Friday, July 29, 2005

Baby steps, indeed

Some days, you just have to give in. No matter how hard you try, it is just not going to happen.

I am on my third such day. Consecutive.

After turning in the rewrite of The Paper From Hell on Tuesday (without a final spell-check or end-to-end read-through - my mother would be horrified and at some level, I am), I proceeded to sleep for 48 hours. Well, off and on. Never mind that this very paper has to be turned into a coherent 20 minute conference presentation by next Thursday, never mind that I'm flying to New Bruswick on Sunday morning, less than 48 hours from now (the event is a full week, I present Friday morning, the last day), never mind that I cannot confirm the ability to print out and photocopy handouts at the conference venue (surely this won't be a problem, right?). I just can't get over the vomit factor any time my cursor hovers over the directory containing the paper and the last (very out-of-date) presentation of it. I have not begun to pack, I have done only minimal shopping to stock the house with supplies for husband and cats, the dishes haven't been done in two months and the laundry is stacked to the ceiling.

I broke down and changed the cat's litter yesterday (something DH has quiety been doing for the last six weeks while I am either working on The Paper or curled up in the fetal position crying about The Paper). But Tiger, ever ingenious, had pooped on the washroom floor and wrapped the floor towel carefully around it, which is his signal that the litterbox does not meet with his expectations. He has done this before, so we have an understanding. There would be no waiting for Dad to come home to deal with the litter, and it jarred me out of my post-paper doldrums. This small burst of domesticity spurred me on a bit. I then dumped two bottles of Dran-O down the washroom and kitchen sinks, which have been barely draining for weeks, in preparation for tackling the dishes before I leave on Sunday. I even washed some cutlery and a couple plates, and threw in a load of laundry that wasn't husband's work clothes.

And so it begins. Coming out of the self-imposed house arrest required for me to finish a large project, I begin to notice my surroundings and complete lack of housekeeping. Luckily for me, DH could really care less if the place is a junkyard, as long as he has clean underwear and work clothes, and a path to the television. I also notice a strange smell. Ah. That would be me. Time to shower, I think, something I've done only intermittently for the last while, i.e. when I was going to be out in public for more than 30 minutes. Time to wash the sheets that my stinky self has been sleeping fitfully on, and the blanket on the couch that I've been sweating on for weeks while I read and type. Time to determine just how many loads of laundry are in those bins. Time to decide if it's ethical to kill what is possibly a new life form growing under the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Time to begin re-shelving the textbooks and journals that litter the livingroom floor and coffee table. Time for a trip to Wal-Mart for necessities... cat litter, Freezey Pops (hey, there's a heatwave going on).

Today, after two days of doing nothing recovery, I decided to come into school to work at my desk on the conference presentation, since I wasn't getting any work done at home on that. You can see how well that's working. At some internal level, I am panicking, but on another level I know that when I'm on the wire, I will get it done. Come next Friday, there will be a presentation, all 20 minutes' worth, and handouts, and probably even a Powerpoint file, once I confirm the presence of projectors. And it will be, at the very best, a good, solid talk, and at the very worst, an OK talk which is over in 30 minutes.

This morning, I give in to my inability to focus, and enjoy the slight break in the recent heat, the fact that my persistent sore throat and ear troubles (going on week 3) are getting better, that I got to share a good breakfast with husband and drive him to work. And relish in my good parking karma, since I scored one of the rare all-day non-metered (i.e. free) spots behind the library and won't have to risk getting a $30 ticket for not running down to feed the meter every two hours.

Today might not be productive, but it's a step back into the world of the living.

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