Teacher Professor

July 8, 2010

Heading West

Filed under: Uncategorized — Teacher Professor @ 4:30 am

Home, home on the range

Where the deer and the antelope play

Where seldom is heard- a discouraging word

And the skies are not cloudy all day…

We’ve been leaving for Santa Fe for over a week now.

The children and I have planned to spend the month of July with my mother in Santa Fe, driving there, with James flying in to meet us for the last two weeks and drive back with us.  My mother’s a widow and I’m an only child, so time together is precious.  We have spent most summers of the children’s lives in Santa Fe with her- in between jobs, in between moving, in between semesters.  Santa Fe is a pause.  Santa Fe is a place away.  Santa Fe is a retreat.  And last summer, in the chaos of moving, we didn’t go.  It’s been two years since we were in Santa Fe.  Two years since the blue skies, the dry air, and the music.  Two years since I’ve been home.

And so I arranged my classes to be held in June.  James scheduled his visit to his mom at the end of June.  We debated “Where should we spend the Fourth?”  We decided to spend the Fourth here since my class ended the Friday before and I had to be here for that.  So, we were leaving.

…on the 5th.  It was planned.We would go through Louisville, and West I-70, the longer route, and see friends and family along the way.

Jack’s leaving, after a week of thrill and adventure, was acceptable to Ray only because he, too, would be going on a trip.  James came home from a quick visit to Boston to see his mom.  We did the Fourth and all of its activities.

But my students’ final papers couldn’t be due on the 4th.  Even I am not that cruel or unreasonable.  And I knew that if I required a paper to be due on the 4th, I wouldn’t get anything worthwhile.  It’s a recipe for failure.  So, they would be due on the 5th.  I needed to grade them and turn grades in.

…So- the 6th.  It was planned.  Maybe we would have to miss the Wizard of Oz museum along the way.

But life- stuff- intervened.  An opportunity for a grant- due next week- that needed writing- 50 pages worth-that needed discussing with my department.  A book to outline to give to my publisher.  My girlfriend,whom we had planned to stop and visit, sadly, had an uncle die. Laundry- piles of it after a crazy two weeks of teaching and friends.  And grading- two classes worth- two papers in each class- final exams in each class.  I didn’t get things graded in time on the 5th.  I stayed up until 2:30 am two nights in a row grading, working, writing.  I am now officially too old to stay up until 2:30am.

…So- the 7th.  Absolutely. Route reconfigured.  We’ll head straight there. West I-40.

And things got finished on the 6th.  Grant passed around, discussed, finalized.  Budget crisis for the grant- can deal with that from the road.  Put my life, my work on a  flash drive.  Prescriptions picked up.  Elizabeth went to a friend’s birthday party.  Final grades turned in.  Entertainment box for children for the drive packed.  Suitcases out. Laundry done- not sorted, but done.

But as I went to pick up Elizabeth from her birthday party, it all caught up with me.  I realized that I was dizzy and tired and in no shape to put the massive pile of clothes away, finish packing, and get up at 4:30 am and drive 12 hours to Memphis by myself.  With two children.  And a dog.

…And so, the 8th.  We leave today.  We’re heading West.  Look for me on that highway!

We’ve been going to Santa Fe for a week a now.  At this rate, James will be there before we are… How on earth did the West ever get settled?

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