Life Conspiring

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This just isn't my week. I was planning to have graded the second paper for my classes by Monday. That would give them two weeks or so to write their third paper after having received their second one back. Well, life conspired to prevent that, including double-checking, organizing, and mailing our tax returns, doing some serious lecture prep for material I've never taught before, and dealing with my late discovery that the bookstore never ordered the book I've been assigneing to my students to read for a few weeks now.

So I decided I could at least get them done this week. Well, three days in a row I got to the point where I had pulled out a paper and started grading it, and I just couldn't bring myself to get through more than a few pages. It wasn't that the papers were bad or that I had no motivation to grade. It was that I could barely lift my head up. The time change helped temporarily with sleep, since the kids were getting up later, but we also have been staying up later, sometimes a few days in a row well past midnight (in the normal course of things we're often in bed with the light out before 11:00, which is required if we're to get 8 hours). Add to that the 3-4 times a night Isaiah was waking us up for a few days earlier in the week. By afternoon, when I would usually be able to sit down to grade, I was just so exhausted I couldn't get through more than a couple pages.

Once I decided to blog instead, but I wasn't thinking clearly enough for it to have been worth it. Twice when Sam hasn't been able to watch the kids, which means I can't nap, I've been able to do some reorganizing of my books in my office, which has long been something I've wanted to do. That's easy enough to do while watching the kids if they're upstairs. Grading is impossible when kids keep causing interruptions, because I go back to the paper and have forgotten what I was just reading and planning to comment about. On two other days when I've been home and free to do so, I was able to nap. One of those nights I then couldn't get to sleep until 2am, even though I felt tired. Then I was tired again the next day.

Then today comes along, and Sam insists that I go renew my license and do my eye test even though I have three weeks left to do so (just to be on the safe side, I suppose). When I get home, I give the kids a bath while she makes dinner and then take them downstairs again to eat. Then Sam goes out for a few hours, leaving me with the kids again by myself, figuring they'll only be up less than an hour more, and then I can take a badly needed shower and get some grading done while I await her return.

As I'm getting ready to put them to bed, I discover that Ethan stinks up a storm, so I put Isaiah to bed and then retrieve Ethan to change him. When I pick him up, he seems not to have a diaper where there should be one, and sure enough it's halfway down his legs. You can imagine the rest. There were puddles in a few places, and his one clean sleeping outfit was now soiled in the worst way. I put him in the shower while trying to find him something else to wear, settling finally on the dirty pajamas he's worn for a few days now. As he enjoyed the water coming down (but refusing to get under it) and saying "it's raining", I rinsed out the dirty pajamas and brought them down to the basement to run them through the washing machine, which happened to have clean but wet clothes in it, and I happened not to have clean hands to remove it, so I needed to do some careful pinky action to remove the goods.

Eventually I got back up to Ethan, washed him all over with soap, and played some games with him to get him under the water to rinse. Then I put the dirty pajamas on him and put him to bed while I tried to clean everything up, thinking I could now take my shower. Upon traveling downstairs, I discovered that it was almost time for the Iron Chef America show Sam wanted me to tape, and I hadn't set it up yet. So I took care of that just in time for the phone to ring with my setup team leader from church to call me to remind me it's our team's turn tomorrow (we meet in a school gym, and we have six teams that alternate setting up the carpets, chairs, sound system, etc.). When I got off the phone with him, I set out again to get my shower, and I managed to get my beard all trimmed right in time to hear Sam banging on the door. I'd failed even to get my shower in, never mind any grading.

This is all on top of the fact that I tripped on my power cable for my computer this morning, snapping it in two, and I had to talk to a Dell tech this morning for much longer than necessary, almost making me late for my 8:30 class. Since then we've had one power cable for our two notebooks, and our batteries are pretty much on their last legs, one lasting about 10-15 minutes and the other maybe 20-25. (One of the things I asked the tech for was a new battery, which will help the next time their fragile cords break. This is the third one we've had to replace since the end of last semester. Every time it happens I have to shut my computer down when I'm done checking my email, which I barely have time to do on a wimpy battery after having used most of the juice just to start the machine up.

If it weren't for the fact that I've got this great new Kerry Livgren album with a band that has more right to the name Kansas than the band that has the legal rights, I think I'd probably be in a not so great mood. Even the excitement I had for enjoying a calm, relaxing evening tonight didn't work out, but I've been enjoying this album so much that half the time I don't even remember these things. I suppose I also tend to get excited when we start studying a new book in sermons or Bible study, and I've got both at once (we just finished John 5-8 in sermons, to be picked up again next January, and now we're starting I Samuel, and we also just finished Ezra in Bible study, to be picked up with Nehemiah in January, with I Thessalonians starting next week, one of the few Pauline epistles I've never studied in depth).

Those have sort of counterbalanced what could easily lead to a complete sense of dullness for not getting anywhere at all either in the paper I'm supposed to be writing on racial classification or in my grading (not to mention the blog entries I've been working on about affirmative action and racial classification, the former of which has even been partially written, though not to the halfway point yet, the latter of which is all planned out in my head, plus the one I'm merely planning about intermarriage in Ezra 9-10, which came up in Bible study the last two weeks and reshaped many of my thoughts on what goes on in those passages).

Well, this was all originally supposed to explain why I haven't been posting much of substance lately. It turned out to be a necessary explanation to myself of why I'm not getting much of any substance at all done. Events are simply conspiring against that. I did finish a paper last night, and I got halfway through another one this morning before leaving it home when I went to the DMV, where I got halfway through a different one. That's not a great track record, but at least it's something, and the only class with an urgent deadline is my 9-student class on Monday, which will be the last session for them. So that seems doable. The 26-student class goes until the Monday after that, so as long as events don't continue to conspire against me I think I can easily get those done in less than a week. Pray for me (those of you who somehow have read this far who pray). I absolutely hate disappointing my students and failing to meet my responsibility to them to get work back to them in a timely manner, and I'm pretty awful at reducing the quality and quantity of my comments for the sake of time. I just don't feel right doing that.


My problem is that Le Moyne there has a busy shared office, at least the times I've been there, and it's hard to get any work done. It's like the TA office at S.U. with the temptation to talk to people instead of getting any work done. Last semester I had a day or two when I had an office to myself at S.U., but I'm sharing it with Biz, who uses it the only days I could go in, so I haven't been able to do that this semester. You're right that that's why I need. I just wasn't able to figure out an easy way to do it this semester. It will be easier in the summer.

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