Friday, March 4, 2011

Hello, Friday!

I believe my last post was also the last day that Billy slept until our alarm sounded at 4:45a.m. I've heard so many stories about how Ambien helps people sleep, and maybe it's doing the best it will with Billy, but his brain has decided that wake up time is 3:30 each morning. He goes to sleep between 10:30 and 11:00, and by 3:30, he's awake. He takes his shower and then starts telling me it's time to get up. There is no convincing him that it is not time to rise and shine. This morning was no exception, and he was particularly irritated with me because he was trying to make the bed, and my presence was preventing the completion of that task. He finally came over to my side of the bed and told me it would certainly help him if I would get up. I told him I just needed 30 more minutes until 4:30. He was really angry and sat at the foot of the bed tapping his foot. I did finally get up before 4:30, and I took my time getting ready since I knew we didn't need to leave the house before 6:00. We left at 5:35, filled up with gasoline, got coffee, and still arrived at our meeting place for the caretaker 20 minutes early.

I remember when our kids were newborns, and we felt like five hours of sleep in a row counted as all night. We were much younger then, and I need a minimum of six hours now - 3:30 seems like the middle of the night. Tomorrow is Saturday, and when he wakes up at 3:30, I'm hoping to persuade him that we can stay in bed at least until 7:00. Here's hoping.

Fortunately, in spite of his lack of sleep, Billy has had a pretty good week. I'm most thankful because the week has kicked me around. The budget issues we are having in Texas schools have trickled down to my level, and I had the less than desirable duty of informing special education teachers and aides that some of them may not be back for next year. For the most part, these are people I've hired - people who share my philosophy and care deeply for the kids they serve. Many of them have been there for at least three years, and I can't think of these cuts as positions - they are people. This is the first round of budget cuts, and if we don't get funding from the state and pass a tax ratification election, we have a second round that will cut much more deeply than these have. Our budget shortfall is somewhere between $15 and $38 million, and our total budget is only around $240 million. Our students will be the victims if we have the more severe budget slashing - more kids in classes, fewer - if any - GT specialists, no fine arts classes or athletics for children of poverty because they can't pay to play. If the Rainy Day Fund is for crises, I believe this situation qualifies.

I miss being able to talk to Billy about my job. I was talking about it yesterday after we got home and got settled. Billy usually asks me over and over how my day was. It's easy just to say it was fine, but I decided to tell him the events of the day. He looked a little puzzled and said, "So, I'm going to be okay?" He was asking me if he would still have his job as a teacher with all the budget cuts. I almost reminded him that he has retired from teaching, but instead, I told him he would be fine. Today he wore his Keller High Indians shirt to the Cottage because it was Friday, and on Fridays you get to wear jeans and your spirit shirt. Sometimes, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.


  1. Kathy,

    Lisa Lyle (Garrett) Cavin from ACU days here. I just learned of Billy's diagnosis a few days ago from my sister Linda Lyle Miller (married to Brent). I am also an educator in the area, serving as special education director in HEBISD. Further, I have another ACU friend diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. I don't know if you knew Jana Kraner in school, but she was a roommate of mine, in the class of '81. She lives in the Nashville area and was diagnosed last year at the age of 50.

    I first knew "Billy Jack" before ever coming to ACU through my brother-in-law Brent and thought he was one of the friendliest, funniest guys I had ever met! Then of course, after getting to ACU, I was in the band for a brief time and overlapped there, as well.

    Please know that you are both at the forefront of my prayers. I will be looking to your blog for updates.

    In Him,


  2. Kathy, I am praying for you. I know you have so much responsibility at work and so much responsibility at home. I can sense your weariness Kathy and I wish I could take some of it for you. Please give BJ a hug from me and tell him hi from me if you think you should. I love you both and cherish memories from "brighter" days. Much love,