Sunday, September 30, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #308

Nancy White Kelly

Today is Saturday. It is coin shop day. I must change hats from being a school administrator to being a proprietor. It is quite a challenge to be responsible for a business with only one day a week to tend to it. And, to top it off, Buddy says jokingly that he needs to find me a third job. In almost the same breath, he tells me he is hungry.

Reluctantly I ask him to take charge of the coin shop. I amble across the drive-way to the house. In the kitchen I prepare soup and sandwiches. My mind tells me that there is something wrong with this scenario. I don’t complain. Buddy is a good man and his type is increasingly hard to find in this modern day.

Buddy is not a lazy man. He is always busy, but it is chosen business. He can go back to bed in the morning, or noon, or even afternoon if he wants. He has no time clock. He cuts grass, piddles in the shop or visits with friends while I work. Occasionally he will drop by the school and put up a bulletin board or two. I am envious.

My day starts early and never ends. His day is just so flexible. Mine is full of meetings and more meetings. Parents, students, board members, and community activists flood my life with visits, phone calls, and emails. Then there are the students who want me to watch every volleyball spike or quarterback sneak. There is never a day anymore that I feel caught up. My method in this madness is to assign priorities to my tasks. I do it by numbers: 1,2,3,4. Most days I am fortunate to get past the 1’s. Nobody is at fault. It is called the tyranny of the urgent.

The staff at Mountain Area Christian Academy is wonderful. They are professionals and don’t require micromanaging. In fact, they inspire me. Schools can survive for a while without an administrator, but would not last long without passionate, dedicated teachers and employees.

When the younger students, in their neat little uniforms, pass by me in the hall, someone will almost always say, “Good morning, Dr. Kelly.” That cheers me. The high school students stand in respect when a visitor comes into the classroom.

As I encounter courteous young people, it gives me hope for the next generation. Leaders of the past are almost gone. Like the Bible says, life appeareth for a while, like a vapor, and then vanishes away. We all are terminal.

Thankfully my six-month cancer scans came back “stable.” That is a good word when you are in the fourth stage of this awful disease. Though the cancer still shows in my bones, it isn’t spreading and hasn’t for over a year now. That is good news. The bad news is that cancer in the bones is painful. Nothing I do or take seems to stop the gnawing, aggravating drilling that penetrates my spine. Yet I am grateful for each day is a new day and for the opportunity to make a difference.

The Living Lady is still alive and productive. When my oncologist sees me, he points upward and says, “Miracle. Miracle.” I respond with a vigorous nod and point upward myself. I know a miracle when I am one.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #307

Nancy White Kelly

It was nice being a grandmother again. Charlie, Tori and our two grandsons, Micah, age two, and Noah, age five-months, came for a week-end visit.

Because all three of us adults are heavily involved in the educational field, trying to create meaningful time with our growing family is becoming increasingly difficult.

I am a school administrator. Charlie is a science teacher. Tori is a preschool director. All of us work in different schools. Add Buddy to the list. He is constantly on-call at MACA to do handy-man jobs. All the teachers know him. When they see Mr. Buddy come down the halls on his motorized three-wheel trike, they come flocking.

On Labor Day week-end, both the boys were sick with nasty colds. We vetoed the visit because that is the last thing Buddy or I need. Then Tori got their colds. Finally, this past week-end looked like a possible go. The launch of a space shuttle couldn’t have involved as much anticipation on my part.

Regretfully, it was still necessary to open the coin shop on Saturday from 10:00-4:00. Our growing base of customers depend on Ye Old Coin Shop to be open that one day a week. During customer lulls, Charlie came in and helped sort buffalo nickels. I instructed him to look carefully for a 1937 buffalo nickel with a missing half leg. That one is worth at least $800 in fine condition. He also looked through some mercury dimes hoping to find the elusive 1916 one with a D mint mark. It is worth about $2000 in uncirculated condition. His happy hunting turned up nothing spectacular, but it was nice having his company.

On Sunday, we all went to church. Micah was the only one in the nursery with whiskers. He found a permanent green marker on my desk and decorated his arms, legs, and face. Buddy and Tori tried everything to remove the indelible ink: vinegar, WD-40, and even a touch of gasoline. Nothing worked so Micah went to church in his Sunday clothes with weird, swirly green lines sprouting beneath his impish nose.

Grandchildren are priceless. If we had known that they were so much fun, we would have had them first.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #306

Nancy White Kelly

My life could not be any busier. Being out of the work force for so many years and then being thrust back into it big time has been challenging. Gone are the days of casual lunches with friends or quietly reading the newspaper while enjoying my morning cup of coffee. Buddy has been a good sport about his missing wife though I think he remembers the good ole days with a bit of sadness. My day starts at five in the morning and often ends late at night.

Funny things continue to happen. For instance, our school has mail boxes for each employee. I was using a plastic tray for my notes until the secretary found time to label me a slot. Since there were no more slots available, I designated my plastic tray for the new custodian.

One day I had an unsigned note in my box requesting that the water fountains in the gymnasium be cleaned. Obediently I headed for the rags and was on a hunt for cleaner when a staff member noted my unusual assignment. She quickly identified two problems: lack of communication and failure to read the new mailbox labels. All was well until the custodian began receiving the teacher lesson plans meant for my approval. I think everybody knows now where the mail should be delivered. I just hope I don’t get asked to wax the floors. I can barely walk those long school halls.

On Saturday our school played its first football game ever. We were the traveling team and had to go to a new field in a little town north of Marietta, Georgia. Buddy and I got lost and arrived several minutes after the kick-off. Being that I am a stickler for punctuality, it was a bit embarrassing crossing the field on the goal post end to get to our team’s side. Nobody kidded me and I was glad.

We won 35-44 which was a good ending to a very long week.