Sunday, May 04, 2008

Let's Pretend it's May 4! (Happy Birthday?)

This week was...not the greatest, let me just say that. I had a huge paper due on Tuesday, April 29, my birthday. I'd planned to get it all done over the weekend, but that was not in the cards. Basically, I did some exercise on Saturday, got a little too vigorous and my back seized up so badly that all I could do for the rest of the weekend was take Motrin, use heat packs, take baths and stretch. I couldn't sit up to type or read or write. Normally, I'll all for baths and stretching and vegging out, but it this case it was not fun. Not fun at all. When I finally got by back relaxed, I had a bunch of grading to complete for my students, so I only got one hour of sleep.

Monday I taught my final class and returned my students' papers. Then I went through my research texts, marking them with post-its. After lunch I was so tired that I had to grab a three-hour nap. Then I did some outlining and wrote my introduction. By that point, it was 10 p.m. and my head was doing that bobbing-thing. I did some math and realized I would have to get up at by 2 a.m. if I were to have sufficient time to type the rest of my 3000 word paper (on 18th Century kitchenmaid poet Mary Leapor) with sufficient time for revision and editing by 5 p.m.

I enlisted the help of my nocturnal roomies, asking them to check in and make sure I was up again by two. I was already awake when they knocked on my door. They wished me happy birthday. (I had forgotten it was my birthday.) I open and read my birthday card from Grandma Carol and Grandpa Kenny, the only one I'd received so far.

I then proceeded to write (grabbing breakfast while I worked) until it was time for my office hours, at which time I packed up all my books and articles and transfered all my work to campus. Mom called to wish me "Happy Birthday" and see if I could help her come up with a specific vocabulary word for her students. ("What was that old-fashioned thing where you got dressed up and there was singing and dancing and food?" The word was "Madrigal.") I then typed for the rest of the day, with just enough time to revise and edit...hooray!

Then I realized I promised to make posters for the poetry workshop's reading the next day, so I quickly drew one up on the computer and printed 50 on pretty blue which point I realized that I had neglected to include the time. I had to go back and add the time to each one by hand, then returned my books to the library and hung the signs up all over campus. (Only days later did I realize the signs had a typo, too. Sigh. Fatigue and perfection do not go hand in hand. On the other hand, they were very pretty and did increase our audience.)

At six I ran home (literally) and scarfed down supper while completing my reading for my Harlem Renaissance class. I then ran back to campus for class from seven to ten. I got home feeling tired, cranky and a bit depressed. It cheered me up a bit that I received a happy birthday call from Sandy and had a voice mail from J.B. and another with Grandma and Grandpa Staker singing the "Happy Birthday" song. That said, it was not a happy birthday.

I decided to put the day behind me and hit the hay. The next day I slept in so late that I barely had time to spiff up, choose and revise my poems before the reading. I was so nervous until I chose the right poems and had them revised and in my hands. I actually had to sprint to the coffee house. Everyone did such a good job. (See all photos at left)

Thursday I did some grading work, looking over online homework and transferring data from my paper gradebook to my electronic gradebook. Friday was my students' final. The the roomies and I had errands to run. That night, Rakel, Todd and I went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and drinks. Unfortunately, they wouldn't give me a drink, because my birthday meant my drivers license is expired. The waiter totally didn't care that in Iowa you have a 30-day grace period after your birthday to renew. I was pretty grumpy about it, but got a virgin daiquiri instead. I also comforted myself with the knowledge that I may be spitting-distance from 30, but I still look young enough to card. Saturday was a potluck dinner for English department, so I whipped up yet another weight gain-inducing batch of chewy lemon cookies.

I got a ride from a swell couple of MFAers, who also bought my pony (a.k.a a cappuccino maker--I bought it back when I was dating Tom. He's a coffeeholic, so sometimes we'd be hanging out at my apartment and he'd start jonesing for a caffeine fix. When I announced that I'd bought him a present and it was coming in a mail, Tom asked what it was. "A pony!" The nickname stuck.) They gave me enough cash for a cab ride. Yay! It was fun chatting with people, and the food and drinks were lovely. The cookies were a hit, too.

Grades were due Monday, so I was grading, grading, grading the rest of the weekend. I'm exhausted, but with two more finals due in the coming week (not to mention my teaching portfolio), I'm not going to be able to rest until it's all done.

Sigh. I can't even comfort myself that next birthday will be better, because it'll be in the middle of finals, too. So will my 30th! Sigh. Well, at least a handful of my nearest and dearest took the time to tell me they're glad I was born. That's more than some people get.

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