Letters to Holly

Wednesday, June 13


Your Sister just pulled an all-nighter. She called me at work yesterday to ask if I knew where to find two lost research papers, and I pleaded stupid. She eventually found them in the wrong place at school, but those papers hadn't been graded. When I got home, she was marking exams which of course were done in essay format. Now I understand that she teaches writing, and I clearly remember the brain-melting burden of writing pages upon pages in my English classes. But there has to be be a better way to set up exams so she doesn't face a pile of essays in a short grading window.

Then again, she may have had plenty of time originally were it not for utter incompetence in the administration in assigning teachers for remediation classes. It's a giant clusterfuck. There's no other way to say it. I think Your Sis could handle this if she had a breather between the AP preparation and research papers. But she's had her nose to the grindstone since Spring Break two months ago. Since that time, there has been a constant stream of "oh by the way" notices from the higher-ups and an insufficient pool of teachers available to carry the load.

She went back to the school around 9 last night, found the papers, returned home within the hour, and went back to the exams. I stayed up to offer my help, but she pulled rank and put me to bed around 12:45. She was afraid I wouldn't be able to drive to work. As it is, I'm quaffing a vente crackuccino today. But she stayed up all night, going back to school at 4 a.m. to input grades before today's deadline. She's detail-oriented, she's impossibly organized, and she wants to give the students as many chances to pass as possible. But she was handed a shitload of obligations at the last second, and there's no reason a teacher -- a teacher -- should pull an all-nighter. Her fatigue has subsumed her anger, and she's now just coasting along until she can crash tonight in the giant bed. We have a dinner date with a teacher couple tonight, and it's her light at the end of the tunnel. I offered to postpone it, but she won't hear of it.

She's a rock of professionalism, but she's also a sponge for responsibility. I continually advocate delegation and denial. I hope her new position shows her the need for saying "no" now and then. She can't keep up this level of work. I don't think anyone can. And I feel helpless. I don't know what I can do for her. She feels bad when I make the smallest gesture. Last night, she asked if I could cook the dinner she planned and felt guilty about it. I couldn't dissuade her anxiety which ran rampant because she doesn't have the energy to corral it. She doesn't have enough left to explode. She's going to ultimately ooze into a puddle. When she has the time.

Picture of the Day
I need to take her to an air show. She loves them. We attended one in Greenville when I worked there. It was a disaster of organization for everything except the flights. We saw the aircraft from a superb location as we worked a marketing booth. She was in glee. I was constantly planning where to run from exploding airplane parts.

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