8 Yesterday’s orientation  included a PowerPoint presentation on the proud history of the college. I would normally, at this point, say something snarky about PowerPoint. However, the last time I said something snarky about Power Point was to The Computer Guy, who said quite sensibly that PowerPoint is the easiest multimedia program in the Office suite, which is all that most people have in the way of software. It’s hard to get your graphics in the right spot in Word, lots of people don’t use Excel at all out of fear, and many of us don’t even have Publisher (including me), so any time a person wants to show a graph, they use Power Point.

Actually, PowerPoint is the right thing to use if you want to show graphs to a whole roomful of people. Following that, we went around the room stating our names and what we were teaching. Since there were about 60 of us, this seemed fairly pointless, and of course I sounded like Ernest Borgnine so I didn’t like it. This stage of the proceedings was lightened when, after several rounds of “John Smith, macroeconomics. Robin Robinson, macroeceonomics. Suzy Brown, macroeconomics” the chair of the social sciences department said , “I’m Dr. So and So, and would anyone else like to teach macroeconomics? I have three more sections  to cover.”

Then we trooped over to the English department and got our books, which you see above in my new briefcase.8

I didn’t take my new briefcase yesterday.

I bought it when I got a 60% off email on a day when I had had to drive up to The Computer Guy’s office to drop off a file I had left out of a stack of files on the previous day.

The briefcase I had and loved the last time back before I worked for the store has vanished, somewhere through the years, and I obviously needed one. So I bought this one at an amazing discount.

It looks big in person. And new. And luggage-like. So yesterday I went to orientation with a large purse and stuffed all the folders and documents and books and things into it, so that I had to unpack it every time I needed a cough drop.

When I got home, I put all the stuff into my briefcase and was thankful for it.

Then we filled out our paperwork. This was when I discovered that they are paying me more than I thought. In fact, if I only count the classroom hours, it breaks down to just slightly less than my lowest hourly wage as a computer guy. Once you add the commute and grading time, of course, it comes to quite a bit less, but I was thinking of it as essentially volunteer, so this was good.

Particularly since it is going to involve some Back to School shopping.

It is several years since I was on the consumer side of the counter for Back to School shopping.

It used to be an August ritual. Since I have four kids, it meant simply cashing my mid-August paycheck. Before heading out, all the kids did an inventory of the clothes they owned, and got anything too small or too ratty to wear out of their rooms. We then counted up the gaps to make sure they had an outfit for each schoolday and made a list for each kid.

On the great shopping day, we went to the office supply store very early, picked up the supply lists for the relevant schools, and bought everything they required. Then we went to the bakery for breakfast and to recruit our strength for the second part of the journey. Next came clothes shopping, which we did very efficiently.

Then we went home and everyone unpacked all the gear and put it neatly away, with all the supplies properly arranged in their Trappers or backpacks or whatever it was that year.

In recent years, I haven’t had to do that. My kids all work, they buy their own clothes, and of course current style says that for schoolboys there is no such thing as a garment too ratty to wear. I have merely had to fork over the spondulicks in large quantities: textbooks, graphing calculators, tuition, that stuff. I’ll have to do that this year as well, of course.

However, I think that I will have to buy clothes for myself. We have a dress code.

I have already bought clothing three times this summer. I went to the mall with #2 daughter and bought two suits. I bought a couple of T-shirts at Target. And then I went to an actual clothing store, all by myself, and bought a twin set sort of thing for the tech workshop (I wore it to orientation, too).

This is some kind of record for me.

So I guess I should make an inventory and a list of what I need, and then go finish my Back to School shopping. Or maybe take some time next week, before classes start, to sew some things. I’ve already spent quite a bit of time in anticipatory anxiety over this, and will probably dither over it some more before I get around to it. Oh, well. You understand, I can’t actually dither over this much IRL, because there just isn’t any normal-sounding version of it.

That is, many people understand my fretting over having to commute to the Next County. Lots of us do, here, now that they are so prosperous up there, and most people who do so hate it. You can get sympathy for the commute even without mentioning the scary roads (it’s half an hour on the surface roads and 20 minutes on the freeway, assuming no time spent getting lost or stuck in traffic, by the way, so I figure I can go by surface until I’m ready to try the freeway).

But you can’t get any sympathy around here for having to spend your first paycheck on clothes. For many of the women I know, that’s the whole point of having a paycheck: so you can go buy clothes.

I could go back to the shop I went to by myself. However, I’m told that they are very expensive. The Empress recommended them to me in the first place, and I don’t shop enough to be able to identify an expensive store. They have very little in the way of natural fibers, so it shouldn’t be an expensive shop. You are probably paying for the service there. I may actually have to got to the Mall.

Not today, however. Yesterday after orientation I made a kitchenware delivery and then came home and spent the rest of the afternoon and the evening in a drug-induced torpor with books and movies, broken only by  an email from The Computer Guy and a phone call from a church musician. That is what I plan to do today as well. I am skipping church, and the menfolks will have to feed themselves. I have deadlines tomorrow, and can’t be coughing and whining when I’m supposed to be thinking about corporate branding and hookworm eradication.