It seems perfectly natural to me that it would rain the day after a charity car wash here in Newton. Isn’t that how it always goes?
When it rains, it pours. Just as I’m settling into the relieved exhalation of Ah, summer!, I sit up to realize how many projects I have simmering on my proverbial back-burner. This week, an introductory Zen meditation course I’m teaching to adult education students starts; this weekend, three online literature classes will come to an end, bringing with them the usual end-term paper pile. In two weeks, a new online term starts, which means I need prep its syllabus and course-site now; in three weeks, a summer course I’m teaching in Keene begins, which means I’ll be commuting once again between Massachusetts and New Hampshire for six weeks.
Add, like a dollop of whipped cream atop a sundae, the prep work I need to do now for an online American lit class I teach every fall and the program assessment work (a virtual pile of twenty 20-page papers I have to evaluate between now and August) that I agreed to do back in May, and you have a somewhat accurate picture of what Ah, summer! is looking like these days. None of these tasks are unduly daunting; even combined, this is less work than I typically do during a typical fulltime-and-then-some semester during the school year. But compared to what I typically want to do during the presumed downtime of summer (i.e. absolutely nothing), this juggling of to-do’s feels full and even unfair, with my Inner Imp feeling like a whiny kid saying “But I don’t wanna work!”
Ignoring my Inner Slacker-Rascal, today I prepped a syllabus and handouts for this week’s Zen class, finished my syllabus and online course-site for July’s summer school class, and delegated my other tasks to other to-do lists: one for tomorrow, Wednesday, and beyond. One of the things that keeps me from complete meltdown during the fulltime-and-then-some school year are my to-do lists, which bring a semblance of order to the chaos. As much as I’d like to pretend I can romp through my summer to-do-list-less, my little black book of lists is still, even in summer, my most necessary accessory.