It’s weird. It’s weird working so hard for 10 months. Grading papers, quieting tears, comforting parents, stressing about test scores, class parties, remediation, worrying about colleagues going through difficult times. It’s weird. It’s weird because right to the last day (last Friday for Chesterfield) you work your butt off. You work your butt off and then boom!!!!!!! Tens weeks off.
It’s almost hard to comprehend at first. It’s like coming back from active duty (not disrespect to those who serve), jumping in a freezer on a hot day or…..well you get the idea. You have all these responsibilities and then you have none. With me it’s even more so because my kids are grown and Lynn is retired.
I’m now almost a week into my summer vacation and I still have trouble getting used to it. Don’t get me wrong!! I miss the students and really miss my colleagues but it is NICE!!!! It’s nice going to sleep at night and NOT setting the alarm clock. It’s nice going for a bike ride first thing in the morning and not having top worry about getting to school on time. It’s nice being bored.
In the few days that we’ve been off I’ve:
- ridden my bike 30 miles or so with friend Robert and Stephen (SAT)
- attended and geocached at an event in Pocahontas State Park (SAT)
- rode with a RABA group in Varina for 22 miles (SUN)
- went back to Pocahontas State Park with Lynn for more geocaching (MON)
- rode my bike for 15 miles or so (MON)
- rode 22 miles early and watched an old movie and took a MONSTER nap. (TUES)
- rode 15 miles with Lynn and went to the dentist and then made a big library run. (WED)
- Cut the grass and did some early morning yard work then back to the dentist to replace a filling- ouch (THU)
Believe it or not this is just how I like it. Nice and slow!! Just taking it easy and doing a few things really well and REALLY slow. I love the quiet of it all. Listening to music while doing yard work. The whoosh-whoosh of my pedal strokes, the sounds of the forest as we geocache and the light snoring of Lenny (our terrier/schnauzer) while I read are just the prescription after a long year of teaching.
I’ve got a lot more planned for this summer but not scheduled. I know it sounds a bit contradictory but it’s not. We’re trying to save for a Hawaii trip to see my son Andy and his wife, so we have to watch our pennies. I (we) plan to:
- take a few days to visit some parks and geocache in southwest Virginia
- go to the horse races again
- go to at least one Flying Squirrels game
- hike and geocache in at least half dozen or so other parks within 100 radius of home on days trips
- ride a couple of club group rides a week
- ride with Lynn on some social rides (one coming up is 42 miler that has us having lunch in Reedville and ice cream somewhere else along the way)
- ride with friends Steven, Joel, Whit and Robert along with others
- go on long sightseeing rides with Lynn and the casual riding group
- paint the shed and fence
- clean carpets, wax cars, organize this, clean that etc.. around the house
- hike some in the Shenandoah National Park
- have lunch/dinner with friends from school and the past
- keep in touch with family and check on them
You get the idea, right? I’ve planned all this but I’ve scheduled none of it. Oh.. it will all get done…maybe!! I just don’t have an agenda. Past summers have seen me plan each week down to the day. This drives Lynn nuts!! Her retirement has taught me the value of taking each day slowly and letting it come to you. This past school year has also taught me the same thing and I think there’s a lot of value in that. I also think that some of that kind of mindset might be useful during the school year.
I tend to be hyper-organized which is good and bad. Sometimes the hyper-organization takes on a life of its own. You know…before I go to bed I have to have the coffee maker set to go in the morning, my workout clothes laid out, my work clothes laid out, lunch made and back pack packed. That’s good and bad in a way, I guess.
For someone who’s perceived as laid back the above info might be surprising. I agree. I think I need to take advantage of this summer to just “be.” No agendas. No set plans. Just letting things come to me and not the other way around.
You know what I’ve enjoyed this first week off more than anything? Lunch with Lynn. Lunch with Lynn in the summer is long and languorous. Just us eating a simple lunch; reading, doing crosswords and talking—–or not.
I hope you all have a great summer whether you’re off or not. This summer is going to be great!!