Thanks again everyone for all the helpful comments and suggestions and commiseration. It does help, and I do feel better about how I feel about some of these things.
So last night I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. Actually, I think I needed it. I feel like it’s been go-go-go since the first day of the Fall semester–while I’ve had several "breakdowns" in between (I cry a lot when I’m stressed, but how good does a good cry when you’re stressed feel?!), but by the time classes start, I will have had almost five weeks vacation. Five weeks should be enough time to detox. I’m sure it’s the travel, the immediate thoughts about the coming semester, the students who’s complaints just won’t die and insecurity about how the higher ups are going to handle one of the issues (though I will say when it comes to the Provost, his reply to a couple of student complaints have been basically that the students don’t have a leg to stand on for their complaints, which gives me some confidence)–the other two are cut and dry, like I said.
Anyway, that was only part of the "breakdown." Today is the last day of The J’s leave. It’s also the last day that he gets paid. I was able to put a bunch into savings so far. I’m considering going ahead and paying the mortgage for February right now and maybe a couple of the other Feb 1 bills to give us a little bit of breathing room since we have a trip in February for the marathon. I’m trying to balance this. That’s part of the stress. Bye-bye income. Now we have a new car payment and the insurance that comes with that. Granted, I love the new car, and we needed it, but now that reality is hitting. Then the J tells me last night that this summer we’ll probably need to replace the roof on the house, or at least part of it. And I’m stressed about that damn abstract deadline tomorrow for which I have two sketchy ideas and a shit ton of reading that I need to finish for them by 5 tomorrow because that’s when we’re going over to the J’s dad’s house. But this is not what has sent me over the edge.
There’s a cat or a couple or we think/thought there were cats. The Roommate has seen a cat. There are no mice problems this winter for the first time since we’ve been here, so we assume it’s the cat(s). We figure, "well, we’d rather cats in the attic than squirrels, raccoons, or bats or mice or rats, so stay warm kitties because this summer your home is gone." I don’t even want to think about the damage though and what that’s going to smell like in the summer. However, it is NOT a cat. We have RACCOONS! Motherfucker! I was trying to figure out what this powder was over the sink. I thought someone had spilled coco mix. Nope. That fucker has been working a hole above the sink (where I think a light used to be? I honestly don’t even remember this hole!) in the kitchen to try to get inside. He stuck his paw through the whole last night. At first we thought it was a cat. But when we looked at the paw and he drew his paw in and stuck his nose in the hole, we realized it was a RACCOON! Those fuckers are mean and destructive! If this were in Fancy Town in the apartment, then at least the apartment people would have to take care of it, but noooooooo! It’s at the house. We have to do something. And raccoon removal can be upwards around $300! There is a "do it yourself" option which I am not pleased about at all, but we’re going to try it first before dropping $300. The J’s BFF has his own pest control business. They used to do rodent/critter removal, but I don’t think they do anymore. However, they have traps we can use free of charge (since it’s the J’s BFF’s company), and apparently we are in no danger setting up the trap and transporting the raccoon to a field outside the city. We have been assured that this is easy and safe for us. I’m still nervous about this. I don’t want to spend the $300; however, I don’t really want to be attacked by a raccoon and have to get rabies shots. So I guess the J and the Roommate are going to have to take care of this one. And that is only if they still have traps. It may be the case that BFF’s company is trapless and we spend the $ to have the city come out and do it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be $300, but it could be up to that depending on the size and number of raccoons. I mean, there are several advantages to home ownership–this is not one of them.
Some of you might be wondering–uh, why do you own a house and live in an apartment in a different city, state? The short answer is that it’s too cheap to actually really give up. If the J’s entire family did not live in Home City, then it would be pointless to keep it, honestly. And we are going to look for a cheaper apartment this summer. And eventually, we will invest some $ into this house and fix it up because really, I look at this house as like our only investment right now. We don’t have enough equity to hardly break even on it if we tried to sell it, and we don’t have enough equity to get a home improvement loan (not that we could afford one right now anyway), but I think honestly, in the long term, it’s worth having it. And especially as long as the Roommate wants to live here and pay rent, then there’s no point in trying to get rid of it. If no one lived here, it’d be a different story. It’s nice, too, to have a place to escape though.
So yeah the raccoon has driven me over the edge. I drank about a whole bottle of wine myself last night (perhaps more), had some chocolate and some crazy weird dreams as a result. I feel a little long in the tooth this morning, and it’s a cloudy ass day right now. I need to do work on my syllabus right now. I also need to work on that abstract that’s due tomorrow. But the syllabi also need to be finished before we leave because a) I don’t want to spend the weekend working on them and b) I want to get to campus on Thursday and print off everything I need, take care of the last of the plagiarists’ file, and get everything ready so all I have to do is really just show up on Monday.
A fucking raccoon man. A fucking raccoon.