Last week was one of those where I do charitable work with good people for the good of the community but in the format of a real job. It’s not easy for this retired school teacher who has gotten accustomed to her life of leisure.
I was up every morning at 6 (still not as early as those 5 a.m. alarms when teaching) to get ready to drive about 15 miles out into the country to the Kearney estate. Instead of giving tours in the mansion like I do the rest of the year, this is the week I work in the servants quarters, behind the mansion. From 9 to 5, for the last four years, I have answered phones and done sundry tasks for the Fresno Historical Society as they get ready for their big fundraiser, The Civil War Revisited, which this year takes place over a 4-day period.
After my first season of school tours, the director asked if I would like to volunteer for the war (it’s now in its 26th year). “No.” Easy answer as I don’t do war. “What about answering phones for us leading up to the event? It gets so hectic, with so many calls, that we can’t get to all of them and get our work done, too.”
Well, okay, I could do that. I used to teach students how to answer the phone, converse politely, and take messages. I’m good at that sort of thing. So good, I guess, that they ask me to come back each year, now for four years. The event staff changes, but there is a regular set of employees who have gotten to know me, and some even ask for me by name when they call in. It’s fun, but it’s also more rigorous than my usual weekly routine of charitable work.
I’m juggling more balls, and it’s all day, not just a few hours; and it’s all week, not just three days of the week. Terry had to fix dinner each evening, if he wanted dinner, as I got home after 5:30 and wasn’t in any mood to cook. I roasted a turkey last weekend so we ate lots of turkey and leftover fixings this week. On Friday, just like when I was teaching, we went out for dinner.
Next week will be somewhat back to normal but I am meeting friends for lunch on Monday and for a road trip on Friday. I have a chaplain’s meeting at 7 a.m. on Thursday. Terry must be driven to the eye surgeon on Monday as his right eye will be dilated to check on the retina surgery done two weeks ago. All these activities, though, fit in nicely with my retired school teacher schedule.