Red Shift Blues

I spent July reminding myself that it’s a lull in everything school related. It’s the one month that administrators and district staff get (partially) off. Jobs don’t get posted. Interviews don’t happen. The summer stretches crazily, which is not a good thing when you’re angling to be employed well before summer ends.

August started, and suddenly jobs were up to apply for. I’d had no traction earlier in the summer—some good interviews in early June, some terrible ones in late June, and nothing in July. Then, in the space of a week, I had three interviews and invitations to two more.  Before I could get to the last two interviews, I had an offer to accept.

Naturally, there were paperwork snafus—a mis-clicked button meant my recommendation didn’t get filed right away. I spent two days in anxious back and forth with the school and the district’s HR department. Wednesday morning I got a call about doing paperwork Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon my principal called asking if I could be at work the next morning. Just like that, summer was over.

Life kept speeding up—I spent most of the pre-student inservice days trying to sort out my existence with the district, especially my electronic existence. My electronic existence was at least as important as my physical existence, as I needed it to access everything from the building to the gradebook to the e-mails telling me which things I should have already done. Many of the complications stemmed from that “D.J.” part of my name. Let it suffice to say that I am not especially sanguine about changing my name when I got married.

I had an extra prep added the Thursday before those students arrived in my classroom. I had students before I had gradebook access. I didn’t have an ID badge. Still, the show went on. I introduced myself seven times in one day. I rehearsed three syllabi (two of which were effectively shredded by the end of the first month). I assigned things and graded things and listened to the groans when my seniors realized they still have to work even though there isn’t a high stakes test at the end of the year. I planned and improvised.

My kids started school the same week. Through late August and September, everything sped up. The acceleration went in every direction at once, a life-encompassing red shift. Weekday obligations pushed activities and basic househould maintenance into the weekends. Nights were the only thing not getting longer (though they were still getting faster).

…and now the first 400 words of this post have been sitting on my drafting board for two months. I’m going to throw them up on the blog because, at this point, why not. There are more substantive posts coming, on writing sequels, on NaNo 2015, on the despair of looking backward to despair… Walking Ledges is awake now. Welcome back.


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