fall routine

Just kickin' the dandelions.

I took this photo at the beginning of the summer, or maybe it was even before school was out. Since then Daniel got a haircut (thankfully) and he's grown at least an inch, maybe two. He used to come up to my chin, and now he's nearly reached my nose. We wear the same shoe size now, almost. Give him a year, two tops, and he'll be taller than I am.

Bit by bit, we're trying to get into a fall routine. My teaching job started two weeks ago, and the kids went back to school last Thursday. University students didn't start classes until this week, so I'm just now hearing from students looking for accompanists this semester. The work isn't exactly pouring in, but it's pretty early yet, and there's a steady trickle so far. 

I'm trying to make my schedule manageable. I need chunks of time at home to practice and prep for my own students. I'm hoping to line up most of my accompanying work three days a week so that I don't spend half of the working day either commuting to and from campus or twiddling my thumbs in between rehearsals. And of course I'm needed at home in the early morning and late afternoon to get Daniel and Anya where they need to be and make dinner and all those things parents have to do. To be honest, working all that out is a total pain but I wouldn't have it any other way right now.

Actually, that's a lie. I would have it another way. I would totally love to do what I'm already doing, only with more regular and predictable work hours and a salary with benefits. (My teaching job comes with an office and small salary but it is very part time, hence the supplemental freelance work and resulting scheduling headaches.) But since such a position does not exist here at this moment, I am my own boss and I that's the best I can do.

It occurred to me last week that at this time a year ago, the remodeling project on our house started. Heavy trucks were going in and out, piles of mud were everywhere, there were giant holes dug in the ground, holes cut into the sides of my house, and the territorial neighbor trotted out her own special brand of mean and nasty behavior just for us and our contractors more or less on a daily basis. I'm so glad that's done and over with. (And it turned out beautiful; we're really happy with it! If you've been reading for the last several months you already know that, yeah?) Actually, I'm still ecstatic that it's over and done with. We got through it all in one piece but man, that was a long haul, and very stressful.

Now we are easing into fall. School seems to have started smoothly for the kids. I think they're grateful for the routine, too, and the opportunity to see their friends on a daily basis. Little by little, my work schedule is coming together, and even though it's a total pain figuring out the logistics of my own life, it's all good. As much as I love spending all that free time in the summer with Daniel and Anya, I really do much better in terms of self-esteem and productivity when I am doing paid work that I find fulfilling, even when the pay isn't very good and the work is erratic.  As for Stuart, he just keeps on keepin' on! He runs in the early morning, goes to work, comes home in time for dinner, then spends the early evening cleaning up with the kids, roasting coffee, farting around on Twitter and watching a little TV with the kids. (They're into Star Trek these days.)

Life is good.


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