My alarm rings at 4:50 AM. I'm already awake and catch it on the first tone. Over there, my hub sleeps deeply as I hop up and start my day. The routine is back. After the basic ablutions and the plugging in of the hot rollers, I go out to the kitchen and put on the coffee first; then I heat up the pan for my eggs and put the English muffin in the toaster. 5 minutes for 8 cups of Joe, 2 minutes for the eggs and 3 for the muffin. Just enough time to retrieve the newspaper; then it's POUR, FLIP, and BUTTER, and I settle to eat and watch some FOX News.
It has come back easily; I wondered if that would be the case.
Last fall, I got really used to sleeping in, meandering through my morning, running random errands and answering mail as I got to it, and just being available for whatever adventure the hub would devise. Drive up to the Lake? Right now? Sure. When do we need to be back? Whenever we get back.
Hey, let's go out to lunch with (any number of friends.) When? Oh, around 1 or 1:30.
or 2:00. Well, sure. Breakfast was at 9 or 10 so there's no rush.
We even took a trip off season, which meant to me "When the kids are in school." Amazing. No kids on the plane. No kids in the restaurants. No kids anywhere we were.
But I'm back into my classroom, sharing my days with 140 or so 17-year-olds. And school means schedule. I live again by the bell, the 90 minute class period.
I begin at 7:15. I learned long ago that it serves me well (and them, also) if I'm not just awake but ON. And it takes some time for that ON switch to fire so long ago, I became an early riser. I'm also one of those cheerful early risers, but I try to keep my enthusiasm in check as so many teenagers are NOT morning people and the last thing they want greeting them is a big, big smile and a loud voice.
Most teachers will tell you that they become efficient with their free time when school is in session out of necessity. The only problem we have here is that the hub assumes that his wife is off contract at 2:20 and so should be able to be home by 2:30....and perhaps a late lunch?
As I've instructed him, he used to be at the office until 6 or 7 and had no idea what I did from 2:30 to when he arrived home. Many times, I stayed at school, at my desk, catching up, working ahead, phoning parents, organizing lessons for the numerous other places my students may be. I'm working smarter these days but it's still 3:30 or 4 before I get home.
The hub must adjust. I often find him working away in the wood shop.
The hub's day is certainly different than mine. His alarm clock is set for 7 AM. It clicks on (I've been here on the weekend) and plays a CD. Last week, it was Leo Kotke. This week it's Handel's Messiah. There's no jarring alarm and the music will play until someone turns it off.
Mike pours himself some cereal and reads the paper. Then he's on with his day. He always has his list of tasks but before he starts, he fires up the computer and checks his e-mail. He's also learned to window shop on line, sometimes forgetting to close windows.
His most recent project is an over-sized table that will run behind our couch at the lake. It's walnut so it's mostly dark but the wood has a unique streak of white throughout. Mike had asked me if he should cut around it but I asked him to keep it in. It's unique and will be on display shortly.
Some of his activities engage his attention: He is engrossed in his Business Law Class at our local community college. He decided that he'd assign writing each week and so wades through essays of various quality.
"How do you teach them to write paragraphs with single ideas?" he asks, just like a new English teacher. Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple and the areas of composition weakness are as many as the number of students. So, he makes suggestions and they continue to work. Just last week, he reported how pleased he was with their improvement.
He continues to dabble in the law. Old clients and friends of friends call and if the task is simple, he may take it. It seems like once a week or so, he gets out the suit and tie and drives downtown.
He also gets to the YMCA for his daily swim.
Our son and his dad continue to talk music and life. I asked Zach, when he was gently making fun of me, if his dad and I supply an infinite source of amusement for him. He smiled.
And then we come to the household chores. Mike will go to the grocery store, in fact he LOVES going to the grocery store, but I must leave a list, something I don't need when I do the shopping. Also, he has taken a few swipes at cleaning. He's become quite obsessive with keeping the stainless steel sink in the kitchen cleaned and dry, like it's brand new. Should someone dribble some water and he comes along, watch out.
Last week, he tackled the cleaning of our bathroom. I will wager that in the last 36 years, he's cleaned the bathroom exactly zero times. He told me he would clean it the next day so I should get out the cleaning things and I did. I prefer the foamy pungent so I lined them up.
When I arrived home, I could tell he had unleashed the chemicals. He greeted me and then escorted me to the bathroom so I could see what good job he had done. And he had done a good job. However, you might have thought he had delivered a child....no matter, the bathroom sparkled.
So this is the new paradigm at the Bolinger household. All good.