Archive for the ‘Whining’ Category

It all began with an attempt to respond to about a thousand emails in an expeditious fashion.

You see, I’ve been trying really hard not to do email on the weekends.  Because, you know, the whole trying to have a meaningful personal life thing.  (By the by, I met The Dude’s parents, and it was very nice indeed, and so that particular bridge is now crossed.  That’s all I’m going to say about that, as I’m still processing, and as I have other things that are in the forefront of the analysis-prone part of my brain, so I’m not processing quickly.  Suffice it to say, it’s all good for the moment.)

And then, because I was trying to respond to email expeditiously, I committed, totally accidentally, the one true sin of email: I hit “reply all” when I meant just to hit “reply.”

Now, you might be thinking, did Crazy write something outrageous?  Did she insult somebody thinking the email conversation was private?  Did she go off on a crazy rant?  Did she tell a secret, or pass along gossip?

Nope.  All I did was accidentally hit “reply all” when I wrote back to my chair, nominating myself for Important Committee.  See, the members of the Important Committee are elected – except for the chair of that committee.  The chair of the committee rotates alphabetically, and I’m due to be chair of it in a couple of years.  But I thought to myself, “Self, it might be good if you got yourself elected so that maybe you would have some experience on Important Committee before you are the chair of it.”  And when I wrote this fateful email, I wrote just that: “I nominate myself because I think it would be good if I’ve served on the committee before I chair it.”

I intended nothing passive-aggressive, and I said nothing outrageous.  I just explained why I was nominating myself – with no ulterior motive other than that I feel like when you run for something you offer an explanation for why you’re running.  And I thought that I was just replying to my chair.

Little did I know that this innocuous email, which yes, went to everybody in the department but said basically nothing, would light a spark that would turn into a full-on three-alarm fire.

Approximately 875 emails later (some to the department as a whole, some directly to me personally, some secretly forwarded correspondence, some BCC’ed), I do believe that it now looks like *I* am the person who has turned this into a Thing, and that I did so on purpose for some nefarious reason.  (Remember: just last April a group of my colleagues decided they needed to get together to start a secret “group” – don’t call them a committee!  they aren’t a committee! Even if they are doing things committees do and the department administration gave them the go-ahead to do these things! – to wrest all of the gobs of power I have from my fascist hands… even though I’d already quit the [incredibly time-consuming and mostly unrewarding] service position that made me their target.)

On the whole, I’m fairly philosophical about this situation.  First, I am not the person (people) who has pressed this into a Full-On Thing, and I had no intention for it to become a Full-On Thing.  And I am confident it will blow over, as all Crazy Things That Happen in April, the Cruelest Month in Higher Education, ultimately do.  (Seriously: So. Much. Bullshit. comes to pass in April.  I can’t think of a single April in the past 9 years in which something fucked up has not come to pass in my department.)

But I am annoyed by the fact that I appear to have started it.  (I mean, I kind of did start it, but without any knowledge that I was starting it!  I don’t deserve the blame!  Yes, my email was the first shot, but it was friendly fire!  It wasn’t on purpose!)  And I am annoyed that subsequent emails to the whole department (from my chair) seem to insinuate that this is My Issue, when it’s not really, even though the people who have turned this into An Issue are totally right! 

Here’s the thing: doesn’t everybody realize that I am doing everything in my power to be affable and to check the fuck out?  That I am not interested in the political maneuvering for power within my department?  That I just don’t care about that right now?  And, in fact, I never really have?  I mean, sure, I like to accomplish things, but I don’t care about being in power!  Caring about that seems stupid to me!  Maybe I need to announce to the department at the beginning of our meeting in 10 days’ time that I am too busy being in love to start shit about the department handbook on purpose?  (My department would probably burst into a round of fucking applause if I did, but no, I’m not doing that, in spite of the advantages that it would afford me.)

I’m also annoyed, conversely, by the fact that I’m sure if I’d intended to start something, people probably would have just blown it off.

But, so, whatever. Let this be a lesson to us all.  Be vigilant about the “reply all” thing.  It’s a motherfucker.



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It occurs to me that when I planned my courses for this semester I wasn’t entirely in my right mind.  I would like to blame The Dude for this, but, really, it’s not (entirely) his fault.  If anything, part of my problems right now are that I had decided that I was going to check out of the dating scene until summer, and that was when I decided what books I would make my students buy for the four separate preps that I teach.  Frankly, if I were not dating, I would have a lot more time for reading.  As it is, I am under a lot of Reading Pressure.  Like, imagine reading for comps while also doing all the duties of a tenured professor.  This is my situation.  I do at least partially blame that Phil Collins guy I went out with before I went out with The Dude, because if that date weren’t so horrible, I might not have made these silly choices.  But who am I kidding?  The Blame rests with Me.  Sigh.

That said, part of how I designed my courses does have to do with the fact that I constructed them during the initial Lovesick Phase with The Dude, where I felt like Anything Was Possible.  Now that we have settled into this Thing of ours, it occurs to me that Anything is not, in fact, possible, and reading takes a fuck of a lot of time and energy.  Ah well.  I shall soldier on.  Only 10 more weeks of the regular semester to go.

But this week is especially rough.  I gave a test today (although, huzzah, those tests are already graded because of the stroke of genius I had (in spite of my Lovesickness) that I should design a 1-hour test and screen a movie afterwards), three batches of papers to arrive tomorrow.  One of those batches of papers I need to do some assessment-related stuff with, too, which reminds me that I need to design a release-form for students before I collect them (the next time I teach the course there will be IRB approval, but for now, I just need to make sure they are ok with me collecting the assignments with names taken off for a thing related to a grant; also, I need to design an assessment rubric for how some other non-important assignments relate to this assignment; active learning turns out to be a pain in my ass, at least for the purposes of fulfilling the terms of the grant). Plus we’ve got a not-pre-scheduled department meeting tomorrow (related to a Very Important Topic, so I’m not comfortable missing it, even though I don’t plan on saying a word), plus I’m giving a talk tomorrow evening.  Plus I’ve got 14 individual student conferences scheduled for Thursday (though to be fair, they are only 10 minutes a piece), plus I’m finishing up a novel in one class and starting a new novel in another.  And I’ve got two other appointments scheduled for Thursday, too, plus I’ve got an MA thesis to read and respond to.  Plus it’s motherfucking Valentine’s Day this week (though, thank goodness, The Dude was totally amenable to making Valentine’s Day for us happen on Friday, though it’s also the case that I’m cooking, which means the need to go grocery shopping and to chef up a delicious meal (though, to be fair, the level of difficulty of that meal is totally my decision, for he would be happy with something much easier than what I have planned). That said, though, by the time that Friday arrives, I might be a zombie.

I don’t know why I do this to myself.  There is no reason why I should think that I can do All The Things at the same time, or that I should do All The Things at the same time.  But I think that maybe this is just who I am.  S0.

Ok, enough complaining and whining, though.

You know what’s great about The Dude?

  1. He has been totally cool about the fact that I’m busy and overwhelmed and, following that, blowing him off a little (although, of course, that initially made me freak out on him, though it turns out that his coolness does not mean that he’s a jerk but rather that he is supportive and I am ungenerously suspicious).
  2. He is not a guy who thinks flowers are an appropriate present for a holiday (for, as he and I both agree, they DIE, but I also don’t love flowers because of a whole sordid story from my parents’ divorce in which my mother, after she’d kicked my dad out, received the bill for the flowers that my father purchased for her, AS WELL AS THE ONES THAT HE PURCHASED FOR THE HOME-WRECKER WHO WOULD BECOME MY STEPMOTHER, for their closely spaced birthdays, so I tend to see flowers as insincere and fucked up, as such things go, though I didn’t get into all of that with The Dude when he announced I would be getting two fun presents, as opposed to flowers, but rather I just enthusiastically agreed that he was entirely right in his antipathy to flowers as anything but a spontaneous occasional offering for a non-gift-giving time).
  3. EVEN The Man-Kitty has accepted him.  For true.  It all started when The Dude somehow convinced The Man-Kitty to PLAY like 3 weeks ago (which The Man-Kitty does with no one, not even with me most of the time), and this weekend The Man-Kitty ran up to him for petting when he arrived PLUS when we were hanging out The Man-Kitty totally rolled onto his back, baring his furry, furry belly,  in a snoring sleep In The Same Room with The Dude.  This is UNPRECEDENTED.  The Man-Kitty does not make himself vulnerable in this way when Visitors are in the vicinity.  EVER.  (The Man-Kitty’s usual M.O. is to entice people with his fluffy self, while glaring at them and planning their deaths, and then when they try to pet him, he bops them on the hand, which, let’s note, he did with The Dude for a good couple of months.  But now, apparently, he has decided that The Dude is One of His People.  Also, let’s note that he only has three people: me, G. my stepdad, and FL.  And there’s no rhyme or reason to his appreciation of G and FL, given the fact that he only sees them on random visits and he apparently took to them on sight.)

So, sure, there is still the Problem of The Dude’s Old Dog, Little Mama (I love her, and she loves me, but he is entirely unreasonable about her, I think even more so now that it is clear that she loves me), and sure, there is still the Problem of My Relationship-Phobia, but all is well with The Dude, in spite of the fact that it is really interfering with the many hours that I appear to need this semester for reading.

On that note, I need to sleep, because dude, I’ve got a motherfucker of a week ahead of me.  (And let’s not even talk about the writing I should be doing but have no time or energy to do, because if we talk about that, I might cry.)

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So, I had all these plans about what would happen during this break, and some of those plans have happened, and others of them, well, they have not.  I was thrown a curve-ball by a nasty cold involving (this is gross, just skip to the next paragraph if you are a delicate flower) a great deal of mucus.  Gross.  And inconvenient.

I am a little concerned about the way that writing has fallen by the wayside, but it’s really hard to write when you’ve got a head-cold.  Because, you know, writing involves needing your head to be in the right place.  (You might want to note at this point that what I’m doing – in between blowing my nose and whining – right at this very moment is writing. But this isn’t real writing, in the sense of needing to think terribly hard.  It’s just one long complaint.  It seems that is all I can manage with a head-cold.)

So, while I’ve not been writing, I have been doing some other things that are worthwhile.  I’ve gotten the letters of reference that I owed to students done, I’ve finished two books – the David Foster Wallace biography (not terribly illuminating, but I did enjoy reading about his friendship with Jonathan Franzen) and Gone Girl (FUN FUN FUN!!!!) – and I’m nearly done rereading and annotating The Marriage Plot, which I’ll be teaching for the first time this spring.

I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about the shape of the book, and about how the whole thing works as a complete document, as opposed to thinking just about the parts of the book, and this is work that I’ve needed to do, and frankly it’s not work that is easy to do when you don’t have a big block of unstructured time.  And so I’m trying to be kind to myself about the lack of words getting written, because I can definitely write words during the academic semester, but I can’t really do the kind of deep and wandering thinking that I’ve been doing (while in an over-the-counter-drug haze) when I’m also doing teaching and all the other day-to-day commitments of the semester.

And I also need to be grateful for the fact that I am not at MLA (even though I’m jealous of everybody who is at MLA) this year, because having all this time is a direct consequence of the fact that I’m not there.  And also: how much would it suck to have this cold and to do MLA at the same time?  Totally.

Another thing I’ve accomplished this week is that I made tons of appointments – doctors, dentist, vet, car.  By the by: it seems this is a great time of year to make such appointments, as I’ve been able to get all of these scheduled for within the next two weeks, which I feel like is wonderful.  Something I really hate is making appointments.  I also hate having to go to them, but it’s the making of them that is really my biggest problem.

So, the plan for today is that I’m going to try to buckle down and do a good deal of writing, work out (as I am feeling a bit better and I can at least go for a walk or something), continue to rest up and take care of my evil cold, and do some laundry and stuff around the house.  Will I be able to do all of those things?  We shall see.  I feel hopeful, given that I did wake up at 5:30 this morning with energy and have already accomplished more today than I’ve accomplished in the past two days.

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I can’t believe that it’s only Wednesday.  I can’t believe all of the grading I have, all of the meetings with students, all of the committee work, the prep….

I know that you’re all feeling it, too.  This point in the semester is just… well, it’s brutal.

I probably should be reading or grading right now, but as I look ahead to the nine hours that I’ll spend on campus today, well, I just can’t get it up to work another two hours at home first.  And if I’m not going to do that I should cook for my committee meeting tomorrow.  I promised them food – it’s our last committee meeting of the semester and it promises to be a long one.  I wish I were meaner.

In other news, the downside of being an approachable professor is that you are an approachable professor, you know?  That said, I’d rather be the sort of professor who has students in and out of her office all day than be the sort of professor who doesn’t, and so with that comes some conversations you’d rather not have and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of face time and attention that you have to give to other human beings.  Honestly, I do not know how introverted people survive this career.  Even as an extravert, I am utterly and totally exhausted by the people.

And I can’t fathom that I have to do this all over again next semester.


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RBOC: End of the Week Edition

I don’t have it in me to write a coherent post, so here are all the things:

  •  As of this week, I’m back in touch with the older of my two brothers.  It is very, very good.  What is not good is that he just got in a car accident and his front teeth were knocked out!  NOT GOOD!  But he’s ok, which thank goodness!
  • While doing mandatory conferences to give back papers, which I did with my freshmen this week, is grueling, and don’t let me or anybody else tell you that it isn’t, the awesome thing about it is that all of those papers, which I got on Tuesday, are already graded and recorded and returned (well, returned to all except the three who missed their conferences).
  • I still have another full class of papers that I’ve got to grade, and I must get those done tomorrow, for I get another batch of papers from another class on Tuesday.  Ah, the semester.  It crushes my spirit.
  • In the midst of all this, committee work.  The less said about that the better.
  • Oh, and did I note that my NEH summer stipend app is coming due?  And that the deadline for a summer fellowship from my institution is due just after that?  Um, yeah.
  • ADNWG check-in is tomorrow.  No, I haven’t written a lick since last Friday.  Once again, I shall be writing my week’s worth on the day of the check-in.  Sigh.  That said, maybe this is a good thing, as I do feel “committed” to getting my 3 pages done in order to check in, whereas if I didn’t have the check-in responsibility, well, I would just not write this week.
  • I have it in my head that I’m painting my bathroom this weekend.  I’m beginning to think that perhaps I am taking on too much with that, but I really want to paint my bathroom.  And next weekend probably isn’t good either…. Le sigh.
  • I also have dinner plans with some virtual friends by association (people who went to grad school with BFF, who is currently off being glamorous in Washington, D. C.) who’ve moved to town.
  • Oh, and I decided this week was the week to get back on the plan with the Year of Dating (inspired in large part by my aunties and uncles at the wedding this weekend noting that they hope I’ll “be next”).  On the plus side, I slapped a pic of me taken at the wedding up on my internet dating profile and interest was immediately generated.  That’s nice for the ego.  On the minus side, I don’t have time for this shit.

I guess that’s everything, although it doesn’t seem like much when translated into bullets.  But I am t-i-r-e-d.  Exhausted, really.  Oh, and I probably need to do laundry, since I’ve not done laundry in weeks.  Thank goodness I have a large stockpile of underwear, or I’d be in dire straits.


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Slow Moving

It is so wrong that I’ve been up for about an hour and it’s only just 6 AM.  I’ve been drinking coffee, but it’s not making much of a difference, which is a problem as I really need to grade my ass off between now and teaching.  And figure out where my copy of a text with my notes is for my one class, and do some prep for my other class.  Sigh.

The only thing that is getting me through is the fact that I’m showing a movie in one class this week.

Only 3 more weeks until finals and then the semester is over.  Yes, I am counting the days.

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