Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sundance season

Noel has been in Park City, Utah since last Wednesday, attending the Sundance Film Festival. You can read his daily dispatches here at the A.V. Club.  By all accounts, he's had a good run in the screening rooms.  And clearly, he's worked very hard, as can be seen by how many films he's logged and how many thousands of words worth of capsules he's written in the wee hours of the morning.

Here at home, we have our own "Sundance Film Festival." It consists of trying to cobble together babysitters, grandparents, and my work schedule so that the kids are delivered to and from school on time, and receive regular meals.

That's been difficult in our 2012 outing.  A combination of regularly scheduled spring events -- a freshman book discussion, a sophomore orientation -- and two faculty candidate visits back to back, meant that this is the first weekday night since Noel left home that I have not had to head out in the evening darkness for some work-related event.

I couldn't have managed without my parents coming to handle kid transport and kitchen duties while I was otherwise occupied.  They left this morning for the grueling two-day drive back to their home on the Georgia coast.

Noel's last day at the festival is tomorrow; he flies home on Thursday, arriving around the time the kids are getting into their pajamas.  I have done a decent job keeping things together (knock on wood).  But I've done a poor job communicating with my absent spouse.  Normally I post status updates and blog entries regularly, supplementing the occasional phone conversation with public information about how we're getting along.  But the faculty candidate visits have thrown any concept of "regularly" out the window.  I've had neither the time nor the energy to write, even a hundred and forty characters.

When a big push like faculty hiring coincides with the stressful and difficult conditions of half parental strength, you put your head down and power through it.  But it always surprises me how much effort, mental and physical, that it takes.  Several nights in the past week, I've sat down in my recliner an hour or so away from bedtime, finally done with everything on my plate, and have felt the bone weariness seep through my shoulders.

Noel knows that feeling well, I'm aware. No one works harder, especially through the 20-hour days of film festival madness. My parents know it, as they bunk down in some motel midway through Alabama, still a day away from their home after driving all day.  We all look forward to getting back to the normal pile of deadlines and the usual routine of too much on our plates, rather than this crazy displaced double-time version of our lives.

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