Thursday, August 28, 2008

That Which We Cannot Change

The last week of summer vacation is all about Acceptance.  You can fight it all you want, but it will only cause you grief in the end.  It is, in fact, the last week of summer vacation.  The calendar says it.  The television commercials are saying it.  The mobs of harried parents at the store loading up on notebooks and pencil cases say it.  Acceptance.  That's the key word of the week.

I've never been particularly good at this part of being on summer vacation.  School gets out for the summer, I pack up the classroom, I flee to my car...and then I forget all about the fact that I teach for living.  For years, I've tried to do better with this.  And, to some degree, I have.  Why I recall that time during my third year in the profession when I realized that I hadn't taken that trip to the beach I'd been promising myself.  Knowing that the time to do this was short, I quickly ran into school to get the classroom set up so that I could take care of that bit of sunny business bright and early the next morning.  

Imagine my surprise at learning that school started the very next day.  See what I mean?  I'm much better about it now.

But I still don't really "get it."  And thus, every year, I must go through the same stages of acceptance as I roll into the last week of summer vacation.  This year has been no different, in spite of a few slight variables.  It has looked something like this:

Sunday Night:  After a nice, relaxing day, a horrible realization slowly dawns.  I cast mine eyes around the manse and am struck by its disheveled state.  I begin to realize that there were an awful lot of things I meant to get done this summer.  Not only did I not do them...but I actually created more of a mess.  In a fit of overly optimistic organization, I begin to plan out how I will somehow cram weeks of Gotta-Do's into a mere seven days.  

Monday Morning:  I oversleep.  I chuckle at my little faux pas, knowing full well that there is a whole week left to get everything done.  Not a problem.  I'll be fine.  I did, after all, think very organized thoughts the previous evening...

Monday Night:  I take a moment to review the Gotta Do's.  One or two items are removed since they are really the sorts of things that people only say that they do.  No one actually cleans under the refrigerator.  It's just not done.  

Tuesday Morning:  I wake up with only slightly diminished enthusiasm.  I'm still on track.  I just need to focus, is all.  Maybe I should be going to bed a little bit earlier.  I seem to have overslept again...

Tuesday Night:  I think about reviewing the Gotta Do's but don't.  I'm fine.  And, as far as going to bed earlier is concerned, it just doesn't seem necessary.  I'm an adult.  I don't need a stinkin' bedtime!  No one tells The Sheep what to do!  I'm still on vacation!  You can't take that away from me!!!!!

Wednesday Morning:  It occurs to me that, if you can't remember the last time you changed your sheets, then it's probably time to change the sheets.  I think I read that somewhere.  

Side Note:  Pay no mind to that quiet weeping in the background.  That's just Mommy Sheep.  You can't blame her.  She really did do her best to ensure that I grew up in a hygienic environment and that I learned basic housekeeping.  It just didn't take.  

Side Note Part Deux:  I am very much in touch with my Inner Frat Boy

Wednesday Night:  I finally find where I've been storing the clean sheets.  Since that took most of the day, I am now hopelessly behind on the Gotta Do's.  

Thursday Morning:  I head out to do the things that I've put off because they are boring, grown-up tasks.  I don't like boring, grown-up tasks.  But, the car needs to be registered and the Mobile Medical Kit must be re-stocked.

Yet Another Side Note:  After an horrific bout of food poisoning at school one day which required that the Special Education director leave a meeting to transport me to the hospital, I vowed to never, ever again be without tummy medications and the like.  Various pills, potions and salves are now on the back-to-school shopping list.

Oh, And Here's One More Side Note:  I also had to buy an insulated lunch box.  I didn't want to.  But it seems that the insurance  company has decided that teachers can no longer have mini-fridges or coffee makers in the classrooms.  They will raise the premiums if we dare to do this.  They will not pay out if we happen to whip up a little java then lighten it up with some fresh cream and disaster ensues.  They will, I assume, write a check when I go utterly insane from the lack of caffeine and snacks then proceed to rip off the heads of my colleagues...

Last Of The Side Notes, I Swear:  Insurance people can go out to grab lunch, I assume.  They do not have to eat in their offices because there are people in there who must be supervised at all times.  I'm also assuming that they don't need to find coverage if they have to use the restroom, but that really has nothing to do with having a fridge to keep your lunch in so we'll save that for another day.

They were on sale.  Half price!  But that doesn't take the sting out of the fact that I have a mini fridge in the back of my car and have been driving it around for three days because I am too lazy to drag it up a flight of stairs to my condo.

This brings us to Thursday night.  The Gotta Do's have been pared down to almost nothing.  I have accepted the fact that I will not get them all done.  For some reason, I seem to think that it's more important to play computer games and knit on the new sweater.  I mopped the floor and I suppose that should count for something.  And I added, "buy sheets" to the shopping list for tomorrow since the only ones I could find that were clean had holes in them.  Otherwise, it's over.  I'm not going to get much else done.  I need to dig down deep and find that still, quiet place within.  This is where Acceptance lives.  I need to embrace the Acceptance.

However, as I have given up my afternoon coffee break in order to prepare for the caffeine-free existence coming my way, I have to tell you that I have not been able to locate the elusive Acceptance.



Mia said...

::laughing:: you crack me up sheepie

But I gotta disagree on the sheet thing... there's nothin' better than a good night's sleep on fresh sheets :) I have several sets to get me through till i feel like doin' laundry :)

Honestly though, it's hard to believe it's back to school time already. But fall is nice.

Yarnhog said...

I definitely think lack of bathroom breaks is a greater indignity than lack of a mini-fridge. I can't tell you how many times a desperate teacher has raced out of the classroom at my approach and begged me to watch her class for just a minute. (I'm guessing the insurance company would have a problem with that, too, since I'm not actually a teacher, or a staff member, or any other official sort of person. I'm always happy to oblige, though. *insert maniacal laughter here*)

trek said...

Uh oh. I think I hear a bit of Hysterical Mind on the move there at the manse. Tell her that everything will be okay and that it is not yet time to panic. Save that for Tuesday. In the meantime, there is a three day weekend revolving around a national holiday and this is not a time for thinking about work.

:;looking for the notes (on the new testing software for school) which I have saved on the hard drive but not yet read despite the fact that classes start a week from tomorrow::


Kath said...

Apparently I am bad - because I would totally ignore the restriction on coffeemakers and mini-fridges and if challenged, invite the insurance person to spend a day in that job without caffeine or snack. I'm betting they'd be running out the door screaming in no time flat!

Karen said...

I can understand the no coffee pot thing. There could be a fire but no mini fridge seems just cruel. Your new lunch bag is lovely. I just bought N a stainless steel thermos so he can have hot or cold things at school. Sadly it wasn't on sale.

Donna Lee said...

One of my very favorite mother's day gifts is the mini fridge that sits in my office. We are not allowed to have Christmas lights or any decorative lights but no one has said anything about refridgerators. I'd hide it under a desk. Not that I am a lawbreaker or anything.....

Anonymous said...

No coffee maker? That's just WRONG!!!!!

Ronni said...

As a friend of mine would say: r@t b@st@rds! Although, I suppose not having the coffeemaker and fridge and thus access to food and drink might lessen the need to find coverage for bathroom breaks. So maybe it's all an elaborate conspiracy so the district can save $3.57 on toilet paper for the year.

Jeanne said...

I'm assuming there are coffeemakers and fridges in the teacher's lounge, right? I'd be heading out constantly to get refills. Grrr. One does not stand between me and my coffee!!!

crzjane said...

Poor Sheepie. I feel your pain. And I only had 6 days off! It's has to be really, really hard to get back in the swing of things with a whole summer off.
Playing games on the computer is not wasting time. It is helping to make you a better person. I know it has helped me to be able to walk and chew gum. Something I have struggled with for years!
I agree, grown up things are no fun at all.
I'll be pulling for you come Tuesday morning. (Is that the day you have to go back to prison, I mean work?)

Knitting Linguist said...

Acceptance is really no fun, when caffeine is an actual option. If it's not an actual option, though, maybe there's caffeine gum out there?

Anonymous said...

Ya know, I bet there is a roaring market for mini fridges at every college campus in the country. Put yours on your local Craig's List and you won't have to lug it up the stairs to your condo, plus you will have some extra $$ for yarn.