We had our anniversary the other day and I wrote this super tearful thing about my love for my husband but then deleted it because I don’t want to get a reputation for being sappy. But please know that it was VERY heartfelt and emo and that my love for my husband is profound. We have been together thirteen years! If our relationship were a child it would be menstruating by now, fancy that.
You should see him. He is such a shaggy old devil, with silver hair and white streaks in his beard. He looks like a crazy religious man on a mountain who’d point his arm dramatically and yell something about revelation. But really he is just a skinny old hound working on his syllabus from dawn to dusk; a religious calling of a different kind. He is the nicest, funniest, smartest hunk alive. I am so lucky I hitched my wagon to his star. Him and his robot face.
I’m at the coffee shop trying to work on this thing on narrative I’m supposed to write. It’s not boring at all, it’s interesting, and yet I still am having a hard time motivating myself to dig into it. It’s just those late summer blues, where all you want to do is wander around dazed outside and read Charles Portis novels and drink refreshing beer. We have a jam-packed week, with my mother in law visiting, both our birthdays, and various social engagements. Once my MIL leaves we have a week to pack and move into our new house. Then one week to get settled. Then it’s off to the races! The sellers asked us if we want their pole apple-picker. UH…..WHAT DO YOU THINK
I have with me a very heavy box I have to mail to Katy. For a long time Katy and I have had a deal where I subscribe to the New Yorker and she doesn’t, and so I give her my old issues when I’m done with them. At some point I started annotating them with post-it notes, telling her what to read and what to avoid, and giving some of my thoughts on the various subjects. Now that we live across the country from one another, it is harder to pass my old issues off to her. So a few times a year I send her a huge box of annotated New Yorkers and she deals with them as best she can. It’s turned into a real project. I pile them up over the months then finally when there are enough to fill a large box I sit down with my post-its and go through them. It is cool because in annotating them I revisit all of them. Oh yeah, this crazy article about the math guy! Oh yeah, this article about all those journalists who got beheaded, DON’T READ THIS ONE!
It costs about $40 to mail but it is worth it, because of recycling and also friendship. Several times when telling people at work about the band I play in I have used the term “life partner” to describe Katy; I think it’s an apt term.
This semester is going to be a real fucking trial by fire w/r/t my ability to grade like the wind. I’ve been steadily decreasing the amount of time it takes me to grade a paper, over the past five years, and this semester will be the ultimate test. I feel very strongly that you have to get papers back to students within one week, which is fast turnaround time but I’ve decided that it’s a matter of personal honor and so far I have never broken this rule. This semester I’m teaching two classes in which the students turn in a piece of writing almost every class. 20 students in each class, so that’s 40 things to grade, times at least two times a week in one of the classes, so that’s 60 things to grade every week for lets say 12 weeks. PHEW. My right hand is going to need a full 90 minute massage. There aren’t enough pens in all of Christendom to keep up with that level of grading! SHE’S CRAZY! Plus of course the delightful added burden of being expected to write a book and present at national conferences throughout this time. Well such is the life I have chosen. And on the flip side, I am giving zero final exams, and I also decided to have my grad students turn in NOTHING, EVER, and just do oral exams, so there’s that. Every little bit helps.
I don’t really mind grading. I complain a lot while it’s happening, but all things considered it’s a pretty satisfying chore. Unlike almost everything else I have to do for my job, it is a concrete task with a definite beginning and end. I so rarely get to have that experience of leaning back in my chair and being like “I FINISHED A TASK,” but you get that with grading. When you have to work all day every day, 6-7 days a week, on primarily nebulous and neverending stuff like “learn about the history of narrative” or “write a book” it can be nice to have some of those days devoted to a routine and concrete task where you don’t have to think too hard. Just pick up your stack of papers, your sack of pens, all the treats you use to trick yourself into staying focused, rub your “tension tamer” oil on the back of your neck, put on your most comfortable sweatpants and your 17-hour-long “white noise” iTunes genre, and just fucking go for it. The other thing is that now that I am baking bread more regularly, or trying to, I am realizing that grading is the perfect task to do while baking bread. Grade three papers, turn the dough; grade three papers, turn the dough; all governed by the timer beeping at you; by the time the bread is done so is your grading; what a fucking GREAT DAY that is! Pour a large wine and put on the Dire Straits album your husband hates so much and CHILL THE F OUT
I will be doing that every week! The payoff will be sweet, sweet bread
So I am looking forward to that.
I thought the new Wet Hot was great.
We’ve discovered this thing called CIDER JELLY where apparently you boil a gallon of apple cider for a thousand hours and then it turns into this gelatinous intense blob that is super sweet and super sour and doesn’t quite taste like anything you’ve ever tasted before, and also needs no refrigeration??? So that is a thing that happened.
My birthday is in three days. I am turning 38! Doesn’t seem so bad.