And so it begins, again

Today is the first day of school for a lot of people, including for me. Running this morning was odd, in that I kept passing groups of kids standing on corners with backpacks waiting for buses; after a summer of not seeing anyone around in the early morning hours, it felt a bit strange. Plus, a gaggle of kids were blocking one of my usual paths, so I had to cross the street and get a fresh perspective on the trees and houses that I've become used to seeing in a particular way almost every time I run.

This morning I ran my A route, which features lots of varied terrain and a curvy course, in and out of side-streets and up and down parts of the neighborhood. (Technically, I ran A3, which cuts back at the end instead of making the long loop of A2 or tackling the major hill of A1, but the A routes are the same for most of the way…and you have no idea what I'm talking about, so I'll stop blabbering.) About two-thirds through the A route is the local elementary school, which I traditionally cut through the grounds of during my circuit: down the stairs, around the building, past the construction site where they're constructing what looks like a new wing to replace the temporary trailers and huts that used to house the overflow students, and back onto the street. They've been at work on that new wing all summer, and running past it every couple of days (I pass it when I run B route too, only backwards) I have been watching them work for several months. Last week I noticed that there were more workers around, seemingly making a last push to get the thing ready for the opening of the new school year -- as though someone had suddenly looked at the calendar, realized "oh, crap, school starts in a week and we aren't done with this fool thing yet!"

So I wasn't sure what to expect this morning: would they have finished? Would the new wing be ready to hold the expected teeming throngs of students?

Nope. The area was cordoned off with an impromptu fence and some thick ribbon, and fewer people than last week were at work, apparently continuing to dig out part of the foundation. The outline of the new wing was set on the ground in concrete, and there were some structural elements in place -- a few beams, part of a wall. Piles of materials were stacked neatly, but obviously the construction hadn't gotten to the point where those elements could be used quite yet. There was potential, but the summer had just run out on the project, leaving the workers scrambling…or perhaps simply resigning themselves to the fact that the work would take a little longer than initially expected.

I'm not sure where the overflow students will go. Neither of my kids attend that elementary school, so I'm not in the know about the planning. But the school officials apparently have some improvising to do in order to keep things together.

I know how they feel.

Welcome back.

[Posted with ecto]