This is a day-in-the-life-of post, but not really a typical day, just the day Thursday happened to be.
I graded until just before 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning.
I woke up before my 6:30 alarm.
I got the kids going and took off to teach. I realized the I had left the University parking sticker in the other car. I considered going back, but Computerguy was heading with the kids in the car the opposite direction. No good. I almost bought a 1-day pass from a machine, but drove through the parking/info booth instead. I asked for a one-day pass, and said something about leaving my sticker in the other car. The student in the parking booth asked if I were faculty? It turns out, they can give me a temporary pass 3 times in the year. She took my info, filled out a form on her computer, and handed me a 1-day temporary pass. I was glad I said something. I was glad she picked up on it. I was happy not to pay $6 beyond the quarter parking fee for the day. I have found the parking/information booth attendants to be some of the most helpful people on campus. Kudos to that service and their training.
A week ago Kristin wrote, “Yesterday in my Composition II class, I went over what I hoped my students had already learned about structuring an essay. I am old-fashioned–I wrote on a white board. My students took photos of the board with their smart phones.” I have been intrigued by this thing where students take photos of things they want to remember. That is a difference from the last time I taught just 2 and 1/2 years ago. I commented on Kristin’s post about the phone cameras, but also said this, “As I read your post, I find myself considering going a day without a powerpoint presentation prepared and just write as I go on the chalkboard. And yes, I mean chalkboard, literally.” And so I did. I made a brief outline of what I wanted to make sure I covered, and I just talked and wrote on the board as I did so. I was in my element. It was like I was remembering how I learned how to do this thing. We had a great class discussion about issues in business where I took notes on the board while students talked amongst themselves about ethics and equality and environment and diversity and compassion, and then I lectured about writing informal reports using the book and my piece of chalk. It was a good class in both sections.
I missed my church co-worker’s spouse’s memorial service because I was teaching, and that felt sad. We touched on compassion and understanding as a business issue in the second class, with students talking about supervisors who were and were not compassionate with their employees, and I thought, “if they knew I had missed this moment so I could teach them, they would be sad. They would have totally understood.” And the students probably would have, but I’m not sure about the department or school. I’m new and I’d already cancelled one class, and I’m unsure of myself. So I taught, and as I said, they were good classes. But it wasn’t where I wanted to be.
And then an unhappy student stayed after my second section to talk to me and the joy of 4 hours of good teaching just disappeared in one 15 minute conversation. I was tired and cranky and not up for having a hard conversation, and I did not do it well. I am out of practice, and I am hampered by not having an office or office hours and thus my own space and time, and it just deflated me.
I had a 40 minute drive to try to find some equanimity before joining my ministry cohort for a much-too-short lunch. We talked about new calls and humanity and whether theology can be divorced from humanity and the word and the Word and the Grapes of Wrath and Jim Casy and Tom Joad and corporate sin and creating community. And we ate amazing hamburgers and fries fried in duck fat and drank good beer (okay, it was lunch, we all 4 shared one order of fries, and my colleague and I shared 1 beer, 1 hamburger, and 1 salad). I left early because I was on carpool duty (hence the 1/2 vanilla cream stout), but the 75 minutes I had were life-giving.
I picked the kids up, dropped off the carpool kids, and then headed home where CG was waiting for us. We live 90 or so miles from the California Legoland, but we had never been. The kids get the 4th Friday in October off for teacher inservice days every year. CG took the day off, and we splurged by reserving a room in the Legoland Hotel for Thursday night. We got out as quickly as we could Thursday afternoon, and got down to Legoland a little after 6. The kids were mesmerized by the hotel. It is really well done. There are legos and lego figures throughout. I don’t think I have ever seen ShyGuy so excited. He not only attended the “pajama party,” he danced wildly with the dances. He still came over to us when they went around asking kids questions, but as soon as the spotlight was off the individuals, he was back in the thick of it. It was amazing.
We had an “Adventure” themed room, and there was wallpaper and beds and lego monkeys and treasures and birds and bugs scattered throughout the room. They have done the theme thing well.
After the hotel-run “Pajama Party,” we took the kids swimming (our only opportunity), and then came back to the room to settle down except there was so much excitement that wasn’t really happening. We needed snacks and CG kept finding new things to do with legos in the room and the kids were overstimulated and overtired.
I was playing along as best I could on 4 hours sleep (for the second time that week). I finally crashed and CG took care of early evening issues with kids. Later, about 1:00 a.m. Wordgirl was coughing so hard 3 of us weren’t sleeping. I had brought cough medicine, so I managed to rouse enough to get her settled, and we all slept until Excited Boy woke up at 5 ready to go. He finally fell back asleep, but it was a tough hour
So that was the wee small hours of Thursday to the wee small hours of Friday. It’s not usually quite that intense, but I am thriving right now and mostly loving my life and also wondering how sustainable it is. I am wondering if I will be offered a class in the winter, and I am unsure how I feel about it. I am wondering what is happening in the church, and how long I can keep doing what I’m doing and what might be next. I am delighting in my family and in the wonder of my little shy boy being in the middle of the dance party and my amazing girl finding her own way.
And so it continues…