Category Archives: this really fucking sucks man

Completely Disheartened

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I just found out that my dear friend here, my best friend here, has been denied tenure. Ze more than had the required publications and conferences, had the student evaluations ze needed, and service out the wazoo. Ze was given no explanation, no “you’re tenure was denied due to budget cuts, etc.,” just a form letter stating that the university has decided against ze’s tenure application. Which now the school is going to need to spend money to replace hir, so we are all a bit stunned and confused.

This has me questioning my move here then. If someone who has met and in some places exceeded the tenure requirements is denied tenure, then what does that mean for the two of us who were just hired for this year? I already have 2/3 of my page requirements for tenure. By the end of the summer I’ll have almost all of the new page requirements. I still have yet to find out what my teaching evals look like though, but there seems to be positive buzz in the hallways about me. And no one has complained…yet. I won’t hold my breath.

I’m beside myself with grief over this.  I mean, I don’t want to make this about me, but I’m full of doubt now about what I’m doing here, and how I’m going to be able to make tenure. In many ways I’m much happier with my job here although I I feel like my timeline for what I need to accomplish just got moved up.

I feel like what I’m looking at here, then, is that in order for me to be able to put in a successful tenure bid, I’m going to have to not only exceed the requirements, but I’m going to have to double them. I mean, I had always planned on not doing just the minimum because I wanted a safety net, but it seems the safety net isn’t even good enough here. Granted, things can really change in the next five years here, but given the state I’m in, it could also change for the worse because our governor isn’t really a huge education supporter, at least not when it comes to forking out money for it.

Again, I know that I have made this about me–it’s just seems that ze’s tenure denial means that the rest of us are on much shakier ground than we were a week ago. While I know that my stress now is nothing compared to the stress and uncertainty of my friend’s situation now, it means that I must really map out my research goals and plans here and quit dicking around in the mornings.

It means that I have to make good on my plan to get the smaller article done–I must now do it by the end of this month. Less than 2 weeks to do that. At which point I’ll then have to figure out a research plan that allows me to use the stuff I’m need for the conference paper for the larger article that now must be completed by the end of summer. At the very least, the rough draft of the article needs to be finished by the time classes begin in September. This also means that if I am indeed going to write this book that I want to, I will need to have a proposal written by the end of Winter quarter 2013 and at least a chapter ready by the end of next Spring. Those of you who have written books, is that a reasonable timeline? I need to secure the page requirements for tenure before I start trying to work on this thing. I’ve got to at least have a solid article to send out to something well-placed. I know the possibility of rejection is high, so I need plenty of time to work on revisions and the like.

Or is this a bad plan?

Keep on Trying…

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I find it no small coincidence that as yesterday marked the one month anniversary since my car accident that yesterday was the day of my biggest meltdown in months. I actually didn’t realize that it had been one month to the day until my third gin and tonic for with dinner what day it was. Yesterday was another day of not being able to focus, again, I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with the mass amounts of ice cream, sugar, dairy, caffeine, etc., that I consumed all weekend. :/ But the day started off ok. I got the bills spreadsheet set up through December. While I don’t know what the utilities here will be, I tried to estimate on the high end. It turns out that the cable “deposit” that I had to put down when they did the cable, phone, and internet was really the first month’s bill, so all I owe on that until Oct. is $2. Then the J called to tell me that the title company is paying the back taxes on the house in Home City (did I tell you guys about that? If not, remind me to), and that they are going to track down the “official” owner of the land and get us the proper deed. So yes, that saves another $300 and we get the land that is rightfully ours, and since the J apparently has title insurance, the title company does this for free.

Now I am able to give my parents some money by tomorrow, a couple of hundred more than I had anticipated.

So all right. Then the bottom falls out. Someone from the management company from the apartment complex in Fancy Town emails me to let me know that she halted the August rent from going into collections and wants to know when we are going to pay it and if I would like her to contact my father (his name is on the lease, too, as he helped us pass the credit check for the apartment). What?? Yes, I know in the lease it says that I’m responsible for the rent through the lease; however, when we said we were moving out of town, we were led to believe that this was an acceptable reason to break the lease and that there would not be a penalty. And my conversations with this woman up until this point indicated as much, too, as she never said either that we were still on the hook for it. Legally, yes, I know they have every right to collect the remainder rent and that legally we don’t have a leg to stand on, but it’s super douchey, and I’ve never been penalized for breaking a lease to move out of state because to me, it seems unreasonable to think that one’s job search or education should be limited to the terms of one’s lease. Look, I know if we had a house, we’d be obligated to continue to pay the mortgage even if we moved out of state, but this seems different to me. But since I mentioned that the J’s move from the apartment is related to his orders to work in Home City, she seems to be willing to work with this. And if not, then she seems to be willing to let us pay it off in installments, though ideally, I don’t think we should have to pay the August rent. The other thing that chaps my hide about it is that they are charging us $150 to clean the apartment. We cleaned the apartment before we left. And I’ve never been in an apartment where the management company has not brought in their own cleaners before another person moved in. And I paid $700 in pet deposits which is for the carpet cleaning after we leave, so really? That pisses me off.

As I type this out, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal right now. But yesterday, I felt like the world was ending. I was so angry that I was crying and shaking, and I could hardly speak. That was it. That was the last straw. And then there was this huge storm and I had to give both the dogs benedryl, and then the Divine Miss T peed on my laundry bag of *clean* clothes, mind you (and I have no washer or dryer yet), and then that sent me over the edge all over again. The J says it will all work out. Super Fabulous Awesome (Former) Colleague assured me that in a year from now I won’t even remember this, and they are both right, but yesterday, it was too much to handle. I yelled at Miss T for peeing on my clothes. I woke up this morning in tears. And then I went to lay on Miss T to snuggle with her and she was laying awkwardly on my stuffed animal (yes, I *still* sleep with a stuffed animal, the same one since I was 17, which sounds even more pathetic), and when I laid next to her, I pushed her shoulder in the wrong direction and she started to cry. Sigh. She’s okay, but that made the tears just flow even more.

Look, again, as I type this, I know it sounds like I’m a giant baby, and I’m a little bit embarrassed actually for reacting the way I did. But this last month has just been too much. Actually the last seven weeks, if you count the Home City house issue, have just been too much. I know intellectually that things could be worse. I mean, there could have been a real tragedy with the car accident (which haunts me actually–I think often about what I could have done differently, what I should have done differently, what could have happened if things had been different–irrational, I know, but it bothers me), and there wasn’t, and nothing that has happened this summer has been a tragedy, but yesterday, it just felt like the world was ending. I feel like the universe is punishing me, and I can’t figure out why. Maybe if I got my shit together it wouldn’t keep throwing me curve balls to keep fucking with stuff. And compounding the stress is always in the back of my mind that the longer the finances are screwed up, the longer the J has to work in Home City and can’t move here, the longer his school is delayed, the longer our lives are on hold (again).

This is just exhausting, and I need to find a way to run in the mornings before it gets so hot. I gotta start over again somewhere.

I guess I’m going to give today another shot. In the wise words of Poco, I guess there’s “nothing I can do/But I’m gonna keep on trying…”

A bunch of stupid annoying shit last week that was a P.I.T.A.

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Thank you all for the well wishes regarding the auto accident. I don’t think the pictures do the accident justice, but here they are:

My poor Soul. The insurance adjuster said that it was over $15K in damages. And I think we got gap insurance when we bought the car, so hopefully we’ll come out even and not owe anything after it’s all said and done. But, she took quite a beating, and now she is no more. Good-bye fair Mulder*. Good-bye.

The week did not really go much better. Well, better in that there were no more wrecks, but there was so much stupid little shit that just kept happening that by the time storm hit and the tornado hit, really, all we could just fucking do was laugh. Let me ‘splain.

So the rental car that we have sucks. Seriously. I hate it. I hate it lots because it’s not my car, and it’s really not designed for people who are under 5’10”. So they give us a rental car with no windshield wipers. Yes, that’s correct. How does that happen? I didn’t think to check because why would a rental car company give a person a car that clearly poses a safety hazard in adverse weather conditions. Fortunately, we did not discover this until we were already in Fancy Town, and we didn’t have rain until Sunday. Monday I had to be across town at school to meet with two adjuncts after lunch, have my exit interview, and clean out my office. I go to the repair shop with plenty of time to spare (a repair shop recommended by the rental car company so they could be direct billed). No wipers for my particular car. They had to be ordered. Seriously? And going home at that point wasn’t an option because it was supposed to rain all afternoon, and I didn’t want to get stuck in a downpour without wipers. Worker man says half-hour. Mom and I have a nice lunch. Go back, no wipers. Then the J calls and asks me about the insurance adjuster and about making an appointment with them, and I freak out in the repair shop parking lot. Too much.

Okay, so the wiper thing was finally resolved, and I was only 15 minutes late for my meeting. But seriously, did I have to deal with that? Just seems unfair. It also seemed unfair that we kept running out of boxes and bubble wrap. Do I seriously have that much crap? But our saving grace was the super duper nice guy at the UPS store who just gave us discount after discount and saved our butts a lot of money.

Thursday was the going away party. It was a karaoke party at the bar/restaurant where we always do karaoke. This was confirmed by both the restaurant’s and the dj’s websites.We get to the place–NO KARAOKE! The one night that they decided to move it to another town so there could be live music at the restaurant! And I didn’t want to pack everyone up and drive 15 minutes or so away, so seriously. That sucked. When the J got in, he said, “wow, this just isn’t your week.”

Friday we are supposed to pick up the truck. I ordered the truck from the place I did because the website said it was 5.9 miles from my address (not my zip code). The map on the website confirmed this–that the place was just up the street. This is important because my mom doesn’t know the area, and she would have to follow me back in the rental car. I didn’t go with the second choice because I don’t really like the area where that truck pick up is, and according to the map placement, I knew where this area was and it was a bit nicer. I get in the car, type the thing into the GPS, and it’s 26 miles away, over the bridge, and it’s starting to rain. Mom is freaking out, understandably, because she’s worried that she’s going to get lost following me. I double check the website–5.9 miles. I hit, “get directions”–26 miles from origination point. Ridiculous. Fortunately the one friend I have who lives on that side of the bridge with me was home and able to take an hour and a half out of her day to drive us to the truck place.

The plan was to get the truck, then mom and I unload the storage unit so that the J and I could start with the stuff from the apartment after I picked him up. We go to the storage unit with the truck. First time ever in the year that we’ve had the storage unit that I’ve gone to the unit and all three freaking bays were taken up. NEVER , in all the times I’ve been to the storage unit has that happened. And all the bays were closed, so these people were not leaving soon. We decide to go home and start unloading the apartment then and do what we can before we pick up the J at the airport. I go get a lock for the truck and grab some lunch for us to come home and find out that the downstairs neighbor has parked in front of the stairs blocking our access to the truck. Seriously? We just decided to eat then, and by that time it was time to pick up the J, and when I left, her car was still blocking the truck.

Friday J and I managed to get all the books and dvds in the truck as well as the super fragile stuff secured. Then it started raining. Then the tornado hit the two towns on either side of us. During a break in the storm, we managed to make it out to our dinner date. Saturday morning, the electricity goes out. We both woke up and the J says, “of course it would.” I say, “why the hell not??” Fortunately that lasted all of 20 minutes. The storm knocked down a tree on a power line, and they were cleaning up the mess. We got everything packed up thanks to some very wonderful and kind friends who helped us with all the stuff and furniture we have. As we tried to leave the town though, the main road to the highway was blocked due to fallen limbs. So the 8 minute drive, or what would have been about 15 with a gas stop, to get to the highway from our apartment took nearly 45 minutes.And when we decided to stop for the night–all the times in my trip, I’ve never ever had a problem getting a room. Even on a Friday or Saturday night. Seven hotels later we find a room almost 2 hours from where we wanted to stop. It was the last room, and it one had one bed. There are three of us. Fortunately the air mattress was accessible and mom volunteered to sleep on the floor, which was pretty close to the truth because the air mattress lost air over the course of the night.

However, all that being said and done, we made it to Home City without further incident. We start the move to Big Little Town on Thursday afternoon. I have all the utility appointments set up. I should have cable and internet by Friday afternoon as well. We’re still trying to figure out how to get the J back to Home City for work on Monday, but I think we almost have a plan.

while nothing else traumatic happened after the wreck, mom and I were really hoping that we had built up some moving karma (I started to type carma, get it? hehehehe) and have a nice smooth week and get everything done, but no such luck. Just a bunch of stupid annoying shit that we could have done without to make life easier, but where would be the fun in that right?? So wish us luck with the rest of the move. I hope you all are doing well out there. I have to finish this chapter by noon on Thursday (yikes), so I might be out of touch again for a while.

I feel like this is really whiney. Sorry. I have no silver lining for any of this stuff except that maybe the universe was telling me that we needed to get out of Fancy Town, and was ensuring that I felt no guilt for leaving. I guess rather than having things go off without a hitch and sitting around “did I make the right decision? this place wasn’t that bad…” perhaps the universe is making sure I know that I made the right choice to leave. There’s my one positive take away…

*Her official name is Mulder the She-Hulk. She-Hulk because she’s green and cool, and unbeknownst to us then, but clearly she is (was) super-tough, too. Mulder because the color green is Alien green, and you know I love the X-Files, so there.

This is not going well so far…

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Friday my mom and I left to come to Fancy Town to start the move. Things were going well. Clear skies, good tunes on the radio, etc. Then four hours into the trip, some douchebag asshole who most likely didn’t have insurance totaled my new car (I’ve only had her since December 28th) and then drove away. We are all okay–me, mom, and the mutts. We’re banged up. I’m a total fucking wreck about it though. Because I know it’s stupid, but I LOVE my car. Every single thing about her. And we got this freakishly incredible deal on it, and I’m afraid that we are just not going to be able to get that car for that price again.

Here’s what happened:

We were driving along. We were in the fast lane. Traffic was moving just fine. Then suddenly, for no reason, the car in front of me slammed on his breaks going like 80 miles an hour because I think either the car in front of him stopped or someone merged right in front of him while going like 50. I was going about 75-78, probably closer to 78, and I slammed on the breaks and managed to stop a safe distance from the car. The two motorcycles behind me were pretty close and the truck behind them was even closer. Motorcycle One went into the median on the left and drove around me. Motocycle Two clipped M1 and drove around to the right. Mom sees the pick up truck in her mirror and says “that guy’s not stopping.” I see him in my rearview mirror. M2 was right next to me. I see the truck swerve a little bit, or he looks like he’s going to swerve because he can’t stop, and I’m afraid that if I try to get into the next lane from a stop, he’s going to barrel right through me. He did swerve, and he would have killed us if I had moved. It took me a full 24 hours to come to this realization as all day Friday I was like “I should have moved. Why didn’t I move?? I’d still have my car, and we’d be okay.” Well, that would not have been the case.

As it is, had he not swerved either, he would have hit us full on in the rear, and Nola and her mother would likely be no more. Seriously. He didn’t even hit the breaks and he was going well over 70. He clipped the back passenger side of the car, crushing it. He hit with so much force he shattered the rear window. He hit us with so much force that it catapulted us the 5-8 feet cushion we had forward into the car in front of me crushing mainly the passenger side of the front of the car. The accelerator got stuck. I was in full panic mode so I didn’t know what to do. My little car was revving at 8000 rpm. She started to smoke. Finally MOm and I were like, “shit, turn off the car!” My mom was lurched forward and to the side and the seatbelt scratched up her neck and ripped a hole in her shirt. And she jammed her leg up (her poor ankle and toe were swollen Friday–better now). The Divine Miss T, who is almost 14 years old, let me remind you, was thrown into the dashboard, but somehow managed to have the presence of mind to go feet first and brace herself with her feel (I didn’t see it–that’s what mom said). All I know is that when I looked up, she was on the dashboard in between the steering wheel and the window. The Red Rocket flew forward and hit the windshield head on (I didn’t see that either, thank god, but Mom did). When I looked up, Red was already back in the backseat looking around. In the meantime, the guy who hit us got across four other lanes of traffic, drove up ahead and parked on the shoulder far enough away so that no one could see his license plate, got out of his car and surveyed the accident site and then drove away.

Motocycle One guy was not injured and he stayed to make sure that we were all okay. He called the police. He was upset though that Red was barking at him, although I was like, “it’s not you, it’s your bike.” I was just crying “my car, my poor car” when I saw that we were all okay. I couldn’t get a hold of the J.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, when the tow truck came and we were loading the dogs into the truck, I pick up Miss T and she starts screaming and she bites my mom twice (not bad–Mom’s got a welp that’s almost gone already and a scratch). I start screaming and crying because I thought she had internal injuries in her chest–she’s almost 14–and it turns out that as I was picking her up she was trying to climb the stairs of the truck and got her toenail caught in the step and I was pulling her poor foot and toenail.

We get to a body shop. The lady in there is super nice and lets us have the dogs in there (because the tow truck driver is a friend as far as he brings all his business there and he loves dogs). She cleaned up my mom’s dog bite for her, too. I will say this, my insurance is awesome though. The rental car place was in the showroom at the front of the body shop (we were at a dealer), and before I even got up to the showroom, the insurance guy had called me back to tell me that the car was ready to go for me.  The body shop woman also got one of the body shop guys to unload all our luggage and stuff from the car for us, so I only had to go back and get a couple of things and take some pictures.

I cry every time I think about the wreck or my car. We have a picture at the apartment that the J’s mom took of us with the new car. I look at it and cry. I want another one just like her, but now I’m afraid to be in a small car again. It’s not good that I am anxious in the car now. Every time someone was behind me, especially a truck, I’d get all panicky and nervous. I feel like on some level, the accident is my fault. Had I not being going so fast, had I not been in the fast lane, had I gotten my shit together earlier this summer and saved the money like I needed to we’d still have the POD and not the truck therefore we wouldn’t have had to leave a day early, had I not taken a new job, had I not taken the job in Fancy Town in the first place two years ago, had I not done a whole host of other things, this never would have happened. I know nothing worse happened, but it could have been so much worse, and that has me really upset and freaked out and scared and sad. But I’m trying not to dwell on what might have happened.

I’m assuming that since it was basically a hit and run and the other person who most likely didn’t have insurance is not paying for any of this and that my insurance is, I’m sure my insurance will go up, which is not cool. But none of us who stayed at the accident got any tickets or citations or anything because well, we did nothing wrong.

The mutts are okay. My mom’s friend is an animal pathologist or something like that, Ph.D., works for the CDC. So we called her and asked her what to look for in the dogs regarding internal injuries because they seemed to be acting fine. I checked their pupils because I was worried about concussions and they were fine. I felt them all up and down checking for protrusions and tenderness. One of the things Mom’s Friend said to do, Miss T would not let me do, so I had to improvise, but I ended up scaring her, but I have to pick her up to get her in the car, and if anything were wrong with her ribs or spine, she would have let me know when I picked her up. Anyway, for future reference for those of you with animals, especially dogs, here are the things to look for if you suspect internal injuries: are their gums normal colored and do they bounce back to normal color after to press on them? Are their pupils normal? Is the poop normal? I guess if dogs have concussions they will shake their heads, like flap their ears excessively. That I didn’t know. And I had to at least get the RedRocket on his hind legs and do like a scoliosis exams (remember those?) on him. That’s what Miss T would not allow. She’s not getting up on her hind legs for that. Not out of pain. Just out of arthritis, age, and grumpiness. Yesterday morning before we left the hotel, they were wrestling. And my mom’s friend said to give them massages because they’d be sore and grumpy, too, but that’s normal. By this afternoon though it will be 48 hours and then they will be out of the woods, but right now, nothing indicates any injuries in the mutts either.

The things that hurt the most on me right now are my forearms. My poor Mom is really sore though. She’s got a knot in the base of her neck that’s making her neck and head hurt, and it’s in the back of where the seat belt would have been in the front, so I know that’s what did it–well, I’m sure the force of an angled impact at however fast the asshole was going is what did it. I know I’m not the one that caused the accident, but I still feel like this is all my fault. And since I’m paranoid now about making another cross country trip by myself, when we get the truck packed up, Mom and I, instead of staying in a hotel Saturday night to relax and leave Sunday morning, we are leaving with the J and following him home. I’m afraid to do this by myself now. I’m so glad that I don’t have to do this ever again.

However, in order to not be totally paralyzed by this event, here are the “positives” that are a result of this outcome:

  • I think I will become a more defensive driver. I’m trying not to be a paranoid or anxious driver, but I felt myself relaxing a little bit more yesterday afternoon until we hit traffic and then I got all anxious and upset again.
  • Had we not been there to take the blow, it’s likely that one or both of the motorcyclists would have been killed by the pick-up truck, and since neither mom, nor I, nor the mutts were seriously injured, I’m okay with looking at the accident as something that might have been necessary so that the guy who helped us could go home to his family rather than have his family attend his funeral.
  • Because I’m afraid to do the drive back by myself, we will get home next Sunday night giving me a whole extra day to work on my paper (unless I have to drive nearly four hours to the body shop to get my tags and the rest of my things out of the car, but hopefully someone will be there Sunday afternoon because we have to drive back past it).
Ok, that’s all I got. I thought not having a car payment and only having insurance on one car for a couple of months was a positive, but, after looking at the online version of the KBB value of the car, I think we might break even on what we owe, but I’m worried about our ability to get another car loan, especially since I’m one month behind on a payment. So really, we may actually be really really really fucking screwed here with this. Like really fucking screwed. Oh well, I can’t really think about that right now.
I wish the J were here with me. I’m glad he’s working, but I wish he were here.
I’m going to go read for a little bit. Mom’s still asleep (good because I think she was tossing and turning all night because it is hot in the apartment and it hasn’t cooled down yet totally), so I’ll try to work while she’s still sleeping and see if I can’t try to feel better about something here.