3 – 20 pound bags of dog food
3 – 40 pound boxes of cat litter
2 – 15 pound bags of cat food
4 – bottles each of econo-size shampoo and conditioner
6 – toothbrushes, adult and child
4 – tubes of toothpaste
3 – bottles of foaming hand soap
96 – loads of laundry we now have enough soap for
100 – pounds of salt for the water softener
10 – bars of Allenbury’s soap (for sensitive skin, natch)
18 – razors (five blades apiece! Lookout, leg hair!)
5 – pairs of new shoes, for three people
1 – batch of raspberry bran muffins
8 – little baggies of cut up red pepper and cucumber
3 – bottles of autumn-themed scent for the Lampe Berger
48 – unsweetened applesauce cups
8 – frozen single-serve microwave lunches (on sale!)
2 – batches of homemade soup stock, frozen
1- great big bag of size 8 kid clothes from Bonnie Togs
From where I’m standing (or, right now, sitting, exhausted) back-to-school is an all-out war on my peace of mind. My sabbatical is over, and I’m embarking on a new journey: a semester where instead of teaching, I’m preparing an online version of one of our core courses. And I’m now vice-president of our faculty association, which entails way more meetings than I thought it could. My daughter is starting first grade tomorrow morning, and she’s a little anxious. My husband, among many other tasks, is the guy who manages everyone’s SSHRC applications, so this is the start of his INSANE BUSY SEASON.
Here’s how I cope.
I make lists. Then I run errands.
The idea is to lay in stock from all those far-flung big box stores I hate to have to drive to, so that we don’t have to drive there again until January. The heavy stuff, the annoying stuff, the essential stuff, the expensive stuff. The pet store. The softener salt. The heavy personal care items that prompt a crisis when you run out. The way I figure, we’re all going to be busy and stressed out enough without having to dash out on an hour-long back-and-forth to buy toilet paper.
I’m prepared for academic armageddon, whether it come in the form of elementary school crisis or administrative brouhaha or massive pedagogical/technical snafu. No matter what happens, we’ll have fresh sheets and enough toothbrushes. We’ll sleep well and smell good, at least.
Other than all that reading and course prep and new pencil business, how do you gird your loins (metaphorically speaking) for the back to school crush? Or is the return to regular academic programming, perhaps, the end rather than the beginning of chaos in your year?
Welcome back, readers — let’s get this party started.