In case you were wondering, since I haven’t posted in a LOOOOONG time. I am still here. I’ve just been busy.
I copyedited a book during the month of November. It was quite a project to begin with (read: it needed a lot of work. Like, a LOT). But then there was the added challenge of working at home with a three-month-old baby. I call the experience a great success because I finished the project and my child is still alive. It took some figuring out to get to the point where I could actually do both things. I had to get Tommy on a consistent schedule to ensure a few solid stretches of work each day. It ended up being a three-hour schedule in which I would feed Tommy when he woke up, change his diaper and play with him for about an hour until he got tired enough to go down for a nap without a fight, and then work furiously for an hour and a half or two hours (if I was lucky) before he woke up hungry again. We got it down to where it was like clockwork. I would often work in the rocking chair in his room so I didn’t have to waste time running up and down the stairs to soothe him back to sleep when he fussed. And sometimes I would lay him on his play mat to bat and kick at the dangling toys while I sat on the floor next to him with my laptop. When I went to Oklahoma for my long Thanksgiving trip (I went a week early with Tommy to hang out with the family) I had some very willing babysitters to help out while I sequestered myself in my aunt’s home office. I’m pretty sure my mom was more than happy to take Tommy off my hands. It was intense, especially in the last week when I didn’t leave the house except to go grocery shopping, but I got it done. Needless to say, there was a bit of a housework hiatus during which I did only the bare minimum (washing diapers and bottles), and I saw the occasional super-gross dog-hair tumbleweed roll through the hallway. I’ve spent the few days since I finished the project catching up on everything.
Copyediting isn’t always the most exciting work, but it’s the kind that really works with my personality. It involves no customer service (I can’t stress enough how important this is), I can do it all alone in my pajamas, and it isn’t exactly writing, but rather making other people’s writing better. If I were working at an office around other people who were doing similar work, with whom I could interact a few times a day, it would be ideal. And if I had more interesting books, it would be perfect (I love you, university press, but I can only get so excited about western history). I’m the kind of person who finds grammatical rules comforting. I often have twelve windows open on my laptop, some of which are various documents, and others are dictionary websites, the Chicago Manual of Style online (I have a subscription; yes, I’m that type of person), style sheets, and editing forums (there are some intense exchanges on copyediting out there!). I can rewrite a paragraph twelve different ways, all technically correct, before I’m finally happy with it. I answer citation questions from memory for my former students who occasionally hit me up for free help even years later. And I know how to do some really random but cool shit on Microsoft Word.
Tommy has been growing like crazy. I finally got around to packing away my maternity clothes, and I also put away a startling amount of baby clothes that he’s already grown out of. He’s a chunky little man with huge hands and feet. We’re fairly sure he’ll be a tall guy. He also, just in the past few days, decided that the routine I had perfected isn’t going to work anymore. So now I have to figure out all over again how much he needs to eat and how long he needs to nap and be awake. Pretty soon he’ll be rolling over and making my life just that much harder. No more plopping him on a couch cushion while I go pee or whatever. What a luxury that has been.
We’re getting used to this whole winter thing. It’s not quite as bad as I was afraid it would be. The problem was that I was using Oklahoma as a frame of reference. Back home, the weather fluctuates so dramatically that when it snows, it’s almost always a really intense blizzard, and the state shuts down because there aren’t many plows, but then the snow melts really quickly because it gets relatively warm and sunny again. Here, it’s cold, but not as windy, it snows, but not in blizzards, and the snow sticks around for a really long time because the temperature is steadier. The real problem is how dark it is; daytime is gray and dreary, and it gets pitch-black by 5pm. Lame. Stella doesn’t mind the cold (then again, we question whether she actually has nerve endings based on how often she bangs into stuff without being phased), but Kitten Mao has been perched on the heating vent for the past month. She’s a delicate creature. We took Stella out for a nice snowy hike in the Catskills today in an attempt to get her some of the exercise we’ve been neglecting to give her. It was a bit snowier than we expected, but she had a ball, and I had yet another opportunity to put Tommy in his snow-bear-baby suit. He was less thrilled with the adventure, but he hung in there like a champ, sucking on the lip of the Baby Bjorn to amuse himself. He’s weird, but he’s cute.