Friday, June 5, 2009

200 More Miles To Go

Normal ends of school years aren't so bad. The library closes to collect books, we do an inventory, clean the shelves up, get things looking spic and span & get ready for the next school year.

But this year, not so much. It's a bit different & a bit more stressful. Last spring, I was told we were on the list to get new carpet the following summer. So I walked into this school year thinking we'd have to box things up etc. Then I came back from maternity leave and due to budget cuts was told there would be no new carpet. While I was disappointed, I was ok with it. Really, who wants to pack up books? It's a lot of work and, well, after returning to work this spring, my heart just wasn't in it.

I knew something was amiss when both our head custodian and principal came to find me in the back workroom one morning. (Note: Principal rarely visits the media center...) I got the "good" news that, indeed, we would be able to get new carpet. So instead of a busy, but reasonable end to the year, we're packing up books into boxes and palletizing all of the boxes of books, all while checking teachers "out" of the building, getting returned textbooks shelved, urging a rather large number of disgruntled students to pay for the long since overdue/lost/damaged/at my dad's house books. In theory, none of this sounds difficult, but when all added together it's just simply insane.

For the last week, I've had the Cowboy Junkies song "Two Hundred More Miles" in my head. "I've got two hundred more miles of rain asphalt in line, before I sleep." The version I have is a haunting live version that just leaves the song floating in your head, pounding like the rain. I think this was how I was feeling about making boxes, packing things up and watching as the shelves got closer and closer to empty. Just a little bit more. Just a few more days of school. Only the 900's to box. Only the fiction to box.

What baffles me is the lack of, well, a clue, that so many of my coworkers have. (If you are a coworker and reading this, don't take it personally. I'm just simply quite amazed at how oblivious others can be of their surroundings.)

"So, do you do this every year?" My inside thought: "Hmmm, you've worked here longer than I have. Where have you been? You really don't pay much attention do you? No. No, I would not choose to do this." Outside thought: Lips pursed, eyebrows shrugged, "Uh, no. We're getting new carpet this summer. Let's hope it's worth it." Smile.

The other favorite I conversation I have is,
"So, I bet you'll be busy in August."
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, this is going to be a lot of work to unpack the books blah blah blah."
"Uh, I start when you start in September next fall. Would you like to come in on your free time and not get paid to unpack?"
Staff member looks at me with mouth slightly open, then shuts it. "Oh, I suppose..."
"Yeah, the library won't be open until mid-September at the earliest." I sigh with much emphasis and stress, then roll my eyes.

Let's just use the old cliche, "De Nile ain't just a river in Egypt, baby." Denial...I am choosing to block all thoughts of September out of my head right now. "I've got 200 more miles of rain asphalt in line, before I sleep."

And so with an exasperated sigh, I report to you, dear readers, that the books are completely packed. There are 450 some odd boxes of a middle school library boxed up on pallets. There are about a million odds and ends to complete in the last 4 days here, but the end is in sight.


Lydia Schultz said...

I have had to pack and unpack our school library twice in the last 8 years--once because the floor flooded (frozen and exploding toilet in the next door bathroom) and once for a move to a new, lovely space.

It is ugly, dirty work. And you are right--almost no one appreciates just how much work it is.

Good luck with it all.

Anonymous said...

Oh WOW!!!! I'm sorry!!