5:15. My alarm clock goes off in a few minutes, but my body seems to be used to this now. No matter that I didn't get to bed till midnight or that it's been several days since I slept more than five hours -- I'm awake and apparently I should get up. It's mid-week, meaning a camp is in session and I don't have to worry about arrivals and departures. It's a comparatively straightforward day, and barring disaster it shouldn't be too stressful.
Of course, last time I thought that I ended up sitting in the emergency room with a camper. So maybe I should be more careful about those kinds of conclusions.
6:45. I've done some yoga, checked my email, showered, and eaten my first breakfast of the day. Yesterday I went for a quick hike by this point, but today it's muddy from an overnight rain and I just didn't have the patience for that.
My morning routine seems to change every week. A lot of days, I skip the yoga to get something done. Some mornings this is my chance to be social; the weeks the Rented Lumberjack was here, he was in the dining room before me and I could usually count on a little conversation over my first cup of coffee. Another week, I spent my early mornings on a deck reading. This week has been a "conscious exercise" week, but we'll see how long that lasts.
7:03. The entire camp smells of bacon; the kitchen is buzzing with breakfast prep as I re-check the schedule for the day and put together my list for the housekeepers. It's a lot of dailies -- they're relatively short, but since they have to hit just about every building it'll be a full day.
7:30. The staff sits down to breakfast. My 8:00 person slips in and grabs some food; he looks about as tired as I felt a couple hours ago. Conversation is all about the night before (the kids had a campfire) and plans for later this week (it's a preview night at the Black Hills Playhouse and we're going to get as many people there as possible).
7:47. Jump-ups appear to get their tables ready; a dean is looking for her game supplies and she and I go hunting. My morning quickly vanishes as I dig up those, find craft supplies for another group, answer the phone half a dozen times, and book a group for the following fall. This time it's a group that stopped for a tour last week and apparently liked the place; they want two buildings and a whole lot of food. Always a good sign.
10:05. I need a snack. And a cup of coffee. Now. As luck would have it, Chef Lady is taking a breather and she and I catch up for five minutes.
10:58. The Bossman and I confer for a few minutes in the office. We have some building Tetris to play for an upcoming week so that each of our groups can have their own spaces -- luckily, they seem to be perfectly sized. For the first time this summer, I say a quick prayer that none of them have a sudden growth spurt.
11:36. The staff sits down to lunch. We're running a few minutes behind, but it seems everyone else is, too. It'll work.
I have a couple reminders over lunch of my own poor managerial skills. It's definitely been a learning summer for me, and every time I think I'm getting the hang of it I get a curveball that proves me wrong. These guys have been pretty patient with me, though, and I'm taking enough mental notes to make me hope I can do better next summer. For now, I do what I can to mitigate minor disasters and move on.
1:15. I finally check my pedometer as I wait for my vanload of kids to appear: 11,876 steps so far today, and I've got a few hours left. I've walked the equivalent of 5.5 miles, mostly in circles.
2:45. The kids are at the waterpark and I'm picking up supplies at Sam's Club. Seems we ran out of everything in one day ... Hope I'll still have room for those kids when I pick them up in a couple hours. I eat the PB&J I'd thrown together right before I left, my fifth "meal" of the day. It's amazing that I've actually dropped a few pounds since moving back out here, but I suppose my body's using food as a replacement for sleep.
5:10. We managed to get everyone back, despite having to track down a pair of campers who had conveniently vanished a few minutes before the vehicles arrived. I'm scarfing down dinner so I can tackle some office-y stuff before that evening's activities. The girls on the crew are now discussing one of the male counselors, who happens to be rather gorgeous; I wonder if he realizes he's inspiring such adoration.
6:30. I leave the utter chaos of the kitchen and dining room in clean-up mode to work the camp store. We've sold two sweatshirts, a handful of T-shirts, and about a case and a half of ice cream sandwiches. This is one of my favorite parts of the day, the best chance to hang out with the campers and relax a bit. And have an ice cream cone.
7:43. The kids are headed to campfire in a bit, and apparently the toilet in the downstairs girls' bathroom is endlessly running. Again. Yup, it's a normal day.
8:34. Home at last! I look around my house and realize that I have absolutely zero desire to get anything accomplished. Eventually, I talk myself into doing my dishes from my late-night snack yesterday, fold some laundry, chat with Mia Sorella for a few minutes between her classes, and finally step out on my deck.
It's perfectly quiet outside, a rare feat when the camp is full of kids. The air is heavy with pine, the heat of the day has finally faded and the sky is getting dark enough to really see the stars; this is as peaceful as the world can get.
For a few minutes, I enjoy my little chunk of paradise. As crazy as my days seem sometimes and as tired as I might get -- and even though I can start the day as a sprightly twenty-something but hobble like an 80-year-old woman by the time I get home -- I love this place. What used to be an escape hatch has become my full-time life and that makes me happier than I ever imagined.
But tomorrow is another day and I need my sleep. Of course, there's always coffee ... again ...