It’s possible that I might have just read my last application for the season (possible, but not likely; there always seem to be a few that surface even after we think we’re finished). I have been looking forward to this for a long time. For the last ten days or so, I have continually thought I was down to my last ten applications. I’d read eight apps and then realize that another twelve had materialized, so I’d work my way through those and somehow, there would be seven more in my bag to go home with me at night. Yesterday afternoon before I left the office, my colleague Jamie came around distributing a few second reads among us and with that, it seemed like we were at last at the end. The big boxes upstairs in the file room have been consolidated as decisions have been entered into the database, and perhaps, perhaps the reading is over.
Oddly enough, I am a little sad. Even though the pressure of reading season can feel oppressive and overwhelming, I will miss the winter days at home with the dog and the wood stove. Very shortly, I’ll be dismantling the appealing space in the living room where I read. The current generation of blooming amaryllis will find a new spot in the house, the desk lamp will go back to the desk, and the card table will be folded up and put back in the closet. The lyric-less CD’s in groups of five for my listening pleasure on our five-CD changer will be returned to their alphabetized slots. We actually don’t spend a lot of time in the living room outside of my hunkering down for reading season, and I’ll miss the space.
On the other hand, I’ll be able to go to Sugarloaf next weekend and ski for the whole of both days for the first time since mid-December (if my legs can take it). I’ll also be able to spend a few evenings a week doing precious little other than reading the paper or even something as mindless as watching, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” (All right, I’ll admit it: I watched this for the first time – and quite likely the last time – this past Thursday and was utterly stunned by the stupidity of it.) In short, I’m about to get my life back.
Not that it’s all free and clear, of course. There is plenty to do in Lunder House over the next ten days before we mail the decision letters. While I’ve finished my piece of the reading, the decisions certainly are not finalized and won’t be for another week. The mechanics of stuffing the envelopes and doing the actual mailing will require a great deal of manpower in the coming days, although when I was in the mailroom on Friday morning, I was impressed to see how much precise advance work Beth, our mailroom supervisor, has been able to accomplish due to her uncanny ability to anticipate detail and implement efficient systems. There is a huge amount of fine-tuning that must be done; it’s the rough work that’s about over.
At the very least, we’re relatively certain that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. As for missing my cozy times at home, there’s always next year.