How I Spent My Week Off

IMG_3408How I spent my week off: Not the way this picture would suggest. This was our vacation week; the only week old David and I take all year, just for ourselves, up at our place by the lake.

My friend Bobbie, in a laconic email containing only one link, pointed me to an article in The Times about how you really mustn’t let your work life encroach on your vacation. It says you just can’t keep answering emails and making calls, much less initiating them, but… well, you know how it is: you’re never on vacation really after about age 30, and certainly not if you’re someone who writes for a living.

And then in my case there’s the non-profit I spend so much of my time with the local chapter of an organization called A Better Chance that places outstanding students of color from all around the country in secondary schools that are regarded as the among the most challenging, the high school in our town being one such. We call it ABC for short and somehow I can never NOT work on ABC stuff, especially now with two shiny new ABC scholars due to arrive in a little over a week.  

Lots of us volunteers have been busy lately, fixing up the house where our eight guys live together with two amazing resident directors and a crack resident academic coordinator. I myself have been buying new file cabinets and furnishing the newly painted study room with cozy window treatments and fresh artwork.

the back study room

I’ll admit I’m mad for window treatments lately and earlier this month even tried hanging swags from old Dave’s broad shoulders, like Carol Brunette did in her spoof of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind when Scarlett uses those velvety drapes from the lost glory that was Tara to make herself a ball gown. 

carol as scarlett

It’s like a nesting mania with me lately. You’d think I 22  and eight months pregnant.

Anyway the the upperclassmen will be coming back any day now, one for Cross Country, one to row Crew and one just to help get the younger guys assimilated to life in New England. And there’s yet more to do: We’re spiffing up the grounds and painting the fence, getting a plumber in to replace one of the shower doors., and day and night I’m writing to all the new volunteers in an attempt to infect them with the enthusiasm I feel for this organization that helps so many young men grow into their gifts.

Here’s one of them now, Machias Turner, who left here in June at 6’5” but looks to be returning to us closer to 6’7”. The picture was taken on the ABC College Tour outside of one of the buildings on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.

machias fall of senior year

BUT ANYWAY, having said all this about the work i couldn’t help doing, I did relax some. In fact, along about Wednesday that rainy,rainy day I relaxed so much I wasn’t paying attention even to the simple things. I was treating my coffee with liquid sweetener and  added some drops then tasted: added more drops and tasted again. Why isn’t this getting any sweeter? I wondered before looking down at what I held in my hand to see what I was actually using: the bathing solution for my contact lenses. I knew I was in what passes for vacation mode in my world when I was able to just smile. So I put saline solution into my coffee, so what? What’s wrong with a little salt to go with your sweet? I mean, what else made the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup the hit that it is? 🙂

7 thoughts on “How I Spent My Week Off

  1. I recall swimming out to the raft with you my dear cousin and you seemed pretty relaxed at that moment. I KNOW I was. You do good though, so who can complain.

  2. Be sure the antifreeze is in the garage, and nowhere near you when you are drinking coffee. Because you know who will be the “person of interest” should you use it to sweeten your beverage.
    Oy, oy!

  3. SO DIG the work you do. And as for gin, my friend’s mother said while dropping us off at college, “Stay away from gin, girls. Gin makes you mean.” I found that not to be true, but tequila does make me crazy. Like, show up at your ex-boyfriend’s at 3 am crazy.

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