Day after

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?

Summer rain on gas grill

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.

Summer rain on gas grill

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!”

Rain on umbrella

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.