Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A clearer explanation...

I looked over my last post and realized how disjointed it sounded. It chronicled the stuff I'm doing and not all the reasons why. So here's an addendum...


SPEED. And lots of it. I’ve compared my current situation to the first lap of a race on a new track, where you don’t know where all the turns, bumps, and hazards are. I’ve done school before. I’ve done work before. I’ve never done it like this, altogether with family life.
Earlier this year I was under the impression I could do my M.A. part time. The Comp Lit faculty has streamlined the program since I first looked at it, and a requirement of the Thesis track is two semesters full time. So being in school full time for the next two semesters is something that must be done to get to my goal. But that means more tuition. More books. More fees. So suddenlty the question to pay for it all?

(The car rubs up against the side of the track...)

I taught two courses for Guru Digital Arts College this summer; impressed with my work, they wanted me to do more. I was given a fall course schedule and told “however much or little as you want”. The extra money was needed, but the schedule juggling to accomplish it was Herculean. I began to despair. Jenica would be heading back to work in November, but that would only account for what the loss at the end of her maternity leave.

Now I feel like Sandra Bullock in the movie “Speed” where she had to keep a city bus driving above 50km or a bomb attached to the bus would go off. I can’t quit working to just go to school because I have the primary income. I can’t (or won’t) give up school because I’d only be returning to it at a later date with less momentum and an atrophied academic brain. Jenica can’t stay home because my solitary income doesn’t permit it, but we don’t want to put Gunnar in a dayhome because 1) we aren’t fans of other people raising our kids and 2) the amount needed to put him in daycare makes the requisite income accrued superfluous. In other words, we’d be working full time to keep him in daycare. The options are manifold, but none seem sufficient.

My first week of classes was a disaster. I was supposed to attend seminars on being a teacher’s assistant (even though I likely wouldn’t be one, since those positions are reserved for Doctoral students) but missed many while planning for the Harvest Moon weekend, and attending meetings here at HR. I had to miss a deadline for an article I was writing. By Thursday I was a tired mess. (The car hits an oil slick and goes into an uncontrolled spin) That day, I stopped by the office of one of the Graduate Studies administrators and asked a few questions. She closed by asking if there was anything else she could do for me.

“Not unless you have a teaching assitant’s position for me” I replied.

She gave me the standard response - not enough money in Interdisciplinary Studies, and those positions usually reserved for PhD students. “But if anything comes across my desk I’ll let you know,” she finished.

Friday morning I attended my first actual class. To my dismay, the attending professor is one I’m not fond of and the reading list was gargantuan(car blows a tire, comes to complete stop and stalls.). After taking a few notes, I stopped, and wrote this prayer...

“Lord, I guess we’ll have to talk like this for this semester. It’s difficult to find time to pray. You know how difficult I am finding things right now. Issues of belief...bu I still want to love you. I could be wrong obviously, but I want to take hold of those imperative words(here I was referencing the Lord’s Prayer...give us this day...). I want to be able to ask boldly. I want to be free of working at so many different things. I want Jenica to stay home with Gunnar. I am asking you, my heavenly father to open doors and close others. Please make it so.”

That afternoon I opened my email at work to discover an offer for a teacher’s assistantship. For the entire year. I had to do a double take to make sure it was real. I closed the email and reopened it. Sure enough. It was real. Six hours a week, but it would make the difference we needed. It still doesn’t mean Jen can stay home, but I’m not running in so many different directions anymore and that’s a start.

(Pit crew finishes putting a new tire on and I fire the engine again...)

With all the fall kick off events at work (the Harvest Moon weekend, last week's all-nighter) getting Sunday School off the ground, and attending several planning meetings, I’m still having trouble getting a good feel for the track, but I think with those behind me I’ve come around into the second lap, and I have a better idea of what lies ahead. All the same, your prayers and graciousness for when I show up late to things will be greatly appreciated.


  1. Because I am a huge nerd and read two and three books at a time and when I am traveling for work I listen to audiobooks, I came across a statement that may fit your situation. I'm listening to a book about a guy who read the Encyclopedia Britannica. Halfway through his quest, he heard that a 95 year old doctor from my home state, Louisiana, had also read through the encyclopedia. The author of the book went to visit this old doctor and asked him, "Of all that you read in the encyclopedia, what bit or knowledge had the greatest impact on your life?" The old wise doctor recited a quote, "and this too shall pass" (the author or which is debatable). Sorry for taking the the scenic route on that one, but chin up ol' chap, in hind-sight this will be a huge growth time for you and your family.

  2. Sounds like you've got a mighty big helping on your plate. I never could get the hang of those racing games, I always put it in the wall. (No analogy intended, I just suck at video games)
    But to use the video game analogy, you can have me in your pit crew. If you need to rant, or a 30-second encouragement, or just a little extra prayer just let me know.
    Good luck with the schooling and remember to brake before going into corners.

  3. Fine, I'll come over and play video games with you. Enough hinting!
    Seriously though, you know you can ask Digger and I for anything right?