Chuck wakes me with, “It’s 6 AM in Orem, Dear.” One major adjustment I have needed to make to life with Chuck is that he can’t bear alarm clocks. He says he lies awake all night, waiting for it to go off. Strangely, I have never had that problem. But, if I tell him before we go to sleep what time I want to get up, he will get me up. He has been awake for a little while, I discover. He has already put kettle on to boil. He tells me that he loves me, and I roll out of bed. Onto the scale: 123. Downstairs to wake up the kids. It is snowing hard, and has been since yesterday, so I want to leave a few minutes early. No way am I going out to the mailbox for the newspaper! It is only about 1/8 of a mile, but why bother? The paper will be late, anyway. Yesterday’s paper is good enough when accompanied by Cheerios.
The kids and I get going. The snow is deep and it is too early for Chuck to have plowed. We slog out to the creek and cross the bridge. In anticipation of this morning, I parked my car out near the highway overnight. The county plows have come by, so I am able to get out without trouble. Nathan often says disparaging things about my tiny car, but I have to say: with good snow tires, that Fiat is almost as good as a four-wheel drive. [knocking on wood...] I have a little trouble where the road into Wasatch Resorts meets the highway, skidding sideways; but I muscle it through. We inch along in the poor visibility, but I get Sara to school on time.
Drop off Sara and make my way over to the church from where my son’s school bus will depart in about an hour. The storm is lifting and the parking lot is being cleared by a man in a pickup with a blade. I keep my eye on him and, when he has cleared out one part, I move my car over to that part. I write in my planner and Nate and I stay warm, wrapped in blankets.
The plow driver stops by to check on me. Am I OK? Yeah, just waiting for the bus. However, the bus is late.
8:20, 8:25, 8:30…
OK, I’ll just drive Nate to school. I never go to the front of the school, because that is the realm of the othermothers: tense; on their phones; driving huge Ford Excursions; lined up in procession to drop their kiddos off right in front of the door. I go to the street that borders the schoolyard at the back. This road is steep, though. The Fiat has finally met its match. I inch slowly higher and higher, spinning my wheels while Nate says, "I can get out here, Mom. Mom, it's OK. I can get out here." I have to bail halfway up the hill and back down, pulling into a driveway. Nate clambers out and is on his way.
Me too. To the rec center and into the cardio room.
I am on the recumbent bike, having my lazy day: fat burning. Neener-neener! I only have to keep my heart rate at 114, so I read “Wild” as I pedal. Fat-burning days are how I get my books read!
Drive to Michael’s craft store. At work, we are making a giant, flag-shaped mural on which the students will write the reasons they came to the USA. I load up on different shades and textures of red, white and blue paper. The star cutouts are not what I want: too big and too regular. Maybe we can cut them down…
Drive to work. The sun is out, but the roads are still deceptively slick. I dodge slide-offs and accidents the whole way into downtown. Cars collide at high speed, sending bits of plastic flying.
Get to work and change clothes. Coffee. Food in the fridge.
I don’t get a ton of time in the office today! Here’s all I get done:
Clean. This has to be done in small bites when I get the chance. Today I clean the crap out of the printer alcove, the top of the lateral file and the shelf where we keep our US Citizenship and Workplace English materials. I find things like a back-brace…a big juice pitcher (still dirty)…gift bags…
I e-mail each member of the professional staff and report to them on how they are doing at working their budgeted hours this year. I don’t know what the deal is: maybe it is generational; but the teachers routinely do not work all the hours that they are hired for. The job is 17 hours per week. I have tried to explain to them that, if they think that working really fast and then taking off to do something more fun is helping us by “saving money”, it isn’t. All it means is that the budget will get cut next year and their jobs will be for fewer hours. Then it will be harder for me to hire the next teacher who comes along, because the job will seem like a rinky-dink mini-job. I tell each person how behind they are on their hours and make suggestions of projects here in the office that they can do if they need more responsibilities. I give everyone until the end of March to get caught up. I do have one teacher whose hours are spot-on; and one who is slightly over on her hours. She apologized, and I thought, “Thank goodness! Your overage is making up for everyone else’s underage.”
I worked from home over the weekend, so I move all the files I took home with me back to their correct places.
Send an e-mail to Rosetta Stone, to set up a training for new staff. Send an e-mail to the business office, complaining about how slow my Internet is. I get kicked out or frozen up after about 10 minutes. That’s why I take so much work home…
The few hours that I am at the office rush by.
Pack up more work to take home with me.
I’m off to visit my friend Susan, who is a real estate agent.
It’s good to see Susan! I haven’t seen her since my divorce. We have a conversation about my financial situation and what sorts of options I have for buying a home. Chuck and I are happy in Chuck’s house. But someday we may want to move into something smaller / easier. Should I buy something now and rent it out? Where? What can I afford?
Sunny and slushy, now. I drive south to the suburbs, stopping for gas on the way.
I arrive at Nate’s school (again, out the back). Put on a little makeup so I look nice when I get home. I know, that’s backwards, huh? Sara has to walk to Nate’s school from her school a few blocks away, but today she arrives in the mini-van of my former, pre-divorce neighbor. Mary saw Sara walking along and picked her up. We kill a little time, waiting for Nate. I fill in attendance rolls. Sara exchanges texts with Nick, her latest crush.
Nate's out of school, so we go home. We stop for the newspaper and the mail.
I think that the first thing I will have to do when I got home is shovel the steps; but Chuck has shoveled them already. I come in and smell the crockpot: delicious, but scorching…! I run over to turn it off and pour a cup of water into it.
Design a new attendance roll for one of my programs. I hear Chuck come in. I ask him to remind me how to activate the wireless printer. Print the attendance roll.
Sweep and mop the bathroom floor upstairs. Chuck’s cockatoo, Scarlett, likes to keep Chuck company in the mornings when he showers. It’s cute, but it does result in bird crap on the floor.
I start cleaning furniture in the living room. I know that sounds OCD; but because the sofa, chairs, etc… were here during the years of "Henrietta" and her many cats, the undersides and crevices are caked with cat hair.
Time to take Sara to soccer, about a 20-minute drive away. The setting sun on the mountains is spectacular! When I get back, I keep cleaning in the living room. Chuck starts a fire in the cook stove and begins heating oil as I drive away again at 6:45 to get Sara.
We return to a house that smells like a Mexican restaurant! Chuck has fried taco shells from corn tortillas and made chips out of the broken ones. We cut up lettuce, grate cheese and make tacos for supper.
I retreat to my desk to do some data entry while the kids do their homework. Chuck helps Sara with her algebra. I order a couple books from the library. Sally, Henrietta's little dog, comes to visit from next door (yes, Henrietta is still there...), so Chuck and I curl up with Sally on the sofa and talk about my meeting with Susan earlier in the day.