Friday, April 24, 2020


I received an email in the midst of our quilt-tying on Monday, which congratulated me for my recent acceptance into the MA in Education (Literacies and Children’s Literature emphasis) at UGA. I had been impatiently checking the mail for a letter every day, thinking that's how I would be informed, but an email was fine as well. In a bit of a shock, I went to show Andrew the email and then I went outside to help finish the quilt while I thought about everything I suddenly needed to do.

At dinner we began asking our traditional question: What was your favourite part of the day?

"I liked quilting outside with my kids," I said.

"I liked quilting outside with you, Mom," Alexander quickly parroted (I'm always his favourite part of everything).

"Quilting was your favourite part of the day..." Andrew asked. "Not...getting accepted to grad school?"

"Oh, yeah, that!" I said. "That was good, too!"

"You got accepted?!" the kids chorused. They started whooping and hollering because this is exciting. It's something I've worked hard for (studying for the GRE, preparing my application (really the only hard part about that was the writing sample)) and have wanted to do for a while. So it's exciting...and also a little scary.

I've been spending the week tracking down my immunization records (thanks, Mom!) and scouring the course listings to come up with a program of study to discuss with my advisor. This particular program was attractive to me because it "can be completed as a part-time or full-time student. Students have options to take courses in all face-to-face, all online, or some combination of face-to-face and online environments." I'm really hoping to be able to create a course of study that allows for all online classes (because campus is an hour away and...well...driving isn't my favourite).

Tracking down my immunization records has involved (1) hunting through all my important papers and turning up nothing (2) asking my mom if she still has my immunization records, which she (largely) did (3) calling every single doctor I ever visited in Utah to see if they have any immunization records for me (4) meeting a notary in a parking lot to do some social-distancing notarization—masks on, six feet apart, outside—so that I could ask the State of Utah to release my immunization records for me and finally (5) finding that the State of Utah has two flu shots and one Hep A shot on record for me because "doctors weren't required to report vaccination records to the state" back the early 2000s.

I somehow figured that at some point some medical institution would have compiled all my records. Is it weird that I always transfer my records wherever we move? Like, I always take my kids' immunization records to our doctor and have the nurses import them into whatever new medical system we're in? So they follow us around that way.

My records are a motley assortment of documents (print outs from the 80s, cards from in-school vaccinations, notes kept by my mom on an immunization form, etc.) but I just figured that when we moved to Utah (and had to present immunization documents to the school/our clinic) that a nurse would have, I dunno, typed them in somewhere. But apparently that never happened.

And can I just reemphasize that the state of Georgia is a little nutso when it comes to vaccinations, which isn't something I expected from such a conservative state. And we've lived in a number of places so I feel like I have a little bit of experience with vaccination requirements in various places.

Like, Georgia won't count my mom's record of my having had the chickenpox. I have to have an official letter from a doctor verifying the illness, which I obviously don't have. So I'm a walking public health hazard, apparently.

So I've since had a video-call appointment with a doctor so that she can order an antibody titer.

But Andrew, as an instructor, isn't under the same kind of scrutiny? So that's fun...and odd given Georgia's absolute obsession with students being fully vaccinated (and I'm all for being fully vaccinated...but come on, does it really need to be on Georgia letterhead? Like, I'll be happy to have my immunity proven on a single piece of paper in the end of all of this kids' records were complete and legible and...just relax a little, Georgia, little Miss let's-open-the-economy-today-instead-of-waiting-until-June-like-models-suggest-we-should-do, weird-o state, so unafraid of COVID-19, so wary of chickenpox).

Just as a side note: according to the CDC, "In the early 1990s, an average of 4 million people got varicella, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized...and 100 to 150 died each year." But, like, only 1,106 people have died in the United States of COVID-19 today (so far) so I can see why it's perfectly logical that we should throw caution to the wind with COVID-19 but make sure that I prove that I'm immune to chickenpox...or not.

Not that I want chickenpox, either. And getting an antibody titer isn't a problem for me.

I just...don't understand the panic over chickenpox while shrugging about a novel pandemic. I watched a video where a couple of doctors were suggesting we quit with our stay-at-home efforts, saying that we're seeing, "Millions of cases, very few deaths." They emphasized that several times. "Millions of cases, very few deaths."

With the chickenpox we had 4 million cases annually and 100 to 150 deaths annually.

With COVID-19 we have 910,000 (so less than a million) cases and 51,000 deaths. In a few months.

One of these diseases is a "millions of cases, very few deaths" disease (that we now vaccinate against, mind you) and the other one...I dunno, man.

Anyway, on Wednesday Benjamin went out to get the mail and came back into the house waving a letter and screaming, "YOU GOT IN! YOU GOT IN! YOU DID IT, MOM! YOU GOT IN!!"

And everyone looked at him and said, "We already knew that..."

Still, it was exciting. Call me old fashioned, but it was kind of thrilling to open a physical letter with my name on it to reveal a paper inside with my name on it, welcoming me into the program (even if the envelope itself was a bit of a spoiler it at least had my name on it; the email, which contained the same information as the posted letter, simply said, "Hello," with no personalization whatsoever).

So I'm in. I did it. And now I have to do it.