Friday, January 29, 2010

Push / Pull / Stretch / Snap

One of the alarms on my iPhone (you can edit and save a bunch of them, like you can teach your thermostat the difference between Wednesday and Sunday) is called, simply, "stupid fucking Monday." It is set for five am. And every Monday for the last four weeks, that's when I get up, at 5am. I sneak downstairs, work for an hour and a half, shower, gobble breakfast and head to work, usually before Pynchon and Munchkin wake up. I watch the sun come up from the café across the street from my off-campus teaching lab. The rest of the week is a little better--I get up at six, work for an hour, then wake everyone up and we all hustle in to work.

In a rotten confluence of circumstances, this semester I have drawn the short straw. On a very demanding committee that has big deadlines and big obligations for the entire month (think, 11 hour days and 4 hour meetings, and you'll have it about right). Teaching two new courses, so that in addition to the time spent actually teaching it, and grading, and meeting students, I'm also trying to put all the materials together fast enough to keep ahead of everyone. These two courses are in different locations, both off campus, and both with some administrative hurdles (one has no heat and the other has heat set to 'bikini model', for example). I work at 5am; I stay at work until after supper. I work on the weekends. I do my email on the phone waiting for the bus. I grade design homework on the laptop while 'watching' Diego with Munchkin.

I am, in short, desperately overscheduled and overstressed at work.

At home, I'm ... absent. And that wracks me with guilt, obviously. Pynchon is carrying the whole family on his own back and the whole enterprise is straining under the load.

I don't like living like this. I don't like complaining about it. So today, as my big committee finished its giant task, and freed up probably 12 or so hours in my work-week going forward, I'm turning the boat around.

It's the end of January. The end of the crazy month of finally getting my insomnia under control only to start forcing myself to keep the same hours as when I couldn't sleep. The end of frozen pizza, canned beans, grilled cheese, McDonald's, and KD for dinner. The end of complaining and crisis management.

My birthday is this weekend. I will be 37. We are celebrating with a big dinner party at a fancy new restaurant. I will wear high heels, drink a lot of gin, and feel myself buoyed up on the love of my friends. I am coming back to my blog writing and to my blog reading. I am remembering the simple pleasure of cooking supper for my family and sitting down to eat it with them, of taking 5 minutes out of the morning rush to play 'puppy' with Munchkin, barking and sniffing and rolling over.

It's good to be back.

How've you been?


alejna said...

Oh, it's nice to see you back!

That schedule sounds horrendous. I'm glad things are lightening up now.

My life has been hectic, but not near as hectic as yours! Actually, we went through a long stretch where I was the spouse/parent holding down the fort while my husband worked practically non-stop around the clock 7 days a week for several months. I bet Pynchon is pretty glad to have you around more again. I can relate to that.

Mimi said...

Hi Alejna! Actually, Pynchon had exactly that kind of schedule for August-November, so we seem to have switched off with one another. It's definitely made us more understanding of both roles ...

Omaha Mama said...

I'm glad you're back! I hope you'll stay a while. :0)
Sometimes we need those horrible months to make the mundane seem so wonderful. Enjoy your 12 hrs of freedom next week! Haha.

Patti said...

Nice to have you back, Mimi.

Cloud said...

I'm glad you're back. I've missed this blog! I kept checking in, wondering if maybe my reader just wasn't getting the feed....

On the crazy schedule- it was only temporary. I think it is OK to need to lean heavily on your partner now and then. It probably did Munchkin good to get used to having Daddy do more of the day to day things for awhile. I figure it is good for kids to really get to see that "yes, someone else can take care of me and it will all be OK". I like to tell myself that this adds to their sense of security, and I don't want to hear otherwise. Although I mostly have a pretty easy schedule these days, there will be times when there is a crunch at work and I have to work longer.