Monday, September 17, 2018
4:30AM: I wake up to my cat kneading his paws against me. He thinks he’s starving, of course, but he just had his evening serving of dry food four hours ago and it’s not time yet for his morning can of wet food. I pet him for a few minutes, which seems to placate him for the time being, then get up and drink some water. I try to go back to sleep, but my mind has started racing: I start thinking about all of the things I need to do before I teach my first class at noon, the housework I need to do, the things I said and did in the past few days that should embarrass me. I’m not going back to sleep like this, so I hop on Twitter and Facebook and scroll through for a bit, hoping it’ll make me stop worrying. It doesn’t.
5:15AM: I eventually put my phone down, reset my alarm for 9AM, and try to count backward from 100.
5:17-8:45AM: I fall back asleep at some point, but the cat continues to wake me up about once an hour, hoping it’s time for breakfast. I placate him with attention, but tell him, “Nope, not yet,” and immediately fall back asleep—thank God.
8:45AM: I finally give in. It doesn’t seem worth it to go back to sleep for another fifteen minutes. I don’t want the cat to get the idea that he can just wake me up every time he wants to be fed, so I get up and do a couple of things first: drink some water, stretch, etc. He follows me around the house and meows, head-butts my leg. I do my best to ignore him, but you can’t really train cats. I finally give him his can of wet food and then go back to the couch to wake up a bit more.
9:20AM: I realize I’ve been here for too long: checking email, scrolling through social media, checking NPR to make sure we aren’t at war (yet) today. The cat has returned and has fallen asleep on my stomach, purring like crazy. I really don’t want to get up.
9:20-10:00AM: I get ready for work: shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, etc.
10:00AM: I’m finally leaving the house. I’d meant to eat breakfast at home, then to pack a lunch, but neither happened. I forgot to go to the store last night, so I’m out of both bread and eggs, and I forgot to start the dishwasher last night, so I don’t have any clean Tupperware. I could probably wash it by hand, but it just seems like too much work at the moment, so I decide to just eat on campus. I turn the thermostat back to 70 (I can’t sleep if it’s hotter than 64, but I don’t think my cat needs it quite that low during the day) and grab my backpack on my way out.
10:00-10:18AM: I drive through downtown Muncie to the McDonalds on Madison. At this point in the month, 11 days before payday, cheap beats healthy every time. I choose the one on Madison, in the opposite direction from campus, because I don’t want to deal with the construction on Jackson or the line that is inevitably at the Tillotson one. I also want to stick a couple of Pokémon in the downtown “gyms” on my way, though I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit my obsession with Pokémon Go.
10:18AM: I order a sausage McGriddle, a hashbrown, and an unsweetened iced tea and eat it in the parking lot.
10:25-10:47AM: I make a couple more Pokémon-related stops along the way, snaking through Minnetrista and then campus, before finally getting to my office.
10:51AM: I check my email and then update my to-do list for the day: prep for my classes, mail a birthday card to my brother (who is turning 34 tomorrow), meet with a student about graduate school, unload and then load the dishwasher so I have clean Tupperware tomorrow, stop at Pay-Less and pick up a few things for breakfast, do a load or two of laundry, hopefully write something other than this diary entry.
10:55-11:56AM: Prep for my 12PM class: re-read the texts I assigned, finalize some plans for an in-class activity, etc. It’s my immersive-learning course, so I’m making a list of tasks for each student/group to complete over the next few days.
12:00-12:50PM: I teach my class: we spend the first fifteen minutes or so talking about the readings, then jump into the in-class work time. I move back and forth between groups to make sure they’re on the right track, answer some questions, and help out a student whose partner isn’t in class. I remind them of what they need to do for Wednesday and then head back to my office.
12:50-1:20PM: I meet with a student about graduate school. I hate having to tell students about the realities of it: that it’s not for everyone, that it’s not the same as undergrad, that the job market for academics (particularly in our field) is abysmal, etc. I tell the student a couple of things to do in order to have them think about some other options, as a back-up, and hope that I’m doing enough.
1:20-1:45PM: I walk over to the food court to grab lunch. I really wish I’d just washed the damn Tupperware lids and brought my lunch (I’d planned to dump in half a can of black beans, some frozen onions and peppers, and some salsa verde, then microwave it at work and ad some crushed-up Fritos, which sounds amazing to me right now, and much healthier than my options here). There are lines everywhere and I refuse to pay $9 for a mediocre cold sandwich out of principal, so I opt for a racist pizza, which makes me feel terrible about my life choices. It’s quick, though, and that and my second iced tea of the day comes to $5.50 total, so at least it’s cheap. I walk back to my office and eat with my door shut, scrolling through Facebook.
1:45-2:15PM: Prep for my 3:00 class. Skim the chapter from the textbook I’ve taught a dozen times before. Update the PowerPoint I used last time I taught the class with this semester’s due dates and reminders.
2:15-2:20PM: Check my email. Respond to a couple of things and flag a few others for later.
2:20-2:47PM: I’m starting to get a headache and my Advil bottle is empty, so I decide to run home quick. I love living four minutes from work. My cat is thrilled to see me and follows me around the house until I sit down on the couch to pet him. He climbs into my lab, rubs his face all over my beard, and purrs as he kneads his paws into my thighs. It’s hard to get back up.
2:57PM: I make it back to my office with time to spare. I grab my laptop, my books, and my back-up white board markers and walk down the hallway to class.
3:00-4:15PM: I go over the readings and have students tell me what they took away from it. I add a few things they missed, clarify a few others, and then break them into smaller groups to have them apply what they read in the textbook to a few examples. We come back together as a class and have a great discussion. I go over a few reminders, talk a little more about their first major assignment—due Wednesday—and then let them go a couple minutes early. I spend the last few minutes of class time erasing the board and answering questions from a couple of students who stay behind.
4:15-5:00PM: I walk bac k over to the food court for my third iced tea of the day, then settle into my office with the door closed to finish reading the text for my graduate course.
5:00-6:15PM: My grad class meets. We talk about the book, then I spend a few minutes talking about a short assignment I want them to do, leading up to a larger one due in October. I give them a few reminders about what’s coming up—to remind myself as much as them. I make a note in my planner to talk more about that larger assignment on Wednesday, as October is approaching faster than I’d like.
6:16PM: A friend sends a text asking me if I want to hang out. I do, but I also have work to do. A deadline might help. I tell her I’ll pick her up around 7, then rush home.
6:25-6:57PM: I quickly start a load of laundry, load the dishwasher and start it, then take out the garbage. I change my clothes. I realize I’m starving—my racist pizza didn’t really fill me up—so I look around for something to eat. There isn’t much, but I remembered to put some leftover pot roast in the fridge to defrost last night, so I microwave that quick. I need some kind of a starch to help me fill me up, so I grab one of those microwavable single serving rice cups and nuke that, too. It’s not the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten, but it’s not bad. I rinse of my dishes and leave them by the sink for later, then head out the door.
7:10-8:00PM: I pick up my friend and we decide to play a little Pokémon Go. We drive through campus, Minnetrista, downtown. We’re both serious academics, which makes our interest in this game strange, I’m sure, but we both play it to take our minds off of everything else.
8:00-8:30PM: She’s hungry, and I could use a beer, so I drive us to Savage’s. She gets a salad and I order an All Day IPA. We talk about work, watch a little bit of the weird movie on TV, and decide what to do next.
8:35PM: I’m dropping her off at a mutual friend’s house so they can work. I’ve been invited, but I still need to go to the grocery store, so I just stop in for a second to say hello.
8:35-8:45PM: I stop back at home, switch the clothes into the dryer and start another load. I check the cupboards and the refrigerator and make a list: eggs, bread, cheese, beef broth and onions and carrots so I can make more pot roast later this week (I put the chuck roast I’d bought on sale and froze into the refrigerator to defrost), some kind of sweet thing so I’m not tempted to go to Culver’s for ice cream every night.
8:45-9:15PM: I call my parents on the phone as I drive to the store and end up driving around town for a little while to talk to my dad about football (our team lost on Sunday, for the second week in a row), then to my mom about work. She’s a teacher, too, so she tells me about her students, about her crazy boss, about the training she has to do tomorrow.
9:15-10:00PM: I wander around Pay-Less for a bit. I love grocery shopping at night, when there aren’t too many people around. I pick up all of the things on my list and resist the urge to buy a bunch of extra things I don’t actually need. I use the self-checkout, pay $18 on my debit card, and then head back to my car.
10:15PM-11:45PM: I get home, unload the groceries, and then lie down on the couch to watch some TV. I should probably read a book or something else productive, but I’m exhausted. I didn’t actually do that much today, I guess, but teaching all day takes it out of me, and the beer didn’t help. I eat some generic chips ahoy-lookalikes and watch some documentary about the British royal family on Netflix. My cat wanders around for a bit, plays with a toy nearby, and then falls asleep on my feet.
11:45PM: I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open, so I get up and get ready for bed. I brush my teeth, take my medication, and drink some water. I turn the thermostat down, make sure the cat has food and water, and clean his litter box. I turn off the lights and then get back on the couch, set my alarm for 9AM (I have a meeting tomorrow, and work to get done before it; I know I’ll probably wake up before that on my own, but I want to be safe) and watch some more TV until I fall asleep.