Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Friday, November 22, 2013


I'm not going to lie; working Fridays has been hard for me.  I know I live a charmed life in which I can sit back and whine, "Now that I'm working full time, I have to get out of bed before 6:00 a.m., and I even have to work five whole days during the week."  Yeah, I know... I'm a wuss, and so many of you have been doing that for years.  But I haven't.

I quit working full time when Adam was 6 months old.  I've always worked some during the 8.5 years since - teaching piano, working part time at a school, tending kids, bookkeeping for my dad... I have always had a job.  But I've had part time.  Or flexible.  Or 4-days a week.

And now I have contract hours.  On specific days.  And one of those days is FRIDAY.

If you're not a teacher, maybe you don't know what school is like on Friday.  In general, the kids are usually either wired or tired, which means it takes way more energy to teach the 5 hours of an early out day than any of the other full days.

And if you're not me, maybe you don't know what I'm like on Friday. In general, I'm either wired or tired, which means my natural personality is either egging on my precocious math group or I'm too tired to motivate my students to put 100% effort into their rough drafts.

Fridays are tough.  Period.

A glance at the calendar reveals this is only the 9th Friday we've had this school year.  Which means this being here on Friday thing is still pretty new to me.  In my past life (as a dedicated music teacher), I didn't teach on Fridays, because the kids don't attend specials on Friday.  Might I mention that I loved this.  But in agreeing to teach 5th grade (might I mention that I also love this), I also agreed to be here, focused, and effective 5 days a week.

And with some help, I'm doing it!

First of all, I don't waste precious Friday energy on deciding what to wear.  Teachers are allowed to wear the student uniform polo on Fridays as long as they are willing to wear the rest of the uniform with it.  There is exactly 1 teacher in the building who takes advantage of that policy.  Yours truly.  At first I was a bit self-conscious about it, but I quickly discovered that my students think it is cool that I dress like them.  I also found out that other teachers would wear the polo except they refuse to tuck in their shirts.  But I digress.  Although it doesn't seem like much, the comfort of the baggy polo frees up so much of my attention which I can then direct to squeezing out an extra 5 hours of awesome to get the job done the way it needs to be done.

But the thing that has helped me change my Friday song actually has nothing to do with school.

Once upon a time, when Kirk and I were young and poor and engaged to be married, we had a standing Thursday lunch date.  If I remember the details right, he didn't have class on Thursdays, so that meant he had time to make the drive from West Valley to Draper to come have lunch with me.

But as a poor, starving student, he couldn't actually afford to take me to lunch.  So we set the precedent of being together without needing to be fancy.  Every Thursday, he picked me up at my office and drove me to my parents' house where we spent an hour together and ate whatever we could find in the cupboards.  It was during one such lunch date that he proposed to me (over ramen noodles).

Fast forward nearly 13 years (and three kids) later, and we've finally found a way to reinstate the weekly lunch date!  Kirk works four 10's, so he has Fridays off.  He switched to this schedule to accommodate my full-time teaching schedule last spring, but we looked forward to the day we'd be able to enjoy our joint day off while two of our kids were in school.  But summer came, and along with it came a chance for Kirk to work some overtime.  He worked Fridays to bring home some extra for the family while I enjoyed my summer off with the kids.  Just as I geared up for EYT (with its five-day-a-week schedule), Kirk ended the overtime work and once again had his Fridays free.  But as I went straight into the school year, we realized the ideal we'd imagined was just not going to happen.  (In other words, there would be no September tee times.)

But I do get a lunch break, and I do teach just down the street from McDonalds, and Kirk does have to come to the school anyway to pick up Adam and Alex from school.  And since that is the order in which our stars have aligned, we've continued on in our non-fancy ways and decided that a standing 12:30 on Friday lunch date would be perfect.

So each Friday, Dylan and Kirk pick me up at the school.  Kirk and I enjoy much needed conversation while Dylan plays.  We eat from the dollar menu.  We spend about 30 minutes enjoying a bit of quiet or making financial decisions, or planning for our future.  We get a second to talk about the kids without the interruptions of the kids.  Then Kirk drives me through the pick-up line for school, and I get out while the kids get in.

And when my energy lags in the middle of math, or I just need a little extra oomph in my day, I remember that at 12:30, my husband and youngest son will be there to get me.  It's not to say my students aren't enough!  But when I'm having a hard time being enough for them, the promise of our weekly lunch date reminds me that I can do it.

When I wake up each Friday morning, don my NPA polo shirt, and consider all that is in store for me, I think, "Thank Goodness It's Friday!"


Miss Megan said...

I love this. Thank you so much for keeping at your blog in spite of everything you have going on. I love reading about your life and your family! It makes me miss you just a tiny bit less, and it makes me smile to know you are so happy and awesome :D

Sarah said...

I love this! What a simple thing a lunch date is...but how simple it'd be to not do. Love that he proposed over ramen! Love the visual of you now being reenergized over the dollar menu before sliding out when the kids get in. Kuddos to Kirk in all this. You both are great!