Tuesday, September 7, 2010


When I got home today and looked through the mail, I found a little box about the size of a videocassette, stuffed to bursting.  I knew what it was -- I'd been anticipating it arriving today, having taken its sweet time to amble my way during the long Labor Day weekend.  It's the opening salvo of Dish Rag Tag.  My mission for the next few hours is to knit like mad and complete the included dishcloth pattern in the included dishcloth yarn, then pack the whole thing up with new yarn and a few goodies for my teammate next in line and send it off as soon as the post office doors open tomorrow.

But before that can happen, tomorrow brings another imperative.  Noel leaves for his annual busman's holiday to the Toronto International Film Festival long before the sun rises.

What do these two events in my life have to do with each other?  Both set me on a frantic scramble to get done what I need to get done, meet deadlines, fulfill my obligations, take care of business, and do my best not to let down the side.  In the case of Dish Rag Tag, my part will be done when I hand the box over to the postal worker tomorrow.  In the case of Noel's Toronto trip, I'll be on the front lines for most of the next  week.  (Thankfully, Friday evening through Sunday noon I'll get to hand over the reins to Noel's mother, arriving to stay with the kids while I go up Petitjean Mountain with the members of our incoming class of students.)

I didn't dread Noel's absence in the worst of times because our kids are so delightful and well-mannered. And as the years have gone by, any residual anxiety has pretty much faded; they practically take care of themselves, so other than driving, providing food, and keeping the power tools out of reach, there's not much I have to do that Noel ordinarily does.  But if there's one thing that concerns me year after year, it's having everything depend on me -- having to meet all the deadlines, fulfill all the obligations, take care of all the business, and do my best not to let down the family.

It's by no means an impossible feat.  Some people do it by themselves three hundred and sixty-five days a year.  But it's a change of pace.  At some point in the next nine days, I'll be scrambling.  Let's hope whatever I'm trying to get done is as easy and as well within my powers as the dishcloth I'm already halfway done knitting.

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