Friday, October 7, 2011

A day in the Life of Sandy Hughes

My husband introduced me to the book, _A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich_ a few years ago. It takes you through the exhausting, life-threatening day of a man living in a Siberian work camp and if you can get through it, it's well worth the read.

I felt a little like Ivan today...okay, maybe it's a huge stretch to compare my life to a Siberian work camp, but occasionally it feels just a little bit like that. So here was my day today.

The alarm clock woke me and Anthony at 4:15 AM. The trailer was 45 degrees F. Anthony got up when the alarm went off, but I was so tired and cold that I slept in until 5:00. I stumbled out of bed and put on 2 pairs of socks, sweat pants and a jacket. I went to the bathroom and washed my face, brushed my teeth, and fought the desire to crawl back into the warm bed.

Around 5:10 AM, Anthony left. He has an hour commute to work. I spent 20 minutes on the computer and was upset to realize that my family had a girl's night planned for tonight which I had completely forgotten about and I couldn't decide whether to go or not.

I try to turn on the heater, which sometimes doesn't work when it is too cold in the trailer. Apparently this morning was too cold because the heat never turned on.

I made myself some oatmeal because we have very little food in the trailer. I did 10 minutes of exercise while stirring the oatmeal.

I still pondered whether or not to go on the girl's night and left a message on Anthony's cell explaining the dilemma.

I spent 20 minutes praying, journaling and reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot on how to know the will of God.

By now it was 6 AM. I got dressed and did my hair. I put away a load of dishes and did a new load. I threw 2 granola bars, a pear, a handful of walnuts and a piece of bread into my lunch bag. I looked at the calender and noticed how hellish next week will be with the homecoming game, the powderpuff game, the volleyball game, my 10 year high-school reunion, and a good friend's bridal shower.

I edit the house-building to-do-list and put a new list on trailer fridge. I also clear off old papers we no longer need to keep on the fridge.

I went online to quickly email my family to tell them I am not coming tonight. Then I realize I haven't emailed my Aunt Susie back yet. I tell myself that I will send her a quick note. 20 minutes and 6 paragraphs later, I realize it is 7:10! I put on a thicker jacket, a beanie and a scarf and rush out the door to feed our 3 cats and 1dog. Then I scoop the dog poop, take out the trash, empty the compost bucket, and chain the dog up for the day so she will not climb out of her pen while I am gone. My hands and feet feel frozen from the cold and I can barely move them. I have to wash dog poop off my hands. At least we have warm water.

By the time I get to work it is 7:35. I go into the bathroom at work only to look in the mirror realize that I put a yellow polo shirt over a black bra and it is very visible. This is very bad for a female high school teacher. I spend 15 of my precious pre-kid minutes trying to find a way to conceal this problem. I find a grey t-shirt from a teaching seminar. I put it on under my yellow polo, but then I spot a large water mark on the polo where I set it on the sink, not knowing that it was wet. I wear the polo anyway. Now I am wearing grey and yellow, the least attractive colors on me in the universe.

My first few students start walking in. One student asks me if I have "finally gotten those scripts duplicated?" I have 2 classes for 1st period: Drama 1 and Drama 2. Drama 1 is working on their Musical Pantomimes today and I have them spread out in my classroom, onstage and in the cafeteria. Whenever I leave to help another group, the other groups wander around aimlessly and goof off. I am continuously walking from group to group to keep them on track. They assure me that they are ready for their performances next week, but I am skeptical. Drama 2 is in the classroom reading "10 Little Indians" by Agatha Christie. They at least seem to be on task.

In 2nd period, we are reading the Odyssey. I have to yell at a few kids who are trying to talk while I am giving directions. They get angry and glare at me. A few children try to sleep and I have to talk sternly to them.

During my prep period, I spend an hour grading and entering missing assignments into the Academic Detention Referral system. I enter 85 referrals.

4th period walks in. They are in a goofy moody today. I have to separate a few boys who will not stop talking and a few girls who will not stop laughing. We do our best to read The Odyssey despite their silly mood.

During lunch I take 10 minutes to walk down to the office, get my mail and try to see if there are snacks in the teacher's lounge. There are not. A few teachers and I discuss how long it takes to enter the academic detention referrals. The hallways are locked because the students have been throwing milk cartons against the walls and ceilings so they are not allowed in the hallways during lunch for a few days. I yell at a few students who somehow manage to sneak in and they glare at me and mutter under their breaths. I spend the last 20 minutes of lunch entering more A.D. Referrals- I enter about 25 more.

During Yearbook, Photo shop is still not working (it hasn't worked since the beginning of the year), and the yearbook drive where all our pictures are, is having problems, too. My editor complains and I weakly tell her that I have told the tech guy and I've told the principal and that is all I know how to do. I help the kids work on templates for the rest of the period.

In 6th period, half my class is gone and I have a bunch of talkative boys who are not paying attention to Odysseus' exploits. I yell at them for talking. They look wounded. They do a lousy job of putting their books away.

After school, I spend 2 hours entering 100 more A.D. Referrals. I try crossing things off lists, listening to music, timing myself to make it a game, and the old, "just keep chugging away and it will finally be done. None of these tactics have gotten me through the 35 more referrals I have to submit before I leave.
And now I am blogging instead of doing referrals because I am sick to death of them.

But I need to finish them so I can go home and go to bed. Tomorrow we are going to eat breakfast with Anthony's family at 7AM, and I am spending the morning painting the house we are building. In the afternoon, I will be going to the Valley fest where our church has a free craft-booth for children where I will be working.

If you made it through this blog, you are probably pretty exhausted. I know I am. This has been just one day in the life of Sandy Hughes.


  1. I made it through the blog, and found it fascinating. Great attempts to adjust the wardrobe malfunction.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I see what you mean about the Siberian work camp thing. Between the cold weather and the uncooperative kids, it must have felt a little like that, You're a good writer.