A friend asked me how my “work downsizing” project was going and I reflected that it’s going pretty well. I looked at my calendar from last semester and realized I was working more, enjoying it less and not doing the sorts of work I wanted to be doing because I felt like I was so busy doing the work I should be doing. That had to change. It mostly did.
I kept most of my travelling work because I enjoy that a great deal, but I set things up so that I’m not coming back from a long trip just to go back to work the next day. I’m also not on call for as much tech support. I also say “no” more often. So I travel a few times a month, alternating between local and farther away. I charge more so I get paid better when I do travel and if the trip is a total nightmare (happens less and less often, but travel is always uncertain) I at least feel well-compensated. I trimmed down my drop-in and teaching days to one a week. Seems like almost none but teaching adult learners is a lot of work and this way drop-in time is full, rarely empty. I’m also a real librarian, sort of.
I’m helping a local library automate their collection of about 8000 books. I’m also doing their website and maintaining their computers. I have a job with librarian in the title but I’m not working with patrons, unless they bring their laptops in. I do that one day a week, sometimes a little more at home.
This month is vacation for a lot of the local students so I’m also lifeguarding at the pool. It’s just barely work to sit in an 85 degree room in the sunshine for a few hours but they do pay me. Add to this that my apartment is pretty much set up the way I like it — so I’m not endlessly re-arranging and can just sit and BE here — and I’ve actually got travel for fun scheduled during the holidaytimes when travel for work drops off.
Though I haven’t mentioned it much here lately, the treehouse has a guestroom, or a guest closet, and another spare bed. People cruising through Vermont won’t get quite the same palatial digs they may have gotten used to over the past five years, but this place also comes with no early risers and a barely used Bananagrams game. I’m expecting the WinterWonderland snowdump any minute now — had a little preview on Sunday as I was coming home — otherwise see you in the Springtime!
The maxim of the week is “How come every time I want to just run away and hide out from everything, it’s at precisely the time I can’t actually DO that?” A question which helpfully, now that I’m an adult, answers itself. I feel incredibly fortunate that this year I’ve got most of my holidaytimes planned out in advance; everything else is details.
So, I go to the pool and walk in the deep wet snow and try to eat decently and wait for springtime (or enough snow to go decently snowshoeing in) and realize that everyone else in my local community is doing pretty much the same thing, and to go easy on them. Today was the first day I had really bad roads to drive on and I reminded myself, like I do every year, that I live here on purpose and if I don’t like it, I can leave. I’ve reupped for another year or a few. Bring it on, winter. Please be somewhat lovely. I’ll be here all year.
The pool has still not fixed the broken phone and I’m not sure what to do about it except continue to ask “Have you fixed the phone yet?”
I’m pretty sure I got enough snow off the roof. When I went to swim at the pool I realized that I am all bruises up the arms and legs and I was a little sheepish in the shower about it. “It’s okay, I did this to myself!” Clearing off the roof without further ladder climbing — because I decided that was crazy — involved borrowing my friend’s half-broken roof rake (thank you Forrest!) and manipulating it through the two upstairs windows that I could open and open the storm windows for. So, the whole process was a bit like laproscopic surgery where the roof is large and the window is teeny and the rake is long and I am upstairs inside the house, standing five feet away from the open window trying to get a good angle so that I can push the last pile of snow off the far end. Also, did I mention all the electricity and telephone juice comes in the house through the same window, the one that opens? True. Did you know that if you hit that insulator with a rake at a certain angle that sparks fly off of it? It’s true.
So we’re supposed to get snow or rain this week. The pile of snow in the yard — created by the backhoe that my neighbor brought in to put the snow someplace besides the driveway — is now approaching ten feet tall and the neighbor kids are sledding down it. I am not joking. I have to say that the combination of my nifty AWD car and the new socks I got at the Cabot Hoisery have really minimized my annoyances with Wintertime this time around. I’ll have to take some photos before it all goes away, it’s really something.
I got a whole new outlook on garbage, mine in particular, when I had to carry it to the dump myself. In my own car, with my own hands, etc. I feel the same about the leaf explosion that is so popular around here. I love it, same as everyone, but the leaves in my own yard, the ones that come from these big beautiful trees, require moving. Last year Ola hadn’t quite left yet and so did most of the trim and mulch work herself. This year it falls to me. The good news is, I’m really enjoying it, a lot. The bad news is, it’s a LOT OF WORK to move each leaf just across the street. Also it’s starting to get really cold. Today I bought gloves and mulch, the slice across my middle finger reminding me that grass is sharp. Mulch is on sale, it’s that cold out.
And back on the topic of mail and writing. I got a lot ready to go this weekend. I packed and prepared four of my books — $84 straight to the EFF, yay for tiny fundraisers — and mailed a friend a box of lawn clippings that I suspect he’ll like. I wrote a letter to my Topsham Postmistress saying that I guess it was time I closed out my PO box there and stopped paying for it, and then I filled out a change of address form and checked the “permanent” instead of the “temporary” box on it. I mailed a copy of The Thin Man to a stranger on PaperBackSwap and I got my inbox down to normal levels by sending a few thoughful and overdue replies.
So today, oh my! I know that karma is mostly in my mind and that nothing I actually did this weekend was what caused my mailbox to be full of wonderfulness. Logically, I know this to be true. The mail I got today was sent before I even started my weekend reply-to project. And yet, there was something about feeling that not only did I get awesome mail, I halfway deserved it, that made the rest of my day shiny. What follows is a vaguely dull-to-others list of what I got.
- A letter from my friend who I sent the weeds to, full of news and XO signoffs
- An AskMe t-shirt from a relative stranger in just about my size and bright green
- A thank you note from the librarian who invited me to speak at NELA
- A check from my Mom whose domain I renewed over the weekend when we couldn’t figure out her password at Gandi (always make your kids your technical contact!)
- The phone bill, I love $19 DSL
- A silly reminder from my bank that they cashed yet another Canadian check for me
- A random birthday type present from an old friend including a top-notch Belgian chocolate bar, a tiny box of shells from Capetown, a card and my 128MB USB drive that I had lost at her house last December. Also a stick of RAM, for no reason I could fathom. I wish I could say that the drive contained something fun, but it was just class notes from last year.
I woke up today and it was freezing, frosty, frozen outside so I’ve switched the house into Winter mode which means closing all the inside doors, putting the weird little area rugs back around, locking all the doors but the side door, preparing to stop using 75% of the house, and buying plastic for windows. There should be one or two warm days left when I can put it all up. Today I just noticed the sun and the shade as I drove around. Sunny places were warm, shady places were still a little icy, or maybe they just felt that way to me.