This afternoon at 3:50, our exchange student will arrive from Spain at Logan Airport. Until his mother called yesterday I did not feel sure he would arrive. It’s an informal exchange we’ve arranged ourselves, following an e-mail posting by an SVS staff member to the Assembly list wondering if anyone in the school had room for him to stay this year. We did, or so I thought at the time. The kids were curious, interested. We met. The kid and his mother made us happy right away, so we said yes. Now, here he comes.

Friday night was our first Charter School Founders Group Meeting since we were invited to apply for the final round. So that is on my mind, and e-mails are circulating amongst the members of the group, getting various projects and initiatives off the ground. I’m back to waking up too early, thinking about school, about the business of the day, the larger picture things, computer is back upstairs late night and early morning, as much of the research and work is online.

My friend borrowed our van for a day of workshops in Albany yesterday, with some connection to the Free School. Her car isn’t working, mine is, I thought it best to share, which she appreciated very much, more evidence that people need adventure, friends, and are motivated to learn. She sent photos from the road and from the workshop via facebook, alternative education types seem as comfortable with bee hives as with iphones, which is nice to know.

In the process of preparing for our new housemate, I feel like we’ve moved every single thing in the house, which of course, we haven’t, but it’s sure been a lot of work and stuff. In the room where he is going to sleep, there was lots and lots of stuff. This room has been all kinds of things in the years twenty years this month we’ve owned this house. First it was the master bedroom. Then it was a master bedroom full of cribs for my family day care. Then it was a guest room for awhile. Then a room where friends and housemates lived. Then it became what we called the upstairs project room. (The day care has a project room downstairs.) Eventually, it became full of toys, games, books, dress-up clothes, blocks, legos, playmobil, art supplies, warhammer models and paints, instruments. You name an interest my kids have had in the last ten or fifteen years, and that room held the goods. The guests were increasingly surrounded, and recently, left out, by all the stuff.

So, to prepare for Eduardo, we spent one weekend removing the books from a tall book shelf which was going to my daughter’s room. This resulted in me and my daughter sorting books in piles and on shelves in three or four rooms of the house, giving some away, putting others aside for the school, sending some to the day care and her room, others to bags with the intention to find them a home real soon.

Another weekend, we sorted through board games, this time enlisting the opinion of all the kids, shuffling them off the shelves which are now bare and above the bed, onto shelves in the living room, or into bags to give away or for the school.

This week it was couch moving time. My friend James and I dragged the futon frame up from the basement, damp with mold, in this wet and muggy season, bought a new futon from the shop, along with a water and bed bug proof cover, and while I made a modest dinner, he put the frame together. The following night my kids were home and we got going moving furniture, first night every single thing in my overlarge bedroom, minus one bookshelf, second night dragging the sectional couch from what would be Eduardo’s room up the stairs to my bedroom. The girl was my partner night one, the boy and girl night two. We took off a door, a handrail, the legs of the couch, and scraped off a minimum of wood and paint from doorways and passages through the house. When I saw a little girl at the park the following day with a Wonder Woman t-shirt, I wanted one.

Then this weekend it was on to sorting more bits. We went through the closet full of nerf guns, playmobil boxes, old art. We went through the shelves of art supplies, warhammer, old school papers, and photos. As my daughter said, Do it Now! And I did. She’s a powerhouse of Gettin It Done. As she also said, It makes you smile when you do it. And it did. I love looking at my kids’ old work. Jonah filled pages of his kindergarten or first grade word book top to bottom with words starting with each letter of the alphabet. He was drawing cartoons on his homework, doodling on his folder. He was quick to learn, lost in creative thought, even then. My girl’s artwork was there in tiny notebooks, from scribbles to crowns to watercolor birds. She was thrilled to find the art supplies I uncovered on the shelves, and packed a good number of them up to take to school, where she’s drawing and painting again, nearly every day. There were photos of Ben playing soccer on his first team, his drawings of cactus and labels of carefully drawn Texas animals made in a small black notebook I remember buying him on my trip into town. There were boxes of photos from the early years of our marriage, when friends were getting married, our kids were little and being born, and we looked happy. They were laid open in clementine crates, labeled by my ex-husband, in chronological order, dusty as can be, and so I dusted the off, closed the packages, put them together in one shoe box, from my daughter’s newly purchased size 9 shoes, replaced them on the shelf. I think the last time they were organized it was part of a huge putting photos in albums project by my ex, a tender memory of how things shift. The albums are in my bedroom, where I’m sitting now, gal beside me awake from my typing, boys still asleep, after a day of music, computer, college prep, cooking, eating, talking, d and d and time with friends and planning of more for today.

Anticipating the arrival of our new friend this afternoon, I am off to the grocery store, to buy my usual enormous cart of groceries, for day care, for home, and now for another teenage boy. I have serious concerns that this once a week shopping routine isn’t going to hold up, that the cart and my stamina will not withstand another gallon of milk or loaf of bread. Of course, they will. Another person coming into our lives, and we haven’t the slightest idea, really, what that means. Getting ready, though, has been a big deal already. If just moving the stuff can move us so much, I wonder what story shifting his presence will bring.