Friday, June 07, 2013

On Leave! (First in a series, no doubt)

Technically, my research leave from DePaul doesn't start until fall term, but in practice, it started yesterday.  I won't be in the classroom again until January 6, 2014.  A quick check online tells me that this makes 214 days without teaching, and I hope to make the most of them--although what that "most" will mean remains to be seen.

Yesterday I mostly just cleaned house, and not in a figurative way.  My father-in-law had been visiting for a week, so there was laundry and shopping to be done, and plenty of trash and recycling to be taken out to the alley.  It's altogether too satisfying to do such work some days, since it takes the place of reading and writing and editing and grading, but I'd rather do it at a time when I enjoy it than put it off and grumble about it later, so that's what I did.

By 5 pm, when I'd done many a load of laundry, run a couple of shopping trips, and taken an assortment of children (my own and friends) to various places, I'd started to regret spending the whole day doing nothing but chores and errands, but in retrospect, that may have just been hunger creeping up on me.  An hour's exercise class and a good dinner set me right, and I slept unusually well.  A day well spent, I think.


I'm typing this at 8:30 or so in the morning, walking on the treadmill, staying away from email.  I took a gander at my "to do" list, and it was pretty overwhelming, but I'm going to keep the goals for the day somewhat narrowly focused, so that I leave time for some reading.  My biggest regret during the school year this year--and, indeed, for the last few years--has been that I haven't spent nearly enough time taking new information and ideas in, and I'd like to make that a priority for this time away from the classroom.

So:  10 papers to grade, and one of the overdue JPRS tasks, and then maybe I'll get to sit and read a while.  I don't know that I'll be able to do those all at once, and my dropbox keeps making that "popping" sound as new JPRS info is added--peer reviews are coming in!--but we'll see.  Small achievable goals, that's the plan.


(11:00):  finished the 10 papers.  Taking a break, then it's time for a JPRS task.


Well, the rest of the day didn't go as expected.  Hadn't quite finished the JPRS task when my wife wanted to take a break for lunch.  By the time that was done, it was time for me to hit the road to DePaul for the end-of-term party; by the time I got home, the work-day was done.  Shopped, cooked, watched an episode of The Hour with my family, and that was that.  Hm.  If I'm going to do any reading, I'd better do it now (after 10 pm).


Oh, no!  Complication in the instrument world.  I planned to put new strings on the mandola, then take it in for a trade-in or consignment sale.  As I put the first new one on, I saw that the little brass brad it hooks onto, down on the tailpiece, was bending up and ready to snap, just as another one had done a while ago, and a second brad was already alarmingly bent, even before I'd gone to work.  This instrument needs a new tailpiece to be playable, or even presentable.  The question is, do I need to pay to put one on before I can do anything with it?  Or can I sell / trade it in as is?

That's going to take an in-person visit to the music store, and I don't think I'll have the chance to do that until a week from now.  Maddening to wait, but so it goes.  In the meantime, I should note that I'm getting enormous pleasure from my main electric guitar these days, which I paid to set up with smooth-wound  strings before I started the jazz lessons.  A pleasure to both fingers and ears.  That was money well spent.

1 comment:

Mark Scroggins said...

I hate those little brass brads, which my first octave mandola had. I bet you can get a tailpiece which accepts regular ball-end strings, and then you can easily replace strings with regular guitar strings of whatever gauge.