Friday, February 18, 2011

Mind Games

It appears that Mother Nature is trying to mess with my head.  After two days of relatively warm weather, she has turned around and smacked me across the face with some bitingly cold gale-force winds.  Sure, I realize that it is still only mid-February and that it would be foolish to assume that our momentary break from Arctic temperatures were the final herald to the beginning of summer.  Just humor me, OK?  My visions of the end of snowstorm season are potentially going to be dashed to pieces this weekend and I need some time to mentally prepare.

On a positive note, this weekend is special for me.  Not for sentimental reasons, but purely due to the fact that Monday is Presidents' Day and my employer chooses to observe that holiday by giving me a day off with holiday pay.  Actually, this is the final in a long stream of monthly observed holidays that I have enjoyed, so I need to savor it well as the next one shall not arrive until late May.  When you really think about that (like I do) you should realize that this may not SEEM like a long wait, but I will actually be done with another semester of school before it happens.  Now it doesn't seem so close, does it?

Speaking of school, I believe I have mentioned that the semester has started.  This is true.  It is also true that my classes this semester take place solely on the weekend, which means that we do not meet every week.  This is very nice, but it has thus far left me in a bit of assignment/homework frenzy limbo.  There are not a great deal of assignments due right away, but they will sneak up on me pretty quickly if I'm not careful.  Therefore, this weekend I shall be going through my syllabi diligently to map out my work schedule.  Nerd, right? 

As far as school goes, I have been very happy with my decision to return.  While I am not entirely sure about my job plans (or prospects) upon graduation, I am hopeful that something really interesting (or at least something that could LEAD to something interesting) will show up in due time. 

One of the unfortunate side effects of adding another responsibility into one's life schedule is that sometimes you cannot do everything you want.  Up until now, this has not caused me any serious heartbreak.  In fact, last spring, I was able to work in a trip to Italy with friends while missing the last day of a class and had a professor who was gracious enough not to lower my grade for the absence.

I suppose that one of the trade-offs of having weekend classes is that there is a much greater potential for it to interfere with fun.  For example, this year my birthday falls on a Friday.  Hurrah, right?  Sadly, no.  As luck would have it, this particular Friday is one that I have to spend in class.  Actually, first I have to spend the day at work.  Then I must attend class from 5-10 p.m.  Of course, there is always the chance that we will get out early...

While the birthday cross-over is certainly disappointing, there are actually some far more important life events that I will/may be missing as a result of my studies.  First of these is my second-cousin's wedding in Dallas, TX.  You may think that a second-cousin sounds far enough removed to not care, but I come from a family that has failed to produce any female cousins close in age to me.  Sara is the closest thing I have to a cousin my own age. 

No matter that we haven't been that close in years.  Our mothers are cousins and are very close.  My parents are going to the wedding.  It will be a Muslim/Christian ceremony with Iranian influences (Sara's father is from Iran).  There will probably never be another wedding like this for me to attend - ever. 

Unfortunately, the wedding weekend is also a school weekend.  I did approach one of my professors about a potential absence, and he was fine with it.  Once we received our syllabi, I quickly realized that April (the month of the wedding) is going to be our busiest month for assignments coming due.  As assignments play heavily into the grading process, I felt it may be a wise decision to forgo the voyage.  Additionally, this gives my parents a reasonable dog-watching situation. 

If you're keeping score, so far it is School: 2, Fun:  0.

Now for the big conflict.  In May, my brother will graduate from veterinary school.  This is a very big deal - a four year program (in addition to four years of college) and a LOT of time, money and effort.  He has done an excellent job and I want nothing more than to be there to celebrate this achievement with him.

As luck would have it, his graduation weekend is scheduled for my final weekend of classes.  There is still the possibility that will bring up the situation with my professors and beg for mercy.  However, both classes require final papers and presentations to be turned in and presented on the last day. 

What to do, what to do?  I still have time to ruminate on this dilemma, but I have a feeling that I will probably not be going to Madison.  Will this make me a horrible sister?  I suppose it means that a really awesome graduation gift will be in order for this egregious crime against siblingdom. 

While I wrestle with this decision, I must confront some hurdles in my immediate future.  First, I must get my car's oil changed tomorrow.  Second, I must aid my increasingly crippled parents about their daily lives (more about this later).  Third, I must find a way to get my dog to sleep past 5:30 a.m. this weekend.  Wish me luck.

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