Friday, January 26, 2018

week is over

I have one class today, and it's a topic I've taught many times, so it requires relatively little stressing about - I can walk in and do it without too much prep.

I'm tired. Oh, I slept okay last night once I GOT to sleep. (It took some time - it felt like hours but probably wasn't more than 45 minutes) of me telling myself repeatedly that I was safe, I was in the safest possible place I could be (my bed), that what happened the previous night was an utter fluke and would never happen again, and that the guy in question was now cooling his heels in jail. But I still alerted on every single sound - a train going by on the tracks about a mile away, my hot water heater kicking on, the wind.

This afternoon's goal - since I don't have to stay up here and work - is to clean house. I need to clean the kitchen and dining room, and I need to pick stuff up in my bedroom (I had a couple places where I'd piled stuff - sweaters, books - the piles collapsed this morning and it's a giant distressing mess). And I also have to make a trip out to Lowe's for supplies to remove the blood from the back door.

I'll feel better with a clean house, where I'm not seeing the dust curls in the corner of the hall or the random assortment of canned goods left out on the kitchen counter.

I'm not going to Sherman. I'm going to try going to the (apparently-newly-refurbished: they started before Christmas break so I hope they're done) Pruett's and see if they've added anything, and failing finding all I need there, making a morning run to the Mart of Wal.

For one thing, I need to economize, and going to Sherman tempts me into running to the bookstore or the Ulta or somewhere. (I did mail order some things I needed....well, for some values of "need".... from them.) Because I got my garage door fixed, to the tune of $160. Yeah, I don't know either, except now I don't have to manually wrestle the door up and down if I want it open or closed. And the next expense now is going to be replacing the back fence that I never replaced - because I suspect that's how Scary Guy got into my yard. I want a  privacy fence instead of the chain-link. And I want a gate on it that I can lock from INSIDE the yard. I just have to find a fence company; so far no one has been able to recommend one to me they really liked and I so do not have the energy to hire some company that I have to call eight times to get them to come out or give me an estimate or something.

I don't know if it's me failing as an adult, or me having taken on too much stuff, but it just seems like so many things are so much HARDER than they need to be. Especially anything involving getting another person to do their job - I had to call three times to get the garage door company out, and at that, I had to wait around (I was quite convinced yesterday afternoon that the guy wasn't coming. And I wonder if I paid a premium because it was 5 pm when he showed up...)

And the whole blood-on-the-door thing: it's just another task, it's something I don't need, it's another thing requiring my attention and my energy. It feels so unnecessary.

I also have to find time to get my car in for an oil and filter change (difficulty level: mechanic doesn't do loaners and is on the other side of town so I can't just drop it and walk) but I have a little more time on that because I've not hit the mileage point yet where it's recommended I do that.

And, oh boo. I guess if I go shopping for food in town I need to do it this afternoon (ugh) because tomorrow is yet another Fun Run (womp womp) and lots of streets will be blocked off. (They forget that some people have lives where they have to be places on Saturday. And there aren't that many east-west routes in town.)

I have a couple research articles I could read but I am just unmotivated. I did a lot of little stuff this week, I had a lot of unpleasant interactions (not just the non-interaction of Scary Guy). The one that bothers me most, even though I probably shouldn't let myself be bothered by it, is the student who was upset over my reporting her as "excessive absences*" when, as she said, "I e-mailed you that I was out with the flu."

I sighed, and said I didn't receive the e-mails, that when I got an "I'm out sick" e-mail I would send a note back confirming. And then she said, "Yeah, I had this problem with e-mails not going through last semester."

Um, maybe you need to look into that? Or, you know, call and leave a message instead? Anyway, now she's angry with me for possibly jeopardizing her financial aid, but the way this thing is structured: we have to confirm ALL our attendance by the end of the second week or else lots of people's financial aid gets held up, plus we and our chair get nastygrams from the registrar....and so, working with incomplete information, I did the best I could. (Years back, before they got so strict? I was involved with helping catch someone who was defrauding financial aid: essentially taking the money and not going to class).

So anyway. It's just another way stuff like federal mandates makes more work for us and also leads to us expending more emotional energy. Because I find more and more, having to do things like smooth down those ruffled feathers (I told her to tell Financial Aid to call me if they continued to give problems) takes a LOT out of me.

There's a widely-criticized dysfunctional management strategy called "Responsibility without authority" which means an employee is supposed to do stuff but they have no power to bend rules or to tell offenders to shut it. And frankly, a lot of stuff that seems to happen in the modern incarnation of higher ed seems that way - maybe it's different if you're an admin, but as a prof it feels like I spend a lot of time doing what some office somewhere tells me to do, and then explaining to students/colleagues and soothing the hurt feelings over my having to do that.

Who soothes the soothers? (And now I'm wondering how one would parse that into Latin.)

(And yeah, I know, this is one of those "emotional labor" things but as someone who is deeply discombobulated by conflict and being surrounded by angry people, I wind up doing a lot of "soothing' as a self-defense strategy so I don't live in a world that feels chaotic.)

 What I really want is to come home to a clean house (without having to do it myself, but no, I don't have a choice) and be able to sit down and knit or sew without all the other things yelling for my attention.

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