Monday, March 21, 2011

Works too hard

Tim has been away this week, taking this thing that is called a vacation. Apparently in certain lines of work, one can actually take whole vacation days. And it doesn't matter where the days land in the semester, because in these lines of work I am referring to, there actually is no semester. There is spring and summer and fall and winter, but no finals week or drop deadline or graduation ceremony. And they let their people take these things called vacation. Even in the middle of midterms. And apparently Tim has one of these jobs. And he has taken a vacation, to spend time with a friend in a warmer climate, watching basketball. And me, I sit around grading papers, with my green pen. For envy.

Saturday morning I was at the student research conference at the Good Old Dude's University. I had three groups of students presenting, starting at the unholy hour of 8:30 am.

My brother, his wife, and their three little children who are all favorite cousins of Jonathan, were fifty miles north, visiting my parents over their spring break. I drove Jonathan up Friday afternoon and spent an evening, but because of the research conference, I had to leave the boy and drive myself home in the dark, in time to be fully awake, dressed, and showered at 8:30 am on a Saturday.

My students did a very nice job, which was especially nice because the judges of their session included my department chair and my research mentor. And those are two people I'd like my students to do well in front of.

I left before the judging was over, and waited outside in the hall to see if I would be needed for the next session as an alternate judge.

And then I thought about how I could have spent the night at my parents' house with the cousins, and the morning eating the pie that my brother had baked, rather bran flakes.

And then I thought about all the projects that I keep piling onto myself, without being able to finish another project first. I have a stack of projects so high that I have to walk around the week balancing projects precariously. One wrong move and they'll all topple and shatter around me.

And then I went home to my empty house, called my parents to hear the screaming laughter of cousins in the background, and they informed me that they wouldn't be back with Jonathan for a couple of hours. So I scrubbed the bathrooms and dusted the furniture and fell asleep on the living room couch. From working too hard.

Today Jonathan and I left for church at the unholy hour of 8:50 am. And during church, I resolved not to work so hard anymore. To start by enjoying my post-church Sunday.

So we came home and Jonathan and I played video games until I felt physically ill. Now what?

"We could play Settlers," he suggested.

"Not enough people. ... We could take a walk."

"Too boring."

"We could fly a kite."

"Too cold."

"Read our book together?"

"Not until tonight."

"Then what?"

"Can I play my own video game?"

So he played games on the couch, and I sat and watched for a minute. And then maybe pulled out a project. And then maybe another one.

And now, projects strewn over the table, I sit here and feel sorry for myself. And guilty. I was not supposed to let my Sunday turn into this.

I hear that in other lines of work, they have this thing called a vacation. I want one of those.


Tiffany said...

Beautifully, beautifully written. I certainly hope you get your vacation soon!

Soul-Fusion said...

Agreed, beautiful writing.

And I can definitely relate, I took a brief vacation and worked every day of it - including Sunday. And my boss wonders why I plan vacations in the few remote areas left in this world where cell phones and internet do not work!

Anonymous said...

I've never gotten a kite off the ground - kind of a Charlie Brown thing.

I'm impressed!