Finally time to blog

What a week!  I’ve been so busy, I’ve barely had time to eat, let alone blog!  I know, I know, I have a tendency to speak in hyperbole, but I really am not kidding this time.

In the past seven days I’ve picked up one family member from a trip to Chicago, sent another on a trip to Chicago and the Twin Cities, worked twenty hours, tutored an additional ten, gone to two doctor’s appointments and one hair appointment, grocery shopped, attended a new member class at our church, and that was all before yesterday!

But yesterday — yesterday was the icing on the cake.  I just can’t move on with today before I write about it.

I woke around 5:30 am because our family car was being used elsewhere and I had to be to work at 8:00.  I showered, drank my smoothie, chugged my green tea, donned the clothes I had set out the night before and dashed to the bus stop for a 6:50 pick-up time.  I had placed cash, a chapstick, and my debit card in my pocket in advance so that I wouldn’t have to carry a purse.  I was checking emails on my phone when the bus pulled up.  I slid my hand into my pocket to grab a couple of singles to pay the bus fare.

Once downtown, I hopped off one bus and onto another, checking to make sure I was on the right one (I have a history….).  When I was close to work, I pulled on the cord to request a stop.  I thanked the driver and walked the remaining few blocks to our office.   I chatted with coworkers, punched the time clock, set up for my first student, and made a cup of tea.

During my first hour, as I worked with an eleven-year-old, my mentor observed me, taking notes.  My second hour, the seven-year-old I was working with challenged me to pull all my newly-learned tricks out of my bag to keep him engaged.  The third hour, I was paired with an employee who is newer than me so that could show her the ropes.  (Really? I’m still getting my bearings myself!) The fourth hour I was back with my initial eleven-year-old for his fourth hour of instruction of the day — and we were tasked with outlining and finding quotes for a quasi-analytical paper on The Giver.  Yeah, that was all before noon.

My coworkers and I joined for a staff meeting with lunch provided, then I went out to find my bus home.  I checked my phone to find the closest/quickest route and walked to the stop.  After waiting for about 15 minutes, a bus pulled up.  I checked with the driver, as is becoming my habit, to see if I had the right bus.  Nope — I had missed it.  I rechecked my phone and walked about a half mile to intersect the bus a little further down the route.  I got there, waited a few minutes, boarded, and started the journey home.

After switching at the transit center downtown, I made my way back to campus, picked up our mail, and walked back to our place.  Time? Just after 2pm.  I found the inhabitants of the house napping, so I crawled into bed to edit an assignment for a tutoring client.  I was already wiped out, but her paper was due last night; I had to do it.

I rested for a bit, made some tea, cleaned up the kitchen, and then invited my daughter and her boyfriend to help me make rhubarb pie.  While they made the crust, I cleaned and chopped up the rhubarb.  While they made the filling, I prepared a chicken for roasting. Meanwhile, I started laundry so that this daughter could pack for her move to Boston — which was also happening yesterday.

At about 4:30 the pie and the chicken were in the oven so I sat down to rest for a little while.  And by ‘rest’, I mean fold laundry.  When the other daughter arrived home around 6:30, we ate chicken and rice and broccoli and the fabulous pie.  After dinner, I straightened the kitchen again then joined the kids to watch television for a while.

Around 8:00pm I crawled into bed to read Siddhartha. I knew I had to get up around 1:00 am to drive my daughter to the train station in Toledo, but I also knew that I would be writing an essay on Siddhartha with a student later today, so I was trying to kill two birds with one stone.  Too tired to engage with the text, I closed my eyes and was soon asleep.

Until I heard my phone vibrating.  At 11:40pm

I picked up.  The kids had run to the store to get some last minute snacks for the train ride, and a deer had come out of nowhere onto the highway. They were fine, but the car had some damage.  Tears. Apologies. Reassurances.

I was awake, and I knew we would leave in the next couple of hours for the train station, so I got up and worked on the puzzle for a while, comforted the traumatized driver when they returned to the house, assessed the damage to the car, and drank some water to wake myself up for the drive.

I started putting my purse together around 1:00am.  I figured we were low on gas, so I thought I’d check to make sure I’d put my debit card away from earlier in the morning.  Hmmm…where is my debit card.  That’s right, I put it in my pants pocket. Check the pockets.  Nope.  Double check my wallet; I probably put it away. Nope.  Hmmm….did I drop it at work? No way to find out at 1:00am.  I decided to put gas on the credit card, filled my water glass again, grabbed a snack in case I needed one, grabbed the keys and headed to the car.

It was a quick trip to Toledo, even with the stop for gas.  We unloaded the suitcases from the car around 2:45, hugged the kids, gave motherly advice, hugged again, reminded them to text often, then climbed back in the car.  After checking the GPS, I started driving.  Construction re-routed me and I ended up practically driving to Detroit before heading back to Ann Arbor.  I listened to music and talk radio, watched for deer, and mentally retraced my steps to see if I could picture where my debit card might be.

Not long into the retracing, I pictured myself pulling the singles out of my pocket at 6:45am — almost 24 hours earlier.  Could I have dropped my debit card as I stood at the bus stop before I even left for work?  What if I pulled over to the side of the road across from campus and checked before I went back home?  Certainly no one will be on the roads at 3:45am.  It’s a hair-brained idea — surely it won’t be there almost twenty-four hours later.  But, when I took my exit, I noticed no cars on the road, so put on my blinker, pulled over, jumped out of the car, and scanned the sidewalk next to the bus stop.  Nope.  I looked a little closer and there in the grass sat my debit card, right where I’d dropped it, now cool from the dew.

I laughed. Then I literally thanked God — not only for taking me back to my debit card, but for giving me a sense of humor at 3:45 in the morning, almost twenty-four hours after this day had started.  I pulled a U-turn in the middle of the road and turned into campus.

That’s when I saw the lights behind me.  Campus Security was tailing me.  Oh, yeah, it’s almost four in the morning.  They probably wonder why someone is entering campus.  They’ll probably turn around when they see it’s our car.  I wind down the drive to our house and park.  I am texting my daughter to see if she is on the train when I notice that the security officer, with flashlight, is walking up to my window.

“Everything ok?” he asks.

“Oh, yeah,” I explain, “I just took my kids to Toledo to meet the train. Then I stopped at the bus stop to find the debit card I lost this morning. I bet you weren’t expecting to see someone drive into campus at 4am.”

I’m sure every Dean’s wife has had this conversation, right?

More laughing, then crawling back into bed, then trying again to read Siddhartha, then giving up again to fall back asleep.

Yeah, the whole week has been like that.  A little busy.

Today? Today it’s after noon and I am still in my pajamas; I finally found the time to blog.

Exodus 33: 14

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

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