MacBook. I spent the entire morning sitting around waiting for the FedEx man to bring me my magical delivery – my MacBook was on its way back from being repaired. I couldn’t believe how fast they had gotten it done. After warning me the repairs would take longer than 7 days, they were sending it back a mere 5 days later. Apparently, however, Apple saved time by not entering my apartment number into the address form, so there was a whole to-do with the FedEx people having to call me to find out where I live and then taking an extra two hours to bring me my dang package. The happy part, though, is that now I have my baby back and it is as good as new! Except better than new, actually, because when it was new it was empty and now it is (still) filled with all my precious, uncorrupted data. Two hundred ninety-four smackeroos.
H1N1. I spent the afternoon at the flu shot clinic waiting to be sprayed in the nostril with the live vaccine. Since I have never had a flu vaccine before (really!), they made me wait around for 10 minutes afterward to make sure that if I went into anaphylactic shock I would be near someone with an epi-pen. It was all very anti-climactic, luckily. And it was free.
Car Door. Remember that one time when it snowed here in New Wye and it was all pristine and glorious and beautiful (but, weirdly, not actually that cold)? And my car door froze shut and when I tried to open it I ripped the handle off? That was eleven months ago and I just today got it fixed. One hundred twenty-five smackeroos, my friends. It’s not good not to know your own strength.
Dog. The dog had to go get his yearly vaccinations today (it was Vaccine Day for the Vague Family). One hundred and thirty smackeroos there.
Another Dog. On the walk back home from the vet, little Eegs and I were followed by a big Alaskan husky-type dog. I think he wanted to play with Egon, but the little dude was having none of it. I noticed a leash dangling from the dog’s neck and I even thought I could hear someone in the distance yelling “Marty! Marrrrr-teeee!” [SIDEBAR: who names a dog “Marty”? Everyone knows proper dog names are, for example, “Egon.”] I decided to be a good neighbor, so I scooped up my dog under one arm and gathered up the big husky’s leash and started walking him around the neighborhood looking for his owner. Turned out to be a nice girl from the apartments next to mine, who was a bit teary-eyed and very grateful. I hate that I am such a softy for dogs, because her reaction on seeing her dog had me almost start crying! Sheesh! Glad I found her, though.
Car Again. When I picked up my car from the body shop, the man in charge informed me that my interior door handle was about to break off, too (funny, no snow storm involved there, just wear and tear) and he thought it could “go at any time,” so he had already ordered me a new one. How nice! Only twelve smackeroos for that repair, for some reason. Oh, and when I went to the grocery store later, sure enough the door handle broke off. Now I have to roll down the window and reach through to open the door from outside to let myself out of the car. Good thing I have power windows, which makes this so easy. You know, when the car is RUNNING. Jesus H.
Grading Papers. After finally being done with all this shite, I spent the remainder of the evening until 15 minutes ago grading freshman papers. Life is fine, I tell you.
Oh, but wait! Here’s a FUN ONE:
Mix CDs. YES, friends, MIX CDs ARE HAPPENING FOR 2009! I have yet to figure out what to put on it, but if you want a copy, get to emailing me! Even if I might already have your address, please send it to zemblangrammar at gmail dot com so I don’t have to sift through last year’s list to find it. More on this later!
P.S. Someone please stop me from saying “smackeroos.” What planet am I on tonight? Must be all the grading-necessitated caffeine.
Tomorrow is the last day with my special summer class – I can’t believe the four weeks have gone by so quickly. I’m in the midst of grading their final papers, and I keep catching myself thinking how fabulous they are both as individuals and as a group, as students and as people, and how I wish all of my classes were like them.
Either it’s the extra chunk of salary this class is putting in my bank account or these are just genuinely great kids, I don’t know. I do know that they have surprised me over and over again this term – mostly in good ways. There were a couple of unpleasant surprises, but I can’t expect any class (not even this class) to be perfect (not even when they’re this close).
They’ve brought energy and enthusiasm to the classroom every single day, even at the godforsaken hour of 8:00 in the morning. Not one single time have they failed to chorus happily “GOOD MORNING DR. VAGUE” when I come in the door. The excitement in the room is palpable, bringing me back to how I felt the summer before my freshman year of college, when the world was still undefined, waiting to unfold and lay itself out in front of me like an unfinished map. Their writing has been miles away from the remedial level I’d been led to expect – they’ve written with heart, humor, consideration, trust, bravery, and mostly good grammar.
They’re registering for fall classes right now, and by the time I see them in my classroom again (assuming I will), they’ll be managing several other courses, activities, student groups, new roommates and relationships, dorm cafeteria food, and all the other distractions of freshman year. Will they retain their cheerful good humor or will they become part of the disgruntled mass of tired and distracted students who “just don’t see the point” of a required literature sequence? Please, please don’t let it be the latter. I just couldn’t stand it.
In lieu of an actually thoughtful post on any of these subjects, here is a list of discoveries I have recently made:
- Everything tastes better with spinach (not, in fact, bacon, as others have argued).
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep and exercising regularly makes me into a much, much happier person and makes the world into a much, much more reasonable place to live.
- I am not compatible with the weather in my part of the country at all, and should devote as much energy as possible to finding a job somewhere that is else.
- My students can inspire me in completely unexpected ways, just when I really need them to.
- Finally, on a more pedestrian level, there is a paper towel roll holder in my kitchen — the kitchen in the apartment where I have been living for two years! — that I only last week discovered.
Tell me, have you learned anything new lately?
At this point, the first summer course I’m teaching is halfway over and the next one starts in just over a week. Just like I knew it would, the summer is flying by.
This is a good thing, though: my days are easily filled by teaching, class prep, trips to the gym, and an unusually early bedtime. Seriously, on that last point: I’ve been getting in bed by 10:30 almost every night. (Usually, left to my own devices, I wouldn’t fall asleep before 4:00 AM.) It has not been easy convincing the dog of the necessity to turn in this early, but otherwise I’ve been shocked with my own ability to adapt to the less-than-ideal schedule necessitated by teaching an 8:00 class.
In related news, I have so far been doing all this ass-busting work without yet seeing a dime of my pay. That’s right, I’ve been getting up at 6:00 AM every single weekday and teaching class and spending my weekends grading papers for absolutely no money. Thanks to the general incompetence and miscommunication among various administrative entities, my paycheck didn’t show up when it was supposed to, and it was looking like my pay distribution for the rest of the summer was going to be all weird and inadequate, too. Since I whined and begged, they finally decided to pay me all in one lump sum for that course, which will improve my life dramatically. Err, except for these next two weeks, during which time I will have no funds for anything other than keeping myself, the dog, and the cat stocked up on our respective kibbles.
When I finally do get paid, I think I am going to buy myself a bike. I gave away my old one when I left Zembla, and after two years here in New Wye I think it’s finally time to replace it. After reading this post over at Bodies in Motivation, I’m feeling inspired to buy one that’s a notch up from the cheapies available at Target or Walmart – but obviously I can’t afford anything too extravagant. I’ll have to do some careful comparison shopping. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of an outdoor sport I can actually participate in here in New Wye. The wind whipping through my hair as I float down the streets will surely have to mitigate the disgusting, dehumanizing, soul-sucking heat and humidity, won’t it? Won’t it? Say that it will.