Can’t Flag Now

June 20, 2017

I have driven to Vermont five times in the last ten days. In addition to my toilet misadventures, I have been furnishing the house from Craigslist and yard sales. I’ve driven many twisty rural roads, seen some spectacular views, and met a number of kind and friendly people.

Given that our budget is depleted and we will be moving in ten days, I’ve picked up some items that are not my style (which is old-fashioned). However I have purchased a bed, sofas, dressers, nightstands, a table, dining room chairs, living room chairs, and rugs for a total of $1500 and it’s all clean and sturdy. Though some of it isn’t the look I love, I think everything will be fine, at least for the first year. I keep remembering the wise words of my brother-in-law, Don: “Just get the house.”

Today would be a great day to rest and re-group. (Tomorrow I am due to drive to Connecticut to pick up the Craigslist items that Amanda and Jon kindly purchased there on my behalf.) However my lists — cabinet pulls? ceiling fans? kitchen lights? bathroom vanities? shower floor tiles? remember to get more liquor store boxes in town for packing! — woke me at 2:30 AM . . . and I’m fatalistic that Moxie may choose today to calve.

I can’t flag now. There’s too much to do. I remind myself that in a month this tired time will be a blur.

Free, Free, Free!

June 8, 2017

I have passed in all my reports. Yesterday was my last day of meetings. This morning I am going to write two advisor letters before barn chores, and then I am free and my own boss until August 30!

I am beaming.

This morning I made my Summer To-Do List. It is three pages, double columns. These lists are always fluid because I always add things — I have already thought of a dozen more items and reprinted the pages. Some of the chores are big (paint the barn), others are small (flip the mattress back to pillow-top before leaving this house). All of them are things I don’t want to forget. Now they are neatly catalogued and I can relax… and get to work.


Made It to The Other Side

June 4, 2017

We got through graduation. I finished my classes, graded my final exams, printed photos and made memory pages for the twenty departing seniors, wrote half my final reports, prepared the house for houseguests, wrote a speech about my advisee, moved furniture, alerted my contractor to a flooring problem, attended the end of the year play, delivered my speech, and survived the emotional post-graduation reception.

It is our thirty-year habit to return home from this crescendo of the grueling last week of school, pull off our dress clothes, and immediately collapse into a nap. This year it turned out that our guests were staying all weekend and my dog Stash had gotten into something and had a digestive upset. So I was scrubbing floors instead of snoozing, and after moving sheep at barn chores it was time to attend the faculty dinner party. By 10:30 last night (I’ve been getting up at 3:30) I was so tired I felt my brain was melting.

Thankfully I have the day off today. My renter will be moving in and I have some work to do in the apartment before she arrives. I also have to write eighteen more reports, unload furniture out of my truck, go grocery shopping to restock the bare refrigerator, and collect information for two advisor letters. But after a long stretch of minute-by-minute pressure, I may be moving in slow-mo mode. If it doesn’t rain, perhaps I will mow to soothe my frazzled nerves.

I have nothing prepared to serve our guests for breakfast this morning. (I didn’t know they would be here.) However there is coffee and I have farm eggs. At the dinner party I cleverly collected ten pats of butter in a napkin. I will make corn bread and eggs. I will brush through.

Lucy gets home tonight, by tomorrow life should have resumed normal dimensions, and after work we will celebrate my birthday!


May 30, 2017

Feeling so rushed and anxious I can hardly breathe but at the same time, paradoxically, so happy. I look around the empty rooms at the farm and my heart soars. I just have to get through this hectic time. Our house is nearly here.

This morning I saw that one of my lambs may have broken his foreleg. I’m not sure how it could have happened — caught in a rock cleft? Perhaps the leg is merely sprained, but he can’t put his toe to the ground. I was in too much of a rush to begin to deal with it before work. Tonight when I’m free at 7 PM I’ll try to catch him and see what I can do.

In the meantime I am making lists of lists and pushing on. This morning’s talisman is my gander, Andy.

Only six months ago I was tube-feeding Andy three times a day, despairing that he would recover from a snapped thigh after being stepped on by Moxie — and look at him now, out perambulating with his family! Never give up!


A Family Weekend

May 29, 2017

It was a busy weekend, blessed by family. My daughter-in-law Amanda, my brother Mac, and my niece Lizzy all arrived Friday afternoon.

Lizzy will be in town for the summer for a job; Mac was her loving chauffeur. Amanda came up to visit and help with house decisions. She also brought a car-load of used furniture that she and Jon had picked up for me in Connecticut from Craigslist.

I spent a lot of the weekend researching appliances on holiday sale. After many hours of reading reviews, I decided on a washer, a dryer, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, and a stove. I even got Sears to agree to give me the extra 5% off without using a store card. (The only thing I need to know before I order is: gas or electric dryer?) Of course I had Lucy and Amanda okay my choices. They are both canny shoppers.

I also wrote a lease for a college student who will be renting the farm apartment for the summer. On Sunday morning the girls and I drove down with cleaning supplies and did some last-minute vacuuming and dusting. The renter arrived shortly afterward to sign the lease and drop off a few of her things.

Meanwhile it was lovely to catch up with my big brother, and to show him through the new house. Mac is an unfailingly kind and encouraging person.

On his way out of the Adirondacks, he took me to the Chevrolet dealer to pick up my repaired truck. Instead of dropping me off to get on the road for his long drive, Mac walked me in and waited patiently while I paid the bill. His thoughtfulness reminds me so much of our father. I can’t wait for the house to be finished so he can come up to visit more often.

The girls helped me visualize our furniture needs for the new living room by pushing a giant cardboard box (representing a couch) and cardboard sheets (representing a bookcase) into various positions. We are now sure that a full sofa would be too big for the space and that we need to find a loveseat and club chairs. Lucy had helpful thoughts about colors. Amanda had the excellent idea to look for swivel chairs, that could turn easily between a focus on the fireplace and a focus on the room. All this clarity is a great relief to me, and now that the truck is fixed, perhaps I will be able to make some of it happen.

We accomplished a lot. In between other chores I moved sheep, dug the weeds out of half the apartment path, walked the fence in the back pasture, and repaired a downed line. The girls shopped for groceries and semi-gloss paint, cooked a delicious dinner, and walked the dogs.

It was a lovely weekend. Now it’s back to real life and the job.

It won’t be long now.

Crossing Off the Days

May 25, 2017

I’m in countdown mode here. Every evening after I successfully solve the last problem of the day (“What will I serve for dinner?”), I’ve felt victorious. Another day in the bag!

However I’ve been so busy rushing — from town to buy gasoline to barn chores to teaching to correcting tests to painting the attic to cleaning the apartment for arriving renters to barn chores to cooking dinner — that I’ve entirely overlooked one essential: laundry.

Yesterday I realized the full laundry basket was topped by an additional two-foot-deep pile of dirty jeans and socks. This problem always reminds me of the movie Notting Hill, when Hugh Grant asks his roommate why he is wearing scuba gear to eat breakfast.

“A combination of factors, really. No clean clothes.”

“There never will be, you know, unless you actually clean your clothes.”

“Right. Vicious circle.”

I started a load this morning before baking two loaves of chocolate chip bread for my 8th graders. Tonight I show the last movie of the school year. Ten more days!

Business Travel

May 24, 2017

Yesterday DH gave me his travel schedule for the next three months, as it now stands:

June 6-7 Manhattan

June 8-12 Guatemala

June 26-27 Manhattan

July 5-11 Colorado

July 31- August 21 Peru

All but the last, his annual vacation, are business trips for work. Also in July are a high-stakes board meeting and surely many more trips to Manhattan.

He travels like this for work all the time. He turns 65 over the summer (this year, apparently in Colorado). No wonder he is tired.

I could not do it. I’m grateful that my teaching will be over in two weeks and then my only goal will be to pack and move us … and keep the home fires burning.