So last week, when I was answering the phones at school–


Have I told you about this recent turn my life has taken?  See, this fall, I’ve volunteered to help in the main office of the middle school for two hours, every other Thursday, so the full-time secretaries can take their respective lunch breaks.  Now, I know what you’re thinking:  Two hours every two weeks?  That’s barely worth mentioning.  But let me let you in on a little secret, my secret-keeping sister (or brother):  the only job noisier, more exhausting and more grossly underpaid than that of a full-time mother is that of a full-time school secretary.  She works hard for the money honey.  And for four hours a month, so do I.  (Except I do it for no money, which is something I’ve developed quite a skill for doing over the last fifteen years.)

So there I was: signing sick students out, signing well students in, and listening patiently to parents who wanted to know, five weeks into the eight-week season, if it was too late to sign their daughter up for volleyball.  (True story.)  Amidst all this hubbub, I was also fielding bazillion phone calls, which is apparently the number of phone calls a middle school office receives in a two-hour period every other Thursday.  I’m telling you, that phone rings off the hook.  (And by that, I don’t mean the ring-of-the-phone is cool.  I mean, the phone rings constantly.  Did I just date myself?)  At any rate, I was flying from phone to parent to kid and back again, rockin’ and a-rollin’ way past my paygrade, when one phone call gave me pause: