Monday, July 13, 2009

The Dead Have Arisen!

I announced on Facebook that I had finished my thesis, but I couldn’t bring myself to reveal the full extent of my dumbassery to my quasi-friends on Facebook. I mean, most of those people barely know me, so why should I disabuse them of their notions of me? But here, in the bosom of my true compadres, I can tell my tale. It is a tale of dumbassery and academia, so it is not a new tale, but it is mine.

My deeply ingrained habits of procrastination were almost my undoing, once again. The research part of my thesis was very labor-intensive, and I started so late on it that it ate into my time for writing. During the two weeks leading up to the due date, I had been working steadily but slowly, blowing off family outings and such to have more time to work, but going to bed at the normal time. John was very supportive throughout, but I am perverse enough that supportive doesn’t actually motivate me. Once he started to express doubts that I could manage to get it done and in on time, though, *that* is when I started working with the single-minded determination of Paris Hilton looking for a Greek-shipping-magnate boyfriend.

I started getting up an hour early and working until a couple of hours past my bedtime. And in the run-up to my deadline, I pulled an honest-to-god all-nighter, basically writing non-stop for 29 hourse before hopping into the car—dumb, I know!—to get my thesis printed and bound here in our village and dashing into town to deliver it. I was all Run Lola Run, minus the cool red hair and life-saving mission, as I dashed from the car to the administration building. I got it in on the stroke of 12 and went home.

Then, I had to write up a summary of my thesis in German to go with it, due the next day. That led to another fucked-up day, with me running from place to place to get that done and turned in, to proctor an exam, and to grade two presentations in a special class-session.

Then, I had to put together a presentation on my thesis for a workshop in the English department on Saturday. I made a PowerPoint presentation on Friday, tweaked it a bit first thing Saturday morning, and gave it a few hours later to general approval. My thesis may have been wobbly, but I can always nail a presentation. That gave me back some of my confidence.

It has taken me a few days to get my sleep and eats back on schedule. During the last week or so of writing, I subsisted on the contents of our fruit dish, boiled eggs, coffee, and teddy-bear vitamins, so eating real food during regular meals has been quite a treat.

John was preparing a conference presentation and finishing up a book translation during the same period, so poor Hannah was basically neglected for a while there. And our house—John suggested that when the semester was over, we should embark on a round of cleaning, prefereably via firebomb. I like a clean start, and maybe the neighbor across the street will loan us the flamethrower he uses to kill weeds growing up from the cracks in the sidewalk.

While John used his post-semester weekend to chillax, I had the workshop Saturday morning and grocery shopping Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, I woke up at the unheard-of-for-me-on-the-weekend hour of eight and started to clean. I was really intending to sort through the stack of library books I have out, but I did enjoy the freedom to jump around from one thing to another. As it turned it, I managed to balance our checkbook (the first time since early June), wash dishes, clean under the kitchen sink (which is leaking again), water all my plants, wash 3 loads of laundry, and scrub out the silverware drawer, all before leaving in the late afternoon to watch Night at the Museum 2 and eat out. All in all, I woke up this morning generally satisfied with life. I will write more about my thesis later, probably on my writing blog.