Saturday, August 31, 2013

Goodbye, Summertime

So goodbye summer, but not adios to the heat. Yesterday it was 100˚ during recess at 2:20. Many of the students as well as teachers did their best imitation of cattle in nearby pastures, finding a tree that would offer a spot of shade from the unrelenting Texas sun. What I wouldn't give for a late October cool front right about now. Or some mild English weather. 

It's hard to believe summer is officially over. The new 7th grader and I returned to classes Monday. Right now I'm in survival mode, madly paddling to keep my head above water. It's the triple whammy of new campus, new grade and new curriculum. I'm enjoying the first two aspects of my return to teaching, but the third (science) not so much. It's hard to fake a love of something that doesn't particularly interest you in any way, shape or fashion. But alas, I'll persevere and hope for a change of subjects in 2015 when sixth grade makes the move from top of the elementary pile to low man on the totem pole in our middle schools. My dream job is social studies or English.

Before I officially started inservice on August 19, I spent the week before that in Columbia, South Carolina, getting the coed moved into her dorm. It only took $2,000 plus four separate trips to both Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as Target to get her dorm essentials. Our daughter and her roomie opted to loft their beds and have a surprising amount of floor space for a TV stand, futon and fridge/microwave. 

In the first pic is an exterior shot of the daughter's coed dorm. She's on the second of three floors, so it was a do-able hike for me since the husband didn't accompany us. And wasn't that wily of him to dodge what turned out to be a rather gut wrenching event for this momma that has never been particularly sentimental. In the bottom pic is the South Carolina statehouse, located just a couple blocks off campus. I found it to be a more manageable Austin, minus the drag worms and hippies.

Here is a shot of the coed at Wal-Mart, where we picked up important things like toothpaste and deodorant. Our local Wally World store carries the University of Texas and Texas A&M team items. The stores in South Carolina are all about the USC Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers. However, in Columbia it's mostly about the garnet and black - Go Cocks!

We paid to fly four large suitcases to Columbia with the coed's wardrobe and cosmetics. And thus we did our part to support South Carolina's economy by purchasing everything from pillows to makeup remover wipes to hangers in Columbia. Below you see the teen loading up her dorm chest of drawers with clothes.

Above is a pic of the historic horseshoe at the center of the USC campus. Everything was so green, explained by the fact that Columbia receives the same amount of annual rainfall as Houston. The highs there were lower than you'll find at this time of year in the Texas hill country, but it's much more humid in Columbia. The horseshoe is where the coed attended bid day on Sunday. After more than a week of sorority rush events, she pledged Zeta Tau Alpha. In the pic below, she's the brunette in the middle with white shorts and her cellphone peeping from the back pocket. And this is why we carry insurance on her phone - one pop out of her pocket away from a shattered screen or easy access thievery.

On the trip home by myself, I sniffled through airports in three states as I backtracked our flight path through Atlanta. As soon as I arrived back in Texas, I threw myself into school prep and that has kept me from moping around wondering what the newly fledged chick is doing. We've fallen into a family routine that seems to bump along just fine without her, as if she has been away at college for years. But then I'll catch myself wondering what she wants to eat for supper. Or if she needs me to buy her anything at Wal-Mart when I swing by there after school... and then I find myself missing her all over again. They grow up and get out and life goes on for everyone. And that is exactly what happened.

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