A Day to Regroup

The last three days have seemed breathless. Yesterday I was able to read a few chapters of my book by the pool, but sitting in the sun wears you out! During the Maverick-Heat game last night, I fell asleep, that’s a nine o’clock bedtime for those not NBA follows. Today I’ve tried to regroup, set some expectations for the summer, and just relax. So this morning I watched “The Fifth Element” (I’ve seen the last 20 minutes maybe five times, but I’ve never watched the whole thing! So it counts toward my resolution.), ironed my dressed that wrinkled from the trip, registered for a Tuesday night drawing class at the local college, and am now sitting outside the Patton house on the back deck. It’s hot out here, even under their big porch umbrella, but it’s so nice and bright out, that I couldn’t resist. Maggie curled up under this table is the only element keeping this setting from being perfect. I’ve spent the last two hours working on a new story, more time than I’ve spent writing for myself since April! Today is good day.

Tomorrow I go back to work, and start scrambling to get everything ready for classes to start June 20th! From then on, every morning will see me Write Under the Stairs for two hours a day, some days four hours!, with little people closer to my height and flavor of humor. There’s so much to look forward to this summer—friends visiting, free concerts, music festivals, old friends, new friends, and maybe even the pending success of un-applied for jobs.

Aside from missing a summer with my friends, I hate the fact that I’m away from my family. My cousin Rachel is the first of us ten grandkids to be starting her own little family. She’s 36 weeks along and beautiful! Because of her diabetes and the large, squirmy ways of baby Aiden, she will deliver by C-section any time within the next two weeks. If I wasn’t here, I’d be in Hot Springs with the soon-to-be mom. I’ll be thinking about getting my stuff done here, of course, but I’ll definitely be thinking about her and Aiden, too!

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On the Job

It’s like riding a bike, really. I hadn’t even put my lunch in the mini-frig yet (or switched out of my flip flops into my big girl shoes) when a very excited gentleman came in with his brand new pen. It’s been nine months since I’ve worked the store front of TT Patton, a fine writing and stationery store in downtown Barrington, and I hadn’t even gotten a second to get my footing before Mr. Dude was asking me questions. I told him it was my first day back and that he needed to be patient with me. Thank the higher power he didn’t want to buy or order anything; he wanted help loading his new Boston Red Sox fountain pen. The fountain pens I own are the college-priced disposable ones, and I was scared to death I might break or crack this guys new pen—not to mention incite my father and brother to come 400 miles to punish me for damaging anything with the Red Sox logo. I gave the pen my attention and in ten minutes I had successfully made a new Barrington friend—his new pen was loaded and taken care of and the customer had a earful of other products with which he could pair his new pen. It was like riding a bike.

Theresa was here with me this morning, arriving moments after my new friend and first summer success left, to reintroduce me to the computer system. I’m hoping for a slow day so I can memorize prices and brands and whatnot. My luck though, the graduation season will nip everyone in the bud, and I’ll be up to my eyeballs in questions and notes for T when she gets back on Monday. She knows she was leaving a rookie in her store, and I guess I gotta trust that she trusts me.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a good summer. The weather in Chicago Land is beautiful and sunny, and the faces are familiar and friendly. Three people have already said to me, “Welcome Home.” My Mother, when she reads this, will roll her eyes and pout a little bit, but being back in Barrington kind of feels like a homecoming. If only all the familiar and friendly faces could be here then life would be perfect.

P.S. To Theresa, I’ve had several other successes today.

Watch the movie starring my kids from last summer! I’m excited to get Write Under the Stairs (get it? the classroom is right under the stairs and we’re writing. . .) on June 20th!

Summer Vacation

By the end of this week I will be in Chicago Land starting my summer job. Nine to five work days and week’s worth of preteens will keep my summer life busy and entertaining. The past two weeks, thus, have been my real summer vacation. Sleeping in, spending time with the people I like most, and simply doing exactly what I want to do has made the last dozen days since graduation a much needed break. I’ve read three books and caught up on my new year’s resolution.

I would have loved to have gone to the beach or on a European backpack trip, but laying out beside the blue pool at The Todd Country Club was a pretty sweet time. I finished a book I’ve had on my reading list for a year, talked to my favorite girls, and caught some of the first rays of the summer—though those rays burned the Jesus out of my back!

For Memorial Day, I’m spending time with my family. Breakfast at Mamaw’s with my aunts, uncle and cousins, watching the sad Hardin County Memorial Day Parade—I remember it being so much cooler—and sitting on the side porch with my mom and brother while Dad’s out golfing. Pretty soon I’ll fire up the grill of steaks, corn on the cob, and mushrooms. It’s been a sunny and lovely weekend.

If I weren’t leaving in a little while, if I didn’t have something in my life that made me move forward, I think I’d scream. But for now, I’ll enjoy my friends and family, and my time to relax with a pinch of sadness that I’ll be leaving it all soon. I’m ready for TT Patton, though; I’m ready to be moving around, to be figuring some things out, and to be doing something I like to do—teach writing.