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Diarist C46 Day 22

Diary Day: May 12, 2023 

The in-between times. The semester is over, but I’m not yet settled into my summer routines. 

I don’t remember cancelling my alarm, but if it went off, I didn’t notice. So, I start to stir around 8 am, and get up at 8:30 to the rumblings of fighting cats. Usually, my wife feeds them at like 7, but she’s having neck/back issues, so it’s fallen to me, and clearly they are not pleased with the delay. I follow my furry masters into the dining room and scoop them their food, then go take a shower and get ready. 

I need new shirts. All my shirts seem to have little, tiny holes around the waistline. I think it’s from the pokey part of the belt. I guess technically I need a new belt. Get to the root of the problem. 

My wife is a quiet person, except in the morning when I don’t like to talk. It’s always a little role reversal in the morning. She’s saying something about something, and I’m not listening well. I have some cereal and coffee and do my routine checking of the Washington Post’s 7 morning things, my social media, and then my email. I need to break my email routines as summer begins, but maybe once in the morning is good?  

It’s student eval day. The system is often impossibly slow, like waiting for GenCon tickets (or Taylor Swift?) or something; all for us to find out what our students thought. But it doesn’t load too poorly this time, so maybe they’ve improved it. Or the emails seem to be coming a day later than before, so maybe the crowd logged in yesterday, and I’m late to this pity party. But mine are good. Really good for my undergrad class, one I’ve been working on over the years. And good numbers (not statistically significant) for my grad class with a few good comments and a few bad. That class was a new one for me, and I’d definitely change it next time. And I already talked to the class about it, so it’s no wonder only about half filled out the university form. The university wants us to encourage everyone to complete evals, but the in-class conversations are much more meaningful, and I have difficulty being too encouraging about completing official things. But I think I’ve really improved overall as a teacher by now, and I think my evals are reflecting that, so I guess maybe there’s something to the mechanism. 

I’m working on returning to a morning writing habit for summer. So, I sit down to write this and decide what else I might want to write on this morning. I kept this habit well when I was working on a book, but I like writing so much that I’m just going to try to write on something every weekday now without a big writing project. I haven’t done that in maybe a year. 

My friend texts me saying she’s the only person masked at a graduation she’s attending for family. We sat together at our graduation and watched like 1000 students cross the stage with no masks. One. One did. And a few more had them and took them off to cross, which I can’t blame them for. I’m still on the 1) pandemic still killing people and 2) since we learned better how to protect public health in general let’s keep masking in crowded indoor spaces side of what doesn’t seem like it should be an argument. But here we are. I wonder how many are even thinking of COVID as they write these diaries anymore. 

I work for about an hour on my file for promotion, sending some emails to find out the process seems to be changing and no one told me when they told me my files is due June 1st. Not stressful at all….  This sends me into being stressed for quite some time and trying to feel better by texting a friend, sitting outside, scrolling videos online and the like. 

For lunch, I make breakfast sandwiches for me and my wife. Our friend who came over last night always has something she’s baked and this time it was these buns that she said were good for burgers or breakfast sandwiches. So, I make some eggs and get those prepped. Meanwhile in my inquiries about the promotion process I find another part of it I didn’t understand, and I think nothing stresses me out more than processes that I don’t understand but that do have specific rules. My wife recognizes I’m stressed and takes some extra care to give to let me know I’m doing a good job.  

I think some physical activity might help, so after lunch I mow the front lawn. It’s usually my wife’s job, but I’m helping out with her injury and doing the physical labor is good, although I’m definitely warm after that! When I get back in, I sit down with a glass of cold tea and chill a bit more. After that, I sit down and write some more on my diary day and take care of ordering a few things I’ve been needing to for the house, like filters for the vacuum that I put on “subscribe and save” so that I don’t want/need them for months again and not order them. 

Earlier I put out the ingredients for making cookies, which I’d planned to do as an end of semester reward. I’m make Oreo’s sandwich cookies from my 100 Cookies Cookbook. I listen to some music and make the cookies, and that puts me in a good mood. While the cookies are cooling, I give my parents their weekly Friday phone call where I hear about the run-around they are getting with an insurance bill and about my mom’s new doctor. We make tentative plans for Mother’s Day. 

After that the cookies are cool so I can fill them. I end up with more of the insides than the cookies, but they are really good so maybe I should just make more tomorrow. I made some mint for my wife, and she’s very excited about that. 

Speaking of excited, about the time I’m finishing the cookies a package arrives from the University of Chicago Press. It’s too big to be one book. I have been expecting the hard-copies of my open-access book that was published in September, but at first, I didn’t think that it could be that because I literally reached out to my publisher today, and he said they weren’t available for print yet. But I guess it does make sense that I’d get them before others could order, and that’s what it is. Nothing like unboxing your own book! I take some selfies, including a more happy one and a goofy one and post them on Twitter.  

We decide to order out for dinner and place an order for Tuppee Tong on Doordash. While we are waiting for that, I feed the cats and do some searching online for some information for the work promotion thing because it’s still on my mind, but getting the book in the mail seemed serendipitous and made me feel more confident about it. As soon as dinner arrives, I plate it up because E. has misophonia when it comes to Styrofoam. 

During dinner, we start a new-to-us show that our friends J & S recommended: “We are Lady Parts.” It’s on Peacock. We got that recently to watch Poker Face, which I loved. We switch out services every few months and store up what we want to see on any one platform. The show is pretty amusing. It’s about a group of Muslim women in a band. 

After dinner, we decide to play our favorite game. E. hasn’t been sitting at the table because her neck feels better in a more supportive chair, but she decides to try it wearing this massage/heater neck thing the doctor recommended. This really freaks out S. the cat. She is terrified of the massager, and even after E. takes it off, S. creeps around the room low to the ground ready for something to attack.

E. does pretty well sitting at the table, so hopefully that means she’s getting better. And she can see the cards all now. We played it a few times on the coffee table with me handing her everything, but that was hard. (It’s a big game). I’m feeling very focused on it. We are both planning to play in the Gen Con tournament for this game, which we have both gotten pretty good at. Of course, E. wins, as she usually does. But it’s a good game.

After that, I write up a bit more of this, thinking that for all the letters representing names for confidentiality, there is literally no way anyone who knows me who reads this wouldn’t know it’s my diary. But that’s okay. 

Around 9 pm, we do our own thing. E. sits in her chair with the heating pad playing a game on her iPad, while I play a game on our Steam Deck. It’s a really weird narrative game called “Kentucky Route Zero.” I reach the end of Act II. 

Then we head to bed to read and settle in. S. is still acting spooked and is now afraid of the plate of snacks E. brings to bed. She’s so funny when she’s acting skittish though, doing that thing cats do where she approaches cautiously and bats at something and/or just jumps straight up. But she doesn’t sleep on the bed, so that sucks.