You’ve Been Warned

I have a fairly high level of stress in my job as each new school year approaches.  I supervise 15 adult dropout recovery programs, or learning centers as we call them, across the state which translates loosely into being a building principal for 15 small high schools.  To be fair to high school principals out there, we don’t have a band, pep club, cheerleaders or athletic teams so I am exempt from many of their time consuming programs.  However, I have facilities to maintain, staff to hire, curriculum to oversee, and dozens and dozens of cooperating school district administrators who need to communicate with me from time to time.  I also have several other responsibilities that reach the peak of activity at the start of the school year.  So here’s a word of warning.  If I tell you I’m stressed out, believe me.  If I tell you to tread lightly when I’m stressed out, believe me.  Apparently, John is a non-believer, and that has made the last few weeks interesting to say the least.

After several long work weeks that involved moving one learning center into a new building and starting a brand new center from scratch in less than four weeks, I was looking forward to our nephew’s wedding last weekend as a chance to see all of our children along with numerous other family members.  The following day was our oldest granddaughter’s birthday so it was shaping up to be a busy weekend.  Even though I had to do some laundry, pack for the overnight trip, and get the birthday gift ready, I was on schedule and not at all irritated when John decided to sleep in until 9:30.  When he finally got up, he asked when I wanted to leave, and I said I would like to get away early so we would have plenty of time to find the location in Kansas City and visit for a bit before the ceremony started.  In hindsight, not stating a specific departure time was a mistake, but he didn’t offer anything definite either so “leaving early” was left to individual interpretation.

After John got out of the shower, he asked if I could iron a pair of his dress pants.  I am usually involved in dressing him to some extent whenever he wears something other than shorts and a T-shirt so I had planned for this, and was still on schedule, or so I thought.  Soon after he finished dressing in his crisply ironed pants, it became apparent that we were on different schedules.

John:  Are you about ready to go?

Me:  It’s only 11:00 a.m.

John:  I thought you said you wanted to leave early!

Me:  Leaving at noon for a wedding that starts at 5:00 is early.

John:  How long does it take to get to Kansas City?

Me: Are you new here? (In my head).  It takes about three and a half hours. (Aloud)

John:  Well, that doesn’t seem like very much extra time since we don’t have any idea where we are going.  It seems to me that we were late for the last wedding we went to in Kansas City.  I sure don’t want to be late for this.  What do you have left to do?  Wah, wah,…wah, wah,…wah, wah.

Normally I can handle John’s occasional penchant for being disagreeable, but that was not the case that day given my already heightened level of anxiety.  Cue panic attack!!!  If you’ve ever had one, you can sympathize.  If you’ve never had one, you don’t want one.  Screaming, crying, and hyperventilating simultaneously can give the impression of a complete breakdown, and I guess that’s probably not far from the truth.  When I finally calmed down, John said, “What the hell was that?”  To which I replied, “That’s what it looks like when you push me over the edge.”

We made it to the wedding with over an hour to spare, and it was a beautiful ceremony.  Unfortunately, with a start like that, it wasn’t the relaxing getaway I’d hoped it would be.  The bad news is that things won’t slow down for me for at least another six weeks.  The good news is you’ve been warned!

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