Thursday, February 23, 2012


I’m trying to catch up on projects this semester.

Like most people, I’ve got a list of “Someday” projects that I keep in the back of my head. Sometimes I write them down, just to see if any of them are feasible under the current conditions – there’s no feeling quite as satisfactory as crossing something off of a to-do list. No, not even that one, but it was close, I’ll give you that. Mostly, though, I just keep writing down the same things over and over in a slightly different order than the last time, depending on mood and memory.

This has been especially true recently – the last twelve to eighteen months have been unusually hectic around here, and it’s been all I could do to beat the alligators back. The swamp remains undrained; the projects remain unfinished.

But this semester I’m not driving to Not Quite So Far Away Campus anymore – a 170-mile roundtrip I don’t have to make twice a week, the way I did for all of 2011. I like NQSFAC, really I do – it’s got some very friendly people in it, the students are nice, and it’s pretty, perched up there on the hill like that – but that’s a lot of time I don’t have to spend in my car anymore.

Nor do I have to create new classes this semester. In the last two years I’ve built one class from scratch (including learning the material), learned how to use the University's online class system so I could teach a class someone else designed, and revamped a third class into a wholly alien format. Right now, though, I’m teaching two classes that are actually in my field, both of which I have taught before in that format, and by all indications I will not be required to come up with anything new next fall either. That could change of course – the essence of being an ad-hoc is that you’re never really sure what you’re going to be asked to do or even whether you’re going to be asked to do anything until a week into the semester – but as of right now it looks like I will be in the truly odd position of not having anything to plan or fabricate for several months once my classes end in May.

So projects it is.

My office is clean now.

I’ve organized several different document types into binders, neatly labeled.

I’ve filed away three semesters’ worth of papers and discovered that I did, in fact, have a table under them.

I’ve even begun to pay attention to my healthcare again. I’ve gone to two different doctors and the dentist, and will likely be doing more of that in the near future. And I’ve even managed to stick with my “Eat Less Crap” diet plan, to the tune of 8lbs lost in the last two months. Not bad considering that “Less” is not “Zero” and those two months included ten days’ worth of traveling over Christmas and New Year’s. There are still issues that need to be resolved – notably the “Get Up and Move Around Now And Then” part of the diet plan, which remains somewhat moribund – but progress is being made.

I feel so productive that sometimes I need to lie down.

All this productivity makes me think of larger things I should be doing, though. By modern American standards I’m pretty much the target audience for a midlife crisis right about now, and if I were going to have one I suppose it ought to be soon. I’ve got the time for it, now. Next year any crisis would likely have to compete for attention with other things.

But there are enough crises in the world without me adding to them. Little red sports cars aren’t my thing anyway.

So I nibble away at my project list and cross things off one at a time, as they are completed.

It’s a good feeling.


Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

170 miles round trip a day twice a week -- that's crazy. Why my daily five-days-a-week commute is a much more pleasant 154 miles round trip a day...

Which explains why my office looks like crap.

Dr. Phil

David said...

You, sir, are a Road Warrior. I bow to my highway god. :)

Beatrice Desper said...

Do you ever add a "just done" item to your "to do" list and then cross it off? I do. I no longer count it as cheating.

David said...

Of course I do!

Some days you just need that boost.