The dissertation was only the beginning.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006
Cabin Fever
After weeks of amazing weather (highs in the 70s, slight breeze, mostly sunny), today we have all been forced to stay inside because of intermittent rain showers, mired in that big swath of radar green that covers the midsection of the country on the Weather Channel's map. I was actually looking forward to the rain, to a day inside. But after hours and hours of dribbling rain (no thunderstorms, which would at least be interesting), my entire family is ready to get outside. If it wasn't so chilly and windy, I'd have no problems heading out into the swampy weather with ST, rain boots on and ready to jump in puddles. But alas, the wind is whipping down the street, it's raining at a slant here, and it's downright cold outside.

ST has such a bad case of cabin fever today you'd swear it was the middle of January and he'd been locked up inside for months. There was a break in the weather for about ten minutes earlier this afternoon, and ST -- whose nose had been pressed against the glass of our front window for half an hour as we waited for that very moment -- ran to the closet to grab his shoes and a sweatshirt. Of course, by the time he got his shoes on, the rain had started up again. He was nearly in tears. "I just want to check on my tomato plant!" he insisted, eyes welling up. We planted a tomato plant on Wednesday, and every day he has to check on it multiple times to be sure that there aren't any tomatoes on it yet. I let him outside to check on the plant for a few minutes, but then corralled him back inside to play with his dinosaurs. (The dinosaurs ended up huddled under a pillow, because it was also raining in their world, too, apparently.)

T never does well with inclement weather. He hates feeling cooped up, trapped inside, and it's especially bad now that there's really nothing to do with the house. He spent the day listening to the inane NFL draft and playing a computer game (time that he could have, of course, spent putting together cover letters and resumes... but I didn't say anything about that). Now he and ST are out shopping for my brother Rob's graduation gift and for the ingredients for T's Sunday meal, shrimp scampi. (T usually cooks on Sundays -- I cook the other six days.)

As for me, I've been sitting up here in my office for awhile, ostensibly working on the last third of Chapter Seven (the first two-thirds are done). I can't see out of my office window because the rain is pounding on it so hard that it's blurring my view outside. I would love to be outside right now instead of in here. I feel trapped not only by the weather, but also by this project. Until it's done, I can't really do anything else with a clear conscience. Not only that, but I feel a little closed in by the ideas: the dissertation is so far along now that changing anything major is all but impossible, and there's too little time left to worry about it. It's not that I want to change something, but I feel a bit hemmed in by my own ideas, ideas that have been rattling around in my brain for over a year now. The ideas are starting to feel a little stale, and the thought of having to cope with them for another few weeks is rather unappetizing. But it must -- and will -- be done.

My reward for getting good start on the final piece of Chapter Seven: baking cookies. There's nothing that warms up a rainy day like the smell of freshly-baked cookies, and nothing that makes me feel more "balanced" than mixing, scraping, and shaping ingredients into dough. Back to work, then, and onwards to the kitchen.

UPDATE: never made it back to Chapter Seven tonight because a woman emailed us wanting to see our house tomorrow! So, we've spent the evening cleaning and polishing the place for her. She said she noticed our house as she was visiting an open house across the street -- yep, you guessed it: the house belonging to the neighbors who have an offer on our house. Complicated.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 4/29/2006 05:59:00 PM  
2 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 11:05 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said…

    It breaks (and charms) my heart about the tomato plant. I hope he gets a good harvest before you have to move.

    As for the dissertation, remember you can always take little breaks from it, to get excited planning for your classes in the fall. (What I wouldn't give to be in your shoes.) Enjoy it. You've got much to look forward to. You should keep the dissertation in that perspective: thinking not the last year or so, but all that is yet to come.

  • At 12:52 AM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    Thanks for your sweet comments, AD!

    Actually, ST and I planted the tomato in a large container, and so I dragged it up onto the deck for him after posting this so that he could keep a constant watch on it. We decided to do a container tomato so that we could take it with us when we move -- see, aren't I clever?

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