Monday, July 17, 2017

Working For The Weekend

I've always looked forward to the weekends. Who doesn't look forward to two days off in a row? Because of my career choices I've always still done a bit of work on the weekend--grading, reading, etc.--but because of Jeff's career choice I've always tried to savor it, make as much time as possible for us to hang out together. I still do this because that's what you have to if you're married to a journalist. It's what you really have to do if you're married to a journalist and also happen to have chosen an ambitious and strenuous yet rewarding career path for yourself.

But now I look forward to the weekend for an extra reason: I can *almost* forget about my hip problem. When Jeff is around it just hurts. It doesn't hurt so much that all I want to do is lay around, bemoan the grogginess caused by the meloxicam that helps me get a decent night's sleep but makes doing my work much more difficult. When Jeff is at home it's easier to not feel bad about the pile of work I need to do. It's not that I'm not doing my work. I think I've done more work this summer than I have since my summers of schlepping bags of mulch into customers' cars as they made rude comments about my being a woman. Apparently being a woman means I am exempt and/or incapable of loading bags of mulch into customer cars... oh, the stories I could tell about working at Lowe's. But I digress.

I'll I've done this summer is read, take notes, and occasionally engage in tasks and activities that are supposed to keep my stress levels in check. If one looks at my social media feed it appears as though I am doing far more of the latter.

 Farmer's Market!

 Good times at one of our favorite wineries in the area (photo credit-- Jeff).

 Hanging out with my crew.

Homemade pasta. 

 Look at how neat the watermelon looks. 

 Homemade ice cream!

Ruth, discussing the next Doctor with me. She's glad it's a woman but, like me, thinks after fifty plus years a white woman, as much as we love Jodie Whittaker, the BBC could have given us more than a change of gender.

But social media hides secrets. It doesn't tell the whole story. It even helps me fool myself for a fleeting moment. It hides my pain. It withholds the truth--sometimes Jeff has to help me out of bed, there are naps between afternoon outings and evenings of pasta, and Jeff, who never seems to want to take credit, often acts as sous chef. My Instagram feed looks like I'm non-stop, go, go, go. But I'm not. I have to pause for the pain. I have to ask for help. I know that social media allows people to craft their truths, make their lives look more interesting. I knew my posts often made it seem as if I wasn't doing any work. It often looks as though I'm just faffing about, drinking wine, and buying local produce out the ass. It wasn't until recently that I thought about how I might be using it to try to hide the truth from myself. I can't go hiking... so let's post this cute picture of the kitties... let's post this picture of that beef tongue taco I tried. My posts have become a shield from reality. I can't enjoy my favorite trails, visit the one or two left on list to see, or do many of the other items I'd planned to do. I can't do the things I was SO looking forward to this summer.

I can't hide from my reality during the work week. There's no glass of wine to be had on a balcony, no sous chef (P.S. Jeff usually cooks dinner during the school year-- he deserves credit)... there's no where to go really. All there is to do is read, take notes, cross my fingers that my hip doesn't hurt too much, and hope that at some point my body shakes off the heavy exhaustion weighing it down, physically and mentally, so I can finish writing a 200 word abstract. I can't hide from the fact that I'm still too groggy to edit this to the best of my ability... I'm too groggy to craft the perfect final sentence about how all of this sucks, I know life could be worse, and that I will get through this, succeed, etc., etc. I'm just too damn exhausted.

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