Saturday, June 24, 2006


No I haven’t given up on blogging. But this job has turned out to be quite the experience.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a job for which I have to get up at the same time every morning. Blech! And, b/c most of the parents work, my job begins before 8 AM—there are some kids I have to pick up and transport.

And then there’s the lovely issue of lunch. Because the state—just this year—decided to make the program from 8 to 2 instead of 8 to 12, we have to feed the children. The Boys and Girls Club in a neighboring parish agreed to provide hot meals, we’d just have to drive and get them. Well, the pastor vetoed it—too much effort, gas is too high. Instead, he suggested in all his wisdom, the children would pay a nominal fee ($10), the church would provide the rest, and the parents would come out and help.


The last of the kids just paid yesterday, 3 weeks into the 4 week program. We’ve had exactly four parent volunteers and only two who come regularly. My best friend hates any talk of a kitchen, cooking, etc, and the other teacher—a male coach—believes he has no place doing women’s work. So guess who does the grocery shopping and most of the meal prep?


Oh, and during week two, the stove in the church’s kitchen just stopped working. So most hot meals, I have to either leave at home cooking while my sister (one of the regular volunteers) is here or my cousin J (the other one) warms them at her home. And sometimes, when we’ve had beef spaghetti, chicken spaghetti, sloppy joes, etc, I’ve cooked it the night before then had to put it in crockpots at the church. I think this is not-so-vaguely illegal, but I’m way beyond caring.

And then there is the matter of field trips. Let me begin by saying that the program coordinator, whom I love dearly because she’s my cousin and is cool as hell, trusts me enough to have almost completely vamped this summer. She’s teaching summer school and attending the trial of her son’s alleged murderers, so I have much understanding and sympathy. But, her mind’s in a million places. Before the first field trip, she forgot to get the money for food and admission from the church (which is summarily reimbursed by the state). I paid it, so we wouldn’t have to let the kids down. Me. The epitome of the struggling grad student. The church reimbursed me that evening, though. Then yesterday, before our 2nd field trip, the van drivers came and told me, we had no gas. Coordinator was at the school board office 20 miles away. Head Deacon (who holds the money so damn tightly—which is why the stove is still unfixed and why an exasperated Elle made a list of all things broken and in need of repair at the church and submitted it) was in Oklahoma. J paid for gas.

Finally, best friend hates the job. She doesn’t like working with elementary kids. She’s found a convenient loophole in the fact that she has a class at a nearby university at 1:15. When she took the job, she assured Coordinator she wouldn’t leave until 12:45. Coordinator promised she’d be there by then to get the class. Now that she doesn’t like it, she leaves at 12:10, right after lunch. And Coordinator has shown up two times to get her group. So, for social studies/science (12:05 to 1:05), I typically have two classes. Believe it or not, that is the thing that pisses me off the most.

Then there’s closing time. I have even more kids to transport and other stops to make. I get home take an hour nap, then think about dinner for the house. My mom says my dad is getting over on me—when we’re not here, she cooks on Sundays, they have leftovers Monday, and she cooks again on Tuesday. Wednesdays and Thursdays, they grab something out because they have church. And she gave up cooking on the weekends long ago. My dad is pretty insistent that I cook four or five days a week. I go along with it because, well, he is my dad, and because he does so much for me financially. But damn, by the time I sit down to write, blogging takes a backseat to dissertation. And current chapter is in shambles. Advisor will be back tomorrow, so all shit will hit the fan. I want to have something decent to turn in by Monday, so I have no weekend plans. Grrr.

So that’s what’s up in my life. And you?


RageyOne said...

Oh my! It sounds like you need to go back to your university town to get rest. :-)

Not that I mean to talk bad about churches and their efforts to help children during the summer, but the program you're working with sounds much like the progam my mom used to work with in BR. I know the churches have the best intentions for the children, but they tend to put a hardship on the people actually working in the program. I think that is a disservice. Look at the strain that is being put on you. The pastor says that gas is to high to get the hot meals provided by the Boys & Girls Club, but look at the time and gas that is being spent by you picking up & dropping off kids and bringing the food (or your sister bringing the food).

Also, why is that the one person who holds the purse strings in the church is so tight with the money? Even though the money is for the church and getting things fixed benefits the church? I think that is a common occurence across churches.

I hope your chapter comes together for ya.

elle said...

Ragey, it so pisses me off that they let that deacon do that. My church prides itself on being the largest Black Baptist church in the parish. It was paid for by an ex-NBA player who's from my hometown and gives generously. It really is a beautiful building, but it's around 30 years old and has never had serious upkeep that I can remember (besides new pew cushions and carpets in the sanctuary). How can you be so proud, but let the back door handle be loose, not properly maintain the baptismal pool, have a non-working stove, etc? There is a whole board of deacons, yet only one gets to really call the shots regarding money. But I did turn in a list with sweetly scathing commentary and I imagine, before the big fall homecoming and revival, some of these issues will magically be resolved.

Rebecca said...

Elle, don't worry about the chapter in shambles. It will sort itself out! (says she who in her infinite wisdom left the drafting of her last two chapters to the very last minute).

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...