Friday, February 8, 2008

geekiness and a bit of whinging

Further to my post of 23 January, the Other Parent alleges that he's "too busy" to look through "all the hard drives" he allegedly has scattered about to find the digital photos he so blithely assured me that he has. I thanked him warmly for his honesty, since it's so much better not to have unreasonable expectations - now I simply won't expect that he'll do what he said he would, despite having what looks like loads of time on his hands, being unemployed and all. Did he 'get' the irony? Does it matter?

Classes are going very well (at least from my perspective!) and I'm having a lot of fun. I must confess that I think I'd prefer simply to read texts and discuss their contents, rather than to read them with an eye to a certain point. Huh? The class which was advertised in the course description as "Middle English Literature" is, apparently, "Virtue and Vice in Medieval Literature". Yeah, whatever. I'm still getting to read Aquinas and Langland and Mannyng. I did find it interesting that the professor is the organizer of not one but two sessions on "Virtue and Vice" topics at the conference at Kalamazoo. Coincidence? I rather doubt it. Still, I give her full points for resourcefulness. If I were in her position, I'm sure I'd seek to consolidate all of my efforts, too.

Kalamazoo... I really want to go! It's Thursday through Sunday of Mothers Day weekend. I'm supposed to have the children that weekend, of course.... Is Mothers Day intended for bonding with my pumpkins, or is it meant for me to enjoy according to my usually-suppressed preferences? Could I go but come back for Sunday? What will my mother think? Herr Doktor Professor is going... giving a paper... obviously Frau Doktor Professorin is going as well. Two of my friends from Leeds in 2006 are on the list as participants. My brother might be going, but he hasn't decided yet. *harrumph* I do have that ticket on SouthWest that I need to use. And Anne's in Michigan - so's Laura - so many decisions. And not least among these is whether to allow the Other Parent that extra time with them!

Tuesday was a bit of a drag. It was POURING. I parked at preschool and hoofed it toward campus, but gave up less than halfway there and waited for a bus. When I got to class, I put my gloves on the heater (just like they do at preschool) to dry and resisted the temptation to do the same with my soggy sneakers. I stayed out of puddles, but the rain was coming down so hard that my feet ended up drenched anyway. Thank goodness I'd arranged with Meg for her to pick me up after class to go to the gym! In class was interesting - we touched just briefly on Boethius, which wasn't assigned until Thursday. What I knew of him, I knew only because I'm an incurable geek and have been listening to Modern Scholar series lectures including "Masterpieces of Medieval Literature" - or maybe it was "Odyssey of the West part III, the Middle Ages", but anyway, Boethius and his fall from grace in late Imperial Rome and his writing of the Consolation of Philosophy while imprisoned awaiting a gruesome death (along with his entire family) had been covered in a series I'd just finished. Whew!

After our workout, Meg dropped me in the center of town (the rain having stopped) and I got a gorgeous chocolate chip brownie at the Black Sheep, and sat down to read Chaucer's translation of Boethius from Latin to Middle English. I must say that it was painful enough that I thought once or twice that I'd probably rather have just read it in Latin. This, bear in mind, despite the fact that I last studied Latin when I was 17.

Later that afternoon, things turned really sucky. Turns out that just because I had a signed contract with my cell phone provider, that didn't mean that my obligation to them actually ended when the contract said it did. So, long story short, despite my disputing the validity of the cancellation fee from my switching providers, they want $260 by February 21st, or they send me to collections. I am just furious. Well, that and I don't have $260 to spare before the 21st! Moreover, their finance department won't set up a payment schedule. They only do that for continuing accounts, not cancelled accounts. I will refrain from public invective here, but I do have on my (very long) to-do list a detailed and outraged letter to their CEO, detailing the shady manner in which I found myself obligated to them without my consent or knowledge.

Not surprisingly, this delightful discovery put a bit of a damper on my spirits - so much so that I was sorely tempted to blow off rehearsal on Tuesday night. I didn't, of course, knowing that if I just sucked it up for a while, the music would revitalize me. It did, mostly. We started in sectional rehearsals first, and the altos (bless them) seemed to have the lionesses' share of the sectional director's attention. Me? I pulled out my Riverside Chaucer and worked on Fortune. I must say again that the glossary in the back of the Riverside Chaucer is, IMHO, spotty at best. It includes translations of words that are obviously cognates, in some cases differing from Modern English by only one character, while omitting totally unrecognizable words. The University of Michigan "lookups" function on their website is often not userfriendly. I found myself rather frustrated rather quickly. I overcame that by just inserting the untranslated word into my pencil-written attempt at translation and pressing on. The singing was definitely good for me.

Wednesday morning I had to get up early-ish, despite the children not being home, because the dog had an appointment at the vet. She's 11 now, and suffers from anxiety (as well as being generally neurotic) and, apparently, arthritis. We got out only bearably over budget, but with three prescriptions to fill at Wal-Mart. That said, thank goodness for Wal-Mart's pharmacy! I filled all three for less than one had been at the vet's. Seriously, though... Prozac and Xanax for a dog? Oh well. I do love the old bitch, and rather prefer her happy and content rather than flipping out and digging out under the fence. My road is a highly traveled 'shortcut', and the 30 mph speed limit is cheerfully ignored by 95% of the drivers.

Wednesday night found me still working on Fortune in anticipation of Thursday morning's class. Thank goodness I'd already done the readings for Thursday night's class! Anne turned up on IM, and we slogged at it together. Mostly I slogged and she opined on my slogging, but it was somewhat less wretched than slogging solo. It was midnight before I got to bed, and after having tossed and turned until 3 the previous night, I was Not Happy when the alarm went off on Thursday morning. I was so tired I thought I was going to puke, and it just got worse when I remembered that it was Thursday, which meant that I was going to be on the go until about 10 that night.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the new fridge came Thursday morning! Despite not having called the night before as advertised, Sears did call at about 8:15 and say that they'd be there in about 15 minutes. They arrived right at 8:30, took out the old fridge, (16 years old and had been moved six times - two of those being over 1,000 miles) and brought in the new one. It fit!!! It's taller than the old one but fit - barely. We are very pleased with it. Nevertheless, once the thing was in place, I had to jam all the refrigerated food back into it (though I did just consign the frozen goods to the outside freezer). The net result was that I was late getting out of the house, parked at preschool, and hoofed it toward campus. I don't run, as a rule - the Navy required it of me for long enough, thankyouverymuch. I certainly don't run uphill with a backpack. Furthermore, it was snowing/freezing raining, though lightly. In places the sidewalk was just too slippery to run. I ended up 10 minutes late for class and was Not Happy. Furthermore, we spent the entire class on the Boethius. I wound up extremely frustrated - I'd stayed up way too late preparing for something we didn't even cover, plus what we did cover was tricky. The assignment was way too long for me to have attempted a translation of it, anyway... but I found myself in a bit of a fix. I chose these classes because I knew they'd be challenging, but now I'm frustrated because I'm a spoiled brat who never really had to work very hard as an undergrad, and if I did have to work hard, the work came together fairly easily. Now I'm busting my brains open and still struggling. Gah. The night class was much less frustrating, though I did yawn quite a bit. Still, I find myself asking more questions than I'm answering, which worries me. Am I not smart/clever/bright/insightful enough for this work? Do I just not have
enough background, or at least not the same background as the other students? They seemed to be getting it. *insert inferiority complex here* Anyway, we had to speak up and choose which class we wanted for our turn at initiating the discussion. I chose the two Thursdays of school vacation weeks, since I know the children will be going to the Other Parent's house on Wednesday at noon of those weeks, and that'll give me enough prep time. I hope.

Returning to my frustration with the glossary, I schlepped to Northampton yesterday to see if my friend Mike's scoop on the used bookstore's Chaucer selection might yield a suitable glossary. It didn't. Neither did Barnes & Noble have it, nor did either of the bookshops in town. I could order it, but it was over 20 bucks even used at Amazon. Fortunately, I recovered use of my senses and discovered that there were circulating copies available at two of the five colleges. I went to Amherst College today and checked one out. I do love both interlibrary loan and the Five College library sharing deal!

Younger Boy has been coughing, and since he had pneumonia last summer, I took him in for a look-see this morning. It's just a cough - not strep (which is going through his kindergarten), not pneumonia, just a cough. Still, he's very fussy tonight, and has been waking partway up and crying. I have him in my bed now and will probably just let him stay there overnight. Much kinder/gentler than either one of us having to traverse the stairs in the wee hours if he stirs again.

I think that's everything I can think of. Thanks for reading this far! Please humor me by leaving a comment. Surely there's something in all this that you have an opinion on?

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