Day 17{?}: Struts, Green Cheese, and Smelly Fear

I was pretty busy yesterday doing stuff and so didn’t post. But, here’s what I did do –

In the morning, I went to the doctor to find out why my toes on my right foot have gone numb. Disc problems, apparently, so back to physical therapy I go. He didn’t seem too concerned, but warned me that if things start leaking out of where they shouldn’t be leaking out of, (i.e. loss of control of body functions that one usually has under control) I should go to the emergency room immediately. (!) I told him that I probably would have figured that one out on my own. Sheesh. More relevantly, I have to ice my back 3 times a day for a week, take anti-inflammatory drugs 2 times a day, and stop sitting so much. When he said that I just looked at him in disbelief. Ah, yeah, right — I’m supposed to be finishing a dissertation this summer. Which mostly involves sitting. Is it even possible to type standing up (oh, and maintain correct upper back posture so that I don’t aggravate my neck/shoulder condition?) I’m not surprised, though, that my body is in rebellion. I think its in collusion with the Inner Toddler. Neither of them like this process. Come to think of it, I don’t really like this process either.

Then, I took the car in to be repaired — we’d had this rattle in the back since we bought it, and finally a mechanically inclined friend said, “hey guys, get this fixed!” So, I did. It took about 5 hours — meanwhile, I read a novel, shopped at TJ MAXX ( I don’t usually like shopping there because I always know what I want, and you can never rely on finding what you want there. I don’t generally have the patience to sort through the acres of strange and unattractive items to find the one gem hidden away behind the pleather leopard print turquoise sequined tank top. Shopping there works best on days like yesterday, when you don’t need anything but have to wait at the shopping plaza while the guys fix your car and so you go and walk around aimlessly and wind up finding something anyway. I bought some socks and bras, and restrained myself from buying a $70 hot pink leather purse. I thought it really was yummy, but sometimes your judgment can get distorted at the TJMAXX and you can wind up thinking things are great just because they aren’t as hideous as the other things that are there). Then, I had lunch at a Chinese buffet restaurant, walked around the shopping plaza some more, read more novel, and finally the car was done.

Then, I grocery shopped – something both Spousal Unit and I have been putting off for a while. But, when I got home and looked into the fridge for room to put the things I bought, it was a madhouse — a maaadddhoouuussee. (Bad movie reference via Buffy season 2. Extra points to anyone who identifies the episode. 🙂 ) Anyway, it was gross. So, I held my nose and dived in, and cleaned out all of the stuff that was no longer edible. There were many different leftovers in varying states of decay. There were 4 or 5 containers of roasted tomatoes from the olive bar at the Chi Chi Grocery that had turned. (I am clearly not allowed to buy them any more.) There was the usual disappointed produce, moldy bread, and questionable lunchmeats. But, the piece de resistance was some greenish liquid cheese — that I’m pretty sure at one time had been solid since I don’t usually buy liquid cheese. Ew. After that was done, since I was on a roll and had done such a proper job of avoiding the dissertation thus far, I thought, why not keep going? So, I cleaned out the tupperware cupboard — matching containers to lids, and chucking that which didn’t have a mate.

All in all, I think I did a right good job of avoiding the dissertation for a whole day. And, the scary part is that I was much happier cleaning liquid green cheese off of the bottom of my refrigerator than I was a few days ago trying to do the mental equivalent for the dissertation. The truth is, I’m really scared about what I will find when I look back at what I’ve written over the past few weeks. I made the mistake of reading a bit of this draft the other day when I was sitting down and trying to write, and it was terrible. Really awful, trust me. I’m not just being a perfectionist. Objectively, it was pretty darn bad. I think that doing this reading back thing totally undermined my fledgling self-confidence. What if everything that I’ve written is that bad? What if all of the revisions make the damned thing WORSE than it was to begin with? Which is a terrifying thought, because I have to spend this whole summer on revisions – and what if I just can’t revise? And, at this point, I’m so far beyond where I needed to be by now, I don’t think I’m going to be able to defend before classes begin in the fall and I have to start becoming a professor, a process which is terrifying, but also which seems so remote, it isn’t really real and so has ceased to be a positive motivating factor. Sigh. I don’t know what to do with any of this, so I’m just going to leave it be for a while and hope it can sort itself out.

I think one way I went wrong was that I tried to do too much, and so in classic fashion, set myself up to fail. I think I have to go back to very small goals, so that when I meet them, I feel good, rather than feeling bad about not meeting the huge goal. My very small goal for today is to write the section on Democrats and Family. I’ll report in later and let you know how it goes.

4 responses to “Day 17{?}: Struts, Green Cheese, and Smelly Fear

  1. New Kid on the Hallway

    Small goals are the best way to go. Or at least, so I’m told. I’m not very good at it myself (not that I accomplish the bigger goals; I just don’t accomplish much!).

    I also know people who swear that writing the dissertation, especially at the end, is just a recipe for physical problems. Hope the back/toes feel better soon!

  2. I love the metaphor of cleaning the refrig — and rewriting. Yes, it is frightening to look and you will find some yuk stuff but then you will just pitch them and have a clean refrig…

    You are on the right track and bravely going forward. Bird by bird. Cheers!

  3. Cleaning was my favorite form of procrastination during my MA thesis; I think roaming around blogs will be the new form of avoiding work for my diss…

    Keep your head up!

  4. Thanks all! And, welcome Mon! Thanks for stopping by!

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