“Settling in, again. Not really settling but a bit of starting over again. Startling in sounds better. We are startling in just fine, thank you.”
That is all that I have written in regards to Dummie Diaries since my last post. I thought that moving ‘back home’ would provide me with more time to write. I also thought that my husband would be able to continue his career trajectory. I thought about a lot of things preparing for the move over.
Just not my health.
In the year running up to the move I was hit hard numerous times with illnesses - I chalked it up to living inside a school, stress, whatever it took to rationalise my continued momentum ‘forward’. Just kept going. Moving to the end line of our move date.
Because once we made it there - all our current problems would vanish. Right?
Oh, how naive. I know. But I had to tell myself something. Once we were here - we hit the ground running hard. With every day, our savings dwindled and our desperation to replenish it grew.
I now had more time, but it was all to set us in motion for the starting over section in our life.
I wanted my husband to transition well to his surroundings. I wanted my daughter to embrace her family. I wanted desperately to make up for lost time. In all of this newness I did not take the time to notice how I was still getting ill. May be not virus, or cyst or infection… possibly not. But the dementors in my life, migraines, began creeping over me more and more. Draining me. Stilling moments.
It wasn't until taking on a full time position working with children that I was able to take notice.
In one month of employment I have missed a minimum of 1 day each week. This week is the game changer. It is making me take a step backwards and take a look at my health. I cannot continue on as is. I have to make drastic changes. I have to admit to myself that I am not ready for full time employment.
I cannot be the best employee I can be when stricken with these debilitating pains.
So. One month into employment - and one month away from receiving health insurance - I must take leave. I need to get my health back.
A typical Weekday Duty Schedule
5:00pm ‘’On duty’’+
5:15 prep time, roll taken, attendance mandatory, a lot of chasing up
6:00 supper in the dining hall
6:30 roll call taken and general announcements made
7:00 in office or putting on/helping out with activity or sport
9 roll call, general well being check ins and notifications shared
11pm ‘’Off duty’’++
6am get up and ready*
7:00 ‘’On duty’’ first round of wake up knocks on student rooms
7:30 second round, followed by herding students down to the dining hall
7:45 breakfast in dining hall, roll call taken
8:00 back to boarding house
8:20 third round, followed by herding students off to school
8:40 lock student rooms
+but really you never gone off, as rooms are unlocked after school, students making various requests throughout the day, a lot of continual liaising
++except if there is an emergency, fire alarm, or a whim that posses the boarders
*variable, between 4 - 6:30 depending on Peaches
**except emails still come through for many reasons, all urgent and needing replies. Or if a maintenance request is being filled. Or for any other reason - as you live IN the school.
Confused? Why wouldn’t you be. A duty shift starts in the PM, ends before midnight, picks back up in the morning and ends again before school. What may be confusing you is the off duty - on duty. These are when we are official not on the clock (being paid) but are technically on duty if someone needs us (still, is unpaid).
Oh. Okay. Well, not too bad you may be thinking. Well, our shift is every other day - meaning : we work either an AM or PM shift EVERYDAY. Sometimes both shifts if we work on consecutive days - which happens often.
Oh. But you get your weekends off, right? Sometimes. We get our Saturday and Sundays ‘’off’’ every third weekend. (And I say ‘’off’’ because we live IN the boarding house with the students. As a parent, you know, you are NEVER off duty). Otherwise - we working. Like now, as I am blasting the ‘’Guilty Feminist’’ podcast and trying to get a post done all from the office of the girls’ boarding house doing my 10am to 6pm shift this fine Sunday afternoon.
So, my friends. THIS. This is currently our life. It gets a bit much. There are no Snow Days or Labour Day Mondays off for us - just like parenthood but mushed in with also being an employee.
This is boarding.
And I don't know what Professor Snape's shifts were scheduled like, but I can totally understand why everyone thought he was grumpy.
Never have I ever thought I would be living in a Boarding House in England and working as a House Parent. Never having ever experienced or really thought that much about boarding and the lifestyle surrounding it - how could it have been on my radar?
Preconceived assumptions of the kind of students that attend boarding school come from films and television*. The majority of which showing Boarding School used as either a punishment or a coming of age hormone fuelled ''awakening''.
Except for the Harry Potter series. So I prepared by putting myself in the mind-set of Hogwarts' House Parents/Masters/Mistresses. I was going to hone my Professor McGonagall and maintain a strict but endearing personality with the boarders.
And then I realised our House is more looks more Slytherin than Gryffindor (Even our school colours and Coat of Arms). And going by all the rules I am slapping up on the walls, I am more Dolores Umbridge.
I know. It surprised me too.
Never have I ever thought I would be looking after a handful of international student let alone teenagers. Have I always wanted to adopt an older child? Yes. This is far from that. Did I ever consider fostering? Yes. Did I ever consider multiple teenagers at once? No.
I figured there would be some hiccups in the beginning as we were setting up for the new school year. No worries, as I had my trusty HP characters to fall back on. Yet again, I hiked up my bra and put on my Molly Weasley cap. Rules because we care.
And then I realised that teenagers do not consider why there are rules but instead sulk when you try to enforce them. That they are stuck in this weird limbo of a vast stretching future of independence creeping into their sight of vision but they can't call their GP to make themselves an appointment. They hate when you repeat yourself as that is nagging but then they turn around and do exactly what she just said not to do while arguing with you how ''they did not know''.
We recently rewatched the Harry Potter films, shock! You had know idea, right?
I now feel for the Professors and Heads of House. I want to shove away the HP storyline and delve into how Minerva McGonagall came to her position. What Severus Snape says in the staff room after receiving another eye roll from the HP Gang.
*Of which I have seen or read, not assumptions including everything from all time. Doi.
Not an instructional blog but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - so help me Mom.