Monday, August 14, 2006

It Just Doesn't Matter*

Meatball Pizza

Unusual and uncompromising.
You're usually the first to discover a new trend.
You appreciate a good meal and good company.
You're an interesting blend of traditional and modern.

Yes, I made pizza again Saturday--Phil even asked me on Friday if I was going to do it, presumably because he wouldn't bring lunch if I said yes. Saturday night I shlepped (and I do mean shlepped--it took me nearly two hours to get there) to a handball party, at which I stayed maybe an hour and at which I was repeatedly asked about Dave. I didn't lie to those guys, because I love them and I've known them forever and I know they love me, too, but I was only telling about four of them the story, and an abbreviated version at that. The amused part of me (which was only a very small part, I must admit) watched as the wives of the four came into the kitchen; they came over to give me a hug and say hi, and most commented on how well marriage was treating me, how great I looked, how marriage must be agreeing with me, etc. I could see their husbands wishing they could telepathically send a hand-slash-across-the-throat signal.

I scored a ride home, so I didn't have as much of a shlep (and it turns out that one of my escorts has made a living for 20 years as a freelance editor and writer, mostly of medical texts, so that was interesting). Once I got here, I realized how much I'd been dreading that set of conversations; next will be the extended family, I suppose. It's just sad--and I'm sure Dave is going through a version of it, and, odd though it may sound, I feel sad on his behalf, too, even when he manages to throw digs at me into his various communiques.

Sunday morning I woke up at my usual time (4:30 or thereabouts) and realized I wasn't going back to sleep, so I made a cup of tea and one of my famous lists and started doing chores. I hate cleaning, but I do like having cleaned (luckily, I recognize that the former is necessary for the latter). Nevertheless, by working assiduously, I managed to get nearly everything done from Sunday's list, and the things that got moved to today will be accomplishable (viz., laundry, which I never do on Sunday, because on Monday there's never a line; making lemon meringue pies/tarts with the various leftover bits I have in the fridge, except I need to get eggs before I do that; finishing some copyediting, which I've already done; and calling my dentist, because I think I have a cavity, while hoping the problem can be solved for less than a zillion bucks). Getting all that crap done definitely made the subsequent hanging out with a friend better, in that I didn't have undone chores sitting on my shoulder bugging me.

I'm supposed to go to a demonstration of laminated doughs this evening, being given by the chef who found me my job and who has been most supportive of me. We're trying to figure out what I should (and can) do next. I'm pretty much insisting on something that has a regular schedule--regular in the sense of the same days off each week, as well as regular in the sense of daytime hours--because side work requires that kind of predictability, and the side work is a necessity right now. Plus, I want to be able to have some kind of life and see my friends, and middle-of-the-night schedules really don't permit that. Yeah, I know I'm being picky, but that's always been my problem. That is, I want to do work that I like, and I want to have a life outside of work that I like, as well. I realize there are always compromises, and I also realize (although my mother does not seem to) that you can't always find the perfect situation, i.e., a fabulous, high-paying job that's enjoyable and fulfilling and provides frequent holidays and abundant vacation days.

What that means, of course, is that I end up trying to balance an equation with way too many variables in it. Do I want to be a baker? Yes--as long as I can have a reasonable life outside of work. Am I willing to do other work on the side? Sure--for now, anyway. Would I be willing to give up the baking? Maybe--as long as I like the work a lot and make a bunch of money at it ("bunch" being relative here). Do I want to own my own business? Maybe--as long as I can have that reasonable life, or something close to it, or if I love the work a whole big bunch. What do I not want to do? Work late (rather than early) hours; get paid by the shift rather than by the hour (in the food industry, that path means you get paid even worse--you get paid for an eight-hour shift and work ten or twelve hours); plate desserts. What do I want to do that I'm not doing now? Experiment more, make some more/different stuff, maybe be in charge of more, maybe even make a little more money--but I either have to make enough more money and get health insurance such that I don't need the work on the side, or I have to have the regular hours and days that allow me to continue the side work.

The thing that makes it difficult, of course, is that so many of the bits are unknowns. What kind of baking job can I find? What kind of non-baking job can I find? Those are the two big ones, and without knowing the answers, it's like being on "Let's Make a Deal" and having to pick a door. Fab vacation in the southwest? Or a donkey? So when I ask myself (or someone asks me) what I'm going to do next, or what I want to do next, well, what are my choices? Figuring out what they are, realistically, is the current project, I guess, and it's tiring.

Plus, my brain has decided that I need to write another book (I say "another," even though my dissertation was never published, because said disssertation was, in fact, a book-length manuscript). I don't know what's going to happen with that, whether I can really commit to it, but I've definitely started some of the initial bits. It would be easier if I could write fiction, because then I wouldn't have to do quite so much of that time-consuming research and it would be easier to get it published if I finish it, but fiction has never really been my strong suit. So, really, another part of this equation, if I'm serious about trying to write this thing, I know from previous experience that I write better and more when my day job does not involve quite so much writing.

*Am I the only person who's seen "Meatballs" and liked it and remembered that line fondly?


Blogger kStyle said...

I'm also meatball pizza.

A great quote from The Screwtape Letters is applicable to your situation, but I don't have the energy to type it all up. Go to the library, check out Screwtape, and read chapter 6.

11:00 AM  

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