. . . in New York City. The two butt ends of the year.
Don't you hate the way everything grinds to a halt for the holidays, whether you want it to or not? Or do you love it?
We've really degenerated because we are dependent on our schedule, in particular appointments with other people, to get us out of the house and into the world. Both Nathan (of karate) and Chris (of Feldenkrais) visit us faithfully, but then they go back to their lives and the silence rolls back in.
We did get out to the gym where J does strength training on Thursday, which is usually enjoyable and exhausting, so that I get a workout while he does and then he sleeps in a satisfied way and I can work. Instead, this time he had what was probably a partial seizure: couldn't respond to left side commands, spacy, looking involuntarily to the right. I suppose that's the inevitable price of getting off Dilantin, and it will probably be infrequent (thanks to our out-of-whack schedule, he hadn't had enough sleep), but it was unnerving.
Lotsa things are slightly out of whack just now:
- He's doing kinda so-so generally, maybe from lack of enough exercise and stimulation -- all alone with me trying to work a lot of the time -- or from not getting outside enough; not that appealing at this time of year. Or from eating the Florida grapefruits he loves but can't quite handle, the juice running down the wrong pipe and burning his lungs.
- I'm hell-bent on not being the only one to miss my dad's 90th birthday party a little over a week from now, but both J's condition and the home health aide situation are ever so slightly iffy. Could that be why I don't have reservations yet?
- My Night of the Living Dead neighbor is back in his apartment, all smiles and squeaky clean when I first saw him, today already listing and faintly fragrant. Waiting for the other empty bottle to drop. Just three days ago, what I didn't know couldn't hurt me.
- I had a tough fact-check to do and got bogged down in it, spinning my wheels in maddening mudholes of can't-find-it-gotta-find-it-gonna-find-it-goddammit instead of cutting my losses, making a note for the author and moving on. I stayed up much of last night trying to slog through this thing, and I won't even charge for some of that because it was idiotic. (Yes, I got through it . . . and saw another mountain. A smaller one.)
- The ultimate morale-bleeder: I didn't get paid this month and won't till after the new year. It's an occupational hazard of being a freelance: when the people who write and sign the checks go on vacation, you're screwed.
- I also sense that it signals the end of the honeymooon and the settling-in of a certain low-grade irritation with me on the part of the new ed-in-chief. I can sympathize. I don't stay within the bounds of simple fact-checking and copy editing. I slop over into actual editing, which is not my job. This is a net plus, but also a pain in the ass. It makes the magazine a little bit better but his job a little bit harder. It destabilizes the editorial hierarchy and costs more than it would if I stayed inside the lines. And then occasionally I fail to do my actual job, which is to catch things like the book reviewer saying Pompeii erupted in 79 B.C. when the book right in front of both our noses says A.D. Sheesh. A twelve-year-old girl had to write in and set us straight on that one. (I seriously considered hiring her to watch my back.) My saving grace is that I know how to shut up when overruled. The lack of ultimate responsibility is sweet.
- I haven't had time to pluck my eyebrows, read the paper, or make order out of the piles of stuff accumulating on my floor futon/bed/workspace.
It's all the holidays' fault, say I.
UPDATE: I plucked my eyebrows.