Friday, August 29, 2008

RevGals Friday Five: Laboring Edition

With my US friends enjoying the Labour Day weekend, and my one remaining school student starting the 6th form next week, summer is definitely over and it's time to focus on work once again. I love my job, but feel disconcertingly reluctant to really knuckle down right now...Life with a puppy feels like one long holiday (except, of course, for the crack of dawn yelp "let me out quick, mum" ) so it's hard to focus. Therefore, in honour of on going procrastination, here are my answers to this week's Friday Five

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
The very worst wasn't actually my job at all! A few years ago, Hattie Gandhi needed to fund the stable costs of her beloved horse and got a job delivering Yellow Pages around some neighbouring villages. That doesn't sound so bad, but the reality was that all the houses were up long drives, most had no means of identification at all, and the regulations demanded that if the hosueholder was not at home, you couldn't just leave the directory in a safe place, but had to attempt at least one return visit. You also had to complete sheets showing exactly what had happened at each address. I know this so well because the whole thing took so darned long that it became a family enterprise...Through August, we all took it in turns to trek round Cotswold villages which became less attractive with every passing day.We all developed bad backs from hoicking bundles of directories along country lanes...We discovered just how many bad tempered farm dogs there are within a few square miles...And HG earned, - oh, about three weeks of livery fees!
My own all-time-worst job was as cashier at an amusement arcade in my home town of Hastings...I sat there seven days a week, in a kiosk, selling tickets for the assorted rides, giving change for the slot machines, breathing in the smell of deep frying and candyfloss, constantly battered by the "music" that accompanied any hit on the rifle range next door. Good pay, but long hours - and a stonking headache guaranteed each and every day.
Student life, eh? But the trip to Cyprus it funded was definitely worth it.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
Priest in charge of Cainscross & Selsley does me pretty nicely, thank you. When I preside at the Eucharist here, I know I am doing exactly what I am "for", and it's wonderful

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
What I'm doing but without the need for my congregations/schools to worry about fundraising - with enough funds in place to undertake a programme that would really make a difference to this community. A drop in cafe? Some worthwhile youth work? So many dreams...And I still want to throw open the vicarage for single mums and troubled teens...Some funds to support that would be good.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it? Twelve days on our narrow boat, cruising at snail's pace down the Grand Union and Oxford Canals...the ultimate wind-down...pure heaven. And then last weekend, the stimulation, challenge and delight of Greenbelt.
Due to a clash of diaries with a Bishop and a Primary School, I missed out on a planned retreat back in July, so am in need of a bit of solitary silence before I'm too much older - but the summer holiday was good, thanks.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
School term resumes next week, so I'll be reconnecting with the primary schools in the parish, and working out how best to serve them. I need to get my head down and really start pulling things together...I've been here for five months now - not that long, I know, but September feels like a good time for a few new starts. Current project, re-inventing the All Age Eucharist.
All good. All exciting. But ever so slightly overwhelming in prospect. Better once I get at it, I think/hope!

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
Ooh...birth stories...I feel the old NCT Chair instincts waking - those three birth days were, of course, the most exciting and memorable of my life. I was one of those fortunate women whose bodies seemed to get the idea of labour and delivery without much drama - all my deliveries were very speedy, none presented any real problems...I really would do it all again, were I not so incredibly ancient now...So which birth day should I tell you about?
I blogged my first labour experience when HG turned twenty one earlier this year.
Hugger Steward arrived at the same hospital, to the music of Mozart's flute and harp concerto...while the Dufflepud's birth took place at home. One wet morning, after an August that had as little sunshine as we've seen this year, I was woken by Hugger Steward's complaints that the cock crowing in the farm across the road just didn't care that there wasn't any sun to rise...I came to gradually, and decided that maybe HS and the rooster weren't the only things keeping me awake. Living in a village a good 45 minutes drive from the nearest maternity unit, we'd already arranged to have a home delivery, so instead of throwing the last few things into my bag all I had to do was phone the midwife and my friend C., then training as an NCT teacher, who was coming to cheer me on. Best honorary mother was downstairs with HG and HS, and as I wandered around from bedroom to bath and back again I could hear snatches of conversation, laughter, singing... I loved the sense of connection to every day life. This birth was not a medical event. It was mine in a way that the earlier ones, within the framework of hospital protocols, could never be.
Sure it hurt...Birth does. I remember announcing at one point that I'd had enough, and wasn't planning to have this baby today after all, so everyone might as well go home!
But I remember too the unutterable joy of seeing Hattie Gandhi holding her new baby brother, whom she had delivered herself (with the judicious help of Jackie, our wonderful midwife)...I remember Hugger Steward coming upstairs just moments after the birth, his eyes wide with the wonder of it all...And the pleasure of finding myself tucked up in cool sheets in my own bed, after a truly beautiful bath, a vase of roses from my own garden on the table and my newborn son lying beside me.
That was 17 summers ago. The Dufflepud is about to start his A/S level course next week. But those birth days are still so vivid - the most exciting and creative act I'll ever be part of.


The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

I absolutely love that bonus answer! precious

Sally said...

What a beautiful post, and such a wonderful description of birth.

The words that caught me though were these
"When I preside at the Eucharist here, I know I am doing exactly what I am "for", and it's wonderful"... these words resonates deeply with me.

Peace be with you.