Wednesday, March 29, 2017

bad night's sleep

Yeah, another one.

First, I stayed up "too late" (for me: 10 pm) waiting to see what was happening with the storms we were supposed to get. Then I got into bed and tossed and turned a lot, partly because I was concerned about whether I'd hear my little weather radio if it went off.

I should not have been concerned. It woke me up - or at least startled me, if I wasn't asleep - about five times during the night. (And the chirpy weather-person claimed "We only had two warnings in our area last night!" Uh-huh.)

I probably need to get a new one of those; I've been told the newer ones can be set to a greater level of sensitivity, so I won't be alerted for (say) flood warnings in Denton County, Texas. I'm not sure how that works or if it even does. (Yes, I know there are smartphone apps that do that sort of thing, but I'd be d....d before I'd sleep with a turned-on smartphone under my pillow.)

Also, I was kind of brooding. The news dropped last night that the rainy-day fund in my state has been "drained" to cover current bills. (I *think* the way it works is we can't do deficit spending as a state? So if there's no money, bills don't get paid? I don't know). We're in what's called a "revenue failure" - not enough sales taxes or income taxes or things like oil and gas revenues to cover our bills. I admit to being a little confused by all of this because I can only look at it from the perspective of an individual who has X dollars in take-home pay each month, and therefore I can spend N dollars, where N has to be less than or equal to X. (Well, not STRICTLY speaking: I have a savings account for if, for example, something breaks that would go over and above what I had left of X for that month). But: if it looks like X is going to be smaller, then N has to be smaller. So I start cutting.

And so that's immediately what I assume, and my mind immediately went to, "When do those of us at regional unis expect our pink slips?" I guess it's not that simple (And yes, the state probably has SOME obligation to us, but they can lay us off in "financial exigency," though an HR person also tells me I would qualify for unemployment during that time and....I don't know.) Because, to be honest? We're one of the less-necessary things in the state. It pains me to say that but it's true: if it comes down to paying for K-12 education, paying for corrections system, paying for higher ed, and one has to go - well, you can't let hardened criminals back out on the streets*, and you can't just tell schoolkids they're on their own....

(*Though there are some questions about our incarceration rates for "smaller" offenses, like certain nonviolent misdemeanors)

I guess this has happened before - I am told it happened in 2009 but I don't remember hearing about it, but then again, that may have been the year we had the uni president who did all kinds of fiddles and wasn't exactly *transparent* about things, so maybe I was less aware of the state of the finances.

Or, more likely, I hadn't been scarred by what happened last year: seeing someone who had been here longer than I had let go "not for cause" simply because she hadn't pushed to get the protection of tenure, having to take furlough days where I wasn't paid and technically wasn't supposed to work but my workload was not lightened any, and seeing dozens of people close to retirement jump ship, leaving the rest of us to scramble (and have to wait longer for things like paperwork processing, because those who remain are having to do three jobs instead of one).

Actually, 2016 scarred me (and scared me) in a lot of ways; I will probably look back on it and think of it as "the year when I really began to get old":
- the budget woes at work, which made me realize that yes, I could, in fact, lose my job for reasons in no way tied to my performance

- my dad's ER trip, which brought home in a far more tangible way than I'd let myself believe before that my parents are mortal and are closer to the end of their lives than I was previously letting myself believe

-my extended stomach issues, which led me to suspect, on different occasions and without any grounds: failing gallbladder, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, hiatal hernia, ulcer. (Well, I COULD have had a small ulcer that healed up on its own; I dragged my feet on getting endoscopy even though that would have answered the question because I'm afraid of general anesthesia). So I got it handed to me that *I'M* mortal and something will eventually take me out. (Though if I have my choice, I would like for it to be - many years in the future - something like a massive heart attack while out in the field, so I'm standing in front of St. Peter before I really realize what happened. (I am presuming that St. Peter would forgive one for saying either "Dangit!" or "D'Oh!" in that moment of realization).

My stomach is totally better now so I know it was none of the big scaries I was worried about (and anyway, I'd hope the blood testing I had done, both at the beginning of this process and then a couple weeks ago, would turn up anything really abnormal. I know when I went to the ER they took blood and the NP who saw me told me all my liver and pancreatic enzymes they could test for came back normal, so....

- Lots of friends with worrisome health issues. I once said I was less afraid of my own death than I was of being left here all alone. And I still kind of stand by that. (I am more afraid of the pain and worry that would lead up to death: for example, dealing with a cancer diagnosis where the outcome is something other than "Yeah, you have an 85% or better chance of a cure or remission"). And yes, I know, it's possible to make new friends....but that's hard and takes time and effort and I'd rather keep the ones I have now, thanks.

- Some small businesses I used here in town closing up for good; our little downtown is now more or less back to the pathetic state it was in when I moved down here in 1999. And I know these things are cyclical but I almost feel like I can't see things getting better.

So anyway. I did sleep SOME, I know because I remember having dreamt. (That is one of the sad things about being a periodic insomnia sufferer: when you get up in the morning, you try to scan your mind: do I remember having had a dream? Because if you remember dreaming, that means you at least slept SOME).

It was a very typical theme for me.

In the specific detail: I was somewhere, it turned out it was a building set up on the v. low hill that was out behind the house I grew up in. (We had a LARGE yard. The backyard in full was probably 75 yards by 50 yards....the hill was more than 50 yards from the house). I had to go and walk back to the house alone. (My mother was there, but she wasn't coming back with me). It was dark out. I mean DARK - like, new moon, no stars visible. Can't see five feet in front of your face. And then I realized, as I set out: hey, I'm going to be walking through the equivalent of an abandoned pasture. There might be holes I could step in and break an ankle. There might even be dangerous animals I could step on! I pulled out my keychain - I have a tiny LED flashlight on it, it's not very powerful but it's enough to navigate the hallways here when the power is out.

The flashlight, in my dream, wasn't working - so I had to set off, feeling my way through the tussocks of grass with my feet. Then I woke up.

But you know? That's a very, very common theme of dreams with me - I have to go somewhere, it's dark and I can't see, and the source of illumination I have has failed - another common dream is driving out on a dark highway where there are no streetlamps, and my headlights have gone out.

I am sure there is something about my psychological make-up (How often do I complain that I feel like I'm making it up as I go along?) in that.


Another thought: last night there was being promoted on the news a "Kid's Fest!"

And I asked myself: "Why isn't there ever an 'Adult's Fest'?"

And then I realized: there are. You just don't want to go to them.

"Adult's Fest" #1: workshops on life insurance and financial security, stuff that makes my eyes glaze over (and I don't need supplemental life insurance beyond what my employer provides: I have no dependents). So in other words: something I'd find boring

"Adult's Fest" #2:  those health-workshop things, where they do some basic screening tests and do things like give nutrition advice. Which I find kind of depressing, to be honest. (I know what good nutrition and sufficient exercise is, and I strive to get it, but I don't always succeed as perfectly as I might want to).

And, I suppose, for some values of "adult" you also could get the kind of "fest" featuring what used to be called "Hard R" videos (or even beyond) which would gross me out and embarrass me and in which I have no interest.

(Is it any WONDER the Millennials and their following generation seem not to want to grow up?)

I guess what I want is an Adult's Fest that features Kid's Fest type things but at which you don't have to bring a kid for cover (Most of the "family friendly" activities in my area, really should be called "families with children only" because a lone adult gets serious side-eye if they try to attend).

I dunno. Suffering from a deficit of fun right now, but when the nearest "fun" is a sizable drive away, it's hard to work it in to your life.

(I wish the quilt shop was still open. I wish there was a quilting group in town that didn't meet only while I was in class. I wish there was something fun for people who neither want to gamble nor fish)

1 comment:

purlewe said...

does the quilting group meet in the summer (asking b'c I know the local weaving guild does not) if they do, can you make plans to meet with them this summer while you have your summer off? Doesn't help with the NOW, but is a future thing you can pat yourself on the back for.