Moonlighting at the End of the Tunnel

One of the syrupy mantras I’ve heard repeatedly over the past few years is, “No one ever said, on his deathbed, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.'”  I know that I am not saying it now, even though the many extra hours I’ve worked these past few weeks have been necessary and–dare I say it?–fun.

Usually, I’ll just work the beginning-of-quarter rushes at the Columbus State bookstore.  That was why it was such a surprise (a very pleasant one!) when my supervisor emailed me out of the blue and asked if I’d be interested in working nights this spring.  (A manager is leaving Columbus, and I’m pretty much doing his job until they hire a full-time replacement.)

The drawback has been the timing.  I’m still green at the single-parent thing, and now that school is out, Susie has been depressed and bored for much of the day.  She has found some work, a few hours here and there working as a mother’s helper for a year-old little girl (the daughter of her first babysitter), and yesterday she and the Youth Group from church went down to the Feed My Sheep food pantry in Athens County which I’ve described in previous entries.  That’s why it was such good news to see that Susie will be working as a Volunteen at the library this summer.  The deadline for applying had come and gone, but some kids had dropped out of the program, so she applied.  I was all too happy to sign the permission form after she and I came home from dinner at Wendy’s tonight.

But there is an end in sight for the moonlighting.  The Discovery Exchange will be closing at 6 p.m. for the rest of the summer as of the first week in July, once the summer quarter is in full swing.  Since my work day at the Industrial Commission ends at 5, and it takes me 15-20 minutes to walk over to the corner of Cleveland and Mount Vernon Avenues, there is really no point in my working there for half an hour.  So, July 3 will be my last hurrah until the fall book rush.  I will miss the extra cash, but will be glad to be home in the evenings for Susie.

Susie and I have made two or three appearances at the Olympic Swim and Racquet Club since it opened.  This week, neither of us have gone–mainly because of my work schedule, but also because the temperature has only reached the mid-70s for most of the week.  It’s no fun to go swimming and then have to stand around digging slush out of your ears.

Fathers’ Day is next weekend.  Susie and I are going to celebrate by going to see The Wizard of Oz at the Ohio Theater.  Susie has seen it numerous times, and can recite most of the dialogue and songs from memory.  Until she was born, I was rather lukewarm about it.  I never even saw it on a big screen until Susie was a toddler, when I took her to a showing of it at Crosswoods Cinema in Worthington.  And I am sure it’s pure coincidence that The Wizard of Oz is showing during Pride Weekend.

I’ve learned this month how much disruption in familiar physical objects or surroundings can totally disorient me.  The weekend before last, while Susie was at the pool, I walked a block or two north to a little hole-in-the-wall dollar store and replaced my wallet, which was falling apart and barely holding together.  I paid about $2 for a blue tri-fold, and sat at poolside transferring the thick plethora of cards–insurance, business, shopping, etc.–and bus pass from one to the other, along with the few dollars I happened to have in there.  Even though many gift cards and debit cards were expired, I was loath to toss them in the trash barrel by the kids’ pool.  I haven’t carried pictures in my wallet since high school, so I didn’t have to sort through them to see who to keep and who to discard.  (I’d look like Steven Hill–or Peter Graves–going through the dossiers on Mission: Impossible, even though they would always pick the same agents.)

When my dad died, my stepmother sent a huge box to me UPS, which contained his clothes, the flag from his coffin, and his wallet, among other things.  When I went through the wallet, I was surprised to find a small color drawing of Andrew Jackson in with the high school graduation picture of me.  Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts printed trading cards of U.S. Presidents when I was about 11 or 12, which I collected avidly.  Dad always liked Andrew Jackson–safe bet I’m not part Cherokee–because he was the first truly proletarian President, so I let him have the Jackson picture.  (He said his interest in Jackson began when he read Arthur Schlesinger’s The Age of Jackson in college.)

On a larger scale, there’s been disruption in my physical setting at work.  I work on the 10th floor of the William Green Building, and in May I moved to a temporary pod in another section, while workers tore down the old pod walls and set up new ones.  This involved the usual logistical nightmares with cabling phone and data lines, etc.  I didn’t even unpack once I arrived at the temporary pod, since I knew I’d move back as soon as the new area was ready.

We moved to the new area.  It occupies the same section of the 10th floor, but the layout is different.  I have four section-mates, all very good people.  However, my pod is a bit removed from theirs.  Since I do virtually all of the Industrial Commission’s medical transcribing, I have higher walls and am separated from all the noise.  (I love my co-workers dearly, but they can get boisterous.)  I spent Friday and part of Monday moving and finally trying to settle in, and I’m still getting my bearings, and getting disconcerted when things aren’t where they were previously.

I am bringing this entry to a close, because morning comes way too early.  Tomorrow will be a jam-packed day.  I have an appointment with a podiatrist in the morning, going to Columbus State to get my paycheck immediately after that, then I’m working at the I.C.–transcribing the doctor who dictates at an auctioneer’s pace.  The bookstore beckons afterwards, and to end the evening on a festive note, I’m taking Susie to dinner at my (our) beloved Blue Danube Restaurant on High Street.

Couldn’t stand the show, but it’s an appropriate graphic for my work life this spring.
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