In one week, we leave for our family vacation to Florida. Our plan is to visit family, go tubing down the Ichetucknee River, camp somewhere near the Gulf for a few days so we can have some beach time, and maybe, maybe, go to Disneyworld (theme parks in Florida in July with heat-sensitive kids don’t always end up looking like the promotional videos, even with fairy dust sprinkled in).
The week before vacation is my least-favorite time of the year, followed closely by the week after coming home. Laundry is high on the to-do list for both weeks, but the week preceding vacation also means incessant questions from the kids as to what exactly we’ll be doing and exactly when we’ll be doing it. I want a voice recorder around my neck that has a looped message: “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know . . .” Being in the moment does not rank big around our house, despite my efforts to introduce a Zen-like atmosphere.
Then there are my unrealistic ideas of what I’ll be able to wrap up before we leave: errands, work items, household chores. My ideal is to have nothing on my to-do list left unchecked and an immaculate house to return to. In reality, it will be a success if the kitchen garbage can is emptied, the dishwasher is run, and there are no wet clothes left in the washing machine for two weeks. The great thing about being 60 miles down the road is knowing whatever is back there will just have to wait.
Of course, my online course will be going on in my absence, which means probably a few check-ins while I’m on the road, but I plan to keep those to a minimum. As I wrote earlier, teaching this kind of a course has been a new experience for me, and for the most part it has been positive. But I realize one of the things I love most about teaching is the direct interaction with my students, and that has been a missing element this go round. I’m not convinced it can’t happen in an online environment, but I’m still scratching my head as to how to make that happen in a meaningful way (it’s not for lack of the technological resources, although those are not as ubiquitous and transparent as technophiles would lead us to believe: not everyone is Skyping just yet).
So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s because I’m searching the garage for camping gear or waiting in the checkout line at Walmart with a cart full of bug repellant and sunscreen.