4:59 a.m. I'm up. This is actually exciting—were it not for the wonder that is Tylenol PM, I'd have been awake long before now.
I'm down to two to-do lists, which could easily be consolidated. Only little things left: a few last loads of laundry, a few odds and ends to pack.
5:57 a.m. This is entertaining. I was so successful at getting rid of all the food in my fridge before I left that I've run out of food. For breakfast this morning: Rice-A-Roni. Nothing like a little sodium to start your day.
6:30 a.m. My girls are here, feeding and cleaning stalls, and wondering where I am. Normally I'm getting my first horse of the day ready right now, but I've left a light day intentionally, and since they're calling for a deliciously balmy high of 45* today, I'm going to hold out and ride mid-day.
8:32 a.m. I'm pulling out of the driveway in the truck to run a few early AM errands—the cheapest diesel station is also next to my bank, and then I can swing by the pet shop and get treats for my cat to hide her sedatives in. Priorities, people, priorities. And I have a look at my Virginia state inspection sticker. Which expires 1/11. Oh jeez.
Turn 'er around. I don't have time this morning to take it in for its inspection, so I'll have to run all those errands this afternoon. Swell.
9:07 a.m. My dad, my hero! He's taking the truck in for its inspection. Phew! I can get to teaching all my riders without worry. Or, at least, with one less worry.
All my students will be seeing me soon—I'm back in mid-January for a weekend of teaching. But they're almost all out today anyway, and they've all eaten their Wheaties. Every single one of them has an ah-HAH! today, big and small, but an ah-HAH nonetheless. What a great way to end the year!
And a great way to end my riding year—a hack with Midgey and Ella. They even tackle the big (16", maybe?), scary (not so much) cross-country jumps (at a trot) in our backfields. They're very impressive creatures.
1:30 p.m. I've got some time between lessons, so I run into town for my last bit of errands. Bank, pharmacy and pet store. I get Luna, my cat, these neat little treat pocket things you can hide a pill in...
2:17 p.m. ...which, of course, she won't eat.
4:48 p.m. Last lessons taught. Last bit of stuff in the trailer. Last loads of laundry in the wash. Could it be that I'm actually ready to go? Amazing! A little down time before dinner with my family tonight. A nice, quiet last evening.
7 p.m. Hah! So much for that! I call over to my parents' house to tell them I'm swinging by, and someone I don't know answers the phone. Weird. And why are all the lights on? And why are there strange cars in the driveway?
Because my students have thrown me a surprise party, that's why!!
It is amazing—there have to be 30 people here. All of my favorite students, my wonderful boarders, everyone. Great food, music, fun... and two HUGE posters of my two favorite photos from this year, one of Ella and one of Midge, all signed by my students with well-wishes and good-lucks. I am completely blown away.
What a wonderful, incredible, marvelous way to end my year. I am the LUCKIEST girl in the world!
10:31 p.m. One of two remaining loads of laundry is in the dryer; I'll chuck my sheets in the wash first thing tomorrow, and then it's on the road, baby! See ya next year, Virginia; we're going to take Florida by storm!
(but first, two Tylenol PM.)