I don’t have time to write a blog post! Have you seen the amount of laundry I have to do, the dirty windows I have to clean, the dishwasher that needs emptying, the floor to be washed? Have you seen the sink full of dishes, the bins that need emptying and then being brought back in?
I sure as heck won’t be writing this weekend, I can tell you. What, get up early and write? While the dawn is distant and the mist is heavy? Madness I tell you!
And it is not that I will be writing. Instead I will be letting the damn story out of my brain to fly free, to flutter wings it is banging inside my head, and to let it greet the air with the freedom I can’t give it yet.
Me? Write? Madness!
Trying very hard to…
Wipe my Little Man’s nose…..
So, first week of term. That’s a short sentence but for all its brevity, it carries a lot of meaning. A first week of term for all the staff on campus here carries a lot of weight. Students, deliberately unknowing and rightly so, deserve nothing but the best attention and energy as they go about settling in and getting on with learning. Staff here try to really exert themselves when it comes to first week of term. That goes for all of us, from the highest authority down to the nice guy who polishes the floors in the gym (his name is Quan, he is from China and he’s working on his Bachelor in Computer Science while here).
So if you were to graph the demands of the first week of term, it would look not unlike a snake swallowing an elephant. This huge bubble of work arrives and everything long term has to be held off, so that the moment by moment day to day stuff is dealt with as soon as possible. Long term in this scenario means something occurring beyond ten days, though more likely a week. It isn’t really fair to say that we are fire fighting because nothing is wrong. Instead, merely dealing with what is coming in is what takes up time.
However, I have to realise that. I do, I have to realise that for this week and maybe most of this month everything else will take longer. Getting emails out, letters written, documents read, everything, it will take longer. I am the type who happily refuses to cut myself some slack; I can be awake since 4.22 am (thanks kid) but still be ashamed that I’m tearful with exhaustion by the end of the day.
Yeah… first week of term. Here we go.
I have five minutes to type this, with no editing or correction possible, so if you see any errors be sure to let me know. Love that.
So this weekend we managed to get the little man sleeping in a bed. Not a crib or cot or anything, but a bed, for a big boy. I don’t feel sad about seeing his baby years fall away from him, mainly because he is becoming such a great little guy to be around. But there is, none the less, a sense of change, which, like all well rounded fully realised adults, I fight against with all I have.
See, you might say to me that yes, this change or that change is good and right and proper, but until I step off the cliff and land in the water, I’m going to hedge and edge and worry and doubt and fret and wonder and argue and … just take the jump!
Seeing him snuggle under his Minions duvet, so happy and cosy, was a treat, it was delightful. I have the best kid in the world, so my life is a lot easier than others. And he seemed to take to it with ease, other than difficulties on his parents’ part in deciding the bedtime routine. But he is not a baby, not a toddler really, but a young boy. He scrambles up the stairs ahead of me with full confidence, and the same goes for everything else.
Yeah. So, there’s that.
Here is what happened yesterday.
6 am – Get up. Grumble, get dressed and catch the bus.
7am. – Swim 1500 metres.
8.20 – I am at my desk and getting papers ready for the 9.30am meeting.
9.30 – attend meeting, which goes on until 11am.
11.10 – head over to room where we are conducting our Orientation for our Postgraduate students. Discover to my delight that there is no laptop even though I asked for one.
11.12 Race across campus without trying to look like I’m racing.
11.20 Get laptop from office.
11.22 Race back to Orientation trying to breath deeply (“Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean…”)
11.32 Orientation starts, with a slightly panting MC… (hair was perfect, though.)
12.30 All done, I take questions from the students afterwards.
1.10 I get my lunch bought for me by the President. I’m helping out at the Graduation Ceremony that afternoon from 4pm and the University buys you lunch if you do. I have a salad and salmon thingie that is sublime after my usual purgatorial lunchtime break, and pretty much just stare at lint for the hour.
2.00 Students visit in my office, seeking help on module choices and basic pastoral care.
3.00 I have 40 emails waiting for me. I take up chisel and start picking at them.
4.00 Already? I head over to the O’Reilly hall and find my gown upstairs, then set myself up along with my fellow helpers as stewards in the hall. We’re standing the whole time and the hall is warm to say the least. It is a lovely occasion, though, the families are so proud and the graduands are so happy. Getting to take part is an honour.
5.30 The academic procession starts and the ceremony proper takes place.
5.45 I and the rest of the stewards slide away. I make my way to the bus stop and low and behold the trusty No. 47 rolls right up. If I had missed it it meant no bus for an hour.
6.30 Home! I take off the work gear, get into mummy gear and go sit down.
7.00 I drop off like a granny on the couch. Just five minutes….
8.00 Wake up with a start. What the what? An hour? But laundry! Bins! Dinner!
8.15 Eat dinner with the altered consciousness that sleeping in the day will do to you. Little man is put to bed and I go to bed just a few minutes after. I’m white noise tired, and term hasn’t even started yet. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Here comes the start of term!
And here I am blogging. Seriously, though, I can see my caffeine intake go up and up this time of year. I try to give blood regularly and I can only imagine what the poor bastard on the table is like once he gets a pint of my stuff
Doctor: How are you feeling?
Patient: Like I have to clean all the things! Let’s go!
Doctor: Holy crap?
Patient: Something wrong doc?
Doctor: Your ankles just doubled! And your hair is now ginger!
Patient: Huh? (Looks in mirror)
The wee man knows all about coffee. Doesn’t drink it, of course, but he knows that Mummy gets her coffee after dinner and that doesn’t change. That, and the demands of life here at the moment mean that the coffee intake is due to continue, if not even increase.
It is the only way, some days, I get to think clearly at all.
Term time is about to start here in UCD. The campus is already very busy, with the many graduations we have going on as well. Car parking is a nightmare, but thankfully I’m a public transport girl, so I’m relatively unaffected.
I always say I won’t write during this semester, or during September, but what happens is that the stories decide now is the perfect time to arrive, and I find my head is buzzing with ideas and stories and scenes and all the rest. I am seriously considering getting up at 5.30am to do this, but I don’t think I would last. My good humour certainly wouldn’t.
And finally, I am 134 pages into White Feathers. Susan Lanigan makes all of us look like hacks. Yes, sorry she does.