So it's now been three weeks of "business as usual" for my being back at work at Starbucks and having an extra child during the day, and for two of those weeks I've been homeschooling the two older ones. We're really enjoying the school part of things, although the four-year-olds are really struggling to be kind and gentle to one another. I guess that's part of school, too! Here's a picture of the two of them playing dress-up to go along with our lesson on "Things People Do" (aka jobs in the community).
This week I worked over 30 hours at Starbucks, not because I requested it, but because I had to. Now, at the end of the week, I feel exhausted, robbed of all energy, creative or otherwise.
I also feel constantly torn about working because it makes it so that I miss so many church services (either because I'm working during them or so tired from working the night before that, say, a 7 a.m. Divine Liturgy just doesn't seem possible) I also miss out on events and activities on campus, most of which are scheduled during my work hours, since my work hours are scheduled around my husband's class schedule. It isn't clear to me based on these reasons that I definitely should not work. I know that monastics sometimes are assigned tasks that mean that they often miss church services. They keep their cell rule of prayer and do their assignment, whether that's tending sheep and goats or attending services. It's about what that particular person is supposed to do to be obedient to God.
Things are not going smoothly with the child-swap arrangement either, so I think that change is in the wind with that. More to come, I'm sure. I would love to be able to stay home with the kids and be more of a support to my husband by freeing him up to concentrate on his studies, but we need to make up that little bit of income somehow. If the family I'm currently providing childcare for decides to keep their son with us and pays me for it, I could cut back my hours. If another family we've talked with chooses me as the childcare provider for their daughter, then I could see my way clear to stop working off campus. Nevertheless, not my will... Please pray for us to all be guided in the right path for us (and if you want to donate some money to help us along, or send some diapers or non-perishable foods, that would be great, too!)
In addition, in the past week we've had both kids get sick, and now I seem to have some variation on the same sickness (or a different one, who knows?); my youngest daughter's glasses snap in two (currently being held together with foam and tape); and someone hit our van while it was parked in the metered parking at the Scarsdale train station where I work. I happened to go out to the van during my meal break around 5:00 p.m. and noticed the damage. Otherwise I would not have gone out there until after 9:00, when it would have been too dark to see it. So I lost about 20 minutes of work/pay to wait for a police officer to come and file an accident report in case we decide to involve the insurance company.
It's been strange this weekend to see the locals acting so festive over a holiday that doesn't register on my radar: Yom Kippur. It starts tonight at sundown, but I'm not sure that there are so many Jews in Westchester County that the holiday itself is a cause for frivolity. It's probably more that everyone has off work on Monday on account of the holiday, including the public school students. I worked a 7 1/2 hour shift at Starbucks on Saturday, and there were very few moments during that time where there was no line. It was truly remarkable, especially when you consider that most of the store's business revolves around commuters who take the train, so Saturdays are usually pretty dead.
The girls got winter boots in the mail from their Gammie (my mother-in-law) this week. They were very excited and have been reluctant to take them off even to sleep since then. Leaves have been falling off the trees since we got here in August (I think they must always be doing that here), but with the cooler weather, I saw my first yellowing trees yesterday. Also, I'm not sure if this has to do with the weather, but I've had a couple of up-close encounters with wildlife that were less than welcome, particularly the raccoon that was inside a trash can that I opened up to throw a bag of trash in. I think we scared each other equally!
On Monday, I got to go to my first women's choir rehearsal. We sang one particularly beautiful arrangement that was written for women's voices. Otherwise, it appears I'm singing tenor. Whether that's because of this chest congestion or because my voice has gotten that low, only time will tell. After that, we had the Spouses' Program class offered by St. Vlad's for the spouses of students. This week we were treated to hear a guest speaker, Sister Veronica, who is a native of California but a nun in Greece. She talked to us mostly about prayer and had some really encouraging things to say.