May I please be excused from writing today? We had these weekend houseguests, see, our former exchange student and his family from Germany, five people with various levels of English language skills, so I spent a good part of last week preparing the house--cooking and cleaning and shifting some furniture--which went pretty well until I decided to get caught up on the ironing and twisted my back (Is that a sign from God or what?), and if it's difficult to tell people "I wrenched my back ironing" it is doubly difficult to sleep with an intensely throbbing back so I ended up catching a few Z's on the floor between vigorous bouts of cooking food for the 30 teens who came over Saturday for a cookout followed by the 15 older folks who came over for lunch after church Sunday in the pouring rain and so had to be accommodated inside the house, and although it is acceptable to ask 17-year-olds to sit on the floor, I hesitate to do the same with an 88-year-old woman who walks with a cane, so we had to set up a table in the living room and surround it with a mismatched assemblage of chairs including an antique piano stool, two rolling desk chairs in clashing colors, and a blue recliner, which worked fairly well until it was time for everyone to get up and go and then we realized there was no way out.
But we survived all that. The Germans left this morning just as I was leaving for work, so my leave-taking was punctuated by a hearty round of handshakes and hugs and a great deal of fumbling about with various pieces of luggage and cameras and maps and sunglasses, so I was halfway to campus before I realized that I didn't have my briefcase or anything in it, including the pile of freshman papers I need to finish grading today as well as everything I needed for this morning's 11:00 a.m. American Lit class. The right thing to do would have been to turn around and go back for the briefcase, but turning around always feels like defeat to me so I kept going and then spent the entire morning coming up with Plan B, which involved finding a copy of the film version of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, which was available only at a video store that is going out of business and is therefore renting nothing and selling everything, so the only way I could show clips from the film in this morning's class was to drive out there and buy the DVD, which is fine because I'll surely use it again in the future because my students love the play, love love love it, much more than they love The America Play, which we will discuss on Wednesday, by which time I ought to have recovered from the thrilling events of the past week.
That's my excuse for not writing today. Thanks for understanding.