Sunday, August 3, 2014

Long Dispatch from the Summer of Change

This is the summer of change.

First, a house update:  we bought a house!  I'm on the title and loan and everything.  It's crazy.  Two years ago, I couldn't qualify for a home loan.  I felt like they were wagging their fingers at me and saying yes, you can do the bills, maintaining Absurdist Partner's good credit rating, and work your ass off as a professor and do all the mom stuff on top of it, putting all your own needs and writing on the back burner, but still:  no house for you.  So this year it was amazing when I found out I qualified for a loan.  We did finally see a house that wasn't totally hopeless, though it had no fireplace, which is huge for us, and. . .get this. . .bought it.  It wasn't that easy, of course, and we were walking on eggshells every moment the underwriters were staring at our accounts (though the most amazing thing happened and my credit card limit got doubled, so that saved us), but finally we closed on it and everything.  We're homeowners!  AP and I look at each other and say this occasionally just to remind ourselves.  And we need reminding because we have not been able to move in yet.  When we closed two weeks ago, the word was that they would probably have more news in a week but we haven't heard one word.  Our agent is on the case, so it's not hir.  The sellers just haven't even gotten back to us  -- even to say they are not sure.  I mean, I'm sympathetic -- moving is tough and they are moving out of state and it's super-hard to arrange all that, having done it myself several times.  But picking up the phone and saying sorry but we don't know isn't that difficult.  Luckily it's unnecessary to like the previous owners of one's house.  I'll be smudging the place with a super-powered smudge stick to get rid of their mojo anyway -- they had some sayings on the wall that I find completely wrong-headed.

No matter:  we will eventually move in and the house and its land (two acres with a pond) will allow us to indulge our homesteading fantasies!  It's also small enough to keep us from getting too crazy.  We probably can't keep sheep, for example, which I was totally thinking about because I love to crochet (poorly).  (And I LOVE lamb, though I think I'd have a really difficult time killing any animal I'd raised, which is why we're really focusing on laying hens, super-gardening, and self-sufficiency issues like solar powering some of our power use.)  So coming soon on Absurdist Paradise:  adventures in homesteading!

All this just in time for Absurdist Child's transition from Montessori to homeschooling!  So expect more on that as well.  (Believe it or not, I got really into reading about homeschooling gifted kids and gathering resources and stuff last year, so I feel pretty prepared for this.  I'm excited about this adventure.)

So last week, I finally finished moving into my new office at work, complete with windows!  And I'd been listening to David Allen's Getting Things Done for two or three months already so instead of moving the way I usually do -- throw it in a box and deal with it later, an unspecified date that doesn't necessarily exist in this reality -- I was inspired to organize all the loose paper in my office into one alphabetized reference file.  So basically, excepting the usual piles of student papers and the file folders of individual classes I've taught (what can I tell you:  I love file folders), my office stuff is completely organized for the first time in five years.  It looks pretty nice (though it could use a rug and some nice wallhangings and a couple very long cords for routing cords along the wall rather than through the middle of the floor where someday I will klutz out and trip and fall and break my neck).   

Then, in the evenings after AC was asleep when I usually do a whole lot of nothing or watch the same movies over and over, I decided I wanted to organize all the papers at home, which had been accumulating into a pile.  It took me three nights, but I finally organized three years of bill stubs and random papers into a file folder box.  My organization level has reached insane proportions.  I think I have earned a proficiency in file folders.  (For the uninitiated into such geekdom:  that's a D&D joke.)

Oh, and I've been vegan for a week (and plan to continue) to detox my system because of health issues.  I had gotten to the point where I needed a couple chai lattes just to manage normal life and still felt awful -- and I'm sick of feeling awful.  I'm super pudgy now and uncomfortable in my body.  When I was in grad school, I did Marilu Henner's Body Victory, which is actually very health-oriented, and I went from pudgy to svelte.  I went vegan because I'm concerned about these chest pains (Tietze syndrome, but scary just the same), and I saw Forks over Knives and thought if there is any heart/circulatory issue (suggested by this terrible leg pain I'm having that could be neuropathy, but may also just be tarsel tunnel, which I had two years ago) I'd be best off giving up meat and dairy and most processed foods.  But this is not permanent, and I know it.  I will definitely eat Ben and Jerry's again, especially now that they've gone GMO-free.  For the first couple days, I felt awful, but then I got through that and now I just find it difficult to find things to eat considering that I live in let's-put-cheese-sauce-on-everything-and-get-fat midwest.  There are just few Cheesecake Factory kinds of places (yes, the cheesecake is verboten, but just one of their salads would make me so happy) here.  It's all cheese and meat and heaviness here food-wise.  I saw a wonderful organic place close up shop in the time I've been here.  There'll be even fewer food options when we move because we've moved to the country where the liquor store closes at 7.  On the other hand, we'll have the ability to grow our own fabulous salad -- and we'll be close to two organic farms as well.         

Finally, there's going up for tenure.  With all this other stuff going on, it feels a bit like another hoop instead of a momentous fraught event I should freak out for.  My materials are due soon, right when Absurdist Child's camp ends, so I'm highly motivated to get everything done early so I can have a little vacation of my own.  I really need it because I've been working so hard and would like to feel refreshed before classes start again.  I've been thinking and working on tenure things for six months, so right now it mostly feels like just putting things together.  I do need to write up some important stuff too, but I have a draft and some ideas still in my head.  Some of the things I'd wanted to do that are not required I've given up on.  There are a number of factors for my present feeling about tenure stuff:  with all this other stuff, it's just one more thing I need to get done; I kind of rocked the last year and everyone I talk to seems to think I'm a shoo-in; even I, who am afflicted with low self-esteem and a lifelong abhorrence of counting my chickens before they're hatched, sort of feel like they'd be idiotic to not award me tenure because then who'd they get to do all this crap; but finally I've been thinking a lot about writing and how I picked this career so I'd be able to write more but after five years I still haven't gotten the project done that I want to, so I wonder if I wouldn't be better off -- more fulfilled if less financially secure -- if I don't get tenure.  All this is keeping me from panicking, which is good, because I'm prone to panic.  (I'm not so crazy that I'm shooting myself in the foot though, not to worry.  Something in me loves hoops, loves the feedback, so unlike writing where the only feedback you get is cold businessy rejection letter.)  So tomorrow I embark on cranking out everything I can crank out with the hopes that in a week or two I will soon be able to hang out and watch TV until I'm sick of hanging out and want to get back to something real and important.  For now, I'm just tired.  AP is rocking the packing, and I am just sitting here writing.  How lovely.

Hope you're all having a lazy Sunday!

1 comment:

What Now? said...

Wow! A new house! A new office with windows! Such big changes -- many, many congratulations. I look forward to hearing about your forthcoming adventures.