Thanks all for your kind well-wishes! I’m feeling much better today and actually managed to get a fair bit accomplished, so the day off didn’t really hurt me all that terribly. Except for that pain part. That hurt. Migraines are a bitch. I was reading an old Far Side anthology the other day in the, ahem, bathroom, and in the funniest one I saw, the caption read “Angel of Migraines” and the image was of a creature that looked a lot like Death, only with a giant club instead of a scythe, walking down the street and behind him you could see a woman in her house holding her head, having just been visited. So, as far as I can tell, it was the Angel of Migraines that got me yesterday.
Today, I was amazingly productive. I did a bunch of administrative stuff necessary for the new job — like finding a doctor. I get a real doctor now that I have a job with real health insurance, not just the student variety. From now on I won’t have to wade through the crowds of pestilential undergraduates at the Student Health Center in order to have medical care! Not that it was so bad, but I swear, every time I’d go in for a sprained wrist or a sinus infection and I’d wind up listening to a very nice nurse who treated me like I was 18 &1/2 and just away from home for the very first time and so in desperate need of a lecture on pregnancy, STDs, multiple sex partners, excessive beer drinking, and/or dormitory hygiene. It was oh so slightly infantilizing. The worst was when I came back to campus after a few years away and was told I could no longer see the doctor that I usually saw because, well, actually, I was too old. Now that had past the BIG 3-0, I no longer qualified to be her patient because … she was a PEDIATRICIAN. I was thirty years old and had been seeing a pediatrician, for chrissakes! Well, anyway, now I get a real doctor for grown-ups. I also get a real retirement account for grown-ups. I spent the morning agonizing about such bizarro foreign concepts like annuity accounts, high-risk overseas global equities, and more secure inflation-linked bond accounts. Somehow, some joker thought that I was qualified enough to decide what percentage of my retirement money I want to go into which kind of account. This was not at all terrifying because you only have to wait 50 years to determine the outcome of your decision, at which point your whole entire life savings has been ruined and you will have to go to the cheapo nursing home where they only serve generic jello because you didn’t put the correct percentage of your TIAA-CREFF money into the correct account. Dammit, Jim, I’m a historian not an investment banker!
So, I thought, I know, I’ll call Spousal Unit. He’s a scientist. That means he works with numbers, so maybe these numbers make some sense to him. He also cares an awful lot about how we spend our money, so he will surely help me with this craziness. So, I called, and said, “S.U., dearest one, should I put 10 percent or 15 percent of my retirement account into real estate?” In an inspired response that revealed how truly feminist this great man is, he said, “Honey, it is your retirement account. It is totally up to you.” Gee, thanks S.U. Way to go. When I want to buy a new pair of shoes, you have a vehement opinion. WHEN OUR WHOLE FINANCIAL FUTURE MAY BE RELYING ON THIS, it is up to me. Argh! In the end, I just went for the “socially responsible” option for most of it, mainly because it sounded so good — I mean, it had the word “responsible” in the title, so it must be the best choice. As far as I can tell, this means that only 10% of my retirement will be funded by arms deals, nuclear waste disposal, rainforest destruction, child labor, and Wal-Mart.
After that harrowing morning, I had lunch with Cleis, then spent the afternoon in the library. I finished the first section of the next chapter (actually, about the first 1/3 of the whole thing). That felt great. Now, there is probably about a page or two of connecting paragraphs that need to be added, and a lot of paring down, but it is moving along. After that, I went to the Co-Op and got some groceries and stuff for dinner: sundried tomato turkey meatloaf for a sandwich with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, homemade garlic chipotle mayo, in a whole wheat pita. Best of all — no heat was produced in my kitchen to make this meal.
All in all, I think it was a pretty good day. I just hope that 50 years from now I’m not looking back on this day and cursing myself, wishing that I’d put 30% of my retirement fund into Real Estate and 70% into a traditional money-market account, as the green generic gelatin is fed into my IV feeding tube when I’m really longing for red raspberry Jell-O.