Saturday, May 14, 2011

Playing the wild card

Feeling pretty darn smug.

Worked my last full-time week, hopefully forever. School found a great replacement teacher who’s going to do an excellent job; can just feel it. Finished up well with my year 8s and 10s. Sad to let them go, but glad to have some semblance of my own life back. I’ve been sporting a big smile since I worked my last ‘four-on’ day on Wednesday. It hit me then. No more weekend marking. No more crashing at 8.45 every evening, just to have it start all over again at 6. 30 next morning. No more relentlessly working six days a week to keep up with my two year 12 English classes. But this takes the cake. This is the end to all my stress.

No. More. Meetings. (Anyone who’s read my previous posts will know how much I loathe them.) My new timetable works so that I don’t have to attend meetings!

Feel like I’ve won the lottery. Well, I have, really. Work was insanely oppressive. It’s not good to be constantly fantasizing about how one is going to get out of it. Too old by too many years to pull another pregnancy. That got me out of it back in the eighties, when I hated just about everything about the school I was teaching at at the time. Still not sure that I had my now twenty-four year old son back then except as a way out of gaol, because that’s what it felt like.

They don’t give part-time lightly at our school. New mums get it, but only on a year by year basis. Part-timers are hell on a time-table, and that’s how schools operate. A few years back a colleague – an excellent teacher by everyone’s reckoning – wanted to ease into retirement by going part-time; three days a week. She offered to attend school five days a week to accommodate this. They wouldn’t do it. She retired and what a waste of an experienced teacher that was.

So how have I achieved this miracle? In an ironic way, really. I have Type 1 diabetes that’s a bit hard to manage. Stress affects it. But I’ve managed it for all but two years of my teaching career. That’s the two years I taught before I was diagnosed, BTW.

One of the Assistant Principals caught up with me in the school reception area on Thursday. He’d heard the reason for my reduction in hours and wanted to offer his sympathy. This guy is a bit deaf and consequently has a foghorn voice.

“How’re you travelling?” he bellows. Students stop their conversations. The women behind the glass wall in the office pause at their computers and look quizzically in the direction of The Voice.
“Yeah, not too bad,” I smile. “Glad to be going part-time, of course. Pity I have to have an uncontrollable chronic illness to get it.”
“Yeah. Now you look after yourself, won’t you. An old mate of mine’s a diabetic and every time I see him he’s had another bit chopped off.” He throws his head back and laughs. I titter awkwardly, aware of the audience at reception.

You might see why I keep the Diabetic Card close to my chest. Comments like his are not uncommon. I could write a book about it.

Anyway, I’ve played that Diabetic wild card now, and it feels sublime.

To celebrate, thought I’d pop in and visit Dan on the way home. That’s Dan Murphy, my mate. (It’s the liquor superstore, for any readers who may live beyond Australia.)

Swanned down the chardonnay aisle with a beatific smile on my face, feeling wonderful, despite the bleak leaden sky and pelting rain. Pulled up at the curb outside my house. Waved, queen-like, at my thirty-something neighbours and pitied them with their screaming baby and a whole lot of people arriving. Strode confidently around my car and opened the passenger door. Head held high, relishing the gale force wind in my hair, positively beaming, I scooped up my bag in my left hand. The six pack of chardy – well, it’s cheaper by the half-dozen – was one of those with ‘carriers’ cut into its sides. I grasped it with my right hand and yanked it out of the car, still in an attitude of Uma Thurman on the red carpet, so thrilled was I, on a Friday afternoon, with my part-time status.

Rrriippp. That’s the sound of cardboard tearing. I dropped the case of wine on the grass verge, luckily avoiding any breakage.

Felt a tad less smug as I put the other bag down and hoisted the carton, by its base, onto my left thigh and into my arms. When I put it down at my front door, before fumbling with my keys to get inside, I discovered, when I tried to brush the mustard looking stuff off my thigh, that I was pasted liberally with foetid dog turd.

Pride goeth before a fall. I’m even less smug now.

Nah. I’m lying. It cleaned up and I still feel amazing. Sometimes all the cards, even the diabetic ones, fall into place.


Josie said...

How fabulous! Enjoy your part-time status, it is great. as the Voice says, look after yourself with that illness. I'm sure less stress, less meetings and less Year 12 will all contribute to being healthier anyway.
Glad you didn't let a little doggy-doo wipe the smile of your face!
Josie x

blogsmith? said...

I really don't want type 1 diabetes. Two people in my office last year had it (one developed it at 45). But the benefits of part-time... is it sad the prospect of spending an un-paid day a week working, instead of doing it on a weekend, can make one so happy?

Fraudster said...

Yes, Blogsmith? Irony. Teachers work their bums off. That's just the way it is. Four part-time weeks down the track though, I feel excellent. In the small hours last Friday morning I awoke, and on the stumble through the dark house to the little room, it dawned on me that I didn't have to go into work. I was euphoric. Had lunch with my daughter today, Sunday, cos I wasn't doing that chore/marking special combo. So good. AS for having Type 1 D: I've had it for 30 years. Can't remember not having it. No biggie. Cheers. Fraudster.