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A Day in the Life of Chris Smith

Chris Smith, Sr. lives in southwest Fort Worth with wife, Cynthia, a 7th-grade English and reading teacher with FWISD. The couple have two (and a half) children, 10-year-old Chris, Jr., 7-year-old Craig, and 14-year-old beagle, Buster. After a second layoff last year, Chris returned to school.

6:15AM My dreaded alarm sounds—which I ignore. I just want to finish my dream.  

6:20AM Cynthia’s alarm sounds … I have to drag myself out of bed to turn it off. I guess I won’t be driving to Austin to turn in my winning ticket—it was only a dream. I head for the kitchen to start breakfast. Did a tornado hit this room overnight? How do 4 people make such a mess? The kids put in their breakfast orders the night before: strudel, waffle, bacon and fruit.

6:30AM “Chris and Craig, it’s time to get up!” The kids stagger out of their bedroom and head for the living room. They have a deep discussion over whether to watch the old Wizard of Oz cartoon or Zoboomafoo. This reminds me to try to find The Wiz starring Michael Jackson.

6:40AM Breakfast is served. Now I can fix my much needed cup o’ Joe. I lay out the kids’ school uniforms and set my phone alarm to go off at 7:15 a.m. so they know when it’s time to start getting dressed for school.

7AM I force myself to do a workout, despite staying up too late to finish designing my Web page for school. Man, these weights seem heavier since my last workout! No pain, no gain, right?

7:30AM I pause my workout to kiss everyone good-bye. Do a quick scan of the house and make sure the kids have their homework and Cynthia has her lunch. Ahhh! Peace and quiet. Now back to my workout.

8AM  Good workout! Time for my breakfast: Oatmeal-flaxseed pancakes with a spinach-strawberry-blueberry smoothie. Yum! I have time to watch a little TV before getting ready for school. I turn on Good Morning America.  I’ll be in class and will miss the Tavis Smiley show today. I’ll catch it tomorrow.

9:30AM Homework is due today. I double-check my Web page to see if changes are needed. This could go on forever! I get online, and post my blog for the class discussion board. I feel the pressure to remain on the Dean’s list, since it took me 20 years to get there!

10:50AM Arrive at school. Why does parking have to be so far away? Once in class, I give the teacher my full attention. He adjusts his hearing aids and I can’t help but wonder: How old is too old to be teaching?

12:20PM Class has ended, but I stick around to compare notes and discuss our weekly labs with another classmate. Good to know I’m not the only one who’s confused.

1:15PM Back at home and I’m starved. How is it that one class can drain so much energy from you? I scarf down whatever I can find in the fridge that doesn’t require cooking [while] I process what was just taught in class and start my homework assignment. What chapter did he say to read?

2PM Brain overload. Break time! I have 35 minutes to meditate and veg before I leave to get the kids from school. I turn on the radio to listen to the Michael Baisden Show. Maybe this will make cleaning the kitchen seem easier. Wait a minute … aren’t I supposed to be taking a break?  

2:35PM It’s a nice day, so I walk the three blocks to the elementary school. The boys and I get some vitamin D and play kick-the-can all the way back home.

3PM The house is alive again with kid noises. We talk about their day at school and I sort through folders and backpacks while I start dinner. (Dinner has already been planned for the week, so I don’t have to put much thought into it.)

3:30PM Dinner’s almost ready. I Google geometry so I can help Chris with his homework. What is this geometry?! I must have been absent on the day it was taught.

4:30PM I’m on the move again, taking the kids to their grandparents’ house so I can attend my evening class from 6 to 7:20. I have a mini conversation with my father-in-law and have to run to beat the rush-hour traffic. If only Cynthia didn’t have class until 9. I’ll be heading back to pick them up in about 90 minutes.

7:45PM Thank God for grandparents! The kids have already showered and are in their PJs. I have a little time to devour the best homemade oatmeal cookies in Fort Worth and chat with my mother-in-law.

9PM Back at home. I put the kids to bed. No bedtime book tonight; it has been a long day. As I settle into my favorite spot on the sofa, Cynthia arrives home. We chat for a minute and call it another good day.