Friday, November 30, 2012

Making Lemonade

Today, I'm offering up a framed narrative. I wrote the following nested post on Sunday, but then Liz offered a bunch of solutions to my exhaustion questions on Tuesday. So, while my exhaustion has not evaporated, I've decided to make the proverbial lemonade, and look forward to brighter things in the New Year. Rest assured, I'm not quite ready to do the counting of the blessings, yet. After all, it's still November. So, here's Sunday-me, all tired-but-hopeful:

***

It seems I'm on an inspiration kick. Or a whining kick. Whichever it is, I'm trying to turn it into something better. You might also argue I'm crowdsourcing my counselling. However, I bet I'm not alone in feeling exhausted right about now, on the brink of December. So, I'm writing this post to ask you all: how do you deal? cope? manage? right about now.

Here's my situation: it's Sunday as I'm writing these lines, and before you admire my organizational skills, wait until you read the whole thing. My oldest has now been sick with the flu (the real one, the influenza one) for almost a week [update: she's better, but we still had to pick her up early on Wednesday, as she was running a fever], while also scheduled to take a trip over the pond tomorrow. I hope, by the time you read this post, she will be long past it [update: the cough is still here]. Otherwise I feel like I will snap something. Speaking of snapping: my youngest woke up early. Well, nothing is *too* early for a baby, but right now, at 53 degrees latitude north, when the sun rises around 9 am (I'm exaggerating; tired mothers are allowed their lion's share of hyperbole), 6:45 am seems unpardonably early. Strike that, it's always too early to be woken up at that time. 

However, to add literal injury to insult, after I'd taken the baby into my own bed, hoping to steal maybe another 5 seconds of shut-eye, he gleefully--everything is either ginormously gleeful or deathly dramatic at 13 months--proceeded to get up, pick up my water bottle, and drop it--nay, throw it--squarely in my right eye. The visible result? I now sport a red spot on the white of my right eye. Yeah, I didn't need that one anyway. Symmetry is always better, and my left eye is much more myopic than my right. Babies always know more than we give them credit for, no?

The cherry on the cake of exhaustion--see, even my metaphors get mixed this late in the term--I am about to receive (remember, it's still Sunday here) eighty (if I spell the numeral instead of writing numbers, it will seem much smaller, yes?) research essays tomorrow. E-i-g-h-t-y (nope, still small, still in denial). 

So, between the packing and the marking and the lesson prepping--and did I mention the few remaining job/postoc apps--and the usual demands of life, my upcoming week--happily now in my past--is looking quite quite busy. 

Which brings me to my last point (and, alas, a sentence fragment--you can see I'm gearing up for marking here!): how do *you* cope with the end-of-term avalanche of marking and deadlines and final exams and final papers and the anticipation of all. that. work waiting for you in the new year. I will spare you my list for 2013, but I would really love to hear, before we do the pinnable year-end tally of "awesome things that happened in 2012," how you deal with the actual year-end itself. Because me? This here is how I'm dealing. Crowdsourcing my therapy. Please don't send me a bill, though, k?

***

Now back to my usual Friday-due-post self: you know, I did say I'd snap something, but I didn't. The cherry on the cake: now my partner is sick. And the baby, the water-bottle-bull's-eye-throwing baby? I had to pick him up early from daycare yesterday, because they were suspecting pinkeye. Pink-effing-eye! And yet, I'm still here. Unsnapped. What's holding me together? In the words of the wonderful M M-D (our resident English and Film Studies miracle worker), the end-of-term is within tasting distance! Yes, I still have to mark the papers; yes, I still have to write the final exams; yes, I still have to mark those.

However, in-between, I get to dream about how next term will be so much more exciting. I'm teaching a 200-level course for the first time! I've chosen some awesome novels I'm very excited about, and I get to legitimately discuss theory! THEORY! Legitimately! (excuse me for shouting, but I'm just THAT excited). I do, in fact, teach quite a bit of theory in my introductory courses, but it's always instrumental. And that's fine. I utilize theory in my research all the time. But this course will allow me to actually discuss theory in itself. Now that's something to look forward to. (and, by the way, while I'm aware it's not all fun and games teaching a new course, my realistic side is all taken up with kiddie sickness at the moment, so I'll just deal with the problematic issues this course will pose as they arise, rather than imagining them)

Finally, and probably most excitingly for me, I will revise, rethink, and reconceptualize my manuscript. I did it once, but I was too enamoured with it, and I didn't do enough. Now I've got some really substantive feedback, which helped me truly see the lacunas, and I'm ready to tackle it again. I've also got a very receptive editor who's willing not only re-read it at the end, but support me in the process. It's looking good, and it is thrilling.

And that's my lemonade! Want some?

2 comments:

  1. Oh no! Pink eye?! Your cherry metaphor is particularly apt, it seems.

    I have little to offer in terms of coping strategies, unfortunately. I also receive e-i-g-h-t-y papers or more in the coming week; and I, too, appreciate Liz's advice. I offer only solidarity for the work-related onslaught, and utter admiration for the parenting you must do on top of everything else.

    Oh, and if you have a second or two to yourself at any point, I recommend searching "shrimp on a treadmill Final Countdown" on youtube.

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  2. A-Dubs, thanks for the solidarity and for your generous words! I love your blog and am a regular visitor, if not commenter! Thanks for sharing the style. I'll definitely check out the youtube recommendation. Oh, and luckily, it turned out not to be pinkeye! Here's to a happy weekend for everyone!

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