I'm done. Certified, stick a fork in me, mail that sucker off with every kind of insurance the post office has to offer... Finito. If I were a more high tech guy, this entry would merely consist of a grainy self-portrait taken at arm's length with my cell phone camera, depicting a haggard shell of a man clutching a blue box packing-taped to oblivion. And a sound file with the Hallelujah chorus.

I will not even try, at this moment, to assess the long-term impact of this process on my teaching. For now, I simply want to reclaim my life. I started Wednesday night, cracking a second beer after the boys went to bed... because I could. Because there was no nagging voice in the back of my head saying, You really should go down to the computer to type up the cover pages for the Entry Three evidence.

It will be a while before the rest of me thaws. I did a little more healing Friday, allowing my Humanities classes to throw a celebration of the BTB's (Big Travel Books) we'd been reading. No student achievement in sight, but there was a side-splitting skit depicting a day in the life of a TJ kid (nine rows of seats during the class on Dante's Inferno; in English with Gulliver a spelling test with the first word, Houyhnhnms).

Refreshments included deviled eggs (har, har) and sugar cookies shaped like the gold coins Candide clinked in El Dorado. After that, we had a full slate of entertainment including a computerized game of Whack a Yahoo on the whiteboard and a Canterbury Tales-style tale-telling contest that required students to act out one-minute fairy tales. Oh yes, and there was the baroque quartet's happy birthday serenade to my Hum partner Jen, who is marking a quarter century by hosting a Model UN Conference this weekend.

The next step? Make it one more week to spring break, when I can do the house chores I've been putting off for six months. Maybe steal a day to go fishing. Try not to worry about the grades due when we get back. Give my wife a break by watching the two-year old. Lots of baby steps.

Then? After tending to home and hearth, reconnecting with the family, doing some me-time... what's next, you ask?

Not yet, friend, I reply, feebly holding up a hand.

Please. Just let me feel the sun.