The past few days have been a weird mix of good and bad, and I think that this mix is, in fact, driving me crazy. Behold:
*I submited an essay to a magazine as well as a pitch letter for two more pieces. My contact editor loved the essay, gave me a few minor suggestions, and told me he was going to show it around, see if it might get into an issue. I should note here that I've never had anything published in print, and have never been paid for anything I've written (beyond university contests and whatnot). So, this is a wonderful piece of news.
*I have to turn in my thesis today, so on Sunday I drove the hour to Ehud's house for his signature. Ehud has been wonderful to me. He's also been extremely tough on me in the past, making me cry a few times with his biting observations. We had to coordinate a time for him to sign off on my work because, in typical fashion, he was out of town until Sunday night. I drove up, got to his house, which was crazed with out of town guests, and went in when some relative of his reluctantly let me into the house. I felt like I might not be welcomed, I was interrupting afterall, and the relative, a short balding man, called out "Oh. It's your student," sort of like one might note that a raccoon had entered the foyer. But then Ehud came out of the kitchen, smiled widely, said my name. He hugged me, hugged me well, and kissed my cheek. "I'm so proud of you," he said.
This is the man who is known for never showing much emotion beyond annoyance.
He introduced me around, then motioned for me to sit at the table as he signed my paperwork. We talked. I told him about the rejection I got. "You're going to be fine," he said. I nodded. Then I said, "I brought you a gift." He got all annoyed--his stock response to everything--and said, "Why?" And then I pulled it out. It wasn't wrapped--it seemed completely un-Ehudian to do so--and so he saw it immediately. It was one of his favorite films on DVD, impossible to find legally. In fact, I am sure I broke the law when I bought the copy. He was visibly moved when he saw it, took it into his hands and turned it over a few times. He looked genuinely happy in a way I hadn't seen before.
He walked me to the door, and we said we'd meet for lunch, drinks. We will, of this I am certain. And I'm certain that one day, we'll be more like colleagues, which is the path we are on now. In some ways we have been doing so for awhile; Ehud showed me a great deal of deference in class--meaning he didn't often eviscerate me in front of others. I know that we will likely end up friends. But this felt like a passing, a shift, so I hugged him once more, thanked him for everything. Then I cried as I drove back to the freeway, just a little.
*I cannot secure childcare for Things One and Two before school, which starts next week. I don't know what I can do, and I am sick with the thought of it. I need, literally, 45 minutes of childcare, and I can't find it. There is no center here that does it, not even the YMCA, and I am tired, tired of looking, of asking, tired of thinking of it.
*Things One and Two started YMCA summer camp this week, as their childcare center is closed for inservices and a thorough cleaning. It's run through the University, so they can sort of do what they will. The result, though, is that I've had to scramble for childcare, barely getting Things One and Two registered at the Y in time. Thing Two's summer camp, though, only runs Monday through Thursday. I still haven't quite found childcare for him for Friday, and every time I line something up, it seems to slip through my fingers like silted water.
*Thing Three's preschool, also run through the University, is closed a completely different week, September 11th-15th. I have to find childcare for her as well still. Preschool waitlists are impossibly long, running up to 18 months. I can pay someone $7.00/hour to sit her all week at home. But I only make $10. And I would need the sitter one more hour than I work--30 minutes on each side of the workday.
*John is in Portland, tells me he can't take the kids for his two weeks this summer because he can't get the time off work. Mostly, I am okay with my life and the choices I've made. I'm much happier now than when I was married. But these things, the weight of all the responsibility, bears me down. There are moments when I am so frustrated about the details of my life that I want to scream. This is one of these times.
*This morning, Thing One complained about how much time I work, saying "Do you even like us?" I didn't snap at her, just quietly mumbled something, and she said sorry. They are good kids, wonderful kids, but the strain of the day-to-day can be tough on all of us.
*One of the reasons I miss graduate school, where I had less time, is that my time was largely under my control. I had classes I took and taught, but I could do much as I pleased. So if I needed 45 minutes to run an errand or schedule a doctor's appointment, I could.
I feel like I've gone backwards in some ways. Here is my imminent success. Here is my growing collection of short stories. And here is my impossible life. How am I supposed to keep juggling everything? I always think I just need to make it through this week. Just this week, and everything will look better.