Before I went off on my vacation, a number of my fellow teachers asked if I had any "big plans." "No," I assured them, "I'm going to stay close to home. Lay low." Now, three days into my week off, I wonder how I could actually accomplish this.
While it is true that I found the time to finish the entire medium level of "Guitar Hero: Van Halen," I don't know if I have been laying especially low. I have yet to sleep much past seven in the morning, partly due to the insistence of my dog, and mostly due to the extraordinarily rigid circadian rhythm that rules my sleeping and waking worlds.
If I slept in, I might have missed the morning news. Or I might not have been able to wash and dry two loads of laundry. I might not have been able to scrub the bathtub clean. I could have missed out on a run before noon. There were trips to the store, and groceries to put away. And there was my everlasting Albatross of a front gate to contend with. None of these things, including the added task of moving into my new computer, could have been accomplished without the "free time" I was allowed during these past few days.
A few years ago, conventional wisdom suggested that our school district could save money by giving us all a week off, rather than teaching to near-empty classrooms for the three days preceding Thanksgiving. Now I find myself in a mild panic, wondering how to fill those hours that would normally be spent in the service of others. How to be useful and relax at the same time, I wonder. The problem is that I don't tend to find that lethargic rhythm until I've been "resting" for at least two weeks, and by then it's time to pick up my shovel and helmet and head back to the mines.
Happily, the next few days bristle with opportunities such as pie-making and Christmas light installation. By next Monday, I should be ready for the relative peace of the classroom. Now there's a relaxing notion.