Life as a middle aged student
Being a 49 year old college student is complicated enough to make most people simply roll their eyes and sigh but, add to that 3 teens in the house from 13 to 16, one young adult semi-in, semi-out of the house ( depending on the status of his laundry basket and bank account) and another “adult” daughter and son-in-law in theory out of the house (but in truth 3 doors down), a son, a daughter–in-law and two of the most charming beautiful, intelligent granddaughters on earth a couple miles away and people’s eyes start to roll somewhat like a slot machine looking for the jackpot and coming up lemons. My life has inspired many a friend over coffee on a Saturday morn to listen patiently to my week, look intently into my eyes and announce with a chuckle “your life is just so bat-shit crazy; you make me feel better by comparison”. Now, I’m not sure when the details of my life became a sitcom of comic relief for my saner friends but I suspect it was somewhere between child number 3 and child number 4 when I discovered a healthy sense of humor and a dose of irony was the only thing that was going to save the last vestiges of my sanity. I admit I have always had a bit of a warped sense of humor anyway and over the years I’ve learned to take the stress turn it sideways, twist it inside out , slap a pair of googly eyes on it and find something to laugh about . By this stage in my life, most of life’s little catastrophes simply roll off and giving me ample fodder to amuse my friends with, but ,even I have one of those days from time to time …. A day when even I acopt the wide -eyed “ deer caught in headlight “ look of disbelief and shake my head. The days that I swear I am writing a book so I can record it, but I am going to have to pen it as fiction because no one in their right mind will believe it really happened.
t any rate finals week came far too soon this semester and I found myself under the gun and exhausted with a paper due. The Algebra final was done early Monday leaving me 3 solid days to study for one more test and edit the Research paper. I’d spent a solid 3 days in research mode and had it down to the second rough draft by Thursday night leaving me with a 9 a.m. test Friday morning and plans to spend the rest of the day editing to turn the paper in before midnight on Friday.
That was the plan when own private little raccoon of mayhem looked at my plans and laughed. Friday morning dawns bright and early and I shuffle to the kitchen in my old worn slippers to begin start the morning coffee brewing, intending to review for my 9 a.m. test I tap the power button on my laptop. That’s when it started. Across the room I shuffle along in my slippers with coffee in one hand and donut in the other to see the pop up the announcing an update in.. 10... 9… 8... Rushing to the computer I lunge for the button 7…6…5...4... Trip on the cat, who yowls in pain 3...2...1... and miss. Standing there with a cup of hot coffee in one hand and donut in the other, a scream of anguish escapes me as the computer slowly starts shutting down program by program. I watch helplessly nursing my burnt hand as the cat scowling at me from the corner.
Oh well, it auto saves… right??? Well, yes, but what I should of asked is where did it auto- save too? I wait patiently for the laptop to finish its inopportunely timed update, telling myself this is just a little blip into my morning routine. Sitting down and eagerly get on to pull the report back up... Only to find I can’t find it. We all know that feeling of having something really important simply disappear into the mysterious wasteland that is our computer’s document file and the desperation you feel as you try to logic your way through the rising terror. Telling yourself over and over “Breathe… just breathe it’s here, it has to be here somewhere, this isn’t an emergency, there is auto save, it’s here. Thirty minutes later on the verge of a total meltdown I finally locate the file. Taking a deep breathe I settle in to spend the remaining 45 minutes to reviewing for my test when son # 5 walks in to leave for school. “ let me put some Coke in the fridge for you Mom , I figure you will need it this morning ,he says as he grabs a few cans of my caffeine stash from last night. I know it was one of those rare “ Ahhhh “ moments of motherhood when your teenager does something nice. When one drops out of his arm to the table below I barely look up until I hear the familiar sound of fizzzz as the can explodes and looking up I see a brown fountain of fizz arch over the table, on to the laptop and douse cat number 2. Jumping up I grab for towels and scramble to save the laptop as the mandatory comment of exasperation escapes me “ Seriously??? “ “Really! “ “Seriously!?!”
Fifteen minutes later mess cleaned up , kids off to school and both cats glaring at me from a safe distance under the table
I take a deep breath, telling myself “Okay kids are off now, just sit yourself down review a bit , take a breather it’s all okay.” Sitting down at my laptop again I note how lucky I am none of the pop had gotten it. Focusing once again on my last minute review I look at the clock mentally gauging how long it will take me to get to campus. Five minutes later I decide if I start to get bundled up now I will get there with 15 min to spare and give myself time to breathe and calm myself before the test and given the morning’s events this may be a good strategy.
I am just about reach for the knob when daughter # 2 barges through the door cradling her arm scramming like a banshee “Mom!! Mom!! It hurts… IT HURTS!!!,” Dropping my backpack I reach out to her quickly swelling wrist. What on earth?? I query. “I fell” she screams, “I fell on the ice”. Taking one look at the wrist already double in size and turning shades of blue green I know she is going to need x-rays. “Stay here and ice it “ “ I’ll be back in 45 minutes I have to take my test” I say reaching for the door with one hand and my cell phone with the other I hit speed dial for the High school and quickly explain what is going on. Steering through morning campus traffic I arrive at school breathlessly sprinting cross campus while simultaneously making an appointment with the Dr. office to get her x-rayed . I make it with 4 minutes to spare. To slide silently into my seat with a sigh of relief ; just in time to hear the cute as button , wide eyed blonde bombshell from the bubble gum brigade behind me stop texting long enough to exclaim in that OMG!! Tone of voice… “God, finals week is just sooo stressful, I didn’t even have time to update my Facebook status.”