Oh, God. Finally got done with the last class. Yesterday was a bear! And like the eternally undead, this accursed teaching job will. not. go. away.
Out the door at quarter to seven, navigating the cut-throat traffic to get to my regular Thursday business meeting. Stupid woman damn near crashed my car by charging around me, into the oncoming traffic, in a major intersection as I was turning left!!!!!!!!!
Fly from that meeting, running late. Speed across the city, jet up a freeway, and run into the classroom right at the minute the 101s’ final exam period started.
Feed them Phaque Phood to go with the Phaque Phinal: horrible popcorn purchased perforce (oh, the onomatopoeia!) from charity-happy colleague.
Every kid who had even the vaguest question about her or his semester grade wanted me to grade the final right then and there. This was easy because it’s just a matter of glancing at the thing, and though it was mildly annoying, it meant I got rid of about half of them on the spot.
Meanwhile, an Eng. 102 student who has an F in that class has been pestering me, by e-mail, to meet with her on the campus. I explain three times that a) I have no office in which to meet; b) after she received two D’s and a 0, there’s no way her grade is going to be anything other than an F; and c) I have work to do and I’m not traipsing back out to Heavenly Gardens to argue with her.
Just as I shoot off an e-mail volley to this woman, Mr. Strangelove comes up and asks didn’t I get his papers? I say he submitted one, count it one, of the four papers, the first one, and he should have noticed that I never returned any of the others…that was because I never received them. He now says he discovered his e-mail wasn’t forwarding them and it was sequestering emails from me. That’s clear and present bullshit, of course, but I wasn’t in any mood to accuse him of lying. Ultimately, he talks me into accepting three of the four papers that he never bothered to turn in. He claims he has to work and will need 48 hours before he can get back to his computer.
This means that for reasons unknown to anyone with an ounce of sanity, he has decided to write all three papers in the next day and a half.
I take him over to the chair’s office, where fortunately said chair is lurking, and ask if I can give Mr. Strangelove an Incomplete or what. He says that’s fine, but it’s really easier to give him an F and then change the grade later, because the Incomplete process is so complicated and difficult to navigate. Okay. Strangelove agrees to this.
Shovel the 102s out the door, again running late.
Jump back into the car and jet back out to Scottsdale for a BNI meeting. First one of those I’ve ever attended. It’s a bit of a cult, but I can see that if you really got into it, you might turbocharge your marketing. Expensive, though: about $1,000/year. Not at all sure I can spare that, what with quitting the hated composition job.
After a luncheon of Mexican food that I really don’t feel like eating, I listen to a hustle to get me to join and then stumble out the door.
By the time I get home, it’s 2:30. The dog has been trapped inside the house for over 7 hours. I ran out of meat for her yesterday afternoon and so had to feed her canned dog food. Thought this would give her the runs. I was right.
She has deposited not one, not two, not three, but FOUR stinking mounds all over the family room floor.
Thank God for tile floors.
A free turkey that I procured after Thanksgiving has been sitting in the fridge, where it had fully defrosted and by yesterday was heading toward decomposition. This bird was to supply the next month’s food for said dog. Rain is predicted, and I need to cook that thing now, not later. I have to cook it outdoors in the gas grill, because the flicking oven, being a Frigidaire product, cannot be run on the self-clean cycle, and I am not sticking my head in a metal box full of Easy-Off fumes, ever again.
Fart with that. Takes four hours to cook the thing; finish just as the storm clouds are lowering.
102 student keeps begging. I cc my answers to the chair.
I promised La Maya one of the lariat necklaces I’ve been making. This job is taking a lot longer than I expected — have been working two days on it and still have a ways to go. Meanwhile, I’ve neglected a client’s work; his project started out as a tangle and is still a tangle, and I need to get back to work on that. But first I’ve got to get the pile of beads, charms, and findings off my desk!
While the turkey cooks, I string beads as fast as I can string. Finishing this job takes the entirety of what remains of the day and all the evening hours, too.
102 student begs some more. Before shooting off a sharp letter to her, to be cc’ed to the chair, I figure I’d better C my A with a closer look at the work she’s done this semester.
That’s when I discover either my TA has neglected to enter the score for the woman’s last, gigantic, 2,500-word paper or I somehow managed to erase it.
She’s received a generous D on the thing: an even 60%. With one point a day for showing up in class and breathing and a few more points for various busywork, this brings Ms. Importune’s semester score up to 62%, a low D.
Amazingly, Heavenly Gardens will accept a D in freshman comp as “passing” for credit toward a two-year certificate or AA, although the course will not transfer to a four-year school. Even though you or I may see little difference between the disgrace that is a D and the disgrace that is an F, Ms. Importune wants that D.
So. Now today I have to traipse all the way back out to Heavenly Gardens — in the rain! — track down a change-of-grade form, fill it in, and go stand in line to turn it in at the Registrar’s office for a good 40 minutes with all the students who are trying to get into courses for next spring.
To frost that cupcake, the eye pain/runny nose has morphed into a full-blown, nasty cold. I just knew it! Two of the 102s showed up on Monday with heavy colds and sat there sniffling, snorting, and smearing germs all over the hard-copy “finals” I had to grade. I thought at the time, Don’t touch your face! Don’t scratch your nose! Don’t stick a finger in your mouth!!!!!
But all those things are unconscious, especially since my nose itches all the time. Within hours after shuffling those virus-laden papers, I was coming down with this thing. Hoped it might subside, but should have known better: I’ve been sick nonstop for over a year. Every time one damnfool thing starts to clear up, another ailment takes its place. Presumably my immune system is faltering in old age. And of course if I was going to get sick from hanging out in the sink of infection that is a college campus, it was going to happen on the last day of my career there.
Along about 9 p.m., an old client resurfaced. Would I index a 360-page volume of medieval and Renaissance history?
I think I got about $500 for that job the last time. That wasn’t enough: it’s a HUGE job. But I could sure use the money. He wants it done yesterday. As usual, he’s running late on the printer’s deadline.
This means I’ll have to put off the chiropractor’s job another few days. Not good. I wonder if I can foist that job on the Kid.
At the BNI meeting, a lawyer has asked if we can edit a short document for him, pretty clearly thinking he’ll try something brief just to see what happens. I’ve said “sure,” and as soon as I get back to the house, signal one of my legal editors that this thing will be incoming. She thinks she can breeze through it. I say I think she’d better check facts, because I suspect he’s about to throw us a curveball. With the confidence of youth, she predicts no problem.
Around 11 p.m. the factotum at the center for historical studies at the Great Desert University, which last year paid the bill for the indexing job, emails to say the publisher is now covering all editorial and publishing costs.
On the one hand, that’s good, because this is a solid mid-range scholarly publisher, one of the houses I intended to hustle for business as soon as I got free of teaching. On the other, not so good: they’re likely to be tight with indexers, and negotiating a contract means more delay. I’m not doing the job for under $500, which is practically throwing my time away. This job will take three or four days, maybe a week. It’s really worth more like $800 or $1,000.
I email the client to tell him I need to know who to contact at the press to discuss this. So far, no answer, and it’s already 6:40 in the morning.
The cold has progressed to laryngitis, so I won’t be singing soon…probably not on Sunday or at midnight mass.
I was too sick and too exhausted to go to a surprise party for one of the choir members, which I’m sure was noticed.
I’m free, all right. Never again will I teach freshman comp.
But it sticks to my feet like the stuff the dog dumped all over the family room:
• Not one but two change-of-grade hassles, one of which has to be done when I have much better things to do.
• Thus, more time spent in more unpaid labor while I should be working on paying jobs.
• A terrible cold.
• A client’s job still not done, and now unlikely to get done for another week, unless I can shift it to my sidekick. To do that I’ll have to drive across the city. And it’s a hideous mess…I doubt if she can easily untangle it.
• Continued bad odor among a group that might be a source of friends if I could manage to find time to be civil.
One fiasco after another. Defines teaching, doesn’t it?
Class meetings left to go: 0