Friday, October 07, 2016

On the fence

So, I don't know.

I discovered that the seed order on my grant? Was messed up. Waaaaaay too much of one species, none of two. I am pretty sure the mess-up originated with the person doing the ordering (not me, and not the seed company). I just went ahead and did an expedited-shipping (well, not TOO expedited: I am paying twice what the seeds cost me in shipping and I couldn't stomach paying four times that amount) of the missing seeds on my own dime. (This is just how it is. Yes, it's unfair. But "pay to do your job" is the rule now in education)

So: I could plant the three species (of five) I have this afternoon, and do the rest Monday or maybe Tuesday (UPS claims the seeds will arrive Monday, though it might be late in the day).

The good with this: I get a chunk of the work taken care off at a time when I am marginally more free to do it. The slow-germinating species get a couple extra days.

The bad: I will perhaps have to explain in an eventual publication the difference as to dates. That's probably minor.

I need to leave some time open next week because - surprise - I am being asked to fill the pulpit again. This is the case when your church can only afford a "part time" minister; sometimes his full-time job conflicts. I have NO IDEA what I am going to talk about and the lectionary scriptures for that day either don't move me or seem like they couldn't be expanded into a 20 minute talk. AND I have a talk on Oklahoma Prairies to prepare for our wildlife club.

I got to thinking about that last night and couldn't sleep. I kept telling myself, "It will get done somehow, it always gets done" but this is one of those weeks where I feel totally used up and I just want to sit down and cry a little because I'm so tired. And I also am again feeling maybe I need to have a GIANT BLOWOUT SALE of almost all my yarn and fabric because I'm not using ANY of it. (Seriously: I have socks I started in JULY that I haven't finished).

When I die, my brother or whoever winds up dealing with my crap is going to be very unhappy with me for having so much stuff they have to dispose of.

Also some possibly bad news on the "future university funding" front, and on the "what's happening to higher ed" front, so that makes me feel even MORE used up and tired and sad and just needing of either a hug or a roomfull of kittens to play in or something.

I know I need a day off, which is why I'm trying to juggle my schedule SOMEHOW to open up Saturday. For one thing, I want to grocery shop somewhere better than the Wal-mart and that means booking an hour and a half for travel time ALONE because of the stupid road construction necessitating use of a detour.

Life is not so good right now. I guess I got a lot done this week but I'm kind of exhausted and I've let life-maintenance stuff slide, and now I have to catch up on that. (I really, really, really need someone like Fritz Brenner to do my marketing and cooking, and a charwoman to do my laundry and housecleaning, and a Jeeves to arrange to make sure all my bills are paid on time and also that I'm not forgetting anything major. I find it very hard sometimes to be a single live-alone in this world; everything is on me)

I also give an exam today and so have to find time to grade that. And for the week AFTER next, make up another never ends.

Part of it is that we have one tenure and two promotion committees to deal with - which on the one hand is good, because that means people are progressing, but on the other, isn't, because there are JUST enough "senior" faculty (relative to the ones facing promotion) to make a committee without an external, and so I am on ALL committees.....we have a meeting today and it should be short (the person is excellent and absolutely deserves promotion) but still, it's time.

Also, there's just lots of STUFF. I have so many people out sick. (Reminding myself here: you have to go get a flu shot ASAP. You don't want to get sick) and with other life emergencies (at least 50% of our students have kids, and those kids can get sick or have problems at school, etc.) and all the juggling make-up tests and the like. Perhaps I am "too nice" but I'd hope if I had a life emergency someone would cut me a little slack (like letting me take a test a day late because I was in the ER with my kid....and yes, my students bring the paperwork as proof, so I know they're not lying).

And I have several intro students coming in for extra tutoring, which takes time and energy.

There was an article on burnout in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and while I don't think I'm there yet (I still care too much about teaching and about helping students), still, I think there is a point where the acceleration of what we need to do is going to break me. A pull quote:

"A key dislocation for academics: We train as researchers but spend our days managing the emotions of late adolescents, haggling over budgets, and figuring out how to use Moodle’s gradebook."

While I would argue I was more trained as an *educator* (and that was my long-game all along: I like research but not sufficiently well, and I am not sufficiently good at it, to make it what my paycheck is dependent upon), still, yes: the emotions thing is hard for me. (And it's not always (chronologically speaking) late adolescents whose emotions are difficult for me; more commonly it's other technically-adult people). And the whole fighting with online "tools" alleged to make our lives easier but that simply make a way to get bigger paychecks for those who are highly-placed in textbook companies. And the constant worry about "will I even have a job that pays the bills in another couple years."

But I feel very worn out after this week. And it's becoming increasingly hard to fix that.

I miss knitting and quilting and reading more than a couple pages in a book before I'm too tired and just have to go to bed. But the thing is - with teaching four classes (not technically an overload, not enough to get paid extra, but still, lots of extra work, especially with two intro sections), I don't see it getting any better, nor do I see it getting better with the model of "more work done by fewer people" that seems to have been foisted on us by all the retirements.

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