Saturday, September 02, 2006


It's that time of the year when I point myself out the door, operate on autopilot for the next 15 hours, and then return spent and hazy only to crash for a precious few hours and hit repeat the next day.

School has begun again. And because the time gods are capricious, it just so happened that 8 hours of CPR training had to be scheduled for this week, too. I do not know my students' names yet. Sometime during each class, I will have glanced at my seating chart and out to their faces enough to think I finally have it down, but by the time they walk in the next day, most of the girls look alike in a vaguely familiar way and the boys look like whoever just left. I knew I was going to have to work hard to sell school to my one class that was grouped for instruction, which really means low, but until yesterday, I didn't feel the pressure of that certainty. Now I do. All of the kids are sweet and hardworking except maybe 6. But those 6 will give me a workout.

I've been doing this long enough to know that the first week more than ever I need to chant my mantra of structure, structure, structure. I've also been at this long enough to know I cannot let up or I will pay the price. Even when I am tired from staying out late giving compressions and rescue breaths to dummies, when I have needed giant doses of vitamin C to stave off a persistant sore throat, and when the fifth morning of a 4:45 alarm seems unthinkable.

Perhaps I've mentioned I have a touch of OCD. In my kitchen, I have laminated cards that list daily jobs to do around the house on a four week cycle in order to keep the house perpetually clean and not ever have to devote large quantities of time to the task.* Each day is devoted to a separate room, and we do one major job and several smaller jobs each day. For example, I do not clean out my fridge and freezer and oven and all the cupboards and all the small appliances every week in the kitchen, but at least once a month everything gets cleaned. As either d or I complete the tasks for each day, we place a wet erase marker check mark in the appropriate column. Each card is a different color, so we switch to a new color each week. This week was pink. It has no check marks. Don't come over right now, I have some stuff to do around the house!

*Every item in our safe deposit box is also in it's own individual, numbered envelope. It corresponds to a master list of contents that is in a file here at home.


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