Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back from the Brink (Otherwise Known as Being Buried in Work)

The Picket Fence Post family has not fallen off of the face of the earth, nor has it been swept away in the winds of the hurricane.

We've been here, in the Picket Fence Post domicile in the suburbs of Boston, with our three middle schoolers who've been busy doing their adolescent things (including busting a cell phone, overdoing it with the noxious and likely toxic Axe body spray and testing their, uh, independence). We've been here with our freshly emboldened canine thief who aggressively dives at any unattended food with surprising swiftness given his stout build (like that slice of apple pie Max stole from my plate the other night the second I got up from the sofa). We've gone to soccer games, hockey games, band rehearsals, basketball tryouts, and I broke my left ring-finger (I think it was broken but I didn't go to the doctor to confirm because I'm an idiot) while "helping" the kids prep for said basketball tryouts.

We shelled out a healthy fistful of greenbacks for a hideously stupid-looking orange bodysuit (see above), also known as our 11-year-old's Halloween costume. We mourned the horrific conclusion of a Red Sox season which, sadly, resembled the kinds of seasons I used to experience when I was but a young Sox fan in my Sox jacket decorated with my Dwight Evans button, never imagining I'd have to wait until I was the mother of three to see a Boston World Series victory.


Together, the five of us in the Picket Fence Post family have shared laughs during the new episodes of Modern Family (loved the bit about Luke besting Phil at magic) and The Middle. The Eldest Boy and I are still catching up on the new season of The Mentalist, a show we like to watch together.

But I haven't been doing any writing. For weeks. And it's been driving me crazy. It's like trying to hold your breath for too long. It's unnatural and not at all good for you, at least it's not good for me.

Likewise, I haven't done a few other things that I normally do at this time of the year, like take the family apple picking, visit a pumpkin patch where we pay too much for giant gourds, carve said gourds and leave them to rot in a moldly heap on our front doorstep until Thanksgiving, or go to the Big E, the New England fair held in western Massachusetts and indulge in overly caloric, fried grub that would make Michael Bloomberg woozy.

Why? Why have I been off of my writing game and missed my celebrate-my-favorite-season-of-autumn-activities? I've become a full-time assistant professor teaching writing and journalism at a local institution of higher learning. In short order, I needed to craft not just a syllabus for the writing course, but create a new course about online and social media. In addition to teaching/grading and researching/designing a class, I've been helping to advise the staff of the student newspaper two nights a week.

The other big thing that has rendered me exhausted to the point where I don't think mere flavored coffee alone is potent enough to keep me awake over the long-term (I may have to look into those Turbo shot thingies at Dunkin' Donuts) is a non-fiction book project I've been researching for months. I'm in the process of conducting dozens of interviews as well as observing an educational process (can't give you the details now) three mornings a week. We're talking EARLY in the morning. Six o'clock hour early. The if-I-don't-get-caffeine-into-my-system-NOW-somebody's-gonna-get-hurt early.

However, despite sleep deprivation, autumnal celebration deprivation and coping with pediatric complaints about my new gig (one of the kids accused me of ruining this individual's life by taking a full-time job because, you know, I have nothing better to do than to concoct ways in which I can wreck his life, right?), I'm hopeful that things are becoming somewhat manageable right now, or maybe it's just the sleep deprivation talking.

Image credit: SuperFanSuits.com and Jordin Althaus/ABC.

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