Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Organized Writing and Thought Fail

Apologies in advance to the lack of organization (possibly coherence) of this post. I feel lucky to be getting/taking the time to post, so I'll take what I can get.

The chaos seems to be increasing on a daily basis. Some days are worse than others, and I expect(ed) things to get more hectic the closer we get to our pack-out date, but Holy Hell Batman! Yesterday was the absolute worst. It's the closest I've ever felt to what might be a panic attack. It's no one thing alone. Rather, it's all sorts of little and big things that fell on my plate at once yesterday. For example, the Sec. of State office sent us the wrong form to authenticate our criminal history reports (my job to figure out how to fix it); our relocation allowance won't be issued until our visa comes is (my job to see how we might expedite the process by having direct deposit paperwork filled out in advance); I was under the impression I'd be teaching a Rhetoric and Composition course for the fall (it turns out that it will be, for all practical purposes, more like a developmental writing course, my job to re-do all my prep work thus far) get the idea folks.

On top of these things, I met with the former liberal arts program coordinator for the overseas campus on Monday (he and his wife have recently finished their contracts and returned to the home campus), and he had all sorts of helpful, terrifying tidbits of information. Things like....
  • there is no cold water in the villas...water tanks are kept outside, so the temperature of the water is, um, hot, hot, hot. To avoid ruining clothing one must either let the water sit in the washing machine until it's room temperature or pour additional chilled water in the machine. I'm guessing the same goes for bathwater for the kids.
  • the sand gets everywhere. I'd heard this, but he explained how this relates to other things, like not being able to help keep your car interior a tad bit cooler by rolling the windows down because the sand will invade your vehicle.
  • and Ramadan...I knew about that, we'd heard how it gets tricky to get/eat food during this time, especially in public, but I he explained that this basically means you eat from home the entire time unless you want to join the rest of the town at the restaurants when they finally open after sundown. Um, with three kids, I think not.
  • the pools?? They aren't heated. They are CHILLED. That's how freakin hot it is.

There are various other things that have added to the craziness. I feel like my list of things to do is always five times as long as Hubby's and, to some extent, that's often the reality not just my feeling. The main problem is that I've lost my ability to be realistic about a)what deserves to be on the list and b)in what order those things should be listed. Yesterday, it was 2:00 p.m. and I realized that I hadn't eaten anything all day, and the only thing I'd had to drink was a morning cup of coffee. Even worse, I felt compelled NOT to stop and eat anything because there was too much stuff to be done while the baby was napping.

I know I'm a control freak, and I'm trying to get better at asking Hubby to help me with things, but I still sometimes resort to quasi-sabotaging his efforts b/c I can't keep from following up on him and directing the task myself--micromanaging is probably what it is--which defeats the purpose of delegating some of the tasks to him in the first place.

The one main saving grace of the day is that I was able to contact the finance person in Doha, and she indicated that we might be able to get our relocation allowances next week!! You have no idea how big this is! I mean, technically, we are officially unemployed until July 1. Neither of us have had any summer funding, and we've had to take out short-term loans just to make sure we'd have enough money to pay bills in July, since we weren't given any clear information about when we'd get our relocation funds. Making this particular issue more complicated is that I had been given the wrong info from our support office here. All this time, I've been told that we couldn't get our funds until our visa came in. I found out just YESTERDAY that the visa has nothing to do with our funds! The only thing that needs to happen is for our signed contracts to hit the desk of the finance person in Doha! Once I found this out, the finance person was able to quickly track down our contracts and get the ball rolling.

Yesterday, I seriously needed to be talked down from the metaphorical edge. The stress and anxiety are creeping into the daytime hours now, not just preventing me from getting to sleep at night, but making me feel like I'm simply going nuts trying to keep track of and prioritize all the things that need to be done (the list that now includes me completely changing my syllabus and assignments for the writing class). My doctor is increasing the dosage on my medication and he's given me the go-ahead to take it as needed during the day also.

Oh, and did I mention I have a defense date scheduled? Yes, Wednesday, April 7th. Making it official has simply reinforced my anxiety about making sure I get the time I need to finish my revisions in the fall....this has simply reinforced my anxiety about getting as much course prep done as I possibly can now, so that I can put the classes on "auto pilot" once I get there. You get the cyclical nature of all this?? Thought process fail. Control fail. Planning fail.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Not SAH Material

That's not a typo. I'm definitely Mother material, but I'm most certainly not Stay-at-Home Material, mother or otherwise. I like to say I'm Stay-at-Home-More-Often (SAHMO) mother material. Regardless friends, I am ready to once again participate in some sort of life outside this house. I love my new baby, and I love the time we've had together, just she and I. I know that she likes my voice, face, and touch better than anyone else's in the world. I know her better than anyone else, and I can comfort her when nobody else can. These are all wonderful things. Unfortunately, they do not satisfy my need to feel like I am making any sort of professional progess, either toward course prep for the fall or revising the dissertation (which I've been advised to shelve until I get settled in overseas).

After an argument with Hubby on Friday, in which I explicitly detailed *my* list of to-dos and compared it with *his* list, I think he finally gets what I've been telling him for weeks now: I'm fucking overwhelmed! While his comment that, "I've never seen you so overwhelmed??" made me want to rip his head off, I pointed out the obvious---I never HAVE been so overwhelmed. This is my first go around with three kids, a dissertation, and an international relocation. Some nights, I've stayed awake until 3:00 a.m. thinking about all the various plans and backup plans we need to have for random issues (travelling in the airports, vehicle arrangements in Qatar, teaching schedules, etc.). While I was in for my full medical exam on Friday, I talked to my doctor (the family physician) about the anxiety and insomnia, and for the first time in my life, I'm on anti-anxiety medication. I'm embarrassed about it, and I don't like needing medication to help me cope with my life, but things have reached a point where I had to do something. It's a mild sedative, which I'll only take in the evenings and only as needed in the lowest dose. In addition, Hubby and I have now worked out a division of at-home care with Amelia, which begins tomorrow. I'll work at the office on M/W, he'll work T/Th, and we'll split Friday in half. This comes after he met with his committee and they told him there are more revisions they'd like to see, and he won't be able to defend this week as he'd originally planned. They don't want anything extensive, just nit-picky things. He's confident he can finish the revisions before we leave in July, and then he'll defend in September via video conference.

Between the medication and getting some time in at the office, I think things will improve. My goal is to use my office days to work on course prep for the fall and use my at-home days to box things up for storage and garage sale. I'm hoping that if I can have those two categories of boxes completely taken care of, this will make it easier to relax and know that the moving company can handle all the other stuff we're taking with us. Part of my stress has come from simply looking around my house and seeing all our stuff everywhere. I don't feel *ready* to move with all my things still in their place, so then I start feeling anxious and unprepared. I can much more easily tolerate looking at boxes in the garage or stacked neatly in a corner than I can handle the stress of feeling like nothing has been done.

For now, I've gotta make use of the little time I have while the baby is asleep.....check that, she's awake now...didn't even make it 20 minutes.