I have a day out of the classroom today (assessment meetings-JOY!), courtesy of the Western School Board for which I am employed. I feel almost giddy as I leisurely get myself ready and line my ducks up in a row for the day. Everything is taking longer this morning, and I feel so GENEROUS with my time. I have even offered my husband to do some of his morning duties so that he can actually get to work on time. Which would be a first for him too, as he is usually behind schedule like me.
Mornings go something like this: I get up, shower and then make the beds. Husband gets up, makes coffee, puts wood in the outdoor furnace and then walks the dog. While I pick out clothes for the four little Gards, he makes breakfast. While he cleans up from breakfast, I brush little one’s hair and finish putting my face on, the one I wear in public. This is a fascinating time for any stragglers that happen to find themselves in the bathroom with me while this process is underway. I am in awe of the transformation myself.
We don’t plan to be late. We are actually very organized and have a bit of a groove going, on those precious few days when everything falls into place. But what usually happens is this: things fall apart just after I am done putting my face on. That quality time I have carved out in the bathroom every morning is the last major act I perform before going down the stairs to join the zoo. 7:59 a.m. is known as pre-chaos. Everything falls apart after the clock hits 8:00a.m., and sadly this is true of pretty well any given week day.
And that is partly why we are always late. Because someone has forgotten their homework agenda or their lunch bag. Or the dog gets away and starts chasing cars up the road. Or my littlest one is crying for a kiss, or a certain hat or her blankie. Or who knows what she is crying for- she’s just crying. And husband and I run around like chickens with our heads cut off toward the vehicles, and hope we have the right set of keys to start the engine. And sometimes one of us has already left for work when the other realizes that her keys are in his coat pocket…it happens, and then once again, there you have it: you’re late.
I have given up making apologies for my tardiness. I usually just try to slink in the front school doors and fly under the radar, as much as is humanly possible. Occasionally as the buses are arriving, I will come in the entrance and act like it was pre-planned this way. Like I planned on greeting my students at the door as they arrived. Don’t all award-winning teachers do this?
When we were first married, people always called my husband’s family “the late Gards.” We like to live up to long-standing reputations around here. I have brought a whole new meaning to that family label, as I have never been on time for much over the last sixteen years of marriage. And I don’t plan on starting now.
However, there is always the faintest of possibilities that today, maybe…a dawning of a new era.
I tell my husband to go to work already, and just as I think he has followed my prompting, I look out the door and see him hurriedly rushing all the kids out of my vehicle and into his truck.
“Brian,” I holler, “I told you, I’ll take the kids this morning.”
“Lori, do you know what time it is?” he shouts back, “The kids are going to miss the bus.”
Crud. It’s 8:15 a.m. Where did the time go?
One morning of slowing my jet engines, and I am already running behind schedule; worse, I have now made everyone else in the family late as well. Well, aren’t meeting days just lovely? And worse- I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet. There‘s always the drive-through.
Confession: I am a multi-tasker and that is the true reason I am always late. In fact, as I am driving the forty-five minute commute to work, I am right now planning what exactly I might be able to do with the 10 minutes extra I may have because “I wasn’t as late as you thought I was, husband.” I think I just might be able to squeeze in a trip to the dollar store if I take the short cut into town.
In the end, my better judgement rules out over that little voice in my head, and I am actually on time for work this morning. I am the second to the last one to arrive, but hey people, I am not late.
And, proud I am of this second accomplishment as well: I was also back on time from lunch (middle of the pack in arrival times), after another endeavour in multi-tasking as I spent the bulk of my time thrift-shopping. I still had time to run into a coffee shop (and quickly back out again to the van- forgot my money to pay for the bagel I ordered) and yet still make it back to my meeting with an allowance for a speedy visit to the restroom before afternoon sessions.
I watch that one lady who arrived late twice today walk in after lunch just as the presenters are setting up the DVD. I believe I am wearing a hypocritical smirk on my face, but cut me some slack. It’s not every day that I manage to override my reputation and set new standards for myself, at the expense of another comrade. She looks sheepish, while I look smug.
The thought crosses my mind: I wonder if they are giving verbal props or perhaps door prizes to those of us here on time? Because if so, baby, I’m in the running today.