Sunday, March 02, 2008

February: The Tough Month

It's been a while since I posted anything other than videos or quick blurbs about nothing. It isn't that I haven't had the time--hell, I've been working hard to find ways to put off working--but I haven't had the mental capacity to even consider what to write, let alone bother trying to compose my thoughts on a subject.

The truth is, February was a tough month. And the difficulty with February started way back in October. When we got to Norman I felt lucky to get work right away, but I still had to hold out for two and a half months before I'd get paid. We made it, even if it was stressful. Just part of living the glamorous adjunct life, I guess. But then around the middle of October I realized, "Rut-roh. That not-getting-paid thing is going to happen again at the end of January." Sure, this time I'd only go one month without pay, but could there be a worse time? Right after Christmas? Right after a planned drive to Minnesota (and all the costs that entails, even if others are entirely too generous with us). No pay going into February? The month with Valentine's Day? The month with Michele's birthday? Her first birthday ever spent out of reach of her family? A birthday that might be made easier for her if I can do something to make a big deal about it? An actual milestone birthday on top of that?

Needless to say, I've been a basket case for months (I heard that "your whole life" from the back . . .), and I considered staying behind in Oklahoma over winter break so I could find a job and just keep working--keep the difficulty to a minimum. For a number of reasons I decided that wasn't going to work out, so I made the trip and gritted my teeth for the coming depression.

And that's the funny thing about stress. Even though I knew I could make the situation more bearable by picking up a weekend job I didn't. I tried a few times, made some halfhearted stabs at some extra work, but in the end just sighed and resigned myself to a month of self-loathing.

And then one of my sections was cancelled (not enough enrolled), so I had a smaller paycheck to look forward to on the other end of February. That was nice.

Add into that strain a class that insists on challenging every announcement I make. Add to that a few job openings I needed to get myself together to apply to. Add to that my complete inability to write on any of my projects. And on top of that goes a further inability to even read productively. I was a mess. A mess of my own making.

But now it's March, and I've submitted my applications, and I see the end of this stack of grading easing over the horizon, and I got paid on Friday. So the tightness in my chest has loosened a little. I'm less likely to make a (misplaced) snarky comment to anyone (poor Michele--this was not a good month). Maybe now I can write, can spend some time thinking without my thoughts meandering off in negativity like a drunken butterfly headed for the pretty forest fire.

Maybe now I can blog. There's plenty to talk about. Even if my decision on Election Day will be a no-brainer (Obama's my first choice, but if Hillary wins the Dem nomination I have her ranked next --here's my list 1. Obama, 2. Clinton, 3. A loaf of bread, 4. Ralph Nader, . . . 389. The BTK killer, 390. Paris Hilton, 391. Carrot Top, 392. John McCain (or any other conservative)).

And it gets better: in two weeks my mom and Skiffy* and the Cat Whisperer** are driving down for a ten-day visit over Spring Break. The weather is beautiful (75 and sunny yesterday), and the trees are budding. I feel almost human. Almost.

* I need to find a better name for him. "Skiffy" was momentarily funny, but it isn't anymore and it doesn't exactly encapsulate who he is. I'm working on it.
** "The Cat Whisperer," however, stays. Because it's perfect.


Nik said...

Sorry to hear your February sucked. I think there must have been something in the water, because I can name off several people (myself included) that had stressful months, for various reasons (jobs, money, relationships, etc).

Hopefully your March will continue to improve.

Jason said...

It can't help but improve. Even if it's cold and rainy today.

Jim said...

I'm very familiar with the semester money trends. Just glad my job keeps a paycheck coming even between semesters.

Being a funded grad student has it's perks. Down side is that I actually have to do work.

Jerry said...

Hey, next time you feel snarky pick up the phone and abuse me for a bit. I myself could use a good venting most of the time lately. Hope shit gets better bro.