Summer is winding down! As a teacher who is paid for 12 months of the year and can afford to not work extra in the summer (this is by no means true of all teachers) I have an extra helping of unstructured time. So, what did I do with it?! Some of it I spent doing not much (or fun activities: I'll write about some of those in an AJ-centred entry) but I feel like I must hold myself accountable as well. A lot of projects get put off during the rest of the year, when we are both working full time and being parents to AJ. Two months sounds like a great opportunity to get caught up, to feel like I'm "on top of life" again.
On this theme, I started the summer with a To-Do list prominently on the fridge, and even posted it on Facebook, too.
A few weeks later, not doing too badly I think:
Some of the jobs are/were mainly Mr. Turtle's, I should point out. I can put together IKEA furniture but it always is a bit wonky when I do, so I leave that to him. He's also doing the anchoring and baby proofing. We took the first step toward consolidating our bank accounts together, but Mr. Turtle has to do the last steps. We are actually both still working on the office clean up, but I was so excited that we even got started that I wiped it off the list early. What else: I'm not sure I can take all the bottles to the depot on my own, so I'm procrastinating that till we both can go, and neither of us want to. Running the oven cleaning cycle only involves pushing a few buttons, but it makes the house smelly and I'm afraid of fire and won't do it when I'm alone. Plus we have to wait for cool weather. Photo organizing is just as intimidating today as it was June 30, so I have done nothing there. We have done a pretty good job on the yard. We never got around to "landscaping," but at least it's not totally overgrown. Visitors nod thoughtfully and say it has potential, which is what it's had for the last six years.
And then of course there are other things that weren't on the list that I did. The freezer is getting well stocked up with frozen lunches, including a giant pot of butternut squash and ginger soup cooking on the stove today. I have new eyeglasses! I went, or am going to, two work-related professional conferences, which feels great and is getting me excited about the new school year. We spent a lot of time with family. Not so much with friends; I have to address my social apathy/avoidance at some point.
These are some of the "tangible accomplishments" alluded to in the title. They are the things I believe I should be doing with my time. They are the most visible to other people (sometimes even to me). They aren't always the things I feel I need to do. I call this other category "intangible accomplishments."
My intangible accomplishments this summer:
All the entries on this blog. I guess a blog entry is sort of tangible, in that it's visible and people read it. But it doesn't make an obvious difference in the progression of everyday life. Still, I'm driven to write in a way I'm not driven to do a lot of other things that appear superficially more important or urgent. I want the documentation of that feeling or experience to exist. I want validation that goes beyond the ephemeral pleasure of having a clean house for 10 minutes or clean laundry for 5.
Following/reading other blogs. I enjoy following people's stories, and sometimes, philosophical musings driven by their experiences. So much of this drama is invisible in everyday interactions and relationships because people hide it beneath their facade. But it's so interesting. (You would have to know and closely interact with me for at least a year to see a glimmer of what I share on torthúil. This is probably true of many other bloggers as well).
Reading books. No novels. I don't have any interest in fiction lately. I don't want to escape; I want to go down deep. Although I can't say exactly where I'm going with my summer (soon to be fall) reading. I'm exploring a sense of powerful uneasiness; I'm trying to figure out what it's about and where, if anywhere, it lines up with the some of the political battles currently being fought. I've read (or am currently re-reading) three very interesting books this summer. Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel. JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, and finally Sebastien Haffner's Defying Hitler. The one thing that draws me to each of these writers is that they all have a strong sense of self, and they struggled (successfully, more or less) with a dysfunctional culture. I'd like to write more about these books, but I don't know what shape yet that writing will take. I'm still note-taking, comparing, contrasting, turning over ideas at 1am. Sometimes I get the laundry folded too. I don't know how I'll work in the infertility angle. But I'm creative that way. :-)
Oh, yes, speaking of fertility. If ever there was work that was grueling and intangible. Trying to conceive has been a major focus this summer. After my previous discouraging non-cycle, the current one is at least a little more promising. I had a positive OPK. And fertile mucus! Not at the same time though, that would make too much sense. About 6 days apart. It's possible that I had a second LH surge, of course, but I ran out of OPKs before I could test for it. Anyway. Two week waits are so much fun, because I have no idea how long they are actually going to be, although I can make some guesses. I'm afraid I can't call hours of Googling symptoms and bodily functions any kind of accomplishment at all. But I'll call maintaining some form of mental and emotional balance through this "is or isn't it possible to conceive again" time an intangible accomplishment.
In summary, what I've learned this summer is that I need to work on both the tangibles and the intangibles, and that they both take effort, though with tangible accomplishments the result of the effort is a lot more visible. And sometimes the biggest effort is to get started at all.
Next entry will be AJ-focused. Promise.