It’s Sunday, my first since I vowed to stop watching the Washington football team, either live on TV or by constantly refreshing the Scores app on my phone. This means that I have added approximately three hours to my weekend. Combine this with the fact that my new job as a paraprofessional means no homework in the afternoons, evenings, or weekends, and you’ll understand that I have quite a few hours to fill. I’m thankful. I realize that’s an enviable problem, but it does call for some discipline and decision making. So far I have filled my extra hours in these ways:
1. Compulsive leaf raking. I am confident that this obsessive behavior will pass, as most of my trees are now leafless. I have, through repetitive scraping, created a few bald patches in the lawn, but my therapist thinks the grass will grow back.
2. TV watching. I have caught up on several shows that I had heard people discussing over the past few years. I’m hoping that now I can participate in a few more conversations. Here are a few of my recent viewings. The Crown (now there are some people with too much time on their hands), Cheer (I didn’t think I’d enjoy it, but I did. Very distressed about Jerry), Queen’s Gambit (might need to take up chess), Ted Lasso (I now believe), Hill Street Blues (Be careful out there), Seinfeld (That guy’s pretty funny, but he dresses weird), The Brady Bunch (Poor Jan), and Leave it to Beaver (I don’t trust that Haskell kid).
I’ll let you decide when that list got silly.
3. Cooking. Some co-workers recently pointed out that since I get home two hours before my wife, then perhaps I can at least have dinner ready. True, but in the past my wife has been less-than-thrilled with the way I ad-libbed on ingredients. “No, vermouth is not a substitute when the recipe calls for white wine.” We’ve now subscribed to something called Home Chef, which supplies everything on the ingredients list except for salt, pepper and olive oil. I can substitute motor oil, right?
4. Tutoring. Thus far I have only one client, a very hard-working and genial ninth grader, but the frequency of sessions this past week (three in the space of five days) definitely cramped my raking style. We’ll see how long the gig lasts. He hasn’t gotten his first paper returned yet. His is a results-based family.
Today I also decided that it would be good to get back to sketching, something I used to do more frequently in my class. That was back in the days before we became fully invested in the TC units of study. It used to be a way to get myself (and some students) into observing or writing mode. Today’s sketch, a stuffed jackalope (a replica, not an actual stuffed jackalope), may fuel my next slice.
Wait. I just looked out the window and saw that my neighbor’s oak, a notoriously late leaf dropper, just shed several leaves and they’re blowing toward my yard at this very mo–