I should take every Wednesday afternoon off. I mean, I was asked no less than 20 times by the 10-year-old: What day is it? And I would pretend to fall for it and say "What day IS it?" and I would hear, "It's hump day, yeah!" and then he would do a little dance, mostly with his head like the television commercial with the camel who does all the same. I would pretend, the first dozen times, to be surprised and laugh and then I would just laugh some more because it was all so stupid and he loved it so much.
This week is that strange Utah break that is either time off from school for teacher education or kill-Bambi week. It all equates to... kids are out of school for anywhere from two days to all week and my little family was a combination of both. We all work, my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and me. And we all feel better when the nine-year-old and ten-year-old and the 12-year-old, have some supervision. So we took turns, full days and half days, to try and make it all work. I drew Wednesday afternoon.
The morning was grim and overcast and then sunny and bright but briskly cold. I had to alter my plans. We stopped briefly at the Farmer's Market and they each got a tiny, tiny pumpkin about the size of a big apple. Then we stopped at the Park City Nursery and they each, after much deliberation got giant pumpkins, so big they couldn't carry them and we grabbed a wagon to take them to get them to the car . Back at my house we put decorations in the yard and on the windows and hung tiny purple lights around the front door. Main Street was a visit to Dolly's where they each got one new book and I got many. There was a FroYo stop, and we sat a spell, for them to enjoy the treat in the little cafe of The Market formerly known as Dan's. They watched the ball game on the television screen and then got bored and asked to go back to my house to play some more.
We filled the bird feeders and started a card game (called Sleeping Queens, which is surprisingly fun and competitive, for all ages). All too soon, The Parents arrived to whisk them back to their Salt Lake City homes.
Wednesday never felt so carefree.
While fall is a time for many businesses and organizations to re-group and think about where they want to be in the winter months, in my world, it is full-on fundraising and launching shows and securing hotel rooms for performers and locations for after-parties. It is grant writing and brochure production and so many details no one cares about except when they don't happen seamlessly.
So my week started with three huge meetings in one day and then followed the next day with the earliest morning meeting I have ever agreed to... which was 7 a.m., but might as well have been 4 a.m. It is a well-established fact, I am NOT a morning person. You want the best of me? Try lunchtime or late afternoon, some days, early evening. But that bright-eyed cheerful soul who rises waiting to meet the day... rarely me. I had also thought the early meeting was going to be full of bearish men spoiling for a kind of raw-meat conversation. I was so very wrong. The group was polite and interested and interesting. They asked great questions and I did my best to answer them. They bought me a cup of tea and while it did not make me cheerful I was at least a bit cheery. Just a bit. I don't see the early-morning meeting, in any way, under consideration going forward, but I got through it unscarred.
Some meetings were just meetings, needed conversations and updates and inquiries and check-ins. Like my meeting with my accountant, a cheerful man who welcomed me with a, "Hi slacker!" Because yes, most of you filed your taxes on time but I could not this year and so they were due on Tuesday. And I did complete them, Tuesday afternoon. Ugh. One sorta meeting/shared tea was with my favorite unrelated person who started out, years and years ago, as a business connection and now I consider a dear friend. His wisdom and generosity and good humor make any day better and since he knows a 9:30 a.m. meeting is always the edge of my getting my motor started, he never schedules us before then. By the time we finished, near 11 a.m., I think I was downright pleasant.
Then there was a meeting with a man I have known most all the years I have lived here, to introduce me to his newest, craziest ,most wonderful work/invention/entrepreneurial adventure which was wild and crazy and right up my little-known alley. My inner geek is such a strange and mysterious creature I try not to let her out too often, lest she frighten small children and bore comfortable adults. This guy and I had a field day sharing information and websites and TED talks and suddenly it was hours later and the end to a very full day.
I stopped by The Market to pick up something I needed for dinner and when I opened the back door to put the bag down, out fluttered the bookmark from Dolly's that clearly slipped out of one of the Grands' books. I closed my eyes and listened to the giggle bellies that had been there just days before. If each week could be broken up with laughter and thoughtful discussions and yes, a frozen treat in the middle of the afternoon, maybe I would always feel this balanced by the week's end. Ready to work a bit over the weekend, sure, but ready to be fully present to enjoy this Sunday in the Park....
Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the organization that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.