27 February 2009

More of Life in Limbo

Yesterday, I got an email telling me that an article I submitted a few months back has been accepted for publication. No revise and resubmit, just straight up taken.

I should feel good about it. It's not one of my dissertation chapters, but an old seminar paper that I reworked. It shows that I have more expertise in ethnic American lit. But it's hard to be excited about it. I can't help but think that it won't really matter in the long run. There's not much difference between 2 and 3 publications on a CV (or even much difference between 2 and 4 if I ever get around to revising and resubmitting another article that a journal has shown interest in.)

I'm trying very hard to distance myself from all of this, so that I'm prepared to move on in a year if I have to. But then a random article hits in a decent journal and suddenly I feel vindicated--that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

But I'm not doing it--so something's wrong. The market. My project. Something.

I was one of 15 finalists for a generalist position at a small Catholic college in Wisconsin. They asked me to fill out a pre-phone interview questionnaire.

I never got a phone interview.

How much does that suck? Because you know, straight up, that it's something I wrote in those answers to the ten stupid little questions about "gifts" and "values." I'm hoping it was because I'm not Catholic enough, because I'm not sure that I could have answered the pedagogy questions much better than I did.

I keep hearing this saying about how it's all about "fit." That's all fine and good, but what if there are just not enough shoes in the store?

So I have another line to add to my CV. I should feel excited.

But I don't.

26 February 2009

If I had a million dollars...

I would certainly not spend it on a monkey.

But I would spend some of it on some lovely pills.

The midwife gave me two prescriptions for morning sickness yesterday. One, which costs me $5, will probably make me too drowsy to function. The other, she called "the Cadilac" of drugs for nausea. Apparently it's some special drug they give to kemo patients before they have their treatments. Apparently, it also costs something like $100 a pill. Oh-- and I don't have any prescription coverage (thank you big stupid prairie university who doesn't think I need it). The magic $100 a pill drug is one time a day with no side effects of narcolepsy.

Did I mention that it's $100 a pill?!?! That would be almost $1000 for a week of good days.

Now, the midwife said that she thought that there was now a generic form of the pill that runs more like $10 a pill, which compared to $100 a pill sounds like a steal.

Except that it's not. That's still over 300 dollars if this stupid morning--make that all frickin' day long--sickness lasts another month. (which it did with X).

So I think I'm going to try the sleep-inducing one first, because I don't know if I want to pay that much money to feel ok. For that much, I could buy J the stupid netbook he wants to thank him for taking care of me.

Seriously folks-- how much would you pay for a good day?

24 February 2009

And the Award for Best Drama Goes To....

What is it about drama?

Certain people seem to feed on it. They love the "scene"--that moment when all eyes are upon them, when grievances are aired, when catharsis comes at the expense of others' peace.

I've never really been one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not above confronting someone or opening my big mouth when I shouldn't open it. I don't mind biting back if someone comes after me. But usually, I don't seek out drama. I have too many other things going on to want more chaos and trouble in my life.

But even from 300 miles away, drama often finds its way on our doorstep.

And to be frank- I'm kind of tired of it. To be frank- I'm kind of tired, period. I'm really tired. And sick. And downright miserable. And my poor husband isn't fairing much better, because while I'm tired and sick and miserable, he's doing everything else. EVERYTHING.** And other people are worried about us, too. Because there's nothing guaranteed about this pregnancy and we're taking things day by day. Everyone's a bit on edge. And none of us need anymore drama.

**For which I love him immeasurably.

21 February 2009

File This Under....Duh

Apparently the NY Times ran out of real news to cover-- so they reported on this.

17 February 2009

That Ain't No Etch-a-Sketch, Homeskillet

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

No job prospects, stuck in the middle of the prairie for another year, and pretty disillusioned with the whole of academe, it seemed like a good idea.

I thought I remembered. I really did. I wrote down how awful it was last time. I read those journals. I really, really thought I remembered how much I really, really, do not like being pregnant.

I do not identify with those glowingly-rotund pregnant ladies who wax poetic about the mystical wonder that is pregnancy and childbirth. I wish I did, but I don't have time to wax anything. I'm spending far too much time trying to keep my food down or throwing it up.

I think it's worse this time. It's definitely harder, because this is a different kind of pregnancy. When we decided to have the first one, it was because I was convinced that my body was telling me that I needed to have a child. I yearned to have a child. I wanted to be pregnant and fat and round and then have a sweet little baby of my own.

This time, I am not so anxious nor am I so naive. I know what's coming ahead. I know that feeling the baby kick will be cute for all of 10 minutes, and then it will just get irritating. I know that the third trimester will just be uncomfortable and sleepless. I know exactly what happens during labor (although, I've gotta say, I'm getting kind of worried, because I also thought I remembered what it was like to be pregnant). And, I know that when that sweet little bundle of milk-breath finally makes his or her appearance, those first 6 weeks or so are just plain hell. Not that I even pretend to remember them-- we were far too sleep deprived.

But I think the worst part is that I kind of feel bad for this kid already. With X, I was soo excited. I took pictures of my growing belly. I kept a pregnancy journal for the baby. I anxiously read about each moment of his development.

This time-- not so much. I don't know why that is, though. I'm excited enough, I guess, but this pregnancy just seems different. It was planned very differently than the last one. Maybe it's because I felt like X was for me and this one is for him. I'd probably be perfectly happy to just have one kid, but I believe in siblings. I wanted to give one to him.

It's not that I don't want the baby-- lord knows after one miscarriage scare I was a wreck--but it's a different kind of want. And I wonder if there is something wrong with that.

If I could just concentrate on something for more than 10 minutes, maybe I could figure it out. Then again, if I could concentrate on something for more than 10 minutes, I'd start figuring out a way to grow babies on the counter like a Sea Monkey. I mean, according to the one book I have, at this point, they look pretty much the same.

11 February 2009


Things have not gone as planned.

Ok. Some things have not gone as planned. (Others went off better than we expected.)

But big things did not go as planned.

You see, I had a plan. I'm a Virgo-- we do that. We make lists. We make plans. We persevere and see them through. In general, we're a fairly dedicated and goal-oriented bunch.

But here's the thing--I don't have any big plans anymore. At least not about my chosen career.

The market tanked. The market more than tanked--the market imploded in a not-so-brilliant display of festering puss. Seriously people. The MLA market took a 21% plus hit this year--the largest hit in its history--and those are just of posted jobs. I know that at least 1/3 of the jobs I applied for were canceled.

I look around, though, and people don't seem all that disturbed or upset by these trends. I have peers who seem happy that they didn't go on the market this year, because (in their estimation) it will somehow be better next year.


Students in my department are planning a charming little round table discussion about the future of the profession. They've proposed insightful topics like "the role of theory in literary studies" for the discussion. No one has proposed the "what if there are no tenure track jobs for the hundreds of us that are graduating" topic.

Maybe I should.

I would, but honestly, I'm too apathetic at this point. I was hoping that I was just being all gloom and doom unnecessarily-- that I was just over-reacting to a more than disappointing job search. But then I read this insightful piece in the Chronicle. If only I'd read it 6 years ago, I might have cut my losses with a Masters. At least then I'd have a better shot at Community College jobs, and I wouldn't have been spoiled by actually enjoying my research or teaching lit.

Ok. That sounds pissy. Which it is--I can't really help that.

But the bigger problem is that I am in limbo. I'll be 30 in 7 months and have no real career prospects on the horizon. I'll try the market one more time, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. I'm sticking around as a student (hopefully), even though it's really the last thing I wanted to do. But after the end of next year, come May of 2010, I will have a useless degree that I spent my 20s on and no idea what to do next.

Because I don't want to do anything else. Yet.

I hope it's a "yet" situation. If not, I could be in for a long haul.

So what does a 30-something mother of 2 with a PhD in the humanities do with herself if she can't be a professor like she expected?

Stay tuned-- one can only guess.