Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blue ramblings

It's 11:30 p.m.

The book index I'm compiling was due two days ago. I'm about 1/3 finished with it. I'm depressed about my slowness. I very much enjoyed reading the book, but indexing it is proving far more challenging than the other three books I've indexed. Why? Well, the book is about the intersection of concepts a, b, c, and d with groups of people w, x, y, and z. And it's very common for the author to write in a single paragraph about how concepts b and c affect groups w, x, y, and z. So then I need to index subcategories in b, c, w, x, y, and z. So whereas in other books I might average 2-4 index terms per page, this book has 10-12. I totally underestimated how much time it would take to complete this project, and I'm embarrassed about my tardiness and depressed about how this weekend, which was going to be dedicated to the dissertation, is now completely consumed by indexing. Eeeeeek!

I haven't been able to work much on the index tonight during the several hours I had set aside to work on it because Lucas is once again not sleeping well. He wants to be entertained, cuddled, fed. And I can't attempt the crying-it-out method because Mr. Trillwing is sleeping.

Because of the index and Luke's refusal to sleep more than an hour or so at a time, I'm two weeks behind on the dissertation. This frightens me a lot because my lecturer gig for the coming year is predicated on my finishing the Ph.D. We're already paying a babysitter to come in about 15 hours/week, but we can't afford any more hours of sitting, so my Luke-free time is limited.

Meanwhile, the apartment is a mess and getting pretty dingy, which is very stressful to me, but I don't have the time to give it a good purging and scrubbing.

(Please hold while I break down crying with Luke and pass him off to Mr. Trillwing. Mr. Trillwing offers to cuddle with Luke and then gives up to let him scream it out at midnight, neighbors be damned. [EDITED to clarify: This letting Luke cry is what *I* wanted to do. I'm not criticizing Mr. Trillwing, who felt a bit wounded by how I characterized his actions.])

On top of this, I'm having career angst.

In the midst of revising Chapter 2 of the diss in order to resubmit it as a journal article more pleasing to the journal reviewers, I was thinking, "Good God, is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? Or even for the next ten years?" And today, sitting in front of 15 summer-school students, at least 10 of whom hadn't done any of the reading for class, again I asked myself, "Why bother?" (And, I remind my bloggy readers once again, the university supposedly is only for the top 12.5% of students in California, so I'm already working with the best available.)

I wonder if I'd be better off in the museum field. The pay is low, but then again the entry-level salaries in academia are nothing to write home about, you know? And there are a couple of jobs for which I'd like to apply and for which I'm definitely qualified, but if I was offered them, I'd have to give up teaching this year, and we all have heard that time away from academia is a bad thing if one ever wants to go back into the ivory tower. Plus I'd piss off a lot of people in my teaching department who have been very good to me; I'd be leaving them in the lurch. So of course I can't do that.

Increasingly, the stay-at-home-parent option is attractive. But totally, totally unaffordable.

Freelancing (which means working from home) is also attractive, but in the past I've ended up with projects that I didn't really enjoy that much.

Plus, it's hot and that makes me cranky because I can't get out and take those nice, long relaxing walks I so very much need in the afternoon or evening. How hot is it? At 7:45 p.m., I checked and it was 102° (feels like 106°) in my lovely town. Right now it's 12:06 a.m. and 88 degrees. Saturday it's supposed to be 108, cooling down to 107 on Sunday. Yay. (As you might imagine, our electric bills have been a tad bit high, and I don't see any relief soon.)

So, to sum up:

- It's hot and I'm frustratingly sedentary.
- Dissertation is stalled because of index project.
- Summer class is going downhill fast because students have apparently lost will to learn.
- I haven't yet put together my new-to-me summer class that begins in a couple of weeks because I had hoped to finish my dissertation by now.
- I haven't yet begun serious research on another new-to-me class for the fall because I had hoped to finish my dissertation by now.
- Apartment is not an environment conducive to working.
- We can't afford childcare so that I can go work someplace else on my diss and course planning.
- Mr. Trillwing is unbelievably busy with work and can't seem to say no to additional work from his current employer because he's worried that would mean he'd they'd send him back to work in the office instead of working from home. Mr. Trillwing needs to work at home for many reasons, not the least of which is that he helps out with childcare when I'm teaching and sometimes when I'm dissertating.

All right. Mr. Trillwing is up and making Luke's formula for tomorrow and he's walked the leaky dog, two of my usual late-night responsibilities. I should be able to work now except that it's midnight and I'm tiring and Luke is still screaming bloody murder in the bedroom.

Anybody want to come over and have an all-night indexing party? Woohoo.


skookumchick said...

So sorry, Trillwing. :-( My mom says everything always seems worse at night (mainly because you're tired and it's dark outside, which makes things worse). Hopefully today is better. Also, I have a friend who, when students obviously haven't done the reading, has the courage to cancel her prepared class with a stern reminder about whose responsibility learning is. The idea is that the rest of class is used to *do* the reading. Yes, you "get behind," but they probably wouldn't have learned too much anyway having come unprepared, so it all comes out (more or less) even.

Good luck.... :-(

Ianqui said...

OK, I definitely feel for you. This does sound like you have a lot on your plate. But one thing that's probably true is that your job isn't *really* contingent on finishing the dissertation--I mean, if they don't hire you, who are they going to hire at this point? The worst case scenario is that your salary is a little lower than you'd expected, but I'd really be surprised to find out that they simple didn't give you the job.