We had our first day back at school on Friday, and I managed to keep my summer calm and joie de vivre. So far, so good!
We actually had a lovely bonding moment as a department when we as a group decided "to hell with work orders; we'll move furniture ourselves!" The old space that was used as a tiny office for the part-time English folks became someone else's full-time office this summer, and the English department had been promised another space, an odd-shaped not-quite-an-office space area. All the requisite work orders had been submitted last June, but nothing had been done. The buildings and grounds folks were completely overloaded this summer, so it wasn't like they were sitting around eating bonbons while the work wasn't getting done, but still, the work needed to get done! So we as a department all rolled up our shirt sleeves and set about clearing out crap and finding spare desks and moving furniture. Very satisfying!
We deliberately took on this project while the administrator whose office is next door was at a meeting, because she had her own designs on part of that space and was refusing to give way, even though it had all been worked out back in June. Fortunately, we were almost done when she came back and blew a gasket (a mild sort of gasket, but a gasket nonetheless).
But hey, I was actually out of the room when that happened, and I reminded myself that I wasn't department head anymore and that none of this was my responsibility. So I let others more directly involved handle that crazy monkey parade and kept my distance until the storm was over. And it was very much a case in which my getting involved wouldn't have helped matters at all and might have even hurt them, since the fewer people in that discussion the better. Yay!
In other back-to-school news, Dr. Chair started our first department meeting with heartfelt thanks for my leadership last year, which was very nice. And Ex-Co-Author and I were slightly awkward with each other but both on good behavior and trying to have normal interactions, so that's all good.
And it was SO nice to have someone else fix lunch for me! We have a great dining hall at FGS, and one of the pleasures of coming back to school is always that I don't have to think about lunch but can just reap the benefits of someone else's thought and work in that regard.
Despite the good first day back, I was completely wiped out afterward from the social interactions. After a summer of quiet and rarely talking with more than one or two other people in a day, to be plunged back into the social whirl of colleagues was fun but a shock to my system. I crashed at 9:30 that night, and then I took a three-hour nap on Saturday.
But after all that rest, I was insanely productive on Sunday, getting classes prepped and really enjoying myself in the process -- a good day, and I'm feeling ready for the new year.
... which is a good thing, because the new year is upon us! I don't have to be on campus until 10:00 this morning, so I'm enjoying one of the last leisurely starts to the day that I'll have for awhile. The new students are all on campus today, which means I'll be swamped because I'm teaching half of the freshmen this year. The first day of classes is Wednesday, then there are class retreats on Thursday, then an all-school half-day retreat on Friday. And then I'm on duty over Labor Day weekend, so I'll be on campus on Sunday and Monday. And then classes start "for real" that Tuesday.
So it will be a whirlwind from here on out, which has made it extra nice that today I could continue my summer habit of eating breakfast while sitting in the backyard listening to the quiet. In my goal for a happy and peaceful school year, these moments of quiet are vital, and they needn't be hard to come by if I just pay attention and appreciate them.