Today, hopefully, after washing a ton of dishes, and cleaning the kitchen (I found 2 liquid, yes liquid, tomatoes on the kitchen counter yesterday. It was gross. Clearly, it is time to do something about the state of things in there), having brunch with our best friends who we only get to see about once a week these days, and since it is trash night – cleaning out the refrigerator (if there are liquid tomatoes out in plain view, lord only knows what is hidden in its depths), THEN I can do some dissertation work.
I spent most of this week in house/office/course prep getting ready for the semester. And I’ve pretty much been doing it on my own. The office/course stuff is, of course, mine only, but the house has kind of fallen to me since this past two to three weeks has been the busiest time of the whole year for Spousal Unit at the Big Science Thingey. He’s been prepping for this for six months or so. And, in the past 48 hours, he slept a grand total of 2. The last time the man was in a bed for any significant period of time was Thursday night. Needless to say, trivial things like checking the counter produce and vacuuming have pretty much fallen off his radar. Even important things like 11th wedding anniversaries (yesterday) have also gotten pushed aside for his work. We’ll go out and celebrate when this whole thing is done, so I can’t really complain, but I want to just a little because I’m feeling a little abandoned and a lot overwhelmed. Anyway, all of these big house things needed to be done, I know, otherwise I’d start the semester off feeling just nuts about how disorganized and chaotic things were, but it has still taken a good chunk out of my last few weeks of dissertation time.
I’m also pretty unhappy to have to face up to the fact that I am not going to be done with my dissertation before the semester starts. It had been my goal, so that I could start the semester off unburdened by it. But, I’ve been burdened with it for a decade, so I don’t know why this semester should really be any different. Anyway, I am disappointed in myself for not pulling this off. And, I’m beginning to have trouble believing that it will ever really be done. (Astute readers may have noticed that I’ve stopped counting the days. It was only reminding me of how little progress I was making.) It really depresses me because I feel like I’m so far behind, and that Everybody Else is doing better work than I am. And then I have to remind myself that this is not a race. It is not a competition. And if it were, I’m last — I’m the last one in my entering graduate class to finish. Most of the other folks finished long ago, the last few stragglers other than me wound things up this past semester. But, that means that the pressure is off. Nobody here left to run against, just me and the wind.
Anyway, the fact of the matter is that I am not done. I won’t be done in two weeks when the semester begins. So, I have to figure out how I am going to finish. I do not want to jeopardize this amazing chance I have to teach at a place where I want to be, doing what I love, in the same state as my spouse. It just never happens in academia, and I am not going to squander this gift. But, I think it is going to mean that in the next couple of weeks I have to do some intense introspection to figure out what I can do and what I can’t. I’ll have to do some careful planning and significant time management, and get over this disappointment in my summer progress so that I can just get on with it and get it done.