Five sour creams and the filthiest car in the west: Why I’m pretty sure PhD school causes brain damage

Only a few people know (but I’m sure many could speculate) that one of my nicknames in life is Slob-ana. My dad coined this little pet name when I hastily moved into his house after high school, my lifetime’s worth of mementos shoved carelessly about, mostly in plastic garbage bags (that’s another long story). As I kept a meager trail from the door to the bed, he teased me mercilessly at the time, and eventually warned Mr. T about my habits, as if T weren’t already aware. I have a great many talents in life and housekeeping is definitely not one of them. The only chore I really like is vacuuming but clean carpets do not a spotless house make.

Sour cream

With this in mind, I’ve found my that my apartment in Mesa vacillates between moderately orderly to “Does a Human Actually Live Here???” and everything in between. Mostly I’m messy and cluttered with bad habits like dropping things at the door, nowhere near where they belong. I draw the line at dirty though and go on cleaning frenzies every so often (typically when I should be writing papers). I started a specific frenzy in December before I came home for Christmas break because I knew T would be visiting our “vacation home” on the return trip.

I mention the mess-factor because I’m completely aware of it. I don’t try to hide it at all, although periodically I pretend I can reform. With this in mind, I was blown away by some non-fabulous things my ASU adventure had spawned during my first semester. For example, T noted my absolutely disgusting car that hadn’t had a bath since the summer. He also pointed out that I’d neglected to take the price tag off of a mirror I bought in August and hadn’t filled any of the picture frames on the wall. The most poignant discovery, however, was the five sour creams in my fridge. Yep, five unopened containers of sour cream dating August, September, October, November and December. Apparently I like to buy sour cream but not use it.

T gave me “the look” so many times last weekend, I had to reach deep into my soul and ponder what my problem is. Although I am a complete clutter monster, in the end, I’ve decided it’s grad school. I keep so much on my plate–taking three classes, teaching two, working full time, flying home every other weekend–that it’s impossible to keep all the balls in the air. It’s not until someone points things out to me that I can see what’s slipped through the cracks. Honestly, it feels like I’m losing my mind 85% of the time. I have a hard time remembering what day it is or where I’m supposed to be at any given moment. (Do remind me that I signed up for this and I do, in fact, heart school… okay?)

As I’m not sure how to put more hours into the day and I’m pretty certain the workload isn’t going to get lighter any time soon, I will simply say oh well and ask for consideration. To my family and friends: Although I drop off the face of the earth for months at the time, I still love you. Please have patience with me. I look forward to being a real person again in 2012-13. To my pathetic Corolla-mobile: One of my resolutions for the year is to wash you once a month. Even if it’s every three months, that’s still more baths than you’ve seen ever! To my uneaten sour creams: I don’t know what to tell you. I speculate that I only buy you because T and I use a lot of sour cream at home. Since apparently you remind me of home, I will probably continue to buy you for no apparent reason.


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