Monday, March 2, 2009

Try Not To Envy My Weekend

It's so cold in Chicago this weekend that I'm typing this while wrapped in a blanket. But it's nice to take a little break and reflect on my day--a day which I have poutingly concluded contained no free time at all. Why weekends are glamourized as down time, I don't know.

I started well enough--up early to try to do that pesky grad school reading that is so difficult I have to read it out loud to myself in hopes of understanding it. My professor gave me tantalizing B-pluses on my last two response papers, gently suggesting that I "challenge more of the assumptions" in the theory that I'm reading. So I finished perusing the text and moved to the computer room, challenging away to the tune of a five-page paper. This was my fourth paper in four weeks of class, and it was getting pretty exhausting. I had spent three hours of my precious day off just catching up with my homework.

As I finished, my sons came barreling downstairs, all bluster and bellow. They wanted food. They were kind enough to go in the attic and watch Pirates of the Caribbean while I wrote my paper, but they finally set themselves free and launched themselves at me. There is no such thing as personal time when growing boys are around; to complicate matters, my husband called from work and said he forgot his lunch. So out we went, the boys and I, into the windy cold and off to Burger King, where we got lunch for four. We drove my husband's burger to him and he lent me his sunglasses, since the sun put in a surprise appearance today.

Then it was off to the hairdresser's, since my fourteen-year-old's mane needed taming before school the next day. He sulked over to the barber's chair; neither of my sons like haircuts; they treat them as a barely necessary evil.

After the haircut I dropped the boys off at home so that I could do the week's grocery shopping. I pushed my cart around the store in a daze, re-writing my theory paper in my mind and wondering which items I would forget to buy. I drove back home, got my sons to carry the groceries in, and unpacked them all.

Then it was time for my next exciting activity: grading essays. My sophomore class took their first test, on The Scarlet Letter, and the accompanying essays needed work, to put it mildly. Some of the students barely made an effort. Several of them misspelled Nathaniel Hawthorne, even though they were allowed to have the text in front of them. One of them spelled the title word "Scarlett." With many sighs I spent another hour marking them, comment after comment in the margins like an eternal sea.

By the time I finished it was five o'clock. I couldn't believe it! Where had the day gone? Then it was time to make the boys some dinner.

(My oldest keeps following me around with his copy of Watchmen, the graphic novel that has taken America by storm, especially now that it is about to debut as an exciting new (and R-rated) movie. My sons (for my sins) have both read it, and they persist in trying to get me to read it. "How far are you?" asks my eldest at all times of day.)

He asked it now. "How far are you in Watchmen?"

I was doing the dishes. "Uh--I don't know. I think I just read the part about the guy who is fascinated by owls."

"Oh. You didn't have to read that part. That's just symbolism," he said.

"Well then I do have to read it."

"Read the next chapter! It gets really good after that."

"I still have grading to do! Do you want to help me grade some quizzes?" I asked, at which point he disappeared, mumbling something about a phone call he had to make.

I generally only have time to read Watchmen at night, in bed, when I read one or two pages and then fall asleep. This frustrates my sons, who want to discuss it with me.

Tonight I'll have to take it to bed again because I won't have free time until then--and my son will probably be disappointed in the morning. It's not that Watchmen isn't good. It's quite interesting. It's just that Mom is tired.

So that's my exciting Sunday; I'll bet you can top it, at least in terms of excitement.

Once I finish Watchmen I'll let you know how I liked it. :)


Iasa said...

Bin The Scarlett Letter essays and read Watchmen. :)

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Gee, Julia, you accomplished a lot! My day is half over and I've only gotten through my email. ;)

Julia Buckley said...

Lasa, I think your instincts are good. :)

Liz, I guess I should feel proud of my accomplishments, instead of embracing my usual "I ran out of day before I ran out of tasks" attitude.

Sandra Parshall said...

I'm so out of it that I've never heard the Watchmen. But I do recognize certain elements of your weekend as being similar to my own. The weekend's over now. We can both relax.