It started the night before. The feeling of going to bed not knowing what I was going to teach the next day. I did know that the answer would arrive with the morning (rule #1: don't ever "wing it" in the classroom...especially not the ones I work in. The kids would eat me alive (which is a good pun for a culinary arts teacher), and for all I know one or more of them may have actually done something of this nature (ok, probably not, because that would put them in a different facility).

I remember waking up at dark:15 with a good sense of what it was I could share that day.

I remember waking up a little later (oh, about dark:45) thinking I should have written the earlier idea (or was it just a feeling) down.

I remember the dream I was having just before waking up just before the alarm. It felt great, experiencing the lesson that I would share, the excitement of how great this would be to present to them.

I remember waking up going, "But that dream was about trees. I don't teach trees." I teach food.

I remember stepping into my morning routine (starting her oatmeal, and lemon-ginger (with the little spoon left in so she would know I put the honey in) tea.

She is not awake when I am.

But she is now, as I am writing this.

She has not heard this story yet, but when I walked in, she was ready to read...and asking if it was ok (we are careful with each other, not worried, just full of care, and our time together is special, so we spend it care-fully).

Her reading is giving me the time to write this.

With each word, I feel Love.

As I remember back to this morning, the oatmeal working, the tea brewed, the fire rebuilt in the fireplace in case she cared for flames in my absence...readying myself to let the lesson find me, as I opened the door (i.e. computer) to look for it.

There it was, the perfect video to start with, "Why we fart?" (ironically having nothing to do with the title of this writing) What better lesson to teach a bunch of high school age felons!

There was also another one I found which had to do with the history of cooking (as in when man first found food in flames to now).

I called the day "food: from beginning to end"
(they don't get my humor yet, they may never get my humor. Sometimes the joke is just for me*)

Now off to school (after the dogs had muddied the carpets, and it being too early to run the mess cleared (what will I teach) one mess left behind.

School went as it always does..not at all what I expect, or prepare for. For reasons too long to mention (even for me) I had to make my lessons last twice as long as I prepared for (which for kids with the attention span of....SQUIRREL!!!!!!).

But the time passed, crossing some bridges...burning others (like you do in this environment)

Lunch time: just enough time to have a first phone interview about a new (and far less bureaucratic) position to work in.

Went well, we'll see.

2nd half of the day went about as smoothly as the first...I've learned to wear seat belts and live in the moment.

Work day done, kids kept their hands (mostly) off each other, admins happy with my time.

Now it's time to spend some time with my son. Always something to look forward to (and look back upon, and revel in).

Somehow, all of the messages on my phone that piled up during the day, made it just as much work as I had already done.

So when I got to the apartment, and spent another hour or so working on....stuff before we got to visit..he was cool. And when I spent another hour working on the rest of the stuff after we had run our errands and fixed dinner (side note: in a rare moment of rushed choices I actually made a "meh" meal, so it was more like I broke dinner, but we had a good time trying to fix it), I spent another hour working on more stuff (from the earlier stuff).

I could feel my shoulders tightening (and this was before we had actually realized the state of our dinner).

(Oh and btw, just heard that our roommate will be moving in with his girlfriend. Happy for love, but if anyone is looking for a room to rent)

Stuff done, we sat down to eat, and let Dave Chappelle make fun of everything (including "white people food...which tonight we had to agree with).

We enjoy that time..and I appreciate that.

Dinner and dishes done, it was time to get back to her (I sleep much better in her presence, and sleep is very important to both of us).

Traffic: it should have been a 15 minute ride.

35 minutes later, I was pulling into a gas station (the morning starts too early to worry about that).

I pull up to a pump, and ahead of me is a well dressed woman of a certain age pumping her gas...angrily.
(cue reason for the title to all of this)

It's been too much of a day for me to step into whatever her story was (couldn't tell if I would build or burn a bridge), so I chose a different path.

As I set the pump to auto, I felt her gaze. Looking up she asked how I got the handle to stay.

Sometimes I can't help myself.

I walked up to her car and asked what was wrong. She had one of those pumps that just wouldn't stay open..needed a subtle touch. So I took the handle, pumped, and we started talking. It was an easy conversation, having mostly to do with the vagaries of gas station pump handles. I took her to @$30 and then she gratefully took it from there.

"Chivalry is not dead." She called after me (a though I consciously live and act from).

"Thank you, I try."

"Have a blessed year!"

(as I heard that I realized it is still the first week in January...that is a pretty long term blessing...I'm set!)

"Thanks for covering the whole year..I can use it!"

Finally, I am walking through the door that houses (and homes and hearths) my Love...grateful (and blessed!) to be here...wanting to write this all down...ready to just give it a title and settle into the evening catching up with her...she is the medicine I need.

As I release the desire to write, I hear these words.

"I just poured our drinks, we can watch tv, but I'd like to read."

And so we toasted, and sipped, and she read,

and I wrote.