Torn ACL Leads to Uncute Fashion Choices, Public School

by | Sep 11, 2012 | homeschool, Julie | 23 comments

As you know, I hurt my knee a few weeks ago.  It turns out I tore my ACL, which is a common injury among athletes, apparently. Also a common injury among dogs, according to Brook Gideon. I am neither a dog nor what one might call an athlete (although I’m super athletic in my head). Just unlucky, I suppose.

The nice thing is, I guess, that it’s such a common injury that the medical establishment knows what to do. Some people don’t do anything about it, and just work on getting stronger. I can’t really walk, so I’m opting for surgery. On October 1 I’ll have allograft surgery (allograft is a euphemistic medical term for “putting a dead person’s ligament in where yours used to be”).

Being on crutches is a pain. You can’t really carry anything. I’m kind of crutch-walking now, so I can maybe carry something, very slowly, if I shove one of the crutches into my armpit and hold it there. For the next three weeks I am working on regaining my full range of motion (I can’t straighten my leg, and can barely bend it) and putting weight on my leg.

It also turns out that my wardrobe is not at all suited for a knee injury. I mostly wear skirts. You can’t wear a skirt if you’re lying on a table with your knee bent, having a medical professional mostly looking underwearward. I have one pair of decent shorts, and I mostly only wear them for hiking or biking or house renovating. I do not look cute in hiking shorts. Not awful, mind you, but not really like I’m paying attention. Not that it’s about that. At all. It’s just: isn’t September all about dusting off tights and scarves? Not about hiking shorts. June is about hiking shorts.

Goodbye, cute skirts, I'll see you when my knee heals | World of Julie

Oh skirts and dresses, I miss you.

The worst part is truly that our bedroom is in the attic, and, because we’re renovating our second-floor bathroom, the only bathroom is on the first floor. So I now cut off liquids (for me) after 6 pm, like I’m a 4-year-old giving up nighttime diapers or something.

So many stairs. Crutches are hard. | World of Julie

This is the SECOND set of stairs I have to ascend to get to my bed. It takes me a good five minutes to get all the way up there.

The other thing that has been happening, for a few months now, is that we’ve been going back and forth about whether to keep homeschooling. I love it, and we all love it, but it was also causing a LOT of stress. A few days before I hurt my knee, we found out that we could maybe send the boys to one of the “better” schools in our town. We were still debating, and then I tore my ACL, and we figured we might as well apply. Our feeling was that, if they got in, that’d be good, but if they didn’t, that’d be ok too. And they got in.

So today marks one week of school. So far it has been really, really good. Both boys are making friends and love their teachers. Henry’s teacher seems to be book-obsessed (though are there 4th grade teachers who aren’t?) (not that they’re all Colby Sharp or anything, but I would imagine every 4th grade teacher loves books), so that suits book-obsessed Henry. Eli’s teacher is sweet and kind, and about two inches taller than he is.

We didn’t really tell them that we were viewing this completely as a trial, and if they hated it, we’d pull them out. I mean, they knew, I think, but I didn’t want them to go in wanting to hate it. But they don’t hate it, at all. Eli is still not completely sure (“She made us do the hokey pokey. Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is?”), but Henry is clearly loving it, all of it, from kickball to multiplication worksheets.

Eli’s mood about school increased 1000-fold on day 3, when he got a love note:

My first grader Eli's love note | World of Julie

So, to sum up: I’m ok. Tore my ACL. Can’t quite walk, but I’m working on that, and I’m hoping to be walking and driving by…what? November? I’m feeling surprisingly vain about my inability to wear skirts and cute shoes. And the boys are in school, and that’s ok.

yellow Camper platforms, red Miz Mooz heels | World of Julie

Goodbye for now, cute shoes. I'll see you in the spring.


  1. Paticus

    Sorry to hear about your knee, but glad you are on the mend. It will be kinda cool to have a “zombie-knee’ though, won’t it? I would think that would be pretty cool.
    Glad the boys are liking school too.
    And…um…Since you’re not using them, can I borrow those yellow shoes? They would TOTALLY go with this lemon chiffon number I am wearing to an upcoming function.

  2. Darshana

    Glad to hear you are figuring things out. Hope it gets easier.

  3. Julie

    Paticus: you can borrow them, but if you stretch them out, I’m taking your silver stilettos.

  4. Christina

    I love the pink? coral? sandals- hard to tell the exact color- but whatever they are- they are cute! So sorry about your knee- I had that terrible knee injury in high school so i know how painful and annoying they can be- but that is vastly different than being a mom and having any sort of sickness or injury. Glad the boys are liking school- that’s a relief.

  5. Julie

    Christina: they’re red. And they somehow go with everything. Though I wear (wore) the yellow ones more, because they are as comfy as sneakers. I was really looking forward to wearing jeans and the red shoes. Ah, well.

    I’ve been thinking of you and how you must be doing — you should update your blog more often! 🙂

  6. Liz

    Just think how fun it’s going to be to see those shoes in April!!

  7. Julie

    I know, Liz! Though I’ve been seeing them every day, because I can’t bring myself to put them in the back of the closet yet.

  8. emily

    i love Eli too. not to be creepy, but that little dude is, how shall we say, extreeeemly alluring. I’m so so pleased the rest of the female world thinks so too!

    can you bear to put on leggings? probably not. Remember the girl in my class at dickinson who was from Maine and wore shorts all days of the year except maybe two? you’re just sinking down deeper into your true main-iac self.

  9. Julie

    Oh, I know, re: Eli. My concern is what’s going to happen in, say, 9th grade. If we can hold off the craziness until then. But really, he’s 12 feet tall and has a speaking voice that’s in a lower register than many grown men. I’m sure those 6-year-old girls are thinking, “Oh my god! There’s a teenage rock star in my class!”

    Well, I have no leggings. I CAN put on anything, really (clothes-wise; I can’t wear those shoes). It’s just the fact of the medical professionals or physical therapists needing knee access. I wear skorts (good god, it’s come to this: I’m a skort wearer) on non-doctor-appointment days. But otherwise I have to count on being on my back, knees up. I wore capri pants yesterday, and it was fine, mostly, except for the PT having to roll my pant leg waaaay up on to my thigh. Felt kind of awkward, and more oddly intimate than the whole thing is already. I have roughly three appointments a week until October 1, and then I’m in a giant leg immobilizer for TWO WEEKS.

  10. Robyn

    I’m comforted that lo we are still a continent apart, our skirts and shoes look the same.

    Re: underwear flash. Do the Northern California thing, and wear bike-esque shorts (esque due to no chamois…that’s how you really spell “shammy”, right?) under your skirt. Please make them shorter than the skirt, though that’s not always the predominant look in Oaklandia.

    My fourth grade teacher introduced me to Narnia and planets that swiftly tilt. Magic!

    Sending you love and anti-inflammatories.

  11. Sylvie

    Are those leggings still in style? I always thought those looked
    great under a skirt and then you could just pull it up for the PT

  12. Julie

    Robyn: I noticed something in the Title 9 catalog that was a “make your own skort” thing, where they sold bike-esque shorts specifically for that purpose.

    I don’t know, Mom. Maybe they’re still in style? But I would worry that they would get all oddly stretched out if I pulled one leg up over my knee. And also, I don’t really want to buy leggings for one 8-week period. Plus it’s going to be 80 degrees this week; I’ll suffer with my shorts until October 1.

  13. emily

    so if we’re going into underwear: this has been my summer of liking dresses and skirts again because I have been wearing “skimmies” – Jockey -brand underthings that are bike short-esque. Thin enough, not too squeezy, and pretty light. See, I have a thigh-chafing issue that makes breezy summer skirt wearing not breezy and instead just sweaty and miserable, and these have largely solved it. Although i discovered in a pinch that scott’s hanes boxer briefs (which they sell at duanereede AND CVS in 2 packs) also are ok as long as you’re wearing a full skirt. But if you are not wanting bulk, OR squeezing (spanx squeezes) OR chafing, the skimmies have been worth their 20$ price tag. mine are gray. and it also makes playground squatting / sitting on the ground /getting wrestled by your kids totally fine. I don’t mind flashing the gray. gosh. oaklandia sounds nice if this is what they wear everywhere!

  14. Julie

    HUH. Jockey Skimmies Slipshort, you say. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Now I’m all intrigued. I thought for a frightening moment they were going to be those horrid “boy shorts” that look good on almost no one. But no, those look good. I think I want some!

  15. emily

    oh no, no: the boyshort does nothing for my problemo. My figure is what my mom once helpfully called “Reubenesque” – thanks mom — so I need some more, er, fabric down there. anyhoo,
    no, the slipshort isn’t anything I’d want to swan around in underwear-wise, but as Foundation Garments go, it’s doing its job, for sure. I’ve been intrigued by the “bloomers” they sell for old ladies – called “pettipants” (yikes!) and you can get them so you snip the length you want – but have never pulled the trigger because a) thye’re called pettipants, which sounds both dirty and old-ladyish and b) that seems like a lot of fabric to deal with under a dress. and in your case, the point would be lost – who wants to flash lace-bottomed PETTIPANTS???? It would be WORSE than regular underwear flashing.

    I think those hiking shorts and skorts are perfect. with skimmies as a backup. just one season of life, right? besides, running after kids kind of takes the pow out of fall fashion anyway? I mean, I browsed through a couple of catalogues last night both high and low end, and as much as I’d love to wiggle into pencil skirts and get my tweedy fall joan holloway on, that’s. just. not. my. gig. right now. nope. another time, another place! sigh.

  16. Robyn

    Weighing in here, says the girl with the chunky thighs. I like skimmies, but I will say they’re a bit sheer and shiny and long. I wear them, but know a slight breeze will make me feel like Mare Winningham in St. Elmo’s Fire. I do have the reference right, don’t I?

    So for above the knee skirts, it’s smartypants all the way. Matte and shorter and lower on the waist and wickier.

    Come visit Oaklandia and environs, Emily! Wear your knickers!

  17. Nancy Fairweather

    Sleep on the first floor and give hubby visiting rights! Do NOT take those stairs.

  18. JUlie

    Nancy, I’ve thought about it, but my bed’s too comfy to sleep on the couch!

  19. Lisa

    Hi Julie–

    This is Lisa in Saco. I have not written in a very long time and you don’t know me, but I so enjoy your blog and I really feel your pain!! I had to have ACL surgery when my kids were 4 and 2 in 2010. (I had no ACL…in fact it had turned to mush over 20 years of wear and tear and an old basketball injury…allograph for me too–it is kind of freaky though isn’t it? Are you working with Orthopedic Associates–they are the best!) Hard enough on your own, but even harder with little ones! I trust–and hope!–you are getting lots and lots of help, because, well, what can you do when you are on crutches?? Looking back–I did get some “enforced downtime” that I hadn’t had in years–actually reading more books, magazines, newspapers from start to finish—so that was a temporary bonus….frustrating after awhile though. Anyway–take care of yourself and I’m glad the boys are enjoying school! Peace,

  20. patientdreamer

    Hi Julie, Sorry about your leg. Love the shoes, swing them down my way since we are into spring now and the red will go great with jean shorts…lol.

  21. Willyn

    Hi Julie, I could feel the pain upon reading your post, and i’m so sorry to hear about your knee. Hoping you to get well soon.

  22. kv

    you are so funny – i love reading your posts! :))


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