Yuck.

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Oy, yesterday I got very little done. I think I was just too agitated. I became even more agitated after my aunt called.

First, yes, I know I took this job because it was close to family. I love my family, but truth be told, my aunt is annoying the fuck out of me right now. As you know, she spent a week with me, very generously, helping me unpack and clean the new place. Since then, she has called me once to twice a day to ask me when I’m coming to see her before school starts. And they are coming next weekend!! She calls me every day to get a progress report on my syllabi work, and thinks that I can just take a couple of days to finish *all* my prep work for the semester. Her latest plan? “Won’t it be fun if you came down this week and we all drove back to your house on Friday?!” No. That would not be fun. But I agreed. Today, after much angst and pissiness last night, I’ve decided to renege on this, and tell her that I will visit them for a weekend after school starts. I know I don’t need to explain to you, but explaining will help me articulate my own argument and make me feel less like a bitchy godchild who goes back on her promises.

I took last week off. I didn’t tell her that, but honestly, I fucking needed it man. I have not had one week this summer where I’ve gotten to do nothing, think about nothing, and just loaf. I’m not counting the five days I had the flu either because it was not relaxing and the whole time I thought I was dying and was thinking about that book chapter. So last week was the first week that I did not think about school, work, writing (I should have been, but whatever), articles, prep, whatever. I was alone for the first time in three weeks, and damn, it felt good to just do nothing. Nothing. As I’ve already indicated, I’m still kind of afraid to make long trips alone. (Although this would only be four and a half hours). Also, I’m just fucking tired of traveling. Since May 5th, I have traveled every two weeks. That’s not an exaggeration either. Every two to two and a half fucking weeks. I have not been in one place for more than about 17 days at a time. I went to the fam’s for my sister’s graduation–a 15 hour drive followed by a 2 hour drive to the graduation site. Then there for a couple of days, back to the fam’s and then back to Fancy Town. I turned around a day later and drove the 2.5 hours to the faculty retreat. Then a day or so later I came home. Then a week later I drove to Home City. I was there for 12 days before I went to the conference in beantown. Then home. then a week later I flew to Big Little Town for the interview. Then 2 weeks later we went to Fancy Town to start packing up. Then a week later we went to the parents for the fourth of July. Then a week after that, we drove to Big Little Town to look for a place to live. Then one week and two days later mom and I drove to Fancy Town from Home City (and we know how that trip went). Then a week later from Fancy Town to Home City. Then four days later, Home City to Big Little Town to move. And I’ve been in one place for two weeks now. I don’t feel like packing shit up, packing up the dogs, and driving four and a half hours for a two day trip right now. Plus, if I go on Wednesday, regardless of what my aunt says, I’m not getting any work done (because my work is *always* something that I can just work on later, but work that she always interrupts for something). And I don’t want to spend the weekend the J comes in working, because I don’t think that’s fair to me, especially when I will have spent more time with my aunt in the last month than with my husband.

If it sounds like I’m resentful, I am. Look I get it. She’s excited that I’m so much closer than I have been for the last 24 years of my life. But I have a new job. Two brand new preps, and one of those preps is basically a lecture class, and I’ve only ever prepared one real lecture in my whole life (okay, so why did I waste last week? I don’t consider it a waste really. I needed it). I think my aunt is being unreasonable with pressuring me into coming to visit her (it’s not like I’ve never been to her house–I was there four or five times last year!), and she’s great at making me feel like shit when I don’t comply to her requests. I love my aunt to death, but seriously. I don’t want to hurt her feelings (she’ll hold a grudge), but I guess she’ll get over it eventually. So I have to call her today and tell her it will be impossible. I still need to set up my office; I still have to go to hr; I still have two days of orientation. So yeah, I can totally take five days off just to hang out with my aunt some more.

Do I sound ungrateful? I’m actually dreading that phone call today, but she’ll have to get over it eventually.

 

ETA: Historically my aunt can be a bit of a drama queen, but I am pleased to report that she handled this extremely well. She actually had enough self awareness this time to recognize herself that she was putting a lot of pressure on me to come visit on Wednesday, and she came to her own conclusion that I could visit for a weekend after school starts. And she felt bad about that the fact that she realized that if I came to visit then I’d have to spend the weekend the J was in working. Yay! My aunt is all grown up now and has learned self-awareness! And now I can relax and not be so bitter!

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2 responses »

  1. You’re not being ungrateful. Honestly, if you’d moved to your current location but for a non-academic job, you’d have a built-in excuse: I work 5 days a week at an office and I can’t make the trip. In this regard, things will improve slightly when you start teaching, as that is something that people “understand” as our job. As I see it, you’re dealing with something that is a pretty common problem: people whom we love in our life but who don’t really understand what our job entails treat us like we’re college *students* who are off on “break.” My extended family totally does this with me. My mom and G. don’t anymore, but that is because I took a good few years explaining to them all the different parts of my job.

    I think the trick is to tell her that you can’t come but to explain in detail the “commitments” that you have for that time: and if you have to, say that “meetings” have come up. Now, the meetings might be with your lectures, or with your writing, or whatever, but “scheduled appointments” people respect – while they don’t respect “I have to stay home to write.” If you say that, they say, “Just bring the computer along! You can work anywhere!” Say, “I have to go into the office every day next week. I’m so sorry!” (And, in fact, actually doing that wouldn’t be a bad idea.) It’s just going to take some time to educate your family that while it’s great that you’re closer, you do have a life where you actually live – and 4.5 hours away is nothing to sneeze at.

    • Fortunately it all worked out. And you’re right–if for no other reason than to start getting my office set up, I’m going to try to make it up there at least three times next week to bring books and stuff to start clearing some stuff out of the house, and it make it look like it’s a legit office before classes start.

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