I officially hit a wall this week...hard. I suppose it is not particularly surprising given all that has been going on. This is our third week of programs with actual students aboard. They've been going remarkably well. The crew is simply phenomenal. Every day I listen to them teach, trying to pick some spots for improvement, but they are simply too good! They ask questions, engage students, and hit the topics needed to really cover the state standards.
It is pretty incredible to see this program that I have been and am still investing too much of myself in actually succeed. In the last three weeks, the program has received only positive responses from teachers, been on the front page of the Charleston Post and Courier, the front page of the Georgetown Times, the front of the local section of the Sun News (Myrtle Beach), and on three different television news programs. I am finally used to and comfortable talking to the press, which is good since PR has become a steady part of my day to day life.
I am still unsure of where September went. The month seemed to last only a few days. I spent much of it in the office pumping out curriculum and feeling like there was a muse with me twenty-four hours a day. We also had another Coast Guard COI and completed maneuvering trials on the ship. Maneuvering trials are not nearly as interesting or exciting as they sound...unless you are a math wiz looking at the date gathered. Pretty much what happens is each person is giving a highly specific job, such as marking speed, GPS waypoints, or the compass bearing every five seconds while the helm or the engine throttle is adjusted. Later, all the data is used in some way far beyond my interest or comprehension to determine whether the ship turns fast enough.
Everyone who'd driven the ship knew before the trials that we did not turn fast enough. Surprisingly enough, the maneuvering trials confirmed this. So now the debate is in whether we need a bow thruster or a larger rudder. You see, nineteenth century pilot schooners were designed to go straight really quickly. They needed to be fast and seaworthy, not able to turn easily. Spirit of SC is seaworthy, fast, and beautiful. Being able to turn didn't fit into those plans, but is still important for a vessel doing daysails half the year.
So anyway, back to that wall I hit. I am still trying to scale it. I hit it in my usual fashion...with plenty of warning and purposeful ignorance. Yay for martyrdom! Somehow, probably because it needed to get done and it is my job to get it done, decided that working from 8am to midnight for four out of five days and spending six hours at a formal event schmoozing on the off day is a good combination. Luckily, one of the gifts I have is to fake it, so even though I was failing at holding back tears twenty minutes before our school group arrived, for the seven hours they were aboard, I was a rockstar. I was happy, smiling, energized, and ignoring my exhaustion and frustrations. Somehow, when faking it for that long I regain a portion of my usual energy, so I have able to start working myself over the wall, although having four days without students and without needing to get any more activities prepped will probably help me finish the job. Gasp, I might even take a day off! Nah, this is me we are talking about, wouldn't want to get extreme or anything!