That's the word of the day, not just because Kel and I went to Barnes & Noble last night and traded in some gift cards for books.  I spent my share on the newest Doonesbury collection, Welcome to the Nerd Farm! ; the new Alan Moore/Kevin O'Neill League of Extraordinary Gentleman book ($30 in hardback), Black Dossier; Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio, which I've been meaning to read for ages; and Reefer Madness, Eric Schlosser's follow-up to Fast Food Nation.  (Surprisingly, we've even got some money left on one card.)

But I'm also spent in a more internal sense, because the fall and winter have been personally and professionally exhausting.  The usual requirements of teaching at Woodberry are demanding, but my ordinary teach-classes mornings and coach-kayaking-or-rock-climbing afternoons were supplemented by new demands this fall, namely the development of a new honors-level English course (designed along the lines of AP Language and Composition, but not duplicating it), the job of serving as public address announcer for home football games, and the role of co-advisor for our school newspaper.  The first is part and parcel of my duties as a teacher, and though it has taxed my creativity at times, the course has been a blast and the students are a wonderful group to work with.  The second wasn't really that rough a job in and of itself, but it did require a certain degree of commitment and care, though luckily only in short bursts.  I ended up announcing two JV games as well as the four varsity games I'd signed on for, and my partner Greg Jacobs and I ended up webcasting the final game of the season from Alexandria, so announcing did eat up seven weekend afternoons I could perhaps have used for resting from the other stuff I was doing, or perhaps for doing all that other stuff. 

Of that other stuff, the newspaper has probably been the most stressful addition to my plate, perhaps because I have no newspaper experience whatsoever--and yes, I explicitly informed the headmaster of this fact when he tapped me for the job.  It will go for weeks with little or nothing going on, and then will suddenly erupt into a weekend demanding hours upon hours of attention, which is not something that fits in well with my established schedule, particularly when those weekends are already compromised by, oh, say, announcing a football game or doing dorm duty.  And since even a "full" WFS weekend runs only from 11:00 a.m. Saturday (the end of classes) to 6:15 p.m. Sunday (the start of advisee dinner), every weekend hour is extraordinarily precious.  Let's just say I have my doubts about continuing in this role over the long haul...

But I got through the fall and started the winter, holding my auditions for this year's Black Box production of I Hate Hamlet and starting in on the challenges inherent in mounting any play, but adding to them the challenges of working around the schedules of three girls, two of whom attend school in Charlottesville and have a long commute back, and another whose mother was hospitalized with meningitis in December, which threw her schedule off just a wee bit.  There's also the three-week layoff we're currently experiencing, which necessitates getting a LOT done during the first three weeks of rehearsal, but at least gives the cast some time to memorize their lines.  When they return on Jan. 7th, they should be off book, but we'll then have less than three weeks until opening night--Jan. 24th.  So yes, there's a little stress there.

Anyway, all of this is why I didn't do any shopping until the 19th.

The good news is that I found just about everything I needed, which meant that when we took off for Fayetteville on the morning of the 21st, the car was loaded with everything we needed for the Dalton family celebration on the night of the 22nd and the Cashwell family celebration on the afternoon of the 23rd, plus a few items left at home for the nuclear family celebration on Christmas proper.  We drove to Fayetteville, helped Kelly's mom set up for the party on Friday, had a wonderful dinner and visit on Saturday night, drove to Raleigh, had another wonderful lunch and visit on Sunday afternoon, drove to my parents' place, spent Sunday night, got my broken glasses repaired, grabbed a big Chinese lunch, and headed home on US 15 on Monday afternoon.

I think it was somewhere around Clarksville that I began to feel the adrenaline wearing off.

Kelly took over the driving, allowing me to focus on the spectacular beauty of a huge orange moon wrapped in tinsel-strands of cloud, but by the time we hit the driveway, I was ready to fall into bed and stay there for a week, Santa be damned.  Luckily, I have that week.  I may not spend it all in bed, but I'm going to try--aggressively, even--not to commit to doing anything other than recovering some of my energy.  And maybe... just maybe... spending some of my Christmas money.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on December 28, 2007 9:54 AM.

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