Last week, the kids' Christmas Break ended (on Tuesday--the teachers' break ended on Monday). The kids had a four day week, last week, and I got quite a bit actually done that I hadn't managed to get done while they were off (Mom-ing is a full-time job, especially when the weather's awful, and the kids are stuck inside, and leaves no energy of any type for anything else).
Sunday, I made chili, and had the imp's godfather, and the godfather's new girlfriend over for supper. She's very sweet, but I really think it's not going to work, long term. The imp's godfather is a conservative leaning libertarian Christian, and the girlfriend is a hard-left leaning pagan feminist that's so open minded she's in danger of losing her brain. The cats and kids liked her, and liked her kids, so she's not totally a lost cause, but...yeah.
And Sunday through Monday...it snowed. A lot. We got an inch or so on Sunday, then four and a half more on Monday. And school was cancelled on Monday, and the local PD declared emergency road conditions (rightly--the salt trucks and plows couldn't stay on the road). And through the course of the day on Monday, the temperatures plummeted.
Monday night into Tuesday, it got down below zero. We broke a long-held record for low temperatures. Tuesday, we also broke a long-held record for coldest high temperature (mid single digits). And local schools remained cancelled, but I had hopes for school being in session on Wednesday, so cut off the imp's TV viewing, and sent him off to play after lunch.
I got them both chased through the shower and put to bed on school night time, and then collapsed. Checked my email. Cussed. Because school was cancelled for Wednesday, and they announced it while I was chasing the kids through bedtime routines.
So, yesterday morning, I was trying to sleep in a bit, whilst Odysseus was getting ready for work, and Odysseus uttered an expression of shocked dismay.
Our hot water had frozen overnight.
Finally got that thawed around a quarter to 11:00 yesterday morning, then realized I was hearing water running under the house.
I don't know where the house shutoff valve is, assuming we have one, but I do know where the breaker box and well breaker is. Flipped that off, and have been trying to avoid needing to use the bathroom.
The plumber is supposed to get to us sometime today.
Needless to say, I've gotten very little done this week. Life has very much happened, and continues to happen. And all of this has been going on while the weather has my joints hurting enough that I'm dreaming in shades of more and less pain in my hands, knees, ankles, hips, and (as of last night) one shoulder.
I'm about ready to give up and do my best to get drunk tonight (after the plumber has been here and fixed our water issues). Works better for pain management than most of my other options.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The kids have been out for a bit over two weeks (they were out halfway through Thursday of the week before Christmas, and are still out as of today.
Tomorrow, they go back.
I suppose that, had this break had normal weather for this time of year in this part of the state, it wouldn't have been so bad. Unfortunately, it got really cold just before Christmas and stayed that way for most of the break. The weather only got tolerable outside a couple days ago, and the kids have spent part of today playing outside.
They have been absolutely miserable, trapped in the house by dangerously cold temperatures, and shared that liberally.
They desperately needed the space to go screaming and playing like crazy...and they didn't have that. They're not allowed to bring toys out of their rooms (because they don't take them back to their rooms), and aren't allowed to run, yell, scream, or roughhouse inside the house.
I tried taking them shopping...that wasn't what they needed. They needed time and space where they didn't have to control the play and noise impulses more than they needed to just get out of the house.
And I'm not taking them again when they're only out for a week or two. I won't be taking them with me on the grocery shopping trip again until I have to.
Tomorrow, though, they go back. And I can get to some jobs that really need done.
When the weather is whiplashing around (65 degrees today, 35 and wintery mix forecast for tomorrow, then cold, then warmer, then colder again, and on and off precip for the next ten days), you're scrambling to do last minute shopping for groceries not gifts, amongst the ignoratti that wait until four days before Christmas, and the kids get to stay home, so are constantly underfoot.
Yes, we have everything. No, we don't have anything wrapped.
Can I just go to sleep and wake up after the kids go back to school in January?
I have the kids out for two weeks plus two days (they have tomorrow off, and don't go back until the 9th). I'm going to have Odysseus reset the time permitted for them to play with their Kindle Fires, since the weather's going to be truly terrible for a lot of their break, and we don't have the garage cleared out yet.
I'm planning on working on editing the two pieces I have finished (Detritus and Normalcy Bias) while the kids are out, with a little writing when and as I can. I should have the first chapter of Detritus edited and posted tomorrow. I'm hoping to get it done and polished up (and put up for sale) by New Year's Day.
Kinda depends on the kids' behavior, and how much wrangling and referee-ing I have to do.
I'm already feeling the weather shift. I think I'm going to dig out my gloves, and not climb out of my sweats at all tomorrow.
Monday was the final exam time* for my 8:00 class; yesterday held the same for my 9:30 class. Yesterday, I turned in my final grades for both classes, my gradebooks for both classes, and the extra assessment paperwork for departmental accreditation for both classes.
All there is now is the wait for my final paycheck, the last working day of December.
Well. Twelve years (and a half) of teaching for the same university is finally done. It is such a huge weight off that I can't really articulate it.
(And yes, I had a student pestering me if there wasn't something they could do to boost their grade, and didn't I see their last blogs that they didn't tell me they'd done when they turned in their late paper? Well, why not? And does that boost them up to an A? No? Well, is there anything they can do?
In a word: No. No, I didn't see the blog, and even when I added the extra points in for that, it didn't bring the grade up to an A. For fuck's sake, they'd brought a D to a B just by turning in that one late paper. And no, there is nothing they can do at this point.)
I am so done.
And I am so ready to write full-time.
Speaking of which...'scuse me. Gotta go build word count.
*I don't do final exam. I do a last chance for late work that isn't a discussion board forum for class participation.
I've been teaching college for fourteen years, twelve of those at my
current institution. Same classes: Composition 1 or 2. I've seen
brilliant classes, and I've seen horrid classes. Mostly, I've seen
preparation dropping incrementally--not necessarily being prepared for
the level of writing, but preparation for life in general, and due dates
in specific. I've enjoyed helping those that need the extra help find
it, or figure things out. I will miss that.
I'll miss the classroom. I'll miss interacting with students, and watching them learn things. I'll miss challenging assumptions, and having mine challenged intelligently. I'll miss reading their ideas.
I won't miss grading. I won't miss the idea that there are certain things that Shall Not Be Said, certain ideas that Shall Not Be Challenged. I won't miss knowing that some demographics must be handed a grade, and a good one, that they didn't work for. I won't miss the idiots who don't want to be there, refuse to engage, and sometimes won't do even the minimum to pass.
I won't miss the department. It is not what it once was.
I won't miss how awful I felt after teaching only two classes.
I won't miss being unable to take care of my home and family.
Yesterday was my last day. Tomorrow is the last day I spend grading things turned in on time. Monday and Tuesday, I grade last-chance work and revisions, and I turn in final grades. Monday and Tuesday, I fill out the Research Paper rubric for the department for my two classes. And Tuesday, I turn my gradebooks and the rubrics in to the department via email.
After that, it's just waiting for December's paycheck to come in on the last working day on campus, and I'm finished with academia.