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After Test-Taking

I could tell that I was starting to crack under the self-imposed pressures of MTLE testing this week. As I wandered around the library reshelving books, I found myself lingering by J.K. Rowling’s shelf and Roald Dahl, imagining which books I would pick up if I actually had a few hours to devote to reading. I began to feel jealous of coworkers who were authentically sick and had to be sent home. I want a sick day, I thought. I want to lay on the couch all day and watch movies!

Last Monday when I drove over an hour to get to the city where I could take my first test, I only brought my driver’s license as a form of ID to get into the testing room. That was fine; I was able to take my test. But on Saturday morning, as I was getting ready to leave, I begged Mark to take down our fireproof box and pull out my passport. I knew it was crazy, I told him, but I wanted to bring it “just in case” they didn’t accept my driver’s license. Bless his heart, all he did was raise an incredulous eyebrow at me before reaching up into our closet and pulling down the fireproof box.

Needless to say, my driver’s license had not become more skeptical as a form of ID in the five days from Monday to Saturday.

I passed all my tests. (Jubilant, cork-popping, confetti-throwing happy dance!) I just about killed myself with worry and fretting, but I passed all my tests. Well, all except for the basic skills writing test. I won’t get the results of that one back until early April because it was more than just multiple choice. But, frankly, I’m not terribly worried about it. If I could pass the math section of the test, I can probably feel pretty confident that I passed the writing section as well.

When I arrived home yesterday afternoon, I hardly knew what to do with myself. I seem to have ingrained a sense of urgency into my attitude toward daily life since beginning to study for the tests. (How horrible is that, really? I’m fairly horrified and disgusted with the lack of control I seem to have over my tendency to worry.)

I settled down after a while, though, and made supper. I wrote some letters and thank-you notes for birthday cards and gifts I received at the end of January that had been left in an After-Testing pile. I looked gleefully over the mound of textbooks taking over a corner of our house and thought about how good it would feel to return them all to the libraries and friends from whence they came.

Today I’ve further settled down from an ongoing sense of urgency. I made pizza with the sourdough crust Mark and I prepped last night. I started another batch of yogurt incubating on the counter. I read for a while (Harry Potter). And then I spent some time listening to some music and playing with my hair. Yes, I’m shocked too. I didn’t accomplish much, other than reaffirming the fact that I can’t seem to wrap my fingers or my brain around any new ways to fix my hair.

Then I decided it was time to take a celebratory walk over to the local college and return the stack of textbooks I had borrowed from them for studying. I bundled up, scooped the books up, and whistled my way over to the college. I knew that this particular school closed its library on Sundays. What I did not realize, however, was that they also lock the book return on Sundays. I stood in front of it for a while, stubbornly yanking on the slot door. I contemplated leaving the books propped up against the front door of the library, thought better of it, and started my walk home, no longer whistling.

Ah, well, I guess I’ll get to take two celebratory walks over to the college to return my books.

So, what’s next in the continually-transitory lives of Mark and Hillary and on this blog?

1. Downton Abbey, Season 3, as soon as whoever has it out at the library returns it. This will be a Hillary-only activity, as Mark has made sure to remind me.

2. Continuing to read Teach For America books, articles, and other materials, as they send them.

3. Job searching, for Mark. (Please pray for that!)

4. Recording and sharing what I’m reading (because that’s still my favorite activity).

5. Deciding how to make a sugarless diet mostly sugarless and sustainable in the long-term.

6. Preparing to move. Be warned: you will probably be reading about this, as mundane as it is, in the coming months. I’ve already begun to make a mental list of things to do: change of address, move our banking accounts, plan an organized, color-coded system for packing, and so forth.

7. Daydreaming about getting a dog. (More on that definitely coming soon because I would much rather build upon my delusions about being a soon-to-be pet owner than about changing our mailing address.)

Have an excellent rest of your day, ladies and gentlemen. I think I hear another hour of Harry Potter and a cup of tea calling to me…

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