Saturday, May 20, 2006

Start packing

I meant to post before I left, but then it took longer to grade the finals than I expected, and I lost one and had to tear through several bags looking for it. I also needed new windshield wipers because it was raining and mine were shredded. That was a wise move and made the driving much more pleasurable. But anyway, I just didn't get around to posting. So, here goes.

I met with my advisor before I went to my grandparents. She told me the reason she had asked me those questions during the orals was because my written work was so good she had to find something else to ask me about. And, I could tell she was not happy with the questions the other woman asked me. So I feel much better about that. She also said that I can take my short research trip in November instead of July, which makes my life much easier. She wants me to enjoy being married and wants me to have plenty of time to work on my dissertation proposal. I am getting very excited about my dissertation. So is she, which is nice. Right now, the academic aspect of life is looking good.

However, I realized my vocabulary has actually shrunk and my grammar has gotten worse, so these are two things I will be working on for at least the rest of the year. Therefore, you might visit this page to see interesting words defined or an little unknown grammar fact. Well, it will probably only be unknown to me. I'm sure the rest of you will already know it!

The student's finals. HA!!!! They had to identify a map. The map had Italy on it and then the countries to Italy's east (the former Yugoslavia). I had someone identify Bulgaria as Italy. How do you do that? Doesn't everyone know that Italy looks like a boot!?! This same person also put Germany and France in the former Yugoslavia. But this has also made me aware that I don't know enough geography, so I will also be working on that. Also, some good tidbits from the finals: Stalin inherited Lenin; because the Russians lost WWI they renamed themselves Communists; revolution in Russia was so easy because communist ideas were floating all over it (like balloons?); and my favorite: tampons are feminist products. Apparently only feminist have periods. They had to talk about feminine hygiene products because they were not consistently produced under communism, and how valued can women be if their governments don't even make tampons (or tampoons as one man spelled them) and pads. I had several male students who also said that cotton batting was used to make tampons, instead of being used as pads. I gave them the benefit of the doubt (as I did the feminist guy). Most of them are freshman and probably really don't know.

Then, I drove 8 hours to visit my grandparents. My parents were also there, as was my aunt. My uncle Steve lives there. My grandparents moved from their two story with basement and two car garage house, where they've lived for 25 years, into a two bedroom, one car garage, no basement, but only one floor and entirely wheel-chair accessible, apartment. I'm sure that all of you with grandparents know immediately what the dilemma was. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. But wait, it gets worse. My grandma loves her rummage sales. And for most people, this stuff could just be put back out on sale, but nooooooo, not grandma, because even though every single family member has been there several times and picked through everything, there still might be some unknown family member who decides they want it. And furniture. Since when does furniture that was bought either at rummage sales or at stores, 20 years ago, count as sentimental items? Add to that, my grandpa is exhibiting signs of some sort of early dementia. So sometimes he couldn't figure out what was going on and he's meaner than usual and he doesn't want to get rid of radio and TV equipment from 50 years ago (he owned his own repair shop until color TV became popular: do you guys remember how long ago that was? Yeah, me either). We all actually managed to clean the house up quite a bit. We all took completely full cars back to wherever it was we were going. But the garage is still a mess. I stayed an additional three days after everyone else left, so I managed to straighten out the house and vacuum and clean the bathrooms. It looks so much better, but there's still a ton of stuff in it. I guess my uncle will just have to deal with it.

My grandparents have been married almost 60 years. My grandpa is a disabled WWII vet. He got hit by shrapnel in Okinawa and is partially paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors gave him 5 years to live and said he would never walk (he has a hole the size of a fist in his lower back). Well, he's still here, and he still walks, but he's in a ton of pain. But, this means my grandma has been a caregiver for almost 60 years. Now he can't take care of the bills anymore. My grandma has never done any of that stuff. And like I said, he's exhibiting signs of dementia and is getting meaner. My grandma feels like he doesn't love her and just needs someone to take care of him. This isn't true. I know my grandpa loves her, but I don't envy her position. She is deeply depressed and kept saying, when do I get to retire? When do I get my own life? She wants new furniture, but they live out in the middle of nowhere and he doesn't like to drive places (he doesn't drive anymore) and she doesn't like to leave him alone too long. Stuff like that. I finally talked to her about it, about talking to her doctor about maybe getting medication. She didn't like the idea, but she did admit she was depressed and I think that alone helped. The new place they're in doesn't have stairs, so she can leave him alone more often and take walks. And talk to neighbors and maybe start going to church again. Things that get her out and about. That make her feel like she has a life of her own. And now I'm moving farther away. I feel like a bad granddaughter.

I'm moving in two weeks. I'm terrified. I'm excited to be living with my husband, but scared of making new friends and of trying to find an academic circle of friends. This will be state number six for me. And only the second state on the east side of the Mississippi. I'm excited about all the history in the area. I just hate making friends. I'm not good at it. Wes laughs about how uncomfortable I am in new situations because he is so outgoing and such a people person. He promised to help without pushing. I have a ton of stuff to do in that two weeks. And we are so broke right now. It'll be better come fall, but right now, things are really tight.

Anyway, I hope everyone is good.

1 comment:

Bart's Camille said...

I'm glad you're back - missed hearing from you. I hope things ease up for your grandparents, getting elderly must be really rough. Glad all is well in academia. Good job! Talk to you soon!