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2010 Week 20

May 21, 2010

This week marked the end of Week 8 of my class at localsmallcollege, which means that I’ve got only 2 weeks left to play professor before I am (f)unemployed again.  The good news is that I’ll have hours and hours of bloggy time.  The bad news is that I’ll have hours and hours of bloggy time.

Hopefully, though, the extended blog time will translate to more regular and more exciting posts.  And development of some new crafty skillz.  Since last summer’s unemployment meant that almost every room in the house got painted, I’m hoping that this summer will be equally productive.

Fingers crossed.

Especially since I’ve been facing this summer with a mix of dread and excitement.  Yeah, dread.  I know – it’s neurotic, isn’t it?  I mean, an entire summer to myself – no kids, no job, no responsibilities, and a whole bunch of wine – sounds pretty rad, right?  But I have a little bit of guilt about not bringing any money home – and especially since it’s not like I have major responsibilities around the house that would require me not to work outside the home (e.g., kids).  And speaking of that, there’s always that little voice in my head reminding me that once upon a time, we were supposed to have a kiddo this summer.  And, man, I was super-cool about the whole miscarriage thing when it happened.  Two months later, I was a wreck.  Four months later, it’s better.  Still painful at times (hello Mother’s Day!  I was supposed to celebrate you!).  And for a while the situation was magnified by my summer off.  I mean: do you know anyone in their late 20s who is not gainfully employed AND not a stay at home mom? I do not.

Having said that, I knew that it would be difficult for me to find full-time employment in my field when I agreed to move to MI last year, and I am grateful for whatever limited, part-time opportunities that I’ve had.  I’ve absolutely loved playing professor and I think I may have actually taught my students something they might remember in 10 years.

Fingers crossed.

There’s been some indications that localsmallcollege may even invite me back to teach next winter & spring.

Fingers crossed.

Because I really enjoy working at localsmallcollege.  Even if it means that I’m so busy writing lectures and tests that I neglect the ole bloggy blog.

Which brings us full circle, right?

So, this week.

My family visited last weekend to enjoy the serenity of the country work themselves sore out in the yard.  Even sister Ashley’s boyfriend joined in the fun, which is notable for two reasons: 1. he is a bonafide landscaper guy who knows what he’s doing, and 2. he has a golden retriever, which meant that there were FOUR tan dogs running loose in our neck of the woods (our two + brother Trevor’s puggle + the retriever below).

By some miracle, none of the dogs ran away, and all played nicely together.  Comet the puggle did have one death-defying stunt in which he ran across the street, avoiding a 55+ mph jeep by approximately 6″.  He was unharmed.  Yours truly suffered a heart attack.

We accomplished a ton, and I’ll have to post before and after pictures sometime when I can a) find before pictures on the computer and b) take after pictures.  We were so busy hauling brush, clipping it to fit in the woodchipper that we rented, chopping wood, replanting bushes, and ripping out weeds that there was no time for pictures.  I did capture this one of momma bear stuffing the woodchipper:

She was braver than I… I was not getting anywhere near that thing, lest I lose a hand or an eyeball, both of which I need for blogging.  And summer crafting.

Also?  She was nice enough to tell us that our house no longer smells like smoke.  Nope.  It smells like dogs now!  Which might be worse, but at least the dog smell is ours.  We can own that doggy dog smell.  And then we can wash everything and scrub the carpets to try to remove it.  Send deodorizing tips my way… I might have a summer of deodorizing ahead of me.

And it’s taken almost all week for Jason and I to recoup from our busy, workful weekend.  Let’s just say that it’s entirely possible that 30 is NOT the new 20.

And my other excuse is that I got sick!  Like sinuses-stuffed, body-ached, temperature sick, and I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I have a conspiracy theory that one of my “sick” students spit on the test that I gave them last week.  And “sick” is like that, all in quotation marks there, because, even when you email me at noon to tell me that you missed my 8am class for the 17th time this term because you were feeling “sick” and that you are so so soooooooo sorry about it, I. do. not. believe. you.  DO YOU HEAR ME, STUDENTS!  I refuse to believe that you are chronically ill enough to miss 17 out of 20 classes, or that this could be true of exactly 1/5th of my class.  Instead?  I think you are sleeping in, which you can bet your sweet batootie I’d be doing, too, if I weren’t attempting to mold your tired young mind.  Sigh.  I am considering handing out alarm clocks instead of grades at the end of the term.  You know, so that those who chose to sleep through my class can try again next year.  Because the first round isn’t going so well for you “sick” kids.

Anyways.

Mint!

We harvested the first bit of the garden this week.  The mint that I planted last fall has taken off fabulously, and I used to to make citrusy mojito chicken.  Delish.

There’s plenty more where that came from.  Anyone want to come over for mojitos?

This weekend, we’ll actually plant the rest of the garden.  We will also be entertaining my cousin and aunt.  And, unlike last weekend, by entertaining, I do NOT mean putting to work.  I think this weekend’s entertaining will be a little more like, food’s in the fridge, help yourself while I nap on the porch.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2010 2:54 pm

    This post made me want to cry. I know that empty feeling of not working and what to do with the time. It’s very hard. But gives you time to discover you!

    • May 21, 2010 3:57 pm

      It’s a weird feeling, isn’t it? I should have a lot of time to discover new things this summer/fall… Luckily, the internet provides endless crafty inspiration…

  2. May 21, 2010 3:20 pm

    I work in the Auto Industry in the Detroit area.

    I was laid off at the end of August last year. I fortunately found a part time job doing the same kind of work by the beginning of October. By part time I mean 3 days a week which then gives me 4 day weekends EVERY WEEK.

    However, from the time I was first laid off I went to my parents one day a week for a 1/2 day. This did two things; it allowed me to help them with all those “little things” they are always asking help with and it took some obligatory guilt off my chest. YAY.

    Then I was looking in our local paper and saw that Meals on Wheels was looking for volunteers to deliver meals to the seniors that are homebound. I found out that they only want you one day every other week and it takes you about an hour and a half to deliver the meals.

    This was very satisfying and gives me a better feeling about myself since I also feel the guilt of not bringing in the big dough any more. My husband says he’s proud of me 😀 I love that.

    • May 21, 2010 3:56 pm

      Thanks for the words of wisdom – volunteering is totally on my “to do” list!

  3. Debbie permalink
    May 21, 2010 3:20 pm

    Maybe you can find some time to visit the in laws and go to the beach. I know you will not be unoccupied for long. I learned that early on with you.
    I’m so happy you got so much done last weekend although I really feel like a slacker when I read all that they did. HONESTLY we wanted to help when we came out! We really did! Bad weather and too many wineries conspired against us.
    The mint is beautiful! Good luck with the rest of the garden.

    • May 21, 2010 4:00 pm

      Those darn wineries! 🙂 Ha ha ha!

      We probably would have visited them with my parents, except that my dad has this weird disorder where he can’t sit still and relax. Ever.

      So that means it’s up to you, Elaine, and the Jims to finish touring all of the Michigan wineries with us… are you up for the challenge!?

  4. japortma permalink
    May 21, 2010 8:04 pm

    Jen to ease your mind I am also UNemployed this summer! I am 23, unemployed, have no house work to do since I live in a condo, and am NOT a stay at home mom…. 🙂

    • May 22, 2010 11:13 am

      yeah, but you’re a student still, so that doesn’t count. aren’t you doing research this summer?

      • May 23, 2010 12:19 pm

        no research for me!! My research is in the winter..on the ski hill 🙂 I just have to write the first half of my thesis this summer..which is proving hard to even START..hah!

  5. May 21, 2010 9:46 pm

    Great post. You should title it Must Love Dogs! Don’t worry about being idle, enjoy it while you can because some day it’s sure to change. What was your major in college?
    I’m sure I would go through those feelings about the baby too. I’m praying you will have good news to share on that front too. Now put your feet up and relax!

    Deb

    • May 22, 2010 11:20 am

      I was a psychology/chemistry major in college, and then got my doctorate in experimental psychology. Which means that I’m not trained to do any of the things that you would normally think of when you hear “psychologist”, but I can design & run experiments and tell you all about animal behavior and drugs…

  6. May 22, 2010 12:34 am

    Looking forward to the before and after pics! And some group doggy shots because it sure was crazy, especially saturday!

    @debbie: We really didn’t do that much, a lot of standing around giving advice and then Rob was crazy with the chain saw,trying to fell dead trees in the woods. I was afraid J&J might find themselves “Home on the Prairie” by the time he was done! We just aren’t good conversationalists; therefore we have to have a project going in order to have anything to talk about. I’m afraid we left as much mess as we cleaned up!

  7. May 22, 2010 4:28 am

    I went down to part time at my work before we had kids and others could not understand why – but for us it was the right thing to do.

    Just enjoy this chapter of your life.

    Lovely to see you back blogging – fab photos as ever.

    I am trying to blog daily using blog prompts as part of a mini carnval. I am enjoying blogging much more as a result!

    Met Elizabeth (lizards journey) from Florida in Made in Belfast with our respective hubbies. Lovely to meet her and brought back memories of meeting you 🙂

  8. May 22, 2010 11:33 pm

    I didn’t start following your blog until recently, so I didn’t know about your miscarriage. My first pregnancy also ended in miscarriage, and it was probably the saddest thing that I have ever experienced. Even now – with a 20 month toddler sleeping in the next room – I still get tears in my eyes when I think about it.

    We planted mint a few years ago and it has gone absolutely crazy, growing into part of the yard. We have a nice minty smell after mowing.

  9. GGG permalink
    May 23, 2010 7:05 pm

    So be a “Domestic Goddess” for awhile. They don’t make much money but a house needs more than money to make it a home! You seem to be good at the incidentals in a home and I’m sure Jason appreciates every bit of what you do around there!!

  10. May 25, 2010 10:58 am

    Jen,
    You should know by now that “work” is my relaxation…. and I guess I echo the “conversational issue” that your mother alluded to (even though I won the “non social misfit” contest in Mexico!!!).

    I could see Little J “working” for the greater benefit of aunts, uncles, moms, dads and cousins for the summer. Room and board, a bit of travel and volunter credits to boot.

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