Fall is more challenging than Summer.  This is just a truth. Summer is the time for eating tomatoes from the garden with balsamic vinegar and calling it dinner.  For staying up a little late and chasing fireflies in the yard.  Fall is none of these things.  None. Of. Them.

This past Summer, I eased into my single mother role with grace.  My daughter was in preschool at a daycare center.  This effectively meant that I could drop her off late without fear of a dreaded tardy slip.  There is no “late” at daycare.  In fact, if I seemed frazzled while dropping my daughter off in the morning at daycare, sometimes the director would give me a donut.  Those were the days.

In August, my daughter started preschool at a proper elementary school.  She has to be in her classroom by 7:40 a.m., which means that I have to drag her out of bed almost a full half hour earlier than previously.  Some mornings, this means actually physically picking her up, taking her pajamas off, putting her clothes on, and carrying her to the bathroom.  She’s four, yet somehow we have regressed to her being four months old.  Except she’s 36 pounds and likes to talk sass.

I have discovered new forms of efficiency.  The girl has breakfast in the car.  I make a huge batch of banana or pumpkin muffins on Sunday to last her the week.  She also often does her homework on Thursday night (or some weeks on Friday morning) (By the way, I do NOT remember having homework until the 3rd grade!).

Bringing my daughter to school each day has brought other unforeseen challenges.  I have developed a serious fear of school buses.  The school parking lot is disorganized, like playing Grand Theft Auto every day with real cars and real children darting in front of your car.  I am still not used to this three months in.

My daughter’s school has brought great fun along with the anxiety.  They held a costume ball for Halloween this year.  It was pretty magical to attend and watch all the children and teachers in their costumes.

Fall has brought other challenges.  Like having the chimney swept and the boiler and snow blower serviced.  Like figuring out how to install the storm windows and un-install my behemoth window air conditioners by myself.  I have learned to ask for help.  One air conditioner was too much for me to handle on my own.  My neighbor helped me.  He was glad to.

The other thing Fall has brought is an onslaught of mice the likes of which I have never seen in nine years of home ownership.  In previous years, I have been benevolent, trapping mice in jars and releasing them across the river in a neighboring town.  This year is different.  Apparently, my cats cannot do their ONE JOB.  Of course, this is the year that the mice decided to invade my kitchen drawers.  I have tried all methods of defense and attack.  All-natural mouse repellent, peppermint oil, glue traps.  The proper old-school mouse traps with peanut butter finally caught my first victim.  No mouse droppings in my kitchen since.  No remorse.  None.

We shall see what Winter brings.  I bought a car with four wheel drive.  My neighbor’s son has offered to help me clear snow.  Hopefully, this year of all years will be mild.  We shall see.

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