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The Tally

Two weeks ago, I was worried that after a laid-back summer of hitting the pool on the rare days it was hot enough, going for leisurely runs and hikes with Simon, kicking a soccer ball about, and otherwise enjoying the best summer weather we’ve had in years, I would find it really hard to get back into the regular school-year grind.

I am no longer worried. In fact, that “grind” sounds an awful lot like a vacation. The last two weeks have ranked among the busiest I’ve ever had. Here’s the tally:

Monday through Friday last week I took Simon to zoo camp every day at nine, picked him up at noon, and then ran to get Dikla from JCC camp at 3:15. After camp we frequently ran errands and shopped for things she needed during and after her stay. Last week I also had to draft a welcome packet for the Brandeis PTA, had a two-hour PTA meeting, bumped up my miles to 20 (including a 3-mile run with Simon), and made it to two pilates classes.Not bad. Oh yeah, I also spent the better part of one whole day sorting out school assignments for a Sudanese woman whose children were erroneously assigned to a school that did not offer ESL. Double oh yeah, the Monday of that first week–a day already filled with zoo camp, picking up Dikla, a ball control clinic for Simon, and pilates–Matt was tied up at a funeral in Indiana.

Over the weekend, we had our usual busy Saturday, then took Dikla to Shakertown to enjoy the history and scenery on Sunday. When Monday rolled around, I had a week in which I needed to take Dikla to work and pick her up every day, had one 3-hour day at Brandeis stuffing PTA welcome packets into back-to-school student envelopes, had one 3-hour PTA meeting, one 2-hour Community Relations Council strategy meeting, one meeting at Keneseth Israel I had to miss because it overlapped another meeting, a full day designing and implementing the Brandeis PTA bulletin board, had to drive Dikla to Prospect (30 minutes away) to get her nails done at a place she trusted before her trip ended, had to be at the house for the window washers, had to do some clerical work for the Sudanese, and still somehow managed to squeeze in two really great runs and two pilates lessons.

What I missed were meals. Several of them. Ironically, this all took place during a week Simon and I planned to relax and hang out together. We managed one short day at Bernheim, Matt’s folks gave him two great days at their place, and his other two days featured a lot of watching me work. On the plus side, today he got to say hi to his Assistant Principal, meet the new Interim Principal, and meet his new teacher.

Our week came to a most fitting end when we took Dikla to the Greyhound Station tonight. She was supposed to be there at 6:00 for a bus that left at 7:25. By 7:40 no one had made a single announcement about the bus, Dikla was getting pretty nervy about the long trip ahead of her, and Simon was complaining that his Greyhound “restaurant” hot dog was hard to chew. Also, he was ready for bed. Also, I was seriously considering leaving, driving Dikla to the airport, and paying for her to fly stand-by on Southwest.

At this point, I have dirty bathrooms to clean, loads of sheets and towels to get done, a run to make up, grocery shopping to get done, and lots of planning for our trip to Asheville that begins on Monday. We’ll have four days to hike, run, play soccer, play tennis, and swim, and then it’s back to KIP for me and back to Brandeis for me and Simon. Other than missing Simon, that sounds great.

But lest this sound like complaining, let me set the record straight. When I was a kid, I was often happy to see the school year return after a long and often lonely summer. Wearing yourself out by being overly engaged is, in comparison, a pleasure and a privilege.

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