As I may have mentioned, we’ve been having a hard time lately. Some of that is related to the course I’m teaching (new institution; new course; new online-ness); some of that is related to giving up all my baby-free time to teaching said course; some of that is the persistent rain or the groundhog in my garden. Some of it is entirely self-imposed, like our goofy decision to try and spruce up the kitchen, which has necessitated hours and hours of research, inquiry, decision-making. Now I’m trying to make bigger decisions about whether and what to teach in the fall and what it would mean for my life to keep doing this adjunct thing (which, let’s face it, is not only grossly underpaid but also kind of demoralizing for the minimal engagement it offers with students and the institution). Basically, I’m running around a headless bird. It’s not pretty.
So here’s an email exchange I had with my beloved partner today. I feel it illustrates some of why I’m the luckiest person in the world.
-----Original Message----- Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:58 PM To: Len Bartel Subject: more kitchen questions Backsplash: skip indepth backsplash and just tile all the way down to the counter? By stove as well as sink wall? will that show the window-height-differential less? If we do backsplash, should we include sides on sink wall and stove and microwave wall? These are some of today's questions. Also: what should I do with my life? And: why does Blackboard suck so very much? And perhaps: will you still love me despite my having eaten ALL the garlic in the house for lunch? Love, me PS Yes, Jessica [the countertop salesperson] has come and gone. He replies: "Where to start... I think tile down to the counter, but only on the sink wall (not the others, I think it might look a bit odd) - carrying the same line from flush with the cabinet above the toaster oven across to under the chicken. It's hard to get a sense of what it would look like with the indepth backsplash in addition to the tile. What should you do with your life? Write. Blog. Maybe consult. Be the fabulous mama that you are. You're a fabulous writer, and schedule hasn't allowed you to give it the appropriate focus. Of late, when you are most [you] [I had to remove a pet-name-adjective] it's when you write and have the mental space to be creative with the boys when you have them... I have no idea why Blackboard sucks so very much, but I'll support you in the accusation. Yes, I will still love you despite eating all the garlic. Presents [this is where he really goes bananas, since I forgot to even ASK what we were giving the family members who need birthday gifts this week]: iTunes for AJ ($15). Big Allagash (need to procure - can do tomorrow before we go over), and maybe a small e-card to Amazon (need to procure will do so tonight) for BB. Done. And done. You're my love" And since I'm in an email-quoting kind of mood, here's more unswerving support from that quarter. My dad writes: "Yes, quite right adjunct professor sucks... only slightly better than being out on the street." To which I can only reply: "Well, there are huge variations in adjunct experiences, and for some of us, at some institutions, it may be much worse than being out on the street. That's what I'm working to ascertain right now. Seth Godin (marketing/strategy author I like) had a good blog post recently on money, reminding us that not spending is the same as earning, and not earning is the same as spending. There are many things I could do to build ways to earn more (but they take time) and a few things I could still do to spend less (those, also, take time). The bottom line discovery here is that teaching used to feed me, so it was worth various aggravations. But the ways I'm able to do it these days, it's feeding me a lot less. And that's worth listening to, I think." Support in complexity. That's about as good as it gets, folks.