A week ago, I started a really funny blog entry about trying to explain the following joke to my kids:
What do the police use to arrest pigs?
(This joke, by the way, is absolutely not funny if you don’t know what the words ham, hand cuffs, and arrest mean.)
That blog entry has been languishing, unfinished, along with a blog entry about why I love to go dancing at my favorite dive bar, and one about the Olympics. At the beginning of summer, August seems like part of the blank canvas of, well, summer. But then when August actually gets underway, I remember what I always forget: August isn’t the end of summer. It’s the beginning of fall. So I start writing, but then realize I have to finish something more pressing: the childcare schedule, the preschool registration forms, the gymnastics sign up, the ballet studio open house, the interdisciplinary college kick off event, and hey, wouldn’t this be the perfect week to repaint the upstairs of my house?
(My house, by the way, looks fantastic, thanks to my sister and my best friend, who came over and worked their asses off to help me repaint. I’ll post pictures, I promise.)
August gets me every time. I expect September to be stressful: preschool, kindergarten, ballet and gymnastics all start for my kids in September, the semester gets underway for me, T goes on a fishing trip. Mornings are no longer about sleeping in and eating waffles on the couch at 10 am; instead, we are rushing around, driving too fast, trying to remember all the backpacks and snacks and shoes and get the girls to their various destinations in time to make it to my own classroom with a minute or two to spare to clear my head. I’ve learned to anticipate the super stress of September. But August? The to do list sneaks up on me. Try on all the clothes in the drawers, then go school shopping. Go to all the local second hand shops to try and find gymnastics leotards in the right size. Pencils. Markers. Backpacks. Lunch boxes. School shoes. Ballet leotards. Tap shoes. Call my mom to go over the calendar, then T’s mom, then my mom again. Drive to campus for kick off events, professional development, training. Meet new faculty. Figure out, again, where I can put my bin of files and call my office for the year, or at least the semester. Oh, and update my own syllabi: this year, that includes a brand new prep, and one new book in each of my familiar preps.
I am never prepared. I want August to be last trips to the beach and hanging out in the garden and riding our bikes around the block (especially since D has suddenly, miraculously, embraced the idea of riding AS FAST AS SHE CAN!). I want to go buy new curtains that match my tart apple living room walls. I want to frame vintage cookbook photos for my marmalade and aurora orange kitchen. But fall is underway here, and it’s time for me to face it head on. Right now, that means finishing screwing all the outlet covers back onto the wall so my table is cleared off again for the laptop. Then I can make tomorrow’s to do list. August may have caught me surprise, but I’m not going down without a fight.