Friday, February 01, 2008

Long Days and the Things that Help Us Sustain Them

Willow is away at AWP this week, milling about book tables, hanging around sessions on contemporary fairy tales, short story collections, slipstream fiction, etc, and generally taking in the things that NYC has that BRU doesn't.

Since I'm typically the one who leaves town for conferences, I was eager to send Willow off on such an adventure while I kept the home fires, well, from having huge temper tantrums or wasting away from hunger. I didn't have a sense, when we scheduled all of this though, what yesterday would look like. Not only did I have to work around a grad class, but we had a candidate from the search committee I'm on come to campus, while some extended family crises linger in the background. Not to mention that little last minute VHS conversion issue that cropped up. so yesterday looked like this.

5:30--Imperia crawls into bed with me, saying that since Mommy is gone, she could come in and snuggle. Cute. But early.
5:35--Imperia decides she's not really interested in sleeping, but continues to lie quietly, if not still, for another 45 minutes. Daddy is not sleeping.
6:30--Imperia wants to watch some TV, so Winnie-the-Pooh goes on for about 20 minutes while Daddy showers and dresses.
7:00-8:20--Packing for the day, getting Rambunctious up, getting the kids fed and out the door. I am so glad I am not a single parent of twins. Those people are saints, and if you happen to know one, call her up and offer to help.
8:45--drop kids off at day care. hugs and kisses
9:00--Arrive at school, call Classroom Technology, and three local stores to locate a blank VHS tape for sale. Run around from bookstore to coffeeshop (sweet elixir!) to ClassTech back to office.
10-11:30--Read Course evluations from last semester. Prep for Survey class and grad class. Also write some blog posts (who had time for that?). Photocopy some stuff.
11:30-12:40--Candidate interviews with committee.
12:40-12:50--heat and eat lunch. Burn tongue.
1-2:15--Teach kick ass survey class on the sublime and the picturesque, featuring powerpoint involving 18th and early 19th c paintings by Constable, Gainsborough and Friedrich to illustrate the sense of the concepts, while helping them parse out Gilpin, Burke and Kant. Students agree that Immanuel Kant was a real piss-ant, while also getting that the mind that Kant's sublime works in is the rational mind, while simultaneously understanding that Blake and (eventually) Shelley think of it as the imaginative mind. Happy with class, though we didn't get to Shelley.
2:20-2:40: Return to office, drop stuff, gather stuff , reread Judith Butler article in 15 minutes (which tells you either how familiar I am with it, or how shoddily I was prepping).
2:40: Run to ClassTech to pick up converted VHS (Thanks guys!), run to car across campus
3-3-45: Pick up kids, take them to friends house who are sitting for them. Feed kids carrots. Hug and kiss kids. return to campus.
4-7: Grad class. Goes well, though since the class of 12 has 4 Lit track, 4 creative track, and 4 professional writing track, they are chafing against the heavy dose of theory early on. Some of those specializing in creative non-fiction wonder (usefully, I think) about what the performativity of autobiography means to their craft. I swear it'll get better soon.
7:25 Pick up kids from friends' house. Apparently, they've been good. sigh of relief. Sure do love them kids. Drive them home. Imperia dozes off in the car (no wonder!)
7:50-8:53--Snack, bath, bedtime
8:56--Dad calls to talk about Mom's health and his business dilemmas. I eat dinner while on the phone with him.
10:00--Willow beeps in (on schedule, thank god), and I tell her I'll call her back as soon as I'm done with my Dad.
10:08--Call willow back, talk until midnight.
12:36--juice cups prepped for morning, cats fed, rest of house a disaster, I crash.

What helped me sustain that? A little sunshine, a job I love, great students, great kids, great friends, and Willow. I'm lucky.


Sisyphus said...

Whew! I hope that today is a little less packed.

Dr. Virago said...

Students agree that Immanuel Kant was a real piss-ant

Te-hee! I love The Philosopher's Drinking Song!

neophyte said...

You know, Horace, I have this creeping suspicion.

I suspect that you are a Good Person.

I then read this post, nodding along sympathetically.

Then I read this: "10:08--Call willow back, talk until midnight."

Horace? I think you just might be a Good Person.

(Also: Philosopher's Drinking Song? Do, please do, enlighten me.)