One of the things about The Year In School was that I traveled from my Monastic Dorm life to my Home and Mom life and back every weekend. There were pluses and minuses all over the place. Getting out on the road was great. There’s nothing like an hour drive on a wooded two-lane to clear my head.

The first term Bigfoot was here, washing dishes and cooking meals over the weekend, taking Daughter to the store if she needed to go. And then of course all hell broke loose, and I lost that set of luxuries, coming home instead to a pile of dishes and a pile of mail and a Daughter who had probably not talked to anybody all week and somebody in the hospital or nursing home who needed to get out.

I am apparently neurotic. Or maybe it’s a limited form of compulsive organization, in that it only goes to x number of things, the specifics of which vary. I carry a nebulizer and medicine, in case my lungs get bad. That plus all those attendant cords of modern life – battery charger, cell charger, power cords – all those get shoved into my Favorite Purse, along with keys in this pocket, drugstore glasses in there, this pen here, etc. etc. These all get shoved into The Purse. There’s my Drug Kit; one of those fancy weekend travel zip-up things, probably for makeup, but shoved full of prescriptions. Bright red. Those two are essential.

Now we start in on the neurotic things. I have a messenger bag that I bought somewhere along the line, probably for Daughter when she was in school, but it might have been just because. It holds my paper case, my two pen cases (yes, two – this is where the neurotic becomes more obvious), pens in other pockets, eye drops and hand cream and gum. It carries text books or folders or notebooks during the week, including my all important art history 6×9 sketchbook of notes.

As my weekends got busier, I was more scrupulous about getting homework done ahead of time, and so I would go through this little dance every Friday when I got ready to haul stuff out to the car. The Purse has to go; there’s no question there. And of course the red Drug Kit. There would be a suitcase of dirty clothes before our dryer broke down, which turned into a backpack, which could get serious real fast if I had to bring home the Tome of Skull Crushing, otherwise known as my art history textbook, of 1200 pages or more. Then I picked up the New Favorite Purse, and so that always had to come home. Camera, of course. At least usually.

But then I always ran up against the problem of the messenger bag. Should I bring it, or not? I probably tried to leave it behind seven or eight times, usually parking in the fire zone to run up and grab it. If I didn’t bring it, I would spend half the trip home mentally inventorying it to figure out why I was so screwed by not bringing it. I finally gave up, and just automatically brought it home. I could get out the door so much more quickly; Drug Kit, Purse, Purse, Messenger Bag, Camera. Everything else was bonus. And now I’m here for months on end. I think I’ll just leave the organization the way it has been; quicker that way.

I see this last year as a test. We passed.

Peace. It’s not just for Christmas anymore.