, it's like they were reading my mind:

Do everyday activities make you dizzy?

Do you find yourself walking into walls, furniture, and and other large objects?

Have  others mistakenly thought you to be inebriated?

Amanda, my physical therapist, rocks.  Her assistant, Adam, not so much (ha!  That's just a joke in case any of the fine people at Performance West read this).  After a few visits, I realized I was bringing down the house with my mad skillz, yo.  Never before had I felt so coordinated.  Then I spied this brochure in the office:

If you'll note the couple in the above picture , then multiply it by 10, you'll get an idea of Amanda's clientele.

And me.  So the rock star.

In other rock-star-but-not-really news, I am featured in the latest issue of the ALAN Review, a journal for the Assembly on Adolescent Literature of the National Council for Teachers of English.  The article, titled "An Intersection of Meaning:  A Conversation with Emily Wing Smith," is by the lovely and talented April Brannon.  April is an English  professor at Cal State Fullerton who chilled with me at my first ALAN conference two years ago.  Thanks, April.  Enjoy your month.

And you enjoy it, too.

A Mouse In The House; Or, Why I'm Leaving Soon

Last night I was reading, trying to fall asleep. Daniel had long since entered Snoozeville, and it was only ten o'clock. I keep a stack of crossword puzzles between my bed and my nightstand as my go-to insomnia cure, but I try to save them for "special" occasions and I'm not that desperate for sleep--yet. So I'm reading along, and I hear paper rustling. I am not turning pages, nor is Bad Hand causing the book to shake. But I try to convince it's not big deal and continue reading. Then, what do I see out of the corner of my eye but a Dark Thing scurrying around my room at the speed of light! My only logical response is that it must be a poisonous spider, and it is now fully justified to scream, since waking Daniel up is really only accomplished by high-pitched noises.

When he comes to, I don't think he believes me, as there's an absence of Dark Thing in the room by this time. Then he says, "No, it's not a spider, it's a mouse," and points to the mouse tail now sticking out from under the bedroom door.

I am slightly paranoid about mice. Not because I am scared of them, as they are not in and of themselves poisonous, and thus not scare-worthy. I am paranoid of a little thing called HANTA. As in HANTAVIRUS.

Do not tell me how low the risks of hantavirus are. I do not care, and it will serve only to infuriate me. When I say HANTA I am referring to any of the myriad diseases mice carry. Mice are great and all, but they are NOT ALLOWED in my house.

Daniel set traps, baited with peanut butter. This morning the trap was empty. Today I have cleaned all my floors, which burst my buttons because I just vacuumed a few days ago and I hate to mop. But it must be done, because I will not allow HANTA to thrive in my house. If it means cleaning the floors each day, so be it. Though I am less than thrilled.

Please tell me anything you know about mice, their capture, and why they would dare come into a lit room as early as ten o'clock. Aren't they supposed to be nocturnal?

It's a good thing I leave for NCTE/ALAN on Saturday morning. I will be in Philadelphia, chatting with today's best and brightest YA writers, English teachers, and YA literature academics. My idea of heaven. Anybody else going to be there?

I pledge not to ruin my trip with HANTA-related thoughts.