Sunday, August 25, 2013

Isolation

I've spent much of the day feeling grouchy and fighting the urge to binge eat and do lots of emotional eating. Fortunately I was able to combat much of that (although I did eat some jelly beans and a tablespoon of some exceptionally delicious peanut butter), but my appetite has been wonky the past week or so: I've eaten even when I haven't been hungry, even when feeling uncomfortably full before eating, which has been most of the time. I have a lot on my mind and I'm worried about being able to handle everything.

My teaching began this past week, thank goodness; I was in dire need of getting back to work, both financially and for my own mental health. I have a really great teaching schedule this semester: three classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first of two classes at the most convenient campus (three-and-a-half miles away) begin at 10 a.m., and the last class ends shortly before 4 p.m. at the next most-convenient campus (just under seven miles away). Effectively I teach for about three hours, then I have an hour and 40 minutes between classes, which is just enough time to go home and have some lunch and a short break before heading off to that last class of the day. Fortunately, home is on the way from one campus to the next, so it's quite convenient.

(Last semester's classes were really all over the place. I am decidedly not complaining or unhappy about having had three classes, but an 8:30 a.m. class, a 2:30 p.m. class, and a 7 p.m. class, from campus A to campus B back to campus A was really something else.) I had nice long breaks in between, during which I could manage to get a lot of grading done, but it felt like I was teaching from morning to night without any real mental breaks in between, since I was always thinking about the next section to teach.)

Grad student classes begin this week. I'm nervous about juggling teaching three classes and taking three classes, tutoring four hours (one day a week at the nearest campus), and potentially subbing. If anything goes it'll be the subbing, but I'm hoping I can manage at least the very occasional one-day-per-month to keep me active in the subbing pool (otherwise I would have to reapply for the position, and I'd really like to keep the subbing ongoing).

The adoption paperwork has by-and-large come together; it's taken us the better part of a month to take care of everything we needed to: complete the paperwork; send away for various legal notarized forms (all of which come from other states and therefore take up to two weeks); write autobiographical statements; make decisions about the child we'd like to welcome into our home; get fingerprinted for FBI and state-run background checks (the former of which we both need, since although Utah doesn't require FBI background checks for domestic adoptions, we don't know which state our baby will be born in, and other states might have that requirement; and since I haven't lived in Utah for the past five years, the home study agency will need to run background checks on me in those states, although why Ed wouldn't need to get a Utah background check done also in spite of having lived in Utah is beyond me).

This week we both have doctor appointments; it's the last big step to be completed before sending in the paperwork to the home study agency before we wait a few weeks in order to even have a caseworker come to our house. It's like a prescreening interview questionnaire you have to fill out before you can submit your cover letter.

I'm feeling a bit lonely and I wish folks took a proactive interest in all of this, but of course I haven't heard a peep from anyone. I sent emails to various people telling them a little bit about what's up but I could really use people to be interested and check up on us once in awhile. Ed's friends A. and K. are being wonderful and supportive and asking questions and sharing stories, which has been really great. My parents have asked questions, too, and so has one of my closest friends, M., from college, and friends have been supportive when we've asked them to be points of contact for the home study, but I haven't really heard much of anything from folks beyond, "Hey that's great, sure, glad to help!" And nothing to follow it up with. Perhaps I need to be more proactive in involving a support system myself.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fall Semester Reading List

When you're a a grad student in an English program, there's a lot of reading. Like, a lot. And a lot of writing, but...the all the books!

Because of my assigned enrollment date, classes filled up quickly and it was the literature classes (in my world, electives) that were ultimately available. (New student = no credits = can take anything and still have it count for the degree.) There were actually quite a few classes still available, but the classes available were electives, as opposed to the required classes for my concentration. I registered for three classes that looked promising.

English 560 - Literary Criticism:
English 641 - Eighteenth-century Literature:
For English 655 - The Novel and Its Tradition (we're focusing on the gothic):

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mental Cleansing


Yesterday Ed and I went to the bank that holds his safety deposit box, and (after two years of marriage) had me added to the account; we emptied the box, taking everything in it home with us in two bags. Yesterday and today we went through the piles of things that had been saved, in some cases for decades. Most of what was in the box was Ed's: high school and college transcripts; expired passports and old ID cards from our teenage years (and in my case, with my maiden name); tax returns dating back to 1992; moving expenses and old apartment leases from three states ago; etc. Some things are to be kept, of course (more recent tax returns; birth and marriage certificates; religious documentation like baptism and confirmation certificates; etc.

So far we've shredded, I think, five bags' worth of old stuff. It's amazing how much better I feel, ridding ourselves of decades' worth of useless stuff that seemed so important to keep at the time (although admittedly, the majority of it wasn't mine). I feel better having been added to the safety deposit box; I can now take care of things more easily if something happens. (I'm sure I could gain access to the box if Ed were to die or become incapacitated, as a spouse, but this way it's simply easier.)

Ed is his mother's son in this particular way: He saves everything, all receipts, years beyond the time when it's useful to have saved. I do this sometimes, too, though; it's good to periodically go through one's stuff, ascertain if one still needs something, and remind oneself where some of those important documents are. We figured we might need copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate for an upcoming home study or adoption paperwork.

We still have a few things to organize, to figure out what goes where, but that's the easy part, now that everything else has been cleared out and shredded. It's mentally cleansing.