Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gwen's very long, exhausting Ash Wednesday newsletter printing day

6:50. Roll over in bed. Sleep Cycle app goes off. Hit snooze.

7:00. Regular alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Once, twice, many times. (Worked past 1 a.m. last night.)

7:45. Last-ditch, save-my-butt, emergency alarm goes off. Get out of bed. Make coffee. Talk to Eliza. Not really sure why, but she no longer has PACE bus rides to and from work for the day. Cancelled because of the cold? What? I’ll be driving her at 11:30 and 2:00. Two 25-minute interruptions in an already packed day.

7:50. Get dressed. Pants don’t match sweater, socks don’t match pants. Does not seem to matter at the moment.

7:55. Discovered I only thought I made coffee. The on button is not glowing red. Still time to drink a cup before I have to leave for an eye doctor appointment at 8:30, so I push the button.

8:10. Coffee is finally ready. Pour half in a travel cup, half in a regular cup. Breakfast. Measure out the oatmeal and water and put it in the microwave for two minutes. Grab leftover beans and rice from the refrigerator and put them in lunch bag, plus an orange. Pack up laptop and cords.

8:15. Have to leave for the doctor! The microwave is beeping at me. Why? Oh yeah, oatmeal. Spoon. Stir it around. Can I eat it fast without burning my mouth? No. Pour coffee from cup into a second travel mug.

8:16. Leave oatmeal to congeal on the kitchen counter. Coat, hat, scarf, gloves, keys, tote bag, eye drops, sunglasses, purse, two containers of coffee, and I’m out the door. Three tries with the code on the garage door opener. It won’t work. Pry the 5 button forward. Wait. Wait. Wait. Put the code again slowly. Push open. Up it goes.

8:24. Park at the hospital. Grab the laptop from the tote bag and jam it into my purse. Gotta work while I wait. Down three flights of stairs, through the tunnel to avoid the cold, up one flight of stairs, elevator to the sixth floor. Wait, wait, wait to sign in at the desk.

8:30. Yay, I am on the Hospital Guest wifi, opening files and shooting off emails. Then into the exam room. Pick up coat, hat, scarf, laptop, case, purse. What can I see? Well, nothing, until they close that gadget to just a pin hole. Yellow eye drops. Check the pressure. Back to the waiting room because the doctor isn’t there yet. (Pick up coat, hat, scarf, etc.) More plugging away at newsletter stories.

9:10. Back in the exam room (with coat, hat, bag, scarf, gloves, laptop, sleeve …) Eye looks good. Questions from me. Every now and then I catch a shadow or something off to the left of the eye that had the cataract surgery. Probably, I think, I say, it’s my nose. Or my glasses frame. But I'm nervous. Dilate eye. Back to the waiting room. (Lug stuff!) I will be late for a 9:30 meeting. Make a phone call, send an email, write a text. Back to the laptop. The little letters get fuzzy and I’m back in the exam room. All is well with the eye. Make joke about over-active brain. Put on coat, pick up stuff. New appointment, down the elevator, through the tunnel, up the parking garage elevator, call my mother to say I’ll be there to pick her up in five minutes. Travel mug of coffee is barely warm.

10:00. Drop my mother, park the car, catch the end of the meeting. 

10:30. Up to my office. No lunch bag. Write, write, copy, paste, text boxes, logos, grr. I’ll have to leave at 11:25 to pick up Eliza. She calls at 11:25—eek, gotta go. Figure out what happened with the rides and the cold, and what she said they told here, but actually asked her. Coat, hat, scarf, glove, purse, keys, sunglasses. Learn that one of the two copiers I’ll need to use later in the day is broken. Out to the car, drive home. Run in, get lunch bag. Drive. Drop. Park. Inside. 

Noon-ish. Eat half a turkey and bacon sandwich offered to me. (I’ll eat my lunch for dinner, which I had planned to skip.) Drop in on another meeting. Questions that I need answered now. Info I’ll need later this week. Random conversation, emails, files, links. 

1:00. Walk to my office. Stop to meet with someone else. A problem for another day. Write, copy, paste, revise, proof, edit, fuss, scowl, grind teeth. Hit print, revise presets, hit send. Have to pick up Eliza. Coat, hat, scarf, gloves, can’t find the sunglasses, stick laptop and cords back in tote bag in case I need to send the file again from downstairs. Copy room, check proof, looks okay except every other page is upside down. Forgot to check the short-side bind box. Give proof to someone to read. Walk to car, pick up Eliza, drive-up grilled chicken sandwich for her, head home, carry in food, turn around and go back to car.

2:30. Copy-edit, proof, revise, tinker, lock in lay-out, call my proofreader who has two corrections. (I’ve already made at least 20.) Get a text at 3:15 about another meeting starting. Finish tinkering. Put 925 into the number of copies box and hit print. Stop at copier on the way down. Newsletter is running. 

3:20. Sit in other meeting. Scowl. Interject. Wise-crack. Not a happy meeting. Notice that my face is tense and I’m exhaling but not inhaling.

3:55. My mother’s here and needs a ride home. Forgot about that. Check the copier. Discover copier repairman is at police station after a car accident. Find a hand-cart. Move a box of paper. Try to think of alternative ways to get my mom back to her place. Suck it up and drive her home. Coat, gloves, scarf, hat, purse, keys, out to the parking garage. Drive, drop, block the street, thread my way through the jam, return to work and nap time. Or at least lie down and try to breathe time. Set the alarm. Note tension throughout body.

5:00. Alarm goes off. I might be able to make it through the next hour. Heat up rice and beans. Walk around the building and eat. Check the copier. Still waiting for the repairman for copier #2. Review music for choir rehearsal. Make tea.

5:25. Greet chorister #1 and #2. Friendly. Play through new music. Lent. Diminished sevenths and suspensions. 

5:35. Chorister 3 and 4 arrive. Run warm-ups. Work a cut-off. Totally loony today thanks to “Annie” rehearsals and performances at the middle school. Try to persist in serious rehearsing. Kids are performing melodramas with the music.

5:50. Glance at text from son about how he confronted someone who was wearing the jacket stolen from him last December. Wish I could hear the whole story. Or not.

5:55. Phone rings during choir rehearsal, but it’s someone I have to talk to about a program. Four singers rush to the board to draw pictures. Good news on the phone. Focus of rehearsal not so good.

6:00. Soccer singer leaves for practice. Sightreading of Good Friday music with Latin texts begins. Helps to have string players and band members in your choir. Our new anthem is described as a Disney princess song. They don’t like Disney princesses. They do like their songs. 

6:23. Rehearsal ends early. Off to check the copiers. Copier #2 is fixed but running another job. I do some math, load paper, return to my office (up 2.5 flights of stairs), send the print job, return to the basement machine, delete the working job, and at last have two copiers printing my newsletter. 

6:42. Walk into pre-service Ash Wednesday choir rehearsal late. Too tired to sing on key, so combat flatness by singing sharp and bright.

7:00. Ash Wednesday worship. This is my least favorite liturgical occasion of the entire year. Too tired for solemnity. Too sharp for minor keys. Too weary. Too angry for patriarchy. Will someone please just row this boat ashore so we can all go home?

7:50. Downstairs for communion. And another copier check. Load up paper. Shut down one machine. Stack stuff needed for mailing crew in the morning. Haul two reams of 11 x 17 paper back where they belong. Bathroom. Choir rehearsal. 

8:30. Where exactly is the center of the pitch? And my pencil? And why must this song go both into and out of the wilderness to the same tune?

9:00. Very difficult to sing German words like "Fuerchte dich niche" through pursed lips and clenched teeth. Can’t tune. Try to exhale and relax into flatness.

9:10. Choir’s over. Coat, hat, gloves, scarf, tote bag, purse, eye drops, laptop, cords, keys, lunchbag. Thank God, my car is actually where I thought I left it. Look in the mirror on the visor to scrub the ashes off my forehead. Really not up for questions about dirty foreheads when I get home.

9:30. Home. Couch. Cold still creeping along my thigh bones. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, yes. Television, no. Knitting, no. Stay up late enough to make it hard to get up again tomorrow.


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