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Diarist C46 Day 20

Diary Day: Sept 16 


I wake up with my wife’s alarm around 7:30. I remember a dream that involved a vacation being cut short and feeling really upset about it. I tell Alexa to set an alarm for 8 am so I can doze. I’ve pretty much thrown out my schedule lately since I’ve been sick. I’m mostly better now, but my wife is still pretty sick. She still has a fever and a really bad cough that is painful. It seems like a cold that progressed to bronchitis or something. Not COVID. We tested multiple times, and having been very careful about our behavior, we can trace this pretty easily to a kid with a cold. I’m mostly feeling physically better, just mentally drained, already, and not wanting to face the day. I have a tricky work situation (hereafter refer to as work crisis) to deal with today. 


I have a text from a friend who might have a contact for me for someone to mow the lawn, which has not gotten done in almost 3 weeks with us traveling for Labor Day and then being sick. She says she’ll get back to me after the big on-campus event today. I think about how I am not attending. I asked if there were any accommodations for those approved to teach online and heard nothing. I do not have those accommodations, but I don’t like supporting an event that is clearly not open to everyone. And there’s the matter of the panic I felt last time I was in that big of an in-person crowd. Still, before I was sick, I had intended to go to at least one session of the event. And now, it’s just too much. Besides, I have a work crisis to deal with. 


I complete the regular morning routine, checking my email during breakfast. This morning involves texting with colleagues, which is not our norm, but sometimes you keep things off email or need to talk quickly, which is the case today.  


I have a 9 am meeting on Zoom with my research partner, a former graduate student. We are working on an article that is due Oct. 1st. It’s a good meeting, probably the highlight of my day. We have far more thoughts and ideas than we can fit in this format, but we widdle down what to write now, and come up with a plan. It’s due Oct 1, but it’s got a short word count. 


Then, it’s right back to work crisis and texting with the others figuring it out. 


It’s 11 and the Friday sirens go off. I’m having trouble focusing today, so I’m doing a variety of smaller things. A newer long-distance work friend emails me about a workshop she’d love to do together. It’s not one I’d have thought to go to, but it looks good, and I’d really love to get to know her better. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d be able to get funding. So, I tell her I probably can’t, and resent a bit that it’s so hard to get a few hundred bucks for professional development. In other professional news, a new special issue of a journal comes out that looks really awesome, and I send a piece from it to a grad student working on a similar topic. 


Academic Twitter today is all about Emporia State. They’ve suspended tenure and gotten rid of over 20 tenured faculty. My mother’s undergrad alma mater: not looking good. Word on the street (which is Twitter these days) is that the admin say it’s lack of enrollment but that the people getting let go are the ones who have been most vocal in criticizing the university. I’m not optimistic about my career choices today. I wonder what it’s going to look like in the next 20 years. 


I’m feeling really tired, whether it is the cold lingering or just existential dread, who knows? I decide some fresh air would be good, so I take a book and read for my class outside. It is really perfect out. So, that helps, and I get something done. Then I have lunch outside with my wife. 


After lunch, I have a short Zoom call with a colleague to talk about some teaching advice. I enjoy talking to her about teaching and just checking in. I also work on scheduling a bunch of observations I need to schedule for October.  


Around 2 pm, I decide to take a break and run an errand to return the fan/light combo I tried to have installed in my office. The whole thing has been a saga, but the light is color changing and apparently that’s why it won’t work with my double switch (one switch controls the light, one the fan, but it doesn’t work). I had it professionally installed, so I took it down, and I’m hoping I have all the pieces disassembled and back in the box. The Lowe’s employee doesn’t check, so I guess that’s good? I got my money back, anyway. And then I’m trying to figure out what kind of fan/light would work, and I’m annoyed because I liked this one, and also because the choices are overwhelming and confusing. All the LED lights seem to have this color changing thing, so maybe they won’t work at all. After pouring over some boxes, I give up and go back home empty handed. Then I call and leave a message for the guy that installed it to see what he thinks.  


After checking in on email, I get some ice cream and go back out to the porch for a bit. Outside is really comforting today. 


Then, I’m finally feeling ready to settle into some more in-depth work when there is another email about a disturbing situation. It’s apparently one of those days as an admin. More texting. 


My best friend texts me a video of her new fish. That’s nice because I was starting to feel bad that I hadn’t heard from her in a while.  


Rather than settling into deep work, I end up doing small things and then have a 4 pm Zoom meeting that we had trouble scheduling. Best vote in chat yet as my colleague put: “Aye guess.” LOL. It was a bit of a depressing meeting. 


After the meeting, I sit outside for my weekly parent phone calls, which I’ve been doing on Friday afternoons now. I’m kind of glad they don’t ask about work. My dad said that when he went for his INR, he saw the IN flag was upside down and at half-mast at the hospital, and he thinks it’s a subtle abortion protest. Even though my parents are Catholic, they agree that abortion isn’t for the government to decide, so we are able to talk about politics without a debate. I’m lucky for that. We talk about how Indiana is losing medical professionals because of the new abortion ban. My parents are planning a little vacation to the Smoky Mountains next week, and I’m glad they seem to be feeling okay as they often go back and forth on if they are up for that sort of thing at their age (they are in their 80s). They wish my wife well with being sick and tell me about a cute otter video they saw on the news and that I might be able to find it for her online (my wife loves otters). It’s cute of my parents. They seem to have no idea how many cute otter videos are at the touch of a button these days, but they are passing them on in their own way, telling me all about the one of the news. I haven’t watched local news in years. 


After the call, I double check email and then go off work for the night. I text a friend who we had hoped to get together with this weekend to cancel since my wife is still so sick. I’m kind of sad because now that I’m feeling better some social interaction sounds good. So, I call Vera Mae’s to see if their patio is still open. It is, although, they are pretty booked. But I text a work friend that I’ve been meaning to get a drink with to see if she’s free Sat evening. No answer. 


E has a dinner idea. We have leftover brisket, which she smoked in her new smoker and froze. We also bought a lot of easy to make meals that we bought when we got sick. So, we have brisket mac ‘n cheese. It’s delicious and also an ironic combo of easy processed food and something painstakingly homemade. We watch the most recent episode of the latest Lord of the Rings TV show as we eat, and neither of us are into this one. We’re not in the set of fans that is upset about the adaptation, we just don’t care about these characters and find this episode rather boring. 


Since I’m feeling better, and we haven’t found anyone to pay, I take on mowing the lawn after dinner. I haven’t mowed a lawn in years since last lived in a house in 2013ish. My wife has been handling the outside at this house, which we moved to in May. She shows me how to work the mower and starts it for me and I do the front lawn, saving the back for tomorrow. It’s not as hard as I thought it might be, although I still work up a bit of a sweat. I also dance around a huge spider, thinking about the sci fi book I’m reading where a race of spiders has grown huge and sentient. I wonder if this one isn’t on its way there. 


My reward to myself for mowing is playing the videogame I started yesterday. It’s called “Detroit: Become Human” and is a branching path, narrative-focused game where androids become sentient. It’s really fun and also one that I could talk about in my games and narrative class next semester. There’s a bit of a horror aspect to the story I’m playing tonight as one of the androids was destroyed and is trying to piece itself back together while wading through other partially destroyed android bodies. 


Around 10 pm, I shut down the game and get ready for bed. Reading on my kindle as usual until I fall asleep.