Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to school

This is the time of year when I usually click my heels together and skip around the house: back-to-school.  As a kid, I longed for that first day back when I got to wear my new school shoes (usually sensible and brown) and hug my best friends after a grueling hot, boring summer playing tether ball by myself in the back yard.  As a parent, I admit, the glee is two-fold: I get to watch my kids get excited about school (and they both genuinely are), shop for school supplies and smell the wide rule paper packs, and hug teachers I trust and admire so much I get weepy; but I also get to send the kids off for a full day of learning while I finally get quiet time.

Quiet time isn't what I'd like it to be just yet.  I have gone back to teach Intro to College Writing (aka, Comp 101).  There's three days a week blown to bits (plus the grading and prep).  So, okay, I get Tuesdays and Thursdays, not to mention weekends.  Actually . . . not only am I going back-to-school as a professor, I am mid-semester in my grad program, so Tuesdays and Thursdays are writing days.  But wait, don't I have evenings and weekends?  Ah, yes, well this year I gave up the PTA and added a Writing Festival to my list of volunteer responsibilities.  It's not terribly time-consuming, but it also isn't happening for two months and I have to put the program together!  Let's not forget the freelance work.  This month I volunteered to write not only my regular column, but an additional article to promote a friend's business.  I don't mean to sound complainy.  When my husband asked when I could clear of my stacks of books and papers off the desk in the family room, however, I nearly broke down in tears.  Each stack represents each activity to which I am obligated, each persona that currently defines me.  What am I supposed to do without the stacks?!?!

With the kids gone, I also have more time to feel the anxiety of my responsibilities.  I hear the voice in my head saying, "Now you're not only responsible for your two kids, but the 46 first year students in your classes!  Wheeeeeeeeeee!"

These Flyt Magazine Files are only $1.99 for 5 at IKEA, of course.
In an effort to quell the chaos in my brain and on the desk and on top of the printer and on the swivel chair and the dining room table and the easy chair in the living room and the kitchen counter top, I am going to invest in some magazine files and see if that won't help.  It won't make the clutter magically disappear (I have hanging files.  They are crammed with crap.), but at least I won't feel like a failure before I even begin if I look at a nice row of color-coded files.  My husband suggested I just empty the old documents - purge, if you will - in our file drawers.  Shopping for a new tool is so much more fun.